Gym Jones – The Discipline Behind “300”

It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

The men of Zack Snyder’s “300” trained 10-12 hours a day, five days a week, for four months – all while eating barely enough to cover their needs and recovery. It was at the invitation-only fitness center in Utah, Gym Jones, where strength and endurance were pushed to near Spartan limits for around thirty actors and stunt men – one of which was the director, Zack Snyder.

At Gym Jones, “the objective is genuine fitness, not the appearance of fitness…appearance is a consequence of fitness.” Training is conducted for a specific job or challenge. Sometimes the real life challenge is a matter of life and death. Sometimes the challenge is make-believe and only for entertainment. Regardless, the training fits the job. In “300,” modern men needed to be transformed into Spartans of 480 B.C. When modern man trains, he trains for physical aesthetics, uniform muscular development, bigger muscles. In 480 B.C., man trained to throw a javelin further, hold a shield wall stronger, and cleave bronze armor with a one-handed sword. Challenges like this require a level of overall fitness that man no longer requires; man no longer knows. To reacquaint the modern physique with real endurance and relative power, trainer Mark Twight developed a “program” where no day was like another. Instead, exercise programs were constantly varied to stress muscles differently every day. Things didn’t get easier as time went on. The key concepts to the program were to develop a camaraderie to match what Spartan warriors might have had. Bring the overall body’s level of power and endurance up 100% or more. Push beyond both physiological and psychological barriers to rebuild a stronger man. Not everyone was able to complete the course – not everyone was able to complete the pinnacle “program” – the 300.


  • 25x Pull-up +
  • 50x Deadlift @ 135# +
  • 50x Push-up +
  • 50x Box Jump @ 24” box +
  • 50x Floor Wiper @ 135# (one-count) +
  • 50x KB Clean and Press @ 36# (KB must touch floor between reps) +
  • 25x Pull-up

300 reps total

Reading through really gives me a sense of awe and inspiration. The opportunity given to those chosen by Gym Jones is one none of us will ever have, but the experience is something we can all learn from. Not that any of us aspire to Spartan-like lives; nonetheless, a little knowledge of what made a warrior fit back in the day can’t hurt any of us today.