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How Book of Mormon Star Nikki James Stays Fit

Broadway's New Rising Star

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Nikki James has scored a Tony award for her leading role in Book of Mormon, the musical from the creators of South Park that’s racking up awards and acclaim this season. In a SHAPE.com exclusive, James reveals how she got in shape for the Tony awards on Sunday, June 12.

Snacking like Elvis

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"I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to fruits and veggies; I'll eat anything, but I love mango and bananas. My secret energy food is a peanut butter and banana sandwich with honey on whole grain bread. I also love snacking on a handful of nuts. And one of my snacks from Fresh Diet today is a piece of cheesecake, which I'm saving for dessert."

Stretching Her Limits

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"I have become a yoga addict. For the past year I've been doing bikram yoga, where you're in a room that's 104 degrees for 90 minutes, so you have to drink lots of water. Lately I've been relying on coconut water: a great way to get your electrolytes and stay hydrated without added sugar. I do bikram three times a week and it's challenging both mentally and physically. Before a show, if I want to get my body and mind ready to move, I do the opening postures, like sun salutations, which involves lots of stretching and deep breathing. It gets my blood circulating and helps me feel in control of my body."

Meals Delivered to Her Doorstep

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"It's difficult with my busy schedule to be as diligent and responsible as I could be, and I found myself running to Subway on the way to the theatre. So lately, The Fresh Diet (thefreshdiet.com) has been my savior. I get three meals a day and two snacks, and the food is delicious."

Name That Tune

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"For cardio, I'm a pretty avid treadmill runner. I love to zone out, then look down and realize I've run five miles. My playlist does have some musical theatre like Hairspray's 'You Can’t Stop the Beat,' as you might expect, but also lots of classic Beyonce like Single Ladies, Ke$ha's Tik Tok, Justin Timberlake's Rock Your Body, and one very old-school Jordan Knight song, Give It To You, that brings me right back to college. My playlist hasn't exactly caught up to my radio listening, but there's something about the comfort I have with my old favorites that gets me right into the zone."

Strengthen and Lengthen

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"Like every other woman at the gym, I'm obsessed with my abs. I love the '100' series in Pilates. In fact, my body has responded more to yoga and Pilates than to any toning moves I've done at the gym…maybe because I've never had a trainer and might not have 100-percent perfect form. There's something about that strengthening with stretching combo that gives me the lean, toned look I like, maybe because I'm a ectomorph [body type] and tend to look muscular to begin with."

Who Needs Meat?

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"I'm really into lean protein. Tonight for dinner I'm having pan-seared tofu with Asian peanut sauce and noodles. Tofu is a great way to get lean protein if you're not into eating a ton of meat. Also, because my mom makes delicious Haitian food, dishes like rice and beans are comfort food to me."

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