Rich Ronat is best known in Hollywood as the writer of Grand Isle (2019) and American Sicario (2021), but as he prepares to launch his directorial debut, Culprit, at LA’s Dances with Films festival in June, Ronat credits a love of action and affection for taking over tinsel town. Here’s why.

“Nothing I’ve ever done has burned fat more in a shorter amount of time,” says Ronat of his love of kickboxing, “And at the same time, strengthened my core as well as ramped up my metabolism.”

The filmmaker first took up kickboxing at the age of 12 years old. He grew up in Orlando, FL, where his dad was a boxer and his coach would wrestle allegators on the side. In addition to getting his sweat on, Ronat has found that being active has also helped him to deal with the highs and lows of Hollywood. “It definitely teaches you mental toughness and patience,” he explains. “This business is hard because when you’re isolated as a writer, you have to have the discipline to do it when you don’t feel like it. Staying true to a focus and a goal when your feelings tell you otherwise is extremely important. It’s directly related to kickboxing because you have to keep moving forward as you’re being hit.”

Filmmaker Rich Ronat kickboxing and throwin an elbow to a punching pad
Rich Ronat

Rich Ronat Balances Fitness With Family

Kickboxing training, depending on the intensity and other factors, can easily burn 350 to 450 calories per hour and you don’t need to look like Jean-Claude Van Damme to give it a go. While the idea that exercise is also good for our brains is nothing new, the wide-ranging benefits of working out are vast. For example; getting the heart pumping through exercises like kickboxing releases neurotrophic factors such as peripheral BDNF, improving cognitive function and memory abilities.

When time is at a premium on set, Ronat is able to sneak a quick workout in during his lunch break, opting to work with his trainer on the pads. But when he’s not hitting, he’s hugging his girlfriend, Laura Vale. “It’s vitally important to reconnect with your loved one every day,” explains the star. “We can tend to neglect and forget how wonderful our lives are at times. Especially when getting busy with films. Hugging and connecting reminds us of what’s important and gets us out of our heads and into our bodies.” Indeed, many studies have backed up the notion that hugging not only offers support, but can improve our wellbeing and potentially make us live longer.

Ronat’s balanced approach to fitness and family is putting his film career on the fast track. “I have my directorial debut, Culprit, premiering at the Dances with Films film festival on June 21st at the Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles,” he explains. “I’m very proud of this movie. I’m also very excited to have launched my production company with Laura, it’s called Good Rebel Pictures and we plan to make one thriller a year to start and build from there.

And for all those aspiring filmmakers out there, Ronat has the following advice for you to make your own splash on screen: “I think once you pinpoint what your dream is, you work harder than ever for a really, really long time and slowly start to see real results!” Film and fitness are not that different then, as consistency continues to be a marker of success.

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