Vanessa Hudgens is really, really strong.
I know this, because when I worked out next to her at an event for Propel Vitamin Boost yesterday (and made all of my eighth grade dreams come true), she was not messing around. She piled on double the amount of ankle weights as the rest of us did, held a perfectly-formed plank for an entire song, and somehow made it all look so easy that she walked out with her hair and makeup still intact. I, on the other hand, collapsed on the floor into a pile of my own sweat.
When Hudgens and I sat down to chat after 45-minutes of Megan Roup kicking our butts (and after I chugged two bottles of Propel's new electrolyte water to replace the electrolytes and vitamins I'd lost during the workout), I had to know what her strength-building secret is. And while I was fully expecting her to cop to spending 2+ hours a day with a trainer, the reason behind her success in the gym is actually super simple: consistency and variety.
She told me that she has pretty much stuck with the same three workouts—SoulCycle, Pilates, and yoga—for the better part of the last ten years, mixing things up throughout the week to target different parts of her body. And, in case the results didn't speak for themselves, pros confirm that she's onto something with this methodology. "It’s really important to mix up your routine to ensure you’re hitting every single muscle group, diversifying movement patterns as well as addressing all the components of physical health: strength, cardiovascular, flexibility, and mobility," says personal trainer and senior SoulCycle instructor Samantha Jade, noting that a good mix incorporates all three components—plus a recovery day—throughout the week. "Also, the body is very good at adaptation, so cross training allows us to continue to progress and avoid adapting negatively."
According to Jade, Hudgens' formula is exactly right. "SoulCycle works the cardiovascular system, yoga addresses flexibility, and Pilates works on targeting muscle activation, alignment integrity, and movement patterns," says Jade, who says she might also suggests adding in some sort of functional strength workout every once in a while, too. The most important thing, though—which Hudgens seems to have figured out, considering the way her eyes light up whenever someone says "SoulCycle"—is to find workouts that you love and will keep going back to... for a decade and beyond.
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