TV personality Kelly Ripa has an enviably toned bikini body, thanks to rigorous daily workouts and a mostly vegetarian diet. Surprisingly, Ripa received a barrage of nasty fan letters during her 12-year stint on the soap opera, "All My Children," which she used to propel herself into the best shape of her life.
Kelly revealed to Elle magazine that she keeps one of the notes framed on her dressing room wall at her talk show, "Live! With Kelly and Michael." The note reads, "Eat a carrot, you fat bastard." Ripa was pregnant at the time, and her pregnancy had not been written into her character's storyline.
Why does Ripa keep the note around? "I feel like as long as you take ownership over your own flaws, it doesn’t hurt if someone else points them out," she explains.
Kelly, who was teased for being chubby as a child, now has the lean, rippling physique of a pro athlete, thanks to her unwavering dedication to healthy eating and daily exercise.
"I work out every day. It's part of my life," said Ripa, 42. "I do it more for my insides than my outside, but the outside gets a nice benefit, too. I feel like my mind is a little quieter when I exercise."
Kelly runs, takes spinning classes, and works out with a trainer doing a combination of cardio ballet and power yoga. "I get bored, so I like to mix it up a little bit," she said. "I try to make my heart beat out of my chest, hard-core, once a day for at least a half-hour. I think that's very important."
Despite her celebrity status, Ripa enjoys group spinning classes. "I prefer a group mentality," she said. "I think there's power in a group, I think the group motivates everybody. I think everybody really pulls together, and there's something sexy about the sound and look of a unified group of people working out."
Kelly, a longtime smoker who kicked the nicotine habit in 2007, became hooked on working out after noticing that regular exercise gave her increased stamina throughout the day.
"Before I started exercising, I was exhausted all the time," Ripa recalled. "I remember when [my son] Joaquin was about seven months old, I was carrying him up the stairs, and was completely winded when I got to the top.
"I thought, I've got to figure this out, because I shouldn't be exhausted like this. My husband encouraged me and said, 'If you worked out, you'd feel so much better, and it would quiet your mind down.' Because I'm a worrier. And he was right.
"I started out three days a week, walking for a half hour on a treadmill; then it was five days a week, and then I started jogging. It was like a drug. The gateway drug is the treadmill."
Kelly, who calls herself a "vegetarian who occasionally eats sushi," eats lightly throughout the day, usually having toast and coffee for breakfast, a salad or yogurt with fruit for lunch, and vegetables, soup and a small piece of fish for dinner.
Ripa, who's the mom of three (Michael, 15, Lola, 11, and Joaquin, 9) says working out every single day is crucial because it's too easy to get off-track if she takes just one day off.
"I'm the kind of person who, if I take one day off, it's very easy for me to take the next day off and then quit exercising," she said. "If I don't do it every day, I won't do it at all. I rarely take a day off."
Kelly's other beauty secret is Botox injections. "Every seven months or so my eyelid skin rests on my eyelashes," jokes Ripa, who says she hasn't had any plastic surgery yet.
"So I feel like it makes my makeup artist’s life easier, and it makes my eyes look a little more open on TV, which is where I happen to work right now."