Elsa Pataky’s diet and exercise routine may seem intense upon first inspection, but a thorough look at the actress’ approach to fitness shows that it’s actually surprisingly balanced.
Of course, that’s not to say that the 43-year-old actress and mother-of-three, who released her book Strong: How to Eat, Move and Live with Strength and Vitality in November 2019, doesn’t work hard to maintain her health and physique.
In fact, Pataky has previously spoken about being competitive with her husband Chris Hemsworth, when it comes to fitness—a motivation that clearly appears to be working for her.
Elsa Pataky’s Exact Diet And Exercise Routine
To understand exactly how the Spanish star stays in shape (Hemsworth’s influence aside), we’ve rounded up everything Pataky has ever said about her daily diet and exercise routine to see how she stays fighting fit and full of energy.
A longtime fan of yoga, Pataky has been a proponent of the ancient mind and body practice for eight years, previously saying it made a “BIG difference to her body”.
“It’s just like another kind of energy you have in yoga,” Pataky told Women’s Health in 2019.
“It’s also for your mind. At the end you have that moment of laying down and five minutes of like [does an exaggerated exhale]. Kind of like a meditation. I think that’s really important for your brain and to come down. At the end of the yoga, it’s just good for me to lay down and think about nothing… or try to [laughs].”
Pataky also credits yoga with “styling” her muscles and giving her a leaner appearance.
“I can create muscle [with weights] but yoga would ‘style’ it and make it longer, and so all of a sudden it wasn’t bulky. I feel like that’s a good combination,” she said in another interview.
EXERCISE: Weight Training and Stretching
In conjunction with doing one or two yoga workouts, Pataky does three intense 30 minute weight training sessions per week, allocating time for stretching after each one.
“Weight training with yoga really works with my body. I work out with weights, and the more and more I learn that, I’m not scared doing weights,” she told Body+Soul.
“I’m using more weight, and more weight, and more weight, and less repetitions to create that muscle. But stretching is such a important thing for the muscle—and in women, it’s what makes you get the shape, the beautiful shape.”
Check out the video below to see Elsa’s weight training in action.
EXERCISE: Exercise ‘Snacking’
Besides doing structured weights sessions multiple times a week, Pataky likes to boost her daily activity with ‘exercise snacking’.
Much like how it sounds, ‘exercise snacking’ or ‘fitness snacking’ involves doing several short periods of exercise throughout the day (think: doing a few bodyweight squats during an ad break or taking the stairs instead of the lift), which studies have shown to improve both strength and cardiorespiratory fitness, and in Pataky’s case, energy.
“I can’t be without training for more than two weeks—I just get really nervous and my energy starts to go down,” she said in March 2019.
“When you start working out and your body’s changing and you’re achieving your goals, that’s such a great thing. So, I think that’s the motivation [to exercise]—feeling better and just being happy with you and knowing that you’re healthy. If you know you’re taking care of your body and you’re doing it for a reason, you can put aside the, ‘I can’t do it.'”
Check out the video below to see Pataky ‘exercise snacking’ on the beach.
DIET: The Mediterranean Diet and Intermittent Fasting
Food-wise, the Spanish star favours the long heralded Mediterranean diet. Not one to follow fads, Pataky told Sunrise that she follows the healthy plant-based diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and olive oil, for its sustainability.
“I don’t believe anything about diets, like quick diets that you do before summer. Those miracles don’t exist,” she said.
“Mediterranean food every day, not just [for] periods of time.”
Pataky is also one of a number of celebrities who do intermittent fasting, with the actress revealing that it was Hemsworth who got her into the time-restricted style of eating, admitting that she was initially hesitant as she didn’t actually want to lose weight.
“[Chris], he got me into fasting. So I’ve started fasting now, I was always like ‘Hmmm, I don’t know!’, and it’s really hard, but then I started reading about it,” she said in an interview in December 2019.
“Although, I was like ‘I don’t want to lose weight’—because it’s a great way to lose weight, if you need to lose weight—but you won’t lose weight if your body doesn’t need to. And I learnt that, doing it.
“But I read that it was amazing for anti-ageing, so I was like ‘I’m in! I’m in!’ [laughs]. So he started it, and then I followed.”
WELLNESS: Horse Riding
When it comes to reconnecting with herself and what makes her happy, Pataky swears by spending time outside and riding her horse Chester.
“I learnt to ride as a child, but my family couldn’t afford to buy me a horse,” Pataky told Harper’s BAZAAR Australia.
“The first cheque I got from a Spanish television show went to buying that horse— I loved jumping!”