Elite CrossFit Athlete Brooke Ence Dishes On Working With Gal Gadot & Her Definition Of True Beauty

Brooke Ence never imagined she would become an elite CrossFit athlete let alone secure a role in “Wonder Woman” alongside Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill and Jason Momoa. Instead, she always envisioned her decades of dancing would lead to a career on Broadway.

Today, the fitness inspiration, who is now known for her roles in “Justice League,” CW’s “Black Lightning,” Netflix’s “The Redeemed and the Dominant: Fittest on Earth,” and FOX’s competition show “Ultimate Tag,” is committed to inspiring others to achieve their goals. As co-host of the popular podcast “Between the Reps with Brooke Ence & Jeanna Cianciarulo,” Ence is also involved with a celebrated fitness program she designed called NAKED Training Program.

We caught up recently with her to find out how to choose the best workout plan and the one message she would like to give women to help build their confidence.

Photo Credit: Justin Grantart

You grew up singing and dancing and have a background in musical theater. When did you first become interested in fitness?

I have always been active from a really young age. I have danced since I was three; I swam the swim team; I played softball; I played soccer; I did gymnastics and I went on to do dance at the University of Utah. As far as getting into any type of conventional type of fitness, that came later when I found a CrossFit gym when I was preparing for an audition for a show in Las Vegas I had been invited to and that’s kind of when I got into CrossFit. Prior to that, I had been going to the gym and lifting weights and doing that whole thing for a conventional bodybuilding type training. I have always had an interest in fitness and being active in sports, but if you were to have asked me when I was in college what my future was going to be, I was going to be in Broadway or I was going to be dancing. That was it for me. I had no plans of becoming a professional athlete or getting really deep into CrossFit. This is all just a product of me, without really getting into the nitty gritty of it all, putting all of my focus, time and commitment into training for CrossFit for the possibility that I might be good at it. I was living in California at the time and there were no dance studios nearby and I need to invest my time and focus into something that was active so I decided to try that. Fast forward, I went to CrossFit games and did pretty well. I love training and I love weight lifting.

Tell us about your breakout role in “Wonder Woman” and how you had to physically prepare for the role.

I received a phone call from a friend in 2015 who mentioned that Warner Bros. was trying to get a hold of me. I thought she was lying [laughs]. I was training all of the time and competing, and I got a phone call from Warner Bros. and I ended up going in, reading for a movie that I didn’t know what it was, and I got the part. At the time, I thought I was auditioning for “Justice League” because they were looking for a strong female presence. I didn’t even know what the movie was. I found out I had the looks they wanted, but there were all these other pieces you have to have. Luckily for me, I grew up singing, dancing and doing theatrical stuff so I came with the experience of performing. It was the perfect storm for me to be able to be offered the opportunity. It was really wonderful and mind blowing because I never would have thought something like that would have happened for me. I was deep into fitness and competitions that it seemed so far from acting and it turns out it worked out for me and it was a really cool opportunity.

For me, I didn’t really have to do much preparing for the role because I was already training for the physical stuff. I was the only Amazon who was from the states. When I got there, what I did for preparation was mostly sword work or working with different weapons and choreography, which was great for me because I grew up dancing so I loved it. On top of that, we were horseback riding and I grew up riding horses so that was very fun for me. The difficult part that I enjoyed learning a new skill was I grew up riding western and out there, we were riding English. It was different, but I really looked forward to our riding days.

Did you help train Gal Gadot or give her some fitness advice for the role?

I wish! I actually never saw Gal at the gym. I think she was training with her trainer somewhere else while we were training in the gym, but she is so sweet. I met her one time when I was watching and they were filming and then maybe a month later, we were in Italy and I ran into her and she was so wonderful and so kind. That was my first experience being on the set of a movie, being in a movie and being around a lot of big names. Out of all the people I met, she was so kind and Henry Cavill is an incredible human and Jason Momoa is exactly like you think he would be – funny, super nice, wonderful, and a talented guy.

Photo Credit: Erica and Jon Photography

Can you share some advice on choosing a workout plan that is best for you?

It’s important to know what your goal is and think about your nutrition as well. If you are not training for a specific sport or being highly competitive, longevity and functionality should be your main concerns. That being said, everyone should do some sort of weight lifting. Women have told me they want to be as strong as me, but not as big as me. It’s not an easy feat to build muscle; it’s not something that happens by accident. It’s consistency; it’s focusing your training, your diet and creating a whole routine around that goal of getting stronger. Weight lifting is so good for you. You don’t have to lift the biggest weights at the gym, but you do need some resistance. Make sure it has some form of weight lifting because that is the most important for your health and as you age.

Tell us a little bit about your NAKED Training Program.

Jacob Hutton owns the program with me and he is a mastermind and extremely talented when it comes to writing programs. We wanted to create something for 99 percent of the population. There is a new workout every single day that always has some sort of weight lifting, some skill work and a conditioning piece. We have a function on the app, depending on how much time you have to train that day, you can go in there and change it from 90 minutes to 60 minutes or 30 minutes, and we take out things vs. having the person cherry pick what they want to do so we are able to still control making sure your program is going to be well rounded and there is a plan in place. That’s what is so wonderful about having someone doing that for you because we are looking at the big picture and the long term. If you are at the gym, you do the things you like to do and neglect the things you don’t. On top of that, we have an at-home body weight program and an at-home dumbbell program for people who don’t have time to utilize their gym membership. Those are both killer programs.

What is your definition of true beauty?

I would say true beauty is definitely being confident in oneself, but tied to that is such a pure happiness and joy for life. It doesn’t matter what you may be going through. We all have new hurdles we have to navigate and there’s no point in getting wrapped up in the little imperfections that we have because it’s a waste of time to be upset, negative or unhappy. What’s wonderful about it, in terms of health and fitness, is that we can always change how we feel.

Photo Credit: Justin Grantart

What is the one message you would like to give to women today to help empower them?

I’ll share some advice with you that my best friend once told me. It can be really easy to look at ourselves in pieces from your hands or your nose to your arms and butt. We can see ourselves as these pieces and wanting to change them, but when people look at you, they see you as a whole. Don’t look at yourself under a microscope all the time. People are looking at you as a whole person and it can difficult for me to not look at myself in pieces and that includes your personality and the energy you bring to a room. That all plays a huge role in who you are.

What’s up next for you?

I am focusing now on the NAKED Training Program. We are currently offering instruction and help on what you should be eating. There are tons of Q&As and we will be launching one-on-one coaching soon. I will also be accepting auditions in the entertainment world. I look at acting almost like learning to play a new sport. It’s an incredible opportunity to get to be in an industry that is not my niche. I also have my podcast, “Between the Reps” with my best friend that is very easy to listen to, funny, candid and honest.