Vanessa Hudgens says she is "really competitive when it comes to fitness"

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Vanessa Hudgens' Women's Health coverCredit: Jeff Lipsky
Credit: Jeff Lipsky

Vanessa Hudgens had to gain 20 lbs. to play a runaway teen in 2013’s Gimme Shelter, and when it came time to lose the weight after filming, the actress says she turned to SoulCycle.

“Put me on a bike in a room with loud music, and I’m happy,” Hudgens, 28, tells Women’s Health in the May issue of her go-to indoor cycling class, which she took twice a day to lose the weight. “It’s like dancing without the stress of worrying if you look good.”

Since she’s no longer in weight loss mode, Hudgens goes to SoulCycle whenever she can squeeze it into her schedule — but always makes time for yoga.

Vanessa Hudgens' Women's Health coverCredit: Jeff Lipsky
Credit: Jeff Lipsky

“I don’t consider it fitness,” she says. “It’s more like therapy for me.”

And practicing yoga also helped her get comfortable in her skin again after transforming for the 2013 role.

“I looked in the mirror and was like, ‘Who am I?’ It was definitely a journey back to myself, and yoga helped,” says Hudgens.

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The actress loves taking group exercise classes because they help keep her motivated.

“I’m really competitive when it comes to fitness,” she says. “I like being around people so I can compete.”

As for diet, the former High School Musical star says she’s finally found a plan that works for her body.

Vanessa Hudgens' Women's Health coverCredit: Jeff Lipsky
Credit: Jeff Lipsky

“High fats and no carbs,” says Hudgens. “When I ate carbs, I would get that dip in the afternoon where I felt really sluggish. When I’m off them, my energy stays consistent throughout the day. Since I got back to eating like this the last month or so, I’ve lost 10 lbs. That’s a lot for my [5’1”] height.”

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To get in her daily fats, Hudgens eats a whole avocado every day.

“If I’m not getting enough [fat], my body holds on to calories,” she says. “We’ve been trained to think that fats are bad, but they’re so good — a source of energy and sustenance that keeps you going through the day. That’s the only way I can not eat carbs.”