Five months after giving birth to her son Julian Fuego, Paula Patton had to be in the best shape of her life to star opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, a feat even she calls “crazy.”
“It was really the most grueling and one of the hardest things I’ve done,” Patton, 36, tells PEOPLE about her intense training while attending Thursday’s Reebok Crossfit Sport of Fitness campaign launch in New York.
“I worked out for two and half hours, six days a week for a couple of months. It was so hard!”
To stay motivated, “I would never cry in front of the boys, but inside I was hurting and a little depressed,” she admits.
“You have to get past that moment of self-doubt. After a month, the wall came down and the training felt doable. It still wasn’t easy, but doable and that felt really empowering.”
Today, Patton works out for one hour five days a week, doing such activities as running, weight training, Pilates and yoga with her husband, singer Robin Thicke.
“We started doing it together years ago,” says Patton. “I’m much more flexible than him, but he’s much stronger than I am. So it’s really fun to workout together. We balance each other.”
Though fitness is an important aspect in her life, Patton’s top priority is her toddler, now 21 months old.
“Becoming a mother is the best thing that’s happened to me,” she says. “He’s at the age where he’s talking. He’s not doing soliloquies, but he’s saying Mama, Dada, car and dog. His vocabulary is growing every day. He makes me so happy.”
– Paul Chi