Calling all adrenaline junkies! There’s no question actress Adrianne Palicki kicks some major butt (and looks amazing while doing it) in the new action-packed flick G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Starring as the no-nonsense, buff-and-brazen weapons specialist Lady Jaye, she definitely knows how to handle some seriously powerful machinery.
“We had to do gun training and weapons training, stunt training and muscle-building training. It was a lot of work in the beginning,” Palicki told The Toledo Blade. “I would come home crying because we’re all working 10 hours a day, running around with guns, and cry myself to sleep. But it ends up being fun. I have a real respect for men and women who actually do this day in and day out and actually have their lives on the line. It’s crazy.”
We tracked down Marine Corp veteran, bodybuilder, and celebrity fitness pro Aaron Williamson, who was one of the experts who trained Palicki to get the phenomenal physique, speed, and agility she needed to rock the role. Read on to get the scoop on her training, diet, and more!
SHAPE: Adrianne looks so fierce and fit in the new G.I. Joe***we can't wait to see the movie! When did you first start to work together and what were your training goals?
Aaron Williamson (AW): We started training together about a month prior to filming. The goals were to keep her core strong and to make sure she was as functional on her feet as possible because of the amount of action she’s required to perform while carrying weapons. Keeping an actor healthy during an action-packed film like this is crucial. Adrianne was a trooper and fought through some pain!
SHAPE: What kind of physical look and stunt action was required for her character, Lady Jaye? Would you say it was a really intense role physically?
AW: Lady Jaye requires a sleek, lean look. Given the fact that her character is based on an Army soldier who is Ranger qualified, she's to portray a physically fit woman who can handle anything put in her path. She's a weapon’s expert too, so she's got to be strong to transition from weapon to weapon while on the move or while in a firefight. Overall there was a lot of physical stuff she had to do daily like running, weapons training, driving, etc…so I’d say her role was definitely intense!
SHAPE: Describe the type of training you did with her to get her ready for the role.
AW: The type of training Adrianne did to prepare for this role was a lot of cardio strength training. We kept the intensity high, the rest periods short, and focused on working from the core out (meaning we focused on keeping the core tight throughout the entire exercise).
SHAPE: How often did you train together and for how long?
AW: We'd typically train four to five days per week from 45 minutes up to 75 minutes. It was common for Adrianne to also finish with 30 minutes of cardio post workout, depending on what we trained that day. Or on our off days, she’d hit the pavement for her own cardio session, running until her shoes fell apart!
SHAPE: What kind of physical transformation did she have after she finished working with you?
AW: Well, Adrianne was already in shape when we started training so we just made sure she stayed healthy and strong. Her abs were definitely rock-solid when she left, and her legs were much stronger and defined. I’m pretty sure she could’ve given “The Rock” a run for his money in the gym!
SHAPE: Let's talk diet. Did you recommend she follow any specific food program for the role?
AW: I made some recommendations to make Adrianne’s diet a little more efficient based on the intense training we were doing, but she pretty much knew exactly what works for her so that part was easy. Adrianne is really big into greens, which are amazing for your body on so many levels… even down to the cellular level. She kept her nutrition pretty strict but allowed herself to splurge when she wanted. Adrianne has a good understanding of macronutrients (protein, fats and carbs) and her daily needs of each.
To give you a taste of what a typical day in the life of an action star is like, Williamson shared two basic outlines of Adrianne’s actual workouts. Are you up for the challenge? If so, get ready to sweat!
Adrianne Palicki's G.I. Joe: Retaliation Workouts
How it works: Do 1 set of each move in succession (1 circuit) with no rest. Rest 60 to 120 seconds, and then repeat the circuit 2 or 3 more times.
1. 20 roll-ups
2. 20 kettlebell squats
3. 15-20 side-to-side pushups
4. 20 side kicks on bag per leg
5. 12-15 TXR rows
6. 20 walking lunges with oblique twist (10 each leg)
7. 30 medicine-ball slams, explosive
8. 12-15 dumbbell push presses
9. Battle ropes using Tabata method (20 seconds at max effort, 10 second rest, repeat for 4 minutes)
How it works: Start with 10 minute warm-up of light jogging on the treadmill. Complete 10 reps of each exercise. Rest 1 minute, and repeat the circuit up to 4 times. All exercises should be performed with dumbbells or holding dumbbells.
1. Squat with push press
2. Plank row (wide stance for stability)
3. Hip drive and swing (like a kettlebell swing)
4. Squat to row
5. Shoulder complex (side lateral raise to front raise)
6. Squat jumps
8. Sumo deadlift
9. Walking lunges with glute kickback (10 each leg)
10. Triangle pose (5 each side)
11. Burpees (no dumbbells)
For more information on celebrity trainer Aaron Williamson, visit his official website, Instagram, or Facebook.