Naomie Harris plays Winnie Mandela in the new film about Nelson Mandela’s life, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Naomie has also played Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond movie, Skyfall. Unlike the original Miss Moneypenny who rarely left her desk, Naomie Harris is much more than an MI6 secretary. In Skyfall Miss Moneypenny goes by the name of Eve and is an MI6 field agent alongside James Bond. Naomie Harris has been declared the first Bond Woman. It is from her work on Skyfall that we first learned about how she stays in shape.
Filming Skyfall was certainly no easy task for Naomie, and a far cry from the type of acting that she had done before. However, Naomie pushed herself so hard on set that she actually made herself sick from over-exertion. She described filming Skyfall as “the most challenging thing I’ve ever done“. So, how did she get in shape for it?
Much of Naomie’s fitness training was to help her to prepare for the arduous filming. She is often seen running while carrying a weapon in the film – this alone requires a good level of fitness as a film like Skyfall requires many takes, which means all the action is repeated numerous times until the director is happy with the shot.
Naomie Hated Exercise at School
Naomie is not a natural action hero. She admits to hating PE at school and before signing up to play in Skyfall she never did any exercise. Fortunately it was only her fitness that she had to work on as she was already slim as a result of eating a healthy and lean diet. So she actually managed to improve her fitness considerably in just 2 months. This is rather impressive really. Daniel Craig told Jonathan Ross that he starts his fitness training 6 months before filming starts – and then has to “de-carb” a few weeks before shooting to reduce his body fat.
Running and Combat Training
To get in shape for Skyfall she started running every day and also did around 2 hours of stage combat training each day too. The running workouts were focused on building speed as well as stamina. She would usually run 2 1/2 km every day at a reasonably quick pace.
Running was vital to give her the physical endurance she required for filming, and also to ensure that she looked authentic in the action sequences. The combat training was needed to teach her how to stage fight, and 2 hours a day is enough to quickly tone the entire body and burn a lot of fat.
In addition to the running and fight training she also did yoga 5 times a week to help keep her muscles and joints supple and increase her core strength at the same time. She also had to go to the gun range 3 times a week to practice using firearms. She told The Mirror that she really enjoyed firing machine guns.
According to the Daily Mail her favorite exercise is gyrotonic, which is a form of yoga done to a dance. It was developed by Juliu Horvath, a Hungarian swimmer, gymnast and dancer. He moved to the USA in 1970 and an injury (torn Achilles) ended his dance career. Juliu then started to use yoga as a form of rehabilitation, but later started to develop the idea of Yoga for Dancers which evolved into the gyrokinesis exercise system.
Naomie Harris’ Diet
Naomie has always been a health conscious woman and has kept a healthy figure by following a healthy diet and lifestyle. The only unhealthy thing about her life prior to Skyfall was that she did not exercise. This is proof that you can stay in good shape through positive lifestyle and diet choices. Exercise just makes it easier and give you more energy.
Naomie once tried a raw food diet, however, she admits that this did not work for her and she became unwell, so stopped. We do not know the specifics in her case, but some form of malnutrition is expected. She became anemic as a result of trying to live off raw carrots.
She also went through a phase of being a “vitamin junkie” (her words). This involved her eating a lot of vegetables. She did actually start exercising at this time.
Overall, she now just follows a simple, healthy diet, that provides her with all the nutrition she requires without giving an excess. A well planned and balanced diet can help manage hunger and keep you looking and feeling young. One of the easiest ways to tone up is to follow the exercises on our Strength Training For Women article. Combine it with daily exercise and you will be in great shape too. This is essentially what a healthy lifestyle is all about.