Elsa Pataky On 'Exercise-Snacking' And How She Stays Strong

Elsa Pataky On ‘Exercise-Snacking’ And How She Stays Strong

FYI, you’re about to witness a world-first. You see, at the same time as Elsa Pataky stars on the cover of the March issue of Women’s Health, her husband Chris Hemsworth is on the cover of Australian Men’s Health, in an exclusive reveal of his brand-new lifestyle app. It’s this game-changing announcement that has brought the Women’s Health team […]

by | Aug 27, 2020

FYI, you’re about to witness a world-first. You see, at the same time as Elsa Pataky stars on the cover of the March issue of Women’s Health, her husband Chris Hemsworth is on the cover of Australian Men’s Health, in an exclusive reveal of his brand-new lifestyle app.

It’s this game-changing announcement that has brought the Women’s Health team to Byron Bay’s rolling hinterland, where Elsa is posing for our photographer on a balcony overlooking the sea in the distance, which is barely visible through the hazy afternoon heat. During the shoot, we get the lowdown on Centr (@centrfit) – a holistic program that takes you behind the scenes with Chris and Elsa to deliver their curation of A-list workouts, recipes and wellness inspiration.

Here’s a taster: fitness content from celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson (he’s honed the bods of everyone from Jennifer Lopez to the LA Lakers), martial arts and HIIT pro Tiffiny Hall and Elsa’s own Byron-based yoga instructor Tahl Rinsky. Then there are the step-by-step meal ideas, plus a heap of expert-led sleep visualisations, motivation tips, mindfulness and mental health features. And the best part about it? The program is personalised to your goals (weight management? Strength building?), food (vegan? Gluten-free?) and workout tastes.

“The reason we created this program [was to bring together] all the people we think are really good in fitness, nutrition and mindfulness,” Elsa reveals in our cover story. “I think those three things are very important to keep healthy and happy.”

RELATED:  Elsa Pataky Shows Off Her Kickboxing Skills On Instagram

Elsa Pataky

Steven Chee

Abs-olutely authentic

Madrid-born Elsa’s love of a sweat session dates back to pre-Hollywood and pre-Hemsworth. “I’ve been working out since I was 16 or 17 years old,” she says. “I’ve always been a fan of fitness bodies, in men too – but more in women. I was focused, like, ‘Oh, I want to have a body like that.’ I love the athletes – they [are] all fit with muscles, and strong – so I’ve been working out for many years just to find what is good for me.”

What’s good for her now looks like this: weight training three times a week for an intense 30 minutes, plus time for stretching, and then one or two yoga workouts. Between set changes on our shoot, she does squats and stretches to “feel strong” and energised. She’s a fan of ‘exercise-snacking’ like this – busting out a few moves whenever and wherever she has a spare moment. 

“I can’t be without training for more than two weeks – I just get really nervous and my energy starts to go down,” she says. “When you start working out and your body’s changing and you’re achieving your goals, that’s such a great thing. So, I think that’s the motivation [to exercise] – feeling better and just being happy with you and knowing that you’re healthy. If you know you’re taking care of your body and you’re doing it for a reason, you can put aside the, ‘I can’t do it.’”

Elsa Pataky

Steven Chee

As for the yoga, which she’s been practising for eight years, Elsa’s style is more personalised than purist, incorporating extra abs and glute work to make it “strong” to “feel that I’m working out, too”.

“It’s just like another kind of energy you have in yoga,” Elsa says. “It’s also for your mind. At the end you have that moment of laying down and five minutes of like [does an exaggerated exhale]. Kind of like a meditation. I think that’s really important for your brain and to come down. At the end of the yoga, it’s just good for me to lay down and think about nothing … or try to [laughs].”

Read more of our chat with Elsa – including her barefoot approach to parenting and day on a plate – in the March issue of Women’s Health, on sale now.

RELATED: Chris Hemsworth And Elsa Pataky Have Announced A Health And Fitness App

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 


Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 


Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 


Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 


Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?