So the cat’s finally out of the bag, the film has been released (to great reviews from generally harsh critics! Yay!) and I can finally shout about being in 2017’s most anticipated blockbuster, Wonder Woman. I was incredibly lucky to be cast in this film, I got to work with the insanely talented Patty Jenkins, who’s energy and spirit is just incredible, she’s a total force and a real champion of women, put simply – she’s awesome. Getting to work with her and the rest of the cast and crew was a daily pinch-me moment and I just remember feeling incredibly thankful throughout the whole process.
But I know the real question on everyone’s lips is how did they transform us all into Amazon warriors in just a few short months… The quick answer? Some of the fitness and stunt industries absolute best combined with a lot of blood, sweat and tears – ours of course.
Despite the fact that we were all cast for our physical abilities and attributes, Wonder Woman was shot on film and so there was a real focus on making everything feel and look authentic. We needed to be as close as physically possible to looking like real warriors without having to rely on CGI and special effects. Just another reason why I have so much respect for Patty and the rest of the team, many other directors would have just cast models and then created the illusion of strength. A cop out and certainly less than we women deserve, especially in this day and age.
Under the watchful eye of professional pain merchants Mark Twight, Pieter Vodden and Mario Donato we were taken through a gruelling 3 month training schedule, created to turn us all into our own versions of Wonder Woman. Loved those guys and the environment that they created for us, they all knew when to push us and when to back off, incredibly tricky when they were under as much pressure as us to perform and produce results. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend anyone try to do what we did in such a short space of time, it most definitely worked. Looking back I’m kicking myself for not measuring body fat and muscle mass etc both before and after because I think the results would have been quite shocking given the 3 months that we spent working on it.
The days were packed out with 2 hours training in the gym, a mixture of strength work and high intensity metabolic training. Then 3 hours of stunt training followed by a couple of hours horse riding with The Devils Horsemen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, dream gig! Despite all of the physical training we still needed to double down and so introduced some strict new dietary changes as well so as to make sure you could actually see all this new muscle we were building. Being a total foodie this was the area that I found the most difficult but wow, did it get results! We increased our protein and (healthy) fat intake and limited our carbohydrates to <100g per day, I experimented with <30g carbohydrates on a couple of the days but found this too difficult and mainly stuck to just under 100g. I would wake up and get some fasted cardio in before eating some protein oats that gave me around 30g of carbs. I would then try to add into 20g to 30g of complex carbs with lunch and another 20g with dinner, saving some for a little something sweet afterwards. Sugar free syrup, whilst being something I wouldn’t normally touch with a bargepole, was an absolute life saver here! Mixed in with some greek yoghurt and a small amount of 80% dark chocolate, this snack kept me on track and stopped me from raiding the cupboard come 11pm.
Adjusting portion sizes of everything (except greens and other low carb veggies) and planning ahead was key so we carried carrots and other veggies with us pretty much everywhere! Given all the physical exercise that we were doing, despite the end goal, it was so important to be mindful of health, both mental and physical. Whilst I stuck to my guns most of the way through, if I ever felt low or just really needed a hit of energy or something sweet I would break ranks and have a ‘Carb Killa’ protein bar. Totally worth it.
The fact that we were all in it together helped so much, I really gained some sisters whilst training for this role. We supported one another, encouraged one another, championed one another. It was just so refreshing to be in this all female environment where we all wanted one another to succeed, just as much as we did ourselves. Being able to even be a small part of Wonder Woman was just an incredible experience and words won’t ever quite do the gratitude that I feel justice. It was life changing and that’s all there is to it.
Have you ever undergone some kind of physical transformation? If so, why? How did you find it and the big question – did you manage to maintain the change?