Playing a super demon on TV requires a rocking body - and no one knows this better than Lesley-Ann Brandt.
The South African actress, known for role as the fiery, sexy, and strong character Maze on Netflix’s Lucifer, puts in hard work at the gym to keep her figure in check.
Through her work with personal trainer to the stars Paolo Mascitti -who also trains the likes of Nicole Scherzinger, Lana Condor, and Lucifer’s title actor Tom Ellis - Lesley-Ann stays, toned, tight, and ready for action, both on and off the camera.
The fitness guru and the TV star spoke exclusively to GLAMOUR South Africa about their workout regimens, nutritional advice, and opened up about how they stay strict in leading healthy lifestyles.
What sparked your interests in fitness and putting in the work and dedication to lead very healthy lifestyles daily?
Lesley-Ann Brandt: I think Paolo and I are very similar in that it's engraved in our everyday lifestyles. For us, training just feels like training. It's just something that you do every day.
There is a burden that comes to a lot of people. I'm vegan and Paulo is vegetarian. We eat to fuel instead of craving that one meal. I'm not a foodie and I love to cook; I eat the same thing every day!
Paolo Mascitti: As a guy, she is not one of the typical clients, she already has a healthy lifestyle, all of this comes with a certain commitment with clients.
But it is about the commitment with my clients and the training doesn't end once you leave, but I’m not worried about that with her, because she eats healthy from the beginning - she eats healthy and is very committed.
LAB: I don't really fluctuate, it's not about getting my cardiovascular up, he adjusts my training but it is pretty much ingrained in our lifestyle. There are more little tweaks.
PM: you want to give the best possible body transformation, but with her, I look at her and I’m like, ‘She looks amazing. What am I going to do with her?’ She already eats so healthy.
It's how the intensity label is here and the commitment label is there and it is very hard to train her compared to someone who is out of shape.
Have to bring my A-game, and it's the hard part with training someone like her. It's not hard enough for me.
So, what’s your approach with that in training someone who is so fit and healthy already? How do you work toward taking that to the next level?
PM: it's not easy. She’s always fit. She lives there and a lot of people fluctuate, but have to find a lifestyle that is doable but still have to enjoy our life.
We are on the same page in terms of eating, I don't eat meat and can’t enforce them to do that, but with her, I really push her in her training.
It is very high intensity and most people can’t do that. It is a combination of resistance training, like jumps, so that’s my way of keeping up.
LAB: I always want my booty up, so I do a lot of squats and glutes. I will say I was always smaller in the middle, but the definition in the arms and stuff, Paolo helped with that. He looked at certain parts of my body like, tone here and train here.
PM: I try to focus on triceps or booty, that is an obsession with everyone. Again, training somebody like her is not easy, but it is good to have someone who challenges you as a trainer.
You want to challenge each other and not do the same thing. I can introduce something interesting to her.
How many days a week are you working together?
LAB: depending on my schedule, it will go 3-4 days a week, depending on filming. With COVID, I bought a bunch of equipment and did it from home, and now we are on a testing schedule.
So Paolo only works with clients who are being committed. I made a commitment at his home that it is a safe place, because I do find training over the phone vs in person better.
I feel a lot more motivated when I have someone else’s energy with me.
How do you self-motivate when you’re not having that force of energy next to you? Is it difficult to get in the zone without Paolo?
LAB: it's hard for me to go a week without working out and breaking a sweat, but whether that be in the pool doing laps, I was so athletic growing up and my father was a lifeguard, so it was easy for me to be athletic.
PM: So we went through such different times in our lives in quarantine, and deprived of human interaction. Training was something that kept me in check and made me feel better.
LAB: It makes me feel like I achieve something throughout the day.
When it comes to days when you’re not together, Paulo, do you make Lesley-Ann a nutrition plan?
PM: Yes, for my clients I do that, but with eating, we are truly on the same page.
LAB: He always tells me, ‘You’re the only person who I know that loves vegetables the most.’
PM: And she does, yeah! And with her, again, sometimes we call each other and say, ‘Hey I found this I love it. You should add this.’
LAB: I am starting a meal plan with a company and Paolo knows the owners and will tell them, ‘This is specifically what she needs’ because I don't like eating the food they provide on set.
It is not clean enough for me and being vegan there isn’t easy. There are not a lot of options and I don't like tofu because of inflammation.
It’s easier for me to have a food delivery service for all meals and it's clean and I don't have to think about it. Paulo generally trusts and isn’t worried.
PM: She is for sure a different kind of client.
We love that mentality. We’re curious, if you had a sweet tooth, what would be your go-to?
LAB: I do have a sweet tooth; it is my kryptonite. It is like French macaroons; I love ice cream and to add almond nuts. I love the crunch.
I weaned myself off of chocolate because of veganism, but there is a vegan chocolate I love made with cashew milk. What I'm trying to do is have raspberry tea, but if I need something else, I have a small piece of chocolate. It is a weakness and I have to have it under control.
PM: it's easier to be shooting and being extremely strict.
LAB: My costumes are skin tight and non-existent sometimes.
PM: She is the sexy girl on the show.
Paolo, when Lesley-Ann has a specific role, what training do you have to get her there, especially with a show like Lucifer?
PM: Well, again, she already has a healthy lifestyle all the time, so we have to go add an extra layer, maybe like adding like any trick what’s so ever. Training becomes more intense.
LAB: We have been consistent with keeping it high intensity, because the show has a lot of fighting. But if I was going to be the next Transformer or in a major action role, we always take them out.
Because you need to physically look like you can throw those punches, and if you don't, then it makes it believable to the audience, that is my philosophy.
My character is cut and strong and toned, but she isn’t like the Terminator, and has a lot of feminine qualities about her, and if I was going to have the next role and pack a lot of muscle, there would be a lot of change.
PM: More weight training and volume to build.
LAB: I wouldn’t want to look so ripped or like a gym rat because I think I love fashion too much. I just love to look like a strong girl that is not too muscular.
How do you achieve that long and lean look?
PM: Focusing more on weight training. We do a lot of all body and body weights and stuff like that. And of course, we are trying to pack more muscle mass. We will focus more on lifting but maybe lower rep and higher weight.
LAB: Three or four exercise circuits that we do a few times. Ropes is one, plank to frog jump-ups. Side lunge with a 20 or 12 pound, throw some arms in there form the previous day but very high intensity with little breaks to recover and a minute run in between is recovery
PM: A light jog between each circuit and then go back and do it again.
LAB: I am usually dripping.
PM: Active recovery time, yes, a training session would be different if she is trying to look more muscular, more weight focused and lifting rather than focus on body weight.
Maybe even her diet would adjust and it all depends on what we are talking about. Maybe more carbs are needed or usually, we are trying to consume body fat but training on a calorie deficit.
Your intake is lower and muscle mass you would take in a little bit more.
What is your advice for finding the best trainer suited to helping you reach your specific fitness and health goals?
LAB: I’d find someone like Paolo who has his own nutritional knowledge; he had his own delivery business and became too busy with training.
Have someone who has knowledge will nutrition because you can be training your ass off and then ruin it all at home. Just knowing someone like that and having someone who knows that because it goes hand in hand with knowing what you are eating and having a trainer for your specific body.
The great thing about Paolo is that he does transformations with men and does incredible work with our cast.
With women, he had this one client and retransformed her and increased her muscle mass which is a hard thing to do for women post 40 and menopause which plays a role.
My training is being adaptive as I am 40 next year so my metabolism doesn’t get sluggish and keeping muscle mass.
PM: Everyone is different with training and every trainer does the same way with clients and what they believe.
I don't dispute anything, but there are specific rules and there are different ways that everyone has to adjust the training for a specific lifestyle. There are so many things to take into consideration when training someone.
LAB: The hardest training was post-baby, because I put on 47 pounds and light training was hard for me. I had hips that were literally separating and not in the right place.
I had to get adjusted, but even that was a slow burn for me because I don't want to just drop the weight but do it gradually, so it is healthy the way I'm doing it.
I work in front of the camera and all of that but I don't want it to be so dramatic because that isn’t what my body type was and took me about 6 months.
PM: It is a journey through training, a journey to find to like when I say all of this stuff and a trainer claiming they know exactly what will work for you.
Well, the trainer doesn’t really know anything they can have an idea but it is a process of trying and feeling and finding what can work.
LAB: Seeing how your body responds.
PM: Yes, and it's not disputing anything there is no one way there are a lot of ways to find the right way for that person that is not completely restricted others they are going to do it for two months and done, but it is about putting in restrictions.
LAB: That’s the thing, if you tell me I can’t have chocolate, that is all I want. I am 80 - 20. I eat great 80% of the time probably 90% and 10% I have what I want.
PM: A lot of people make the mistake of not eating and not eating enough and it is body preservation.
And it will slow it down and not be a good thing and there is the other extreme, and a very big thing of not eating real food.
For me, the big thing is about processing real food. But it can become a challenge if you are vegan, but it is a very easy diet to become unhealthy because people gain weight from eating French fries and pizza, and so it's a very big thing for me to eat real food and not processed.
Finding good substitutes, but there are very great companies for good subsidies for meat.
With fitness and working out, there are still so many people who don't realize the balance between inner wellness and self-care and how that directly impacts your physical health.
PM: Yes, I am working on specific projects right now about how fitness impacts your mental health.
I have a personal story with that, and growing up in an unstable environment, fitness saved my life when I was a kid and I didn’t have a support system.
Fitness was really what saved me for so much but what it does for your mental health and makes you feel is the most impactful thing.
LAB: Just the rush endorphins. I can work out can be sane during COVID because life in LA is go go go go, and my life elsewhere is mother and work, and different projects and working out was a North Star and reset button every day to remind me just to breathe even sometimes. This whole year has been a huge omg, and it's going to be fine, but yeah, I always feel better after a workout.
PM: It is time for yourself, like she does have a kid and her time off.
LAB: I would encourage anyone who is struggling with mental health to find movement in swimming, working out, boxing, hiking, finding movement, and keep trying to find it.
PM: I want to remind people about the connection of mental health and fitness and right now we need that more than ever.
LAB: I always say this during my interviews and social media, but for me, it is not about weight, and women have so much pressure to look a certain way and be a certain size and my industry is for sure responsible for that.
But my message is if you’re on a path to be healthier that's great but just be kind because we come in all shapes and sizes and it is so important.
PM: Enjoy the process and don’t be hard on yourself, and it is a process that is two steps forward because one step back is another two steps forward but it is a process. We can search for perfection. We need to be nice for herself and be kind to our bodies
LAB: I want to be running around with my kids when I am 70 or 80.