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Women's Health

Mary J. Blige Resolves to Be Healthy

The R&B and hip-hop soul sensation reveals the inspiring fitness, food, and anger-management lessons that are driving her on a powerful journey of personal and professional transformation.
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Mary J. Makes Fitness a Priority continued...

Miele makes such axioms a signature of his program. They are designed to goad his clients into the best shape of their lives, including one on his web site declaring: “The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.”

Today, a one-hour workout is on the schedule. Miele kicks things off by asking Blige to take a brief walk on the treadmill. “A gentle warm-up peps you up mentally and physically,” he reminds her. His workout philosophy is goal-oriented and practical. The home gym is tightly edited: the treadmill, free weights and benches, resistance bands, mats for floor exercises, and a stair-stepper machine.

About 10 treadmill minutes later, Miele leads Blige through flexibility exercises on the floor and some resistance exercises for the arms. So far, everyone’s all smiles. But then the trainer hands her the jump rope, and Blige’s face hardens. She frowns. “I hate this rope,” she says.

Miele doesn’t seem surprised; clearly, it’s a protest he has heard before. And the look on his face makes it clear: The jump rope is not optional. So, Blige follows his instructions to skip for 45 seconds -- a time that seems brief only if you are not the one skipping.

Blige’s renewed dedication to her fitness regime -- along with a resolve to clean up her diet and tone down the rage that she says used to be her “default” mode -- reflects her new attitude and new lifestyle plan. She’s kicked the bad habits, excess alcohol and drugs among them, and is embracing healthier ones, despite a grade-A sweet tooth.

Mary J. Blige is learning to love living with a whole lot less drama.

The 411 on the New Mary J.

Her resolve to be healthy -- physically, mentally, spiritually -- didn’t occur overnight, acknowledges Blige after her workout. She is relaxing on a wheat-colored chaise in a grassy corner of her backyard.

Nor did the problems that led to the need for the overhaul pop up suddenly. Blige grew up in the Bronx, overcoming a childhood filled with poverty and witnessing violence to become a top-billed singer, songwriter, producer, and actress. Her albums have sold more than 35 million copies worldwide since her career debut in 1992 with her smash hit, “What’s the 411?”

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