15 Fitness Muses to Inspire Your Workout
This Victoria’s Secret beauty always looks toned, whether she’s donning sexy swimwear or VSX exercise gear. “For me, mixing workouts like boxing, jump rope, and basic ballet works best,” the South African-born Swanepoel says. “Boxing works my arms and core, ballet elongates my muscles, and jumping rope is a great way to warm up before any workout.” As good as she looks in a bikini, it’s only natural for Swanepoel to enjoy working out oceanside too: “My favorite exercise is something that doesn’t feel like I’m exercising at all, such as swimming in the ocean or playing paddle ball,” she says, adding that she sticks to a healthy diet of organic foods and lots of fruits and veggies.
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"People ask me about my workout routine all the time and are amazed when I answer, 'only Yoga!'" says Briohny Smyth, an LA-based yoga instructor. “The style I practice, mainly Vinyasa Flow, is the key to keeping me fit and healthy.” She’s particularly fond of the inversions and arm balances that Vinyasa involves.
After overcoming obsessive eating habits in the past, Smyth keeps her diet simple, eating a balanced mix of lean proteins, organic veggies, healthy carbs like brown rice or quinoa, and fresh fruit.
Check out Smyth's mind-boggling moves in this video from Equinox, appropriately titled “The Contortionist.”
Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones finished in fourth place at the 2012 London Games and has won several Indoor Championship titles. To prepare for the 100-meter hurdles race, Jones trains an incredible four hours almost every day. She returns to her alma mater, LSU, in Baton Rouge to work out with the men’s track and field team, running stairs in the football stadium and lifting weights—all while looking pretty darn good. (See for yourself in this Olympics-sponsored video.)
To get motivated at the Olympics, Jones tapped into her sense of national pride: “When you go to the Olympics, you’re no longer running for yourself; you’re running for Team Track and Field, but you’re also running for all those back home,” she says.
Misty Copeland made history in 2007 when she became the third-ever African American female soloist for the American Ballet Theatre in New York City. “To me, dancing is the best overall body workout, as well as being fun and fulfilling,” she says. “It’s also mentally demanding, since I’m not only putting physical stress on my body, but I'm performing and becoming an actress through my character.”
A typical day for Copeland can include up to nine hours of rehearsal as well as one or two performances. Outside of the studio, she enjoys swimming, Pilates, walking, and cooking. The prima ballerina fuels her body for such a busy, active schedule with healthy snacks like unsalted nuts, dried fruit, grapes, blueberries, and lots of water.
Whether she’s walking the red carpet or getting active on the beach, one look at Biel's toned muscles is all it takes to get you motivated. Her formula for a fit body is tried-and-true: "For me, getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water, having a healthy diet, and staying away from alcohol are musts. It's so boring, I know, but doing those things really helps," she told ELLE.
Biel's workout routine includes boxing, martial arts, and lots of yoga, but she also loves getting outside to play volleyball or jog with her dog. A Colorado native, she’s definitely the outdoorsy type—she even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010!
The pro volleyball player, model, and mom of three stays in peak physical form thanks to her always-active lifestyle. Reece's usual workout schedule involves three days of resistance training and two days of cardio, sometimes done in the pool. One move she swears by? Clean and jerks. “If you do them right and be dynamic, they can be great training for real-life moves,” she says. She also enjoys taking her workouts out of the gym and into the water (with homes in Hawaii and California, why wouldn't she?), where she loves stand-up paddleboard and swimming with her husband, pro surfer Laird Hamilton, children, and friends.
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A dedicated devotee of spinning, model Hilary Rhoda flaunts her amazing body on haute couture runways, in ad campaigns for Estée Lauder, Hugo Boss, and Bally, and in the 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. “Fitness is definitely a priority for me, and I always make time to fit it in. If I have a 7:30 a.m. call time for a shoot, I'll sign myself up for a 6:00 a.m. spin class. It doesn't matter how early it is because I know I'll feel better for the rest of the day if I've gotten a good sweat in,” she says.
Rhoda, who also loves playing tennis, fuels her workouts with fresh berries and yogurt, kale salads, and grilled chicken with pasta or rice at night. "And of course I enjoy a glass of wine when I'm out to dinner with friends!” she adds.
After shimmying her way through five seasons of ABC's Dancing With the Stars, Hough has all but hung up her dancing shoes ("The most I dance now is when my sisters are in town,” she told SELF). But that doesn’t mean she’s slacking off—the super-fit star stays in shape with hardcore, total-body sessions with personal trainer Astrid McGuire. Hough has also professed her love for SoulCycle and the Tracy Anderson Method, and she sticks to a high-protein, low-sugar diet when she needs to slim down.
Named “Yoga Rebel” by the New York Times, Tara Stiles has garnered a huge following with her relatable approach to yoga, meditation, exercise, and overall well-being. Instructors at her NYC studio, Strala, teach students the myriad benefits of a regular yoga practice without ever coming across preachy. “I feel yoga can be a total-body workout if you practice every day, and with added benefits of the mind-body connection, it can guide you to healthy eating too,” she says.
As for her diet, healthy staples include salads, power smoothies, and avocado on toast with hot pepper. The Yoga Cures author practices every day when in New York and doesn’t let a busy travel schedule shake up her routine. “Practicing yoga on the road works wonders: it eases jet lag and keeps me physically and mentally strong and open,” she says.
FOX sports broadcaster Erin Andrews works hard to keep her body fit and healthy. Whether she hits up a barre class, goes for a run, or jumps rope for 30 minutes in a hotel room, she finds a way to fit in a workout every day. “I try to stay in shape just to handle things like the stress of a job or everyday life,” Andrews says. “I really love classes because I’m a competitive person, so I like to be around people that push me, and I feel like classes really do that. On the days I can’t go to classes, I try to take a run or hit the treadmill. I’m not much of a runner but I do need cardio!”
As a professional boxer and mother of two, Laila Ali is a perfect role model for today’s healthy, on-the-go woman. “Over the years, I've found I get the best results by mixing up my workouts, which also keeps me from getting bored and hitting a plateau,” she says. Two or three days a week, Ali does cardio (like a four- or five-mile run) followed by uphill sprints. She also completes two or three weekly sessions of a boxing workout, followed by weight lifting while slowly walking on the treadmill and ab exercises. While exercise is certainly a priority, if she misses a workout for some reason, she doesn’t obsess—“I just work harder the next day,” she says.
Photo credit: Allen Cooley
Extra host Maria Menounos has been open about her past battle with weight loss, going from a size 14 down to a size 4 after college. Ever since she's maintained her slim figure with running, circuit workouts, and playing basketball. Menounos also recently took up Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art, for self-defense purposes before a trip to Iraq. “I found it’s the best overall workout I've ever experienced,” she told Fitness Magazine. “It's cardio. It's strength. It's reflexes. It's everything.”
When it comes to dieting, Menounos relies on portion control to stay at her fighting weight. “I definitely don’t deprive myself. I eat whatever I want but in smaller portions,” she said in an interview on the Today show.
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You may recognize this incredibly carved fitness personality from BodyRock.tv, the popular site she co-founded. The exercise guru's latest endeavor, ZuzkaLight.com, features an extensive library of follow-along workout videos that are all less than 20 minutes in length. You can expect a lot of sweat and a lot of burpees, Light's favorite move. “It’s a full-body exercise that’s great for cardio, strength, and endurance using just your body weight to do all of the work,” she says. “With each rep, you work your chest, arms, thighs, core, and legs.”
To maintain that defined physique, Light says she works out every day, even if it’s just going for a walk, and fills up on smoothies, healthy “ice cream” made with frozen fruits, and filling salads.
The yoga fanatic’s incredible body (at 44!) is clear evidence that a commitment to exercise—and a sensible diet—pays off. In an interview with InStyle UK, Aniston affirms the power of changing up your workout routine: "I work out almost every day, at least five or six days a week. I do 40 minutes of cardio: spinning, running, the elliptical, or a combination. Then I do Pilates one day a week and yoga three days a week.”
While the actress treats herself to not-so-nutritious fare like chips, guacamole, and margaritas, she balances it out with an otherwise super-healthy diet. “I eat really well and I work out, but I also indulge when I want to, " she says. "I don’t starve myself in an extremist way.”
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An Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year, Alex Morgan is no stranger to intense workouts, but the 23-year-old goes back to basics in her typical fitness routine. In addition to running up to six miles during a game and up to 10 miles on non-game days, Morgan does circuits filled with squats, planks (which she holds for four minutes!), and pushups at the gym—which, like most of us, aren't her favorite. “I actually hate them, but I do them all the time because it’s a great workout,” she told Men’s Health. The soccer star looks to her teammates when she needs a dose of workout inspiration. “It’s my job to do more than them,” she says. “I’m always hoping that I’m doing more. It’s motivation.” Morgan recently became an ambassador for Degree's DO:MORE campaign, which challenges and encourages people to embrace an active and healthy lifestyle.