In my own life, health looks like Brussels sprouts and donuts, movie marathons and long hikes, scrolling through Twitter and calming my mind through meditation. In other words, balance is key to staying happy and healthy long-term. So when I came across Brie Larson's Instagram post combining a workout and cookies, I connected with her on a spiritual level.
In case you haven't stumbled across her incredible video post yet, it's the latest in her series of what I'm referring to as "exercise and eating" posts, which previously featured Larson combining leg raises with what appears to be the world's best donut: strawberry frosted with sprinkles. In her most recent post, Larson once again exercised both her muscles and her appetite by doing 275-pound barbell hip thrusts and enjoying a cookie at the same dang time.
So what exactly does this exercise do, besides, of course, making Larson look like a literal superwoman? According to one expert, working your glute muscles with this specific kind of thrust can help protect your body from injury, and make you more effective at a number of other common strength exercises. “Weak glutes are associated with tight hip flexors, sore knees, and can be associated with poor movement mechanics,” Dr. Austin Robinson, a strength coach with a Ph.D. in exercise science, told Men's Journal. “Targeting the glutes with hip thrusts should help these issues and improve other important lifts, such as squat and deadlift.”
In addition to keeping you injury-free and building up your muscles, weightlifting in general can be a great way to relieve stress, potentially even more so than other types of exercise. "I work with busy moms, CEOs, and celebrities with insane schedules who tell me the time we spend weight lifting is the best stress reliever for them," celebrity trainer and exercise physiologist, Michelle Lovitt, told Health. "They channel their stress into the weights, and the powerful movements and exertion really allow you to release something both physically and emotionally."
It's unclear when Larson's love for cookies from the What’s Gaby Cooking cookbook (which she tagged in her post) began, but according to an interview with E! News from December 2018, preparing for her superhero role in Captain Marvel really transformed the way Larson thought about working out. "I didn't know what strength was," she told the outlet. "I was truly an introvert with asthma before this film, so I had a lot of work to do, and I just started to fall in love with it."
Watching herself become stronger, she explained, helped her begin to see her body as a tool for the first time, instead of focusing mostly on her internal self as she had before. "I think in the past, I was more interested in my body never being part of conversation. To me, it felt like objectification," she explained. "I just wanted to be a brain, so I've only cared about reading books and understanding words, and anything that involved my body made me itchy. But this was an opportunity for me to...make my body mine."
Taking on the badass Marvel role of Carol Danvers, an Air Force officer who becomes one of the most powerful heroes in the universe, jumpstarted power workouts for the 29-year-old actress. "I knew in movies like this, it was going to feel like a triathlon—and I wanted to be ready for it," Larson told E! News. She explained,
I wanted to be prepared as possible so I wasn't fighting fatigue or my body [was] hurting...Also, a huge part of [Captain Marvel] is her strength. I knew if I could go through that experience, I would get closer to her and I'd understand [her].
Moral of the story: The next time you're trying to decide whether to hit the gym on the way home from work or pay a visit to the brownie that's been calling your name in the bakery window nearby, do both, superhero-style.