Mary J. Blige is looking better than ever on the cover of Shape magazine's December issue, and inside the mag, the 42-year-old singer reveals that she was inspired to get healthy and fit after the tragic passing of her friend Whitney Houston from an alleged accidental overdose in February 2012. Mary says that she has changed her life with the help of a new personal trainer and stopped drinking alcohol 15 months ago. She tells the mag, "I'm off it completely once more, and now I feel stronger than ever. Whitney Houston's death really crushed me. I saw someone so incredibly talented just diminish, and I refuse to go out like that."
Mary's workouts are focused on cardio, which she gets by running six to eight miles a week. "The treadmill is fine but running outdoors gives me the best results," she shared. "It makes me feel better when I get that run in. I could be in the worst mood, but when I do my cardio I feel much, much better."
But running isn't the only way she's slimmed down and toned up. Mary recently learned how to swim as well. "I never swam as a kid and that always bothered me. At first, it was very hard, but once I got in the water and figured out how to breathe, it was so liberating," she dished. "Now it's helping me with every aspect of my life — personally and professionally. Conquering that fear was a huge boost to my confidence. I'm as proud of this accomplishment as I would be if I had graduated from college, which I never got to do."
Mary gushes that another huge boost to her confidence has come from seeing the results of her hard work. "I had an 'aha!' moment recently after a swim. I was walking by a mirror and I saw my abs, and they were crazy toned, and my arms looked unbelievable — in a good way, I was thrilled and so proud of myself." She added, "When I'm fit, I can conquer the world. I love the way I look and feel right now and am truly comfortable in my own skin."
Check out the video to see Mary's Shape cover, and be sure to tune in to "omg! Insider" on TV tonight for the latest in entertainment news.
- Whitney Houston