Julianne Hough is taking much better care of herself now than when she was 19.
The Grease Live! star covers the September issue of Shape magazine, where she opens up about maintaining a diet and fitness plan that focuses on strength and health over staying skinny.
"I love my shape because I feel strong and fit, and that makes me feel confident," she tells the publication. "When I look at pictures of myself when I was 19, my body was bangin’, but I was killing myself."
"I was working out two and a half hours a day and eating the bare minimum to survive. I was so miserable," she admits. "I wasn’t healthy. To be honest, I looked like a kid."
"Now I’m embracing the fact that I’m a woman with curves," the 28-year-old actress adds.
So how does Hough work on keeping her body toned and strong?
"I exercise three to six times a week, but usually I do five days of hard-core training," she reveals of her fitness routine. "On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I do Tracy Anderson or Body by Simone or I work out with my trainer, Astrid Swan. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I do Core Power Yoga, which I love."
"If I’m doing something special," she continues, "I’ll also take a SoulCycle class."
Meanwhile, when the weekend hits, Hough shares, "I go on a really long hike with my friends or take another yoga class, depending on how I feel."
And although she stays very active, Hough does give herself Sundays to "relax, enjoy the day and get mentally and spiritually prepared for the week."
"Sunday is my reboot day," Hough adds, "I try to eat healthy and do something outside like walk my dogs ... It gets me excited for what’s ahead."
Of course, style can also be a great motivator!
"If I have a really cute outfit on when I exercise, it inspires me to work harder," Hough explains. "I want those clothes to look good on my body."
The actress says her new athletic wear line, MPG Collection by Julianne Hough, is designed to make you look good while you do good.
"I started designing my athleisure line because I’m a believer in a fit lifestyle," she says. "I wanted to make clothes that are cute to work out in and that you can also go about your day in—picking up the kids, going to a meeting, getting groceries, whatever."
And most importantly, you don't have to do it alone!
"I love going to classes with my girlfriends [actresses Nina Dobrev and Sarah Hyland are two of her closest]," Hough tells the magazine. "We’ll call each other or send a group text and organize."
Hough adds that she and her friends even turned a girls trip to Mexico into a "healthy trip," by taking classes led by her, rather than drinking "tequila shots" and partying hard.
"We definitely enjoyed cocktails and chips and salsa while we were there," she adds. "But after our daily workouts we always felt much better about ourselves."
On the diet front, Hough mainly sticks to "foods that don’t come in boxes."
She says that she and her fiance, NHL pro Brooks Laich, "generally eat protein and veggies."
"For a boost of energy, I mix in quinoa or rice sometimes," she reveals, admitting that at times she needs to spice up the meals a bit!
"If Brooks had his way, we’d have steamed chicken and broccoli every day," Hough explains. "That’s too boring for me, and when I get bored I tend to binge eat."
"Last night we made baked salmon with rosemary and lemon and broccoli, onions, and cherry tomatoes," she continues. "It took only 20 minutes and was really delicious."
But at the end of the day, Hough knows that perfection is not what it's about.
"Pizza is my favorite food. I eat it a lot! I want everyone to know that I’m not Miss Perfect," she reveals.
Hough's advice: "You can cheat every once in a while, and that’s OK. You can still have a fit body as long as you work out regularly and eat relatively healthfully throughout your life."
Hough's issue of Shape hits stands on Aug. 16.
Watch the video below to see her secret for getting amazing abs!