Battlestar Galactica actress Katee Sackhoff is known for being able to exude both the strength and vulnerability in the characters she portrays, and she’s also recognized for capturing the unique physique of each of them. In her recent video titled “How I Train My Body for Film & Television | S2E5 with Steve Zim and Katee Sackhoff,” the 40-year-old actress is refreshingly transparent as she discusses three of the body types she’s achieved in her career to capture the essence of three of her characters—Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck, Dahl from Riddick, and Another Life’s Niko Breckinridge. “I’m going to be talking a lot about weight in this episode and how it relates to my specific body playing different characters and their personal aesthetic,” she starts.

(By the way, she gives a SPOILER ALERT for interested viewers who have not yet watched Longmire to skip 4:16 – 4:28.)

Sackhoff’s fitness trainer is none other than “trainer to the stars,” Steve Zim who is the author of several books including “6 Weeks to a Hollywood Body,” “Superhero Nutrition,” and “The 30 Minute Celebrity Makeover Miracle.” The actress explains Zim “knows how bodies look on camera.” In this YouTube video, she documents her training session designed to become “lean as hell” in preparation for her Another Life second-season shoot. Sackhoff stars as the badass action heroine Niko Breckinridge in the sci-fi drama. 

In turn, Zim shares a lot of valuable tips to inform actors about their posture on camera and strategically balancing weightlifting, diet, and aerobic exercise in pursuit of achieving the desired physique to match specific characters. “She’s going to be the lead of a television show for the second time, same series. Her body is a big part of that show. What do you want to do? Do you want to show up: ‘I did okay’? Or do you want to show up like the character?” he asks, highlighting the fact that not everybody is up for the task of committing fully to the training and meal plan. 

While playing Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” Thrace on the Sci Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica—a role for which Sackhoff won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress—the Oregon native explains how she did not adhere to a rigorous workout routine or strict dieting. Rather, she exercised moderately, she was in the habit of drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes in her personal life, and she weighed in the 142 to 145-pound range. “Part of the reason I didn’t want to change [Starbuck’s] body from my own was because she and I were very similar in that sense. She drank a lot and smoked cigars. This is not a person who is like the epitome of staying in shape … She wasn’t eating salad,” the actress says.


While portraying Dahl in the sci-fi action film Riddick, Sackhoff, who stands at five-feet, six-inches tall, revealed, “I was 160 pounds in that movie. I wanted Dahl to look like a badass. Then they started hiring all of these men that were huge … No matter how big I get, I’m going to look like a peanut next to Dave Batista.” For this reason, she decided to replace her calorie-burning, slimming routine with heavy-weight training to “get as jacked as possible.” She also ate large quantities of food, especially eggs, and worked up to curling 35 pounds. “I was huge—for me,” Sackhoff recalls.


Additionally, Sackhoff starred in the A&E and Netflix series Longmire as Deputy Sheriff Victoria “Vic” Moretti. This role required a different look for the actress. “Vic is very sensual; Vic is curvier than me now; Vic is a little softer,” she explains. Sackhoff saw her Longmire character as a woman who’s too busy to be training at the gym. “In my mind, she’s the type of person that probably goes for runs, but she’s not really lifting weights that much. She had brothers so she’s probably pretty physically capable and active, but she’s not going to the gym.” 

Have you ever changed your body type for a specific role? What modifications did you make to your exercise routine and diet? Was it worth the effort? Please share!