It's hard to imagine a low energy version of Julianne Hough. From her earliest days in the spotlight as Dancing With the Stars' breakout dancer to a lengthy and award-winning film, music, and fitness career, Hough's ability to do it all—and make it look easy—seemed to be her signature. The tumult and isolation of such a chaotic year, however, left Hough to take stock of where that energy was going and what it left for her.
"I'm so used to, 'I need to keep going, keep going, keep going' but now there's nowhere to keep going,'" Hough tells Byrdie exclusively. "It was kind of nice to be able to sit with my ups and downs."
In a new partnership with health and wellness brand Thorne, Hough curates a trio of bundled, day-enhancing supplements to combat everything from an 11 a.m. motivation slump to the brain fog that seems to have everyone feeling a little fuzzy these days (I tried to spell center with an s yesterday). The Hough-Thorne collaboration is a natural one, too. Hough's own dance-centric fitness method, KINRGY, made headlines as it launched last year and again this spring as a top-tier digital workout in the wake of worldwide, virus-spurred gym and fitness studio closures. It's clear that not only does Hough like to stay on the cutting edge of wellness and fitness developments for herself, she's pretty keen on creating them, too.
Here, Byrdie speaks with Julianne Hough on her new line with Thorne, how she makes time for family in quarantine, and why clean sheets equal instant stress relief.
Tell me about your new partnership with Thorne!
"It was actually a couple years ago that I found Thorne. I'm always looking for any kind of wellness thing, supplement, anything that’s focused on my health from the inside out. I remember being in New York and they had this really cool installation that Thorne put together. I remember going after a big press day and we only had 15 minutes until it closed, but going there and meeting all of the doctors and scientists behind the actual formulation of the products as well as this really cool interactive experience was great. That was a few years ago and I was really impressed by just how aligned we are in terms of what health means—it’s not about putting things in your body to influence things that aren't natural to you. All these formulations were created by people who really just want to enhance your natural self. When KINRGY was starting to launch, we wanted to be a trusted resource for our consumers and clients, and Thorne was the first folks I really thought of. We met up and started having conversations and we were like, 'Okay what's the right first thing to offer? And it was these three products we have in the bundle.'"
The Thorne x Julianne Hough Bundle ($130) includes: Amino Complex, a berry-flavored powder supplement clinically proven to help build muscle mass and improve energy levels for more intense workouts thanks to branch-chain amino acids; Memoractive, a creativity-boosting capsule supplement formulated to reduce stress and sharpen focus and creativity; and Rhodiola, another capsule supplement to balance moody brain chemicals like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine for steadier moods and easier sleep.
I'm always looking for any kind of wellness thing, supplement, anything that’s focused on my health from the inside out.
How do they fit into your existing wellness routine?
"This morning I actually got up to do an event for Well + Good and I was getting ready to teach a class so I popped open my Amino Complex which helped me activate my energy resource. That was the first thing did this morning. It's almost working as sort of a pre-workout also reduces muscle soreness—I actually have a tweaked neck right now, too. For throughout the day, of my favorite products in our bundle is the Memoractive, it really helps with brain fog and helps you stay focused."
So critical in quarantine!
"Exactly! When you're in the same position every day in the same location in your house, it gets a little…oof. Especially with Zoom meetings constantly. The Memoractive is great. Over the last few years, I've done some testing on my own for what works, what's sensitive for my body right now. You know, my adrenals are super shot, I've got high cortisol, and high-stress triggers so this Rhodiola is also amazing. It's helping me so much with stress relief and helping me sleep, it gives me that extra nurturing feeling."
Speaking of which, how do you like to rest and unwind?
"I'm really focused on listening to my body. Our minds can tell us a bunch of things, but our body doesn't lie. And if you really listen to your body, it will tell you exactly what it needs. For me, I love water. Water is my nurturing place, whether it's taking a bath or a long shower or even hopping in my pool right now (which is freezing!). Or even going down to the beach and jumping in, even if it's cold. Something about that is really nurturing for me. And then, this sounds really silly, but nothing makes me happier than clean sheets. When you get in your bed and it's clean sheets, all of a sudden my blood pressure just drops and it feels so good! It just makes my soul happy.
It's hard with connection because I'm such a people person so obviously this year's been tough but my family has started doing a biweekly hangout on Zoom with my mom and my siblings—we played a little game the other day. That was really nice."
I'm really focused on listening to my body.
Do you find it hard to stay motivated to workout at home? If so, how do you get back on track?
"Yeah, especially this year. I've been on a rollercoaster of emotions from feeling super focused and motivated and creative to literally the next three days I'll be like, 'I can’t get out of bed! What is going on! This is not normal for me!' But it's kind of been cool to discover that part of me and not push it so far. I'd say the motivation really comes from the opportunity to give and contribute. I'm so lucky this year—and I know my privilege, for sure— that KINRGY has gone digital. Every day I have something to look forward to, to offer, to build. I'm holding myself accountable to make sure not only our employees and our team are taken care of, but the people who are actually experiencing KINRGY are getting the most authentic version of myself. So every day, even though I'm not motivated, I get motivation from the idea that I'm contributing and putting something (hopefully) good out into the world.
I love people so much so I tend to get more motivated by either being around people or helping people. Sometimes when I'm by myself it's hard to just do it for me—that's something I'm working on and I feel like everyone should work on: how can I have the same motivation for myself that I give to others?"
Do you have any favorite workouts or wellness habits?
I love variety so much. Even though I've created KINRGY, I still love to do other workouts and other modalities, whether it's spinning, yoga, weight-training (which I haven't done in a very long time, but I keep saying I’m going to do it. So that's my goal for 2021, to actually do some weight-training!). I love to mix it up. I think variety is so good not just for your actual muscles but for your self-expression—trying new things and being a student, I love that.
And in fact, with KINRGY, because it's obviously a dance-based method, we're launching more modalities soon. KINRGY Carve will be our version of sculpting, you won't need any equipment or anything. We're going to be carving our bodies from the inside out! (LAUGHS) I've been really working on that over the last few months: making sure it's fun and it's accurate and informative and in-alignment, and working with different people to make sure the certification for it is good, and then also continuing to keep that self-expression in it. It's a super sensual modality. When you think of sculpting or carving you think 'Grrr muscles!' With Carve, the mindset is really sensual, focused on sensuality and loving on your body in a way that makes you feel super alive when you’re done. You’re like, "Okaaay, I’m ready for my day, I'm feeling sexy and strong— and not for anybody else but for myself."