How Gal Gadot got ripped to play Wonder Woman

A former model and Miss Israel winner, actress Gal Gadot has always been lean and mean. In order to play the title character in DC's Wonder Woman after debuting in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gadot had to make her body a little less lean, and a whole lot meaner. Making the leap from model to superhero is no easy feat… so how exactly did Gadot go from Miss Israel to the champion of Themyscira?

She's always been athletic

Growing up in a small Israeli town, Gadot completed her compulsory two-year term of service in the nation's military. However, she didn't merely scrape through and serve her time—Gadot dominated the intensive three-month military boot camp and earned herself a spot as a combat trainer. And though Gadot has said that her Wonder Woman workout regimen is "a lot more intensive" than her military training, we're sure serving in the Israeli Defense Forces instilled in her the ability to crush any Hollywood workout.

Even before joining the military, Gadot was already ultra fit. Her mother worked as a high school physical education teacher, teaching Gadot to swim at age four and promoting the importance of outdoor playtime. She also danced for 12 years, which she's claimed helped her immensely with Wonder Woman's fight choreography.

Gal drank a gallon of water per day

In order to get into top physical shape, you have stay hydrated. Research has proven time and again that drinking plenty of water helps improve the overall quality of your workout, refreshes your mind and body by reducing fatigue and recovery time, and increases your overall level of personal satisfaction after a tough session in the gym. Gadot may be Wonder Woman, but even heroines know that hydration is the key to success.

"I drink tons of water," Gadot told E! News. According to InStyle senior editor Christina Shanahan, who tested Gadot's Wonder Woman workout herself, drinking a gallon of water each day is the best way to survive the tough-as-nails routine. Writes Shanahan, "not only did I feel fuller, which made me snack less, but I felt so hydrated, my endurance improved too." As an added bonus, drinking that much water is sure to do wonders for your skin.

Lesson learned. If you're trying to look as good as Wonder Woman, drink like Aquaman.

She respects her burgers

Believe it or not, Gadot didn't need to place herself on any particularly rigid diet for Wonder Woman. In fact, she didn't really have any diet restrictions at all.

Gadot told Harper's Bazaar that she more or less eats whatever she wants, whenever she wants. However, she takes an enlightened approach to food, stressing the importance of moderation and common sense. "I look at food as fuel and I want to give the best to my body," she explained. "It's all a matter of measurements and quantity of the food; just enjoy your food and don't eat while you drive and don't eat when you talk on the phone. Just give the food the respect and give yourself the respect to enjoy it."

So, even though Gadot is conscious of what she eats—and regularly snacks on healthy foods—she isn't afraid to enjoy a nice burger or have some dessert. Of course, she also was eating burgers when she won the 2004 Miss Israel beauty pageant. We can't all be so lucky—but if you respect both your food and your body, you're on the right track.

She mixed greens with lean proteins

Gal Gadot may play it cool by talking about how she doesn't really limit what she eats, but that doesn't mean she didn't still have a diet plan for Wonder Woman. Nobody can see positive lasting fitness results without at least some form of structured eating.

For Gadot, the main structure of her training diet was built around the tried-and-true method of mixing equal parts greens with lean proteins. According to Mark Twight, founder of Gym Jones and Hollywood training guru, working out without proper nutrition will only yield substandard results—as he told InStyle's Christina Shanahan, "poor nutrition and inadequate sleep reduce the effectiveness of training by 20 to 30 percent." 

To get the best results, Twight advises one "to balance each meal with equal amounts of protein and greens, and to be wary of seemingly healthy choices like green juice, which can be highly caloric thanks to the large amounts of natural sugars in some fruits and veggies." As with many things in life, it's all about balance, and keeping your intake of lean proteins and green veggies in order is a surefire way to be healthy.

She plays sports and stays active

Sure, the actress does Pilates and TRX—with the latter being her favorite "because everything's working your whole body"—but she also simply loves to play sports. Her interest in athletics contributed to her once being Sports Illustrated's "Lovely Lady of the Day," and the actress told ESPN W that, in addition to dancing her entire life, she played tennis, basketball and volleyball. She also admits to being fiercely competitive, saying she plays to win—"otherwise, why bother, right?"

Intervals on the stationary bike and rowing machine can bore even the most hardcore gym rat, so Gadot's workouts also include other total-body athletic activities like rock climbing. Swimming since the age of four, she still does it for fun—though she claims the water in Los Angeles is too cold for her liking. On top of all that, being a mother to two girls also ensures she has very little downtime, keeping her active even when she isn't training to be Wonder Woman.

Pushups and planks help sculpt killer biceps

To get Gadot's epic Wonder Woman biceps, no special equipment is necessary. All you need to do is 30 seconds of proper pushups, followed by a 30-second plank hold—then rest one minute before repeating that short cycle four times. The pushups will strengthen and tone your arms, while the planks also provide a way to tighten your abdominal muscles. This quick and easy workout is the perfect solution to those who can't find the time to go to the gym, or are—for one reason or another—confined to exercising in their room. Even Hollywood stars can't hit up the gym every time they want to work out. "If I'm staying in a cold country or there happens to be no gym, I'll exercise in my room," Gadot told Vogue—and there's no easier hotel workout than pushups and planks.

She was a beast in the gym

Of course, quick and simple home workouts aren't going to turn you into Wonder Woman. If you really want to get into Gal Gadot shape, you'll need to go beast mode in the gym and shred your whole body.

In order to help Gadot put on some serious muscle, trainer to the stars Mark Twight implemented a full-body blast. According to Muscle & Fitness, her workout started with the rowing machine—specifically, five-minute reps at an easy pace, with a one-to-two-minute rest in between, followed by 10-second sprints and 50-second relaxed five-minute reps. Then came the bear crawl, burpees with broad jumps, the crab walk, and more burpees with broad jumps. The fun didn't stop there, with everyone's favorite activity—pull-ups—preceding ring pushups. InStyle senior editor Christina Shanahan worked with Gadot's trainers on a program that mirrored the actress's routine, finding that after one month, she could deadlift her body weight, lost five pounds, had a tighter core, and more defined arms and legs. If only we could all have Hollywood-caliber personal trainers.

No days off

In order to be a superheroine, Gadot needed to accept the responsibilities—which means no time off. Saving the day is a full-time job, requiring one to maintain peak physical condition, and she worked out almost every single day.

Calling her regimen "intense and … very tiring," Gadot recalled, "It was full-blown every day, six or seven hours a day for six months." You don't have to crunch the numbers to know that that's some serious gym time. Hard work pays off, however, and Gadot's now flexing some serious muscle on the big screen.

Weapon training was her favorite part of the ultra-intense routine, but horseback riding was another story — as she put it, "It was super painful and I had tons of bruises." Who would've thought horseback riding would be the toughest part of being Wonder Woman? Shows what we know about saving the world.

She showed Conan O'Brien how it's done

Out on the promotional trail for Wonder Woman, Gadot appeared on Conan—and her workout routine ended up (humorously) putting the host to shame.

Claiming he would accomplish in 35 minutes what took Gadot months and months of everyday training, Conan O'Brien was put to the test. After bragging about his three months of Girl Scouts service, his physical shape was criticized—by request—with Gadot and trainer pointing out his weak legs. Afterwards, Gadot showed off her powerful high kicks before besting the comedian in a swordfight.

After being shamed, O'Brien changed into his own moderately absurd superhero outfit and rode a rather slow-moving mechanical bull—the next best thing to Wonder Woman's horse—and cautioned Gadot that their romantic interest in each other could never be consummated, as they're both married.

If there's one thing to take away from this segment, it's that Gal Gadot can not only dominate with her high kicks and physical prowess, but also slay with her stunning good looks, personality and charm.