GLOW star Alison Brie is featured in the December 2017 issue of Women’s Health.
Alison Brie doesn’t want to talk about shooting the second season of the Netflix “lady wrestler” hit, GLOW. Or the two Oscar-bait movies she’s in this month. Her wedding to actor Dave Franco (brother of James) earlier this year? Thanks, but she’ll pass. The 34-year-old would rather wax poetic about split squats. (Yeah, the brutal, one-legged kind.)
“I just did my heaviest ones ever—80 pounds,” she says, slipping her legs, still clad in black camo workout pants, under a weathered picnic table in Los Angeles’s Griffith Park. “Usually I peak at 50, but today we went up and I was like, ‘Oh my god!’ It was intense.”
Alison’s enthusiasm makes sense when she describes how her workouts of the past two years have had a ripple effect on her entire life. “I came out of it feeling like a totally different person. It changed everything.”
Six years ago, when Alison started working out with L.A. trainer Jason Walsh, she did mostly circuits and light weights. She never thought hardcore strength training was “for her,” fearing it would make her bulky. “Growing up in L.A., both my sister and I had sort of touch-and-go body issues, some mildly recurring body dysmorphia.”
But when she needed to step up her workouts to prepare for GLOW—”to be able to throw people and do things like that,” she says—she boosted both muscle and confidence. “I feel like I was building strength outside and in at the same time,” Alison says. “Now I feel like strength is beautiful, rather than that stick-skinny is the beauty standard.”
She’s not speaking in platitudes. In fact, Alison has gotten to a place where, she says, “I’ve just never given less f-cks. It’s a nice feeling because you live your life more and care less about what other people think.” It’s also given her a constant. “Your career will fluctuate; you’ll have highs and lows. But I can always go to the gym and work out. I’m in control of myself and my body.”
Speaking of her career, it’s riding one of those highs and—just like in the gym—busting out of its comfort zone. She went from ancillary roles portraying wholesome women (as Trudy, wife of Pete Campbell, on AMC’s Mad Men and Annie Edison on NBC’s Community) to co-starring with Meryl Streep in Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers project, The Post, and the indie-film-circuit favorite The Disaster Artist.
Having reached this magic moment in her life, Alison is looking to support other actresses—as well as any woman just trying to get healthier. “She’s a very encouraging person,” says Walsh. “Someone new would come in to the gym, and Alison would be the first to go over to them and tell them it pays off.” Now she’s here to encourage you. Want in on all that tone—and that feel-good energy? Pick up some weights and dive into Alison’s lift-heavy primer.
GLOW is now streaming on Netflix.
Photography: Jeff Lipsky