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The secrets for how the ‘Barbie’ cast stayed on their dancing toes, from Pilates to eliminating ultra-processed foods



For many pink-splashed moviegoers, a highlight of the iconic ‘Barbie’ film was the elaborate dance numbers led by the dolls of Barbieland. 

Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling), and the rest of the dolls, have multiple choreographed numbers in the Greta Gerwig creation—cue “I’m Just Ken” and “Dance the Night,” along with the synchronized roller blading scenes around L.A. 

The mastermind behind the cast’s doll-like physiques—which the film critiques as unrealistic—is London-based trainer and physical therapist David Higgins.

The cast did Pilates and weight-lifting as part of their training, Higgins, Barbieland’s personal trainer, told Insider

Pilates and dance 

The Kens took a break from ‘beach’ to hit the Pilates floor. 

Higgins held group workout sessions for the Kens, according to an interview with GQ

“It created a ‘we’re all in it together’ kind of feeling, which helped with motivation,” Higgins told GQ. “If one person was struggling, another might come around and say ‘Come on, let’s do this.’ I really loved this group of guys; they’re so positive.” 

The dolls had dance and choreography training separate from their workouts, so Higgins focused on strength and resistance training through Pilates and upper and lower body reps, according to GQ

Of course, the Kens were always competing against one another, whether in the ‘Mojo Dojo Casa House’ or off-screen. Higgins also implemented push-ups and plank competitions as a fun way to keep everyone active. 

Goodbye ultra-processed foods  

Regarding diet and nutrition, Higgins laid off implementing extreme rules for the cast. Instead, he encouraged them to be mindful of their food choices and, most importantly, say no to ultra-processed foods.  

“Ultra-processed food is not good for your body, it’s just not. Once you get rid of that, your body thanks you: you’re clearer, you sleep better, you’re not as stuffy when you wake up,” he tells Insider

Ultra-processed foods—or foods chemically altered to entice us—have many health consequences. The consumption of these foods increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, diabetes, and obesity, according to the American Medical Association

Ultra-processed foods are inflammatory (think: chips, cookies, and sweetened drinks), making it harder to fall and stay asleep. 

Research suggests ultra-processed foods can also lead to cognitive decline, affecting memory and processing skills as people age. Research from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference last year points to how those who get at least 20% of their calories from highly processed foods had a 25% faster decline cognitively. 

Experts recommend having a diet with a range of whole foods, from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean proteins. When eating packaged items, experts recommend minimally processed foods with simple ingredient lists. Diets rich in fiber and protein also help people feel more full for longer. 

Intermittent fasting 

Higgins recommended the cast participate in intermittent fasting by eating during an 8-hour window, according to Insider. Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular to lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Research suggests time-restricted eating windows may also help the body with insulin resistance and stabilize blood glucose levels. Many longevity experts swear by it as a way to extend healthspan and lifespan. 

However, intermittent fasting is not for everyone; it’s most important to get enough nutrients and energy through food during the day, as well as to stay hydrated. 

While the dolls made it look effortless in a world where it’s girls night forever and ever, their real-life versions abided by a few daily habits to keep their energy up in Barbieland.

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