Lupita Nyong’o Workout and Diet


Born: 1983

Lupita Nyong’o was born in Mexico City to Kenyan parents, and the family returned to Kenya shortly thereafter.  Nyong’o acted in plays at school and at age 14 appeared in her first professional performance, Romeo and Juliet. At 16, she returned to Mexico to learn Spanish. She attended college in the US and earned a degree in film and theater studies from Hampshire College. Nyong’o worked as part of the production crew for several films, and in 2008, she starred in the short film East River. She then returned to Kenya where she appeared in the tv show Shuga. Nyong’o earned a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Drama in 2012. Her breakthrough came just a year later with 12 Years a Slave for which she won an Academy Award (Best Supporting Actress). Nyong’o is also known for acting in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Jungle Book and Black Panther. She has appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine multiple times and has been named on multiple best-dressed lists. Nyong’o is a brand ambassador for Lancome. In 2019, she wrote a best-selling children’s book called Sulwe. Nyong’o is a Global Elephant Ambassador for the charity WildAid, and also involved with Michael Kors’ Watch Hunger Stop campaign. She has millions of followers on social media. Nyong’o is 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs about 115 lbs.

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Lupita Nyong’o ‘s Diet

Diet Summary

Nyong’o slender figure belies her love of food. She is a big fan of Kenyan staples like plantains and sweet potatoes, but she does make changes to suit acting role. For Black Panther, she had a nutritionist and trainer to help her prepare, and she was fed whole, natural, nutrient-dense foods every few hours. Poultry and fish were preferred over red meat, and veggies were always on the menu. Nyong’o had to cut out all refined sugar and only got any sweetness from fruit. ‘White’ carbs were also out, including white potatoes and white rice. But carbs themselves weren’t off-limits due to the physical demands of the role. Beans, quinoa, brown rice and sweet potatoes were all on the acceptable list. Nyong’o’s meals also got a boost with plenty of herbs and spices. She drank plenty of water for hydration and energy.

Estimated Macros

Medium Carb

Low-Medium Fat

Medium-High Protein

Diet Details

Carbs Are Okay

Nyong’o’s Black Panther diet included plenty of carbs to fuel the high-energy role. Breakfast would be oatmeal or grits. Brown rice, millet, and wheat berries were also regular features of her diet.

Scheduled Eats

Nyong’o was on a feeding schedule for Black Panther, which was a novelty for her. She said she didn’t go hungry or get bored with the food.

Smart Snacking

Nyong’o had to refuel every few hours, but sometimes she still might want a snack. Her nutritionist always had healthy options available, including berries, mango, cashews, and raw veggies and hummus.

Homegrown Staples

Left to her own devices, Nyong’o enjoys Kenyan faves like sweet potatoes, plantains, and lemongrass tea.

What to Eat

  • Oatmeal
  • Grits
  • Wheat berries
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Vegetables
  • Berries
  • Fresh fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Salmon
  • Cashews
  • Hummus
  • Plantains
  • Pineapple juice
  • Lemongrass tea
  • Water

What to Avoid

  • Refined sugar
  • Empty-calorie foods
  • Junk food
  • Fast food
  • Chemical ingredients
  • Artificial additives

Nyong’o on carb consumption for Black Panther

‘We could have carbs, which is good when you work out as much as we did, and we weren’t eating less.’

Nyong’o on eating for Black Panther

‘We actually had to eat smaller meals every 3 hours.’

Nyong’o on her Black Panther diet

‘It was only once we wrapped that I realized I was on a sugar-free diet.’

Lupita Nyong’o’s Workout Routine

Workout Routine

Specialized Training

Nyong’o’s role in Black Panther was the first time she’d ever had to work out for a role. It included training in martial arts and ring blades for the stunts and choreography.

Underwater Workout

Another of Nyong’o’s intense Panther workouts included carrying dumbbells underwater.

Rise & Chill

When she’s not prepping for a film, Nyong’o likes to start her day off with some yoga, which calms and revitalizes her.

Exercise Style

A Lupita Nyong’o Routine

Specialized film training:
Ring blades
Underwater training

Nyong’o on the prepping for Black Panther

‘I’ve never worked on a project like this where there is a diet and a workout plan.’

Nyong’o on her Black Panther routine

‘It started off 4 hours a day, then it was reduced to 2 when I started bulking up.’

Nyong’o on the effects of her Black Panther workouts

‘I remember coming home for Christmas and I couldn’t fit into my clothes.’

Nyong’o on her underwater scenes

‘Swimming down to Talokan was not as easy as it looked!’

Lupita Nyong’o’s Supplements

Nyong’o doesn’t go into detail about her supplement routine, so below are options that may benefit anyone following a similar diet plan.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Nyong’o loves pineapple juice, which is rich in bone-strengthening manganese, energizing vitamin B6, antioxidant vitamin C, and anti-inflammatory bromelain.


Lemongrass Tea

She also enjoys lemongrass tea, which is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. Lemongrass promotes digestion, improves blood pressure and cholesterol levels, helps reduce PMS symptoms, and may even lower cancer risk.

Lupita Nyong’o’s Lifestyle

International Heritage

Nyong’o considers herself to be Kenyan and Mexican. Per Kenyan tradition, a baby is named based on current events around the time of birth. She is named after the Spanish saint ‘Guadalupe’.

Learned Family

Nyong’o’s father was a college professor, and later became Governor of Kenya. Her mother owns a communications company and is managing director of the African Cancer Foundation.

Multilingual Miss

Nyong’o is fluent in 4 languages: English, Spanish, Swahili, and Luo. (fun fact: Luo is also Barak Obama’s father’s tribe.) As much as she loves languages, she isn’t crazy about reading.

Unlucky Break

Despite her extensive training for Black Panther, Nyong’o injured herself the very first day of shooting. She sprained the MCL in her knee, and needed to wear a brace for 2 weeks.

Shedding Light

In 2009, Nyong’o wrote, directed, and produced the documentary In My Genes about the discrimination against Kenya’s albino population.

Stage vs. Film

Nyong’o says theater is her first love, and she especially likes the collaborative feel of the experience.

Protector of Elephants & Families

Nyong’o has been advocating for the protection of elephants since 2015. She also works with Mother Health International, which funds birthing centers in Uganda.

Historical Passion

Nyong’o is also passionate about preserving archaeological sites, like the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground in Virginia.

Fuzzy Friend in Need

Although Nyong’o wasn’t always a huge fan of cats, she recently adopted one from an animal shelter named Yoyo, whom she adopted on the heels of a painful breakup from boyfriend Selema Masekela.

Nyong’o on her AM routine

‘I wake up. I read. I meditate. I work out. I face my day.’

Nyong’o on why she got into acting

‘I loved to play make-believe. I loved [having] an emotional effect on my parents and other adults.’

Nyong’o on her knee sprain

‘Luckily the next fight scene I had was 2 weeks later. I got hurt on schedule.’

Nyong’o on Black Panther

‘We were creating an aspirational world where an African people are in charge of their own destiny, and that really appealed to me.’

Nyong’o on fame

‘I don’t think I have a choice! I have to engage with it.’

Nyong’o on appeasing people

‘There is a difference between being kind and being nice. I am in pursuit of kindness.’

Nyong’o on learning a new language

‘It really does open you up to more humanity, the more languages you speak.’

Nyong’o on reading

‘Reading was expected and encouraged, but I didn’t enjoy it. I still don’t.’

Nyong’o on preserving history

‘It is important to preserve symbols of times gone by…things we must do everything to ensure will not occur again.’

Nyong’o on pet people

‘I never understood people whose phones were full of photos…of their pets — now I am one of those people!’

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