From shows like “Degrassi: The Next Generation” and “The Vampire Diaries” to repping major fitness brands like Reebok and Les Mills, Nina Dobrev is slaying it on the screen and in the fitness studio.
We reached out to the 29-year-old actress and health advocate—who is returning to TV this fall in a new CBS comedy, “Fam”—to ask about her favorite workouts, her relationship with health and fitness, and more.
24Life: Why do you love fitness, and how has your relationship with health/fitness changed over the years?
Nina Dobrev: Feeling fit and healthy is something that you can’t beat. After a workout, I end up feeling stronger, more confident and super accomplished.
When I was younger, I was a competitive gymnast, and then for years, the only exercise I really did was yoga and running. It’s only recently that I’ve gotten into strength training, and I love it. It’s changed everything. I’ve experienced firsthand how high-repetition weight training doesn’t bulk you up; it simply tones and shapes. Now I feel leaner and stronger than ever.
24Life: You’ve done a lot of Les Mills GRIT over the last year and are now doing a dance workout with Reebok and Les Mills—what is your ideal mix of workout, and how does Les Mills GRIT fit into that?
ND: I get bored easily, so I love mixing things up. Plus, I know that getting a good variety intoyour routine is important, because if you do the same thing over and over again, you’re not shocking your muscles and you don’t get all the transformative benefits of exercise.
I love how the variety of Les Mills workouts make it easy to get a good mix. I do strength training, yoga and core training as well as functional training to build stability and mobility—which helps me move more safely and effectively when I do my favorite HIIT workouts. Just doing one or two Les Mills GRIT workouts a week has really taken my fitness to the next level. I’ve also been doing a ton of dance lately, which I freaking love! Not only is it a great physical workout, it takes you to a different space and challenges your mind.
24Life: What does being a part of the Les Mills “tribe” mean to you?
ND: The tribe really feels like a bit of a family. Some of my trainers have become my good friends, and the workouts we do together are so social and fun. No longer am I slogging it out alone in the gym. My workouts have become something fun that I can do with my friends.
24Life: How do you get your friends and family in on the fitness fun?
ND: My friends love joining me for my workouts. When there’s great music and inspiring instructors to motivate you, it’s something that people don’t want to miss out on. Sure, it might be a challenging workout, but when you do it in a group, it becomes fun. It also fuels your competitive drive—with a little friendly competition, we can push each other to succeed.
ND: I have a mentality where I have to do physical activity every day—but it’s not just to get results. For me, the most important thing is that exercise is fun. I won’t do anything unless I enjoy it!
24Life: What is your life mantra?
ND: Breathe deep. Work hard. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Confront the issues. Fix the problems. Move on. Do what makes you smile. Breathe deep.
24Life: How do you balance screen time/digital time with real life?
ND: I try to unplug when I can. I’ll leave my phone in the car or plugged into a charger when I’m spending time with friends.
24Life: You return to TV in the CBS comedy “Fam” this fall—what are you most excited about for this new role/show?
ND: I’m excited to try a new medium. The multi-camera sitcom world is a different challenge that I’m really looking forward to tackling. This will be my first time filming in front of a live audience, which is both scary and thrilling.
Favorite and least favorite workout move?
Favorite: planks. Least favorite: burpees.
What do you do to recover on your rest days?
Watch movies and go to the spa/get massage.
What’s your pre-workout power food?
Cheat meal or go-to treat/indulgence?
Burger and french fries.
What is your go-to song for motivation?
“One Shot” from “Hamilton” by Lin Manuel Miranda or “Welcome to the Party” by Diplo/French Montana.
Last book you read?
“Heart Talk” by Cleo Wade.
Any fun travel or vacation plans in the near future?
Europe, to see my family.
Podcasts you love to listen to?
“The School of Greatness” from Lewis Howes.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Les Mills