Exclusive: Demi Lovato Just Told Me Her Secret for Staying Motivated to Work Out

Updated 06/01/18
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Demi Lovato - Instagram
@ddlovato

At 6:20 p.m. on a Friday in Canoga Park, California, as the mid-May sun prepares for its explosive evening spectacle, a Lincoln Town Car drops me off at a multimillion-dollar shopping center called The Village at Westfield Topanga. My interview with Demi Lovato starts in five minutes. You may recognize the name Topanga as the ingenue on Boy Meets World, but for the better part of the 20th Century, Topanga Canyon, a small watershed in the Santa Monica Mountains about seven miles south of here, was an enclave of artistic legends.

In the 1920s, Topanga was the weekend getaway of choice for Hollywood silent film stars; in the 60s, its steep hills and lush medley of ferns and flora served as a bohemian incubator for North American musicians from Joni Mitchell to Jim Morrison.

Today, Topanga still looks like the same luxuriant jungle that Jim and Joni knew decades ago, but not the Westfield. Though I have arrived at this posh open-air shopping destination, which underwent a costly expansion in late 2015, to meet an artist, we're not here to talk about music. Because Demi Lovato is more than a singer. Ever since the 25-year-old pop star (who's put out six top-selling albums since 2008) went public about her struggles with drug addiction and bulimia in 2011, she has become an icon in the mental health awareness and body-positivity movements.

Lovato's candidness, both on social media and in her 2017 documentary, Simply Complicated, about her ongoing journey to physical and mental well-being has earned her both widespread adulation from fans and a deal with Fabletics—an activewear brand that takes size inclusivity very seriously. "Fabletics was designed with every woman in mind—regardless of size, shape, age, or ability—because we want every woman to feel included," the brand's CMO Kristen Dykstra told us last year when the partnership was first announced.

"When we started seriously considering our first Fabletics collaboration, [we] naturally thought of Demi."

It's Lovato's newest Fabletics capsule collection that brings me to the Westfield this evening. The just-released line of leggings, tops, and sports bras (available in sizes XS to 3X) was inspired by the active daily life she currently leads on her Tell Me You Love Me world tour, from which she is taking a quick break to talk to the press. Outside the Fabletics store, a line of buzzing young fans waits for the chance to meet Lovato. A press release from the event later reports that the first one in line arrived at 11 p.m. the night before.

It's no wonder the crowd is so enthused: Lovato's unique mixture of talents as a recording artist, social media influencer, activist, and now activewear designer make her at once as lush as the landscape of Topanga Canyon and as polished as the well-appointed Westfield.

While her fans await her outside under the setting tangerine-colored sun, I'm given five minutes with Lovato to ask her everything one might want to know about how she stays motivated to exercise every day, her favorite mood-boosting workout, and the fitness essentials she can't live without. Keep scrolling to read our conversation.

Demi Lovato Fabletics
@ddlovato

How do you motivate yourself to work out when you wake up feeling less than confident about yourself?

It helps when you have cute clothes. You don't want to go to the gym if you're not going to be comfortable in what you're wearing. So it helps when you show up in something cute that you feel confident in because most of the battle is just putting on the clothes and getting to the gym. Once you're there, it's a lot easier. But I think the key is to be gentle with yourself. If you really don't want to work out, don't work out. If you want to start a healthy lifestyle, then it's important to set goals, but be gentle with yourself.

Demi Lovato
@ddlovato

What is your favorite workout for boosting your mood?

I love doing Brazilian jiujitsu for my mood. If I'm in a bad mood, I do that and it completely releases all the stress and all the tension that I was feeling. I have such a love for it, so it excites me and makes me happy when I do it.

What do you like so much about it?

It's like a human chess game. You're constantly thinking. There's never a pause that you can take unless you're in a certain position, but anyway, there are no moments when you can just sit there and chill. You're constantly thinking about what they're going to do, how they're going to attack, and how you're going to defend. So it's this constant mind game. It's really fun.

Amanda Montell - Demi Lovato
@amanda_montell

And almost meditative it sounds like! So let's talk gym bag essentials. If you could only have five pieces of wellness gear for the rest of your life, what would they be?

I would pick a sports bra—always important for when you work out. I like wearing long sleeves when I work out so I can break a bit more of a sweat. Leggings. Good shoes. And a hair tie.

Are there any pre-workout recipes you're into right now?

You know what? No. My thing with food is that I'm really gentle with myself. I use to diet really hardcore and just was miserable. So now I just treat myself when I want to. I eat when I'm hungry, and I don't eat when I'm not hungry. My life today is really balanced and really simple.

Shop our favorite pieces from Demi's Fabletics capsule collection below.

Fabletics High-Waisted Statement PowerHold Crop $70
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These are the ultra-flattering leggings Demi wore the day of our interview.

Available in sizes XS to 3X.

Fabletics Philomena L/S Top $45
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Want to break a sweat like Demi while working out? This long-sleeve top should do the trick.

Available in sizes XS to 3X.

Fabletics Valetta Midi Sports Bra $60
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Everyone on team Byrdie loves a sports bra that comes down a little farther on the torso like a crop top. V comfortable and waist-slimming.

Available in sizes XS to 3X.

Fabletics Salar Mesh Powerhold 7/8 $85
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The muted green of these leggings is a fun departure from classic black (but not too fun).

Available in sizes XS to 3X.

Fabletics High-Waisted Mesh PowerHold Legging $85
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Nothing not to love about a high-waisted legging. Keeps everything right in place.

Available in sizes XS to 3X.

Fabletics Lucinda Sports Bra $40
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Show us a cooler back design than this affordable sports bra.

Available in sizes XS to 3X.

Fabletics Viola High Support Sports Bra $60
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Or this one.

Available in sizes XS to 3X.

Want more fitness advice? Don't miss the workout that gives the fastest results, according to science.

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