Dancer/singer/actress/superhuman Julianne Hough is pretty nonstop. When the 27-year-old isn’t taking over your TV, running her fabulous lifestyle blog, or hanging out with her two adorable dogs, she’s busy keeping up that crazy strong dancer’s body—holy abs, right?
Throw in her new collaboration with MPG Sport, and you can bet Hough’s schedule is pretty stacked. It’s only fitting, though: With her love for balanced fitness and healthy eating, the cute athleisure line is built for a fun, active lifestyle. Hough curated the Spring/Summer collection’s 12 styles, and she’ll be designing her own line later this year.
Julianne sat down with SELF at the launch of MPG Sport x Jules at Lord & Taylor’s NYC flagship store and chatted about her morning routine, go-to workouts, and how she stays in such amazing shape. The best part? You can totally get in on her healthy habits, too. Here are eight things Hough swears by when it comes to living well:
1. Get your workout done early…
Hough is all about that rise-and-grind life. “I like to [work out] in the morning,” she says. “My brother’s [Derek Hough] and my slogan is, ‘The way you move directly affects the way you feel.’ So if you’re not physically active, sometimes you get into a ‘bleh’ kind of mood. If I start my day off right and I move, I have the endorphins, I feel good, and I’ve done something for myself before I start my day.”
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2. …And think of it as “you time.”
“[Working out] is something for myself,” says Hough. “I think about it that way, rather than ‘I have to get skinny’ or ‘I have to get fit.’ I think of it as my personal time to make myself feel good. So that’s my headspace. I think when you think about it that way, it’s easier to get out and go work out, because there’s a different thought process.” Channel her attitude by changing your mindset and considering your workout an investment in yourself.
3. Nix fitness boredom by mixing it up.
Hough generally hits the gym five days a week, but you won’t catch her stuck in a fitness rut. “I always like to mix it up so I’m never bored doing the same thing over and over again, because I feel like that too can become redundant,” she says. “You’re like, ‘Ugh, I don’t want to go again, I already know what we’re going to do there!’ So having the chance to mix it up helps.” Hough adds variety by taking classes at CorePower Yoga, SoulCycle, and Body By Simone. “Sometimes I do three days of the same workout, and two days of another workout. Or I’ll switch it up, and maybe do two days [of one thing], two days [of another], and one day of something completely random. On the weekends, I’ll do hikes and stuff, which isn’t too much of a sweat, and I’ll usually chill on Sundays.”
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4. Don’t be afraid to mix in lower-intensity exercise, either.
Hough often builds easier activities into her week, too. “[My morning workout] doesn’t have to be something that’s crazy high-energy—it can be anything. It can be going on a walk with my dogs. But it’s something for myself.” (And who could resist a stroll or hike with those sweet pups?)
5. Get creative with healthy eating options.
They say abs are made in the kitchen—but Hough is proof that eating well doesn’t have to be bland. Her fiancé, NHL player Brooks Laich, keeps up a pretty rigorous diet himself, so Hough’s mad healthy cooking skills keep things interesting at home. “He eats super, super clean, to the point where it’s so boring. If I ate like that my whole life, I would be so unhappy! So I can bring variety to some healthy things. It makes me excited because I get to come up with really fun, creative ways to stay healthy—because he won’t eat anything unhealthy—so finding cool, yummy recipes [is important].” She documents some of her delicious cooking adventures on her lifestyle blog.
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6. And don’t keep anything too tempting around.
One of Hough’s other keys to staying on track? Ditch the things you don’t feel good about eating. “Only buy the things that you feel like you can eat,” she suggests. “For me, I can’t have two potato chips. I have to have the entire bag. So I don’t buy potato chips. And if I see them at the house, I eat them right away!” Hough also crushes cravings by sipping tea. “The warmth kind of comforts me, and a lot of the time you just want comfort when you eat that kind of food,” she says.
7. Set a healthy tone for the day with a nutritious breakfast.
For Hough, a day of healthy eating all starts with breakfast. “I feel like if I eat badly first thing in the morning, I’m screwed the rest of the day,” she says. “I have to make sure that whatever I eat in the morning is somewhat healthy and makes me feel good so I’m like, ‘Oh, I already started the day off right.’ But if I wake up and I have the banana cake that I had the night before with my coffee, then I’m like, ‘Dang it!’ I just crave more sweets. If I can have a juice and some eggs, I feel like I’ve started my day off right.”
8. Most importantly, focus on how you feel.
Hough’s secret to feeling balanced? Focus on how your habits affect you on the inside. “For me, it’s how I feel rather than how I look. Because when I’m focused on how I I look, it’s never good enough, and then I just keep working too hard. I push myself too much or I deprive myself too much, and then I just binge eat or I fall off the wagon. So I think that if I’m feeling good, then I’m looking good.”