Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar star Zoe Saldana is known for the strong women she portrays on-screen. She’s also a mom of three, and she founded BESE, a digital media platform with the mission of promoting diverse, uplifting stories.
I admire Zoe’s positive attitude, transparency, and discipline. She’s worked really hard to be successful in her career, and she seems like such a caring mom too. I loved learning more about how she stays in shape.
Before filming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Zoe gave birth to twins! Losing weight after giving birth can take some women longer than others, and moms shouldn’t feel pressured to bounce back too quickly.
Zoe had to go slowly, and she wasn’t able to do a lot of strenuous exercises. Because of this, she focused on eating healthy food that would nourish her and her little ones.
I can empathise with Zoe’s struggles. I am a relatively new mom, and my postpartum health journey was difficult as well. The pressure to lose weight and eat well can be exhausting for some women, and everybody should go at their own pace.
Zoe worked hard to lose her baby weight (and she does look incredible!). However, she noticed herself getting anxious over what she’d eat, and it would distract her from being present with her family members and friends. Because of this, Zoe has learned that she can’t be too obsessive about her food choices. She doesn’t diet (and she won’t even say the word!). Instead, she tries to eat nutritious foods that will keep her healthy for the rest of her life.
In general, Zoe tries to follow an 80/20 schedule. She eats healthy meals about 80% of the time, and she lets herself eat treats the rest of the time. She sticks to healthy choices over the week, but she worries about it less over the weekend.
Zoe eats a lot of eggs and vegetables for breakfast because she loves the protein that eggs provide. She’ll also sometimes eat avocado toast, which she tops with sliced tomatoes. She likes to serve the meals with green juice in the morning. It’s an easy way for her to get some vegetables in, and she appreciates how efficient it is.
As a busy mom of three, Zoe doesn’t always have much time to prepare breakfast in the morning. So, she often makes quick but nutritious shakes for herself and her kids. Here’s what she puts in her go-to shake:
Zoe prefers to eat meals she (or her husband) cooks at home. She loves trying food from around the world, but she’ll always crave Caribbean dishes that she grew up eating, including rice and beans and grilled fish with vegetables.
One dish that she grew up eating was her mom’s stir-fry fried rice. She updated the recipe for her family, and she now uses quinoa instead of rice. Here are the ingredients she uses:
Zoe also likes making potato and shrimp salad. The dish was passed down in her family for generations. To make the salad, mix boiled eggs, potatoes, carrots, and cooked shrimp. She uses a tangy onion vinaigrette as a dressing.
Zoe and her family try to eat mostly gluten-free. However, Zoe’s husband is Italian, and he wants to continue to enjoy some dishes from his home cuisine. Because of this, Zoe ends up eating a diet that’s about 80% gluten-free. She eats some pasta, bread, and breaded meats, but, most of the time, Zoe looks for gluten-free alternatives for dinner.
One of her favourite dinner dishes is grilled honey ginger chicken. She eats the chicken with quinoa and zucchini. Yum!
She also loves gluten-free pizza. She uses cauliflower crust and loads it with lots of toppings. Some of her favourite toppings to bake with at home are:
When she’s eating out, she loves to head to a dim sum restaurant. She says she’ll eat anything steamed in a dumpling!
For dessert, Zoe enjoys making coconut macaroons.
Zoe trains with Steve Moyer, and he likes her to do a lot of varied exercises to push her body in different ways. He typically likes to have his clients do a combination of cardio workouts and resistance training.
After giving birth to her twins, Zoe had to slowly readjust to working out. Getting back to your usual workout routine after pregnancy can take new moms a lot of time (it did for me!). At first, all Zoe was able to do for exercise was go on long walks.
Over time, Zoe was able to work up to doing harder forms of exercise, including running, hitting the elliptical, riding a stationary bike, or swimming laps. In general, she prefers to do steady-state cardio for at least 40 minutes to an hour. Doing moderate cardio workouts like this helped her body stay in the fat-burning zone.
At times, Zoe will do HIIT workouts. However, Steve Moyer doesn’t want her to overwork her body, which can be a concern with doing lots of HIIT workouts. He wants to make sure her body has time to recover between workouts, and he knows that pushing too hard in the gym can cause burnout.
Zoe has also worked with trainer Ramona Braganza, who helped her get ready for Star Trek, which came out in 2009. With Ramona, Zoe wanted to avoid the treadmill and other gym equipment as much as possible. They made cardio more fun by incorporating boxing and dancing into her routine. She also did a lot of kicks, leg lifts, and plyometric combinations.
She also enjoys going for hikes outdoors with her family.
Zoe’s goal is to stay lean and toned. To help her achieve this look, Steve likes Zoe to do interval resistance workouts three days a week. He wants her to have rest in-between each day, so she doesn’t do these on consecutive days.
Here’s one of her interval workouts:
After completing the circuit, she takes a one-minute break. Then, she repeats the exercises from the beginning. She does a total of 5 sets.
Zoe also likes doing Pilates-inspired workouts, especially for her core. Some of her favourite ab-workouts are:
I admire how open Zoe has been about her struggles postpartum and issues with body image. Navigating taking care of your body and wellbeing without becoming obsessive can be challenging. However, Zoe seems to have found an excellent balance!
I love Zoe’s consistent approach to exercise and how she values eating food that will help her and her family be healthy. :)
Love Rachael Xx