"I eat so much more than I used to, and I feel so much leaner and stronger than I ever imagined I'd be."
Last week, Nina Dobrev was officially announced as the new face of the Reebok x Les Mils partnership. To celebrate, the actress hosted a full-day fitness and wellness extravaganza where we got to chat with her about her workouts (in addition to sweating it out with a personal trainer, she's a devotee of Les Mills GRIT, a 30-minute group HIIT workout), her diet, and body image revelations. Spoiler: She recently completely changed the way she thinks about eating and working out and got major results.
Here's what we learned:
Strength training changed everything for her.
"I actually did not do a lot of [strength training] in the past—I only did yoga and ran in terms of training. Strength training with weights and such a regimented schedule has been new to my life, and now that I understand the way it all works, the science behind it, it's changed everything for me. I eat so much more than I used to, and I feel so much leaner and stronger than I ever imagined I'd be."
She eats way more—and feels leaner.
"I used to eat three full meals and then I would not be able to move after each meal. I would be so full and tired. Now, I eat all the time but portion control is what's important for me—I'm eating more in total but not more at a time. Lissa [Nina's trainer at Les Mills] coached me through it, but basically, I aim to have the size of my thumb in fat, the size of my palm in protein, and then unlimited veggies. I wish I'd learned this in school."
She uses this trick to get through tough workouts.
"Music is a big part of my training and my life. Before I had a trainer I would go to the gym and go on the treadmill and whenever it was the chorus I would sprint and whenever it was not the chorus I would just jog. If there's a beat I can usually get into a groove and sense what's happening and if something burns I just plow through it because the music is what drives me."
She became a morning workout person.
"You need to make a decision—do I want to look and feel a certain way and put the work into it? I see the difference so I make the time for it on set. I would wake up an hour earlier. Even though I was exhausted after a 12-hour day and did not want to work out, I did it because I always knew I would feel better after. I do it first thing when I wake up because then I can't make up an excuse for it, like being tired later on in the day. Because usually by 6 p.m. you're just like, I have no energy. I've done all the things I've done! I don't want to do anything else! I just get it done in the morning." (FYI here are all the health benefits of morning workouts.)
She doesn't sweat the small stuff.
"There are a million things I nitpicked at a younger age, but now I look back at photos or videos of those days when I used to wish I could change my body and I'm like, oh I looked great that day. If I had to tell my younger self something, it would be to not sweat the small stuff and just accept who you are."