ET's Lauren Zima caught up with the 27-year-old star at SHAPE magazine's SHAPE Body Shop event in Los Angeles on Saturday, where she opened up about her favorite health tips, her hard-to-kick vices and her most effective work-out routines.
ET: Why is it so important for you to be here today?
Julianne Hough: I just love everything that it represents. My shape and representing who you are, loving and owning that shape. I'm a huge fan of just keeping a healthy lifestyle. For your body but for your mind, also.
ET: Is this the best you’ve ever felt?
JH: Yeah. I think growing up it was never an issue for me to think about working out or having a healthy lifestyle because I danced so much. Then when I stopped dancing and I got into regular life mode, I didn’t realize how much diet and nutrition and being active was so important. Not only for my physical state, but for my mental state, too. I think that’s just as important as working out for your physical state. Everything is a little more balanced with me now. I feel like I work out because it’s fun and I changed my mentality for that. too. I figured out if I have a good goal in mind, then I can actually achieve it. I also like to feel good when I’m working out. If I put schlubby clothes on, I’m like, ‘Blah.’ I don’t really want to work out. But if I’m feeling cute and I’m looking good -- that’s my motivation.
ET: When it comes to fitness and nutrition, do you have a mantra? What are the words you live by?
JH: One of my mantras is if I’m scared to do something, that means that I have to do it. So If I’m like, ‘Oh, this is not something that I want to do,’ that means I have to do it. That’s always a good motivation. And also, I keep saying this about a mental state, but the more that I am physically active, the more that my mind is clear. When my mind is clear, I feel like I can give more of myself to those around me and hopefully bring light and joy and an infectious kind of energy to inspire them to do whatever they want to do. That’s really the key behind it all.
ET: Because you did dance for so long, what do your workouts look like now? What’s a typical week for you?
JH: I definitely get bored very easily so I have to mix it up a bunch. I’m one of those people that loves to try everything. I do a lot of boutique studio classes -- Body by Simone or Tracy Anderson, I do Core Power Yoga, Soul Cycle, Rise Nation. I work out with Astrid my trainer every once in a while to kind of mix it up. I think that’s important because it kind of shocks your body and you get to see more results.
ET: Everyone on a health journey has personal struggles. What struggle do you deal with? What’s tough to overcome?
JH: I definitely am the kind of person that fluctuates up and down. I work really hard for a certain project and then I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m done.’ Then I realize maybe I shouldn’t be having that fifth pizza this week. It’s more about balance for me. I used to be an all or nothing person. And now I would rather have a lifestyle change -- rather than use the word ‘diet’ -- where 90 percent of the time spend my life that way and 10 percent of the time have fun and do what my body feels like it needs or craves.
ET: What is one vice that you wish you could kick?
JH: Pizza. I absolutely love Italian food. So pizza -- like a margherita pizza, penne arbiota, a glass of wine. That’s like my dream.
ET: What about an unhealthy habit that everyone must drop?
JH: Fast food. I would say fast food. As guilty and fun as it is to go through a drive-thru and get a cheeseburger or whatever, I just feel like you can make your own burger at home. You know what’s going into it. You know where it came from. And it’s just easy to go back and forth to those drive-thrus. Just kick that habit!
ET: I feel like for some people that’s the ‘drunk/late-night’ food -- what would be your late night food?
JH: Chips and salsa for me. I love chips and salsa. Guacamole.
ET: What about the biggest fitness mistake people make?
JH: Maybe that you’re not listening to your body and maybe you push it too hard and overdo it. Then you might hurt yourself or just get mentally drained and you can’t keep going. Gradually get there. Take your time. Some of these fad diets and quick fixes, they might be quick, but you’re going to crash and burn. Take a little bit of extra time and make it a lasting thing.
ET: What is the one workout that everyone should be doing?
JH: I’m a huge fan of dance cardio because it goes by really quick. Everybody loves music and it’s fun -- you feel like you’re not working out. It makes the time go by quick and you’re having fun and, especially if you take a class, there’s the energy of other people and you’re laughing. You’re enjoying each other’s company. Even if you’re a guy and you don’t believe in dancing, you should try dance cardio. It’s really fun!
ET: Best workout for your arms?
JH: What I really like to do, especially because we’re all busy so sometimes you forget to do something, I always keep wrist weights with me. If I just put them on throughout the day, then I’ll just be doing stuff and it’s kind of just toning without me doing anything. Sometimes that’s just my little trick. I have ankle weights and wrist weights and I just keep them with me at all times.
ET: What about best workout for your abs? How do we get the Julianne Hough abs?
JH: Honestly, dancing! Dancing is so great because there are all the little details, and the little movements, and the little muscles that are working without you even realizing. You can also do your basic crunches. I love a little bicycle. Standing abs are pretty cool, too!
ET: For your butt?
JH: Again, ankle weights are great. Get on your hands and knees and do those butt raises with your leg kicking back behind you. Squats are always great. But, again dancing! I’m telling you, dancing is the key.
ET: What about your legs? Especially that thigh area.
JH: Yeah, the thigh area! I love this little green resistance band that's a circle and you put it up over your knees, or you can put it on your ankles too -- and I mean, the old-school Jane Fonda stuff! You know? You've gotta do the side leg lifts and stuff like that. Even if you have it around your ankles, just literally doing jumping jacks and resisting back and forth. And it gives you a little bit of a cardio burst too.