As we all know, Jennifer Lawrence is a junk food lover.
But despite her proclivity for pizza and fries, she’s also maintained a killer physique. One person she can thank for that? Dalton Wong, her former trainer, whom she met in 2010 while getting in shape to play Mystique in X Men: First Class. Wong has a new book, The Feelgood Plan: Happier, Healthier & Slimmer in 15 Minutes a Day, partly inspired by the methods he used while training Jennifer. “He changed my body for that movie but gave me the skills to change my life,” Jennifer writes in the book’s foreword, “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.”
Here, Wong shares some diet and fitness tips, plus an abs and arm workout to help you get in J.Law-level shape:
Tip 1: Break up exercise throughout the day
While filming X-Men: First Class, Wong spent up to 10-12 hours a day with Jennifer Lawrence for three months. When filming in Oxford, they’d start the day with a 20 to 30 minute jog outdoors “as a nice little wake up,” he says, “It wasn’t a run I would say necessarily for exercise. It was just to go and get moving, to get out in nature. Sometimes it was just a walk as well.” He says it was important to start out with movement since she would spend hours cooped up and stationary getting body painted as Mystique.
Tip 2: Set aside just 15 minutes for a workout
Throughout a day of filming, Wong would have Jennifer do short bursts of high intensity interval training circuits. “We would focus on core exercises and some stretches,” he says, explaining that he came up with the premise of The Feelgood Plan while working with Jennifer because “people always want something from her” and he was working with limited time. “A lot of people might not have the hour to commit to doing something but lots of people have 15 minutes,” he says, adding that doing four of those sessions makes an hour of exercise a day.
In his book, Wong details an exercise plan including 15-minute “power circuits”, like the legs and butt routine below. “The exercises in the book are ones that Jennifer and I have done together. We’ve done all of these exercises before,” Wong says.
Tip 3: Make relaxing a part of your exercise routine
Jennifer’s training for the day would end with yoga and “beditate”-ing–what Wong calls deep diaphragmatic breathing (also known as ujjayi in yoga) and stretches. “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,” he instructs in the book. Here is a series of stretches you can do to both warm up and de-stress at the end of the day:
Tip 4: Use your bodyweight
Many of Wong’s exercises–variations of squats, lunges, pushups, planks–can be done without any dumbbells or machines. He had to be resourceful with limited space on a movie set, so he devised a plan that wouldn’t require any fancy equipment. “I’m trying to break down the barriers so you don’t have a lot of excuses,” he explains.
Tip 5: Snack thoughtfully
“In Jennifer’s trailer, we would always have some full-fat Greek yogurt, some dark chocolate, some hummus and vegetables,” Wong says, adding that they’d stock her refrigerator at home with the same, “It’s always food that is working for us rather than against us.” Some snacks that get the green light from Wong:
- Air-popped popcorn -“Has fewer calories than a banana, twice as many antioxidants as any fruit.”
- Peanut butter-filled celery canoes -“Protein and fat from the PB are satisfying, while celery is refreshing.”
- Cashews and blueberries -“Winning combination of protein, fat, and brain-boosting antioxidant anthocyanin.”
- Full-fat Greek yogurt – “This creamy treat has twice the protein of regular yogurt.”
- Almond milk -“Add a scoop of protein powder for the perfect post-workout snack.”
- Dark Chocolate – “Sweet without destabilizing your blood sugar or messing with your metabolism.”
- Coconut milk yogurt -“A dairy-free source of fiber, which means less risk of bloating.”
- Crudités and hummus -“Great go-to for protein plus veggie goodness.”
- Apple slices with walnut butter-“Fat makes humble apple more satisfying and walnuts are a decent source of omega-3s”
- Hard-boiled eggs – “A good source of choline, which improves brain function.”
One thing you wouldn’t see Jennifer eat? Granola or protein bars because they’re mostly sugar. “I’m fine with bars, as long as you make it yourself and know exactly what is going into it,” he says. Making healthy snacking a habit balances out the times you do decide to go for junk cravings–which we know J.Law has plenty of:
And, for all of you with a sweet tooth, keep in mind this handy chart from the book: