Evidently, Beyoncé is one of the most recognizable performers on the planet. The Texas native first achieved fame in the 1990s as the lead singer of R&B girl group Destiny’s Child. While the music and voice of the 36-year-old are beloved by millions, her moves have also been an essential component of her success. To do what she does requires an incredible physique and nonstop stamina, and getting there hasn’t been a cakewalk — literally.
“I can’t eat what I want, and I can’t not go to the gym,” Beyoncé once lamented. “The truth is it’s a lot of sacrifice. It’s more about your mental strength than physical strength. You have to push yourself.”
The singer has tried multiple diets to maintain her stellar figure, with varying success. When losing weight for her role in the 2006 movie Dreamgirls, Beyoncé temporarily espoused the Master Cleanse diet, a juice-based fast that encourages weight loss by avoiding solid food. But, the singer confessed, the diet made her “grouchy.”
“There are healthier ways to lose weight,” she later said. “I wouldn’t recommend it.” She’s right: Without solid food, you don’t get the carbs and nutrients you need for energy. The diet also relies on herbal laxatives, which can lead to dehydration if not used correctly.
Beyoncé has had better success with veganism. Inspired by exercise physiologist Marco Borges, she’s become a strong proponent of a plant-based diet — particularly after giving birth to her daughter Blue Ivy in 2012.
“I had to lose 60 pounds,” she said following the birth. “They had me on a treadmill. I ate lettuce!”
Aside from leafy green vegetables, Beyoncé enjoys foods like cucumbers sprinkled with vinegar, green apples and edamame. And at times when she needs to lose more than a little weight, she swaps full meals for protein shakes.
“What I discovered,” she said, “was increased energy, better sleep, weight loss, improved digestion, clarity and an incredibly positive feeling for my actions and the effects it would have on those around me and the environment.”
Beyoncé isn’t only a superstar entertainer, she’s the wife of fellow artist Jay-Z. Given their demanding schedules, Beyoncé sought — and found — a time-saving fitness program called Power Moves. The program includes exercises that engage several muscle groups simultaneously, which shortens workouts — sometimes to less than five minutes. She explained, “I’ll put on a song that I really like” then exercise hard till it’s over to “just try to burn out.”
The moves are relatively simple — like biceps curls with five-pound weights — but are done without any breaks. When she has time for cardio, Beyoncé does interval training on the treadmill, switching between running and sprinting to burn calories fast. According to Power Moves creator Marco Borges, “sprints are ideal for building stamina and explosiveness, which ‘B’ needs to move across the stage.”
Of course, physical wellness is only part of the health picture. To avoid getting too stressed about her body, Beyoncé also tries to maintain an unneurotic self-image — something she encourages others to emulate.
But that doesn’t mean getting lazy where fitness is concerned. In 2011, she adapted her song “Get Me Bodied” into “Move Your Body” as part of a national campaign for healthy eating and exercise to combat obesity.
Still, she said, “everyone is not supposed to be the same. Be healthy and take care of yourself, but be happy with the beautiful things that make you, you.”