As resident vampire hottie on the hit CW drama Vampire Diaries, actress Nina Dobrev has to spend a decent amount of time in body-hugging attire – be it her modern-day leather pants and motorcycle jackets or her 19th century corseted dresses for her historical flashback scenes. Constantly keeping in such great shape for the show has earned Nina Dobrev well-deserved attention – she made Maxim’s Hottest Women of Fall TV and graced the cover of Seventeen’s first-ever special fitness issue. She also won big at this month’s Teen Choice Awards – bringing home the coveted surfboard for Choice TV Fantasy/Sci-Fi Actress (her show and fellow castmates took five more) and compliments on her best-dressed blue-carpet look.
Nina Dobrev isn’t tight-lipped about how she stays fit – in fact, she enthusiastically shared with Seventeen, “It’s yoga. I love it! I’m a yogi.” Nina sometimes works out with a personal yoga instructor, but mostly attends regular classes 3 to 4 times a week. “It takes a lot for me to sweat, so I go to hot yoga,” she says. “It’s a workout, and at the same time, it’s for my mind. It gives you that meditative state and its 90 minutes where you can get away from the world and just be, and exist in the moment. I need yoga. It’s part of my life and I can’t imagine not doing it.”
Hot yoga, Nina’s workout of choice, refers to yoga exercises done in hot or humid temperatures – the most well-known styles being Bikram and Tri-Balance yoga. Hot yoga is beneficial because you’re sweating more while holding the positions for so long. “You’re getting the cardio workout, your heart’s racing, and then you’re also stretching and building lean muscle,” Nina Dobrev says, adding that a bonus benefit is the cleansing effect that the heat has on the skin. “I’ve also found that my skin gets so much better, because your pores are open, and they’re breathing.” Yoga isn’t confined to a trainer or class, though; Nina stresses that exercises can be done effectively almost anywhere or anytime – even just in your bedroom. “In the morning if I can’t go to yoga class, I’ll go jump on a bed and do Downward Dog, or stretch, or go into Childs Pose. Just breathe and relax and get ready for my day.”
Aside from yoga, however, Nina usually forgoes a strict or planned-out exercise regimen. Instead, she says she makes the little things count. She takes the stairs instead of the elevator to her top-floor apartment. She biked to school and back every day in high school instead of taking the bus (“I got there faster than everyone else on the bus, and it didn’t cost a dollar-fifty”). She runs 20-30 minutes because she feels like it, not because she has a schedule to follow. “It’s more of a lazy jog,” she says, “And it’s never a planned run, but more of a fun run. Keeping active: it’s a way of working out without actually thinking about it.” By doing fun, active things that you actually enjoy, working out pays off and will never feel torturous. Nina reveals, “I didn’t go to the gym once [over Christmas break], but I was in better shape than I am now because I was snowboarding every single day, skating, swimming in my friend’s pool… I didn’t even feel like I was working out. I was just having fun.”
Diet-wise, Nina is a tried-and-not-true vegetarian. She tried it for 4 months, but found it too hard to follow through. While she did drop several pounds, she said, “I started feeling weak, like I needed more protein and more energy.” However, she concedes that a vegetarian diet, while it didn’t work for her, may still be beneficial for others. “I have so much respect for vegetarians. It just didn’t work out for me. It made me think: I need a burger – a beef burger, not soy!”
Check out Nina’s summer progress on the brand-new season of Vampire Diaries, September 15, on the CW.