The singer also opens up about her recent SoulCycle mishap, how she deals with body shamers, and how she's faring five days into her sugar cleanse.
You know Jessie J for her addicting smash tunes like "Price Tag" and "Bang Bang" featuring Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, but you may not know that the Grammy-nominated British singer (who's currently recording her fourth studio album) is also a fitness junkie. In fact, if you've seen those new Propel Electrolyte Water commercials, you've heard her new motivational and adrenaline-boosting chant, "Let's Get Ugly," designed to "celebrate hard workouts." We caught up with the singer to learn more about her fitness regimen.
How she first got into fitness: "I didn't always work out. I danced a lot until I was 18 or 19, and then I got really busy and I didn't work out for the first two or three years of my career. And then I did a U.K. arena tour in 2012; that's when I started working out. I found that my immune system was better and I wasn't getting sick, I looked better, my clothes fit better, my heart was better, my skin was better, and I just felt better. I attracted nicer people because I was nicer and happier, and more inspired. It really affects your mood. There are some grumpy people I just want to take to a fitness class, so they can shake out some of the sad sweat!"
Her go-to workout routine: "If I move, it's good. Sometimes I just want to stretch, and I don't want to do any weights, or I just want to use my own bodyweight and do squats, lunges, or jump around, kind of getting to know my own body in some way. Other days, I do deadlifts and barbell squats, and I love sled pushes. I really feel the burn the next day. For cardio, I like rowing and cycling. But I can't run—I get bored." (Here, our May cover star Rita Ora shares how she revamped her workout and eating plan.)
Why music is key for her workouts: "Being on tour, the cardio is insane. Even I'm like, 'How do I do that?' when I watch videos of myself, and I'm [singing], and I'm running around, squatting down, laying down, backbends, guitar, this part, that part. But you need to combine movement with something you love. I wouldn't do all that for an hour and a half at the gym. You need to almost distract yourself, which is why music for me is such a big part of my workout. So actually this morning in the hotel gym I was like, 'Why am I not into my workout this morning?' It's because the news was on. I'll watch the news, but I can't work out very well without music.'"
Her workout essentials on tour: "I travel everywhere with a foam roller, plus protein water, my vegan protein powder, and a resistance band. Usually there's a gym everywhere I go, or I can just go work out outside. I think it's important to educate yourself on how you can work out without any machinery."
Her first time at SoulCycle: "I did SoulCycle for the first time yesterday, and it was intense. I liked it because you definitely can't escape the music in there—it's like in your brain. But it was so loud; I had to put earplugs in! And the instructor's voice was really, really intense. It was hard because I wanted my legs to be in time with my arms, but you're doing different things with your arms while you're cycling. Everyone in there could do it, and I was the only one taking breaks. But it's better than me being in bed! You just need to start somewhere and do it at your own pace."
How she stays limber: "I'm quite flexible and I used to dance, so I like to make sure that I keep my flexibility. I think sometimes you can get so obsessed with fitness that you get stiff—I have really tight hip flexors. That's why I started doing aerial yoga recently."
How she manages her heart condition: "I have something called Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome so I get very irregular heartbeats. [Ed note: WPW is a very rare syndrome in which an extra electrical pathway in the heart causes a rapid heartbeat.] I had an ablation when I was 10; they try and zap your heart into a normal rhythm. Because of it I've never even tried coffee or had caffeine, and I don't drink alcohol often. When I do cardio, I need to be careful because my heart rate gets really fast really quickly. On stage, I don't know how I do it. To be honest with you, there's been many times when doctors have gone, 'Is this good?' And I'm like, 'C'mon! Come and see the show!' But I just think why not? I'd rather live my life being happy than live my life in a bubble."
Why she decided to cut out sugar: "Because I can't have caffeine, sugar was something that was kind of my little go-to when I was tired, and I think I depended on it too much. So I just want to pull back before I turn into a sugar monster. I don't know if I should publicly say that I've cut it out because it's only my fifth day and in two weeks it could have gone all tits up! But so far I've completely cut it out to, even in fruits and vegetables, to try and rebuild good bacteria in my body, and just be healthier and do a natural cleanse. Right now, I really miss manuka honey—it's a natural antiseptic that I usually have every day." (Related: Your Easy Guide to the Sugar Detox Diet)
Why she loves her shape: "I love my shape because I am what I am. I can't change myself. I have very small boobs, I'm slim, I'm very tall, and it makes me laugh when people tell me that I have small boobs on Instagram. I'm like, 'I know! I've been wearing age 3-4 vests since I was 3-4 year olds.' I'm body confident because there's no reason not to be."
"All women are beautiful. We're all different shapes and sizes, so there's no definition of what's right. It's always going to change. One month is this, next one is that—it's never going to be one thing. Whether you're ginger, or you're big bummed, or you've got massive boobs—whatever you are, just f*cking be it. Just enjoy it cause it's all you've got. You're not going to change. You're not going to wake up tomorrow with perfectly curly hair if you have straight hair, and vice versa. Whatever you have, own it and enjoy it and just love yourself."