Halle Berry is best known for her Academy Award-winning work on the big screen. (In 2002, she made history as the first and only black woman to win a Best Actress statue, for her role in Monster’s Ball.)
But lately it’s been the the 51-year-old (and seemingly ageless) actress’ take-no-prisoners turns—as butt-kicking Storm in the X-Men series and in mom-on-a-mission mode in Kidnap last year—that’s caught my eye (and has me eagerly awaiting John Wick 3). Unsurprisingly, she looks amazing the entire time. So how does Berry stay so fit and so fierce IRL?
Enter Nat Bardonnet, Berry’s “workout buddy” and trainer for the past seven years who’s prominently featured in the actress’ beachside #fitspo Instagram video seen ’round the world. “Every client I work with has a customized workout,” Bardonnet (who has two black belts and has trained in boxing, aikido, jujitsu, and more, NBD) says. “I’m known for creating long, lean, sexy muscles and using a lot of contraction and extension.”
“The sand makes everything a bit harder, so it shocks your muscles.” —Nat Bardonnet, celebrity trainer
Bardonnet may sound like she’s all business—and Berry’s super-strong bod is proof the method works—but she’s no drill sergeant. “My clients may call me crazy because I’m constantly inventing new moves, but I keep the workouts fresh,” she says, adding, “My workouts are fun, and we always have music and keep moving.”
Part of what keeps it #99DaysOfSummer-friendly? Taking the sweat session outside. “I love working out on the beach,” says Bardonnet. “First of all, who doesn’t like the sun and the ocean? Second, the sand makes everything a bit harder, so it shocks your muscles. You’re forced to use so many tiny muscles when you’re barefoot in the sand. And of course, a little sun and vitamin D are good for you.”
Want to work out like Berry? Try this 10-minute, beach-ready workout created by Bardonnet—bonus points if you enlist a buddy to join you.
Nat Bardonnet’s Beach Workout
Locate a bench at the beach, and get out your three- or five-pound weights. Then, get ready to get gritty (and strong).
• For 30 seconds: Alternate standing knee raises. (“Slow and controlled,” Bardonnet says.)
• For 1 minute: Do one squat, then one front kick (alternating legs).
• Do 10 push-ups.
• Do 12 tricep dips using a bench. (Keep the shoulders rotated back, Bardonnet says.)
• For 1 minute: Alternate back lunges, with tricep extensions. Step one leg back into a lunge, do a tricep kick-back with both arms (holding a three- or five-pound weight in each hand), then return to standing and repeat on the other side.
• Do 10 single-leg step-ups on a bench, on each leg. Place your left foot on the bench and lift your right knee up and come to a standing position on top of the bench, with your right heel at your left knee. Step back with your right foot back down to the ground. After 10 reps, switch sides and do 10 more.
• Do 20 “pinkies to indexes.” Holding three- to five-pound weights in each hand and keeping the elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, touch your pinkies to the front of your hips, then lift the arms to touch the index fingers to your head.
• For 30 seconds: Bicycle twists.
• For 30 seconds: Russian twists. Sit on the ground (or in the sand!) with your knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the ground and your upper body leaning back at a 45-degree angle. Clasp your hands in front of your chest (or, to make it harder, hold something heavy) and twist your torso as far as you can to the right and then to the left, maintaining the 45-degree lean.
• For 30 seconds: V-ups. Lie on the ground with your legs straight and your arms stretched overhead. Keeping your arms and legs straight, lift your toes and your fingertips toward the sky to meet each other, crunching your upper body.
• For one minute: Plank.
Originally published July 5, 2017. Updated May 27, 2018.
Berry’s not the only celeb who goes for quick-and-intense sweat sessions—try this 20-minute sequence that Scarlett Johansson loves or the dance cardio workout that keeps Karlie Kloss in supermodel shape.