If there’s anyone who knows what it takes to look and feel your absolute best, it’s none other than dance pro and all-around boss babe, Julianne Hough.
The star, who recently opened up about her struggles with endometriosis, isn’t one to slack when it comes to her health. And, like the rest of us, she’s taking it all one day at a time.
The 29-year-old “Dancing with the Stars” host and her fitness trainer, Simone de la Rue, caught up with LIVESTRONG.COM at the Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival in Los Angeles on Saturday — a two-day event filled with top trainers and live workouts mashed up with performances by Ludacris, Mark Ronson and more. We asked the ladies for their top tips and tricks for staying on track this summer, and, as expected, their advice did not disappoint!
Mix It Up in the Gym
One secret Hough credits for staying in shape? Switching it up in the gym! The pro dancer trains with de la Rue and attends a number of different fitness classes, depending on her energy levels and what she feels her body needs on any given day.
“I’m actually in sort of a test mode right now, so I’m testing a bunch of different workouts,” Hough reveals. “I do Body by Simone, I do Lagree Pilates, I’ve been trying SoulCycle and Cycle House — all those trendy, boutiquey and fun class experiences. I love people, and I feel like you feed off of each other, so to be able to have that kind of energy in a class, that’s what I look for. Every day I try something a little bit different and a little bit new. I’m definitely incorporating more yoga — vinyasa flow and that kind of stuff. I’m always mixing it up. I find it really fun to try different things and see the different kind of energies in different classes.”
As for how many times a week she is working on her fitness, Hough isn’t one to skip a beat.
“Every weekday, for sure. I like to workout in the mornings to start my day off right,” she says. “On the weekends I’ll do a Saturday workout. I typically take Sundays off, but I’m definitely active. Whether it’s going on a hike with my husband or going on a bike ride on the beach or something, we definitely like to stay active and outdoors.”
Eat Clean and Lean!
While fitness is key to getting in shape, diet plays a huge factor. In order to feel her best, Hough focuses on eating lean protein and healthy fats with her professional ice hockey player husband, Brooks Laiche, allowing for cheat meals as needed.
“When I wake up in the morning, Brooks and I — actually I should say ‘he’ and give him some credit here,” Hough laughs. “Brooks makes us fresh juices, so I’ll drink my 15-ounce juice first thing in the morning, and then I usually have half a protein shake. And then after my workout I’ll finish the rest of the shake, and I like to do steamed eggs with avocado and tomato for breakfast.”
She adds, “For lunch I’ll usually have a yummy soup and salad. And if it’s a creamy soup it’s usually vegan. If it’s not, then just a vegetable broth. The salad usually has kale with either chicken or fish on it.”
As for dinner, Hough sticks to more protein and greens, steering clear of carbs.
“I’ll have a wood-fired salmon with kale, or sometimes I’ll eat just chicken with vegetables. I’m trying to stay away from carbs, just because of something that I’m testing. I’m focusing more on proteins and good fats at the moment. So far, so good!”
And while her plate may sound exceedingly clean, Hough says she allows herself to give in to cravings — in moderation, of course.
“That’s my go-to eating, but, trust me, if I want pasta, I’ll have pasta!” she says. “I don’t have it every day, but I’ll have it if I want to. If I want a few dark chocolate-covered almonds, I’ll take a couple of those.”
Celebrate the Tiny Wins
While the idea of starting on a fitness journey can be exciting, consistency can be one of the most challenging aspects when maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Hough’s advice? Celebrate often!
“I would say, find small victories,” she says regarding staying on track. “I just posted something on my Instagram Story the other day about how I’ve been a little bit discouraged about things in my head and about my successes and things like that. But what I realized is that I’m not giving myself any credit for the progress or the process. For somebody to stay consistent, I think it’s so crucial to celebrate your little victories and really feel proud of yourself. You know, when you wake up and have your protein shake, be like, ‘Heck yeah! I chose this shake. I didn’t choose to eat a doughnut!’ Celebrate the fact that you chose a healthy option instead of a not-so-great one, and let that positive energy fuel you on your path.”
De la Rue’s tip for staying consistent is just as helpful, reminding us to keep our expectations both reasonable and achievable.
“Set realistic goals. Even if you only do 10 minutes a day, that’s fine!” the trainer reveals. “I think we think, ‘Oh, I’ve only got 10 minutes, so I won’t bother.’ But doing something is always better than doing nothing. Don’t set out on week one to do seven workouts and completely change your meal plan because you’re setting yourself up for failure.”
Abs, Abs, Abs!
With summertime just around the corner, Hough and de la Rue are game for sharing their favorite moves to achieve abs for days.
“I’m all about a twist,” Hough says, when talking about her favorite core workout. “The simple one is the bicycle just because I feel like it engages more of your core and the tiny muscles that you can’t get to from just the lateral movement. So I’m all about a twist. I also really like standing abs because you can elongate by going into a diagonal corner and then crunching down. You have to physically move your stomach in order to contract those muscles, so you know whether you’re doing hard work or if you’re being totally lazy!”
De la Rue, on the other hand, is a die-hard plank enthusiast.
“I always get people into a plank, and then I do a variation on the plank because I think that so many people do crunches incorrectly, so they end up just straining their neck and not really working their core like they should,” she reveals. “Starting off with holding a steady plank and then doing variations off of that is always a great bet when it comes to getting the abs toned.”
And, Finally: Be Careful Who You Follow
While putting in the work and eating right is important, mental clarity and all-around positivity is just as vital when it comes to staying on track. In the age of social media and countless filtered selfies, Hough says it’s important to be mindful of who you follow in order to avoid getting discouraged.
“Instagram is a great thing, but you’re only putting your best pictures, your best videos and the best angles that you have,” she says. “People want to show the best versions of what’s going on in their lives, so it can be really challenging if you’re not in a good headspace and you’re comparing yourself. You’re thinking that this is reality for this person, when in actuality they did FaceTune, they put a filter on it, they took seven pictures before they chose this one. So if you’re not in the right mind or headspace, it can be really challenging.”
Her most crucial tip on the topic of social media? Choose who you follow wisely.
“I think you have to be really smart about who you follow. ‘Does this person make me feel good? Does that brand make me feel empowered, or does it make me feel bad about myself?’”
She adds, “I definitely have those moments if I’m not in my right place. But, for me, I’ve sort of just tried to retrain my brain about what Instagram is for. What Instagram is for, for me, is to use it as a platform of good — for receiving good information and for giving great content to people. My personal mission on my Instagram is to inspire others to achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve. Instagram is great, but it can also be very filtered and fake.”
Read more: Anna Faris admits “perfect” marriage to Chris Pratt was often for Instagram