Healthy Living Tips from SELF Magazine’s Fitness Editor

By: MAGGIE YOUNG

SELF magazine’s fitness editor, Marissa Stephenson, took some time out to answer questions about healthy living and life in general. Stephenson’s tips will inspire you to Get Fit and Get Life.

Get Fit Get Life: What do you do to live a healthy life? 

Marissa Stephenson: I try to do something every day that gets me moving. Maybe that’s testing a new workout for SELF or going on a hike in the nearby New Jersey Palisades or it could just be walking home from the office (a not-too-close four miles!). I really believe that workouts don’t have to be work. As long as you’re doing something you enjoy that’s not sitting, you’re working out in my book. For me, eating to sustain that kind of lifestyle automatically makes my diet a little healthier. I don’t want to eat fried, fatty foods that weigh me down when I go on a jog in the morning. I find myself gravitating toward the good stuff instead; veggies, fruits, fish, and whole grains.

GFGL: What is your healthy living tip for college women?

MS: Ditch your car! I was a huge offender when it came to this in college. I would drive to a destination that was six blocks away. It sounds insane now, especially living in New York City, where you’re constantly walking. If I could go back and do it all over again, I’d walk everywhere. It’s an automatic mood-booster, keeps you fit, and, bonus, is way better for the enviornment.

GFGL: What is your favorite healthy snack?

MS: Cut up green apple with real peanut butter. Use the stuff that’s actually ground from whole peanuts. It tastes so much better than the store-bought version, and it doesn’t have added sugar or preservatives. The green apple is tart and crispy and the peanut butter creamy and salty. Plus the protein in the peanut butter fills you up, so you feel like you’ve had more than just a small snack. It’s the perfect combination!

GFGL: How do you prefer to get your exercise?

MS: I’ve recently got into running—the experts I’ve interviewed at work constantly say that jogging is the best, fastest way to burn calories and get your entire body in shape. After running the New York Marathon this November, I have to agree. I also love to hike and bike, and test out new group exercise classes. I find that, in a group class, I’ll push myself so much harder than I ever would alone. Maybe it’s the competitiveness with other people in the class, or maybe it’s just having a trainer right there telling me I can do more. Regardless, if you’ve never gone, you’ve gotta try it. There’s so much out there—Zumba, bootcamps, Pilates, yoga, and even crazier stuff like stick-fighting and Cirque du Soleil acrobatics—you’re sure to find something you’ll like.

GFGL: What is your favorite inspirational quote?

MS: Although I love a good inspirational quote, I don’t have an all-time favorite from a particular person. I don’t know who came up with it, but during my marathon I repeated this mantra in my head: “My feet are fast, my legs are strong, I can do this all day long.”

GFGL: Who inspires you to reach your full potential in life?

MS: My Dad. I have endless admiration for the way he lives his life—with integrity, discipline, and thoughtfulness—and he’s always been the person I’ve wanted to impress most. When he says “I’m proud of you,” it means the world.

Take away one tip that inspires you and apply it to your life. Small steps lead to big dreams!

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