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While most of us have started this bleakest of weeks feeling uncomfortably full after a fortnight of grazing on Quality Street and leftovers, Salma Hayek has shown she’s well ahead of the rest of us when it comes to shedding the Christmas weight gain.
The 54-year-old actor posted two photos of herself in a bikini on Instagram, to close out 2020 and welcome in 2021. So, how does she do it?
Well, arguably one answer is that she booked a leading role in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. In 2021, Hayek will take to our screens as Ajak in Marvel’s Eternals film alongside Angelina Jolie and Game Of Thrones stars Kit Harrington and Richard Madden.
It’s well known by now that Marvel expects the actors playing its superheroes to be in impressive physical shape (Thor actor Chris Hemsworth’s personal trainer explained to us in 2019 how he did it).
But before you feel down about your own post-Christmas diet efforts (throwing out the leftover Twiglets?), Hayek’s Eternals co-star Kumail Nanjiani said during filming he “would not have been able to do this if (he) didn’t have a full year with the best trainers and nutritionists paid for by the biggest studio in the world”.
In fact, Nanjiani went so far as to say that the ‘Marvel body’ wouldn’t be replicable by the average person. “I’m glad I look like this, but I also understand why I never did before,” said the actor. “It would have been impossible without these resources and time.”
So with that in mind, it’s fair to say that Hayek has a few advantages. But that said, even before she became a superhero, the mother of one has been vocal about her diet and workout regime and what she does to stay healthy.
Hayek is a big proponent of juices and co-owns Cooler Cleanse, which offers 1-3 or 1-5 day meal replacement juice cleanses to customers to help with weight loss (though, it should be noted that the efficacy of such cleanses is disputed by some dietitians and nutritionists).
However, Hayek has said that the juice isn’t necessarily what helps with weight loss, but rather the cleanse is about changing her relationship with her diet, which she admits is often less than ideal. This, she says, is due to her living in France with her billionaire husband François-Henri Pinault and enjoying a tipple or two of red wine. “Cleansing is like my meditation,” she said. “It makes me stop, focus and think about what I’m putting into my body. I’m making a commitment to my health and hitting the reset button.”
Cooler Cleanse’s ‘post-cleanse’ maintenance diet might provide some insight into what Hayek’s diet looks like: nothing containing preservatives, stabilisers, colourings, flavourings or other additives. Red meat is replaced with poultry or fish, and there’s no dairy, alcohol, eggs, wheat, and only sugar from fruit. Hayek has also discussed getting her protein intake from eating insects like crickets and fried worms before.
In terms of fitness, Hayek has openly discussed how she’s not a keen exerciser, preferring to control her diet to impact her body weight. She has talked on Instagram about how she prefers to stay fit through non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) activities, such as walking her dogs, horse-riding, and even dancing.
However, when roles require it, Hayek does turn to exercise to improve her strength and flexibility. She’s known to have worked with personal trainer Sara Shears and when doing so, does half-hour workouts five days a week, featuring exercises like kickboxing, Pilates and ball work, as well as simple HIIT and interval sessions with classic bodyweight exercises such as burpees, push-ups, planking, jump squats, tricep dips and more.
Hayek has also posted about doing yoga to improve her flexibility and posture. The latter is something she puts a lot of focus on. She once told People magazine: “I work with a woman in London who taught me how to hold my body in a way where the muscles are activated all day long. So even when you brush your teeth, you’re working the muscles. It’s restorative yoga. She taught me how to tone [my muscles] without clenching them. You relax them and focus on the parts that need to be used, but never with tension. If you're aware of your body, you'd be surprised by the effect it can have.”
She also turns to massage also helps keep her looking young: “Massage oxygenates, activates the circulation, and keeps the muscles healthy and firm. I cannot tell you, even just for the lymphatic [system], what [facial] massage does for the face.”