Laila Ali is the spokesperson for Marika sports bras. Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian
Half the battle of a good workout is wearing the right gear — comfortable sneakers, a fashionable outfit, and perhaps most importantly, a supportive bra. That's why former boxer and "Dancing With the Stars" finalist Laila Ali has become the spokesperson for Marika's new line of plus-size sports bras. "I'm an athlete, I'm looking for a high-performance sports bra, but I'm also looking for something that's fashionable, and of course affordable, so I just fell in love with the line," Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammad, tells omg!. "And I think it's great that they're coming out with a line exclusively for Lane Bryant that is for plus-size women because plus-size women need to be able to work out too."
Laila poses with daughter Sydney. (Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
No one understands the challenge more than Ali, who gave birth to her second child, daughter Sydney, 10 months ago. Although she has already lost the bulk of the baby weight, "I'm giving myself two more months to get that last five to 10 pounds off," she admits. "I always have to keep pushing myself. Right now, what I'm doing is spinning, running, and light weight training." But it's been hard to achieve her desired amount of exercise — five days a week — while caring for Sydney and her older brother, Curtis, 3.
"When you have a baby at home the first thing to go is the workout," Ali, 34, says. "So I've got to get it in where I can fit it. We just have to carve out that time in the day, and actually schedule it. Sometimes you might not be able to work out a full 30 to 45 minutes, maybe 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there. You may not feel like you're getting a workout, but you are. It's better than nothing. If you do have kids, like I do, I'll take [my daughter] in a running stroller, and do things outdoors with her."
There may not always be time — or energy — to work out, but the one thing Ali can control is her diet. As the cook for her family of four (hubby is former NFL wide receiver Curtis Conway), the health-conscious athlete whips up meals loaded with lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. "I stay away from the processed foods and high-fat fried foods," she explains. "And then on the weekend I kind of eat what I want." A calorie splurge? Dessert. "I can eat healthy all day, but then I want something sweet, like a peach cobbler a la mode with a little bit of Cool Whip," says Ali, who is also working on her own line of healthy salad dressings and marinades. "If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it big. I'm going to get three donuts or something. If you're doing what you're supposed to do, it's what you do most of the time that matters."
Another part of the equation for a healthy balance is alone time with her husband of nearly five years. Although they don't get to work out together — "We don't even go to the same gym," she reveals — they do manage to steal away from the kids whenever possible, like an upcoming post-Valentine's Day getaway to Las Vegas to celebrate her father's recent 70th birthday. "It's on the 18th so we said we'll just make that our Valentine's Day," says Ali. "We don't have any plans, but we're getting on a plane and getting away, and leaving the kids."
Laila Ali shared her fitness routine with omg!. Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian
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- Laila Ali