How I Stay Fit: Matisse
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How I Stay Fit: Matisse

New Jive recording artist Matisse dishes about her fitness philosophy, what's in her gym bag, and the music that keeps her moving (other than her own!).

Matisse's new single, "Better Than Her" (available on iTunes now -- download it below!), is the antithesis to her independent approach to fitness. "I don't strive to look like anybody else, or compare myself to others," she explains. "I want to be the best me." We caught up with the Connecticut-born, London-bred songstress to find out how she's balancing fame, fitness, and a fondness for blueberry muffins.

The music industry focuses as much on artists' physical appearance as it does on talent. Do you feel pressure to be thin?
Matisse: This industry is very competitive and demanding, but my goal is to be healthy, fit, and feel good. I don't want to start obsessing about my body or how often I work out. The key is balance. For me, that means not eating red meat or chicken, and enjoying lots of fish, fruits, and veggies -- I love sweet potatoes. Once a week (sometimes more!) I have blueberry muffin. They're my favorite. Why deprive yourself?

How relevant is fitness in your hectic lifestyle as a working musician?
Matisse: I tend to have an anxious mind, and exercise really helps to feel sane and balanced. On the practical side, it also improves my endurance, so I don't get out of breath when I'm performing on stage.

Describe your typical workout week.
Matisse: I'm lucky because I live right next door to Crunch, where I have a membership. No excuses! I do a mix of running and circuit training three to five days a week. The running is torture -- I've never felt that endorphin rush people talk about -- but it's great cardio and builds my stamina. And the weights really sculpt my body.

What move gives you the biggest burn for your buck?
Matisse: Lunges. I love the toned lean look they give my hamstrings and my butt.

What are your "can't-leave-home-without" items in your gym bag?
Matisse: 1) Luna Bars. I love the flavors S'mores and Nutz Over Chocolate. They're great for pre- or post-workout snacks. 2) Smart Water. 3) My American Apparel hoodie. 4) Brooks Ravenna running sneakers -- I used to get shin splints often. Now I don't get them anymore, and I'm able to run much longer. I think it's the shoes! 5) If I could, I'd bring my Shih Tzu, Nahla. I named her after Simba's girlfriend, from The Lion King.

Do you have any personal fitness goals?
Matisse: I'd like to climb something one day -- maybe Mount Kilimanjaro -- because it's such a mental and physical challenge. To say I did that would be awesome.

Maybe you'll get to that after you go platinum?
Matisse: Right -- one goal at a time!

Matisse's Running Playlist

"Rude Boy" - Rihanna
Rihanna - Rated R - Rude Boy

"Black Cat" - Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation 1814 - Black Cat

"Imma Be" - Black Eyed Peas
Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies) - Imma Be

"Bad" - Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson - The Essential Michael Jackson - Bad

"Break Your Heart" - Taio Cruz
Taio Cruz - Break Your Heart (feat. Ludacris) - Single - Break Your Heart (feat. Ludacris)


Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2010.