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Carrie Underwood might be in the best shape of her life. The country singer and fitness guru, who not only has her own activewear line, Calia, but has written a fitness book and developed an app to boot, shared a photo from her workout session on Instagram on Monday, showing off her gorgeously toned and muscular legs. "About to get some extra credit in this afternoon with the @fit52 13-Card Draw!," she wrote, referencing her Fit52 app. So how does she manage to stay so fantastically fit? Her wellness, diet, and workout routine is actually much less complicated than you would think. Read on to see what tips she's shared with others—and the photos that prove they work.
Underwood's App Has a Common Sense Approach to Wellness
Underwood has made health and fitness a priority, and she recently decided to share her knowledge with the world. "I want to be healthy and fit 52 weeks of the year, but that doesn't mean I have to be perfect every day," Underwood told Women's Health about the book and accompanying app Fit52 (iOS, $8/month or $52/year) she developed with her trainer, Eve Overland. "This philosophy is a year-round, common-sense approach to health and fitness that involves doing your best most of the time." The app takes the guesswork out of your diet and exercise routine by offering "paths" for your workouts based on your fitness level (beginner, intermedia, or advanced), and not only does it keep track of workouts but offers a bunch of predesigned exercises as well.
She Keeps Everything Simple
One of Underwood's tricks is making sure to keep everything uncomplicated. "We all have enough to worry about and enough to do in our lives," says Underwood. "I believe in keeping things as simple as possible—from workouts to skin care. The fewer things I have to think about and worry about, the better. If it's too complicated, I'm not going to do it," she told Shape.
She Is a "Seasonal" Workout Person
Underwood changes up her workout routine and alters her diet accordingly. "I want to listen to my body and do what I'm in the mood for. On different days, that means different things. I'm a bit of a seasonal workout person. If you think about it, in the winter, we're all bundled up, and we all want to be warm, comfortable, there are a lot of holidays," she explained to Shape. "So, I'll lift more and do less cardio then and make use of all those extra holiday food calories and build some muscle. In the summer, I want to feel lighter. I want to run and sweat, so I use the temperature and that feeling to lean up a bit and do more outdoor cardio things."
She Uses These Tools
"I've become an expert at working out with nothing! I'm great at putting things together, and thinking: 'What do I have around me that I can use?' Maybe it's three steps—I can use that! Or I have a chair I can do dips on. Obviously, if you work with your bodyweight, you can do push-ups anywhere. You can do sit-ups anywhere. You can be in your hotel room, and you don't have to leave. You just have to think outside the box, and get creative," Underwood told Shape. "I like traveling with a few things that are easy to pack. So, you can get an ab wheel you can put in your bag, and it doesn't weigh a lot or take up a lot of space. It can be painful, but you don't have to do many of them to feel it the next day. I like keeping it simple. I'll also use [resistance] bands and jump ropes that you can pack and take anywhere with you and easily come up with a workout."
She Focuses on Strength
Underwood focuses her energy on building strength. "I want to be stronger. If I feel good in my clothes, and I'm starting to see some muscles, it just makes me want to keep going. I enjoy how I feel when running up a flight of stairs or picking up my kids or carrying things is easy. I like seeing muscles and feeling progress, so I'm always looking to lift more or do more reps," she told Shape.
She Opts For Lower Impact Exercises Over Cardio
"I've definitely changed my approach to fitness as I've gotten older," she told InStyle. "In my 20s I was all about cardio and anything that made me sweat. Now that I'm 37 and have two kids, I'm focused on getting the most out of my workout time. I do lower-impact exercises with higher weights, and I try to maximize each and every rep. I like doing leg presses and weighted squats. These days it's less about the burpees and sprinting around — my knees can't always handle that."
She Doesn't Have a Strict Workout Schedule
Underwood doesn't hold herself to a stringent workout plan. "I exercise when I can. Sometimes I'll do it seven days in a row; other times it's only twice a week. I take the opportunity when I have it, knowing that some weeks I won't be able to exercise as much, because I am not the 5 a.m. workout type," she told InStyle.
She Weaves Fitness Into Her Day
Instead of just getting a workout in, Underwood finds ways to exercise all day long. "I'm a midmorning-workout person. But I weave fitness into my day," she told InStyle. "I always take the stairs, which firms your legs, and at home I'll do lunges as I go from one room to the next. No one is judging you in your own house, so why not make chores active? I turn it into a game, like if I'm picking up my kids' toys off the floor, I'll do a squat each time I lower myself down. These little moves keep up my energy, especially on days when I can't get in a full workout."
She Counts Macros
One of her other secrets to "looking lean and muscular" has to do with her diet. "I keep my macro numbers — which is your calories, carbs, and protein intake — in check," she revealed to InStyle.
She Avoids Most Animal Products
Underwood, a long time vegetarian, recently described herself as a "wannabe vegan" to Women's Health. For example, she eats eggs—but only ones that were laid by chickens in her backyard. Prior to working out she will eat breakfast, which usually consists of a tofu or egg-white scramble, Ezekiel toast, berries, and coffee. Next up, a "veggie-packed" vegan sandwich—like Tofurky, tomato, avocado, red onion, spinach, and mustard—for lunch. She might snack on a protein bar in the afternoon. Then, for dinner, roasted veggies and a piece of vegan chicken, or a tofu stir-fry. While she isn't a sweets person, she keeps squares of dark chocolate on hand if she has a craving. "I do have my vice," Carrie admitted, "and it's red wine. It's good for my heart, right?!" she laughs.