Mandy Ingber is a fitness expert and New York Times best-selling author whose celebrity yoga clientele reads like a "Who's Who" of Hollywood. Ingber has shaped the hot bodies of Jennifer Aniston, Brooke Shields, Helen Hunt, and Kate Beckinsale, among many others.
In an exclusive interview with me, Mandy discussed her diet and workout secrets and explained why yoga really is the fountain of youth.
Question: You're in incredible shape. Do you follow a specific diet?
Since I grew up first with a kosher butcher grandfather, my family became strict macrobiotic and vegan for a decade, so my upbringing was quite extreme. I developed eating disorders from the combination of perfectionism and extremism. I have never gone back to meat or poultry, and I go on and off dairy, fish and sugar.
I try to stick to a diet rich in organic produce and whole foods like nuts. I tend to avoid grains, but I will indulge in chocolate or coffee. So an average day will look like: scrambled egg whites with a side of avocado and either green tea with honey or coffee, a large salad with all the organic produce I like and a 4-oz piece of salmon. I snack on nuts all day long.
I eat a treat (like chocolate) daily, to satisfy my desire for fun. I will have a green vegetable juice. And dinner may be a hearty soup or a pasta-less butternut squash lasagna.
I clean up my diet twice a year, in Spring and Fall, to press the restart button. My book, Yogalosophy: 28 Days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover, has three diet options. In my opinion, it is the attitude that we eat the food with which really sets the tone for the effect."
Question: Do you do yoga every day? What does your daily workout look like?
I practice yoga four to five days a week. I make sure to move my body daily for an hour. If I aim for daily, it tends to boil down to five days. I alternate between spinning, Precor, and yoga, and I mix up my yoga. I've been on a hot-yoga jag, but I love vinyasa flow or even yin yoga.
I am also a spinning instructor and have been sold out daily for 16 years. Spinning will always be my cardio of choice. It actually informed my yoga quite a lot. Finding that point of stillness amidst such intensity of movement.
I love a good hike, and I take a walk daily. Fitness is really a way of life, so I never think of moving my body as a chore, but as a celebration for the fact that I have a body that moves and feels so good."
Question: You've been friends with actress Jennifer Aniston for over two decades, whom you met when you were young actresses starting out in Hollywood. She has credited you for her incredible physique. Can you tell me a little about your yoga workout sessions with her?
We incorporate cardio and toners into the yoga sessions, much like I do in my Yogalosophy DVD. We meet up about three times a week, and our sessions are 60 to 90 minutes. It's always a pleasure to work out with her."
Question: Many people have called yoga the fountain of youth. Why do people who regularly practice yoga have such incredible bodies?
The idea of mindfulness and slowing down long enough to be present to the body helps to regulate your appetite and knowing when to stop. It encourages you to make healthier choices, it regulates the hormones and the metabolism, the digestive system, and the nervous system, which decreases stress.
Mainly, the mindfulness and being more connected to your body has a tendency to steer you in the right direction as far as choices. Additionally, yoga targets most muscle groups, is all core, and balances the system."