TV star Maria Menounos shares the workout and eating strategies that helped her get down to her healthiest weight, and how she maintains her super-fit shape.
As a journalist and correspondent for The Today Show and Access Hollywood, Maria Menounos graces the screen with her Greek charm and fit body. It was recently revealed in People Magazine that Maria stays in shape by studying the Israeli martial art, Krav Maga. In Hebrew, the word ‘Krav Maga’ means, ‘close combat’ and it trains practitioners to neutralize an oncoming threat with crippling attacks to the most vulnerable of body parts. Maria said,
“It’s the ultimate triple threat,” the Access Hollywood correspondent explains. “It’s an amazing overall body workout, it’s fun, and empowering – and you’re learning how to protect yourself in any situation.”
Maria definitely looks stunning and it’s great that she’s getting exercise and at the same time practicing a martial art; something that can be very empowering for women. Other stars that practice Krav Maga are supermodel Bar Refaeli and actress Jennifer Garner.
“Go ahead, punch me in the stomach,” Maria Menounos is saying to the crew on the cover shoot for FITNESS. Seriously, she’s inviting anyone to sock her. Why? Because that’s how she gets her great abs. “I learned that from my dad,” she explains. “When someone punches you there, you tighten up.”
Looking back, she says her problem was overeating in college, when she would easily down five slices of pizza at a time. She woke up from her food coma after she realized she’d gone up to a size 14. “I decided enough was enough,” she recalls. After several frustrating starts, she hit diet-plan pay dirt: cutting back slowly, pizza slice by pizza slice. “Depriving myself didn’t work because, yeah, I’d resist a craving one night, but then it’d come back the next day and it’d be worse,” she says.
Just by watching her intake, Menounos lost the first 20 pounds in about five months. The last 20 took nearly six more months and the addition of regular exercise. Her workout: a plan put together by a trainer for a grand total of $70. “I hired her for one session, and she wrote out for me a general circuit program of jump rope, steps, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and lunges,” says Menounos, who also put in up to 45 minutes four times a week on the elliptical. “In fact, I still have the piece of paper in case I ever regain the weight.” That’s not likely, given how committed Menounos is to getting in her exercise even when she’s on the road — which, in her line of work, is most of the time.
Saying Maria Menounos has a cool job is like saying Serena Williams is good at tennis: huge understatement! As a correspondent for Access Hollywood and the Today show, she’s had assignments as varied as spending the Fourth of July with the Obamas and learning to wrestle with Hulk Hogan. “It’s the most exciting work in the world,” she says, and a workout in itself. “I burn a lot of calories simply by doing my job. I’m always running around like crazy”—the same way she has been since childhood in Medford, Massachusetts, where she played street hockey with cousins, then joined the basketball team in high school. Today, Menounos, 30, relies on that athleticism to support her in all the adventures that come her way. “I’ll try anything. When Access needs someone to rock climb with Jack Osbourne, I’m like, ‘I’ll go!'” says the daredevil-for-hire, who also skateboarded a half-pipe while covering extreme sports at the Gravity Games.
Off camera, Menounos is also active, but not in the gymcentric ways of many of the Hollywood stars she interviews. “My goal is to feel like I’m not exercising,” she says of her fitness routines. “My trainer may come over, but we’ll go outside and run. Or I’ll have basketball games at my house with guys from Access. I’m tireless when playing sports. Have me do 20 reps of something in a gym, though, and I’m dying.” Menounos gave self a peek at some of the activities that fire her up (and the slim, sexy results). Try them yourself and watch pounds melt off!
Get excited about exercise
What about her eating habits?
Adjusting her diet to her hectic life is also an improvisational act. “I eat a lot of chicken and tuna wraps, which are pretty quick to prepare. But when I have no time, I’ll grab a slice of pizza,” Menounos says, her ability to wolf that down already established. “If I indulge, though, I’ll balance things out by switching to salad and fruit for the next meal.” On her watch, those extra pounds don’t have a fighting chance.
Maria Menounos gave Health Magazine her favorite receipe for what she calls: “Mykonos Burger”
Prep time: 12 minutes
Cook: 11 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound lean ground turkey
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 3/4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
4 (1/4-inch thick) slices red onion
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
1. In a medium bowl, mix first 8 ingredients (through feta). Use an ice cream scoop or 1/2-cup measure to make equal-size patties.
2. Broil for 5–6 minutes on each side or until done.
3. Place burger on bottom half of bun. Top with onion slices and a Dijon-and-ketchup mixture (a trick for cutting sugar from your diet), if desired; garnish with parsley, if desired. Cover with top half of bun. (Serving size: 1 burger)
Calories 253 (33% from fat); Fat 9g (sat 3g, mono 1g, poly 1g); Cholesterol 61mg; Protein 22g; Carbohydrate 21g; Sugars 4g; Fiber 3g; Iron 3mg; Sodium 514mg; Calcium 99mg