Have you guys seen Fifty Shades of Grey?

I honestly believe that the movies would have been far less appealing if they’d chosen any actress other than Dakota Johnson. Dakota comes from a long line of actors—both her mother and father have some pretty hefty roles to their names—so she’s no stranger to the spotlight.

Dakota has been living with her boyfriend Chris Martin in his Malibu mansion during quarantine. Recently she’s been spotted wearing a large green ring on her wedding finger! I’m excited to see if this means there’s a wedding in the future for the happy pair! :)

Apart from Fifty Shades, she’s had the opportunity to shine in other movies such as The Peanut Butter Falcon, The High Note, and the newly released Our Friend. Fifty Shades pushed her in different ways, though.

And that means she had to get serious about her diet and workout routine. Though the series ended a few years ago, she’s stayed committed to her routine AND IT WORKS!

Let’s see how she does it!


During filming, Dakota had healthy meals prepared and delivered to her by a professional chef. This allowed her to focus on the role and getting her body in shape. But those meals helped her establish super healthy habits.

She follows the 3-2-1 plan. This means she eats three meals, has two snacks throughout the day, and drinks at least 1 liter of water every day. 


For breakfast, Dakota often opts for a combination of complex carbs and healthy proteins. Most often, this means a fresh bowl of oatmeal with seasonal fruit and a poached egg.

The combination is the perfect amount to give her the energy she needs to thrive during the day. Even better, the fiber in the oatmeal helps her stay full without having to reach for more food immediately after eating breakfast.


For lunch, she tries to keep things fresh and packed with nutrients. Sometimes, this means eating healthy grains like brown rice or quinoa and lean protein like grilled chicken breast or salmon. Other times, it involves eating a salad filled with fresh veg. 

It all comes down to what she feels like having at that particular time. 

The key for Dakota is not overeating. She keeps things simple, eats enough to give her body the fuel it needs, and focuses on finding foods that make her feel good.


Dinner is often a repeat of lunch and the star doesn’t typically go out to fancy restaurants. Nor does she overindulge in greasy fried foods when she’s feeling down. She eats real and healthy stuff, every single day. 

Her dinners are often on the smaller side, though. This helps her body unwind at the end of the day and may help her sleep better at night. 

dakota johnson exact diet plan
Kathy Hutchins/


Dakota’s snacks are just as healthy as the rest of her diet. She loves grabbing a fresh-squeezed juice when she can. These pack tons of vitamins and antioxidants without any added sugar.

If she’s not around a juice bar or is incredibly busy, she keeps things simple and opts for nuts, fresh fruit, or other low-calorie and low-carb options.

During a virtual tour with Architectural Digest Dakota said that she really loves limes. However, in a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, she admitted that the limes were just set dressing and that she is mildly allergic to the fruit.

In the interview she says “It was hard to just ignore them, so I just lied.” Dakota is very funny!


Dakota doesn’t actively avoid specific types of foods. She instead focuses on eating less-than-healthy foods in moderation. She’s happy to enjoy a little wine every now and then, but she’s careful to avoid overindulging in anything. 

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day often helps her body flush things out and recover faster when she isn’t spot-on with her diet. 


Dakota is naturally slender and she’s able to use this to her advantage when honing her body for roles like Anastasia. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t work out. She just works out in a way that her body responds to. 

For Dakota, this largely means getting smart about cardio. She goes for short 30-minute runs just two to three times each week. This helps her stay lean, kickstarts her metabolism, and powers through calories without putting too much strain on her joints. 

She also LOVES doing hot yoga and incorporates it into her weekly routine whether she’s filming or in between shoots. 

Her favorite type of hot yoga is Bikram yoga which helps her power through calories and get her sweat on without going through an intense cardio workout. When she’s feeling stressed and needs to find a way to unwind, she’ll run through a Hatha yoga routine. 

RELATED POST: Will Yoga Help You Build Long And Lean Muscles

dakota johnson workout routine
magicinfoto/ dakota 3


Though she’s naturally lean, Dakota likes having a toned body. During the 50 Shades series, she worked out with celebrity trainer, Ramona Braganza. The two of them would run through intense circuits of strength exercises several times a week. 

Since she wanted to get toned rather than build bulk, they focused on using light weights and higher reps. And I mean seriously light…they kept it at five pounds or less or stuck to bodyweight exercises to build functional strength.

Braganza approached the training sessions like she was working with a professional dancer. This helped her make adjustments and better target Dakota’s abs, arms, and stabilizing muscles.

RELATED POST: How to Lift Weights Without Getting Bulky


It should come as no surprise that someone as fit as Dakota has a few personal favorite exercises that helped her get the body she displayed on film. 

  • Reverse fly – 10 reps with right leg extended
  • Reverse fly – 10 reps with left leg extended
  • Overhead half-circle with dumbbells – 8 reps
  • Standing “hug a tree” – 8 reps
  • Lat raises – 8 reps

Once she runs through those exercises, Dakota would switch to cardio for about 5 minutes. This might be running on the treadmill or rowing on the seated rowing machine.

Then she’d move onto these ab exercises:

  • Lying leg and triceps extensions – 20 reps
  • Oblique rotations – 10 reps
  • Walking plank 20 reps

This was followed by another round of cardio to help her stay loose. She’d then repeat the circuit another two or three times, depending on how much energy she had that day. 

The routine gave her enough variety to keep her muscles from overdeveloping. And she STILL does the workout when she can!

dakota johnson diet workout routine


Anytime you’re working on a film, it’s normal to have sleepless nights or to feel stressed. Dakota is no different. 

On days that she felt overly stressed, she’d take a break from the usual circuit training routine and would instead run through a long series of stretches. The stretches helped keep her from stiffening up and made it easier for her to avoid injury during some of the more…intense…scenes.


Dakota really worked hard for Fifty Shades to improve her diet and workout routine and it’s definitely paid off!

Dakota’s diet is simple and will probably work for most people, provided you’re looking to maintain your weight rather than actively lose weight. The combination of carbs and protein could make it hard for some mesomorphs and most endomorphs. 

Her workout routine is great and will definitely help you get toned without bulking up. But it might not give you enough cardio to help facilitate fat loss. 

Your best bet is to get started with a HIIT routine like this one. You’ll get your heart rate up (cardio) and tone your muscles without having to worry about lifting any heavy weights. Or, if you are unable to go to a gym, then a home workout like this one will be great for you!

Thanks for reading, lovelies!

Love Rachael xx

Featured image credit: Kathy Hutchins /


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Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

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