Work Out Like: Maria Menounos

The former Extra host and Medford native will sign copies of her new book Saturday.

Maria Menounos

Because we all look this gorgeous when working out. All photos by Elise Donoghue Photography

Maria Menounos may just be the hardest working woman in Hollywood. Sure, Ryan Seacrest and Questlove get all the press for working non-stop gigs that cross multiple genres, but in Hollywood—and in life—being a woman means you have to work twice as hard. If you don’t believe me, do one quick Google search about equal pay.

“It’s definitely a tough industry filled with its own intricacies. [Women seem to] have an extermination date in sense,” Menounos says. “It is challenging because it is a cruel business, and it is a lot easier in some ways for men than it is for women. At the end of the day we are blessed to be in it, we have to fight for each other.”

That’s why the Medford native has parlayed a television hosting career (Deadline is reporting that she is leaving Extra and has signed a deal with E!), into a multimedia empire that includes a reality show and writing New York Times bestselling books. Menounos’s latest, The Everygirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness: How I Lost 40 lbs and Kept it Off, chronicles her journey losing 40 pounds in college and how she’s kept it off for nearly 15 years.

The 36-year-old will be back in the Boston-area to sign copies of her new book Saturday at the CambridgeSide Galleria starting at 2:30 p.m. Books will be on sale for signings at the Porter Square Book Store in the mall.

While she won’t get to do her favorite fitness activity in Boston—running the Charles—she will be fitting in fitness wherever and whenever she can. “The Charles is my obsession,” she says while we chatted about her new book, fitness tips, and how to fit in fitness when time is limited. “I fit in fitness whenever I can. I’ll do something at night before I go to bed, such as butt lifts, clam shells, or stuff on a yoga mat. While I’m at my desk at work I’ll use a band for shoulder presses, or I’ll do some yoga. Even just 15 minutes in my work dress. I’ll do squats and lunges while brushing my teeth. I get my fitness in during the day so I’m not a slave to the gym. I always want to maximize my time.”

Maria Menounos

Maria proves you can work out anywhere. Really, anywhere.

When did you lose the weight?

I lost the weight just before I moved to Los Angeles. I was in college still and I just had it. My size 14 [pants] were getting too tight and I had to make a change. My dad was a diabetic, and I was tired and lethargic all the time, so I kind of just focused.

What did you do, exactly?

I said to myself, ‘This is it; I have to change.’ I wrote down everything I ate for a week. I realized my problem with carbs. I said I would slowly cut back, so I didn’t eliminate anything from my diet, I just made a 10 percent cut. Never tell anyone you are on a diet.

That’s a great tip.

It sets you up for failure. You can slowly make these changes. You’re body gets slowly used to it.

What else did you do?

I drank water instead of that having that extra slice. Or I’d have a piece of fruit. I also used to go to bed early so I wouldn’t eat more. If you are patient with yourself and do it that way, eventually the weight will come off. In five months, I lost 20 pounds just by making these teeny changes, which was all the motivation I needed to continue.

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Writing everything down is also a great tip. 

I kept all my old charts and notes, and it’s all in the book! I saved everything because I was so scared I was going to gain it back. You should take pictures of workouts you love [in my book or in magazines] and that way you can reference it whenever you want. The real secret to losing weight and maintaining it is to take your time.

Exactly. It’s awful seeing ‘lose 20 pounds in one month!’ in a commercial or on the cover of a magazine. 

It’s just about health. It shouldn’t be about being skinny. I promise you will get the result you want by taking your time.

What are some of your favorite workouts? 

I’ve worked with personal trainers, but only in small increments. Truth is, I only go to the gym a couple of times a year when I need a reset, or when I need major toning and definition. I keep a yoga mat by my bed and a roller and use that sometimes before bed. I think there is about 40 pages of workouts and recipes in the book. I go to the park and put my band in my fanny pack, and I’ll carry my little resistance bands around my neck like a necklace. My workouts are designed for women who don’t want to carry a lot of stuff. I also try to do 50 sit-ups a day, three times a week.

Wait… you don’t go to the gym?

I don’t do anything consistently. I don’t have a set workout. I wear a fitness tracker and aim for 10,000 steps a day. If I do that, I feel good. I go on weekend hikes, and I also play basketball. I do lunges and squats when I want to focus on bikini season.

What about food and nutrition? What do you eat in a typical day?

I eat as clean as I can about 75 percent of the time. That way, I can play a bit the other 25 percent. I’ll have half a gluten-free English muffin—I just discovered I have a wheat and rye allergy thorough a blood test—with almond butter and apples for lunch with a Greek yogurt; a kale salad with chicken or a hummus wrap with veggies for dinner. But if I’m craving ravioli, I’ll have it. But I don’t really snack. I’m so busy throughout the day, and I’m always moving around. I also drink hot water throughout the day.

For more health and fitness tips and to meet Maria Menounos, go to the CambridgeSide Galleria, Saturday, June 14 at 2:30 p.m.

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  • Tony

    Equal Pay or Equal Pay for Equal work? The author of this column seems to suffer from an inability to recognize the difference between truth and fiction.
    Truth. On the average women salaries are ~78% of the salaries of men. The fiction arises when discrimination against women is determined to be the causative factor.
    The causative factors in the difference in average pay between men and women are:
    1. Men major in STEM degrees that have high pay.
    2. Management of people, in general, is best done by men. Men tend to play no favorites or hold petty grudges.
    3. Men work in fields with a high death/injury ratio that pay very high wages.
    4. Men have less family responsibilities for care of parents and siblings which allow them to concentrate on their jobs.
    and so on.
    5. Men do not suffer from a monthly period or menopause.