Carrie Underwood loves to work out—and not just because it gives her those notoriously toned legs or sculpted arms (but bonus points for those payoffs). The singer and new author craves the tension-taming benefits of exercise. She even says she’d work out seven days a week—if only she didn’t have a tour schedule, two kids, a husband, a book launch, and everything else that makes her schedule quite difficult to clear for sweat. “My self-care is my gym time, and that’s a stress reliever for me,” she told Women’s Health.
The 36-year-old first started paying closer attention to diet and exercise after she won American Idol and went on tour in 2005, she told the magazine. After reading not-so-nice comments about her body online, she decided to swap quesadillas and pasta out of her meal plan and start hitting the elliptical. “I knew I could be better for myself, and I let my haters be my motivators,” she said.
Soon, Underwood discovered that her healthier food choices gave her more energy to perform. But after going a little too hard on the gym and too light on calories, she eventually realized her strict plan was nearly impossible to maintain; she needed a better strategy for her body. Today, she tracks her calories and macros (going for 45% carbs, 30% fat, and 25% protein) via MyFitnessPal, but leaves room for a slice of cake or a glass of wine.
Her typical day of food includes a tofu or egg-white scramble, Ezekiel toast, berries, and coffee for breakfast; a sandwich with Tofurky tomato, avocado, red onion, spinach, and mustard for lunch; a green smoothie or protein bar for a snack; and then roasted veggies and vegan chicken or tofu stir-fry for dinner. As for her workouts, often led by trainer Eve Overland, she does everything from lift heavy weights to practice pull-ups to run on the treadmill.
Because it took Underwood some time to learn what worked for her body in terms of both diet and exercise, she wanted to share her knowledge and make healthy living easier for the rest of us. Enter her book, Find Your Path: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul, and Get Strong With the Fit52 Life. “I want to be healthy and fit 52 weeks of the year, but that doesn’t mean I have to be perfect every day,” Underwood said about the book. “This philosophy is a year-round, common-sense approach to health and fitness that involves doing your best most of the time.” Consider it a guidebook to the meals and workouts that keep Underwood in top shape.
To make it easier for people to do the exercises she loves, Underwood also released a fitness app, Fit52 (iOS, $8/month or $52/year). It’s meant to take the guesswork out of your exercise routine and help you stick to a consistent plan by offering “paths” for your workouts based on your fitness level (beginner, intermedia, or advanced), plus how many days a week you want to (or can!) hit the gym. Many of the workouts last about 30 minutes and include a mix 52 exercises, and the app will send you a reminder to check off the workout you’ve done that day, to keep you accountable.
“I love rules,” Underwood told WH of her healthy lifestyle. “This is how I feel good about myself, and this is how I operate.” Thanks to her book and app, fans can tap into the power of that discipline—and find a path to fitness that works for them.