If you haven鈥檛 yet watched GLOW, Netflix鈥檚 series based on the 鈥80s professional women鈥檚 wrestling circuit, you need to get off the ropes and binge all 10 half-hour episodes. Like now. While the show has plenty of style 鈥 think teased hair, spandex, and so much neon 鈥 it also has substance. Alison Brie鈥榮 character, Ruth Wilder, a struggling but eager actress, drop kicks, body slams, and throws herself along with the rest of the misfits that form the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling into what is one of the most fun, female-empowering shows of the summer.

In order to get into ring-ready shape, Brie and her trainer, Jason Walsh 鈥 a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) 鈥 stepped up her workouts. In addition to Brie, who he has trained for over five years, Walsh also counts Jennifer Aniston, Irina Shayk, and Lily Aldridge as part of his client list. He has his own studio in Los Angeles, Rise Nation, and has worked with both Matt Damon on the new Bourne movies and John Krasinski in 13 Hours. We chatted with Walsh on how he prepped Brie for her role as badass wrestling supervillain 鈥淶oya the Destroyer.鈥


Brit + Co: How was training Alison for her role in GLOW different from how she regularly trains?

Jason Walsh: Well, the frequency was definitely increased. The typical, run-of-the-mill workout schedule for people with me is 2-3 days a week. We ended up doing 4-5 days a week, depending on the week, depending on how much we were doing, what we were doing. I would regulate that and see how she was doing. And toward the end, right before she started shooting, we added in Rise Nation classes on the second half of the day, so sometimes she was doing two-a-days.

Yeah, it鈥檚 insane. It literally paralleled what I would do with someone like a Matt Damon. It鈥檚 very similar training.


B+C: How was preparing for this role different from ones you鈥檝e prepared for in the past?

JW: It鈥檚 very similar. Luckily for her, she had been working with me for awhile, so I knew that she had a very, very solid foundation. She moves really well, so all we really needed to do was turn the dial up.

She told me what the requirements were and what she wanted to do. The director was like, 鈥淟isten, we鈥檝e got stuntwomen who are going to do all the stunts off the ropes.鈥 And Alison being Alison 鈥 she鈥檚 just a badass, she鈥檚 just a total amazing person 鈥 she was like, 鈥淣o, I really want to do all the stunts.鈥 So that being said, my thought was, how do we keep her from getting injured? Just like a professional athlete. Football players, MMA fighters, any of these contact sports 鈥 a lot of the training is about keeping these guys resilient and healthy. A lot of that comes to strength training. So we just got her really, really strong. And it really fit her and her role really well. She did every single stunt [in GLOW], except for maybe one, which is amazing. Actors just don鈥檛 do that, because it鈥檚 too risky.

B+C: Did you focus on any specific moves or body parts?

JW: Think about it 鈥 it鈥檚 really full-body contact. You don鈥檛 necessarily do one body part over the other. We did a lot of heavy strength, full body, multi-joint, multi-angular exercises that required every muscle in the body to work together. The more rigid and the more solid we could get the synergist muscles working with the big movers, to me, that was everything, because I knew that if we got her moving well and strong with those movements that she could probably encounter just about anything in that ring and walk away. You鈥檙e going to get bruises and nicks and cuts and things like that, but major injuries are big because you鈥檙e gonna shut down production, and that鈥檚 the last thing they want to do.

B+C: What did a typical workout look like?

JW: We focused a lot on heavy, heavy sleds. Sled pushing and pulling. And if you take a look at this girl, she鈥檚 tiny. She鈥檚 not bulky. She looks awesome. She looks like most girls want to look. People that want to 鈥済et in shape鈥濃 there鈥檚 this worry that lifting heavy weights is going to bulk you up, and she鈥檚 very much a true testament to training properly and how pushing and pulling heavy weights is not going to bulk you up. She might have actually gotten tinier; she just became much more dense.

So back to your question. Heavy sleds. We did every variation of squats and deadlifts available, both single and double leg. She can do multiple sets of 10-12 pull ups, full body hang. It鈥檚 impressive, and it鈥檚 so empowering.

B+C: Did you guys have a go-to exercise?

JW: I think she really got into pull-ups and deadlifts. She loved the challenge of deadlifting and getting better at those. We did so many different variations that you never knew what was coming for her, but she really progressed well with the deadlifts.

B+C: What kind of advice do you have for women who are worried that strength training will bulk them up?

JW: There are definitely methods out there that will cause that bulking. High rep weights and higher calories and things like that [create] a great environment for getting stronger and/or putting on lots of muscle. I鈥檓 not saying it鈥檚 a bad thing; it鈥檚 just what you want and what you require. Sometimes in sports, that鈥檚 what they want. They want these girls lifting heavy, getting lots of calories in and getting stronger, hitting the ball further, running faster. It can be geared toward that.

But we really messed with a lot of the rep schemes and sets with her to keep it in a range where she benefited from the strength, not necessarily from the cross section of muscles, meaning the thickness or growth of it. So it鈥檚 just regulation.

B+C: Did you make any changes/adjustments to nutrition or meals?

JW: We tinkered with it a little bit here and there, but for the most part, she鈥檚 a very healthy person that eats well. You don鈥檛 want to overload people with too many things. If it became an issue or problem, then I would step in. We just went with it. Her appetite definitely increased, but we capped her at a certain amount of calories per day and just watched it. And it unfolded perfectly.

B+C: What goal in mind did you have when developing her training?

JW: Listen, she had to wear a leotard. Who doesn鈥檛 want to look good 鈥 you鈥檙e on screen. She鈥檚 the only girl on the show that didn鈥檛 wear the shiny leggings that most of them wore under the leotards, which make you look smoother. And she refused to do it because she didn鈥檛 need to. She looked great. She was very confident. There鈥檚 also that psychological aspect for women鈥 What angle do I look good at, I don鈥檛 really feel comfortable doing this or taking this off or wearing this. She felt so confident, she didn鈥檛 have that holding her back from taking her clothes off or wearing a leotard for the whole show. That鈥檚 huge. And then you can really focus on your acting. She paid me a huge compliment with that because she was like, 鈥淚 just feel so confident. I feel so good in my skin.鈥

B+C: So it鈥檚 mental just as much as physical?

JW: One hundred percent. When you feel great, you look great, psychologically, you just feel like you can do anything.

Have you watched GLOW? Share your thoughts with us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Netflix)