Jennifer Garner has long been one of the fiercest fighting females in TV and movies.
She showed her skills as the star of the TV series Alias from 2001-2006 as CIA Agent Sydney Bristow and as the assassin Elektra Natchios in the 2003 film Daredevil and the 2005 spin-off Elektra.
Both of these roles required serious training to look the part and to be able to act out the fighting and actions scenes, which she was able to pull of with ease.
The Jennifer Garner workout and diet routine below show how she was able to get in shape to be both Sydney Bristow and the comic book superhero Elektra, by focusing on strength training and clean eating.
The Jennifer Garner workout
Her roles in Alias and Elektra required similar physical demands of her characters. They had a mix of fighting styles, with different martial arts included, as well as running and other fitness requirements.
Band side step
20 each way
Reverse lunge w/ forward kick
20 per leg
Dumbbell bent row
20 each way
The exercises above are performed without any rest between them. After completing the last exercise, she would rest for 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat the circuit 2 more times. She would then move on to circuit 2.
20 each way
Fire hydrant w/ kick
20 per leg
Single leg bridge
20 each way
Upside down snow angel
Dumbbell bicep curls
Bodyweight bench dips
The instructions are the same as for circuit 1. The exercises are performed with no rest until after the final exercise, and then there is a 30 to 60 second rest period. The circuit is then repeated twice more and then the workout is finally over.
Waters touched on how important consistency is in fitness training in the quote below. If you work on just a little something everyday, your results will compound and great things will start to happen.
Consistency is what yields results in the long run. Even if you only have a half hour, maximize the time. The idea for getting on a treadmill for 30 minutes is daunting. When you do strength training circuits like this, it keeps you more engaged.
It's no surprise that such an emphasis is placed on resistance exercises in Garner's training. To play the characters she has played, the goal isn't just to look good, but to look convincingly strong.
This type of training helped her to build and maintain muscle mass while still having a lean and toned overall look. The circuits above work muscles throughout the entire body to take a complete approach to fitness.
The circuit style of training also has benefits. It does allow for many exercises to get done in a short amount of time. You can hit the full body in less than 30 minutes with workouts like these. But it has has great conditioning and cardiovascular benefits. By training like this, she is able to get fit and burn calories without necessarily spending a lot of time on traditional cardio.
This type of training also prepared her for the challenges she would face on set. Both Sydney Bristow and Elektra were very physical characters who would spend a lot of time using their strength, running, and fighting. These workouts helped her pull that off convincingly on screen.
The Jennifer Garner diet
When in training for Alias and Elektra, Garner would follow a very strict nutritional program to be in the best possible shape. In an interview with Alla Byrne of Shape.com, Waters touched on the diet plan she recommends for her clients:
- Lean protein
- Low-fat dairy
These foods are the basis for most healthy eating programs. Lean proteins and vegetables help to fill you up and provide you with tons of nutrients without taking in any bad calories that could lead to fat gain.
The lean proteins are also crucial for building and maintaining muscle mass to get a toned look. Garner isn't just known for keeping fat levels down, she is known for having toned muscles in the arms and throughout her body. This is only possible with the right nutrition plan.
Waters has her clients focus on eating right 90 percent of the time and allowing them to indulge themselves 10 percent of the time. This helps prevent dieting burnout in the long run.
A diet with 90 percent of healthy foods leaves room for treats 10 percent of the time. I believe we should have something that satisfies us each day. It may be a piece of dark chocolate or slice of pizza. That will sustain us in the long term. I believe diet is 70 to 80 percent of it, but you need to exercise because exercise changes your shape.
However, when attempting to get in peak shape, she would recommended a more strict and clean diet 100% of the time. This isn't meant to be done year-round and is only meant for certain events or when preparing for a certain scene. The rest of the year you should eat healthy most of the time and be within a reasonable range of your ideal look.
Now that Garner is done playing those characters, she doesn't worry about getting in extreme shape and instead tries to stay healthy and fit all year long. She said in an interview with US Magazine that she focuses on clean eating 80 percent of the time and doesn't worry about the other 20 percent as much.
The Jennifer Garner workout and diet routine above helped her convincingly pull off the challenging roles of a CIA agent and the hero Elektra. It took a tremendous work ethic, training, and planning to make possible.