When Gal Gadot initially began working with trainer Mark Twight ahead of Batman v Superman, “her wrist — went all the way up. Her elbow was the thickest part of her arm,” he told Vanity Fair.
Twight began implementing changes to her diet and put her through months of intensive training to get Wonder Woman-ready, and they worked together again to have her bulk up even more for her stand-alone film, Wonder Woman.
Since I’ve started [training], I’ve gained about 17 lbs., and it’s all muscle,” Gadot, 32, told Glamour. “I feel so much better now. When you feel strong, it changes everything — your posture, the way you walk. I look at photos from five years ago and think, ‘Whoa, I was too skinny. It’s not cool.’
The transformation wasn’t easy! Twight said Gadot couldn’t do a single pull-up when he began working with her. Now, she can complete advanced workouts, including 45-minute circuits that combine rowing, bear crawls, burpees, crab walks, pull-ups and push-ups.
Gym time was only one part of her superhero prep. To get ready for Wonder Woman, Gadot worked out for six months, doing six hours of training a day.
“We did a lot of gym work and a lot of fight choreographies and horseback riding and sword stuff,” she told ABC7. “It’s been very intensive, but it’s paid off.”
Gadot rode horses for one-and-a-half to two hours every day, and was shocked by how physically demanding it was.
“It’s super hard!” she told Live with Kelly & Ryan. “When people used to tell me, ‘Oh I do sports, I ride horses,’ I was like, ‘That’s not sports. The horse does everything!’ … No, you’ll be surprised! It’s so painful!”
Gadot said on the talk show that training for Wonder Woman was “a lot more intense” than her training for the Israeli military, but it’s been worth it.
“I feel very privileged that I got the opportunity to portray such an iconic, strong female character,” she told PEOPLE. “I adore this character and everything that she stands for — love, compassion, acceptance and truth.”
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