Halle Berry Broke Two Ribs Training to Play an MMA Fighter and Pushing Her 'Body to Its Limits'

The actress stepped into the ring for her new movie Bruised and after going all-in during training, says she's "never been healthier and felt stronger" than she does now

Halle Berry for Women's Health
Halle Berry. Photo: Cliff Watts for Women’s Health

With two broken ribs, Halle Berry truly got Bruised as she trained to play an MMA fighter in her new movie.

The Academy Award-winning actress, 55, stars as a former fighter who gets back into the ring in the upcoming Netflix film, and along with directing and starring, Berry was determined to fit the part, and trained with UFC champion Valentina Shevchenko.

That meant learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, Muay Thai, tae kwon do and kickboxing; doing heavy weight training and challenging her body. She even broke two ribs during a scene with Shevchenko. And it's not the first time Berry has broken ribs on set. She broke three while training for John Wick 3, an injury which she called "a badge of honor."

"I'm at my best when I have to work hard and when I'm facing challenges," she told Women's Health for their December cover. "To be the age I am and push my body to its limits reminded me that age is just a number. We can control how we define ourselves, and I've never been healthier and felt stronger. This movie helped me realize that."

Berry said she impressed herself with her fighting abilities during the shoot.

"One of the biggest compliments I got in the whole process was when we were shooting scenes and the referee who called Valentina's fights in real life said, 'That last take, I thought I was watching a real Valentina fight!' And for me, that was the moment that all this training, all this work, having a real fighter, paid off," she said.

Halle Berry for Women's Health
Halle Berry. Cliff Watts for Women’s Health

In her normal life, Berry isn't doing quite as intense workouts, but she is very dedicated to fitness. She typically exercises six days a week, usually doing weight training and plyometric workouts with her trainer Peter Lee Thomas, but she'll go for a stretching, Pilates or yoga day when her body needs a break.

She also makes sure to focus on her core after giving birth to daughter Nahla, 13, and son Maceo, 8, with sit-ups and crunches while hanging upside down.

"Only something severe even puts a dent in my abs," she said. "I've had two children, so the skin is just looser there. So, I have to fill that area with muscle."

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And Berry said that her kids are her motivation for getting in those near-daily workouts.

"It's not easy. But I always remind myself why I'm doing it," she said. "Since I had [kids] a little later in life, I want to be here for them. I want to live as long as I can and see my grandbabies."

Halle Berry for Women's Health
Halle Berry. Cliff Watts for Women’s Health

To make that happen, Berry also maintains a low-carb, protein-heavy diet and likes to intermittent fast. And she regularly does acupuncture, which she said helps her "out-of-whack hormones" that she thinks are from perimenopause. Focusing on those areas helps Berry be at her best, for herself and her kids.

"We always have to take care of ourselves first, because I can't be a good mother for my children if I'm not fundamentally happy and feeling good about myself," she said.

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