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Olympic gold medalist. Most successful downhill skier of all time. Most Women’s World Cup wins ever. There’s no doubt about Lindsey Vonn‘s talents. This month, she can add one more accolade: published author. In Strong Is The New Beautiful: Embrace Your Natural Beauty, Eat Clean, And Harness Your Power (October, HarperCollins), Vonn shares her tips to become stronger, fitter, and healthier—as opposed to skinnier—by changing your mindset, your diet, and your fitness routine. As someone who’s recovered from two knee reconstructions to repeatedly find the top of the podium, Vonn seems like she would be an expert in these areas.
And in many ways she is. She’s tried numerous diets and pretty much every fitness routine out there. And while the book gets into the nitty-gritty at times, sharing Vonn’s regimens and encouraging women to pick and choose what works for them, too much of Strong Is The New Beautiful is repetitive and overrun with trite encouragements. (We also couldn’t help but sigh at the chapter-opening photos of Vonn with her hair and makeup professionally done.) With all that said, we did discover some valuable tips among Vonn’s anecdotes and sample recipes and exercises. Here, our four biggest takeaways for building a healthier—and stronger—body:
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1. “All the exercise in the world can’t derail the effects of unhealthy eating.” Vonn learned this lesson the hard way, eating ice cream for dinner on more than one occasion as a junior ski racer. That all changed when she turned 17 and suddenly gained 25 pounds in one summer. Her point: Overall health means committing to making positive changes in every aspect of your life. You can’t just exercise and eat ice cream and assume you’ll look ripped in a month. Nutrition and exercise go hand-in-hand.
2. “Stop trying to follow a meal plan—and start listening to your body.” Yes, portion sizes are important, Vonn says, but even more important is just being aware of what you’re eating and what’s in your food. Learn to listen to your body so you know when you’re truly hungry as opposed to eating just because (or because you ate a bunch of empty calories).
3. It’s important to find your “fitness you.” What’s that? A fitness regimen that you actually enjoy and that makes you happy. (Yes, it does exist.) “You may have to try a dozen different machines, sports outside the gym, or even those activities that aren’t traditionally perceived as exercise,” Vonn writes. But eventually you’ll find something that feels just right. Hate running? Don’t do it. Try cycling instead, which is what Vonn does. Just make sure you give things a chance: You might have to try the same workout a couple times to decide if it’s for you.
4. Pamper your skin. Truth is, for many women, feeling beautiful on the outside is part of feeling healthy in general. Vonn’s training and outdoor ski racing dry out her skin, so she maintains a simple regimen that includes using gentle cleanser and moisturizer (with SPF!) every day. Do whatever makes you feel good, and makes you feel as though your inner strength is shining through.
In Person: Vonn will be signing her book at the Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 13. Numbered tickets are available with the purchase of Strong Is The New Beautiful ($27.99) at any Denver Tattered Cover location.