08/27/2007 at 01:00 AM EDT
knows how to embody demure ladies (see Becoming Jane
, now in theaters). But lately the actress, 24, is a bit more diesel than delicate owing to six months of training for a 2008 film adaptation of the TV classic Get Smart
. To play sexy Agent 99 opposite Steve Carell, Hathaway met up to four times a week with trainer Ramona Braganza, the brains behind Jessica Alba
's killer body. "You can't argue with those results!" says Hathaway, adding that she remained realistic. "I said, 'You did a beautiful job with Jessica, but that's not my body.'"
It didn't need to be. Before filming began, "the director [Peter Segal] said, 'I'm fine with the way you look.' Men in Hollywood get a horrific rap for belittling women into losing weight. But I received nothing but love," Hathaway says. Still, she wanted to be fit for stunts (plus one very high-slit gown), so Hathaway lightened her diet and mastered thigh-burning lunges. "I treated her the way I would train an athlete because there was a lot of agility and balance involved with her martial arts. So you don't do anything sitting down. You do everything standing up or on one leg," says Braganza. The result? "I added muscle and lost a couple of inches," says Hathaway. "But what I'm proudest of is that I didn't torture myself. I did it on my own terms."
"I would be sad if I ever lost my curves, so I wanted muscles and curves. I didn't want to look slight at all. Agent 99 is all woman, but she's tough as nails."
BEST BODY PART?
"My arms. I've never really been jacked before! That was kind of amazing"
The Devil Wears Prada
After dieting for Prada, "I was thin for my height. I basically stuck with fruit, vegetables and fish. I wouldn't recommend that. Emily Blunt [right] and I would clutch at each other and cry because we were so hungry."
, JULY 2007
"MY THIGHS are a problem area. We realized at the end of filming I'd lost an inch and a half from my thighs, which I was really proud of because it is hard for me to lose weight there."
"I went through the whole thing when you're a teenager and you're confused by your body," says Hathaway, who became a star at 18 with 2001's The Princess Diaries
. "You see girls who are so effortlessly thin and you do things to be like them. Believe me, I tried everything! My body just doesn't do that, so the best thing I can do is be healthy."
STEAL THIS GYM MOVE!
For Get Smart
"everyone seemed to be overly concerned about my butt. This role required a strong one!" says Hathaway with a giggle. To get that effect, she recommends this move, which Braganza had her do often: "Using a chair or bench, step up leading with your right foot 10 times, and leading with your left foot 10 times for three to five sets. Push through your heel and you get it to work your butt and thigh at the same time."
HER DAILY DIET
"I would have egg white and steamed vegetable burritos in the morning," says Hathaway. "And I made sure that I was eating consistently and that all my choices were healthy. When you're working out and you're so focused on a role, it doesn't feel like you're depriving yourself if you don't have dessert or if you skip bread at meals."