Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are looking incredibly fit in the new Fifty Shades Darker premiere. Healthista’s Amanda Lundgren spoke exclusively to their on-set their trainer, Ramona Braganza
When it comes to being naked on screen, you have to look good, well, everywhere. It’s a daunting and difficult feat, but Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan managed to achieve it for their new movie Fifty Shades Darker, the second movie of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. The pair looks hot and fit throughout all of those steamy sex scenes, which, according to Johnson, require quite a bit of stamina. We spoke with Ramona Braganza, Johnson and Dornan’s on-set trainer, about how she kept the stars in peak form.
Q: How often did you train Johnson and Dornan?
A: I trained them when they arrived in Vancouver for a total of five months. It was to film both [50 Shades] Darker and [50 Shades] Freed, so we did both movies back to back. I worked out with Jamie once or twice a week, and with Dakota, I would work out with her four times a week. Dakota’s workouts were about 40 minutes, and same for Jamie. They worked out separately and at different times in their day whenever their schedule freed up. For the most part, Jamie worked out before his filming day, and Dakota would work out more after the end of shooting.
For the most part, Jamie worked out before his filming day, and Dakota would work out more after the end of shooting.
Q: What kind of athletic builds were desired for Anastasia and Christian?
A: Christian Grey is a businessman but has a lot of free time, I think. Jamie actually trains on his own continuously for all of his stuff, so when he showed up, he was very close to what the producers imagined Christian Grey to be. Dakota had been training a month before in New York City with a trainer, and I got some guidance on what she wanted, which was to remain as graceful and long-limbed and lean. With Dakota, she’s very lean anyhow. She’s such a graceful, lean looking woman, and I just kind of accented that because that’s really what Anastasia is like. She’s a college girl; she’s not a gym rat.
Q: What specific moves and exercises did you do with Johnson and Dornan to achieve their physiques?
A: [Dakota] already was fairly lean, so it’s not like there was weight to lose. She wanted to be more toned, and for toning, you definitely need resistance. You also need to just do it the right amount of time and intensity. Normally when I get an actress and she has to bulk up for a role, I’ll use my traditional weight program, but with Dakota, I adjusted it to more of the body weight and more of the light weights, not much more than five pounds of weight for the most part. She did hot yoga on her own twice a week, and my strength training four times a week. Towards the end, she did a lot of her own cardio on the treadmill, and she had a ballet coach that came the last month to prep her for her next movie.
Dakota did hot yoga on her own twice a week, and my strength training four times a week
It was more of a dancer type approach that I used. Much of our warm up was stretching, all dance-related. Then we would go down onto the floor and do more of the body strength—walking planks and things like that. Then we would go on to abs, which was more pilates-based. Then we would end up doing legs, which was a lot of the lying down leg stuff. Sometimes we would do a circuit that I would put together with a band for back exercises and posture because posture is really important. I really just did what I felt was going to help her survive five months of training and keep her looking good.
Towards the end, Dakota did a lot of her own cardio on the treadmill, and she had a ballet coach that came the last month to prep her for her next movie.
Jamie has his own upper body program. I usually find that when [my clients] look great, and they feel like they’re maintaining it, I don’t come and mess with it. I just let them do it. But I often see men not doing legs, and legs are so vital. Training Hugh Jackman heavy on legs gave him mass all over, so I know that works. Training Jamie’s legs was the one thing I was gonna make sure that we did at least once or twice a week because it made a difference in the long run on how lean he looked.
Training Jamie’s legs once or twice a week made a difference in the long run on how lean he looked.
The warm up can include everything from jump rope or plyometrics, anything that involves jumping. They don’t have a ton of time, so you have to keep it on-track. So, five to ten minutes of warming up. We did heavy squats with a barbell—the goal was to do six sets. Squats are what’s going to target the quads and the hamstrings. That’s the part of the leg he wanted to work. He has great calves already, so the goal was to increase the mass on the top part of the legs. And then the glutes fire at the same time. We also did deadlifts, lunges and step ups. Ideally, what you want to do is progress to single-leg exercises if there’s time permitting. It’s just a combination of making sure you attack the legs at least twice a week to see a benefit, and then I would also do abs with him.
Q: Did you work with Johnson and Dornan on their diets as well?
A: I didn’t have to because they seemed to have a good knowledge of it. I suggested a little more protein for Jamie and ways to get more protein intake. Dakota had a food delivery service that she was comfortable with. They pretty much followed the principles that I speak about in my 3-2-1 nutrition plan. It’s just proportions, when to eat, smaller meals and more meals. If you’re thinking breakfast, complex carbs like oatmeal and a poached egg are great. [I recommend] leaner meat and fish, salads, and definitely eating in a way that the food is grilled, not fried. Every now and then, you have that glass of wine, but you’re not drinking a bottle of wine every night. You have to just moderate yourself.
I suggested a little more protein for Jamie. Dakota had a food delivery service that she was comfortable with
Q: What does your 3-2-1 training method entail?
A: It’s the way I train most of my jobs on movies. It began when I worked with Jessica Alba. We would have 20 minutes to work out, so we began to intersperse the strength training. We would do one or two or three minutes of cardio, and then we would go right to a circuit of three exercises in a row. Then we would go back to cardio, back to circuit, back to cardio and finish with core. So you end up having, in 20 minutes, a workout for everything. It’s also how I define rules to eat healthy. So things like having three meals a day, two snacks and a minimum of 1 litre of water a day. It’s also my fitness philosophy. 3-2-1 is like getting ready for a race. It’s getting ready mentally, get set physically and then go forward emotionally. It’s the way I attack anything in my life.
3-2-1 is like getting ready for a race. It’s getting ready mentally, get set physically and then go forward emotionally. It’s the way I attack anything in my life.
Q: Tell me more about your “catsuit” tactic. What is a catsuit? How can an item of clothing impact one’s lifestyle when it comes to health and fitness?
A: The catsuit is your favourite pair of jeans, or it’s your bikini, or it’s my Raiders [cheerleading] outfit. With Dakota and Jamie, it’s having to get naked in front of the camera. You want to feel comfortable when you do that. It’s about having enough time ahead of time to get ready for it and making a plan. If you’re on a vacation and you’re wearing a bathing suit for ten days straight, I don’t think you’d party as hard. Your cheat moments become a lot less.
Much of it is in your mind and your own control. It’s a decision you make on whether you want to just throw in the towel or you want to keep your health and your fitness levels at a certain place for your whole life. It becomes a lifestyle change. It’s something that requires discipline and moderation.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you give all of your clients?
A: Enjoy the journey. We take things too seriously sometimes, whether it’s fitness or a movie role or listening to politics all day. We need to just enjoy the journey and experience it all and do the best we can.
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