Hi Hayley,

You've helped me in the past to focus on health over the scale, strength over skinny-ness, etc. (you also gave me hooked on Coola sunscreen, the best thing ever) But I recently reached my pre-baby weight after having 3 kids in 5 years (nothing drastic that I can't maintain, as you advise) and now that I'm done focusing on weight and dress size and body fat ratios, I'm trying to decide what health pursuits are legit and which are a waste of time. So, what can you tell me about the following and how beneficial they really are?

1. Vitamins- I read so many conflicting articles on whether these are actually beneficial. I currently take prenatals as my multivitamin, B complex, vitamin d, and fish oil. I've also considered magnesium and bee pollen but don't take them and I'm always reading about more options that are supposedly great for health. What are your thoughts on vitamins and supplements overall and which if any should we all be taking?

2. Juicing- I don't own a juicer because I feel like it's a mess and I eat a lot of vegetables. But is there some special benefit to juicing?

3. Exercise classes- I know you advocate whatever gets us active, but I'm just curious how much I can believe the claims of specific classes. I do barre, yoga, and orange theory. Do you think the benefits claimed by these classes are legit and is this a good mix of exercise to do each week?

Thanks for your help!

Trying to Make the Most of My Efforts


Great questions and I am going to tackle them one at a time.

First thing I need to say is that I am not a medical doctor, naturopath or dietitian, so these words are just my opinion, which is based on information I have read as well as gathered from many health care professionals whom I work alongside. My understanding is that if you can get your vitamins and minerals naturally then that is the best way to do it. What I hear frequently is that it is difficult for the body to process synthetic versions of the nutrients as well as you can never be 100% sure exactly what quality of vitamin you are consuming, so real foods are always your best option. My rule of thumb is that they can’t hurt, but like everything in life, they should be consumed in moderation. You are best to talk to a health care professional before deciding what vitamins you require as well as have them recommend the brand, and type, you should take. 

There seem to be juicing bars popping up on every street corner these days and sometimes I am shocked at how much I pay for a very small container of juice. The benefit of juicing is that you can concentrate the nutrients that are found in the fruits and vegetables, making it easier to consume large quantities of fruits and vegetables. The downside is when you cold press juice you lose the fibre content, which is one of the major reasons why we need to eat fruits and vegetables (blending maintains the fibre). Because of the fibre loss, there is also a higher concentration of naturally occurring sugars. Here is my opinion on juicing – it isn’t the end all and be all of a healthy diet. Do I juice? No. But I do buy a green juice every now and again, especially when I am travelling or after a big night out. Would I be just as good with some water? Probably. But it just makes me feel better thinking I am drinking a large salad. Just like vitamins, juicing can’t hurt, but before you go and invest in an expensive juicing machine, give some serious thought as to how much you will actually juice. For myself, I just throw in a handful of spinach or kale into my smoothie in the morning for some added greens and nutrients.

Fitness classes
This is one of my favourite discussions to have – are the claims of fitness classes legit? This isn’t as easy as a yes or no answer, but what is easy to answer is that one type of fitness class is better than another. Exercise is specific and if you are consistent with one form of training your body is going to become stronger at that form of training.  For example, if you go to yoga 3 times a week you are going to become strong and flexible. Will you be able to run a marathon after? Probably not. But, if you were training for a marathon, a weekly yoga class might help you run it faster as well as prevent injuries. If you are a barre goer then you probably have really toned arms and a tight ass, but can you squat twice your body weight as someone who goes to CrossFit can? If you are a CrossFitter, doing a weekly barre, or Pilates class, might be a good way to make sure you stay injury free. If you focus on circuit, and HIIT training, then you are probably physiologically very fit and could go out and a run a 10km or half marathon tomorrow without much training, but can you bend over and touch your toes? Adding in yoga once a week will make sure you maintain your flexibility. 

Each type of training brings a different aspect of fitness to the table and I recommend two things – find something that you enjoy and find something that challenges you, because the most important aspect of being healthy is consistency in your healthy lifestyle. If you are not enjoying your workouts then there is a higher risk of giving up and if you are not challenging yourself in your workouts then you are wasting your time. 

Attached - Minka Kelly leaving the gym in LA today.