Viola Davis is grabbing headlines for securing her first Grammy award nomination in the Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling Recording category for her 2022 memoir Finding Me. If the Suicude Squad star wins, she will be a part of the exclusive cohort of artists who’ve bagged all four prestigious awards in Hollywood, including an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (EGOT).
Over the course of her three-decade long career, the iconic actress has swept up several awards—including two Tony Awards for her work on Broadway and one Primetime Emmy Award for her role as ruthless lawyer Annalise Keating in How To Get Away with Murder, making her the first woman of colour to win an Emmy. She also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, for the 2016 movie Fences; and, fun fact, the actress scored her second Tony in 2010 for the stage production of Fences.
The epitome of beauty, strength and confidence that she is, Davis achieved all this while looking basically age-less throughout her movie career. And, now, the 57-year-old actress has never looked better, making us wonder how she maintains her health and beauty so impeccably. Davis has always been in incredible shape, but when she was roped in for her new film, The Woman King, which was released in September 2022, she leveled up her fitness like crazy.
Davis talked about the movie and her regime recently and said,“I was always muscular and thicker, and I felt like my femininity could not be created with this canvas. And then all of a sudden, with this role, my muscles, my arms, my thick legs, my heavy voice were perfect. I felt unapologetic about it. I celebrated it physically in every way…sometimes you do a movie and then it’s over. And sometimes, you do a movie and it shifts you a little bit. You’re a little bit better for it. And that’s what it’s been like for me with the training.”
But how did the actress train for a role like this at the age of 57? Here are some healthy habits Davis swears by to look amazing.
Eating five meals a day
When Davis was preparing for her role in The Woman King, her trainer advised her and the other women on set to gain more muscle to really commit to looking like warriors. To achieve this, celeb trainer Gabriela Mclain, devised her meal plan to include five meals throughout the day.
“I did not want them to lose too much weight, I wanted them to gain muscle,” Mclain shared with an entertainment publication. “So they were eating five meals a day, every three hours. They had to drink one gallon of water a day and each of them had a different nutritional plan, which I designed.”
We’re not sure whether Davis stuck to eating five meals once the filming ended, but given that she claimed that training for the movie “shifted her a bit,” she may very well be sticking to this regime to maintain her physique.
Doing functional fitness exercises
Functional movements (or functional fitness) are exercises that emulate real-life movements your body needs on a daily basis. These basically refer to exercise that helps you with everyday activities, like: getting up off the floor, carrying heavy objects and putting something up on a shelf. These movements engage multiple muscle groups at once, rather than sticking to just one muscle at a time.
Her trainer revealed that Davis as well as the women from the cast performed functional movements like these on a regular basis “because the actresses had days ‘full of movement’ on set.” They did things like weight lifting, high-intensity workouts, and strength training.
Following a high-protein, mostly plant-based diet
As soon as Davis wrapped up Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, she immediately switched gears and began building muscle and losing weight for her next role. Her trainer shared that “she led Davis through high-intensity interval workouts, and put her on a high-protein, plant-centric diet.”
Research presents us with ample evidence on the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet these days. According to a clinical study from the Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome, consuming more protein on a daily basis can aid in weight loss, and can also help prevent obesity-related diseases.
To prepare for her 2021 Oscar-nominated role as the iconic blues singer Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Davis had to put on a little bit of weight to portray the character authentically. That changed when she began training for The Woman King, and she underwent a transformation once again by eating a cleaner diet and shedding those extra kilos.
While filming, her trainer Mclain revealed that the actress “trains three times a week, eats clean and is disciplined.“
Switching up your training routine
Davis was training multiple times a week during The Woman King, and switched up her routine regularly by incorporating different types of exercises. This is how she kept boredom at bay, and avoided getting stuck in a fitness rut.
Mclain said that she designed a fitness routine which included a cardio kickboxing-style workout on Mondays and working on strength, heavy weights, medicine balls, legs, upper body, and core exercises on Wednesdays. She also added that on Fridays the focus turned to trying to “build strong and fast legs” with things like resistance bands and ankle weights while kicking.
Now that we know Davis’ secret to looking like a 20-year-old, we can’t wait to try her tricks out for ourselves, can you?