Kathy Ireland's Firm on One Rule: There Are No Rules


Kathy Ireland has been concentrating more on her family and fitness and acting career than on modeling. (Take heart, those of you who are saving her 13 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues plus the three cover editions. She is working on a 1999 swimsuit calendar.)

"Shortly after my son was born, I went back to school and I got certified as a fitness instructor and that was great. It's an ongoing learning process," Ireland, 34, said during a phone talk. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Greg, an emergency room physician, and their son, Erik, who turns 4 in May. "I was once thrown out of an aerobics class, I was so uncoordinated," Ireland remembered. "So, it feels good to be certified now. And I've learned how to exercise at home."

Question: You're getting the motherhood workout too, aren't you?

Answer: Motherhood--oh, it is such a workout. One of the things that's great about being fit when you've got a child to take care of, it gives you the endurance to keep up with him. And it gives me a sense of empowerment, which I think is really important, especially for women. I can take care of my child. You know, nobody's going to mess with me when I'm strong and I feel good. And I like that feeling.

Q: What kind of exercise routine are you doing at home?

A: I don't have a normal routine. I guess it would start with really good stretching. I do sit-ups and push-ups. I've got hand-held weights and ankle weights and jump ropes. So, some days I'll use the weights. Other days, it'll be a good walk. I don't have a set routine because I get bored. I mean, one morning I went surfing in San Diego while doing [Edward] Albee's play "Three Tall Women."

Q: You're good at outdoor sports, aren't you?

A: I've always been a sports person. That's how I got my exercise and I didn't even think of it as exercise--riding my bike outdoors, hiking, backpacking, surfing. But I was gawky when I was a kid. I wasn't very good in sports, and I was the person who was always chosen last, which made me work hard at my sports. It also made me sensitive to not make people feel excluded. That's why I have large-size clothing in my line at Kmart and mix-and-match in the swimsuits because most women are not the same size on top as they are on bottom, and that's OK. You don't have to be.

Q: What happened in that aerobics class you mentioned earlier?

A: I didn't literally get booted out, but it was suggested that it was one of those hard classes and I'd never done it, and it was like the hands and the legs doing different things. . . . She [the instructor] just suggested that maybe this wasn't the class for me.

Q: Do you diet?

A: I don't believe in dieting. I really don't. I know it wreaks havoc on your body. It makes me cranky, and it makes me feel deprived and I eat even more. I like food. I like to eat. I try to make wise choices, but I don't deprive myself. I eat three meals a day plus usually two snacks. It's the same as my exercise--I don't have any set rules. I don't like rules.

Q: What are some typical meals?

A: Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and jam, eggs and whole wheat toast, oatmeal, cottage cheese and fruit, a burrito of scrambled eggs and salsa. I'll have orange or tomato juice, but if I'm trying to lose weight, I'll cut down on the juices and drink more water. Lunch: a sandwich of whole wheat bread, a little mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, cheese and avocado; soup; quesadilla; salad; spaghetti; a glass of milk, water or juice.

Q: What do you do about dinner?

A: My husband is quite a good fisherman, which is great. I love really fresh fish. Fish and rice and vegetables, I like a lot. He's also a really good cook.

Q: What about those snacks you were talking about?

A: I really like cookies. My mom makes the best Nestle Toll-House cookies. So good. And I love double-stuffed Oreos. But the thing is, when I'm exercising--you know everybody has a different motivation--sometimes all I'm thinking about is a hot fudge sundae. Sometimes exercise isn't fun even though you know you're going to feel better afterward and you know it's good for you, but sometimes my motivation is: I'm gonna eat a big hot fudge sundae afterward and I'm not gonna feel guilty.

Q: Then you actually go get that hot fudge sundae afterward?

A: Oh, sure.


* Guest Workout runs Mondays in Health.

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