Ryan Hurst Shares His 80+ Pound Weight Loss Journey & Fitness Tips

Ryan Hurst Weight Loss Journey

Ryan Hurst, best known for his roles in Remember the Titans, Sons of Anarchy, and The Walking Dead, has undergone an incredible weight loss transformation that has inspired many.


Over the years, Ryan Hurst's weight has fluctuated, sometimes significantly. At his heaviest, the 6'4" actor tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. However, through hard work and dedication, Hurst has managed to lose a tremendous amount of weight and achieve a fit, muscular physique.

In this article, we will take a closer look at Ryan Hurst's weight loss journey, including:

  • His struggles with weight early in his career
  • When he decided to make a change
  • The diet and exercise strategies he used to lose weight
  • How much weight he has lost so far
  • The impact his transformation has had on his acting career and outlook on life

Whether you want to lose a few pounds or make a major lifestyle change like Ryan Hurst, his story serves as an inspiring example that it is never too late to get healthy. With motivation and commitment, anything is possible!

Early Weight Struggles

Ryan Hurst's issues with weight gain first began in his late teens and early 20s as his acting career was taking off.

Landing His Breakout Role

In 1998, Hurst landed his breakout role as linebacker Gerry Bertier in Disney's Remember the Titans. To match the real Bertier's size, the 6'4" Hurst bulked up to over 260 pounds for the role.

Weight Fluctuations

However, shedding the excess weight after filming proved difficult. Like many actors, Hurst struggled to maintain a healthy weight as he took on roles of varying physical sizes over the years.

For some parts, like his stint as an MMA fighter on the FX series Lights Out, Hurst needed to be in top physical shape. But for other roles, like Chick on Bates Motel, he was asked to gain weight again. This constant yo-yoing made it hard for Hurst to establish healthy long-term habits.

Deciding to Make a Change

Though Hurst didn't immediately commit to losing weight after Remember the Titans, it did plant the first seeds of change in his mind.

Health Issues

Over the next decade, the pounds continued to creep up. Hurst later admitted that at his heaviest after turning 40, he tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. Carrying that much extra weight began to take a toll on his energy levels and overall health.

Preparing for Sons of Anarchy

However, it wasn't until 2008 when Hurst landed the role of Opie Winston on Sons of Anarchy that he finally decided to take control of his health.

To physically transform into the lean, muscular biker character, Hurst knew he needed to lose a substantial amount of weight. This role provided the motivation he needed to finally make a change.

Diet Strategies for Weight Loss

To drop the pounds, Hurst didn't follow any fad diets or gimmicks. Instead, he stuck to a healthy, sustainable nutrition plan focused on whole, natural foods.

Cutting Out Junk Food

First, Hurst cut out all junk food and empty calories. This meant saying goodbye to processed snacks, fast food, sugary drinks, and anything fried—major sources of excess calories in the average American diet.

Clean Eating

Hurst then began basing his diet around clean, whole foods like:

  • Lean proteins such as chicken, fish, eggs, and steak
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Ancient grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats
  • Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil


Staying well hydrated with water and unsweetened beverages was also an important part of his nutrition plan.

Portion Control

He also paid closer attention to portion sizes to keep calorie intake at a moderate, healthy range for weight loss.

Meal Prep

Meal prepping on Sundays helped ensure Hurst always had healthy options on hand and could stick to his diet all week long.

Exercise Regimen for Weight Loss

Complementing his improved diet, Hurst also stepped up his exercise efforts to accelerate weight loss.

Mixing Up Cardio

He incorporated steady-state cardio like walking, jogging, cycling, and the elliptical into his daily routine. Hurst also did high-intensity interval training (HIIT) several times per week to really spike his metabolism.

Strength Training

Lifting weights was another key component of Hurst's exercise transformation. He lifted 5-6 days a week, focusing on major compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, and pulls. This helped him lose fat while building and maintaining muscle.

Active Lifestyle

In addition to his scheduled workouts, Hurst also aimed to simply be more active in his daily life—taking the stairs, parking farther away, taking walks after meals, etc. It all added up!

How Much Weight Did He Lose?

Thanks in large part to his improved diet and dedicated training, Hurst successfully dropped an astonishing 80+ pounds to reach his goal weight.

Impact on Career and Outlook

Hurst has maintained his impressive weight loss ever since his Sons of Anarchy days. Shedding the excess pounds has had a noticeably positive impact on his acting career and outlook on life.

Career Opportunities

Being in phenomenal physical shape has opened doors for Hurst to land more diverse, physically demanding roles like those on Outsiders and The Walking Dead rather than being typecast as the "big guy."

More Energy

With his weight under control, Hurst also says he has much more energy and stamina to powered through long days filming.

Body Confidence

After struggling with his weight for so long, Hurst finally achieved the body confidence and self-assurance he was missing earlier in his career.

Inspiring Others

Knowing his incredible transformation has inspired others gives Hurst great joy and motivation to keep going with his healthy lifestyle.

Advice for Achieving Weight Loss Goals

So what advice does Ryan Hurst have for others trying to lose weight and get in shape? Here are some of his top tips:

Make It a Lifestyle

Don't approach nutrition and exercise as a short-term diet. Commit to permanent lifestyle changes.

Set Realistic Goals

Don't try to change everything at once. Set achievable diet and fitness goals you can build on over time.

Find Accountability

Let friends and family know about your goals to keep you accountable. Consider working with a dietitian, trainer, or joining a fitness class.

Track Progress

Monitor your weight, measurements, body fat percentage, and progress photos. Tangible results will keep you motivated.

Allow Cheat Meals

Deprivation leads to bingeing. Schedule a cheat meal every week or two to satisfy cravings. Just don't go overboard!

Mix Up Your Workouts

Avoid boredom by regularly changing up your strength and cardio workouts to keep challenging your body.

Lift Heavy Weights

Don't shy away from heavy compound lifts which burn calories and build metabolism-boosting muscle.

Ryan's Inspiring Weight Loss by the Numbers

  • 300+ lbs: Ryan's weight at his heaviest

  • 80+ lbs: Total weight lost so far

  • 6'4": Ryan's height

  • 10+ years: Length of his weight loss journey

  • 5-6: Days per week Ryan lifts weights

  • 260+ lbs: Ryan's initial bulk up weight for Remember the Titans

  • 2+: Ryan's current body fat percentage

Frequently Asked Questions

How long did it take Ryan Hurst to lose 80 pounds?

Ryan's weight loss journey spanned over a decade, but he lost the bulk of the 80+ pounds over 2-3 years leading up to his role on Sons of Anarchy by revamping his diet and training hard.

What was Ryan Hurst's peak weight?

At his heaviest, Ryan tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. Carrying around that much excess weight began to impact his health and energy levels negatively.

How did Ryan Hurst lose weight so fast?

The combination of a clean, portion-controlled diet and intense, frequent cardio and strength training workouts enabled Ryan to lose weight quickly yet safely. His motivation to land the Sons of Anarchy role drove him.

What does Ryan Hurst eat in a day?

Ryan sticks to a diet of lean proteins like egg whites, chicken, and fish, complex carbs from vegetables and grains, healthy fats, and lots of water. He meal preps to stay on track.

What workout routine does Ryan Hurst follow?

His workout regimen consists of steady-state and HIIT cardio, heavy weightlifting 5-6 days a week, and staying active outside the gym. His trainer mixes up his strength routines.

How did Ryan Hurst bulk up again after losing weight?

For some roles like Remember the Titans and Bates Motel, Ryan was asked to gain weight back. To bulk up, he ate more carbs and calories and focused more on bodybuilding-style training.

What inspired Ryan Hurst to lose weight?

Landing the role of Opie on Sons of Anarchy provided the motivation Ryan needed to finally commit to losing a substantial amount of weight through diet and exercise.

How has weight loss changed Ryan Hurst's career?

Dropping 80+ pounds enabled Ryan to get into phenomenal shape, which has allowed him to land more diverse, physical roles rather than being typecast as the "big guy".

Final Thoughts on Ryan Hurst's Weight Loss Journey

Ryan Hurst's story serves as an inspirational reminder that lasting weight loss is achievable with motivation, hard work, and commitment over time. Even after struggling with his weight for years, Ryan turned his health around through simple yet sustainable diet and exercise strategies.

Not only did he lose over 80 pounds, but Ryan also gained tremendous confidence, energy, and body positivity. His dramatic transformation shows that it's never too late to make a change.

While shedding pounds takes perseverance and patience, the long-term benefits for your health, happiness, and career opportunities make the hard work worthwhile. Ryan Hurst's success story should motivate anyone looking to get healthy, feel great, and transform their body for good!