EXCLUSIVE: Gina Rodriguez Empowers Herself Through Fitness: ‘I’m the Strongest I’ve Ever Been’

Shape Magazine

The 33-year-old actress covers the October issue of ‘Shape’ magazine.

Gina Rodriguez is empowering herself through fitness.

The 33-year-old actress covers the October issue of Shape magazine, hitting newsstands on Sept. 12, where she opens up about her evolving relationship with her body.

Shape Magazine

“It can be difficult to have a good relationship with your body when outside forces are telling you what you should look like,” Rodriguez explains. “The reality is that there’s a huge spectrum of body shapes, and we need to celebrate all of them.”

"As an actress there are so many pressures to look a certain way and to fit into a sample size,” the Jane the Virgin star adds. Rodriguez credits her fit physique to Muay Thai, a combat sport she learned in Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques.

“Doing Muay Thai taught me so much about my body. Now I view it as an engine that keeps me active and healthy,” she continues, noting that the sport has also made her feel “stealthy and quick,” something she’s grateful for after being being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid and causes symptoms such as fatigue and muscle pain.

“How much time I have to train depends on my work schedule,” she says. “In Thailand, we were doing Muay Thai for at least two and a half hours a day, and I got really strong. But when I started working on Jane again, there was no time for training, even at night. So I exercised Saturday and Sunday. Or maybe just Saturday, and I gave myself Sunday to recoup.”

“As a result, my body changed immediately. I couldn’t fit into certain clothes, and I was a little curvier,” she adds. “Before, I would have beaten myself up. But my boyfriend gave me some great advice. He said, ‘Don’t be angry with your body—it changed because your routine shifted.’ And that was like a gift.”

“I’ve got to embrace the fact that when I’m shooting Jane, I can’t work out as much. My body is going to look different, and that’s OK. I’m not willing to wring the joy from my life to kill myself in the gym,” she says.

Earlier this year, Rodriguez and her production company, I Can And I Will Productions, signed an overall deal with CBS Television Studios. Under the multi-year deal, Rodriguez will develop a wide range of projects centered around the Latino community.

“I’m living my dream,” she says about her career. “I want to say to women who are reading this story, try anything you want. You’re strong and durable."

For more on Rodriguez, watch the video below.