Dylan Sprouse's Trainer Breaks Down His Workout Routine—Including Couples Sessions With Barbara Palvin

In an exclusive chat with E! News, Dylan Sprouse's fitness trainer, Patrick Murphy, shared just how the actor was able to transform his body from a "doughy, soft look" to into "another Zac Efron."

By Alli Rosenbloom, Gabrielle Chung May 06, 2022 3:02 AMTags
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Dylan Sprouse isn't on his fitness journey alone.

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody alum recently caught the Internet by surprise when he debuted his hard-earned muscles after deciding to "change my body and become a meat head." And while he called it a "long slog" to transform his body, he teased in an Instagram post that he "ain't done yet" in achieving his full form.

Now, his trainer Patrick Murphy, a corrective exercise expert who aims to create safe and beneficial fitness programs, exclusively shared with E! News just how Dylan has been keeping fit—including how he's been hitting the gym with girlfriend Barbara Palvin. Although the couple are "little jokers" in between sets, Patrick—who previously trained Zac Efron in preparation for his role in 2017's Baywatch—said that Dylan is seriously dedicated to getting in shape.

In fact, Patrick joked that the 29-year-old is well on his way to become "another Zac Efron" if he keeps up with his workout. "He's goal oriented," the Murphy Fitness founder shared. "He's looking into the positive future. He's driven and is hyper focused, and I'm really excited for him."

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So, how did Dylan go from living the suite life to the swole life? Here's the breakdown of his body transformation.


Set Goals

According to Patrick, Dylan came into his fitness journey with very clear goals in mind. "He was never someone overweight but he had that doughy, soft look," the trainer explained. "He wanted to tighten his body, define his body and drop his body fat percentage to become leaner."

Dylan also had his sights set on some "high-action" acting gigs, Patrick said, so the actor was looking to become "stronger and more stable" as well.

"My job is to make the talent very safe and strong and stable, so they can perform really well in high-action scenes," continued Patrick, who's trained Keanu Reeves and Olivia Wilde in the past for movies. "I take all the high-beneficial corrective exercises and implement my program, so the confidence that Dylan has in me is everything. What I have him do is only going to stabilize his joints."

Work Out

Though Patrick said he doesn't "do burpees" when it comes to training his clients, the exercises he put Dylan on were no joke. "We're talking a minimum of 600 reps," he said. "Minimal rest. Burn, burn, burn. Positive adaptations. It's messaging to the human body for good posture alignment, all the while creating this amazing body that's super fit and lean."

To start, Dylan spent a month doing full body, big circuit workouts to improve his muscular endurance and cardiovascular strength, according to Patrick. "It's a lot of combinations of circuits dealing with upper and lower body exercises," he explained, adding that Dylan was given "a lot of balance exercises and coordination exercises just to bring more confidence to him as well."


Next, Patrick got the former Disney Channel star into a bodybuilding regimen for two months, working out his back, biceps, core, abs and—yes, you really can't skip it—legs on specific days of the week. He combined that with what he called "cardio blast days," which had Dylan incorporating everything from a box to a cross-country skiing machine into his workouts. The goal, according to Patrick, was to "burn a lot of calories and really strengthen his heart."

"The weekly regimen is ever-changing," he said. "I have hundreds of different rep schemes I implement into all my workouts. It doesn't matter if it's a push day, a leg day or a pull day—I'm constantly changing my schemes on how I'm grouping exercises together so the client is going to never plateau and adapt to the workouts. They just keep reaching full potential."

Use the Buddy System

Working out doesn't have to be a solo act. For example, Dylan made his into a social affair and brought his girlfriend of four years to the gym, according to Patrick. "There's fun little banter, but they also have a serious tone to it," he shared of the couple. "Working with Barbara has been great."

And when the 28-year-old supermodel is unavailable, Patrick said that Dylan often enlists his friend and musician Bazzi as a workout companion. "When someone's out of town, I'm always either training both him and his buddy Bazzi or Barbara and Dylan together," the trainer added. "It was a lot of fun."

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Eat Well

When it comes to nutrition, Patrick recommends staying away from highly-refined or processed foods. "Dylan can eat an apple, but I don't want him eating apple sauce. Dylan could have brown rice, but I don't want him eating brown rice pasta," he explained. "You could still have carbohydrates, just in whole food form."

However, Patrick noted, he does allow some wiggle room in the diet. "It's called the 10/90 rule," he said. "Ten percent of a month is three meals of whatever he wants." That ends up being about one flexible meal a week, so Patrick admits those are few and far between. 

Since Dylan is known for his passion for beer—he does brew his own mead, after all—alcohol consumption was also something that the star had to look out for in his diet. According to Patrick, the All-Wise Meadery CEO sometimes "wanted to have a couple of beers" instead of his indulgence meal for the week.

"He loves beer," quipped Patrick, who noted that "if you decide to have some wonderful cocktails—one or two cocktails—you don't have a bad meal on top of that."

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Get Into the Right Mentality

Your brain is a muscle, so why not work it as well? In addition to physical gains, Patrick said sticking to a workout routine can help improve your mindset, too. Since embarking on his fitness journey, Dylan has had a shift in confidence, Patrick said.

"He's taking things very seriously in his career," he shared. "Some big things are on the pipeline coming up and he's pretty hyper focused."