How would you treat your body differently if you were to spend five months filming a movie series notorious for super-naked sex scenes? Most women never have to think about it. Dakota Johnson, 28, on the other hand, did. Here's how she prepared to play Ana in Fifty Shades Freed, which hits theaters February 9:
1. She trained in 2016 for the 2018 movie. Fifty Shades Darker (released in February 2017) and Fifty Shades Freed were filmed in tandem beginning in February 2016. It took five straight months of shooting five days a week in Vancouver, with a final two weeks in France, to wrap the project.
2. She used the same trainer as Jessica Alba. While stationed in Vancouver, Dakota worked with personal trainer Ramona Braganza, founder of 3-2-1 Fitness Training Method, who was hired by the Fifty Shades's production company after Dakota vetted her in an interview. Ramona's first celebrity client was Jessica Alba, who began working with Ramona at age 17. Over the years Ramona has also trained Halle Berry, Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway, and Kate Beckinsale.
3. Dakota changed very little to play Ana. "Although we worked on building out her shoulders, keeping her butt, and toning her abs and arms, the main goal was to get her moving 30 minutes a day," says Ramona.
4. Dakota worked out about five days a week for 30 to 60 minutes. "During the first few months of filming, we went more aggressive, but later on, we cut back to just 30 minutes," Ramona says. And sometimes, Dakota would just jog outside.
5. Dakota did different moves during every session. "When you do the same exercises all the time, you begin to build muscle bulk," Ramona says. "Our goal was to tone her muscles, so we trained in different ways."
During a typical workout, Dakota would warm up for 5 to 10 minutes on a treadmill, do three exercises in a row, then go back to cardio. Ramona used dance-inspired moves, Pilates, kickboxing, and yoga to keep sessions feeling fresh.
6. Ankle weights played a key role in Dakota's training. "During most workouts, we did lots of moves lying down wearing the ankle weights to raise the intensity," Ramona says. They also used light dumbbells—no heavier than eight pounds—a Pilates ring, and body weight, with a focus on unilateral training, or training one side of the body at a time with moves like single-leg squats, to promote balance and stability.
7. She did most of her workouts in a trailer. "Big-budget movies use trailer gyms so you can train on location," Ramona says. This particular trailer was more than 50 feet long, which left plenty of room for the exercises above, and traveling moves like dance-inspired step-kicks, leaps, and turns, plus walking lunges, squat step-outs, and planks.