Los Angeles Times 5 Questions
How do you balance your dedication to fitness with a demanding work schedule?
The only way to balance my fitness regimen with my crazy work schedule and long hours on location is to make exercise a priority. I schedule my workouts first thing in the morning, making them a part of my daily routine and eliminating the challenge of motivating myself. I am also a huge advocate of having multiple workout buddies. It’s a great way to see my friends and catch up while being productive and staying healthy, plus you have someone helping to keep you accountable.
In terms of my diet – I make a point of eating clean and healthy 90% of the time and indulging when I feel like it, without reprimanding myself. Sometimes life is a dance of “two steps forward, one step back” and that’s ok, as long as you’re ultimately moving forward. I also believe that working out and eating well is similar to the basic laws of physics: a body in motion wants to stay in motion and a body at rest wants to stay at rest. When I get off track for a few days I can actually feel the resistance to those healthier choices, but once I’ve re-established that habit I crave how great I feel afterwards.
So, what are your favorite workouts around L.A.?
My go-to workouts when I’m in LA are Soma Sculpt at Studio Soma and private pilates sessions with Thalia Thomas. Thalia’s program has completely shifted my body – while I was once more muscular and bulky I am now longer and leaner. As a former soccer player, my muscle memory has a tendency to bulk up so I have to be conscious of doing exercises that keep me lean and strong. In addition to those two staples, I like to add in/alternate different kinds of workouts to keep from getting bored and rebelling: spinning at Flywheel, Body by Simone classes, and hot yoga at Modo Yoga. I love being outside in nature and LA offers so many great hiking trails. My friends and I will mix it up by running different portions of the hike. I have several running buddies and if I’m training for a half marathon or marathon I incorporate that into my workout routine more frequently. Another secret weapon? When I’ve needed to become very cut over the years, I turned to former Navy Seal personal trainer Kevin Lewis. You can find him at www.forcetraining.com. To say he’s a badass is an understatement!
What are the some of biggest differences of how you ate growing up in Minnesota compared to your diet now in L.A.?
My mom did a great job of making home-cooked meals that weren’t too processed, but unfortunately I didn’t learn that healthy eating can be delicious and easy to make. Over the years I’ve educated myself and learned that a healthy body and lifestyle comes from consistent healthy choices. Then, when I do choose to indulge occasionally, my body doesn’t respond as negatively.
My biggest rule of thumb is that if I can’t understand the list of ingredients on the label I should not put it in my body. I have also watched a plethora of food documentaries and worked with nutritionists and integrative medicine physicians to learn how to have a healthier lifestyle as well as combat health issues. Feline Kondula, Butcher at Nutrikon, Dr. Medici of Medici Enterprises, and Fatima Lowe at Holistic Life are all fantastic resources, and I have learned so much valuable information from them. I am a big fan of the Clean Program, Kimberly Snyder’s materials, Jonesinforlife.com, Beautyinthebite.com, The Seven Secrets of Slim People, by Vikki Hansen and Shawn Goodman, Clean Eats Cookbook and It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow. Educating myself on how to cook and the importance of cooking has made healthy eating attainable and enjoyable. My other rule of thumb is that I mainly purchase organic and free-range products. I make those choices a priority in my budget because I know that the initial additional cost is actually an investment in my long-term health and happiness.
How did your father’s illness influence your food and exercise choices?
My father’s illness (he passed away from a cancerous tumor in his bile duct) came at a time when I was already adopting my own “healthier” lifestyle. When I first moved to LA, I had a severe back injury and was told (by Western medicine) that I would never run again because of my bulged discs. I refused to accept that, and did extensive research on my condition. With a lot of hard work, and the help of Dr. Wu at the Bejing Chinese Medical Center, I was able to restore my back through acupuncture and Gi-Gong. Shortly after working with Dr. Wu, not only was I running long distances again but also playing in a women’s soccer league. That set-back opened my mind to Eastern medicine and a different way of viewing “health,” and “wellness.”
As I started really taking a good hard look at how I was taking care of my body, I learned that most of what our culture considers “food,” lacks nutrients and is difficult for our bodies to digest. It horrifies me knowing that European countries do not allow most of the additives and chemicals that our FDA approves for use in our food and beauty products.
I feel like I lost my father too soon and it has fueled my passion for living a healthy life, and encouraging others to get educated. I have struggled with my own health issues over the years and overcame them by adopting healthier habits – I wish that had been the case with my father.
What kind of health research did you take on in the wake of his diagnosis?
I read everything and anything I could on the subject. Every year, more research is done and more information is released – and I can get a better picture. I recommend the following tools: The Amazing Liver Gallbladdder Flush, The Clean Gut book, Crazy Sexy Diet, www.cancerschmancer.org, and The Gerson Therapy. I also recommend watching the following documentaries: Stress the Portrait of a Killer, Fed Up, Food Inc., Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Super Size Me.
What are your proudest achievements from having been involved with The New Hollywood?
The New Hollywood began nearly a decade ago as a small philanthropic goal-group, held in my living room. I’m incredibly proud at how it has grown, and become a positive impact in this world. We’ve been able to make significant donations to a variety of organizations and produce several large-scale events each year where the proceeds go directly to charities, like Toys for Tots, TreePeople and Free the Slaves. Our online community has been growing exponentially, and we even have a LGBT branch beginning in 2016.
The New Hollywood intends to inspire everyone to “Rise Higher, Shine Brighter and Give Back.” We focus on personal and professional goals, support, continued education and charity. It’s been thrilling and humbling to watch women come together and support one another, to shift the paradigm of being catty, negative and competitive to that of being inclusive and supportive, and to recognize that we all have unique gifts and talents. We should embrace these talents and add value to the world. I hope that the small, consistent ripples of our organization will inspire other people to come together, and my goal is to have branches of my organization around the world.
Lastly every August myself and co-founder Pina De Rosa provide a fun charitable program to help take health to the next level with our Get My Body Back program. Join our movement and programs by signing our TNH PLEDGE here.