Naomi Watts, 50, Finds it ‘Harder’ to Maintain Muscle Tone as She Gets Older

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Naomi Watts has never been “fanatical” about hitting the gym, but now, at age 50, she’s had to up the intensity.

The actress, who currently plays former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson on Showtime’s The Loudest Voice, said that she’s started weight training to maintain her muscles.

“As you get older, you have to work harder to keep muscle tone, so that’s why I do strength training with weights,” she told SHAPE for their September cover. “Not the three-pound kind but with higher-level weights using barbells.”

It’s just one of the ways that Watts pushes herself to stay in shape.

“I love the feeling of exercising. But the days of getting up at 4 or 5 a.m. to work out are long gone for me. I’m not fanatical, so I change it up,” she said. “I love yoga, and I have a Pilates Reformer in the house.”

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The mom of two also works with a trainer to keep herself from skipping reps.

“I have a trainer, because I can’t exercise very well if I’m not being instructed,” she admitted. “It’s as if I suddenly develop amnesia: I can’t remember any moves. And nobody is watching, so I’m not going to care if I do three instead of 20.”

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Watts has the same problem with self-discipline if she tries to put herself on a strict diet.

“The minute I put myself in any kind of constraint with eating, I’ll end up rebelling and not doing the right thing. So I allow myself room for naughty and nice,” she said. “I grew up in the ’70s, and my mom was a hippie in the day who baked her own bread and made vegetarian dishes. So that’s my comfort food. Superhealthy. It’s what I crave.”

But Watts does have a healthy food limit, and it stops at grass.

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“When I was first trying to get pregnant, I cut out a lot of wheat, sugar, and dairy in my diet—and I remember drinking tons of wheatgrass juice. So I’ve tried to stay with that, but there’s wiggle room,” she said. “It doesn’t mean I won’t eat french fries. I’m done with wheatgrass juice, though. In fact, it may make me gag just thinking about it.”

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