As one of the powerful females at the heart of the Game of Thrones phenomenon, actress and model Gwendoline Christie heavily harnessed her physical strength to play the warrior Brienne of Tarth in the HBO series.
Ahead of the imminent final series, which she has said “squeezed every drop” out of her, Bazaar spoke with Christie’s personal trainer, Dalton Wong, about how the 40-year-old reached peak performance.
The founder of fitness studio TwentyTwo Training in London is a go-to body coach for the GoT cast, having also trained the likes of Kit Harrington and Joe Dempsie for the final series. Wong is also behind the bodies of other A-list screen stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, and Oscar-winner Olivia Colman – so, naturally, Christie meant business by choosing to work with Wong.
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When it came to her schedule, he explained that it centered on four key areas, and while they are clearly pretty ambitious for us everyday exercisers, Christie’s regime can benefit ours too. Here’s how:
“Posture was really important with our training,” Wong tells us. “We focused on various types of postural training focusing on hips and bum, core, shoulders and back. We implemented my mini band and glider programme to do daily at home to help improve her hips and core strength.”
Tip: He says we should all “Focus on postural muscles when training,” as a basis to any fitness plan. “These are predominately the muscles that you can’t see in the mirror,” he explains. Often the invisible muscles dictate the performance of the visible ones. Wong’s Gliders & Mini-Bands Combination Pack comes with picture guides so you can copy his signature moves at home.
“Resistance training was also key, as this helped Gwen become stronger and fitter for her various actions scenes. Her role required her to fight and move – so the stronger the body the better.”
Tip: Even if you’re not playing a warrior with everyone watching, adding some weight to your exercise programme is important. “It doesn’t need to be heavy, but adding additional weight can improve your posture, protect your joints and also help you lose weight,” Wong schools us.
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“Cardio is really important to any training program. Heart health is essential,” – but you don’t need to do HIIT training all the time. Wong reveals, “Gwen and I trained all different heart rate training zones so she had good cardio vascular training enabling her to perform all her scenes over the various days and months.”
Tip: When you think of cardio training, make sure you exercise in all three ‘training zones’. Wong explains:
Zone one, low intensity. “This is cardio that you could do for a long period of time, ideally 60-to-120 minutes, such as walking, hiking or a bike ride.”
Zone two, moderate intensity. “Cardio where you can barely hold a conversation, ideally lasting 30-to-60 minutes, such as doing a class, or going for a jog.”
Zone three, high intensity. “Cardio where you’re out of breath, ideally for five-to-10 minutes. Sprinting all out!”
“Recovery is key to performing day in and out,” Wong reassures us. “Gwen would have regular physio or soft tissue work weekly. Soft tissue work is key as it helps her recover from training and reduce stress, plus it is great for injury prevention.”
Tip: Add some recovery to your programme. “Try and get a massage at least one a month, and aim to add some flexibility training to your program like yoga.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.
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