Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff Admits She Wasn't In The Best Shape While Playing Starbuck

Katee Sackhoff has become an icon of sci-fi television thanks to her four-season stint as Battlestar Galactica's Kara Thrace, a.k.a. complex ace pilot Starbuck. The character was ready to fearlessly fly the missions that scared other pilots into staying grounded, but she was fond of drinking, smoking, and fighting as well. Now, Sackhoff has revealed that despite Starbuck almost always being ready for action, the actress herself wasn't in the best shape.

Speaking candidly about training her body for film and television on her YouTube channel, Katee Sackhoff shared her physical fitness level during her Battlestar Galactica days:

That was me at 142-145 pounds. Starbuck was also me drinking a lot, I smoked cigarettes at the time, I didn’t work out. I was strong because I’ve always been strong but I didn’t train to play Starbuck. Starbuck was pretty much how I looked working out three days a week, just enjoying going for runs or doing yoga or whatever I was doing just to stay physically fit. Because I enjoy it.

Considering how physical Starbuck was (and how Battlestar Galactica spent a big part of a key Season 3 episode on a no-holds-barred fight with Apollo), I for one wouldn't have guessed that Katee Sackhoff didn't train specifically to play Starbuck. That said, Sackhoff was still working out, even if she wasn't quite in the place she is now that she can do things like go into beast mode for the shirtless handstand challenge.

Starbuck was actually on a run throughout the corridors of Galactica in the first episode of the series, so it's fitting that running was one of Katee Sackhoff's preferred methods of staying fit. While some fans may be surprised that Sackhoff didn't have to go the physical extra mile with an intense daily workout routine to play Starbuck, the actress revealed that her workout regime was actually ideal for her character:

Part of the reason I didn’t want to change her body from my own was because she and I were very similar in that sense in that regard. She drank a lot and she smoked cigars. This is not a person who is like the epitome of being in shape. As far as leanness is concerned. She was very strong and capable; you have to be to fly a plane, but she wasn’t eating salads, let’s put it that way.

Starbuck did seem to spend most of her time on a liquid diet due to the emotional stress of her life, which got progressively more difficult until she kinda sorta met her end on Battlestar Galactica. She was different following her return in. Season 4, but she had the same look. And hey, it's not like there are a lot of salads in space! Who could blame Starbuck for not falling over herself to go on the algae diet?

While Battlestar Galactica ended back in 2009 and the new incarnation isn't going to be a revival revisiting the few surviving major characters from the end of the series finale, Katee Sackhoff did return to space as part of a Netflix series, which itself was her second show on the streamer following Longmire. She'll return to space yet again to reprise her animated Star Wars role of Bo-Katan Kryze for live-action in The Mandalorian Season 2. She has also dropped in and out of The Flash to play a unique villain.

If you're now in the mood to relive Katee Sackhoff's days as Starbuck, you're in luck. The full series is available streaming for free on For some additional viewing options, check out our 2020 summer TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).