Every Marvel movie — from Guardians of the Galaxy to Black Panther — features actors in slinky bodysuits. But the superhero movie studio doesn’t force their stars into restrictive diets and exhausting workout schedules, something Elizabeth Olsen (aka Scarlet Witch) appreciates.
The actress, 30, said that Marvel lets the cast shape their bodies any way they like.
“The thing with Marvel is they never tell you to get into shape,” Olsen told the New York Times. “They just hire the people and let them figure out the way to express the character. They will set you up with a trainer if you want, but that’s it.”
The Avengers: Endgame star said that she knows that’s not the case with every film studio.
“I hear stories of actors being weighed for a role,” she said. “That sounds horrible.”
In Olsen’s case, she does train differently as she’s preparing for a Marvel movie.
“I do change it up depending on the gig,” she said. “For Captain America: Civil War, I was doing Muay Thai. It’s not the most comfortable thing, and I don’t do it anymore. I do love going to the gym. I love it because my brain works better, and I don’t want to think about eating restrictively.”
Olsen said that she rediscovered a love of exercise after struggling with panic attacks.
“I love training even when I’m not working on the Marvel movies,” she said. “I grew up doing ballet and playing pretty competitive volleyball. In college, fitness is suddenly not part of your curriculum, so I stopped doing anything. Then when I was 20 and living in New York, I started having severe panic attacks. It was really bad, like I was going to pass out. I remember not being able to cross 14th Street and Sixth Avenue. I had to stand next to a wall so I didn’t fall over.”
A friend helped Olsen identify that she was having panic attacks and they formulated a plan to get through them, which included “taking the attention off yourself,” and working out.
“It was then that I found yoga to be really helpful and when fitness became a big part of my life again,” she said. “I found that after a hard workout, I could sit by myself at a restaurant.”
Olsen also changes up her eating habits, but not too much.
“I eat healthy, but I try not to overthink it,” she said. “If I have a big premiere to go to, I might just have a lot of soups the week before. That’s really the only time I do anything approaching a diet.”
Olsen took a different approach to her diet two years ago when she prepped for the last Avengers movie, Infinity War. For the 2018 film, she wanted to be “dense, heavy and athletic,” nutritionist Philip Goglia, who worked with Olsen, previously told PEOPLE.
“She was focused on body composition,” Goglia said. “She just really nailed it. This newest Avengers movie she was more about muscularity. More stomach and shoulder shape, a better V-shape in her back and a much tighter waist and shoulder differential.”
Goglia had Olsen eating seven to eight meals a day, absent of gluten, dairy or yeast. She ate a teaspoon each of almond butter and jam before training, followed by a protein shake or eggs and vegetables for breakfast, fish or chicken for lunch and vegetables and another fish for dinner, with snacks of fresh fruit, vegetables and hard-boiled eggs throughout the day.
“We get any of these Marvel folks in — from Chris Hemsworth to Chris Evans — and they approach food just like any of my pro athletes would,” he says. “They’re great — they don’t stray.”
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