Elise Neal sticks to a strict workout routine, whether or not she is prepping for a role.
“I started dancing at 6 years old, so fitness is something I do regardless,” Neal, 50, who stars alongside Hugh Jackman in Logan (in theaters March 3), tells PEOPLE. “I train and work out really hard regardless of whether I’m in a film, or if I have to do something physical for a project or not. I’ve enjoyed being fit my whole life.”
Neal credits being a dancer at a young age with giving her the discipline to stick with a daily fitness routine.
“As a dancer, you could do six classes in a day, and that’s just kind of the lifestyle,” she says. “Working out an hour or an hour and a half every day is the norm for me unless it’s really, really hectic. I just love it. I feel better, I sleep better, I don’t get angry with people so much. It helps me all the way around. I’d like that feeling to continue so I try my best to keep it up.”
The actress says strength training has become a more integral part of her workout routine as she ages.
“I believe that as you get older, you need to do more weight training,” she says. “My metabolism is just not the same. My body has the same issues that anyone who’s getting older has — I’m just more actively trying to fix it. Everything is attainable, you just have to be ready to do the work.”
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In addition to strength training, Neal does incline running on the treadmill, squats, sit-ups, dance cardio, yoga and Barry’s Bootcamp classes.
“I mix it up,” she says.
When it comes to diet, Neal believes moderation is key.
“I’m still a girl that was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, so I do occasionally still eat meat and things like that,” she says. “If I’m craving a hamburger, I’m going to have a hamburger — I’m just going to work out really hard the next day. But I’m not going to have five bags of chips or a full plate covered in foods and sauces. I’ll have a small plate of the things I like to eat. I do love salad and I do eat a lot of fruits of vegetables.”
In addition to her healthy lifestyle, Neal lives by one simple skin rule to keep looking young: she always removes her makeup before bed.
“To me, that’s the easiest thing you can do for your skin.”