What Carrie Underwood Eats in a Day to Look as Fit as She Does Now
Carrie Underwood, 33, has come a long way since winning American Idol in 2005.
You can't help but notice the singer's super-fit figure, from her sculpted arms:
To her uber-toned legs:
Staying in such awesome shape is no small feat for any woman, a new mom like Carrie, who's constantly on the road doing concert tours, attending awards shows, and meeting with press.
Cosmopolitan.com recently sat down with the singer to see how she fills her days and fuels up to stay so freaking fit. So here it is: All her secrets.
A Typical Day for Carrie Underwood
7 a.m.: There is no typical day for me, but if I'm not traveling and don't have any work things to wake up for, I'll sleep in until my son Isaiah, who's almost 2 years old, wakes up. Then I get up and make us breakfast.
There's always fruit floating around, plus oatmeal, cereal like Kashi Go Lean or Heart to Heart, which I've always eaten without milk. (I'm weird like that!) Sometimes, I'll make a tofu scramble with chopped onions and peppers, which I keep in the fridge, so I can throw them together quickly in a skillet.
I also stock up on frozen breakfast burritos just in case I'm making something for Isaiah and run out of steam before I can make something for myself. I like the ones from Amy's, and I recently tried a new vegan chorizo one I liked. I never eat meat and try to eat totally vegan, which is easiest when I cook for myself.
When I'm out, I don't go crazy about staying vegan — I wouldn't send a restaurant salad back if it came with something like feta cheese.
After breakfast, I record what I ate using the MyFitnessPal app. I've kept a food journal forever, since I'm a bottomless pit, and I can out-eat everyone I know — it's like there's no sensor between my stomach and brain that says, "Hey, you're full, stop eating!" Once I recognized that about myself, I started tracking my diet, which helps me make better choices and pay attention to what I'm eating. I also write down which exercises I'm going to do later on.
10 a.m.: I drop Isaiah at his play group. I try to get him around other kids as much as possible when we're home because he's only exposed to adults while we're on the road.
Afterward, I'll stop by the grocery store. People are always surprised to see me there, but I'm like, "I gotta eat too!" We hardly ever takeout or eat out because I don't like to. It's not that I'm an amazing chef — I stick to the basics, like roasted veggies and stir-fries — but I like knowing what's in my food, and it's hard to tell when someone else makes it for you.
After grocery shopping, I'll go home to work out. I have a gym at home with a treadmill, an elliptical, a cable machine, and free weights, plus a bunch of my husband Mike [Fisher]'s other equipment. Depending on the day, I try to spend 10 to 15 minutes warming up, then at least a solid hour working out.
I'll often use a deck of playing cards to make my workouts feel more fun, because I really like to mix things up and get bored easily. I'll assign one exercise to each suit, including one upper body move (like push-ups or pull-ups), one lower body move (like weighted squats), one abs move (often using an abs wheel) and one cardio move (like jumping rope). Then I pick one card at a time and do as many reps are listed on each card until I get through half the deck. Then I'll assign different exercises to each suit, and continue until I finish the deck.
When Mike is around, we'll work out together. One of us will run on the treadmill or hold a plank while the other does 50 push-ups, or one of us will do squats while the other runs a mile. You both hate your life at the time, but you try to finish quickly so your partner won't be tortured.
We're good about working out in the same space, but separate from each other as well. We don't talk a lot. We just get in the zone and get it done.
There are some days that I’m not feeling it, but even then I just try to do something, like get on the elliptical for 30 minutes. It helps that I'm never without something to wear that's cute and makes me feel good, since I have so much CALIA by Carrie Underwood fitness clothing — even though my closet is such a mess that I end up grabbing stuff off the top of piles and literally forget about all the clothes hiding underneath. It also helps to listen to music, like rock. If I don't hear what I'm doing, like my feet hitting the floor, it feels easier, although I never listen to my own music — ever, at all!
1 p.m.: After my workout, I take a shower and have lunch. You can't beat a sandwich: I have Ezekiel bread with Tofurky, or a fourth of an avocado, a handful of mixed greens or sprouts, and mustard. I love mustard.
3 p.m.: I rarely snack in the morning because I don't get hungry — there's no reason to feel hungry if you're eating healthy. I do have an afternoon snack while I'm getting things done, like making phone calls to sort out my schedule. I'm also always doing laundry, washing dishes, and trying to clean the house because it's always getting destroyed by my toddler.
If I'm home, I have an English muffin with peanut butter, but I always keep snacks in my purse when I'm out because I get brain fog when my blood sugar drops — my mouth moves but my sentences don't make sense. To avoid that, I carry around vegan protein No Cow Bars, which I started buying online after seeing a fitness blogger recommend them; seitan jerky; and a Ziploc bag of cereal, which my son snacks on too.
6 p.m.: Once I pick up Isaiah and Mike gets home from practice, we try to eat dinner together before bedtime at 7 p.m. I typically make myself a vegan protein like tofu, beans, or a veggie burger with lots of veggies. Mike isn't vegan, and as an athlete, he needs to go heavy on carbs, so I also make something for him like salmon and mashed potatoes. I don't love the consistency of potatoes, so I eat whole wheat pasta or rice instead. I used to stay away from carbs, but lately I've been counting my macros, which means I try to balance my intake of protein, fat, and carbs rather than worry about calories.
That's not to say I never go overboard on any given food group. Like at Christmas, I ate everything my mother-in-law was offering. When there are so many yummy foods, I don't deprive myself, I just get back on the wagon the next day.
9 p.m.: I'm not a big sweets person, but if I'm craving something sweet I have a square of dark chocolate, some vegan So Delicious Ice Cream, or coconut milk ice cream. Otherwise, I'll have an English muffin, some toast, or popcorn, since if I don't eat something after dinner, I wake up in the middle of the night when I hear Isaiah stir, and I'm like, "Damn. I'm hungry!"
I have to come to terms that I will never have Carrie's body (although I am technically petite/small frame like her), because I can never eat like her, lol.
Anorexics keep food journals. As much as I love Carrie and how great she looks I think it's crazy. There are Exercise Addicts too. She seems to do both.
I know it would be hard to get judged by how you look constantly. I just want her to be very careful. She does look pretty healthy though.
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I had a bad experience with that app, my fitness pal, i started using it and i became obsessed with my weight. It didn't work for me.
I think that you have to do what works for you. I couldn't monitor what I ate for the rest of my life just because I believe that life should be enjoyed as much as possible and to me that seems like a chore and not fun at all. I don't run because I hate running, that's just me. I have my own ways of keeping fit and healthy. I'm sugar free and eat a mostly vegetarian diet and I love to walk, so I walk when ever and where ever I can. I love to hike and go bush walking. I could walk for hours. Each to their own.
I need to get back to being sugar free again. Low carb works best for me, protein and veggies.
I feel like my food intake is pretty similar to Carrie's. She eats pretty much like a normal person. Cleary I just need to exercise more to get that body!
I think there are extremes both ways when it comes to diet and exercise. While by no means do I think Carrie is anorexic, I think she might be a little obsessed with watching what she eats and exercising. It seems like she gives herself the VERY occasional meal to splurge and while she doesn't stick to a vegan diet 100% of the time, I think being vegan in general is a bit extreme. If you are concerned about cruelty to animals, it would seem you could find sources out there for dairy products and eggs that would be more natural, organic, and humane. Fats are not a bad thing, as long as they are the good kind of fat and of course, everything in moderation. Most of the time I think Carrie looks extremely healthy and not underweight by any means, but once in a while there are photos of her where her facial features look very sharp and her face/neck look too thin. I think she looked best after she lost her Idol weight and before she got really into being vegan and working out all the time. I know I'm being critical and I probably shouldn't, just want her to be healthy, because she is absolutely beautiful and I'm just an observer - she knows how to take care of herself and I don't think she would ever let herself get dangerously thin/underweight. And I can't imagine the pressure of having to be a certain size because of the media. Carrie herself said she was too hard on herself after having Isaiah because she felt the need to bounce back quickly in time for the CMT awards, CMA Fest, etc. No one should have to feel that kind of pressure to conform to a certain ideal look.
And speaking of extremes - I am on the other end. I'm someone who spends way too much time thinking about what I'm going to eat each meal of the day. Not because I'm planning it to be healthy, but because I enjoy eating WAY too much. I also struggle with exercising, because I can get out of breath just by walking 20 ft. Part of that is due to my heart conditions and part is probably due to the fact that I have gained a lot of weight in the last 11-12 years. I want to get to the point where I am walking at least 30 minutes a day and where I am making healthier food choices, but it's definitely a struggle. I hate cooking and meal planning, it honestly stresses me out, so we eat at restaurants 3-4 nights a week, plus I eat lunch out with co-workers almost every day. I want to try to eliminate soda completely and I have gotten it down to about 1 a day, but I haven't gotten rid of it completely. I know we need to reduce our sugar and "white" carb intake, and I would like to reduce my red meat intake for heart health. I don't eat it everyday, but I do probably eat it more than once a week when you take into account ground beef, hamburgers, steak, etc. I could probably easily eat just pork, chicken, and fish, but letting go of pasta, white breads, and white rice would kill me. I tried to do Weight Watchers a couple years ago and carbs are so heavily weighted in the points that I broke down and cried 3 weeks into it, because I was miserable. So, if I can get there, I definitely need to do healthy, sustainable lifestyle choices, because I can't do diets. Also, many with heart defects like myself aren't allowed to do calisthenic type exercises or strength training because it can weaken our heart, raise our blood pressure, and generally overwork our heart.
Anyway, I feel that the best approach to it all is somewhere in between someone like Carrie and someone like me. Someone who makes generally healthy choices at each meal, but allows themselves to eat the whole range of foods available (unless they really have a problem with meat due to animals) and isn't meticulously tracking every bite of food that goes in their mouth. Someone who can enjoy food and gatherings without guilt, but unlike me, doesn't live for what they will eat at the next meal. Someone who lives an active lifestyle by walking/running and working around their home doing chores and not sitting on the couch watching tv every evening (like me). That is the kind of healthy balance and lifestyle I strive to have someday, but I seriously struggle with the motivation to do it.
I was surprised that she eats as much bread as she does. I love bread but I can't eat a lot or I will gain Weight. I have always had a weight issue, it is very easy for me to gain it and hard for me to lose it, plus I retain water. So I hate long car rides because my ankles get swollen.
So the best thing for me is fruits, veggies and low sodium protein.
In person she is a lot thinner than she looks on T.V. and Pictures. I remember putting my arm around her at the first fan club party. They were taking group pictures and she was super thin then. She is even thinner now.
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From what she says she eats, she's eating enough food. As she said in this article and I know she has said it before, somehow the sensor between her stomach telling her brain she is full is not working. So I understand her need to keep a food journal. It is probably for both, to track what she is eating and to make sure she neither over eats or under eats.
I enjoy how she described working out as 'just get it done'. Like a job.
I hope to one day get to that point. Treat it like a task rather than an overwhelming, hard-to-understand, no idea what I'm doing activity.
I really need to get like Carrie! and I see i'm not the only one in this thread who would like to be disciplined like her. I think the sensor between my brain and stomach is broken too lol. I can eat and snack so much it's not funny. I have the My fitness pal app on my phone as well, but i don't use it regularly. I've been on and off with it. Three years ago I got a little too obsessed with trying to eat less and counting calories that I think now i'm just over it. I seriously need to rewire my brain.
Lord, please help me! bring somebody into my life to help get on track. The gym, exercising, really is overwhelming for me :/ it gets depressing.