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Ellie Goulding's Inspiring Passion for Fitness

This Pop Star's Got Game

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At 27, Ellie Goulding's stardom is blooming. The British powerhouse, who is set to perform at the MTV Movie Awards this Sunday, has sold more than four million albums and 15 million singles worldwide. Beyoncé has sung her praises. And her A-list fan base continues to grow (think: Taylor Swift, President Obama, and Kate Middleton). Oh yeah, and us.

See, aside from her music—which absolutely fuels our sweat sessions—we love the electro-pop princess for another reason: her love of fitness. The chart-topper is a diehard runner—she hits the pavement with regular six-mile runs even while on tour and invites fans to join her on her Facebook page. Last April, she completed her fourth half-marathon in Washington D.C., clocking in at an impressive one hour, 41 minutes. “For me, exercise is a crucial part of being alive. It’s like breathing,” she says. Ahead, 10 more reasons we love Goulding.

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She's an Endorphin Addict

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The "Burn" singer says running gives her the biggest buzz. “The thrill of running is purely physical. I could tell you it’s a spiritual high, but that would be a lie. I’m an endorphin addict,” she says. “I love the idea of my body being how it should be—in shape, active, and able to deliver. The more I train and see muscle definition, the more inspired I am to push myself harder.”

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She Prefers Strong to Skinny

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"I see myself as an athletic girl,” Goulding says. “I don’t really care if my weight fluctuates as long as I’m fit. You don’t need to be skinny to have confidence, but you can put on the most beautiful dress and if you’re not feeling comfortable, it won’t look beautiful.” The blonde beauty has even dared to prove her strength: “I think I probably can crack a walnut with my thighs. I’d give it a go!”

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She Laughs a Lot

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With long periods of time on the road away from family and friends, the glamorous life isn't always so, well, glamorous. And Goulding counts the importance of a good team around her—and lots of laughter—to cope. “You can be vulnerable to getting depressed with constant jet lag and tiredness. I get out of that with humor. I am laughing all the time and manage to find pretty much everything funny,” she says.

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She Inspires Her Fans

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With more than two million followers on Instagram, the U.K. superstar is not only thankful for her fans but strives to be a role model for them. "It's nice when fans say I have inspired them in some way.” And from posting sweaty workout selfies to writing fitspirational messages, Goulding is real. “I think people can have this misconception about how singers live, so I’m breaking the illusion. I’m a bit of a dork, and people get to see that."

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She's Not a Diva

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A request for Cristal champagne in a dressing room may not be out of the ordinary in Hollywood—but you won't find it in Goulding's. She is as down-to-earth as they come. “I’m not diva-ish about anything apart from always having tea and always being able to fit in a run,” she says. “It’s hardly rock ’n’ roll, but it keeps me happy and then I perform better.”

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She Gets Seven Servings

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Thanks to a newly adopted vegetarian diet, the singer/songwriter says she’s never felt better. “I’ve been vegetarian for six months and now my body’s different, my skin is different, my face shape is different, and my eyes are brighter," she says. “I have more energy and feel like a happier person.”

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She Makes Time for What Matters

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"Music and fitness are two of the most important things in my life. I’ve been working hard to balance my training while on tour," she says. "I am training my body and that helps not only my life but also my job so I have enough energy on stage and can deal with everything I have to do."

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She Lives for the Now

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The golden-voiced gal has loved, lost, and healed with grace. “A lot of the despair in breaking up is thinking about how you’re going to cope in the future. ‘What’s going to happen to me? Who am I going to find next? What am I going to do without him?’," she says. "But not being completely present prevents you from being happy and alive. As soon as you stop relying so heavily on what happened in the past, you end up being able to deal.”

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She Mixes It Up

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Though pounding pavement is one of the secrets behind her toned bod, Goulding knows the benefits of variety. "I love yoga—it's good for strength,” she says. “High-energy sports like capoeira, a martial art dance where you’re constantly on your hips, gets you really good hip muscles too."

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She (of Course) Has a Killer Workout Playlist

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Dance music is the soundtrack to most of her sweat sessions, but Goulding recommends broadening your horizons. “Recently I’ve been putting on music that has more of an epic, orchestral feel to it, like [film composer] Hans Zimmer. You can pretend that you’re running away from the apocalypse!” Other faves include "Your Girl" by Tourist, "Genesis" by Grimes, "Stay" by Henry Crinkle, "Hypercaine" by DJ Fresh, and "Please Don’t Say You Love Me" by Gabrielle Aplin.

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