Why Scarlett Johansson Swapped Heavy Lifting For Pilates: "I Just Fell in Love With It"

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 02: Scarlett Johansson attends an event hosted by David Yurman in support of Lower Eastside Girls Club at David Yurman 57th St on November 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for David Yurman)
Getty Images | Monica Schipper
Getty Images | Monica Schipper

Scarlett Johansson first joined the Marvel Universe when she signed on to the second "Iron Man" movie. At the time, she was about 24 years old, and "had never been to a gym" she said during a new episode of Dear Media's "The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast". That role "changed my life in a lot of ways," she told the podcast, but it also "changed my whole outlook on exercise."

Johansson, now 38, sat down with the show's hosts Lauryn Evarts and Michael Bosstick and talked about her skin-care routine (including her skin-care brand, The Outset), the magic of a good margarita, and her fitness routine — the last of which has changed drastically over time.

"I did weight lifting for a long time. That was my thing. I liked lifting heavy and low reps," she told Evarts and Bosstick. For example, back in 2019, Johansson prepped for Avengers "Endgame" with aggressive 6 a.m. workouts that included plyometrics, heavy strength training (including push-ups with weight plates on her back and 245-pound deadlifts), and intense cardio like sprinting and battle rope drills.

But Johansson eventually traded the high-intensity work for something a little gentler on the body: Pilates.

"I got to an age when I was actually training on 'Black Widow,' and you know, I think it's hard to lift heavy weights at a certain point," Johansson said. "You just, your body reacts in a different way than it [did] — the recovery is tough. And so I started doing Pilates to try to give myself a break from some of the heavy weightlifting and I just fell in love with it. And now I do that mostly."

The practice has been around since the 1920s, but it's become ultra popular in the last few years as people turned to less stressful, more feel-good workouts in the wake of the COVID pandemic and after years doing high-intensity exercise — just like Johansson. Many other celebs are fans, too, including Kylie Jenner, Kerry Washington, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga.

Johansson said she trains five days a week if she's actively filming, and three or four days a week when she's not — typically always hour-long private sessions with a trainer, first thing in the morning.

Johansson assures Evarts that there are no secret celeb health tricks — "there are no hacks to health and wellness" — at least not ones that Johansson knows about, she jokes.

Rather, for her, it's as simple as moving her body often. "I think for me personally, doing physical exercise as many times a week as I can do keeps me like mentally sane," she says. "And that goes a long way, 'cause I'm not getting as much sleep as I should be."

Johansson is a mom of two kids — Rose, 8, and Cosmo, 1 — and she knows all too well how exhausting life with a baby can be. "I try to nap if I can, when the kids are napping, when my baby's napping, whenever." And the rest of her wellness routine is pretty darn relatable: "I eat too late. I love to have a glass of wine at the end of the day . . . I'm not gonna be able to stick to some crazy diet unless somebody's like making food for me. And that drives me crazy, too. I love to cook. I'm a very, like, casual person in that way."

That makes movement her "me time" and a crucial part of her self-care. "I think my go-to thing is that I try to do physical exercise whenever I can in the week because it helps my whole mental well-being." And as champions of the many non-aesthetic benefits of exercise, we're all for that.

To listen to the rest of the interview, check out "The Skinny Confidential Him & Her" wherever you listen to podcasts.