The tough-as-nails Blindspot actress and our March cover girl talks about her wrestling days, eating like a dude, and working out with a Navy SEAL (oh, and did we mention she learned to box with Chris Hemsworth?)
Girly is a foreign concept to Jaimie. "I grew up with four brothers. I used to play sports with them. And I liked wearing their clothes. I’d run around in T-shirts, jeans, and baseball caps. Even my nickname, James, is a guy’s name. I didn’t understand how to be comfortable being feminine, painting my nails pink, and wearing girly dresses. No wonder I didn’t have a lot of female friends until I in was in my late twenties—I just didn’t know how to be around them."
She eats like a dude. "I learned a lot from being around boys all the time. I’m not easily offended, and I have a certain toughness. I also eat really fast. If I didn’t, my brothers would take my food. When we were young, they would go, ‘Oh, there’s some chocolate left? Mine!’ It made me durable. I can take a lot."
Skinny is so not her goal in life. "I pretty much eat all day to keep my strength up. I’m primarily a vegetarian who has an occasional side of fish. When I trained for the movie Thor [Jaimie played the warrior goddess Sif], there were days when I was burning 4,000 calories and I had to slam lots of protein shakes. Now my day starts with a green shake called Garden of Plenty, which is packed with superfoods and grains. When I’m working, craft services makes me these amazing gluten-free wraps with lots of vegetables and ‘vegannaisse’ or hummus. I generally keep my diet pretty healthy, but if there’s pizza, I’ll eat it. And I will knock back a beer or some bourbon, too. I don’t deprive myself. And I hate being skinny. It’s not a good look for me. When I eat well and work out, I’m truly at my best."
Her high school sport: wrestling. Yes, wrestling. "In competition, I only went up against females, but I trained with the guys because there weren’t enough girls on my school team. All the discipline and perseverance I have now comes from that sport. I get through all the intense physical training for Blindspot because of what I learned from wrestling."
Her workouts are hardcore. "I do what’s called a prison workout—a lot of sprint-interval work and burpees—which I have a love-hate relationship with. My latest obsession is Valslides by Valerie Waters. You can use them anywhere, on hardwood floors or carpet. I do lunges, push-ups, pikes, and ab work with them. I also have a TRX band and a jump rope in my trailer. And I love swimming. It’s a great low-impact high-cardio workout. I never did it as a kid, but for Blindspot, I trained with a Navy SEAL."
She learned to box with Chris Hemsworth... "I wasn’t very healthy in my twenties—I sat around and ate a lot of crap, and my weight peaked at 150 pounds. Then I got the part in Thor. I felt as if I had a whole new purpose in life. I was like, I can do this, but I was so out of shape. Chris and I started boxing to train for our roles, and I became the athlete I was in high school. I lost 20 pounds and packed on a ton of muscle."
For more from Jaimie Alexander, pick up Shape's March issue, on newsstands February 9.