April 22, 2009

Discover how an accident caused Ashley Tisdale to change her mind about workout routines and benefit from her healthy lifestyle tips.

For years Ashley Tisdale acted like many young women who are naturally slim: She ate junk food whenever she wanted and avoided workout routines whenever she could. That all changed a few years ago when she injured her back on the set of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.

"It was a bad fall, and it really started hurting when I was dancing on tour," says Ashley. "In order to get my back stronger, I knew I had to strengthen my core." Despite being active on the job, Ashley had a real aversion to the gym. "I hated it!" she says. "I loved performing in the High School Musical movies -- that didn't seem like work -- but the gym felt like torture!"

To improve her outlook, she focused on the health benefits of fitness routines.

"Now before I work out, I think, 'I love exercise'" and it works," she says. Having such a positive attitude made it easier for Ashley to improve her diet when she learned about her family history of diabetes. "After I found out my grandfather has it and my mom is borderline, I knew I had to get serious about my diet too," says the 23-year-old actress/singer. "I realized just how much exercise and eating right make a difference in how you feel now and when you get older."

Ashley spoke to Shape exclusively about these workout routines and other healthy lifestyle changes and how they've not only benefited her body, but also given her a healthy dose of confidence.

Here's one of Ashley's favorite healthy lifestyle tips: Discover what motivates you...

As if she wasn't already motivated enough to improve her health, Ashley had one other good reason: "I was always superthin, too skinny, actually," she says. "I felt like someone could break me in half. I realize now that being a bit more curvy and toned is so much more beautiful."

To get on track, Ashley started working with trainer Christopher Hebert eight months ago. "He's cute, which makes it fun, and he never lets our exercise sessions get boring," she says. Each of her hour-long workout routines consists of 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes of weight training and core exercises (which help keep Ashley's back strong). For her arms and shoulders, Ashley alternates between exercises with light hand weights and push-ups. For her legs, Christopher has her run stairs at the gym.

Plus, here's more about Ashley's great-body workout routines...

When Ashley Tisdale was filming High School Musical 3, she was rehearsing six hours a day and discovering a passion for exercise. She took her fitness routines up a notch when she started working with Los Angeles trainer Christopher Hebert last summer. The duo does a combo of cardio and resistance training three or four days a week, with special emphasis on strengthening Ashley's core. "She really enjoys cardio" especially running stairs with a medicine ball," says Christopher. She holds a weighted ball overhead and jogs up and down a set of stairs 10 times, skipping every other step.

Ashley proves you can be strong and toned without looking like a bodybuilder. Check out Ashley's fitness routines, that you too, can do at home, in just 20 minutes!