Daisy Ridley’s breakthrough role as Rey in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ has many people exclaiming ‘overnight success’. Yet the body she displays on screen is the result of years of dedicated training and dieting. We’ve gone inside Daisy’s camp to bring the exact nutrition and training plan that allowed Daisy to bring it to the big screen.
Training Like a Jedi
When it came to training for her first feature film role, the 23-year old Brit threw herself into her workouts with a single minded focus that speaks volumes about her dedication and professionalism. Daisy needed to develop the look of athleticism and power. To achieve it, she did a combination of plyometric cardio, fight and resistance training.
Plyometrics is all about getting off the ground. It’s the best form of exercise to develop functional fitness, shed bodyfat and get super lean. Daisy completed 3 plyo sessions per week, typically on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Here’s her routine:
A succession of wooden boxes are placed in a line about 3 feet apart. The boxes came up to Daisy’s hip height and typically there were 5 or 6 boxes in a row. Daisy would start at one one and jump with both feet together onto the first box, then straight down and onto the next to work her way down the line. Daisy would then sprint back to the start point and continue until one minute was up.
From a standing position, Daisy would crunch jump forward as far as she could. She’d immediately turn and jump back the other way, continuing this for one minute.
From a wide stance standing position, Daisy would jump laterally to bring her knees up to her chest. She would continue without let up for a full minute.
From a feet together standing position, Daisy would jump out to a full squat to parallel. She’d then immediately return to the start position and repeat for an entire 60 seconds.
To ramp the intensity even further, Daisy’s trainer had her not only performing these four moves as a continuous circuit, but she had to perform 30 seconds of skipping between each move. Believe it or not, Daisy worked up to four consecutive circuits of this routine!
Within a few weeks of learning that she’d won the coveted role of Rey, Daisy began a gruelling schedule of stunt training that had her in the gym fours a day, four days a week. During those long hours she was prepped like a fighter about to enter the ring. In addition to stunt training, Daisy did kick boxing, climbing the wall and rope work. After all of that it was time for Daisy to actually step into the ring for full on sparring sessions.
To add muscle and shape to her frame, Daisy trained twice per week with resistance. Here whole body workout consisted of the following exercises:
Barbell Bench Press
Modified Pull Ups
Overhead Press Lunges
Barbell Curls (pulley)
Triceps Pressdowns (pulley)
On the compound moves like bench presses, squats and deadlifts, Daisy started with just an Olympic bar in order to make sure that she had the technique down pat. After a couple of weeks she began adding resistance. Daisy’s strength level increased remarkably over the months of her prep for the role as Rey. Check out this clip of Daisy deadlifting to see just how far she was able to take her strength level
Daisy worked especially hard to keep her core tight and strong, knowing that it was the key to physical success on set. She trained her core three times per week, right after her plyo sessions with the following routine . . .
Roll Ups – Daisy borrowed this one from pilates. Lying on her back, she stretched her arms overhead and pointed her legs straight out. Exhaling she rose up to touch her toes, without bending her knees and then returned back down. The key was to go very slowly, especially on the descent.
Ball Pass – Daisy would lie on her back with arms and feet outstretched and a physio ball in her hands. She would then crunch her hands and feet together to form a ‘v’ sit up position. From here she would transfer the ball from her hands to her feet and reverse the action. On the next rep, she’d transfer the ball back to her hands.
Heels to the Heavens – Daisy would begin on her back on the floor with her hands by her sides. Lifting her legs about 60 degrees into the air, she’d then contract her lower abdominals to to bring the legs up to a perpendicular position to the floor. In this top position, she would lift up her pelvis to bring the feet up a few inches higher.
Daisy would perform 20 reps each as a circuit, which would be repeated three times.
The Star Wars Diet
To make the most of all of that hard work in the gym, Daisy had to make sure that her nutrition was on point. Her goal of achieving a lean, muscular physique was going to require a protein based paleo type diet with very low processed carbs but plenty of fibre.
Daisy’s eating plan was built on the following pillars:
Eat Frequently – Daisy ate 5 times per day. That sounds like a lot, but her portions were smaller than normal, allowing a constant flow of nutrients to fuel her workouts as well as stave off sugar crvings.
Go Light At Night – Daisy would have her largest meal in the morning, with each meal getting progressively smaller. The last meal of the day was the lightest and the smallest.
Eat Lean – Daisy’s diet was based around lean protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. She was especially fond of avocados and nuts. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats and provide a great spread to go on anything. Nuts were Daisy’s saving grace when she’d pass by the corner bakery. As she came in eye contact with the cream filled pastries, she’d knock back a handful of almond nuts and any sugar temptation would disappear.
Hydrate – Those hardcore workouts had Daisy sweating buckets in the gym. Fortunately, she knew the vital importance of keeping up her water intake. She would consume between 2 nd 3 liters of water each day. She would drink a full glass of water before each meal to make sure that she didn’t mistake hunger for thirst while she was chowing down.
Here’s a what a typical days’ eating looks like for Daisy while she was training to play Rey:
Meal One (7:30am): Scrambled eggs with a baked potato
Meal Two (10:30am): Chopped chicken salad
Meal Three (1:00 pm): Grilled fish taco with citrus slaw
Meal Four (4:00pm): Toasted pecan and beet salad
Meal Five (7:00pm): Vegetable egg whte omelet
The benefit of all of her hard work in the gym and her discipline when it came to eating was clear for all to see on screen. Daisy looks stunning in her first feature film role, capturing the essence of the girl warrior Rey perfectly. Wait until you see the package that this hard working young actress brings to her next role.