The Secrets of Rebel Wilson's "Year of Health": How She Got Into Fighting Shape

Declaring 2020 "The Year of Health," Rebel Wilson has remained committed to reaching her goal weight of 165 pounds. Here's how she's doing it.

Rebel Wilson has been working on her glow-up for quite some time now.

While the impossibly charming comedic actress hasn't fully ditched her beloved baseball caps, her wardrobe has received quite the upgrade from when the Sydney native arrived in Hollywood with just one suitcase of clothes and a blanket a little more than a decade ago.

"Maybe I'm just taking a bit more pride in my appearance now, which I think is a positive thing because I was too far the other way before," the Aussie mused to InStyle in May 2019 of her newfound appreciation for Fendi and Gucci. Plus there's the help of stylist Elizabeth Stewart, who's taught her "all these little tips and tricks—and they really work," she continued. "Then you feel more comfortable when you have to dress up. I remember I didn't even go to a friend's wedding in my 20s because I didn't know where to buy a dress in my size. Now it is the opposite. Now I have a wardrobe full of custom Givenchy."

But if anyone has the name of a good tailor…

Declaring 2020 to be "The Year of Health" well before any of us realized just getting out of our leggings and sweatshirts would feel ambitious, the 40-year-old—best known as Pitch Perfect's Fat Amy—has stuck to her goal of getting down to 75 kilograms (that's roughly 165 pounds for all the non-metric users) by the end of the year. 

"When I was reaching for the candies last night after dinner I thought to myself "hmmmm…better not" and had a bottle of water instead," she wrote in an Aug. 28 update, "8kg's to go until I hit my goal—hopefully I can do it by the end of the year."

Undoubtedly confident at any size—having once declared she thought gaining weight was the secret to her breaking into comedy—the star, who broke out in the U.S. with 2011's Bridesmaids, just felt now was the time to key in on her physical health. 

Tracking both her progress ("Closer each day," she captioned one Lycra-forward snap) and her impressive AF six-day-a-week workouts on Instagram, she's encouraging her 8 million followers to tackle their personal ambitions right along with her.  

"Even if you have to crawl towards your goals, keep going," she shared in one May post. "Try and give a little bit of effort each day…I know some days are frustrating as hell, you feel like giving up, you get annoyed at the lack of progress…but good things are coming your way." 

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For Wilson that good fortune began in June 2019 when she and a close friend, British TV presenter Carly Steel, booked a trip to Austrian wellness center VivaMayr. 

Over three weeks they endured what Steel called "the most incredible, comprehensive Mayr method system reset I've experienced," a practice that emphasizes improved digestion by eliminating snacking, reducing gluten and dairy and focusing on how each meal is consumed. 

"It's an approach that eliminates food intolerances, reduces sugar, encourages eating whole foods slowly, boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation," a source close to Wilson told People. And the daily hypoxtraining, aerial yoga sessions and alkalizing foot baths changed the game for the actress who declared the European spot one of her favorites, writing in March that she couldn't wait to get back "and continue my health journey!"

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Thanks for all the love so far on my “Year of Health” journey – when I was reaching for the candies last night after dinner I thought to myself “hmmmm…better not” and had a bottle of water instead x 8kg’s to go until I hit my goal – hopefully I can do it by the end of the year x

A post shared by Rebel Wilson (@rebelwilson) on

Until then, she's doing pretty okay on her own, kicking off her year Jan. 2 by slipping into athleisure for a walk on the beach, then "deliberately hydrating on the couch right now and trying to avoid the sugar and junk food which is going to be hard after the holidays I've just had but I'm going to do it!" she shared before asking, "Who's with me in making some positive changes this year?"

Well, for starters, Australian trainer Jono Castano, who's pushed Wilson through sessions that involve everything from running up and down the stairs of the Sydney Opera House (after walking there as a warm-up) to a CrossFit-inspired tire-flipping exercise that had her challenging fellow Aussies Chris Hemsworth and Liam Hemsworth (her costar in 2019's Isn't It Romantic) and declaring that "Australia's latest action hero is turning it up!"

"She always gives 100 percent," Castano tells E! News. 

Though his plans are tailored by client, a typical week will see him mixing days of pure high-intensity interval training with weights and resistance training, including one full recovery day and another focused on mobility. But even on the off days, he tells E! News, "I always suggest moving for at least 45 minutes whether that's a walk or some form of physical activity you enjoy doing." (See: Wilson's frequent hikes and Aug. 25 surf lesson in Malibu.)

"We focus on plenty of HIIT circuits, but at the same time, focusing on technique and tempo," he explains. "And understanding that each exercise is vital when working at a quick capacity." So there's no slacking when it comes to doing the squats and mountain climbers he prescribes, sharing a workout with E! News in the video above.

His nutrition advice is just as straightforward, the basic understanding being to burn more calories than you take in. "I know it's so simple but it's science and it's a proven method," he explains. "But I also believe eating the right calories is important, too, which means making sure you're watching your macronutrients (carbs/fats/protein) and getting as many vitamins and minerals from your food. Your body will function better and you will have much more energy and motivation to focus on your health and fitness." 

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Starting the week off right! Look out @chrishemsworth & @liamhemsworth ? Australia’s latest action hero is turning it up! ??

A post shared by Rebel Wilson (@rebelwilson) on

Sticking to three meals a day, with a snack or two in between, is key, says Castano, who will often opt for a fresh salad topped with grilled chicken and different vegetables and dressings or tuna salad with a cup of brown rice. 

"I always suggest to plan your meals and don't stray from that plan," he says. "You don't have to eat at a certain time and only eat when you are hungry, but stick to the plan and you won't over eat or add unnecessary calories to your day."

His other trick is to stay extra hydrated "as sometimes we confuse hunger with being thirsty." By far, though, his most crucial advice involves focusing on your motivation for sweating it out in the first place. 

"I always tell my clients to find the 'why' they are making the change," he notes, adding that he's constantly in touch to make sure they're sticking to their own targets, tracking progress with photos and a measuring tape. "Change is always a positive one when you truly believe it," he says. "When your mindset is focused on achieving that goal, then everything else is much easier to implement."

For Rebel, who told E! News in 2016 that "I exercise like a MOFO," she just felt it was time to switch things up. 

"Rebel has been creating personal goals each year for a while now," a source explained to People. "2018 was the Year of Fun, and she went on amazing adventures and traveled a lot; 2019 was the Year of Love, and she went on fabulous dates; 2020 is the Year of Health. She has been very focused and dedicated."

Having always been confident in her skin, "her healthy journey is more about how it makes her feel than the physical benefits," said the source. "She has more energy and more confidence, which you can see from her sexier Instagram shots."

And, perhaps soon, with just 17 pounds to go, a whole new wardrobe of custom designs to show off her hard work. 

—Reporting by Amanda Williams

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