The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.
Fitness is Brooke Burke's second language and as she approaches 50, she has no plans to slow down. The former Dancing With the Stars contestant and later co-host inspires others to move their bodies through her workout app Brooke Burke Body, which aims to make fitness easier to digest from home. The influencer, who looks just as amazing as she feels, also uses her large platform to emphasize the importance of people being the best version of themselves inside and out because for Burke, health is more than skin deep.
"Everybody's always asking me, how do you get in summer shape and how do you get the bikini body? And for me, it's about developing a healthy lifestyle that's sustainable, that creates energy, longevity and optimal living. For me, it's really about what I put in my body is as equally as important as how I treat my body," she tells Yahoo Life.
Here, Burke talks aging, anxiety, supplements and more.
You look amazing, what are some ways are you able to defy aging?
I don't know if I'm defying it, I'm trying to slow it down. I think happiness looks good on everyone to be honest. And there are simple things that I do: I stay hydrated; I try to get my zzz’s; I've been intermittent fasting for years [and] it's my favorite nutritional lifestyle program. I love it. And I think there's a lot of products out there. There's a lot of marketing behind a lot of products and it's very difficult to know what's real and what's good. And I've been taking a supplement called Tru Niagen for about five years now and I'm really excited now to have an opportunity to work with them, but authentically I take it every day and it helps me get healthy, have more energy [and] helps my body. ... And I'm a little bit of a biohacking geek, so I'm always researching different little things, but I want to live a long, healthy life and I need energy and I need strength.
With the Brooke Burke Body app being available on a variety of platforms, why is it so important for fitness to be accessible?
I think we're more conscious about how we spend our time and money. If I'm going to spend 20 plus dollars for a class and drive 40 minutes to get there, suddenly three hours of my day is gone. But I think what's really exciting for me right now in fitness is the television experience. Now I'm on Roku, Samsung, Vizio and all of these TV platforms, so I can become your personal trainer in the privacy of your own living room. [This] makes it a little more dynamic than having to work out with somebody on your smartphone, or your iPad or your computer. Now fitness comes to life [on the] big screen in your living room and I'm really excited about that. And I think it also encourages people to move their bodies and take better care of themselves at home. And I have family fitness routines, couples workouts, I have programs for different ages and different fitness levels. So I know what it's like when people are afraid to start a new program. I think that designing workouts for everyone at different stages of their lives is something really fun and exciting for me.
What are your go-to techniques for fighting stress and anxiety?
I think that this past year has really created a lot of anxiety and it also has taught us a lot about slowing down and going inward. I teach breathwork, it's one of the things that is a big part of mindfulness and my fitness philosophy is really mind, body, spirit. I know meditation is very difficult for a lot of people. So I like to do musical meditations [with] calming music, meditation affirmations in the morning are really fantastic. And my me-time that I spend during my fitness routines really helps balance stress for me. I don't really like to use the word balance, but it helps combat stress [and] resets your body. I think yoga is super important and just the commitment that you make to yourself to accomplish a wellness program that feels good resets your mood.
Do you have any small self-care rituals that you use to brighten your day?
I love homemade spas. I like the value of the “do it yourself.” I'll take Epsom salt baths and light candles and use essential oils and find a really peaceful playlist. That's a great way for busy moms to escape. I like to carve out a little bit of time in the privacy of my bedroom, no kids allowed. Also walking in nature with no music is a great ritual for me sometimes just to be with myself. Teaching my classes and my fitness routine, this is something that really helps me do some sort of a personal inventory.
During quarantine, it was easy to not take the best care of yourself, what motivated you to continue to eat healthily and exercise?
I have a fitness business and I love being an encourager and an influencer to other women. I do live streams from my home and I created a whole collection of home workouts where you don't need a lot of equipment, [you can even do] fun workouts in the kitchen using the bar. I have workouts from the living room sofa, workouts using an office chair, lots of creative things [and] I think that's what quarantine forced us to do is shift into a new way of taking care of ourselves and discovering what we can do at home to stay healthy.
And also less trips to the supermarket means we became more mindful of what's in our kitchen and recipes that we can create using leftovers, kind of utilizing everything that we have within the house. Because restaurants were closed, I did a lot of cooking with my family. I've always appreciated family meals, but suddenly everybody was home and together and we had to be really creative to sort of survive and make the most of it. And, you know, I really enjoyed that part of quarantine as challenging as it was. I enjoyed the togetherness and the creativity that we shared as a family.
In terms of wellness, who inspires you? Are there any experts, authors or accounts you follow for motivation and mind and body guidance?
So many people. I love a lot of Deepak Chopra’s meditation affirmations. I like to start my mornings with that. And then I also am really inspired by [the] old-school like Jane Fonda, for example. I remember my mom working out with her and just watching her gracefully go through decades and remain relevant. I really love what she's doing and I'm inspired to see, a woman at her age healthy, beautiful and fit. I'm also really inspired and driven by music, so that dictates my fitness moods all the time and the ambiance in my home.
Why is it important that women love their bodies?
I think body confidence is imperative. [I’m] raising three daughters, so I'm trying to raise them with self-confidence and I'm trying to teach them to be compassionate with themselves. I think that tenderness is super important [because] we're living in a world right now that's manipulated, retouched and filtered. And I think it's really important that we see ourselves for who we are and body confidence is power and freedom. And it's a message that I try to instill in my community on my app. I'm going to be 50 this year, yet it's just a number and I feel happier, and healthier at this stage in this decade of my life. So, I think that comes from a much deeper place. It's not just about body sculpting and getting that bikini body and having a bubble butt, that's the easy part of my philosophy. It's how we feel inside and body confidence is really important, especially for young women.
What advice would you have for other moms, particularly working moms, struggling to fit exercise into their routines?
I think time has been the greatest excuse in my fitness journey and I have four kids and multiple professional responsibilities. I think that time is one thing that we get to manage and I know it's moving fast, which is why I love home workouts. I have a kitchen barre classes. [I did a] kitchen barre workout that I did with my daughter while chicken was in the oven. And we were like, 'You know what? We have 20 minutes, let's get a workout in.' So we started dinner, put it in the oven, took our yoga mats out and worked out while dinner was cooking. And I like to carve out my workout time in the morning when I can because it creates more energy for me and it gives me a sense of accomplishment throughout the day.
What mantra do you live by?
I think Oprah said it and I've been speaking about this a lot, is allowing yourself to be on top of your to-do list. I think [this is] a hard philosophy for women to wrap their head around, allowing ourselves to be a priority and putting ourselves on top of our to-do lists, but I think it is so important as wise working women, mothers. It gives yourself the allowance [and] the freedom to make ourselves a priority, and to value me-time, which I think is essential for all women because that gives us the ability to do a lot of other things. So I put myself on top of my to-do lists. I make sure I take care of me as much as I take care of everybody else guilt-free.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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