If you read about how James McAvoy went from being petite and pasty to totally jacked, you know that the secret to his success is the philosophy of his trainer, Magnus Lygdback, who says that the core of his method involves “embracing the ‘ethos of an athlete’—approaching life fitness with the same specific intensity and structure that an athlete would, whilst also maintaining a balanced and healthy life.”
Which basically means #gohardorgohome.
Lygdback, who also worked with Ben Affleck on Justice League and Alexander Skarsgard on Tarzan (among others), is the one responsible for getting Alicia Vikander in shape for the iconic role of Lara Croft in the reboot of Tomb Raider (in theaters March 16). Now, the celebrity trainer has shared the exact workouts he used to help the 29-year-old Swedish beauty achieve her now-famous washboard abs.
“I have a specific way of working the core,” Lygdback told PopSugar. “I divide the core into three different days, and I approach the core differently every day.”
So, one day they would focus on obliques with something like the wood-chop exercise. On the next day, he’d ask her to do plenty of planks to work on “dynamic, static, or isometric abs.” Then he’d round it all off on the third day with abdominal strength exercises like hanging leg raises.
Of course, this was all paired with intense, painful workouts that challenged her entire body. They started training 7-months before filming even began, doing a mix of boxing, MMA, heavy lifting, and climbing. Once they started shooting the blockbuster, Vikander would wake up at 4 am every morning to fit in 30-minute morning HIIT sessions, along with 45-minute gym sessions in the afternoon. In between, Vikander would eat a low-fat, low-carb diet that consisted of 5 meals a day packed with tons of protein and leafy greens. No wonder she gained 12 pounds of pure muscle!
Sadly, as tough as the muscle is to gain, that’s how easy it is to lose, which is why consistency is key.
“It takes four months [to gain the muscle]–I’m not kidding–I’d never lifted anything with my arms. But then it takes about 3 weeks to lose it all.”
You can see her discussing her training in the video below, where she sits next to Margot Robbie, a Tomb Raider fan who, along with Vikander, is one of the top candidates to play a potential female James Bond.
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