"Working out and staying focused is work, you have to really condition your mind to understand that it's a lifestyle change and it makes you feel better in the end," La La Anthony tells PEOPLE

By Morgan M. Evans
June 11, 2021 10:22 AM
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La La Anthony
Credit: Michael Simon/startraksphoto

La La Anthony is focusing on her fitness while motivating others to stay on top of their health and wellness pursuits.

Like many, the 39-year-old TV personality and actress found it hard to convince herself to work out at the beginning of the pandemic, admitting in a recent interview with PEOPLE that she has "never" been the person who wakes up and says, "I can't wait to work out."

"There were some moments [during the pandemic] where I was just so on it and really watching what I was eating and spinning on the bike every day," Anthony says. "But just to wake up and be like, 'Yeah, I can't wait to go to the gym, I can't wait to work out.' That's never been me and I'm not going to lie about that."

But The Chi actress - who recently partnered with Kellogg's Special K and Black Girls RUN!, a nationwide organization that encourages the practice of a healthy lifestyle for Black women - does have a few favorite workouts.

"I love boxing as well, I love doing things outdoors ... I still love my bike because it's here at the house, so anytime I get up and I want to just get 30 minutes in or 45 minutes in and I can do that," Anthony says before revealing the hack she uses to help motivate herself to ride: "I positioned my bike outside my bedroom door because I want to walk past it every single day."

La La Anthony
Credit: Michael Simon/startraksphoto

She continues with a laugh, "Like 'Okay, you're not just going to keep walking past it!' I purposely put it out, it's in the weirdest spot, but it works for me to have it there because I cannot go around it if I see it every day, so that's been great."

The actress and producer then explains how learning to understand health and wellness as "a lifestyle change," also helped her adopt a more regular fitness routine.

"Working out and staying focused is work, you have to really condition your mind to understand that it's a lifestyle change and it makes you feel better in the end," she says. "When I work out, I feel more accomplished, I feel good about myself. I want to be around for a long time for my Kiyan, my son, and things like that. So it's important. And I say, you just got to make a lifestyle change and fit it into whatever works for your daily routine."

Now with her Special K and Black Girls Run! partnership, Anthony is advocating for health and wellness through the first-ever Special 5K virtual race event. The inaugural event, which kicked off on Wednesday and goes through June 30, encourages women and men across the country to get active for a good cause and turn their simple steps into donations in support of Feeding America - with the goal of providing at least 2.5 million meals to Americans families experiencing food insecurity.

Participants can sign up for free and log their physical activity for donations to Feeding America.

"I love Black Girls Run, I love what they represent, it's all positivity and finding your authentic self and finding the best version of yourself," Anthony says. Of the 5K race, she adds, "You're also giving back to families in need because for every 5K, you lock in donations that get made to Feeding America. You feel good about yourself, but then you know you're doing something great as well."

La La Anthony
Credit: Michael Simon/startraksphoto

Of the actual exercise involved in the campaign, the Power star says, "A lot of people are like, 'Oh, 5K, I don't know if I could do that.' Take it 1K at a time, you can walk it, you can crawl it, you can jump it, you could do whatever you need to do, just pace yourself. Take it slow. I am in no way an advanced marathon runner. You can be a beginner."

She also talks about finding the right fitness routine for her. "I'd rather do a little bit every day or every other day, and just be consistent with that then feel like you've got to go do these two-hour workouts that you only going to last a week or two, and then you're doing nothing," she said.

The TV personality, who is working alongside Issa Rae on the production of the upcoming film Juju, admits that while she has a lot going on, carving out time for fitness makes her "a better person."

Kiyan Anthony celeb kids graduation
Credit: Lala Anthony/Instagram

"The balancing act is hard. I'm still figuring it out, but I'm starting to understand how having that 'me time' - having that workout time makes me a better person," she says. "Because before for me ... anytime I wasn't working, I felt like I wasn't doing enough or I felt guilty or I felt bad. And I realized it all goes hand in hand, I'm going to work smarter and harder and better when I've had that 'me time' or workout time."

Anthony, who recently celebrated Kiyan's middle school graduation, also cherishes time spent with her son, who she shares with NBA star Carmelo Anthony, crediting her 14-year-old for some of her fitness motivation.

"Kiyan and I do work out together. He's an incredible basketball player. So I go to his practices a lot. A lot of it is me watching him workout. But seeing him in the gym and how focused he is ... it motivates me to be more on it because I don't just want to be sitting around while he's busting his butt, doing all of that stuff," she says with a laugh. "So he has been a great motivation."