The Walking Dead star Lauren Cohan was recently interviewed about her fitness tips and tricks. With her muscle definition, its not surprising she almost never skips a workout. Even if it’s 4:30 in the morning, she’s up and at the gym, even if only for a 20-minute work out. When in doubt, she sweats it out.
She’s all about planning ahead to fit her health goals into her crazy, busy everyday life, even if she has to go to bed at 7:45 p.m. just to achieve them. She revealed the top five rules she lives by to keep herself feeling healthy and happy. You might want to write them down.
1. Never go the easy route
If anyone is determined to work hard, it’s this zombie-slaying chick: “I like a challenge. I get such a sense of satisfaction when I push myself beyond what I thought I could do. That’s what HIIT or interval training does for me. If I sprint at 9.5 for two minutes, I feel really good.” HIIT and Tabata training are both very efficient for health nuts with busy schedules, so it’s not surprising that this is Cohan’s top pick!
2. Rely on fast food
She’s not talking about the greasy cheat day food you get in a paper bag from a drive-thru. Cohan preps her meals like most serious fitness lovers. Meal prep is absolutely necessary to avoid binging when you don’t have time to prepare balanced meals during the week!
“On Sundays I chop up a bunch of vegetables and make three or four Mason Jars’ worth of dressings, and I throw dishes together at random during the week. With my schedule, it makes it so much easier to have things ready to go in the fridge. I eat healthy. But I splurge, too. My favorite is Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I’m obsessed with them!”
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3. Move. Then move some more
If you thought this actress moved on screen, you should hear about what she does on a daily basis. Somehow fighting zombies for your life doesn’t seem nearly as exhausting as what she does every day. Her workouts are intense and daily, and she commits to working out with a passion. Constant calorie burning owes a big thanks to constant moving. When you’re always doing something, you can’t afford to be lazy.
“I am the queen of exercise variety. [One] week I was in L.A. and I took a Purre Bar class, went to Burn 60 [an HIIT class] twice, ran the track at UCLA, made it to the gym and took a yoga class. I also really love to dance. I dance through workouts that aren’t even about dancing! At home, all my furniture is pushed to the edges of my living room so that I can dance around the room. Working out is harder when we’re on set. We film in Georgia, and I can’t go to classes. So I do lots of workout DVDs that have a lot of leg lifts, kicks, arm lifts–things that don’t need much equipment. And I move all the time. I take the stairs, I do press-ups between scenes, and I do sit-ups before I eat lunch.”
4. Know when you just need to do nothing
Sometimes, the daily grind becomes so overwhelming that we end up falling into a rut, which is hard to get out of. A lot of the time when your mind is burned out, your workouts suffer, and your body does too. Stress is the body’s worst enemy, and Cohan’s technique for assuaging her recurring anxieties is key for being healthy and happy.
“My brain is hyperactive; I probably would have been diagnosed with ADD as a kid if that had been a thing back then. I can also be really hard on myself. So every once in a while, I need to do a 10-day meditation retreat. I go to a place where you don’t bring your phone and you don’t talk to other people — you just meditate. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, but it’s so worth it. It helps me chill out, stay in the moment, and stop worrying about the future.”
5. Don’t tolerate body shaming — especially when you do it to yourself.
“I was very skinny as a kid, but when I was swimming, and playing field hockey, and just having fun, I never worried about how I looked. In my teens, though, I started to be more aware about my body, and I didn’t like being skinny. People made fun of me for it. So when I got to college, I ate a lot of junk, and I gained weight.”
Body shaming can be anyone’s worst enemy when we let it get to us. Cohan’s response was natural, no one wants to be singled out for the way they look. The secret is to own it and ignore the haters, and obviously she’s doing that now with tremendous success!
Behind Cohan’s fitness success is one of the most important things — her love for it. “Working out gives me endorphins and makes me happy. I need it!”
And it’s that simple.