Elena Ramos Goode of 'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin' Works Out for Her 'Mental and Emotional Fitness'

The actress spoke with Shape about her approach to wellness, including teaching yoga on set and the workout class that 'feels like a nightclub.'

Elena Goode
Photo: Anouk Morgan

Elena Ramos Goode loves scary movies. She grew up watching It, Pet Cemetery, Jaws, and Sleeping with the Enemy, so it's only fitting that she's now acting in a series that pays homage to the slasher films of years past. Goode plays Marjorie Olivar in HBO Max's Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, a spin-off of the Freeform show, Pretty Little Liars, that first aired more than a decade ago and gained a massive following over the course of its seven-season run. (Read more: Lucy Hale Recalled Feeling 'Mortified' By Her Acne During 'Pretty Little Liars')

"I have all these really fond memories of cuddling with my mother on the couch eating popcorn and just being scared out of my mind," Goode tells Shape over the phone. That said, you might be surprised that in her day-to-day life, the 38-year-old actress is all about grounding herself, whether that's through breathwork, yoga, or a run outside.

Elena Goode on her approach to fitness

I started to dive deeper into the meaning of working from the inside out...'What feels good?' What makes me feel present?' What makes me feel alive?' As opposed to: 'What will the results be?'

— Elena Goode on her approach to fitness

When it comes to her workout routine, Goode is more focused on what's happening on the inside than any results she might see on the outside, but that's a mindset that took time to cultivate," she says. "It's really for mental and emotional fitness," she says of her exercise regimen that usually involves yoga, running, meditation, and hiking. When she was younger, exercise was a means to look a certain way, she explains. "I realized that working from that perspective really put me in a state of comparison and feeling [like I was] not enough."

Once Goode found yoga, that all began to change. "That's when I started to dive deeper into the meaning of working from the inside out," explains the actress. "'What feels good?' 'What makes me feel present?' 'What makes me feel alive?' As opposed to: 'What will the results be?' Or 'How will I look if I do this exercise for X amount of days?'" (Read more: The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise, According to Experts)

Now, Goode is a certified yoga instructor who found herself offering up her services to friends and family via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, she began leading her co-stars in yoga sessions in between call times. "Being able to teach to my castmates and join together in the gym was something that we really, really enjoyed."

Rapid Fire Questions With Elena Goode
Answers: Elena Goode

Goode does her best to keep up her wellness practices, even when she's busy on set. "You can be in a very unusual rhythm," she says, explaining that filming schedules may require early morning call times and overnight shoots. To cope, she'll "sneak" in a 10-minute mediation in her trailer to "stay calm and present" during these times. It also helps her sleep deeply, so she can recover when she does have time off, she adds.

The actress is also a fan of breathwork, the practice of using specific breathing techniques as a self-healing tool, for similar reasons. "Breathwork is something that I can do on my own that really helps me, even when I'm busy, to process any feelings that I haven't processed and to deepen my ability to be present and stay in a state that's more balanced," she explains. "Breathwork gives you a sense of relief that I think is so vital for all of us to be able to release things that we've held onto, that we didn't even know we were holding onto." It may seem too good to be true, but breathwork really can be a transformative wellness practice for many people.

Of course, Goode also enjoys more traditional workouts. When she's not on set, you might find Goode hitting up a Barry's Bootcamp class (which makes her feel like she's "at a nightclub with no hangover") or a F45 studio ("I love love love it").

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