Motivation Munnday: X-Men AoA’s Olivia Munn

It’s the Munnday before X-Men: Age of Apocalypse hits theaters, so why not get some motivation for the week via a pertinent event in geek culture?


I didn’t have access to G4 back when Olivia Munn was co-hosting Attack of the Show with Chris Hardwick, but I did fall in love her portrayal of economics geek Sloan Sabbith on HBO’s The Newsroom. As part of the press tour for X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, she kept mentioning how much training she’s done for the role to portray one of her favorite (as well as one of mine) X-Men.

Trolling her Instagram account (like ya do), I came across this #fbf post from last month (yes, I’ve been sitting on this post for a month just so it’s relevant when it goes up). Comparing side-by-side images of the first day in her costume to the last day she says, “Martial arts and sword training… was the easiest and most fun way to lose 12 lbs without even trying.” And while she’s beautiful and healthy in both images, we can tell that she’s leaner now than in the beginning of shooting.


She goes on to clarify that her weight loss “was never about losing weight, it was about getting fit and healthy and learning new skills,” which resonated with me. In my personal fitness journey, I’ve found that when I’m successful at losing weight and/or changing my body composition (increasing lean tissue and decreasing fatty tissue), it’s when I’m focusing on eating well and training my body. Any weight loss or inches lost are a fun byproduct of taking care of myself. Whereas the times that I try a new nutrition plan or exercise routine to “lose weight” are the times that I’m stressed out, am obsessing over food, and keep wondering whether I’ve lost any weight yet. Not fun.

Writing about motivation and exercise adherence, ACSM’s Resources for the Personal Trainer  (4th edition, Chapter 8, page 226) discusses the relationship between exercise adherence for those who are intrinsically motivated (motivation focused on internal outcomes – like how exercise makes a person feel) versus those who are extrinsically motivated (motivation based on external outcomes – like weight loss or how that cosplay fits for SDCC). Basically, research has shown that because intrinsic motivation isn’t based on a timeframe, unlike working out specifically for SDCC, and is based on finding motivation from the “personal value” of exercise (the fun, community, or challenge of pushing your body), those who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to adhere to an exercise program (and achieve their exercise goals).

My own experience makes this research true for myself: when I’m motivated because I am enjoying the experience I’m more successful than when I’m focusing on external outcomes. From Oliva Munn’s comments on her Instagram post, we can see that it’s true for her too. So with this Motivation Monday post, I hope that rather than sign up for a martial arts class because “Olivia Munn lost 12 pounds doing it,” we use her example to motivate ourselves to find and pursue our internal goals, which could include signing up for a martial arts class because Olivia Munn makes it look fun.

Side note: I don’t think that Olivia Munn was beholden to justify any of her weight loss. None of us know her health history or have a say on how she looks or feels about her body, so it’s a bummer that we live in a day and age where she felt like she had to clarify that. At the same time, I do appreciate her sharing her results from having intrinsic goals based on fitness, health, and learning new things (perhaps she’s a fellow Ravenclaw?)

Here’s a video of Olivia Munn making exercise look fun:

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Drop kick it like it's…

A post shared by Olivia Munn (@oliviamunn) on

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