Steal Stana Katic’s Wellness Routine
Absentia fans get ready. Season 2 of the show premieres June 14 on Amazon Prime and promises to be just as juicy as its predecessor. “Season two takes everything up a thousand notches. It’s high velocity and our story eventually will take us out to Europe and the way in which it does is so exciting. I can’t wait for audiences to see it!” says Stana Katic, who previously starred in Castle, of what fans can expect.
Portraying Emily Byrnes requires that Katic gets in a specific kind of shape. “The type of action that I’m doing in this series is full on,” she tells Parade. “There are no breathers in between. This is full throttle!” So when she’s prepping for the series, the actress finds herself upping her fitness routine. But even when she’s not on set, staying in shape is important to Katic. We caught up with the star to hear about her typical wellness routine plus how that changes whenever she’s hopping into a new character’s world.
Getting in Emily mode
When we start shooting Absentia, there are late nights and early mornings and rehearsals and everything, then on top of it, the scenes are extraordinarily physically and emotionally taxing. So it’s important to have that strength built up in order to sustain for those three to four months of filming. My fitness routine is going to change depending on what is the task at hand. For me, at this stage, it’s character dependence. Emily is a character that, especially for first season, she was on the run, second season there’s also a certain amount of, high velocity action for the character. So I had to groom the fitness routine so that it would lead towards something that not just for me as an actor would be sustainable for the year, but also would help produce what I needed for this character. So one of the things that I was doing in advance was really hard hiking. It’s important for me that this character—because she starts off the season emotionally vulnerable and unsettled and haunted—have a look that was physically raw and almost gaunt. She’s more lean and wiry than oftentimes other characters that I’ve played.
So I did a tremendous amount of hiking because I wanted to maintain strength and maintain stamina. And on top of that, for me, hiking throughout the process of filming is very healing. I love going out into the woods and just experiencing nature. I find it very soothing. And so when I was building a character like this and when I was working on her, because it is emotionally taxing as well, I found it to be a wonderful resource to run away into the woods and go for a really long hike up into the mountains and to kind of regroup before the rest of the filming schedule started up again.
Fitness in between roles
Yoga is a large part of my everyday fitness routine. I started yoga in drama school, which was focused on creating an awareness of movement. We had a really wonderful yoga instructor who introduced us to try it to get our bodies strong, but also help us to get in touch with all of the tools that we would need in order to perform. And I just kept going with it. I find it to be a really wonderful resource personally. And in fact, I enjoyed it so much that I went and got certified for yoga teacher training. I’m not going to teach in public, but I do teach dear family and friends occasionally. We’ll do a class together. It’s nothing that a wildly strict in format. We’ll sit down and get a good flow going and call it a day after an hour.
I do yoga at least four or five times a week. Sometimes I’ll do my own routine. And then sometimes I’ll go off to a class. It depends on where I am in the world. I like the flow classes. I find that that’s a really nice way to start the morning and get into the rest of the day.
I keep up on the hiking and actually I find that in addition to getting into shape for work, I absolutely love it. There are some really wonderful hikes over here in California as well as all across Europe. When we were filming, I met this beautiful alpinist’s family who had three generations of mountain climbers who also taught skiing to children in Bulgaria. And they would take me out on these really extraordinary hikes in parts of the mountains over there that not a lot of tourists and foreigners would have access to. And they were just so generous to share that part of the world and the beauty there with me. And then even when I go to my parent’s village in Dalmatia, I’ll go hiking up in the mountains over there. I think it’s a really lovely way to explore nature and to get a good exercise going.
Loving the plant-based life
I think in general if you’d compare me to the general population, I have more of a plant-based diet primarily. I just find that it’s really nutritious. I try to grow my own food sometimes as well. And that’s really nice to get your own tomatoes out of your garden and to be able to put that into a salad or make a soup out of that. So that’s pretty much my food regimen.
Typical meals in a day
Breakfast, it depends if I’ve worked out in the morning. I’m doing a lot of strength training recently that mixes in boxing as well because I’m focused on prepping for a project that I’ve got coming up. So there’s a bit of muscle building happening so I definitely try to get protein in right after a workout like that. So I’ll make myself a shake with this really wonderful green protein called Complete Greens. A wonderful green drink early in the morning after workout for me in two stalks of celery, a handful of spinach, a touch of water, and an apple sliced up, pear sliced up, and a frozen banana, and then a spoonful of that protein.
I love making salads in a jar. And because I’m oftentimes traveling around L.A. or on set or or heading off to a somewhere in the world, I find that setting myself up with a salad in a jar is a great way for me to get in a healthy meal. You can get a lot of great salad in a jar ideas on Pinterest. I’ll just set it up for the week. So let’s say you make four or five for the week and then have a nice dressing ready to go and mix the two, grab a fork, head out the door and it’s a really delicious sometimes snack, sometimes actual meal, depending on how complicated I’ve made it. So it’s a really great food to have and it’s very nutritious and delicious.
Here’s my go-to recipe:
The bottom will be tomatoes, let’s say. And I do love grabbing my own homemade tomatoes. And then maybe slice some avocados and then sprouts of some sort, lettuce, like a butter lettuce chopped up. Sometimes pistachios, sometimes pine nuts, sometimes dry cranberries, cucumbers for sure, maybe some non-GMO corn. Anything seasonal I’ll try to throw in. If I’ve just recently grilled some vegetables like asparagus or something like that, I put that in. And sometimes I’ll put some quinoa in as well. And then I just leave that in the fridge. It keeps for a few days, which is really lovely. So you could set yourself up for the rest of the work week and be OK. And then as far as dressing, I really love squeezed lemon juice and olive oil and salt and that’s my jam.
Healthy food = healthy fuel but make way for some splurges
Starting off my morning with warm lemon water is really nice. It sets my stomach up so that I can digest better. So I find that when I do eat in a healthy manner, I feel great and energized and it just boosts everything for me. But I love drinking a cup of coffee. I love going out with a good girlfriend and having a cookie or a treat or a dessert in any cafe somewhere. So it’s good to have this kind of food base because I feel like I have the freedom to go and chase things that maybe aren’t traditionally considered healthy but in balance, it’s all good ultimately.
A little furniture shopping for the soul
I have this guilty pleasure. When I’m kind of stressed out or bummed, I really love going to furniture shops. And I love just walking around a really beautifully arranged furniture place. In L.A. there’s a number of course, because there’s a great design community over here. So just walking through like JF Chen or HD Buttercup or Pacific Design Center and Restoration Hardware, those are really nice places for me to get inspired and also rewire my thinking for a minute. So that’s one thing that I do. I get very inspired by architecture and design and beautiful furniture. So just getting exposed to that, I find it really calming and it just rewires things from me for a bit.
And then in addition to that, definitely meditation. I find that at a key tool. The first time I meditated, it was a guided meditation in my high school English class. And it really hit a chord with me. So I find that that’s a great resource, especially given what we do as actors and also given the kind of character that have just played recently in Emily for Absentia. I’ve found that that was a nice resource to have during filming days.