Nicole Henry is an acclaimed jazz and soul singer whose next album, "Embraceable," is scheduled for release this spring. She exercises regularly — to make sure she keeps her body and voice in peak condition.
Why do you keep fit?
What's your workout routine?
It varies, but usually three days a week I exercise. Usually I'll run 4 miles, but sometimes I'll get up to 6 or 7 miles. My longest was 11 miles. Someday I think I'll do a marathon.
I run on the sand in South Beach wearing sneakers. Sometimes the sand is harder, sometimes soft, which is good for my ankles. Running on the sand helps me walk in heels.
I usually mix up running and going to the gym: Equinox. I love their classes, which seem to all be boot-camp style, mixing legs and shoulders and stomach for an all-around workout for an hour.
Sometimes I do weight lifting, particularly for my legs so I can jump into a short skirt from time to time. I really like doing legs and stomach. I don't do much upper body.
About 10 percent of my workouts are yoga, which I really enjoy. If I know I won't [otherwise] work out that day, I'll do 10 minutes of sun salutation in the morning. It's my way of stretching. The older you get, the tighter your muscles get. If I do a few minutes of yoga at home, everything is aligned, meaning I'm loose, my neck doesn't hurt, shoulders don't hurt, I can touch my head to my knees.
Is performing onstage a workout?
I pretty much always stand when I'm performing, and you can work up a sweat depending on how many lights are on, but it's not a real workout.
I do need to warm up my voice before I sing. You wind up using your full facility that way, your whole body, to create the music. It won't come just from the belly or throat, but from all the air that's throughout your body. When I recorded in New York City, I jogged beforehand. Even if it's just a 20- or 30-minute jog on a treadmill, it warms me up. I've done jumping jacks and lunges and sit-ups before singing just to make sure the cardio is going.
Did you play sports when you were younger?
In high school and middle school I played field hockey, basketball and softball.
Does your family keep fit?
My father played professional basketball and he was an athletic director for much of his life. When I was a kid, he used to wake up early every day to exercise, and I have memories of him bringing us along. He still works out just about every day even though he's in his 60s. Last year I went bike riding with him and he out-biked me up a hill.
Do you have a personal fitness motto or philosophy?
If I'm not drenched in sweat, it's not a workout.
What's your typical diet?
It varies from day to day. I eat whatever I want. People ask, "Why do you work out?" and I say, "I love eating."
I try eating organic when I can, because what the FDA allows [in non-organic food] frightens me. I love vegetables, fish, but also a good burger, red meat from time to time. I can feel a craving for salad when I haven't had enough vegetables. If I need steak, my body tells me.
Cake and chocolate cookies are my weakness. I get my sugar fix in coffee with raw sugar. I drink water, coffee and alcohol, everything in moderation.
Do you take any vitamins or sports nutrition products?
No. If I feel myself getting sick, I'll overdose with orange juice and vitamin C.
Where did you acquire your fitness and nutrition knowledge?
Reading magazines, and from my father and my mother. They always made sure we ate vegetables. My mom didn't buy us soda so we didn't want it. It's still not a big deal for me now.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to lose weight?
Don't eat a lot of bread at night.
Jazz/soul singer Nicole Henry keeps body, voice in peak condition
Stephen Jensen, courtesy