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Mandy Ingber: “Health Is About a Lifestyle”

By LILI LADAGA

Mandy Ingber has toned and trained some of the hottest bodies in Hollywood -- Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale and Jennifer Lawrence are just a few of the A-list stars to sing her praises -- and is a best-selling author and creator of Yogalosophy, a hybrid yoga/toning workout.

Mandy Ingber

I sat down with Mandy recently to talk about Yogalosophy, health, fitness and how to stay focused and energized.

What is Yogalosohy and how did it come about?
Yoga is about intention setting, acceptance and loving yourself and all these things that I felt were more universal than just yoga. What I was trying to do was bridge the gap between yoga practitioners who had been studying a long time and people who were new to yoga and felt intimidated or bored by yoga.

So, I created a hybrid — pairing a yoga pose with a toning exercise. We do something like a chair pose and incorporate squats. I found that that was a really nice bridge because I could give people a 30-minute yoga workout where they could feel the benefits of yoga, but also feel like they were doing a workout. For me, it's about connecting your mind with your body. That's what all of us in the fitness industry, the wellness industry are trying to do; to get ourselves present in our bodies and take the best care of ourselves so we can be present for whatever is going on.

How important is the mind-body connection to health?
When I was younger I used to beat myself into shape. I was into high-impact aerobics; I gravitated to things that seemed really hard. But I found out when I started speaking more kindly about my body and being kinder to myself that my body fell into place more easily.

What I discovered is that the way I thought about myself had a direct physical effect. We're getting to a place where we're giving ourselves support and understanding -- where health is about a lifestyle, not just about logging your 30 minutes at the gym. It's also what you're putting into your body, how you're thinking about yourself and even the way we're interacting with each other -- way more loving, way more connected.

Is it better to focus on one type of workout or do different kinds?
I think there are benefits to both. Repetition and logging hours can make you an expert at something; that's how I got to be an expert at what I do. But there are benefits to working different muscles, growing and getting your mind engaged. Some people need to have their mind engaged. Other people need to zone out.

It's kind of like "New York or L.A." The great thing is that you can have both! Whatever keeps the individual motivated. It's about moving your body daily, not just talking about it. You just have to get out there and put yourself into action.

There are so many diets out there: Paleo, gluten-free, low-carb. Are they fads or here to stay?
These diets keep people interested. Most diets do work because it brings people to an awareness of what they're putting in their bodies. But I think the expectation that you're going to try one of those diets and that's the way you're going to be eating for the rest of your life is what makes it not doable. 

There's not one diet for everybody. I tried the Zone Diet in the '90s, and that worked for me really well for that period of time. I really think it's listening to your body and discovering what works for you. If you try something and you see results, that's good. If you try something and you're hungry or you're not seeing results, then it's not working. It's really just an experiment. I do think that just eating more fruits and vegetables and things that grow from the earth is going to be good for anybody. That is a good diet in general.

Here are Mandy’s tips for getting energized and staying focused:

1) Backbends. The easiest yoga pose for everyone to do is bridge pose. Anything with backbends is an energizer. It opens up the chest cavity and brings more oxygen to the lungs. It literally opens the space where the heart is. So it has this "upper" effect. That's great for your well-being. It lifts your mood.

Mandy doing a bridge

Mandy demonstrating bridge pose.

2) Start Right. Start off your day with a protein-based meal. A smoothie is a great way to start the day. I make a tropical green smoothie with Silk soymilk, a frozen banana, frozen mango and a piece of kale to get your greens in. Add a little cinnamon and a little ice and you're good to go. That's a good way to start your day because it has at least six grams of protein, which should get you through a couple of hours.

Tropical Green Smoothie

Mandy's Tropical Green Smoothie
(For full nutritional information, here is a link to the recipe we created in MyPlate.)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients
* 1/2 cup frozen mango
* 1 frozen banana
* 1 cup Silk Vanilla Soymilk (or your favorite soy milk)
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 kale leaf
* 1 cup of ice (as desired)

Directions
Blend all ingredients in a blender until desired consistency is reached. Take several long deep breaths. Set an intention to enjoy!

3) Hydrate. That's something everybody says to do, and it's really true. You burn more calories when you drink more water. Over time, being hydrated helps you burn more calories and lose weight. And it flushes out the body.

4) Vinyasa Yoga. I personally like to incorporate yoga into my workouts because it's a total-body toner. Vinyasa flow is the combination of the breath and the movement together, and it's total-body workout. The plank and chaturangas work the arms and core, the Warriors work your legs, Downward Facing Dog stretches you out, the Upward Facing Dog is heart opener -- so you're getting a total-body workout.

Mandy doing a plank

Mandy demonstrating the plank.

Mandy doing Downward Dog

Mandy demonstrating Downward Dog pose.

5) Meditation. When you take five minutes of your day to refocus yourself it's amazing how much more you get done. At first, it's hard to stay still, but it's like building a muscle: If you do it repeatedly over time it gets easier, and then you can start adding time until you get to 20 minutes. A lot of people think they don't have time for meditation, but the truth is that it stretches your time to do more and you're more productive.

6) Be Grateful. When you start to focus on the things in your life that are good, you feel better and it expands you in every way and things get better and better. Even when things aren't going the way I want them to I try to be grateful for them, and it does help. We have to be responsible for ourselves. We can't wait for outside things to make us feel good, we have to take responsibility for that.

Lili Ladaga is a content editor for LIVESTRONG.COM. She's a former couch potato turned Pilates fanatic who enjoys hiking, traveling and eating everything -- in moderation.

You can follow her on Twitter at @leftcoastlili.

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