Photo Credit: The Riker Brothers
BORN THIS WAY
“Growing up in New York, my mom was a Broadway dancer so I took her classes, and my parents found me a circus gymnastics class at age 6. Competitive gymnastics was my life from 12 to 17, and then through high school and college I was a pole vaulter, winning nationals and getting a scholarship to the University of Nebraska. Later I started taekwondo and kung fu.”
In September, Graff became the first woman to pass Stage 1 in ANW national finals.
NEEDS NO STUNT DOUBLE
“I’ve been a stuntwoman for 10 years. My favorite stunts are being up high and swinging on pendulums. It’s incredible that I get to fly off buildings as my job! Fight scenes are the most mentally entertaining, though.”
Photo Credit: Brandon Hickman / NBC
WHY SHE LOVES ACTING OUT
“When I was a kid I wanted to be an action hero like Jackie Chan! But when I moved to L.A., everyone told me I had to choose between stunts and acting. So I chose stunts. But now I want to move back into acting, too, and do both.”
SEE ALSO: The Obstacle Course Race Training Plan
MOVIES AND TV SHOWS SHE’S APPEARED IN
GI Joe, Live Free or Die Hard, Transformers, The Dark Knight, Supergirl.
“In a week I always include at least two push days, pull days, and leg days. For push I do boxing, pushups, handstands, and dumbbell bench presses. For pull day I do nine sets of pullups [narrow, regular, and wide] to failure, trying to beat my best every time, followed by biceps curls. If I’ve plateaued, I’ll do slows, like three sets of pullups as slow as possible. [Her record is 1 minute, 45 seconds.] If I’m doing a higher-impact leg day of running, jumping, flipping, and bounding off walls, then I’ll do burnout plyo, including box jumps, single-leg box hops, hill sprints, and squats. I enjoy the feeling of burning out, rather than striving for a number.”
Photo Credit: Michael Thompson
EVERYWHERE’S A GYM
“I converted my living room into a gym (above), complete with wall-to-wall gym flooring, high bar, squat rack, bench press, rings, heavy bag, climbing wall, and grip obstacles. And Muscle Beach has the bar and rings that I love.”
STRIKE A BALANCE
“I used to do all of my exercises on the same day. But pulling back helped dramatically. If I’m going to be as good as I can be, I have to be disciplined enough for recovery.”
SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Guide to Clean Eating
“I eat a balanced meal or snack every three to five hours. For breakfast I like an egg scrambled with tons of veggies; for lunch I’ll have chicken and a big salad with dried blueberries and Greek yogurt; and I live on protein bars.
“Try everything! You have to be willing to try out different skills and not be afraid of looking dumb, even if you look ridiculous. That’s exactly how you get better.”
Follow Jessie’s every move at @jessiegraffpwr.