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Julianne Hough Swears This Exercise Is the Key to Building a Dancer Body

Kelsey Patterson


Julianne Hough’s lean dancer body isn’t only obtained by spending hours in the studio or on the set of Dancing With the Stars.

The dancer and actress swears that a healthy diet and some specific exercises can help anyone build leaner, toned muscles that are staples of a ballerina’s figure.

Hough, 29, tells that maintaining her slim, strong body is the product of a consistent, but varying workout regimen.

“I like to mix things up because my attention span is pretty limited, so I get bored. I do dance cardio, I’ve taken up boxing, which I love because it’s heavy cardio but it makes your mind think,” she said. “I love fast paced things so it’s nice to mix things up. I’ll do cycling every once in a while or pilates, but I would say that dance cardio, small muscle building with wrist weights and ankle weights, stuff like that is sort of my go-to.”

And for women who swear off picking up weights out of fear they’ll sprout massive biceps, the Footloose actress promises that the key lies in using light weights, controlled movements and the proper reps.

“I’ve been like ‘I don’t wanna get bulky, so I’m not gonna use heavy weights’ before, but that is such a myth. If you get bulky, you’re working out 2 hours a day lifting heavy, heavy weights and focusing on getting bigger, eating massive amounts of protein. It’s like really hard to actually get big,” Hough argued.

The Dancing With the Stars judge said she tends to use 3-5 pound weights, working her arms, shoulders, chest and legs (using ankle weights) by performing longer reps for a longer period of time.

“Keep a constant movement so it’s not super stagnant, so it gets those little muscles that are hard to get to, that you don’t even realize you have. That’s what creates the dancer body,” Hough continued.

Hough, who said she and her husband, NHL player Brooks Laich, made a pact before marriage that they would each “protect the things that are important” — and for both of them, working out was the main answer.

“It’s not a vanity thing,” Hough clarified. “It’s important to me because it gives me my time and it’s helping me be clear and clear-headed and be the best version of myself so that I can give love to Brooks or my family or friends or my future children. It’s just prioritizing what’s important to you and really protecting that.”

Even on the busiest days, the Ringer actress finds time to keep her body moving without a full session in the gym, just as she encourages other women to do.

“I work out while I’m brushing my teeth, while I’m making dinner… I’ll just do a couple little exercises on my own to get my body moving,” the Fitbit ambassador said. Her go-to moves outside the gym are calf raises, squats, lunges or side oblique crunches while standing.

As an active performer, Hough said she also relies on a balanced, sustainable diet without “trendy” plans or cleanses, all to keep her body both healthy and satisfied.

“There is no way you can sustain a lifestyle of depriving yourself or going through these quick fixes or being very strict about your diet,” she said.

In fact, she credits carbs to helping her maintain her seemingly never-ending source of energy.

“I think before, I was like, ‘No carbs, I wanna be lean,’ so I wouldn’t eat any carbs and then I realized it isn’t sustainable. So I just find the right kind of carbs that are actually really yummy and good and give me the energy that I need so that I don’t crave bad food,” Hough added. “When I don’t have carbs, then I just want bread and bad things. Just finding the healthy carbs that you like.”

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