As a reporter, I have interviewed celebrities in the back of limousines, on red carpets, in elevators, at extravagant parties and once, in a dressing room while said celeb was actually getting dressed.
Until Friday, I’d never, had the opportunity to workout with a famous interview subject, but when Grammy-award winning singer Carrie Underwood invites you to a workout session, you ditch your date with the elliptical machine and accept.
Underwood was in Houston unveiling her Calia by Carrie Underwood Collection at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores (which opened 10 locations across the city over the weekend) and held an intimate workout for local media at the chain’s new location in Baybrook.
There’s a reason why Underwood’s lean sculpted legs are so coveted. Underwood and her trainer Eve Overland are serious about fitness and have even built a mobile gym towed by a Ford F-150 that follows the tour bus.
They also serve as excellent workout motivation.
With the white workout tent bathed in purple light and '80s rock blaring, they led us through an abbreviated workout that was long on challenges, focusing on core and cardio.
“I normally work out for one-and-half to two hours a day. It’s the thing I do for me,” Underwood said.
From mountain climbers to the Russian Twist (a core exercise, not a cocktail) Underwood was steady and focused throughout. The duo uses weights and mixes up the intensity of training, but Underwood said she’s just as happy going for long runs outside of the gym.
That was one of the motivations to create the Calia collection. As the athleisure trend spiked, Underwood wanted to offer women clothing that were heavy on the athletics, but with stylish transitional pieces in the mix. Underwood is the lead design partner for the Calia and is involved in all the facets of the company.
When not onstage, she is often wearing some element of the Calia line, which ranges from $40 to $80 for tops, $50 to $80 for bottoms and $12 to $80 for accessories.
“If I’m not in my workout clothes, I will throw on one of the sweaters or jackets with my jeans,” Underwood said. “I want to simplify my life and this is one way to do it.”
She’s also passionate about giving young athletes access to sporting opportunities. As a cheerleader, softball and basketball player in Checotah, Oklahoma, Underwood said she learned the benefit of teamwork and dedication, but would have played more if there had been greater opportunities in her small town.
“I learned so much from life, playing sports as a kid. I wasn’t always crazy about the school stuff, but I loved going to practice,” Underwood said. “What I do onstage is very physically demanding, so I work out, to stay active.”
Best moment of the day
Successfully completing three sets of abs was my personal highlight of the afternoon, but the best moment of the day was when Underwood surprised Aldine Independent School District student athletes with a check for $100,000 as part of Dick’s Sporting Goods Sports Matter program.
Athletic Director Richard Delgado said the funds will be used to purchase new equipment and enhance athlete’s skill sets. The group of students at the presentation thought they were coming to the store for a photo shoot and were shocked when Underwood walked out, collapsing into giggles and a few tears.
Underwood is nominated for four awards at the Country Music Association Awards Nov. 2, including Entertainer of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year. She's paying extra attention to her workouts because she is in the midst of dress fittings for the show she’s co-hosting with Brad Paisley, but she said it's all about perspective.
"Work hard, have fun," Underwood said. "That's what I believe."