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In Winning Shape: How Brooke Burke Stays Fit

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Brooke Burke's Workout and Diet

Spend five minutes with Brooke Burke and you feel like she's your BFF. As we chat, she freely shares the kind of great girlfriend tips that would take you hours to search for on the Web: the best product for covering your nipples under a white T-shirt (Boob-eez); the young shoe designer who's making gorgeous boots that are a must-have for shoe freaks (Camilla Skovgaard); a miracle concealer that will hide even the worst blemishes and scars (Illuminaré); and an easy, low-cal way to add tons of flavor to fish, chicken, and veggie dishes (the Middle Eastern spice paste harissa).

What Brooke can't find, she invents, like her Baboosh Body Exercise Wrap, to wear while you exercise. "To me, sweat is workout bliss," Brooke, 40, says. "I always wear the wrap when I do cardio. It heats up your body, so you can sweat out all that bloat."

Considering her high-wire life, it's a good thing Brooke doesn't mind a little perspiration. She's the mother of four kids, ages 11 to 3 — two from her first marriage and two with her new husband, actor David Charvet. (The couple, who had been engaged since 2006, finally tied the knot on August 12.) On Dancing with the Stars, Brooke is a cohost and interviews the contestants after their performances. She tweets obsessively (she has nearly two million followers); is the CEO of the online community ModernMom.com, where she blogs about her life; and will be cohosting the Miss America pageant later this month.

At a restaurant near her Malibu, California, home, Brooke orders Cobb salad without the bacon and blue cheese. "Yesterday was one of those hormonal superhungry days," she says. "David and I went out for a romantic dinner; I had a huge bowl of spaghetti Bolognese, and we had a great bottle of wine. I thought, If this is my one day this week to splurge, I'll have bread and dessert, too. So today I'm back on track."

Here, Brooke shares how she juggles it all — or tries to — and gets that hot body to boot.

How often do you work out?

I try to get to a Pilates Plus class, which is an intense, fast-paced workout that's done on a special reformer machine, at least three times a week. I also go to the gym a couple of times. I do 15 minutes on the treadmill, walk­ing at a 3.5-mile-per-hour speed and a 15-grade incline, and then I do the 45-minute head-to-toe workout I designed with trainer Gregory Joujon-Roche for one of my new DVDs. I don't think you need more than an hour to do cardio and full-body toning. I don't have three hours a day to devote to my body, but I do have an hour five days a week.

Get Brooke's Workout Routine

What's your diet secret?

I don't ever skip meals. If you let yourself get too hungry, you'll start craving sugary, fatty foods, and you'll make bad choices.

You've got a demanding career, four kids, and a husband. What's the trick to staying calm in the middle of the chaos?

I wish I were always calm in the chaos. I have children with very strong personalities, and as elating as that is, it can also be deflating. There's a lot of action in my household, and sometimes I'm a referee all day long.

Having a blended family is a challenge. Two of my children are with their father part of the week, so when they come home they want me all to themselves. Then my other two children, who have had me all to themselves, suddenly have to share me, and that can make them very needy. My business is crazy, too. There are so many moving parts to my life, nothing ever happens perfectly. I've learned to just roll with that.

Do you get enough sleep?

No! My two youngest kids always end up in our bed in the middle of the night. I try to get six to eight hours a night, and one night a week I have to get a full eight hours.

I think that sleep deprivation is a really bad thing for a woman, not only for her skin and eyes but also for her mood, memory, metabolism, energy, and sex drive. David and I have done "sleepcations," where we check into a hotel room simply to be alone and sleep.

Brooke Burke on "Dancing with the Stars" and Tips for Confidence

Men find you incredibly sexy, and women find you approachable and real. How do you explain your appeal?

I never want to be intimidating to anyone. Especially when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, I genuinely feel that if I can do it, other people can, too. I've also learned that nice is a great quality. On Dancing with the Stars there are hundreds of people who do important jobs. I love to walk around the ballroom and say, "Hey, what's going on?"

As a mother, I hardly ever get a thank you. Nobody ever says, "Thanks for getting up early and making me that lunch, Mom. I enjoyed what was in my lunch box today." So when I do hear that from my kids, it feels really good. Maybe that's why I treat the people I work with well.

You've said that winning "Dancing with the Stars" in 2008 was a huge turning point for you. Why?

In the semifinals I had two dances to do, the jive and the salsa. I was so afraid I was going to screw up the jive, and I did. My partner, Derek Hough, said to me, "What defines a champion is the ability to pull it together and go back out there and just kill it." I had to dig very deep, but we did the salsa and got three 10's. It taught me to have faith in my body, to have faith in myself. And it also taught me that while I might crumble under pressure, I'm able to let go of it, change my point of view, and move on.

You know, my first marriage failed. Leaving that marriage was uncomfortable and scary, but it was the right thing to do. Now I'm married to my soul mate. Sometimes you have to take uncomfortable steps to find your path.

Are you ever insecure, or do you exude confidence 24-7?

My biggest frustration is that I developed bad melasma when I was pregnant with my son. It's like having a mask on your face. I did peels; I did lasers; I tried every product and saw every doctor. Nothing worked. I never used to wear makeup when I wasn't working. Now I can't leave the house without thick cover-up, which stinks. I do my best not to focus on it.

What are your New Year's resolutions?

I try not to have a lot of bad habits in my life that I need to break come January. Instead, what I like to do is set myself up for success. Every December, David and I go to the beach and sit there and put the past year into perspective. Then I write out a list of goals, and I jot down quick plans. For 2012, I'd like to do a cookbook of recipes that busy working moms like me can make in 15 minutes or less.

Let's say you unexpectedly get some free time without the kids to do exactly what you want to do. So tell us: sex or sleep?

I'm so sleep deprived! How can I possibly choose between those two? That's really tough. Can't I sleep after the sex?

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, January 2012.

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