Daily Routines

Idris Elba: Daily Routine

On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.

The multifaceted artist Idris Elba’s journey in the world of entertainment is nothing short of remarkable. From his early days in East London, he has risen to become a household name, known for his versatility and magnetic presence on screen. His career took a significant turn when he landed the role of Stringer Bell in the critically acclaimed series The Wire. This role put the actor on the map, showcasing his talent to a global audience.

But this London-born star is not just a one-trick pony. He’s gone on to portray a wide range of characters, each with its own distinct flavor. From John Luther in Luther to his compelling portrayal of Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Elba has demonstrated a remarkable range. His performances are not just acts; they are immersive experiences that leave a lasting impression.

Beyond acting, Elba has made his mark as a musician, DJ, and producer, adding to his repertoire of talents. His ability to juggle different artistic endeavors while maintaining a high standard of excellence is nothing short of inspiring. This versatility is a testament to his commitment to his crafts, always pushing the boundaries and exploring new territories.

Idris Elba’s Morning Routine

The morning routine of Idris Elba, as detailed in various interviews, is a testament to his commitment to health and wellness. Rising early at 5 a.m., the actor begins his day focused on maintaining his well-being. His initial activities include taking a multivitamin and lion’s mane supplement, known for enhancing brain health. Additionally, the renowned actor incorporates a ginger shot into his routine, a choice popular for its digestive and immune-boosting properties.

For his first meal of the day, the Luther star opts for simplicity and nutrition. His typical breakfast includes decaf coffee and a couple of hard-boiled eggs. In a conversation with GQ, the versatile artist shared insights into his morning habits, “After I’m up, I go downstairs and take a multivitamin and some lion’s mane, which is really great for the brain. Then, I toss back a ginger shot and have some decaf coffee and a couple of hard-boiled eggs. That’s my breakfast.” This selection reflects his conscious effort to follow a diet that suits his body’s needs, a crucial factor given his demanding lifestyle.

Interestingly, the acclaimed performer’s choice of decaf coffee over regular coffee is a notable aspect of his morning routine. Despite his fondness for coffee’s taste, he has chosen to avoid caffeine for the past year. Elba explains this decision, stating, “I just like the taste of coffee. I don’t need caffeine, so I decided that I should just give it a break. I’ve been on that break for about a year now.” This choice underlines his mindful approach to diet and health.

Work Schedule and On-set Life

Idris Elba’s work schedule, especially when on set, is as demanding as it is varied. A typical day involves early starts, often diving straight into script discussions and planning sessions. This is a time where the day’s shoot is mapped out, with meetings involving heads of departments like costumes, camera, and props. These meetings are crucial for making decisions about the visual and practical aspects of the film or show he’s working on.

The British actor describes his on-set life as a puzzle, stating in an interview with GQ, “I’m in the office to start, talking through what we’re gonna do, how we’re gonna prep, what we’re gonna shoot. Then I have meetings with the heads of departments, like costumes, camera, and props, making decisions about what we’re gonna do, how it’s gonna look.”

Balancing a rigorous work schedule with a fitness and diet regimen poses its challenges. Despite the packed days, the Luther star finds ways to integrate self-care into his routine. He acknowledges the difficulty in finding time for personal care during such busy days, saying, “You don’t, really. Every hour is really dedicated to the work.”

Yet, the versatile performer manages to find time for wellness activities, particularly on weekends. He enjoys swimming early in the morning, a practice that not only helps him stay fit but also provides a mental reset. This dedication to fitness and wellness is vital for Elba, who, at 51, is acutely aware of what his body needs to stay in top form. He emphasizes the importance of understanding his body’s needs, balancing work commitments with personal health.

Diet and Nutrition

Idris Elba’s approach to diet and nutrition is both disciplined and practical, ensuring that he maintains his energy levels and overall health amidst his demanding career. The actor adheres to a high-protein diet, which forms the cornerstone of his nutritional intake, focusing on foods that provide sustained energy and support muscle health.

Elba is particularly cautious about his sugar intake, understanding its impact on the body. He avoids sweets most of the time, though he allows himself occasional indulgences. This balance between discipline and enjoyment is key to his dietary approach. For instance, he mentioned in the GQ interview, “I know what feels good in my body,” emphasizing his awareness of how different foods affect his physical and mental well-being.

His typical meals reflect this high-protein focus. The Wire actor often starts his day with hard-boiled eggs, a choice that aligns with his need for a nutritious, protein-rich breakfast. He also enjoys chicken sausage and bananas, particularly favoring bananas for their energy-boosting properties. This preference for energy-rich foods is especially important given the physical demands of his roles and the long hours on set.

Elba’s diet is not just about maintaining his physique; it’s about feeling good and staying sharp. He understands the connection between his dietary choices and his performance, both on-screen and off. He shared in the GQ interview, “I’m 51 now, so I know what feels good. Literally, about half an hour ago, I had a chocolate bar at a screening. It’s a nostalgic thing.”

Interestingly, the British actor’s dinner choices are influenced by his dietary goals and cultural preferences. While he enjoys African food, he notes that it’s typically carb-heavy, so he tends to limit it when focusing on a low-carb diet. Instead, he opts for well-seasoned chicken, meats, and fish. This adaptability in his diet, aligning it with his current health goals, shows his proactive approach to nutrition.

Workout and Exercise Routine

Idris Elba’s commitment to fitness is integral to both his physical health and his ability to perform demanding roles. His workout routine is diverse and tailored to keep him in top shape, regardless of his busy schedule.

A typical week for Elba might include:

  • Calisthenics: The Luther star incorporates calisthenics into his routine, doing exercises like push-ups, air squats, leg raises, pull-ups, lunges, and dips. This form of exercise utilizes body weight and is excellent for building strength and endurance.
  • Running: He often starts his mornings with a run. This cardio exercise is crucial for maintaining his stamina and overall cardiovascular health.
  • Full Body Fitness: Midweek, Elba focuses on full-body fitness routines that include a combination of weight lifting and bodyweight exercises, such as dumbbell bench presses, Arnold presses, and leg raises. These exercises ensure that he works on all major muscle groups.
  • Kickboxing: The versatile actor has a passion for kickboxing, which he practices regularly. Kickboxing is not only a great cardiovascular workout but also enhances agility, balance, and coordination.
  • Rest Days: Recognizing the importance of recovery, Elba takes the weekends off to rest and rejuvenate, allowing his muscles to recover and preventing burnout.

Staying physically active is essential for the British actor, especially considering the physically demanding nature of many of his roles. In his own words, he focuses on being “fight-ready,” indicating a fitness goal that goes beyond just looking good. He told Men’s Health, “My ultimate fitness goal is to be fight-ready. If I step into the ring, could I go toe-to-toe for five rounds? That’s what I strive for.”

Idris Elba’s Approach to Mental Health and Wellness

Elba’s approach to mental health and wellness is as disciplined and thoughtful as his physical fitness regimen, with a particular emphasis on the benefits of breathwork. Recognizing the high-stress nature of his profession, the actor has adopted specific techniques to manage stress and anxiety.

Breathwork, a practice that involves intentional and controlled breathing, plays a significant role in Elba’s mental wellness routine. This technique is not only useful for calming the mind, but it also has physiological benefits, such as reducing cortisol levels and improving focus.

The ‘Mandela’ star’s experience with breathwork training is particularly notable. He shared in an interview with GQ about a specific technique he learned while preparing for a movie role that required him to hold his breath for extended periods. He stated, “I went to Belgium to work on it with this woman, and she taught me all about what breathing does for the nervous system and what oxygen does for the brain. It was fascinating stuff.”

One practical tip that Elba shared for managing moments of high stress is taking deep breaths. He advises, “Whenever you feel like you’re getting wound up, find a quiet corner, chill out, take 10 deep breaths—literally count to 10 on the inhale and exhale. By the time you finish the ninth one, you’re already thinking about something else.”

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.