Julianne Hough’s Secret To Staying Healthy On The Road: “I’ll Do Squats On The Plane”

Actress, singer, dancer: Julianne Hough is one of those triple threats that makes your head spin. When she’s not acting in her latest flick or dancing up a storm on tour with her brother Derek Hough, the 28-year-old is planning a wedding with fiancé Brooks Laich. Not surprisingly, this means she’s on the road a lot. But, she still maintains one of the most enviable bodies in Hollywood. I had to find out her secret.

Q: Obviously, you travel a lot. How do you stay healthy while traveling?

JH: It’s sort of become my lifestyle now. It’s what I eat, it’s how I live. My fiancé always says “the next time you say you don’t have time, change the word time to priority.” Once I started doing that, I knew I need to make the time for health and fitness and I need to make it a priority. Now, I will take an earlier flight so when land so I have time to work out and get a good night’s rest.

Q: You’re hitting the road again with your brother this spring. What’s your wellness regimen while on tour?

JH: Before we even go out, we see the cities that we are performing in and then we try to see what kind of workouts are in the location. We’ll do the same for food. After show food is usually so disgusting, so I’ll ask the caterers make me double of whatever healthy foods they are making for lunch and then I will just save it and heat it up later. Otherwise, we are ordering pizza every night. Super glamorous, right?

 

Q: Do you work out or is dancing your go-to on the road?

JH:: We find places around town to mix it up and do different things. But, it’s funny, I don’t get super skinny on the tour. In rehearsal and the first couple of weeks, I drop a lot of weight and I get like shredded and then my body gets sort of used to the tour. I burn a lot, but I also eat a lot. So, I just get really muscular and then I get home and then I sort of have a little break and then I lose a little bit of the muscle.

Q: Do you allow yourself to indulge at all?

JH: A thousand percent. My fiancé makes fun of me because I eat so much. On vacation, he has multiple pictures of me just like with food in my mouth. I think the first trip we ever went on together – I was like it’s the last day, I am going to do a buffet. I had everything – there are pictures of it. He is like how does your little body fit all of that?

Q: Is there a particular culture you turn to for healthy living advice?

JH: I really follow more of a Mediterranean diet I don’t really cook with butter. I cook with olive oil or with coconut. I love my pastas and pizzas, but I love my fishes and my chickens and my vegetables and fresh stuff too.

Q: Do you use any devices to help keep you on track?

JH: I love my Fitbit Alta HR because it tracks everything from my sleep to my heart rate. First thing when I wake up, I’ll track my sleep patterns. Then it registers my workouts and steps, so I know how much activity I got in. My favorite part is the fact that it buzzes – it’s like get up and move! I am in the car and going to different places, so it will remind me I need to walk. If I’m at the airport, I will walk around and just get my steps in before I sit down on the plane. Or, I will get on the plane and do a couple of laps and just walk down the aisles, stuff like that. Sometimes I will stand in the front if nobody is up there and talk to the flight attendants and just pace or do my squats. When I am at the airport, I am shuffling and doing squats and lifting my arms. I only have a certain amount of time to do something and I want burn as much fat as possible; the Fitbit tracks it all. All of those little things add up.

 

Q: Where is strangest place you have ever worked out or danced?

JH: We danced on a plane once! On our first tour, they played “Happy” because that was in our show and we did the dance down the aisle. Also, we would be in outdoor amphitheaters so we would be working out on the steps and going around the grass and running around. My sister and I did a beach yoga, but we called it drunk yoga because it was like a girls’ trip and we had a few tequilas and margaritas before. It was a lot harder, I will tell you that!

Q: Do you ever eat airplane food?

JH: I eat it every time! I know that if I don’t eat when I’m hungry, then my body goes all weird. I did this when I was shooting Footloose and I was on this really weird diet where my body got messed because I was not eating enough. Ever since then, if I am hungry, I have to eat because I can’t mess up my body like that again. So, on a plane I will have a few bites to at least suppress that so I am not pigging out on Mentos.

Q: You pig out on Mentos?

JH: The cinnamon Mentos and the fruity Mentos, that is like my jam. I love those! But I eat the whole thing on a plane, it’s so bad. I know, so weird and so random.

‘Project Runway’ Judge Nina Garcia’s Healthy Travel Advice: ‘Learn From The French’

Nina Garcia is one of those enviable women where you have to ask, “How does she do it all?” The 51-year-old is the Fashion Director at Elle and Marie Claire magazines, and has been a judge on Project Runway since its premiere season. Here career and personal passion for travel have brought her all over the world (she just traveled to both Peru and Paris) and the fashionista seems to do it all with ease. Luckily, she opened up to me recently about her secret to staying healthy (and sane) with seemingly no free time. Hint: her dog has something to do with it.

Q: You travel so much, how do you stay healthy on the go?

A: That is a great question that I think many people struggle to find the answer to. Here’s what I’ve found works for me: walk as much as possible and don’t give yourself a chance to fall into the slump of jet leg. The best cure for tired travelers is to hop on a treadmill and get that blood pumping. Otherwise it’s a downhill battle.

Q: What’s the hardest part about traveling and staying fit?

A: That’s an easy one. All the eating. Who doesn’t want to eat all of the amazing fare when they are traveling? Certainly, I do. Since I usually cook at home with the family, it is disruptive to my diet and my overall health. But I try to make up for it by doing some extra walking around the city.

Q: How has being on the road so much changed your health routine?

A: It’s changed it quite a bit. I’ve learned that it’s okay to get on the health wagon and occasionally fall off from time to time when you find yourself in a new place with amazing food and little time for a formal workout (it’s hard to justify not taking a bite or two). But I’ve learned that we can use technology as a tool to help us keep track of our overall health. When I was in Peru, for example, I wore my Huawei Fit [a light weight fitness smartwatch] while I climbed Machu Picchu. I never would have guessed that I was capable of taking that many steps.

Q: Have you learned any wellness advice from other cultures?

A: Yes, the French. Everything in moderation.

Q: Where are some of your favorite places in the world and what’s still on your bucket list?

A: It’s too hard, even to name a few - I really love exploring and seeing new places. Last year was filled with some incredible trips. I went to Alaska, Macchu Piccu and Cuba. Every place was breathtaking. I’d love to visit Africa. Going on a safari sounds like a dream. Patagonia is on my list, too

Q: What about when you are home, how do you maintain a healthy regimen?

A: I got Titan, a golden retriever, in March 2016 and he has been a huge part of my life. Titan has actually made my whole family healthier because we all get out and walk him together. Any pet owner knows that it’s all about routine, and dogs absolutely must get their exercise. It has also been great for my sons to feel a sense of responsibility for him as well. It keeps us all on track.

Why I Needed to Take a Vacation From My Vacation

Hitting the road or hopping on a plane can be exciting, but it also comes with a lot of stress. There’s packing, getting to the airport on time, dealing with traffic and delays, drawing the short stick when it comes to seating options, and body clocks that often get out of whack. That’s exactly what happened to me this past summer when I decided to fill every waking moment with travel. 

I’ll admit, I’m one of those people who gets the travel bug if I don’t go somewhere every six or so weeks. I constantly need a change of scenery, even if it’s a quick trip upstate. So, when I was pushing the three-and-a-half-month mark of no trips, I went a bit nuts with the planning.

First up was a cruise around the Mediterranean, where I led meditation classes for a week, followed by a two-night trip to Denver, where I spoke at a conference. Then, I made my way over to Portland, Oregon for the Fourth of July, where I ate five meals a day, and lastly, headed down toRio for the Olympics, where sleep wasn’t on the itinerary. While I am immensely grateful for each and every one of these experiences, I was also extremely tired. 

The time spent traveling to and from airports and working non-top while on the road caught up to me by mid-August. My back was sore, my skin broke out, and I had a tension headache that wouldn’t go away. Although I chose this, I needed to reset and reboot before autumn set in. So what did I do? I planned another getaway. Before you throw your arms up in the air, hear me out. This trip was going to be different -- I would spend my days sleeping, eating healthy, exercising, and doing absolutely nothing.

To avoid another long-haul trip, I opted for a destination that's all about relaxing: Boca Raton, Florida. My husband and I booked a two-day stay at Boca Beach Club, an oceanfront hotel that's perched on a half-mile stretch of private beach. Translation: it's quiet enough to fall asleep to the sounds of the Atlantic. The property also has two fitness centers, multiple restaurants with health-conscious menus, and a top-rated spa -- all the necessary ingredients for a true escape. 

To get into vacation mode, we did the unthinkable: put away our computers and cell phones. Studies show that six out of 10 employees have conducted some work on a recent vacation. And a Framingham Heart Study found that men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack. 

Once we got over the discomfort of disconnecting, we made an effort to relax. And what better way to do that than by eating? We chowed down on some delicious fish tacos and guacamole before heading back to the room and taking a nap. I couldn’t remember the last time I napped in the middle of the afternoon.

Food and sleep -- we kept it to the basics. We took advantage of the fact that we had time and a beautiful location on our hands, so we splurged for the romantic panoramic dinner. The next morning, we indulged in sunrise yoga. For us, it was something out of the ordinary, romantic, and the perfect activity to kick off a day of other healthy activities. We wrapped up by 7 a.m. and were at the pool two hours later, ready to take another short nap. The afternoon was filled activities like walking on the beach, chatting, and hitting the gym. Typically, our workouts are squeezed in the morning before work or after leaving the office, so it was a nice change of pace to exercise together. And before dinner that evening, we decided to catch up on a little grooming like haircuts and manicures (I even convinced my husband to get his first one ever). Then, it was on to another delectable dinner before calling it a night. 

On our last day, we went all out -- in relaxing. This was our spa day. We opted to try the ritual bath experience, followed by a couple’s massage to make sure we were 100 percent blissed out by the end of this marathon de-stress weekend. The 50-minute bathing experience was unlike anything I've encountered before. You go from an aroma room to a personal tub in a Turkish hammam-like setting, followed by a shower that feels like you’re getting sand blasted. Next, you're transported into another tub, where water is steadily dumped on your back for an aquatic massage. The whole experience ends in a communal whirlpool.  Needless to say, all the visible wear and tear on my skin from months of traveling had been scuffed away. The hour-long massage took care of my muscles, releasing the tension that had built up from carrying luggage and unsuccessfully sleeping on planes.

At lunch, in our robes, we looked at each other with a smile that said “we did it.” We were stress-free and feeling refreshed. Getting on the plane later that night didn’t have the same sting as the flights earlier this summer. And when we awoke the next morning in our New York City apartment, the world was a little easier to handle. All we needed was a vacation from our vacations.

Portland is Good For the Body and Soul. Here's Why.

Over Fourth of July weekend I was lucky enough to take a quick trip to Portland, Oregon. I never really spent time in the Pacific Northwest, aside from a wedding in Vancouver last summer, so I went in with an open mind.

Of course, I was told the typical tales of how every resident wants to secretly be a farmer. While I didn't speak to enough people to confirm that rumor, what I do know is that the way of life there is made for healthy and happy living (my goal in life if you haven't noticed).

Aside from the creepy man who followed me for blocks insisting I put my hand in his brown paper bag, overall Portland is what holistic health coach dreams are made of.

Here's why:

1. The food is da bomb
Sure, you can have donuts for multiple meals (which I may or may not have done), but the fresh ingredients and flavors make eating a salad a religious experience.  “In Portland, we’re surrounded by small farms that are capable of producing customized ingredients for chefs who only know how to cook seasonally,” Marcus Hibdon, Travel Portland's senior media relations and PR manager told me. Joshua McFadden, executive chef and partner at Ava Gene's added, “The access to real food is amazing. The raw products here are some of the best in the world.”

There are so many healthy options, like vegan ramen for example, that it's not hard to stick to eating whole foods and lots of greens. It makes all of the indulgences (Salt & Straw ice cream anyone?) available that much less resisting, but also that much more satisfying when you can, well, indulge in them.

 2. It's easy to be active
It seems like everyone in the city would prefer to use two wheels instead of four making it easy to join in on the bike culture. This constantly active mindset is one that I always try to instill in my clients. Just move every day. Then there's great outdoors to be explored nearby and it seems like that's what everyone is doing every weekend. Mount Hood and Multnomah Falls are within and hour of downtown and the drive there is just as stunning. Who needs late night bar hopping on a Saturday when you can go natural wonder hopping?

3. Creativity is encouraged
Unfortunately, so many of us fall into the trap of working 9 to 5's and feeling like a cog in the machine. By the time you get home, you're exhausted and have no energy to pursue outside interests if you have any. In Portland, the whole community encourages you to turn your side passion into a full time business if you want. There are literally entire stores dedicated to promoting local craftsman and many restaurants are owned by locals.

Having a place that inspires you to open your mind to possibilities and tap into that inner childhood dream is ok in my book. It's one of the things I feel we as a society are missing the most. Want to create hand-stitched leather saddlebag for bikes? Go for it!

4. People genuinely care
Ever get asked by a stranger how your day is going? Well, in Portland they mean it. And there will follow-ups. Yes, there is the stereotype of how everyone is super nice, but it's true. The cab driver was so excited it was our first trip to the city, the woman at hotel check in took the time to point out her favorite bars on a map and every store I walked into took time to compliment me (without pushing a sale).

As a New Yorker it took me a little while to settle into this friendliness, but after a couple of days it was nice to feel like I could let my guard down and relax. I heard so many interesting stories from different people and felt genuinely considered everywhere I went. Living in a place like this can certainly make it easier to live a happier life. It's contagious right?

DWTS's Maks Chmerkovskiy Wants to Live to 120. Here's How He Plans to Do It.

If you watch Dancing with the Stars, you've almost certainly noticed: Maksim Chmerkovskiy (simply "Maks" to his legion of fans) is in amazing shape. You might attribute this to hours and hours on the dance floor, but that's only a small part of the equation. Maks is not only fit, but also amazingly strong and healthy. He takes his health very seriously and that means subjecting every food, fitness, and lifestyle choice he makes to a simple litmus test: Will this help me meet my goal of living to 120...or will it detract from that goal?

"I truly believe I can make it to 120 and I want it to be an active and vibrant 120," says the 36-year-old dancer, choreographer, and television personality. "It's not just about quantity of life, but quality of life. This lifestyle is what allows me to even consider a 45-city tour at my age. Also, I want to be able to play basketball with my kids when they're teenagers and still kick their butt—I don't want to be an old dad." 

He adds, "To do that in the future, I have to make friends with my body right now," he adds. "If I get out of its way, and help it do its thing by giving it the right nutrients, it will take care of me in return. It will reward me. It will just live. Yeah, things come to an end—but they don't have to degrade by the time you're 60."

This may sound simple. But if you've ever tried to overhaul your habits in this age of processed foods, supersized meals, and electronic distractions that lull you into a sedentary stupor, you know you're swimming against the tide. Still, Maks is doing it—and he insists the rest of us can, too.

Want to join Maks in his quest to live long and prosper? Then consider his 5 "best odds" secrets:

  1. Educate yourself on what to eat and why. Your body is smart and will regulate itself when you get out of the way—but that means learning how best to feed it. Do some research. Don't limit yourself to "mainstream" resources as many are driven by big food manufacturers with their own agenda. Digging deeper reveals that the typical Western diet—grain-heavy; filled with genetically modified, hormone-infused, processed foods; and deficient in many nutrients—is counter to what the body needs to operate at its best.
  2. Learn which nutrients you are missing and supplement them. Almost everyone is deficient in certain vitamins (D, for example) and minerals. That's why Maks starts each morning with three supplements he believes are the foundation for good health. The list includes Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C, Lypo-Spheric Glutathione, and Lypo-Spheric R-ALA (all from LivOn Labs). 
  3. Make a conscious decision to stay well. No matter how often you wash your hands during cold and flu season, you'll never be able to shield yourself from every germ. What you can do is follow a best odds regimen to strengthen your immune system so you get sick less often. In Maks's case, that means adhering to a natural "clean eating" regimen as well as supplementing with the aforementioned Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C.
  4. Find a doctor who believes in prevention—and don't go only when you're sick. "Most people go to the doctor only when stuff hurts," notes Maks. "But we need to use our doctors to help us stay healthy, not just to try to fix what's wrong. We can show up when we are not sick, and if enough people start doing that, doctors will have no choice but to start getting more involved in prevention."
  5. If it's man-made, don't eat it. Maks bases his diet on lean grass-fed meats and organic, GMO-free fruits and vegetables. This is not as hard as you might think, he says. Processed foods are an addiction, and when you're hooked on them, it's hard to imagine quitting. But once you do, you won't want to go back.

30 Health Lessons I Learned Before Turning 30

If you've been reading my newsletter (SIGN UP FOR THAT HERE) or following my writing, you'll know that I believe living a healthy life is based on both mind and body. What we think effects us physically, and what we do physically can effect us mentally.

So, with that mindset and as I enjoy my last day in my 20s, I decided it would be best to take a look back at my wellness journey and pick out the top things that made a difference in my life. 

Here are the 30 Health Lessons I Learned Before Turning 30:

  1. Eat greens every day.
  2. Diets don't work. Lifestyle changes do.
  3. Happiness is a choice.
  4. You can't change someone, you can only change how you react to them.
  5. Walk 10,000 steps a day.
  6. Guilt is not a real emotion.
  7. Forgiveness is empowering, not a sign of weakness.
  8. Feng Shui works.
  9. Sit in silence once in a while.
  10. Surround yourself with positive people.
  11. Not every day is a good day, but there is good in every day.
  12. Your future starts with your next thought.
  13. Do everything with intention.
  14. 70% of your immune system is in your gut, so take care of it.
  15. Spaghetti squash is an excellent substitute for pasta.
  16. Indulge from time to time.
  17. Travel.
  18. Cry. Sometimes it's the only way to release that energy and refocus.
  19. Write a letter to those who hurt you. Even if you never give it to them at least it's no longer effecting your soul.
  20. Go to bed early. Trust me your memories at 6am are much more magical than at 3am. 
  21. Give back.
  22. Stop creating a story for yourself.
  23. Carbs aren't the devil.
  24. Pain is a sign something needs to change.
  25. Miracles happen every day.
  26. Drink more water and less alcohol.
  27. Dreams and goals will change. Be flexible with yourself.
  28. Focus on making memories, not money.
  29. Not all calories are created equal.
  30. Don't judge yourself or others. Everyone's journey is different.