Even so, Kate admits that on a corporeal level, she can be delicate. “I think some people’s systems are just a bit sensitive to things. If you told me you had nausea yesterday, I might start throwing up myself.” As a result, she consumes virtually no stimulants – definitely no caffeine – and no alcohol. “If I ate too much dark chocolate, it would be like someone else taking cocaine.”
“I’m very connected to my body, so if I’m going to experience stress, I’m probably going to experience it physically,” she says. “So it’s usually a good idea for me to go do something physical to get rid of it. I kind of have to think of myself as a horse or something – time for a run around the paddock.”
Muscle for mindset
Kate grew up on books and ballet. She didn’t start working out until her 20s, when director Michael Bay asked her to lose weight for 2001’s Pearl Harbor. It’s a story she’d recounted numerous times before it resurfaced three years ago, against the backdrop of a larger industry reckoning. “It wasn’t great, it didn’t make me feel good and, in general, I think women are body-shamed 100 million per cent more than men. But on this particular project, I wasn’t,” Kate says. “Ben [Affleck], who’d already done a movie with the director, was like, ‘This happened to me. They made me get new teeth.’ And I was like, ‘Cool, at least I get to hang on to my actual teeth.’”
“Now exercise is almost more important to me mood wise,” she says, reflecting on how far her relationship to fitness has come since her rocky introduction. “The other aspects feel like a great side effect.” Kate works out six mornings a week with Siskind. Beforehand, she eats protein, usually chicken or eggs with grass-fed butter. The rest of the day she likes salads with radishes; brussels sprouts and safflower oil; salmon; and the occasional handful of potato chips.
At the gym, she starts with a full-body workout composed of eight compound exercises that each work two muscle groups simultaneously: a bicep curl as she squats, or sit-ups with combination punches. After the set, she’ll do 90 to 120 seconds of a cardio interval, like rowing or the VersaClimber, then do the eight exercises again – this time with heavier weights, added bands or faster reps. After the 45 minutes it takes to complete both circuits, she’ll finish with a cardio interval using a rubber Inertia Wave, or one-leg pushes on a curved SkillMill treadmill. Finally, she and Siskind stretch (google “Kate Beckinsale flexible” for a terrifying visual aid).
Read our full chat with Kate in the June issue of Women's Health, on sale now.