Viola Davis' Trainer Applauded the Star's "Badass" Dedication to Fitness

The award-winning actress has long had a steadfast commitment to her fitness — and her strong, defined biceps couldn't be a bigger indicator.

Viola Davis
Photo: Rachel Murray/Stringer/Getty

Take a quick scan through Viola Davis' list of praiseworthy accolades, and you'll find an Oscar and Golden Globe for her acting in Fences, an Emmy for her work in How to Get Away With Murder, two Tonys for her Broadway performances, and dozens of other distinctions. But the actor's trainer, Gabriela Mclain, would probably argue that Davis' Wikipedia page's "awards" section deserves at least one other addition: best workout motivation (and TBH, strongest arms, too).

Both Davis and Mclain recently took to Instagram to show off Davis' #gains with photos of the star fiercely striking a kickboxing bag and powering through core-strengthening exercises with a medicine ball — all part of Davis' training for her upcoming action-drama film, The Woman King. (

While Davis' major strength is indisputable (seriously, look at the definition in her triceps), what you can't see in the post is the unwavering dedication it took to achieve those results.

"I've been training @violadavis over two years now, and let me tell you something, she brings all this to the game," McClain, wrote in her Instagram post. "She doesn't complain, she always pushes to the limits, she's extremely humble and disciplined."

This steadfast commitment to fitness isn't new for Davis, BTW. To transform into her ripped Widows character back in 2018, Davis amped up her workout routine to include intense weight training sessions three times a week, she told USA Today. During those sessions, she'd perform step-ups onto a 3-foot-box while holding free weights, an exercise that strengthens the outer glutes, inner knees, and helps improve balance. "We did that so many times, Lord I lost count," she told the outlet.

But no matter how grueling the workout is or how early she needs to hit the gym, Davis will conjure up every bit of energy to make it happen. "I am not a morning person, but I always work out — always," she told Elle in 2016. "Now, a lot of people may be surprised at that, but I'm very dedicated to working out. Usually, it's running. It clears my mind, totally. I get on the treadmill, and I run on that for about 40-45 minutes."

That's not to say Davis follows a "rest days are for the weak" mentality. When she feels wiped out and needs to cut back on her workout intensity, she fully allows herself to do so. In 2016, for instance, she told InStyle that she was going easy on herself fitness-wise because, at the time, she was undergoing menopause. When she'd feel too overwhelmed to exercise, Davis said she would tell herself: "I don't care how much you've been working out — we're not going anywhere!" Honestly, amen to that. (

Wondering how you can achieve Davis' impressive dedication to fitness? These workout motivation tips are sure to get you off the couch.

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