Just because Alison Brie plays a superstar athlete on television doesn't mean she's always comfortable in her skin.
"I wanted it to be something it wasn’t," she revealed. "But I didn’t have the tools to do that in a healthy way."
Brie admitted that, in the past, her workouts were focused on "cardio, cardio, cardio" before she started working with professional trainer Jason Walsh.
Alison Brie. (Women’s Health/Lauren Doyle (Hearst Corporation))
"I thought, 'I’m in my late 20s, I should probably start doing some strength training,'" Brie said of her thought process as the time, before landing her role on "GLOW," a show about glamorous wrester-performers in the 1980s.
"It took the motivation out of being skinny for Hollywood standards and made it about being strong for lifting other women, literally," the actress said. "There was a real goal."
Though Brie now engages in workouts like deadlifts, squats, presses and more, she's actually become smaller than she was before she started weight training.
"[B]eing small was a side effect of being super fit and muscular,” she explained. “I like to lead the charge against people thinking that strength training makes women bulky. [Walsh] uses my body as an example at the gym, because I can lift more than a lot of people. You can pack a lot of muscle into a lean little body.”
Alison Brie struggles with depression and body dysmorphia. (Women’s Health/Lauren Doyle (Hearst Corporation))
Brie told the outlet that despite constant workouts, she "definitely" still experiences body dysmorphia, an affliction that's plagued her for years.
“I go back to red carpet photos where I thought I looked so horrible, and there are some where I now think, 'God, I looked beautiful,'" Brie recalled. "And I’ll remember: An hour before that I was in tears; I thought I was so disgusting. I think it’s something I’ll probably be working through my whole life. And depression too.”
According to Women's Health, Brie's grandmother suffered from schizophrenia, which had "trickle-down effects" on the family, including "depression more than anything," the actress said.
While bouts of depression sometimes surprise Brie, she has found ways to cope with them.
"When I’ve been in a really serious depression, I’ll drag myself to a yoga class — even if I don’t want to be around people — tears streaming down my face," she explained. "But, 'Get in class, get out of your head, get blood flowing.' It ends up helping eventually."
Alison Brie stars in Netflix’s ‘GLOW.’ (Women’s Health/Lauren Doyle (Hearst Corporation))
"Open communication" is another thing that Brie's found to be helpful.
"I’m so lucky I’m married to a really wonderful, open person," she says of husband Dave Franco. "We have great lines of communication, and I can talk often about my feelings."
Brie has also focused on her diet, specifically curbing sugar cravings that made her feel bad about her body.
“I used to feel more out of control with it,” said Brie. “Being more diligent has been helpful for me mentally.”