How Lea Michele Got In the Best Shape of Her Life: 'I've Never Loved My Body More'

The actress reveals the routines that help her stay calm, focused and, most of all, happy

Photo: Jeff Lipsky

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For Lea Michele, diet and fitness is about much more than just looking good on a red carpet.

“It’s so important for me to stress that being healthy is not about being a gym rat. It’s not about being 90 lbs.,” she tells PEOPLE in the latest Wellness issue. “This is really how I live every single day.”

Her healthy habits include keeping her refrigerator and pantry completely vegan, starting her day with a green smoothie and finding plant-based restaurants near her home in Los Angeles. (Plant Food + Wine and Real Food Daily are a few favorites.)

When it comes to exercise, hot yoga, hiking and SoulCycle spin classes are her go-to workouts. “You have to look good, but you also have to feel good,” she says. “So I find workouts that take of both those things.”

That mind-body connection helps the Scream Queens star to be strong mentally.

“You always have to have faith, because life is going to throw things at you. You just have trust that there is a plan,” says Michele, who is currently working on her second album. “I really pride myself on the people that I surround myself with and how I take care of myself, so my ground is stable beneath me.”

Finding what worked for her body didn’t happen overnight, though. As an L.A. transplant filming her first few seasons of Glee, “you can see that my weight fluctuates a lot because I was really figuring out how to make things work here,” she says. The native New Yorker (and Broadway star since she was 8-years-old) was thrown when she wasn’t getting her steps in on a regular basis.

“I had more time in my trailer, more time in my car and less time walking around,” she says. “That’s when I realized how important it was for me, personally, to include activities and movement in my daily life.”

Now, after recently celebrating her 30th birthday, Michele says she’s in “the best place I’ve ever been” thanks to rigorous workouts, weekly trips to the local Korean spa – and the occasional cheat day with pasta or pizza.

“I’ve never loved my body more than I do right now,” she says. “And I’m so grateful that I feel that way.”

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