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How 20 Saturday Night Live Stars Stay in Shape

Here's how they stay in shape mentally and physically.

The stars of Saturday Night Live are pretty fit given their late nights, afterparties and busy schedules juggling movies, TV shows and commercials in between sketches. They also each have unique approaches to wellness. Tina Fey listens to her inner-voice. Chloe Fineman walks a lot in New York and does Pilates. Cecily Strong believes in the power of 30-minute naps. Read on to see how Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Heidi Gardner and more stay in shape, mentally and physically, when they're not on stage dressed as Jan Janby or Donna Fingerneck.


Tina Fey

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Tina Fey was the first female head writer for SNL. She talked about her life and career to Oprah Magazine. "I feel like I am at an age where all the things I've ever thought I wanted to do, I did them. I always wanted to work at Saturday Night Live, I always wanted to have a show, I always wanted to have children. And I did that. So I feel like I'm trying to be quiet, and take things in. And listen. I'm waiting for something inside me to tell me what the next thing is I want to do."


Amy Poehler

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In an interview with Ladies' Home Journal, Amy Poehler talked about the importance of having friendships, and says that her SNL castmates are some of her closest pals. "Most of the women in your life will outlast the men in your life. The SNL ladies – Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Tina – and I text pictures of our kids back and forth all the time. It keeps us connected. As my nanny used to say, the older you get the more important it is to know people that knew you when."


Leslie Jones

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In an interview on Live With Kelly, Leslie Jones talked about her weight loss. She says that her SNL co-star, Kate McKinnon, helped her get more exercise into her life. "Every time we went to dinner she would make me walk to dinner, we would walk after dinner. And then it just started becoming—I would work out, I would do yoga, I really tried to watch what I eat. It's not always easy because I do have a sweet tooth that's a killer. But I do they best that I can."


Kate McKinnon

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Kate McKinnon shared some of her favorite things with Glamour. She says that she likes to use a Veggetti to make pasta from vegetables. "A Veggetti sounds like something you'd have to stuff in a drawer when your mother comes over, but there's nothing obscene about it. It's just a vegetable cutter that lets you slice zucchini into spaghetti. It gives you the psychological satisfaction of eating a massive bowl of pasta, but it's just a heap of squash. Your friends will be skeptical, but after they've tried your Veggetti, they will attempt to steal it, so you'll need to buy extras just in case. This is very important. (Of course, if you want pasta, do eat a massive bowl of it every once in a while."


Maya Rudolph

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Maya Rudolph shared her self-care secrets in an interview with Marie Claire. In it, she talked about how she gets a good night's sleep. "When I can't fall asleep, I drink a warm glass of Natural Vitality's Calm supplement. 11. If I'm stressed before bed, I try to read; if I'm stressed when I wake up, I take it out on the first person I see. Is that bad?"


Kristen Wiig

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Kristen Wiig tells Women's Health that she is a vegetarian. "I'm a vegetarian; I eat a lot of tofu and soy." Harvard Health states that a vegetarian diet has a lot of benefits. "Research suggests that a predominantly plant-based diet can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. In studies of Seventh-day Adventists, vegetarians' risk of developing diabetes was half that of nonvegetarians, even after taking BMI into account. The Harvard-based Women's Health Study found a similar correlation between eating red meat (especially processed meats, such as bacon and hot dogs) and diabetes risk, after adjusting for BMI, total calorie intake, and exercise."


Cecily Strong

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Cecily Strong makes sure to get enough sleep, and shared her secrets with Glamour. "A 30-minute nap can change your damn life," she says. "I actually bring my airplane pillow and a sweatshirt to the set so I'm ready if we break. I've napped on my office couch, my dressing room couch, even the floor. (That wouldn't fly in most jobs, unless you do it on break—in which case, that's what empty offices are for!) My advice: Find times to nap—and don't worry if people judge you. They're probably jealous. You know I would be."


Aidy Bryant

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In an interview with The Washington Post, Aidy Bryant spoke out against fat-shaming in the comedy industry. "I can think of about a million examples, and I won't name names, where sex between a plus-sized woman and a man is represented by her jumping on him and then he falls over," she said. "That's a classic. And there's something so demeaning and devastating about that to me. It feels like trying to joke it away rather than sincerely finding an actual funny moment. In a normal sex scene between two normal-sized people, you could still find comedy in that."


Chloe Fineman

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Chloe Fineman shared her fitness secrets with GQ. "I will say I work out much more when I'm in LA. And then, when I'm in New York, you end up just walking. I noticed this week when I was in LA, and I was so sedentary that I was like, 'Oh, people care so much more about their bodies here because they're not just like moving.' Chloe's hot take. But in New York, I do like Pilates a lot. I like a Reformer class; I'm addicted to it. In New York, I also like Tracy Anderson. I like to think of Gwyneth Paltrow."


Ego Nwodim

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Ego Nwodim loves to cook. She shared some of her favorite recipes with Grubstreet. "I made a lot of buttermilk biscuits. I made some Nashville hot chicken too. I tried my hand at cinnamon rolls. The first time I tried, I failed miserably. The second time, they were pretty good. But I expected better of myself. I tried my hands at pupusas, and my verdict was to leave those to the experts. I made the spicy fusilli from Jon & Vinny's. I made a lot of Nigerian jollof rice. I'm Nigerian-American. My mother is from Nigeria. That is such a staple in Nigerian culture as far as a dish goes, so I grew up eating that. It lasts a good amount of time, so I did a lot of that. I was really going all-out."


Heidi Gardner

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Heidi Gardner talked about her favorite foods in an interview with Eater. She says that she is aiming to eat healthier snacks when she shoots SNL. "I feel like I'm still figuring that out, embarrassingly so. Last year it was a lot of candy, because there were so many late nights and you're just grabbing for something and just want a little bit of energy, and so it was a lot of gummies and Skittles. But then, you know, you don't feel so great after. So this year, I'm trying to be a little better about packing snacks for energy — like, actual good energy. And I am also kind of a coffee and matcha fiend."


Ana Gasteyer

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Ana Gasteyer shared some of her wellness secrets in an interview with Parade. "I try to exercise regularly," she says. "That's something that I had fallen off the wagon on but I've recommitted myself to it and I started attaching it to pleasurable auditory experiences. Like, for example, I'm not allowed to listen to a podcast I love like Serial unless I'm on the treadmill. I have an Audible subscription and I listen to audiobooks or NPR. I live in New York and I don't have car time to spend listening to things so tying that to working out has been incredibly positive. And it makes me not angry about being on the treadmill or the elliptical!"


Rachel Dratch

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Rachel Dratch revealed to The Cut that she feels grateful for her life and career. "Without sounding like a Hallmark card or whatever, I feel like I truly am in a gratitude place. It serves me a lot better. With my kid, I feel that. Career-wise, I definitely feel that. Now it's not like I have to do comedy every night or have a million different projects on."


Sasheer Zamata

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Sasheer Zamata revealed to W Magazine that she likes to listen to wellness podcasts, and shared her favorite one. "I don't listen to a ton, but I have been listening to ‎The mindbodygreen Podcast. They have a range of health and wellness episodes about eating clean, the body, dreams, and the afterlife. It doesn't necessarily seem so cut and dry. I like that they cover things that some people may not believe in, but they bring in experts."


Melissa Villaseñor

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Melissa Villaseñor shared her mental health tips with Wondermind. She says that she takes care of herself by being a lot more childlike, and shared some of the ways she does so. "For me, it's making things a little lighter, embracing the kid mind. When I take a bath, I definitely have bubbles in there, and sometimes I'll put it on my face and pretend I'm Santa—and I'm alone doing this. You take things a little further and just make it not so serious. I feel like [having] a lot of colors [around helps] too. I even got myself some balloons for no reason. I lean into that: How can I make a day wacky? Or sillier? More joyful? I like leaning into those things."


Vanessa Bayer

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When Vanessa Bayer was a teenager, she was diagnosed with leukemia. She opened up about getting through it to CNBC. "I used humor a lot to get through," she says. "It was something that I think made me sort of go into comedy because, you know, my friends and I could laugh about it all so much and so I think it really helped me get through that time."


Nasim Pedrad

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In addition to her role on SNL, Nasim Pedrad also played the title character in the sitcom Chad, which she also created. Pedrad talked about fighting for the show to Glamour. "There were so many times I was politely encouraged to write something else. But I believed in Chad, and I didn't give up until I found a home for my vision. There's a saying that goes, 'They're going to cancel you anyway, so make the show you really want to make.' I've been living by that, and am thrilled for people to finally get to meet this jarringly awkward young man."


Sarah Sherman

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Sarah Sherman talked about how her career in comedy began to Paste Magazine. "I think there's a barrier of entry with stand-up because of age," she says. "I didn't really know where you could do stand-up that wasn't a bar. But I remember I couldn't believe how awesome it was. It was so empowering to be 18, 19, whatever, and be like, 'I wanna go do something, so I'm gonna go do it. I don't live in my parents' house anymore.'"


Molly Shannon

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Molly Shannon shared some of her favorite products with New York Magazine. She says that she is working on drinking more water, which is why she has a water bottle. "Vanessa Bayer and I are both into this thing called the Venture Pal water bottle. It has little encouraging things on it, like 'Good morning!,' 'You got it,' and 'Keep chugging,' and there are these lines on it, so I think it makes me drink the water. Both Vanessa and I had this on [the I Love This for You] set, and so everybody else got them too. We're always drinking water. I would much prefer to drink coffee, but this makes me drink water. I try to drink one full bottle a day."


Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus talked about having a work-life balance to FOX News. "Of course you can't have it all. That's absurd! It doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue what you desire. It's not possible to do and have everything all the time. So you have to make choices. And I don't think that's an antifeminist statement. I don't mean you have to sacrifice who you are or cower in a corner because of some stupid-ass glass ceiling. But if you realize that, then I think you can free yourself up to prioritize."

Anna Bechtel
Anna Bechtel is a freelance writer currently based in Hamden, CT. Read more
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