Subscribe to receive exclusive news, workouts, giveaways and more!

What’s My Workout: Elisabetta Canalis

Talk about post-baby motivation: Shortly after Elisabetta Canalis has her first child—a girl, due later this month—her focus will shift to another deadline. “I have to shoot a campaign of athletic wear two months after I give birth,” explains the Italian model and actress, who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, orthopedic surgeon Brian Perri. “So I have to be back on track immediately.” A combination of Pilates and cardio is keeping Canalis (who famously dated George Clooney for two years) on track now. And while Pilates has grown on her, the mom-to-be is eager to get back to her regular routine, which includes martial arts—namely Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense technique. We chatted with her about wellness inspiration, dealing with critics and taking things as they come.

Q: You are due in a few weeks! Has it gone fast?

A: No. It was long. Like every pregnancy, you have beautiful moments and you have not very beautiful moments. The best times for me were every time I went to the doctor and he told me that everything was fine. You feel so light and relieved, too. It’s the best part.

Q: And you kept working out.

A: I did as much as I could because I saw immediately that my metabolism was changing, from the first 15 days. So many women you can’t really see that they’re pregnant till the fourth month. But I immediately noticed that my energy was really low.

Q: So you felt a change right away.

A: Immediately. Because I also have big breasts so they became bigger immediately. Bigger and bigger and bigger—I was feeling very heavy. At the same time I was concerned that doing a lot of sport could be dangerous. My sport the last two years has been mostly martial arts, which is not really the best thing to do during pregnancy. I do Krav Maga [an Israeli self-defense technique]. It’s definitely not a pregnancy thing. I had to replace it with something because my body was changing so fast. Good cardio was the best thing to do. I always had a good muscle structure so I didn’t really need to do a lot of weights or hard things. Cardio makes you feel good. It helps keep your energy high.

Q: What did that “good cardio” include?

A: I was hiking with my dogs twice a week. And then I started to do Pilates. I had never done Pilates before. I found a very good place here in Los Angeles. I tried Pilates before and thought it was boring. The most important thing is to find a good school, a good teacher who motivates you. Even though I was pregnant, I saw results. The people who were teaching me knew exactly how to teach a pregnant woman.

Q: When did you begin Pilates?

A: I started very fast because I had to shoot a campaign between the fifth and sixth months. I couldn’t become super big. It motivated me not to go overboard. But I had to stop for a month because I had a problem with my back. I started back as my back allowed me to do. Now I stopped because my back is hurting—not because of Pilates, but because of me. I practiced ten years of horseback riding. And I think that I really over sacrificed my back. Now I’m paying the bill. But I think I will keep with Pilates and Krav Maga, of course, as soon as I give birth.

Q: Keeping active makes it that much easier.

A: Absolutely. You don’t have to start from page one when you give birth.

Q: Given your job, how did you approach pregnancy and the physical changes that come with it?

A: I saw that it’s a natural thing. I have a lot of examples, people around me, who are on their second pregnancies and they are totally in shape. Pregnancy is not the end of the game. It’s a very beautiful moment of your life.

Q: What have you wanted to eat?

A: It came natural to me not to eat a lot of red meat. Something changed and I preferred lighter food. A lot of fish, veggie juice. Your tastes change when you’re pregnant. I wanted to eat healthier and lighter. Of course, after dinner I would like to have some ice cream. And I can’t resist when I enter a bakery, which is my guilty pleasure. But if you work out you can eat.

Q: What has been your biggest takeaway during this experience?

A: I learned that I have a great husband. Sometimes I can’t take myself and he’s the best at doing that. [Laughs] He’s an extremely positive person. You have these moments when you’re down a little bit and he’s there. He’s super active. Every time he can go surf or run, he’ll do it. He loves it. Sometimes I’m jealous that I cannot follow him, but it motivates me. Better a person who takes care of himself than another person who grabs popcorn and hamburgers and French fries and stays every day in front of the TV.

Q: So that means your daughter will probably be active, too, right?

A: She will love sport, that’s for sure. I’m already worried! I started horseback riding when I was 11 and my mom was very worried. I would never mention [to my daughter] that I did it. I’ve never done very girly sports. My mom tried to send me to dance or artistic gym or things like that. But I never wanted to play any of those sports. I wanted to play martial arts. My husband studied wrestling when he was younger. We like those kinds of sports!

Q: Have you had many of your fans weigh in on the state of your baby-to-be?

A: Some people are so concerned! My colleagues, people who work, for example, in show business and share their pregnancy on social media, they are subject to a lot of criticism for every single thing they do. It’s just so personal. I just go my way. And I listen to the doctor. Everybody should do pregnancy the way she feels. Some people are very concerned, about the air that you breathe every day, and other people take it easy.

Q: Where do you fall?

A: Take it easy, take it easy. I had a lot of people, especially on social media, telling me, oh, you play too much sport, maybe it’s risky. The truth of the matter is, I never had any complications. I could play sport. So I was happy to do that.

Q: What is your pregnancy fitness philosophy in three words?

A: Not giving up. You have moments when you have a lot of energy; other moments you are doing so many sacrifices. Everything is worth it. We have this big gift to be able to create a baby. It’s something that enriches us in so many ways.

Q: What advice would you give fellow pregnant women?

A: I would say not to be de-motivated and to keep taking care of yourself. It will give you back a lot once you have your baby. I see beautiful women who look better after pregnancy than before. It is unbelievable. It’s all about us. It’s all about our determination.

Add your comments