Q) What's harder -- climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or performing live on stage eight times/week?
A) They are both really tough in different ways; however, I have to say that the preparation for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro was the toughest thing I've had to do. It was also very hard whilst I was climbing due to the altitude; you feel sick and dizzy all the time. However, it was so rewarding that it made it all worthwhile. I must add that being on stage eight times a week in Shrek is pretty grueling too.
Q) How did you prepare for each?
A) I had to train extensively for three months before climbing, I went on very long walks to prepare myself and I also exercised in a high-altitude room at my gym. Still, all the preparation that I did still didn't prepare me for the climb; it was physically and emotionally exhausting. Working out for Shrek is different because it's more about keeping up with my current fitness regime; being on stage for two hours is like a hard workout. I'm technically doing eight shows a week and two to three times a week at the gym, so it's a lot of working out. However, it does mean that I can have "cheat" days and eat what I like.
Q) What's your typical workout routine? Fave fitness activities?
A) I work out two or three times per week; however, before I was in Shrek I used to work out three to four times per week. Currently I like to run outdoors -- I'm not a fan of running in the gym because I get bored. By running outside I can be nosey and see what's going on. My favourite workout at the gym is the free weights; it gives me the most rewards and makes me feel tightened and toned. Additionally, I've recently got into yoga and Pilates. They both help me stretch out and I'm feeling much more flexible these days.
Q) What have been the biggest benefits of exercise for you?
A) Exercise makes me feel energetic and since working out, I don't feel so tired. Exercise has made me more toned and has made me pretty strong, which I'm proud about.
Q) You've got a rockin' curvaceous body. Were you ever pressured to get thinner than felt comfortable?
A) No, I've always had a curvaceous body, although when I was younger I wanted a different shape; however, everyone thinks like that when they're young. I've grown to accept my shape and embrace the curves that I have. My idols are Beyonce, JLo and Rihanna. They show women how having curves can be sexy!
Q) Do you work out with a trainer or on your own?
A) I work out with a personal trainer and she motivates me to keep up my fitness regime.
Q) BodyTrain is big on "buddy workouts." What's the best part about working out with your sis and friends?
A) I love working out with friends, Cheryl [Cole] and I go to the gym a lot, and she's a great person to work out with because she pushes me and she's got good stamina. I also go running with my sister Amy a lot.
Q) You've obviously got tons of energy -- how do you maintain it?
A) By staying active and eating well and getting lots of quality sleep at night.
Q) How do you de-stress and unwind?
A) When I get a night off from the theatre I tend to stay in with my boyfriend Justin and we just watch box sets such as Entourage and Sex and the City. I also find that cooking and baking cakes is therapeutic. I sometimes pull out a recipe on my day off and set myself a challenge to bake a cake. It helps me shut off for a few hours.
Q) You're an idol to teen girls and young women, and so many are consumed by weight concerns and body issues. What would you say to them?
A) I would say that you should have a well-balanced diet and never fad diet; it's just not worth it. I tried fad diets when I was younger and although you might see some weight loss, you tend to put it all back on when you finish. I now make sure that I work out and live by a healthy diet. Of course, I have days where I eat what I want and that's important. You should never starve your mind of food.