The LA Times Health Section has a great interview with Leven Rambin about her workout and training she did for The Hunger Games. She really had to work out hard to play Glimmer and it really paid off!
You had to get in excellent physical shape for “The Hunger Games.” How long did you train, and what did you do?
I had about two months to prepare for the fight sequences and physically train. I did lots of spinning, probably an hour and a half a day. I also did boot-camp-style exercises — rolling kettle bells and balls that weighed 30 pounds across the room, using ropes, and rolling tires around, military style.
Every other day, on the days that we weren’t training, I would go hiking or running around Los Angeles, by myself or with my friends. I also did some sprinting — I was pushing myself. Dieting was also a big part of it, so no dairy and no carbohydrates whatsoever.
How did you learn the specific fighting skills, like sword fighting and archery?
I trained different muscles of my body, like my shoulder muscles and back muscles, for long periods of time. I had to thrash the weapons around like I knew what I was doing, and it was pretty difficult to get my muscles to memorize and acclimate to the different maneuvers. It hurt in places I never knew I had.
I trained in fight choreography and on camera with swords and weapons for about two hours a day, tossing them around like I was a skilled fighter. I was doing that whenever I was not doing the other training, whenever I could.
Before filming, you worked out in a studio in Los Angeles, but you shot the movie in the wilderness of North Carolina. Was it harder to do some of the moves outside?
It was different to be on grass and not to be comforted by padding. During filming, we also didn’t have padding under our outfits, which were pretty flimsy, so it was a little bit difficult getting used to that. It was also really hot out there, and it would rain and stuff, so we had to deal with the elements. But it was more natural and organic.