Jennifer Aniston on Wellness, Workouts, and Practicing Gratitude

The actress and Vital Proteins Chief Creative Officer opens up about how she practices gratitude.

Jennifer Aniston For Vital Proteins

Vital Proteins/Designed By Tiana Crispino For Byrdie

Despite having one of the most coveted heads of hair in Hollywood, an iconic role as Rachel Green in Friends, and a shiny new role as Chief Creative Officer for Vital Proteins, Jennifer Aniston manages to remain super relatable. I felt her genuinely excited vibe when she popped up on my computer screen for a Zoom interview to talk about a topic near to her heart: wellness. 

Aniston, like many others, swears by the beauty and body benefits of collagen, in particular. "Collagen is the glue that holds everything together," Aniston said of the protein glorified for its fountain-of-youth-like effects. While not conclusive, various studies report improved hair skin, nails, bones, and joints with regular use of collagen. One might say that a glance at Aniston's fresh-faced appearance is all the proof you need to add collagen to your routine. During our conversation, the actress was giddy to share the details on upcoming projects with her team and her anti-aging secrets, which surprisingly includes unusual amounts of stress. 

What are your top three products in rotation right now?

In the morning, I use the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides ($25) in my coffee. The chocolate-flavored Vital Performance Protein ($30) is also made with collagen and is my latest obsession. I make a smoothie for lunch using chocolate protein, spinach, berries, banana, cinnamon, maca powder, matcha, and cacao. It's so filling, and it tastes like I just indulged. I also drink the Vital Collagen Water ($12) in Strawberry Lemon practically all day.

Those all sound so good! 

Yes, those are my top three, but there's also the Vital Performance Salty Chocolate Peanut Bar ($30,) which is too good to be true. I recommend cutting it in half and keeping one piece in a Ziploc bag to take it with you on the go since it's a pretty good size.

What exercise do you have a love/hate relationship with?

The VersaClimber. I used to have a love/hate relationship with the jump rope, though, and now I love it. I would also have to say abs. Abs workouts are tricky, but I like them because I get to lay down.

I started doing pilates last fall because I had a terrible back injury. I ended up falling in love with it. The great thing is, it's like dance, meditation, and an ab workout in one. Let's not forget about the dreaded plank. I'll do it but I don't love it. 

Jennifer Aniston for Vital Proteins.

Vital Proteins/Designed by Tiana Crispino for Byrdie

What's a staple food in your diet?

I really leaned into popcorn during the pandemic. I was like, where has this been all of my life? I also love fruit, especially Asian pear, plums, and apples.

Everyone has their personal food philosophies—Paleo, Keto, Vegan—what's yours?

The only one I do abide by is intermittent fasting. I also learned from Dr. David Sinclair that stressing the body through exercise is a good thing. We're taught that we need constantly relax, go on vacations, and take naps to rehabilitate, but they aren't the greatest things for our bodies. The best thing is to stress your body. By that, I don't mean emotional stress, but things like intermittent fasting, proper exercise, and eating stressed vegetables like purple carrots. If you asked me why it's a stressed vegetable, I'd probably get it completely wrong. `

[Editor's note:  According to Dr. Sinclair's research, healthy molecules are produced by stressed plants, which occurs when plants are raised in less-than-ideal conditions. Think: Small farms and backyard crops. Stressed plants may boast more unique colors and benefits. Examples include resveratrol from grapes, aspirin from willow bark, metformin from lilacs, and antioxidants in purple carrots.]

Friend's fans, like myself, are still coming off the high from the recent reunion. Have you exchanged any wellness or fitness advice with your castmates?

When I'm at Courtney Cox's house, I make her go into her gym with me, which we love doing together. She'll usually sit in the hot box, which is an infrared sauna. I highly recommend it. 

Is there anything you've been affirming this year, especially after the year we've all had?

To be grateful for today. Be thankful to wake up. Be grateful for your health. Overall, I remember to practice gratitude. I journal in the morning, and I write gratitude lists. After getting through this past year and watching the unfortunate things people endured, it's important to remind ourselves how fortunate we are. Even the little things in life—like seeing the sunset and rise reminds me to be grateful.

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