The pros: Hayley Bradley and Mark Twight, certified trainer (Bradley) and founder of Gym Jones (Twight), who whip actors into shape for flicks like this spring’s Batman vs. Superman, starring Gal Gadot Our tester: Christina Shanahan, senior editor and weight-training novice
“‘Things might go dark, but I promise you won’t die,’ Bradley told me after a particularly harrowing interval workout on a rowing machine. Things were dark indeed: I’ve always been a runner, but after a move and the chaotic home renovation that followed, I’d been hitting Costco-size bags of M&Ms harder than I’d been hitting the trails. I agreed to a month-long training regimen that mirrored the prep Gadot was doing to build muscle for her upcoming role as Wonder Woman.
"My plan? Three days a week in the gym and two days of ‘homework.’ Before my first meeting with the always-encouraging Bradley—who trained me in N.Y.C. while consulting on my progress with Twight—I received a message from Twight: ‘Poor nutrition and inadequate sleep reduce the effectiveness of training by 20 to 30 percent,’ he warned. Before we made it past a warm-up, Bradley reaffirmed his point by advising me to balance each meal with equal amounts of protein and greens, and to be wary of seemingly healthy choices like green juice, which can be highly caloric thanks to the large amounts of natural sugars in some fruits and veggies.
"Her best tip? Drink a gallon of water each day. Not only did I feel fuller, which made me snack less, but I felt so hydrated, my endurance improved too. And I needed all the help I could get for the program, which blended basic pull-ups, squats, and ball throws with cardio intervals using the stationary bike and rowing machine—two minutes full-force, then two minutes of active rest—plus weight-lifting challenges.”
The results: “After a month of Bradley’s skillful coaching and encouragement, I could deadlift my body weight. I lost 5 pounds and had a tighter core, visible muscle definition in my arms and legs, and a new respect for Wonder Women past and present.”
Get guns like Gal: You don’t need any equipment to give your biceps the superhero sculpt: Each day, do 30 seconds of push-ups followed by a 30-second plank hold. Repeat four times.