Lana Condor Has Learned to Actually Exercise “For Me and For My Joy” With Zumba

Getty / Stefanie Keenan

Growing up, Lana Condor’s relationship with fitness was complicated. She detailed in a recent cover story for Self a history of body dysmorphia stemming from her time as a dancer. Condor explained to POPSUGAR, “In my childhood, just being such an aggressive dancer, working out . . . I don’t know . . . I think it kind of felt like very forced. I really had to be in the best physical condition of my life.” At one point, she was dancing so much that ballet just didn’t bring her joy anymore, she recalled. Now, though, she aims to choose workouts that do bring her joy.

“I had some real body issues because of it,” Condor said of ballet. “This messed up standard of beauty that you typically found in the ballet world, I always felt I didn’t fit that body image. I always felt not happy with myself. So now, most of my workouts are focused on workouts that I just genuinely enjoy, that make me feel better.” Aside from committing to sweat sessions with a trainer, she is a huge Zumba fan (Condor is actually joining Zumba’s virtual 20th birthday celebration on April 29 at 1 p.m. ET that you can livestream on YouTube!).

The 23-year-old To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before star was first introduced to Zumba during summer dance programs around age 13 when it was mixed in with the pointe- or partner-work sessions. She reflected on how those classes offered freedom away from the structure and precision of classical ballet. Zumba classes were also part of the curriculum at her performing arts high school school, and the in-person and virtual classes now act as a fun workout “to supplement my deep hate for lifting weights,” Condor said. It’s true: she hates lifting weights (“I hate all of that. I hate it, I hate it so much, but I do it, but I hate it!!!”).

“Zumba brings me so much joy and gets my heart rate up and makes me feel happy,” Condor said, adding that it was a “nice little reprieve” during the “dark times” of the COVID-19 pandemic when she and partner Anthony De La Torre were holed up in their house together.

Condor also is into biking “because I like being able to work out but sit down” (um, same!). “It’s so easy to create bad workout habits where you’re working out not to feel your best and to be happy” and instead, she noted, to achieve unrealistic beauty standards. “I definitely had to take active steps to be working out for me and for my joy, rather than anything else.”

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