Hilary Swank Workout and Diet for “Million Dollar Baby”




“Above all, always protect yourself.” This is what Frankie Dunn, a character in the movie Million Dollar Baby (2004) made sure he taught his boxer trainees. He was always protecting not only his physical self, but his emotional self and ability to connect with anyone. That was until a less fortunate thirty-one year old waitress, Maggie Fitzgerald, walked into his life. She soon persuaded him to agree to be her coach and manager and Frank played a huge role in developing her character and career as a boxer. Actress, Hillary Swank, played the role of Maggie Fitzgerald. Hillary had to go through an inordinate amount of intense bodybuilding training to truly look like a boxer. After her training, she had weighed about 129 pounds. That doesn’t seem like much but in a short three months, she had ended up gaining 19 pounds of muscle when the producers only asked her to gain 10 pounds of muscle.

“If there is magic in boxing, it will be the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It is the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.” Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris, Character from Million Dollar Baby

Well, everyone saw Hilary’s dream of gaining that weight and they saw her succeed. Hilary received the Best Actress award at the 77th Annual Academy Awards and was listed in “People” magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People that same year and the year afterwards. Swank was born on July 30, 1974 in Lincoln, Nebraska and she was around thirty years old when she was working on the Million Dollar Baby. During her earlier days, she moved to Los Angeles from Washington to chase after her dreams of becoming an actress. She started off in acting at the young age of sixteen. She played in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Next Karate Kid, The Affair of the Necklace, Beverly Hills 90210, and Boys Don’t Cry, Iron Jawed Angels, and Red Dust.

Buffing Up For the Part

Proof that muscle gain on women can look good

Hilary Swank was already naturally fit from being involved in sports in high school but she still had to go through a training process to achieve a toned and fit body to be believable in the role as a boxer. It was extremely important that Swank would follow a fitness regimen that would allow her to pack on lean muscle. What did she eat? The Hilary Swank workout and diet required her to take in a total amount of 4000 calories a day to gain weight. Her diet was filled with about 210 grams worth of protein rich foods and a low amount of 50 grams of carbohydrates daily. She especially made sure she had egg whites and drank protein shakes. Every 4.5 hours, she had to eat a meal that had protein in it so that she could slowly but surely, cover her protein amounts for the day. Besides drinking water, she had to drink flax oil. That alone gave her 1000 calories each day so that her metabolism would speed the process of digesting the protein and burning the fat away.

Elements of the Hilary Swank Workout Regimen

Hilary Swank’s Million Dollar fitness transformation

What was her workout plan like? With the help and guidance from a personal trainer, Grant Roberts, Swank practiced for two hours each day for four to five days a week and grew to realize that boxing was not as easy as she thought it would be. She used dumbbells during her bench-presses and she pushed her SUV in neutral gear to train her legs. Her personal trainer wanted to push her to be the best she could be. Even after completing the film, Swank maintained her fit body Hilary Swank workout through cycling, Pilates and Krav Maga.


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