Health tips from ‘SCTV’ alumna Andrea Martin

Making people laugh takes a lot of stamina. How does performer Andrea Martin keep her energy up? The comedy legend shares her tips for staying fit as she returns to the stage in Canada

Health tips from 'SCTV' alumna Andrea Martin

Source: Web exclusive, July 2010

It may be hard to believe, but veteran performer Andrea Martin still gets stage fright. Yes, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress who tickled Canada’s collective funny bone as the leopard-print-clad station manager Edith Prickly in the Canadian sketch comedy show SCTV, confesses to getting nervous before every performance. To calm her pre-show jitters, the comedy legend hops on her bike.Exercise is very meditative for me,’ she says.

Martin, 63, will be biking her nerves away on the streets of Toronto this month’she’s set to star in the Canadian premiere of Love, Loss and What I Wore, an award-winning show by Delia and Nora Ephron that explores the role that clothing plays in women’s lives. Martin will appear in the show from July 16 to August 7.

Best Health caught up with Martin find out how she stays healthy’and centred.

Best Health: As a busy actress, how do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Andrea Martin: I ride my bike everywhere in New York City where I live. I use it as a mode of transportation’it’s better than a taxi. I work out at a gym three days a week. I try to eat healthy but that’s the hardest part for me. When I feel stressed and tired, I gravitate toward carbs. Exercise isn’t hard, it’s what I put in my mouth that’s a challenge.

BH: That’s a challenge for a lot of people. What tactics do you use to keep your carb cravings in check?

AM: It’s best If I can regulate what time I’m going to eat. If I know I can have breakfast at 9, lunch around 1 and dinner around 6, then I’ll be able to stick to something healthy. If I go off [of my schedule] then I’m too hungry and I don’t have any will power. 

BH: Do you make any changes to your diet or fitness regime when you’re preparing for a new stage show?

AM: I was just saying to my trainer this morning that when I’m doing a musical on Broadway, I’m so much more fit. The two hours [of the performace] require a lot of physical exertion. So it’s kind of like a cardio workout, plus I still work out at the gym. When I’m not doing a musical, it’s a lot more difficult to be motivated. But for this play I’ll be doing in Toronto, if I can ride my bike back and forth to the performance [each night] I’ll feel pretty good.

BH: What’s your routine with your trainer?

AM: I’ve worked with the same trainer for 15 years. Now it’s really hard to resist lifting a couple of weights then talking about The Biggest Loser for the next 45 minutes.

BH: So how do you stay focused?

AM: I look at my middle and that brings me back to reality!

BH: How do you maintain a healthy body image in the entertainment industry, where 30 is already considered over-the-hill?

AM: I’ve never been a glamorous movie star’I’m a character actress so there’s less pressure. But I’m just as fixated on my body as the next person, maybe even more so. So for me, [I try to think] less about how I look  because it can interfere with my enjoyment. I’m really fit for someone my age, and it’s really important to me.

BH: Do you get nervous before you start a new production?

AM: Yeah, I get nervous before I go on stage. I wish I didn’t, but it’s just how I’m wired! I’m doing a one-woman show at the end of August in Huntsville, Ont., called Andrea Martin: Final Days, Everything Must Go, and I’m already nervous!

BH: So how do you keep yourself calm and centred?

AM: I try to stay in the moment, I try not to reflect on the past or reflect the future. I go for a walk or I get on my bike. It’s a lot of maintenance to keep from being anxious and stress-free so I try to do what works for me.

Best Health readers get 20% off tickets to the Toronto production of Love, Loss and What I Wore from July 16 to August 7, 2010. Enter promotional code LLDIGEST20. Discount subject to availability.