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Women's Health

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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 continued...

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.

Mary J. Cleans Up the Menu

Blige soldiers on, doing crunches on a floor mat. Miele holds the elastic resistance bands as she does arm work, and her limbs look strong and defined. But her newly buff body is not all due to hard time in the gym, she says. Blige has overhauled what she eats these days.

"Three months ago, I was 146 pounds," says Blige, who is 5 feet 5 inches tall. Since then, she’s dropped 11 pounds, weighing in at 135. She’s a size 8 now. “I want to get to 125 pounds with muscles,” she says.

The self-confessed sweets lover focuses on cutting down on refined carbs (including her favorite cookies) and limiting calories to about 1,500 per day.

Blige’s calorie goal is very realistic, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, a New York dietitian. “If you eat below 1,200, it’s hard to meet your needs nutritionally,” she says.

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