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How Alicia Vikander Trained To Play Lara Croft In 'Tomb Raider'

Alicia started working out seven months before filming.
PHOTO: Tomb Raider/Warner Bros. Pictures

It's been a few years since the last Tomb Raider movie, but we all still remember Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft. Stepping into those shoes couldn't have been easy for Alicia Vikander, who's reprising the role in the 2018 reboot. 

To get ready to play such an iconic and powerful character, Alicia started training with fitness instructor Magnus Lygdbäck, who was also responsible for Alexander Skarsgard's transformation as Tarzan. Their training sessions started seven months prior to filming. 

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ICYDK, Alicia spent nine years in ballet school, so she isn't exactly a couch potato, but the role of Lara Croft demanded a different kind of training. Magnus told POPSUGAR, "I like to switch it up, so we did everything from squatting heavy and doing deadlifts to pull-ups, push-ups, training with machines, training with bodyweight, plyometrics, explosive training."

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Alicia gained 10 to 12 pounds of muscle. 

And her transformation was woven perfectly into the plot of the movie since Lara starts out as a normal citizen before she turns into an action hero: "In the beginning of the story she trains MMA; she works partly as a bicycle courier in London...She had these physical aspects of her life, which makes it more plausible for you to buy that she can go through these things. She's put through all these obstacles and she has to bring out the skills that she has within her and refine them and define them and also bring out the warrior within her."

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To get her now-famous eight-pack, however, Magnus divided her core workouts into three different days. The first ab day focused on "dynamic, static, or isometric abs," so Alicia did planks or leg raises. Next, they did "rotational stuff, working the obliques. Another day is dedicated to "doing straight-up strength exercises for the abdominis, which are likely weighted exercises." 

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Of course, Alicia also had to change her eating habits. Magnus put Alicia on the keto diet, which meant going for high-fat, no-carb foods. 

Here's a sample daily meal plan for when Alicia was building muscle:

Four eggs in any form (such as an omelet or a fritatta with vegetables, or poached); Half avocado; Coffee 

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Snack: All snacks are protein-centered (examples: beef or chicken skewers, sashimi, or grilled octopus)

Lunch: 40 grams beef, chicken, or fish; 40 grams slow carbs (such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, yams or sweet potato); 30 grams good fat used in cooking, dressing, or as a garnish (examples: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado)

Snack: Same options as the first snack

Dinner: 40 grams protein; 40 grams slow carbs; 30 grams good fat; No alcohol allowed

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And here's one for when she focused on giving her body more definition: 

Three poached eggs; A shot of juice from two lemons

Snack 1: Fish, shellfish or eggs

Lunch: Fish or shellfish; Good fat, including avocado, coconut oil, or medium-chain triglyceride oil (MCT)

Snack: Same options as the first snack

Dinner: Fish or shellfish; Good fat; No alcohol


As for the mental preparation, Alicia told Vanity Fair

"I think people can identify with her for lots of different reasons, but for me I very much see her as a model for many young women...She has a fantastic mix of traits—tough, smart, vulnerable, plus she's kick ass!...It's a lot of fun trying to get into Lara’s head and the challenge of getting to grips with such a physical role is an element of this project that I find an absolute thrill."

Sources: POPSUGARThe Hollywood Reporter, Vanity Fair

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