Shay Mitchell talks to PEOPLE all about her new activewear line, her style crush, and how she stays fit

By Sarah Kinonen
Updated October 29, 2015 10:37 PM

I’ll admit it: I am a grown woman who is a huge
Pretty Little Liars
fan. So when the opportunity arose to do an afternoon workout with Shay Mitchell and chat all about her new active wear line, Fit to Wander, I jumped at the chance. Not as high as I would have jumped in a pair of her leggings, though, which was kinda the point.

Hudson Taylor and Serena Taylor

Over the course of our spandex-clad hike in L.A.’s Griffith Park, I learned a lot about Mitchell, 28: Her style crush is Beyoncé, she loves reading romance novels (especially ones by Jackie Collins and Danielle Steele), her personal style is nothing like her on-screen counterpart Emily’s, and she could probably kick my butt (she does Muay Thai and Krav Maga training).

But before I learned any of that, we had to talk about her ridiculously cute workout outfit. She, of course, was dressed head-to-toe in Fit to Wander, her athletic line with Kohl’s that she has been working on for the past year and a half.

“I wanted something that I could not only wear when I’m specifically working out,” she explains. “I wanted things that look cute from hiking in the morning to brunch afterwards.”

The line includes leggings with zippered pockets to hold keys and a band that folds up and down easily (for when you don’t want your belly hanging out on a spin bike), and hoodie wraps with extra-large hoods for when you want to cover up and zone out. Every piece also has an inspirational quote written somewhere on it.

“What was most important to me was having positive quotes on all the different clothing,” says Mitchell. “With my brand, it really is about having that mantra or inspiration. When you read the quote, that’s going to set the tone for your day.”

Mitchell has gifted pieces of her line to all of the Pretty Little Liars girls, but there are a couple of other famous ladies she would love to see in her designs.

“If Beyoncé was wearing my hoodie wrap or joggers, or Rihanna … I’m a fan of everything Beyoncé, and her style is something that I love,” says Mitchell, who just put out her first book, Bliss. “I think she has really great style. And then with Rihanna, [I love] the fact that she is a style risktaker.”

Hudson Taylor and Serena Taylor

As we made our way up into the Santa Monica Mountains, Mitchell told me more about her personal style (which I’ve long admired via her Instagram feed).

“I love dressing up,” she says. “I have a whole wardrobe for just easy day dresses and rompers. I love it because they’re comfortable, and it still feels feminine.”

That’s quite a departure from her TV character, Emily, who is rarely seen in a dress.

“My style is very different from the character that I play,” says Mitchell. “She’s more tomboy, but I love a lot of her shoes! I’ve incorporated more sneakers into my own life.”

We’re almost at the top, and Mitchell stops to take a Snapchat before telling me all about her intense workout routine.

“Running and up and down the stadium stairs at UCLA is one of the best workouts,” she says. “I had two weeks to get ready for the cover that I shot for Maxim, so I did those stadium steps. That is such a shock to your system. You feel like you have tennis balls in your calves the next day!”

RELATED VIDEO: Shay Mitchell Reveals Her Best Beauty Tip

Mitchell also loves boxing, spinning, and has even tried pole dancing.

“It was fun, but I didn’t realize how hard it was! You need strength to lift yourself up there,” she says. “Everything needs to be strong: your arms, your core, your legs.”

Hudson Taylor and Serena Taylor

At this point, we’re reaching the end of the trail. Mitchell is soon whisked away in a waiting car, but not before giving me a warm hug goodbye. I may not have made it into the Pretty Little Liars posse by the end of our hike, but I definitely had a very memorable workout!

Are you excited about Shay’s new athleisure line? Are you planning on adding any to your workout wardrobe? Share below!

–Gabrielle Olya