If we had to describe Jennifer Lawrence in three words, they’d be: hardworking, realistic, and private. She’s always kept as much of her life under wraps as possible (she doesn’t even have IG), but when she does open up in the odd interview, it’s pretty clear that she’s a no-BS, get s**t done kinda gal. This applies to how she approaches her health and fitness, too.
You can forget asking her to go on a ‘diet’, and she won’t believe you if you tell her you ‘like exercising’, but when push comes to shove, she puts in the werk. Here’s everything new mum J Law and her trainers have said about how she stays fit, what motivates her, and the diet and exercise tips that she swears by.
1. She admits she’s not a fan of exercise
‘I hate saying, “I like exercising”,’ Lawrence told Glamour in 2012. ‘I want to punch people who say that in the face. But it’s nice being in shape for a movie, because they basically do it all for you. It’s like, “Here’s your trainer. This is what you can eat”. I don’t diet. I do exercise! But I don’t diet. You can’t work when you’re hungry, you know?’
2. But acknowledges that exercise has changed her life
When filming the X-Men films, Lawrence partnered up with PT Dalton Wong (who’s also worked with Vogue Williams and Amanda Seyfried).
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She’s since contributed the foreword of Wong’s book, The Feelgood Plan, thanking him for teaching her how to use exercise to improve her life: ‘[Dalton Wong] changed my body for that movie but gave me the skills to change my life. I could never live on a ‘diet.’ Dalton taught me how to eat, move, and live a delicious but healthy life. I will always thank him for that.’
Read our guide on functional training for more info on how you could use exercise to improve your daily life, from the exercises that’ll make day-to-day lifting easier, to those that’ll prevent injury.
3. She works hard when her roles require it
From the Hunger Games franchise to her role in Red Sparrow, J Law doesn’t mess about when it comes to fulfilling a particular filming brief.
In his book, Wong said Lawrence’s workout plan for the X-Men films was based around morning runs, and short, regular bursts of high intensity interval training (a.k.a. HIIT workouts), using body weight only, so that having ‘no equipment’ was never an excuse.
For the Hunger Games, Lawrence trained with chiropractic sports medicine doctor Dr. Joe Horrigan, who told Teen Vogue Lawrence did, ‘sprints, stationary bike rides, archery lessons, and rock and tree climbing’.
On days when she had little spare time but needed to get her heart rate up, Lawrence turned to skipping, Dr Horrigan said.
For her 2018 movie Red Sparrow, Lawrence played an ex-ballerina-turned-spy, and it involved multiple nude scenes, stunt work and dancing. A lot, basically. So, Lawrence decided to work with a ballet coach for three months.
‘I worked with Jen six days a week, three hours a day for three months, as well as doing cross training in the form of Pilates, or toning and weight training, or gyrotonics,’ professional dance coach Kurt Froman told Body and Soul.
4. She’s consistent
There’s a common denominator across all the training she does for her films: she’s consistent. Take her time prepping for Red Sparrow. She trained for three hours a day, six days a week, for three months. That’s 216 hours across three months, or nine whole days. When filming X-Men: First Class, she spent up to 10-12 hours a day with her trainer Wong, for three months. What a woman.
Check out one of the workouts Wong did with both Lawrence and actress Olivia Colman, which he shared exclusively with WH.
5. But she doesn’t overdo it
J Law’s trainer Wong told Byrdie, ‘I don’t like to ruin my clients. I want you to leave here and still have the energy to be able to get on with your day.’ This is undoubtedly something J Law has maintained now that she’s a mother to baby Cy, who she gave birth to in early 2022.
6. She makes her workouts realistic
During her time working with Wong for the X-Men films, they’d do short 15-minute bursts of HIIT circuits while on set. ‘We would focus on core exercises and some yoga stretches,’ he said in his book, The Feelgood Plan. ‘A lot of people might not have the hour to commit to doing something but lots of people have 15 minutes.’
7. She does yoga, and breathing is key
Wong also revealed in his book that J Law would finish each day with yoga and something he calls ‘beditat-ing’, a.k.a. diaphragmatic breathing in bed (also known as ujjayi breathing in yoga) and stretching.
‘It’s just to help relieve the body so you can sleep better but also be able to be more resilient and be able to train and work the next day,’ Wong explains. ‘Inhale through the nose, filling your lower belly, lower rib cage, then up to your chest and throat. Exhale through the nose for a count of three. Keep a steady rhythm as you repeat the movement.’
8. Posture work is important
Wong previously shared that posture was a focus during his time working with Jen, telling Byrdie: ‘There is no point spending hours in the gym if you’re not going to work on improving your posture.’
9. She tailors her workouts to get results
Well, her trainers do. Wong also told Byrdie that most of the workouts he does with his clients target the posterior chain, i.e. the back of the body, explaining, ‘You burn more calories and get better results.’
Inspired? Some of the most effective posterior chain exercises include Romanian deadlifts, glute bridges, calf raises and bent over delt flies.
10. She prefers to work hard in the gym than restrict what she eats
Food is big for J Law. ‘I don’t like when people say, “I only do this or eat this,”‘ she told Vogue. ‘Because I eat. I’m not very strict with my diet: If I want a piece of pizza, I eat a piece of pizza.
‘For me, it’s easier to put that extra effort into the gym instead of putting the extra effort into: “Oh no, I can’t eat that.”‘
11. And she won’t diet, not even for a role
She’ll go ham in the gym if there’s a film at stake, but she’ll never diet. ‘For Hunger Games, they told me to lose weight, and then I discovered [US fast food chain] Jack in the Box. Red Sparrow was the first time that I was really hungry and disciplined,’ she told Vanity Fair.
The result was her having a ‘meltdown’ over her eating plan for the role, which included lean meats like chicken breast and having banana chips for a snack. ‘I can’t work on a diet. I’m hungry. I’m standing on my feet. I need more energy,’ she said. ‘Dieting is just not in the cards for me.’
12. She snacks
To keep the hunger at bay, Wong shared in his book that while he worked with J Law, her trailer was always stocked with healthy snacks.
‘We would always have some full-fat Greek yogurt, some dark chocolate, some hummus and vegetables,’ Wong said.
BRB, off to restock the choc cupboard.