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We're All About Kristen Bell's Realistic Approach to Working Out

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Photo: Vera Anderson / WireImage / Getty Images

We have a pretty big crush on Kristen Bell right now—and it's hard not to, considering she's unequivocally hilarious, married to the man of her dreams, an amazing mom of two, and a fierce advocate for what she believes in. The former Shape cover girl is also a major advocate for good health—both mental and physical—and has championed ways to make time for self-care despite her insanely hectic and demanding life. 

"I've got a lot on my plate, as everyone does," Bell tells us. "But I do my best to take on partnerships and projects that I truly believe in and make time for family, which is what's most important."

Bells says that she and her husband Dax Shepard live by a family calendar to make sure everyone's needs are being met throughout the week, including her own. "I always want to make sure that everyone is represented on that calendar, whether that's date night with my husband or taking the girls to practice after school," she says.  

This helps Bell optimize her time for other priorities in her life, like working out, fueling her body, and practicing self-care. "I've tried a ton of workouts in LA and have realized that I need maximum ass-kicking in the shortest amount of time," she says. 

So after a lot of hit and miss, Bell has settled on a workout studio called Studio Metamorphosis. "It's basically a cross between Pilates and CrossFit and pretty much the worst class I've ever taken," she jokes. 

The California-based fitness studio is known for its three killer workout formats: Run, Ride, and Shred. Together, they provide a combination of strength and cardio workouts that help increase flexibility, strength, core balance, and endurance. "There are much heavier weights and stronger resistance compared to a traditional Pilates class, with the goal being to put your body into muscle exhaustion," Bell says. "By the end, you're basically shaking and falling off the machine." (Related: This Workout Combines Pilates and Tabata for the Most Intense Burn Ever)

Burning between 500 and 1,000 calories in just 40 to 45 minutes, it's no wonder Bell is hooked. "Every minute of my workweek is scheduled, so when I do have a 45-minute gap, it doesn't benefit me to take a relaxing yoga class. It benefits me to go get my butt kicked," she says. "And I reap the rewards." 

Bell is only able to take a class once or twice a week. "My husband and I know that we need to work out not just for our physical well-being but for our mental well-being," she says. "So once on the weekends, my husband will say, 'I'll take the kids to brunch, why don't you go to a class?' and whenever I have a 45-minute gap in my week, I make working out a priority." (Related: 8 Women Share Exactly How They Make Time to Work Out)

What Bell doesn't do in the gym, she makes up for in the kitchen. "Like all humans, I don't love working out," she says. "I am obsessed with nutrition in a healthy way, so I find that the majority of my health comes from eating clean. I always try to buy organic, whole foods in their most natural form, and pizza and 'cheat meals' are things we only do once in a while. That balance is what works for me." 

Something she swears by? All things citrus. "Lemon, and limes, in particular, are a big part of my diet," she says. "Despite the fact that they seem acidic, these fruits are actually alkalizing for your body and are loaded with antioxidants, including vitamin C. So whenever I'm having a salad or cooking, I make it a point to squeeze a little bit of lemon or lime on there." (Related: Kristen Bell on Water, Fitness, Vegan Foods, and Sloths)

Bell also gets her citrus kick in her drinks. "I love flavored sparkling water," she says. "I'd make my own at home if I could, but my kids prevent that from happening. That's why I'm all about Spindrift's new lime flavor. I just feel good when I look at the back of the can and the only ingredients are fresh-squeezed fruit and sparkling water. In general, I think lime it's such a great flavor in nature that I don't think people depend on much because it seems so basic." (Related: Whoa! This Company Is Adding Weed to Sparkling Water)

Another thing Bell finds particularly zen-worthy is stretching. "I have purchased every stretch machine for your back, or yoga balls that have been advertised to me on Instagram," she says. "But I've found a couple of really, really good ones that I keep in a little basket by my bedside." (Related: Should You Try an Assisted Stretch Class?)

The Plexus Wheel, for example, is a spherical tool that can be used as a back roller to help stretch and increase blood flow to specific parts of the spine. "I've been using it every day for the past couple weeks and it's incredibly beneficial," says Bell. She also loves Yamuna Balls that are great for getting into tight spots and going up both sides of your spine. They are also great tools to assist in yoga. "Taking a couple minutes to stretch out your body is such an important, mindful practice," Bell says. "Even my girls will do it with me before bedtime. I find that habitual self-care just keeps me on a really good track and makes me aware of my body." (Related: The Best New Recovery Tools for When Your Muscles Are Sore AF)

For moms wondering how she does it all, know that it's not easy. "I tend to have the instinct to take care of everyone else and after that weight is lifted off my shoulders, I think I'll have time for me," she says. "But it's totally the opposite." 

That's why Bell credits putting herself first as a major contributor to her success. "Everyone needs a tough-love reminder that if you're not taking care of yourself, you're no good to take care of anyone else," she says. "When you can fully digest that, it kind of snaps you to attention and makes you realize that you're just as important as those around you." 

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