Actresses Who Got In Serious Shape For The Avengers
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is chock-full of strong, fierce women who are on a mission to help save the universe. Even as a superhero, all that universe-saving isn’t easy.
All your favorite Marvel women put in some serious time at the gym to get in shape for the war ahead. Here’s how each of them prepared for the battle against Thanos.
Getting competitive Natasha Romanoff, otherwise known as Black
Widow, made her MCU debut in 2010’s Iron Man 2, played by Scarlett Johansson. In the eight years between that movie and the release of Infinity War, Johansson has needed to stay in tip top shape to portray
the deadly assassin in several other movies. When she spoke to Access Hollywood in 2014, she shared what it takes to get ready for the Lycra bodysuit: “It’s no secret. […] It’s that old tried and true ‘work out
like a dude and eat like a rabbit’ [plan].” She did share, however, that the way she gets through workouts is through friendly competition. That’s right, Black Widow can certainly hold her own against Thor, saying she and star Chris Hemsworth get competitive in the gym.
Black-ops training S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders
, made her MCU debut in in 2012’s The Avengers and has reprised the roles in subsequent movies and in the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To transition from her role on How I Met Your Mother to an operative within an elite government agency, Smulders said on a 2011 podcast, that
she wasn’t leaving her training up to chance. She said: “I hired this amazing black-ops trainer to teach me how to hold a gun, take me to a shooting range, how to hit, how to hold myself, how to walk, and basically how to look.” In a 2015 interview with Yahoo Health, Smulders revealed that she put in hours of training with a combination of boxing, spinning, and
strength-training to get and stay in shape.
Control what you can Zoe Saldana’s portrayal of intergalactic master
assassin Gamora began with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. While Saldana is no stranger to highly physical roles, it’s her relatively relaxed attitude about fitness that might be most surprising. She told Shape in 2017: “Between travel, meetings, and shoots, schedules are rough for me. I try to work out three times a week, but I don’t believe in getting on one machine for 30 minutes.” With that difficult schedule, Saldana can’t always work out when she wants. But instead of stressing over it, she controls what she can. “I can’t work out regularly, so I compensate by eating a lot healthier than I might otherwise. Once you have relatively healthy eating habits, your workout can become playing with your kids, strolling around the neighborhood, playing airplane, or just changing diapers.” But her best workout advice? Just have fun with it. “I think it’s always healthy for everyone to just dance in your house, or anywhere. In your car, it doesn’t matter.”
Jungle boost Gamora’s sister Nebula, played by Karen Gillan, also made her debut in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. For her first Guardians of the Galaxy outing, Gillan said that she had to work out for two months prior to the role in an attempt to bulk up. She added: “And then, I had to do fight training every day that I wasn’t shooting. They told me that you have to do something six thousand times before it’s second nature. I didn’t manage to do the routine six thousand times, but we certainly tried.” Gillan had a bit of a leg up for her training in advance of her 2018 Avengers role, though.
She was also working on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which required even more intense training than she endured for Guardians.
Beginning with 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, viewers were introduced to Wanda Maximoff, also known as Scarlet Witch. A product of HYDRA’s illegal human experimentation with the mind stone, Scarlet Witch is able to manipulate things with her mind. But don’t think that means she doesn’t have to stay in shape as a member of the Avengers team. Unlike her co-stars who focused on bulk and tactical training, however, actress Elizabeth Olsen’s focus is on staying lean. For the first movie, she told Allure that
she worked out five days a week with a combination of ballet, bootcamp, and yoga. For Infinity War, however, her focus was on nutrition, so she worked with a nutritionist to lose body fat and add muscle. That meant no gluten, dairy, or yeast across seven to eight high protein meals each day.
As of April 2018, Black Panther’s stars are the most popular in the MCU. Among them is the hero’s sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright. The scene-stealing actress may have spent the majority of Black Panther in a lab, but Shuri wasn’t afraid to suit up and fight when the future of her country was at stake. Wright admitted to ESPNW that it was all new for her, saying: “I did a lot of hand-to-hand combat stuff. It was not crazy, it wasn’t grueling, but
it was cool to learn how to fight and get prepared. It was tough, but we got through it.”
The actress who portrayed Okoye in Black Panther had prior combat experience. That actress is Danai Gurira and she’s perhaps best known to television viewers as the katana-wielding Michonne on AMC’s The Walking Dead. And that katana is no joke. Gurira told Self it’s like swinging a 5-foot
dumbbell. But even though she’s a walker-fighting warrior on that show, she still had to train for her role as Okoye, who trades Michonne’s katana
for a spear. She told ESPNW: “To an extent, there was some overlap, but
it was also very distinct. It was a lot of hard work and there were times
where I was like, ‘I’m never going to get this twirl.'” Gurira also stressed the importance of working out whenever the opportunity strikes, telling Self: “I’ve trained in my garage, my living room, in a pool and even an underground parking garage. It never stops!”
An empath with martial arts training, MCU audiences first met Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. She’ll be joining the other Guardians in their quest against Thanos in Infinity War, and actress Pom Klementieff certainly takes the training for that role seriously. Klementieff is no stranger to kicking butt. From mitt work training to “monkey abs” on the heavy bag and lots of martial arts training among her workouts, the actress never seems to slow down.