Alicia Vikander's 'Tomb Raider' Trainer Reveals How She Got Her Lara Croft Body

Courtesy of Christian Black/Warner Bros. Entertainment
Trainer Magnus Lygdback on maintaining, after shooting: "You want to take a little time off and get back to maybe 70 percent on nutrition and training."

The franchise reboot star "worked every muscle" with a fitness and food plan by Hollywood trainer Magnus Lygdback. The results blew up the internet.

"We got some pretty freakish results," says trainer Magnus Lygdback, who was the mastermind behind Alicia Vikander's physical transformation to play Lara Croft in Warner Bros.' Tomb Raider reboot (March 16), which caused a social-media frenzy when images of the Oscar winner in a red bikini in Spain circulated in July.

Vikander, 29, added 16 pounds of muscle to her slender 5-foot-5 frame for the role. Lygdback says he and Vikander didn't look to the early 2000s franchise star Angelina Jolie for inspiration: "Angelina did a great job, but this is something completely different from the original movies." Instead, they focused on the physicality that the Swedish-born actress and trained ballet dancer would need to perform acrobatic stunts, from diving off of boats to free climbing in caves. "It's a modern Lara Croft, a strong, independent woman, and I think it's exactly what the world needs right now," says Lygdback.

Seven months before shooting, Vikander followed the trainer's Magnus Method lifestyle plan beloved by star clients Katy Perry and Britney Spears and designed to boost metabolism and build muscle. The plan emphasizes eating every three hours, no sugar in any form and no "fast" carbs (like in 17 out of every 20 meals).

Mixed martial arts, rock climbing and archery were integrated into Vikander's training, which also included up to seven days a week in the gym. Four months before production, Lygdback, 38, a former ice hockey player who also hails from Sweden, had Vikander focus on two workout and diet cycles: "building up" muscle for two months, then "cutting" for visual definition for two months. "Alicia is an amazingly hard worker," says Lygdback. "The hardest part for her was when I would force her to take a day off to recover."



Build-Up Cycle: Meals had 40 grams protein, 40 grams carbs and 30 grams fat; snacks had 30 grams proteins. Drinks: water, beetroot-lemon-ginger shots and veggies juices with fruit. 

Breakfast: 4 eggs in any form (such as an omelet or a fritatta with vegetables, or poached); Half avocado; Coffee 

Snack 1: 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 2: Same options as snack 1

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

Cutting Cycle: Breakfast consisted of 18 to 20 grams protein; lunch and dinner contained 25 grams protein and 50 grams good fat. A snack could have 20 grams protein. Same beverages. 

Breakfast: 3 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 2: Same options as Snack 1

Dinner: Fish or shellfish; Good fat; No alcohol

This story first appeared in the Jan. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.