Jennifer Lawrence cut out a very unique niche for herself on Hollywood’s A-list. To her colleagues and peers, she’s a hard-working, polite human being who stays humble and is very good at her job. She never shows up late, never complains and always smiles on set. Chris Pratt said she was one of the greatest actresses he has ever worked with, and Patrick Stewart — pardon me, Sir Patrick Stewart — really, really wants to work with her.
But to her fans, Lawrence has been able to create a friendly girl-next-door persona. She’s always tripping over herself at all the awards shows, says she doesn’t diet and hates fitness, and really goes above and beyond to make the public think she’s just another one of us and not some Hollywood starlet.
Good as her intentions are, it’s kind of a little bullshit. Lawrence looks unbelievably tough and toned in The Hunger Games trilogy, and if you think for one second that she didn’t put a massive amount of time and effort into getting fit for it, you’re wrong.
But just how much effort did she put into that Katniss body? According to Hollywood fitness doctor to the stars Dr. Joe Horrigan and one of Lawrence’s former trainer Dalton Wong, her regimen was chockfull of things like cardio, strength training, yoga and high-intensity circuit training. Here's how she did it.
Cardio, Cardio and More Cardio
Cardio was a big part of Lawrence’s regimen because it is the best way to not just increase stamina and endurance, but also burn calories and melt fat. According to Horrigan, Lawrence would do a five to 10-minute warm-up of skipping, before 20 minutes of high-intensity stuff.
By “high-intensity,” I mean fast-paced running, aerobics classes, hiking etc. She was also big into all different types of cycling, including road cycling, mountain biking, spin classes and even plain-Jane stationary bike stuff.
For Lawrence’s part in X-Men: First Class, she would start every single day with a 20 or 30-minute jog in the woods, because getting the body to move and start burning as early on in the day as possible is crucial to cutting fat fast — especially when so much of any given day involved spending hours being completely stationary and getting painted up as Mystique.
High-Intensity Circuit Training Throughout the Day
Both Wong and Horrigan said they had Lawrence doing circuit training for her roles because, naturally, the more muscles you have, the more calories your body is burning — even when resting.
Rather than focus on intense weight training to build muscle, circuit training relies on things like bodyweight squats, push-ups and sit-ups, as well as things like jumping jacks and jumping rope. The idea was to keep her toned and help develop her muscle groups, but also not get her looking too bulky.
This kind of training is great for people who are strapped for time, because they can be done in small bursts with little to no equipment. According to Wong, these small but intense workouts throughout the day were critical to Lawrence’s success because so many people wanted so many things from her throughout the day that setting aside a full hour to get everything done was just too unrealistic. But splitting them up into four 15-minute “power circuits” was perfect.
Yoga and “Beditation”
Yoga played a huge part in Lawrence’s daily routines with both Wong and Horrigan. Horrigan had Lawrence stretch and do yoga on her off days in order to relax her body, and stretch between the higher stress and more intense circuit training days.
Specifically, the low-intensity stuff included "sun salutations," "reverse warriors," "planks," "tree poses," and "chair poses" — instructions to which are all freely and widely available online.
Wong encouraged yoga at the end of every training session, because it was great for muscle recovery, de-stressing the body and would even improve sleep. Wong’s “beditation” included deep breathing exercises and stretches.
Attitude Is Everything
No, that’s not a joke. Horrigan said that so much of why Lawrence did well with him was because she wasn’t just professional and on-time for every workout, but because she never skipped a day and approached everything with a good attitude.
Being positive, staying motivated and looking forward to the workout is a huge battle for a lot of people — without a good attitude, that battle is a lot more difficult.
Both Wong and Horrigan said that in order to keep things fun and keep Lawrence’s body from plateauing — growing accustomed to the workouts and making them less effective—they’d vary up routines and alternate days constantly.
That was a big factor in keeping her motivated, and it’s easy to see how it paid off.