Boxer Laila Ali knows a thing or two about strength.
The middleweight boxing champ competed for 8 years before retiring, undeafeated, in 2007. Oh, and, her father is the legendary fighter Muhammed Ali.
But her career—and life—only got stronger when she left the ring. Now 37, Ali lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young children. She hosts the CBS Saturday morning show All in with Laila Ali. She competed on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, and works with the United States Tennis Association to encourage kids to move more through sports. And through it all, she works to keep her body and mind in fighting shape, so she can handle anything that comes her way.
We chatted with Ali about what she thinks about the SoulCycle-ification of boxing to making green smoothies and dealing with emotional challenges like a champ. Pick up some of the healthy living champ’s tips, below. —Molly Gallagher
1. As long as her workouts are sweaty, she’s happy. “If I had it my way, I would work out five days a week. Even though my schedule sometimes only allows three days (or I need to rest more than I’d like!) I love to play tennis or hit the heavy bag. When I train at the gym, I get on my treadmill and do high intensity sprints…. I like workouts that make me sweat. If I don’t feel the sweat and the burn, then I don’t feel like I’m doing anything.”
2. Ali knows how to handle emotional punches, too. “I’ve been retired for years and I still have naysayers. You have to know why you do what you do. You’re doing it for yourself and you know how hard you’ve worked. There will always be critics, but if at the end of the day, you know you’re doing your best, what other people say doesn’t matter.”
3. Her secret morning weapon? A green smoothie. “I mix in greens and my favorite protein, One World Whey. It’s totally clean, from grass-fed cows…. I might also add some hemp seeds, coconut oil, cacao—it’s everything I need to fuel me for the [start of the] day.”
4. She likes a beauty routine with a one-two punch. “I think beauty starts from within. When you have a lot of toxins in the body, then you’ll break out. I try to eat clean and avoid processed foods, and drink lots of purified water to keep my system moving. I also like to get the steam going before I get in the shower and clean my face with my Clarisonic.”
5. As for what she thinks about the growing popularity of boxing on the boutique fitness scene... “Boxing is an excellent, full-body workout, so more power to the new studios—I think the increase in popularity is great. You don’t have to have the best technique—no one is trying to say boxing classes are training like a pro boxer does. But there’s nothing wrong with getting fit and dealing with your stress at this same time!”
For more information, visit www.lailaali.com
(Photos, from top: lailaali.com; USTA)