Fit and fabulous

Best known for being a judge on the TV series Dancing with the Stars, actress, singer and dancer Julianne Hough reveals how she stays motivated to exercise and eat clean.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Best known for being a judge on the TV series Dancing with the Stars, actress, singer and dancer Julianne Hough reveals how she stays motivated to exercise and eat clean. 
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I don’t think of myself as a sexy person. But when I’m wearing something that shows off my body, I feel sexy. 

Julianne Hough makes things happen. Consider what she has accomplished in the past year alone: She won rave reviews for her role as Sandy in the hit US TV special Grease Live!, recently started her own television production company, created an athleisure line called MPG Collection by Julianne Hough, and launched, a lifestyle website where she gives fitness, food and fashion advice to her millions of fans. Julianne, 28, who is engaged to Canadian pro ice hockey player Brooks Laich, is also about to start planning her wedding. (One thing she knows for sure: Her dogs will be in the ceremony.) She credits her fitness routine for giving her the energy, strength and confidence to push herself in all these new directions. “I take time every morning to start my day with a workout,” she says. “That’s what makes me feel happy and personally fulfilled, which means I have so much more to give later on.” Here’s Julianne’s advice on how to keep your motivation burning bright. 


“I exercise three to six times a week, but usually I do five days of hard-core training. 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. When I want to tone up quickly, I’ll also take a Soulcycle class. Saturdays, I go on a really long hike with my friends or take another yoga class, depending on how I feel. Sunday is my reboot day. I try to eat healthy and do something outside, like walk my dogs. I relax, enjoy the day, and get mentally and spiritually prepared for the week. It gets me excited for what’s ahead.” 


“I love going to classes with my girlfriends [actresses Nina Dobrev and Sarah Hyland are two of her closest]. We’ll call each other or send a group text and organise. Sometimes we sign up for Spartan races and have a blast. Last fall, we took a girls’ trip to Mexico. I had just finished a dancing tour with my brother, Derek, and was super-motivated and working out like crazy. My friends asked me to teach a class one of the days we were on the trip, and I said: ‘One day? I’ll do it every day!’ So rather than drink tequila shots and get crazy, we turned it into a healthy trip. Every morning, we got up and I taught an hour-long mix of Tracy Anderson, Body by Simone, and yoga moves. Then we’d put on our swimsuits and go to the beach or the pool. Don’t get me wrong: We definitely enjoyed cocktails and chips and salsa while we were there, but after our daily workouts, we always felt much better about ourselves.” 


“I try to stick with foods that don’t come in boxes. I don’t want a whole paragraph of ingredients in my body. Brooks and I generally eat protein and veggies. For a boost of energy, I mix in quinoa or rice sometimes. If Brooks had his way, we’d have steamed chicken and broccoli every day. 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. It took only 20 minutes and was really delicious.” 


“E! News recently posted a picture of me coming out of the gym, and there were all these comments about the photo, like: ‘We could have abs like this, but we love pizza too much.’ I started laughing because pizza is my favourite food. I eat it a lot! I want everyone to know that I’m not Miss Perfect. 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.” 


“I started designing my athleisure line because I’m a believer in a fit lifestyle. 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. The line makes you want to be active. 


“I love my shape because I feel strong and fit, and that makes me feel confident. When I look at pictures of myself when I was 19, my body was bangin’, but I was killing myself. I was working out 2½ hours a day and eating the bare minimum to survive. I was so miserable. 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.”