Why Connie Britton Gave up the Gym for Good

At 51, Connie Britton looks fit, healthy, and happy. While many stars attribute their youthful looks and physiques to grueling workouts at the gym and trendy diets and cleanses, the “Dirty John” star has a more relaxed approach to heath and fitness. In fact, Britton, a former aerobics instructor, has majorly shifted her approach to wellness over the last decade. One of the major changes she's made? She no longer hits the gym.

Connie Britton's approach to health and wellness is actually quite simple. (Image: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages)

In a recent interview with Health, Britton reveals all of her secrets to longevity, detailing her workouts, diet, skincare regimen and meditation tactics — and all of them are totally doable.

Outdoor Workouts Instead of the Gym

You probably won’t find Britton getting her sweat on in a gym or fitness studio. “I don’t love the gym,” she admits. Britton explains that during her 20s, while she “was pounding the pavement auditioning for acting roles,” she taught aerobics in New York, doing step classes or high impact aerobics and calisthenics — not something she enjoys anymore. “I spent a lot of time in gyms, but now I really love a mind-body-spirit kind of a workout, and that’s more easily done outside — swimming, hiking, or yoga,” she explains.

If you aren’t a fan of the gym, consider taking your workout al fresco a la Britton. A 2011 study found that exercising outdoors can improve your overall mental well-being compared with exercising indoors.

It can also make you feel more revitalized, increase energy and positive engagement, and decrease tension, confusion, anger and depression. Outdoor exercisers also reported more enjoyment than those who worked out indoors, claiming they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.

The Importance of Meditation

As part of her mind-body practice, she also relies on meditation. “Meditation, breathing, and connecting to whatever is my own version of my center,” she says. “It can be 10 minutes; it can be in the car while I’m driving or just taking a deep breath before I’m about to shoot a scene. It’s about going deeper than the external noise. To me, that’s a really important tool,” she adds.

Another beauty bonus of getting your zen on, according to the star? “I really believe it helps with wrinkles,” she maintains. “We can change our body chemistry through meditation.”

In addition to the benefits Britton mentions, meditation can relieve stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, help you process emotions and make you a better listener.

A Diet That's All About Moderation

Britton reveals she has done a lot of cleanses over the years and also relied on diets, such as the raw food diet and the Blood Type Diet, to stay in shape. However, drastically altering her eating habits doesn’t really work the same way it did in her younger years. “Now that I’ve turned 50, it’s not so easy,” she explains. “I used to be able to exercise or change what I eat, and in a few days I was good, but that doesn’t happen anymore. I’m in a new phase, and I haven’t figured it out yet.”

Why aren’t Britton’s old methods working anymore? As we age, our bodies lose muscle, resulting in a slower metabolism. Therefore, the USDA recommends consuming fewer calories in your 50s than you did in your 40s.

She has found that in this stage of her life, moderation is key and she sticks to a pretty clean diet. “I eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and clean proteins.” One thing she tries to avoid is sugar, explaining it is “a drug” for her. “It not only impacts my weight, it impacts my body chemistry,” she says. “Though if I could have a chocolate chip cookie or really anything that is chocolate, I would be a very happy camper.”

Keeping a Simple Beauty Regimen

Britton claims her secret to beauty is just keeping it simple. “I have an embarrassingly uncomplicated routine,” she explains. “I do have potions that I put on at night and in the morning. I am obsessed with Beautycounter. But I’m real simple. I’m so boring in that way!”

Self-Acceptance Is Key

Britton is the first to admit her body doesn’t look the same at 51 as it did 30 years ago, but she is learning to be okay with that. “It’s true what they say — your body really does change. And I do for sure have those times when I don’t feel good in my skin,” she says. “In your 40s, you have this genuinely acquired grounded wisdom, and your body is still recognizable.

In your late 40s, it’s like, “What is happening?” But I’m not super hard on myself, and I allow myself to feel sexy. We have to be patient with ourselves. We are constantly evolving.”

Good advice for anyone!

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