Cobie Smulders of 'How I Met Your Mother' shares her stay-fit tricks

Self magazine

 (Self magazine)

How I Met Your Mother's Cobie Smulders says her secrets to looking this good involve a love affair with cheese, joyrides and working out like a superhero. Get inspired by her fearless (and hilarious) take on life.

On her favorite bar: 
"I've really been enjoying The Bar Method because I'm not a sweaty mess when we get to my favorite part of class—the end. There's one move where you're supposed to lift your leg off the barre, using the tiniest muscle somewhere deep in your groin. I've never been able to do it. I'm like, 'There's so much effort going into my leg right now, and nothing is happening!' Still, my core feels stronger, my posture is better, and I have more energy."

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On taking it easy: 
"I know my body's limits. I've never enjoyed Spin classes, where they're like, 'Push it further!' I'm like, 'No. If I pull something, I can't work tomorrow.' That's why I gave up Bikram yoga. One day I basically found myself in a split, and I was like, 'Oh! I'm so flexible!' The next day: 'I can't move.' So I started doing Yin yoga. It's 90 minutes of intense stretching. You hold each pose for five minutes. It's a stress reliever. The warrior poses are great for building muscle."

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On kicking butt: 
"I don't get to do too many stunts as Maria Hill. When I got the script for Winter Soldier, I was so excited to see that my character finally gets to punch somebody! So I took tae kwon do three times a week. I wanted to feel like I could hold my own in a roomful of superheroes. When I called the assistant director to say, 'I'm game for a stunt,' she said they had to shoot it with my double. I was so bummed. At least it will help offscreen if something ever goes down!"

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On fear: 
"I seek out things that terrify me, like an improv class. I'm terrified of sharks, but I scuba dive. I'm not good at auditioning, but I force myself to do it all the time. I've never met anybody who is fearless, but the more you push against your own boundaries, the easier it becomes to push. Fake it 'til you make it. In a moment of panic, think of all the things you're grateful for. It works."

On beauty:
"I treat myself to a facial every few months. It's like getting your car washed. They get in there and get stuff out. I've also started using a Clarisonic exfoliating brush a couple of times a week. It sounds and looks like a sex toy, so when I use it, I'm like, 'I'm doing something for my face, honey! It's for my face!'"

On happiness:
"When I was younger, my life was about getting to the next level. 'If I just get another season of this show, it's going to be OK,' or 'If I just do this, I'll feel successful.' But I've learned if you package your happiness with if-only goals, you'll never really be happy. There's always something more you'll want. So, now, I just try to stay present and remember how awesome I have it."

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