How a Body Double Used Running to Combat Online Bullying

Inspiring: How a Body Double Used Running to Combat Online Bullying

I wanted to share with you a great motivational story of how running has yet again been the culprit of transformation in someone’s life. If you’ve read my blog long enough you know what a huge impact running has on my life. I enjoy reading stories like this because as runners we all have our own reasons for running. I also am interested in what others are doing to reach their goals.

How a Body Double Used Running to Combat Online Bullying

Body Double Used Running

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Being a stuntwoman is no joke. It involves a serious amount of training as well as strict diet to stay in shape. So when Sarah Donohue, Angelina Jolie’s stunt double in many action movies over the years, saw that she was gaining weight, she needed to do something about it in order to stay in her profession.

Donohue is a former fitness champion. However, she became out of shape after she was the victim of online bullying. The stress caused Donohue to lose her confidence, which led to her quitting her long-time fitness regime.

“I suffered really badly through cyber bullying and lost the motivation to go the gym,” recounted Donohue. “Your body can lose its definition very quickly if you are not 100% focused and that is what happened to me. I got out of shape and I began to hate my body because I am so used to being in shape. I wasn’t used to having overhanging flesh around my waist and fat on my arms.”

This spiraled into her being inactive for 18 months, frequently indulging in junk food, and drinking too much alcohol, resulting in her gaining weight quickly. However, she knew that the only way to recover her self-esteem, and putting the bullying ordeal behind her, was to get back in shape.

Jolie’s body double made a 200-mile round trip from her home in Cheshire to Leicester three times a week to overhaul her fitness routine. With the help of a fitness guru, Sarah made a dramatic transformation in just a month, and most of it can be attributed to running.

Running really is an amazing exercise, as it’s not only fun but it can also act as a quick way to shed extra pounds.

Apart from running, Sarah said that the secret to the happy return to her old self was a regime called plyometric work, which is a high-impact exercise involving squat jumps.

“If you are unfit, plyo exercise is a real killer because you are using your main muscle group. We’d start by doing ten repetitions and then up it to 20,” Donohue said. “I could feel the fat drop off me as we began to exercise more, and my body quickly got back its muscle tone. It was great seeing how I was firming up from one week to the next.”

With running and plyometric exercises, Sarah regained a lot of muscle. While she only lost 4lbs in weight, her body fat percentage went from 20% to 14%. After the amazing transformation, Donohue has now gone back to work and has regained her self-esteem and confidence. Her mindset has also changed to a more positive one and is looking forward to doing more running in the future.

Donohue has been Jolie’s body double for numerous films including Tomb Raider, which still enjoys a huge cult following today despite its first film being released back in 1996. Tomb Raider, before it was turned into a movie, was originally a game that starred the iconic Lara Croft, who has become a figure for female empowerment. Tomb Raider has several games under its name ranging from action titles for the console to casual games such as the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider title, which was developed for the BGT Games recreational portal. There will be an upcoming Tomb Raider movie this year but unfortunately, Jolie wouldn’t be reprising her tomb-raiding hero role.

For those who are interested in the plyometric exercises, you can read this article from Women’s Health Magazine.

Are you like me and have never heard of plyometric exercises?

Would this form of exercise interest you?



How a Body Double Used Running to Combat Online Bullying


  1. What a cool story. I’ve been doing plyometrics for as long as I’ve been running!
    Marcia recently posted…Mother’s Day Gifts for Cool MomsMy Profile

  2. Just goes to show that even Hollywood types have to work for their body noting comes easy! And wow, I can’t imagine how strong (and flexible) one must be to be a stunt double!

  3. Becky has me do plyometrics and they are a great way to cross train! Interesting and relatable story!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…The Princess Shift: What Can You Do for 4 Hours Besides Run a Marathon?My Profile

  4. Iron Strength includes plyometrics. And I do it fairly regularly. Nothing causes fat to melt off me — my guess is that she is a) young enough and b) of a body type that allows her to lose weight easily.

    It’s an interesting story, although I would argue that 20% fat is perfectly normal — and, in fact, very healthy. And I’d be happy with her before pictures, too.

    In some ways, the story makes an argument on just how unrealistic our expectations are due to the internet, actually. OTOH, it’s definitely good to hear another story about someone overcoming bullying by getting fit. 🙂
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…To everything there is a season: TOLTMy Profile

  5. Great story to share! I am not a huge fan of that style of exercising just because I am not a huge fan of jumping around (hard on the bladder). But still a great story!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…I need a little Headspace!My Profile

  6. What an interesting story. Glad she was able to turn things around again. I think many plyometrics exercises can be fun but I have to be careful not to do overdo it – my calves will take revenge on me and trigger PF!
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