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Cameron Diaz reveals how fitness empowers her physically and emotionally

Cameron Diaz credits "Charlie's Angels" for getting her to exercise.
Cameron Diaz credits "Charlie's Angels" for getting her to exercise.
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A former smoker with a two Taco Bell bean burritos-a-day habit, Cameron Diaz never envisioned herself as a fitness guru. Now, however, at 41, she's done a complete turn-around. Cameron revealed why she views exercise as empowering in a Self interview.

"I fell into fitness by accident," confessed Cameron. "But it's become something I depend on physically and emotionally. I feel so much more empowered now."

Her turning point: Training for "Charlie's Angels." Prior to that role, Cameron admits that she didn't take care of her body.

"I want women to know that it's never too late to start paying attention to their bodies. Until I started training at 27 for 'Charlie's Angels,' I didn't. I literally quit smoking a month before," Cameron admits.

"I was, like, 'Ugh, I've got to do this training. I guess I should stop smoking now.' We trained eight hours a day, seven days a week for three months, and I was dying. Crying every day. On Monday, I wondered how am I ever going to do this, but soon enough, I had a six-pack."

And now that she's 41, Cameron is grateful that she experienced that rigorous regime.

"At 27, I wasn't consciously saying, 'I'm doing this for when I'm 41.' But at 41, I'm saying, 'Thank God I started at 27,'" she added.

Because of all she's learned and her desire to pass on her lessons to other women, Cameron has authored a book: "The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body" (click for details).

"I love the science of the body, and I love to give information and see people utilize it in their own lives," says Cameron of her motivation for writing the healthy living guide, which includes both fitness and diet tips and guidelines.

As for her own workout, Cameron reveals these details:

"At the gym, I'll do intervals on the treadmill for 5 minutes, jamming out for 30 seconds at 10 or 12 mph, then resting for 15 seconds. Then I do lunges with rows, squats, and pushing and pulling cables."

Depending on whether she wants to add muscle or maintain, Cameron also uses weights.

"I use 10- to 15-pound weights if I want to build muscle or 5- to 8-pound weights if I'm maintaining; you have to figure out your own needs and fitness level. I do two sets of 15 reps on everything. The whole thing takes me 20 to 30 minutes," she says.