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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.

Mary J. Steps Up Her Workouts

Exercise has been part of Blige’s life for years, but she’s pumped up her routine recently, motivated by appearance and health. “A couple months ago, I was walking up those stairs right there,” Blige says, pointing to the long, spiral staircase that connects her home’s upper and lower floors, “and I was out of breath.” Blige, who turns 38 on Jan. 11, knew she was way too young to be that out of shape. “Then I saw all this cellulite forming on my leg, and I started to cry. Then I thought, ‘OK, this [exercise] is for health reasons. OK, the cellulite might be a touch of vanity, but the fact that I can’t breathe when I am walking up stairs -- it’s like, I have to do this for myself.’”

Part of doing it for herself is sticking to the workouts, no matter her tour or rehearsal schedule. At home, Blige tries to do the one-hour routine five days a week. On the road, she admits, it’s not always easy, but she does what she can. That’s why Miele has designed a program that works for Blige’s jet-set life. He tells her to think of herself as a professional athlete. “For her, there is off-season, preseason, and in-season,” he says, with in-season being her concert tour. During in-season, he tells her, she can’t expect to work out as much or as intensely as at other times. But whatever the length of the workout, Miele designs routines that include cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, and flexibility and that can be done in any gym -- or even a hotel room.

His strategy works just as well for the rest of us time-strapped noncelebrities. For instance? If you have 30 minutes instead of an hour at the gym, get more mileage out of the workout by stretching rather than resting between exercises, Miele says.

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