Viola Davis is the embodiment of strength, power and beauty. And at 57, she’s never looked better. Davis has always been in amazing shape, but when she signed on for her new movie, The female kingwhich hit theaters on September 16, 2022, she took her health to a new level.
In a recent interview with People Magazine, Davis explains how the movie changed her forever. “I was always muscular and thicker, and I felt like my femininity couldn’t 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 shameless about it. I physically celebrated it in every way…sometimes you make a movie and then it’s over. And sometimes you make a film and it changes you a bit. You’re a bit better for it. And that’s how it went for me with training.”
But what did Davis take to train for a role like this at the age of 57? Read on to find out some of the healthy habits Davis has taken up, and for more celebrity insights, check out 7 Eating Habits These Celebrities Swear to Lose Weight and Keep It Off.
When Davis was training for The Woman King, her trainer wanted her and the other women on set to gain more muscle. To achieve this, Davis’ trainer, celebrity trainer Gabriela Mclain, made him eat more throughout the day.
“I didn’t want them to lose too much weight, I wanted them to gain muscle,” Mclain told People Magazine. “So they were eating five meals a day, every three hours. They had to drink a gallon of water a day, and each of them had a different nutrition plan, which I designed.”
It’s hard to say whether or not Davis stuck to eating five meals a day after filming wrapped, but based on what she said about how training for the film “took her a little changed”, she could very well follow this nutritional advice with her.
Davis earned an Oscar nomination in 2021 for her role as Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. To prepare for the role of the iconic blues singer, Davis ended up putting on some weight. When she started training for The female king, his focus shifted to gaining more muscle and pushing himself to new levels of strength and health. To do this, Mclain asked Davis to follow a cleaner diet.
Mclain told Hollywood Life at the start of 2021 that when The female king training had begun, “Right now she’s in regular viola shape because she works out three times a week…and she’s eating clean and being disciplined.”
As soon as Davis was done with Ma Rainey’s Black Bottomshe immediately began her goal of losing weight and building muscle to The female king. Mclain told the New York Post that “she led Davis through high-intensity interval training and put her on a high-protein, plant-centered diet.”
Researchers continue to find more and more evidence on the impact of a high-protein diet on weight loss efforts. According to a clinical study by Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Syndromeincreasing your protein levels daily can help you lose weight and also prevent obesity-related diseases.
Functional movements (or functional fitness) are exercises that mimic real-life strength scenarios that your body may need. These exercises also involve multiple muscle groups at once, rather than sticking to just one muscle at a time.
Mclain tells People Magazine that she had Davis and the other cast members of Woman King doing functional moves like these regularly “because the actresses had ‘movement-packed’ days on set.” Because of this, they did things like weight lifting, high intensity workouts, and strength training.
And finally, Mclain had Davis train several times a week, emphasizing a variety of different types of exercises.
Mclain told POP Sugar, “On Mondays we usually do a kickboxing-style cardio workout. Focusing on his punches and kicks… Wednesdays we work on strength, heavy weights, meds. -balls, lots of legs, upper body and still core.” She also adds that on Fridays, the focus is on trying to “build strong, fast legs” with things like resistance bands and ankle weights while kicking.