It’s hard to look away from the all too real drama unfolding on WeCrashed, AppleTV’s take on the rise and fall of one of the world’s most valuable start-ups. WeWork co-founders Adam and Rebekah Neumann are played by Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway in believable performances that have us cringe-bingeing a story that unfolded just a few short years back.
From the opening scene on, I was distracted by just how great leading lady Anne Hathaway is looking in the show. Maybe her best ever? I shot celeb trainer, Don Saladino a note to ask if he had anything to do with Annie’s glow up and, sure enough, he’d started working with Hathaway in prep for her role.
Along with top yogi, Nikki Baksh (if you’ve watched the show, you know the yoga throughline), Don worked with Anne to achieve a fitness level that fit her character and optimized her energy levels through a busy shoot schedule.
We’ve followed Saladino’s work for years, as he’s prepped actresses like Blake Lively, Emily Blunt and Scarlett Johansson for big on-screen roles. What’s notable to me about Don is his mental health-first approach to fitness and insistence on a nutrient-dense diet. Every time I interview Don, my paradigm on fitness shifts a little more in the right direction.
6 Essentials We’ve Learned From Anne Hathaway’s Trainer
Don’s flexible, yet highly effective take on wellness translates as well for a working mom or busy student at it does for an A-list actress under pressure to deliver a role for a big budget project. I knew he would have a ton of healthy takeaway to share from working with Anne — and he didn’t disappoint!
Here are six of the most valuable learnings I took away from my chat with Don on Anne’s prep for WeCrashed…
Fitness is 100% Mental. | They say getting in shape is ‘80% nutrition, 20% fitness’, but Saladino believes it to be 100% mental.
When it comes to prepping an actress for a big role, there is already pressure enough to spare. Don’s approach is to leave berating tactics at the door and find ways to support their success on a mental and emotional level. A tactic he believes to be key for resilience and lasting habits.
“My goal is for a client to leave after 45 minutes feeling better. Maintaining what I call ‘mood quality’ is of the utmost importance.”
IRL Takeaway: Can you imagine if more of us absorbed Don’s mental health-first approach to fitness? Consistent workouts become infinitely easier once we simply give ourselves permission to adjust day by day. Allow yourself to take mental and emotional stock before each workout. Drop an all or nothing approach and consider adjusting your workout to suit your mood on low-energy days. It bears saying for you A-types: if you’re truly exhausted, give yourself the grace of an extra recovery day.
Adjust Fitness Goals Daily. | Here’s how that ‘mental health first’ approach came to life with Anne’s training schedule.
Every morning, during a 15 minute foam rolling warm up, Don would assess Anne’s sleep, mood and nutrition status. Gauging her “readiness” each day, the two of them would determine the appropriate approach for their session together.
“Like so many pros that I work with, we work fitness into their schedule, whether that be an ever-changing shoot schedule or something different.”
If Anne had an early call time, for example, Don might adjust the intensity of the workout. In that way, they were able to hone in on what success looks like for the actress (and mother of two!) on a daily basis.
“Making that call is a day-to-day decision based on everything going on in a client’s day — How much sleep did they get? What do they have in front of them on set? How are they feeling emotionally?”
In the studio, Don said that Anne got into the habit of calling those adjustments “the right temperature” for the day.
IRL takeway: Yes, fitness is a discipline. That said, how would it feel to hone in on ‘the right temperature’ for every single workout? Even if you’re rinsing and repeating the same class or routine all month, can you enjoy more nuance, appreciate better emotional health and maybe even achieve better results by adjusting your intensity levels up and down each day?
No Calorie Deficits. | Another reason we’ve featured Saladino’s take on getting Hollywood celebs in shape so often is his insistence on next-level nourishment.
“I never promote a caloric deficit for a Hollywood client. I think it’s one of the biggest mistakes any client can make for lasting results.
Annie works so much, has two kids and her husband Adam — I actually don’t know how she does it all.”
Since Anne was constantly on her feet during the shooting of WeCrashed, Don also had her doing very little cardio in their sessions — short bursts of medium intensity.
IRL Takeaway: Read Don’s nutrition advice while training Blake Lively for The Shallows and thank us later.
The goal is to feel good. | “Our goal is always to support daily energy levels and resiliency.”
Most of Don’s sessions with Anne focused on strength training of varying intensity. They moved dumbbells, a bench and and an air bike into her apartment to keep things consistent and accessible.
Don worked with Anne to create “hypertrophic” workout routines: low to intermediate repetitions with progressive overload. Those routines focused on compound movements to optimize everyday stability, mobility and functional movement.
Anne also included regular yoga with Nikki Baksh in her routine.
IRL Takeaway: Think you can’t strength train without a trainer and a gym? Don tipped us off to a tool he has Anne travel with called a Kayezen Vector set. The adjustment tool can attach to a door in a hotel room or just about anywhere for an effective workout.
Live your Life. | In chatting with Don about incorporating our emotional and mental health into our fitness routines, he shared this anecdote as well:
“One of my clients, a supermodel, was bemoaning her bad habits lately to me. She felt she was ‘cheating’ by having a glass or two of wine each night. I asked if any of her key health metrics had changed. They hadn’t. I asked if her agency was unhappy and she noted she was working more than ever. I told her that it didn’t seem to be a problem. If you’re getting away with something you consider to be a cheat — don’t worry! Remember to live your life!”
IRL Takeaway: The theme that Don brings us back to again and again in our interviews is one of self-honor — something so many of us self-disciplined individuals can lose sight of in our pursuit of a goal. Don’t forget to live a little. According to Don, this is the key to lasting habits.
make Incremental changes. | Finally, at the end of our call with Don, he left us with a simple challenge for readers who may be feeling overwhelmed or stuck with certain wellness goals:
Take stock of your current goals. Make a list of the key habits you’d like to stop, begin or be more consistent with. Assign each of those goals to one designated month for the coming year. Only take on one habit at a time for that full month — say, stretching in the morning for May or remembering to take a multi for June.
If you select just one change a month for a full year, those twelve changes would add up to a monumental shift in your life — no matter how small each change seems on it’s own. So much better than a New Year’s resolution!