How Alicia Vikander Got Lara Croft-Ready Behind the Scenes of Tomb Raider

Mar 14, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Image: Ilzek Kitshoff/Warner Bros.

Alicia Vikander didn't mess around while training for her role as Lara Croft in the upcoming reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise.

OK, so she messed around a little bit.

Her trainer, Magnus Lygdbäck, started her on his lifestyle diet program seven months before filming. The diet encourages eating five days a week with 17 of your meals containing good, healthy foods like lean protein and fiber-rich vegetables, while three meals are "treat meals."

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But her treat meals didn't stop her from putting on a little over 12 pounds of muscle, which is good news for us pasta lovers out there.

"She's just as passionate as me when it comes to food," Lygdbäck told SheKnows exclusively when we asked about her favorite treat meal. "Whether it's pizza or pasta or a steak, she loves food. She's a big foodie, as am I, so she didn't go to one particular meal. It was always something new."

But just because Vikander got to treat herself with food doesn't mean she slacked off in the gym.

In fact, Lygdbäck said Vikander's least favorite thing was taking a day off.

Lygdbäck said Vikander was an incredibly hard worker. She and Lygdbäck trained together about six days a week.

"We wanted to build a character," Lygdbäck said of their fitness goals for the film, "that was not too muscly but feminine [and] strong. And we wanted to also make sure that we got in all the skills that she needed, the fluidity, the movement, being able to climb, fight, jump, move like a cat. We discussed that, and I think we achieved those goals."

"She had a lot of other kinds of training: climbing training, MMA training," Lygdbäck continued. "But that was more technical stuff. We made sure to not overwork her. The hard work, that was the gym training."

He added, "In the gym, we did a lot of front squats, leg press, dead lifts, a lot of plyometrics, pull-up, push-ups, regular bicep curls, tricep press exercises. I like to cycle my training as well and switch it up."

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Lygdbäck also warned against some women's fears that lifting weights will create bulk.

"I can tell you this: You can deadlift. You can squat with heavy weights. You can do bench press. You can do pull-ups or pull-downs. You're not going to get bulky. You're not going to get big. That's not going to happen because females don't carry that much testosterone. It all comes down to the diet. I would say if you're afraid of getting too big and too bulky, it has nothing to do with the strength training."

While Lygdbäck believes in the hard work, he also thinks fitness and nutrition should be fun too.

"The fun part is that we have been to every part of the world working out in every environment you can imagine," he explained. "Anything from a trailer in the middle of South Africa to a fancy five-star hotel in London. It was pretty interesting to be in the middle of wine country in South Africa and having your own luxury gym in a trailer. That was kinda cool."

Yeah, NBD.

Tomb Raider hits theaters March 16, 2018.

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