At age 44, Kate Hudson is feeling healthier and stronger than ever. Fitness has always been important to the award-winning actor and entrepreneur, but recently Hudson found that a few simple changes to her diet and exercise routine have made a big difference.
In between acting, raising three children and recording a new album, it's important for Hudson to stay active and fuel her body with nutrients that power her through the day.
Hudson and her trainer Brian Nguyen joined TODAY on Jan. 5 to share the most important lessons she's learned about exercise and nutrition and her best tips for others looking to make a change.
The "Glass Onion" star says two simple habits have made the biggest difference in her wellness journey, helping transform her into the strongest, healthiest version of herself: strength training and eating more protein. Hudson is now partnering with the nutrition and food tracking app MyFitnessPal to share the knowledge she's learned through the new “Small Steps, Big Wins” plan. (Hudson is a paid spokesperson for the MyFitnessPal app).
It's important for Hudson to move her body every day, but she realized something was missing from her exercise routine as she got older.
“When (Brian and I) started working together, one of the things I never did was strength training, that was something I never realized was a huge part missing," Hudson tells TODAY.com.
Hudson says she began to see a transformation happen when she started “tuning in” to her body. “If you’re tuned in and your body tells you, it really does speak to you,” says Hudson.
"One day, I tuned in and I was like ... I don’t feel strong, I feel long and I love my Pilates but as I get older... am I doing enough (strength) exercises?,” Hudson says.
Leaning into strength training not only helped Hudson reach her fitness goals, but also proved to be helpful for her mental health and overall wellness, she says.
“As Kate’s mentioned, there is strength that’s required in life ... when you realize life is not just a lifespan, you really start to prioritize your health,” Nguyen tells TODAY.com.
Nguyen notes that parenthood was another motivator for Hudson. “When she sees her kids growing up, when you're part of that evolution ... (it's about) being strong for your family,” says Nguyen.
Now, Hudson and Nguyen incorporate more strength-training exercises into her fitness routine, which still includes plenty of pilates and dancing — lots of dancing, says Nguyen.
“We’ll get through an exercise and she’ll tell me her legs hurt and then 30 seconds later she’s dancing and singing, and it's still recovery time,” says Brian.
“The music should be good, and it (should be) a fun time … if people realize training sessions are fun, they go back to them,” says Brian.
Some examples of strength-training exercises that Nyugen incorporates into Hudson's routine include:
Eating more protein and using a food tracker
When it comes to nutrition, the one change that has made the biggest difference for Hudson's performance and recovery is eating more protein. “Food is everything,” says Hudson, who also crashed a TODAY cooking segment after her interview. "The food we eat is fuel for our body," says Hudson.
"We, especially women, should really be eating more protein, especially in the morning,” says Hudson.
Research has suggested that eating a breakfast high in protein can help with satiety, or feeling fuller for longer, as well as blood-sugar control and insulin resistance, TODAY.com previously reported.
Healthy adults should consume about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day, according to the Institute of Medicine’s dietary reference intake recommendations. For an adult that weighs 150 pounds, that’s about 54 grams of protein per day.
Hudson says she relies on tracking her meals using apps like MyFitnessPal to stay on top of her protein intake and meet her nutrition goals.
“Food is 80% of the challenge ... and tracking it, knowing it, understanding it, and having the knowledge is something I'm passionate about," says Hudson.
Hudson says her first experience tracking her food intake and exercise occurred while she was shooting the 2011 movie "Something Borrowed."
"It was trendy at the time to eat raw, but I gained maybe 10 to 15 pounds and I didn't understand what was happening because I thought I was eating so healthy and I cut out meat," says Hudson.
Seeking to better understand the food she was eating and what nutrients it provided her body, Hudson decided to log her daily food intake.
"I started tracking, and (realized) I was eating about 3,000 calories of just nuts ... If I didn’t have access to understand (that), I would have never known," Hudson adds.
Hudson ditched her raw diet, opting for a more balanced diet full of whole plant-based foods and lean protein sources.
Hudson also credits having a strong network to help her meet her goals. “What’s really important is to have access to support … we can’t do it alone ... I guess some people can but for most of us like myself, I need a support system.” says Kate.
When it comes to her wellness journey, Hudson says the biggest lesson she’s learned over the years is to accept and embrace change.
“We’re constantly shifting, we're constantly changing and we need to be nice to ourselves,” says Hudson.
“You’re always going to have regressions in life ... but be kind to yourself and do not judge it, just experience the things as they’re happening,” Hudson adds.