The actress (and our April cover girl) loves going hard on her workouts—the woman climbs 4,000 feet three times a week and pushes a 100-pound sled around the gym. Still, don’t ask her to give up cheese. Or grits. Or chocolate.
The actress and fitness fanatic, best known for playing Alice Cullen in the Twilight movies, and who now stars in the DirecTV crime drama Rogue, is hooked on an intense climbing routine that she credits with making her stronger than she has ever been. “It’s an insane full-body workout that gets your cardiovascular levels very high very quickly,” Greene, 29, says. “It really pushes you, but it’s so fun that it’s addictive.” She's not exaggerating—she just completed a challenge in which she did the workout every day for 31 days straight. “I wanted to increase my strength and endurance and prove to myself that I could do it,” she explains. Three philosophies guided Greene to her victory and continue to help her move forward toward even bigger fitness goals—and the good life in general. She runs us through them.
Be a morning person, even if you’re a natural night owl
Greene swears by exercising first thing in the a.m. “To fit my workout into my day, I have to be out the door early. That means I don’t have time to think about whether I’m tired or to come up with excuses,” she says. “And I’ve found that when I exercise in the morning, I have a much more productive day. After I finish my workout, I feel as if I can conquer the world.”
Eat for energy, but make sure you cheat
“What I put into my body has a huge impact on the results I get out of it,” Greene says. “Eating keeps my metabolism cranking.” She mainly eats fish, chicken, and vegetables; swaps spaghetti squash for pasta and cauliflower for mashed potatoes to keep from feeling sluggish and bloated; and drinks green juice. “These foods energize me for my workouts,” she explains. But she also builds splurges into her diet. Her favorites: grits (she loves them so much that her parents gave her a package of them as a stocking stuffer last Christmas), cheese, and a glass of red wine with a piece of Mast Brothers Sea Salt Chocolate.
Give yourself a break
Greene balances her intense fitness sessions by hiking with her dogs (she has four) in the hills near her L.A. home. She also loves to surf and plans to learn how to parasail this year. “Getting outdoors is so refreshing to me,” she explains. “It’s a combination of the exercise, soaking up my surroundings, and clearing my mind. It’s my happy place.”
Try Her Workout
Greene does a combination of cardio and strength routines weekly to look this hot. Here's how to make her moves work for you.
Greene takes three classes a week at Rise Nation, a climbing studio opened by her personal trainer, Jason Walsh. The sessions involve using a VersaClimber, an old-school workout machine (imagine that a ladder and a stairclimber had a baby) to blast 16 calories a minute.
Try it: Most gyms have a VersaClimber or two. Find yours and do the 22-minute routine that Walsh created exclusively for Shape.
Sled pushes and pulls, dead lifts, ball throws and slams—Greene's three-times-a-week strength workout is hard core. Walsh has her do heavy compound moves that target several muscle groups at once, so she can build lean muscle while burning calories.
Try it: To get similar results, lift progressively heavier weights, Walsh says. Start by doing three sets of 10 reps with a weight that’s tough to lift for the last two or three reps; do this for about three weeks. For the following three weeks, do four or five sets of six reps with a weight that’s very heavy for the last two or three reps.
PUNCH IT UP
Twice-weekly kickboxing workouts help Greene sculpt all over. Throwing punches on a heavy bag works the entire body, especially the arms and the core.
Try it: Do the 30-minute boxing workout, which combines bag moves with bodyweight exercises like burpees, squat jumps, and planks.