Alison Sudol, singer and songwriter for A Fine Frenzy, is in tune with her body. Some days she jogs, walks or stretches with yoga. Now the Seattle-born, L.A.-based 26-year-old is recording her third album, due this summer, exercising twice a day for creative inspiration at the mic.
"To be healthy, feel good in my own skin, strong and lean. I don't like to be muscle-y. When I was in high school, I lifted heavy weights and got over-muscled."
"I was in remedial P.E. [physical education]and cried every morning when I had to go running. Then, eight years ago, I started walking in my neighbourhood, and I said, 'Hey, I'm gonna spurt' - and I loved the endorphins and confidence I felt. I tend to be a quiet person and that energy when you're running is very alive, so it's a nice balance for me.
"Between three and seven times a week I jog; I'm not fast and I have asthma, so I take it at my own pace up to six miles a day. But I also hike or walk 10 miles, do ballet occasionally for posture, martial arts and Anusara yoga [a branch of Hatha and a vinyasa-style practice paired with a philosophy that all things are inherently good]"
"Even on the road, I eat organic, low-fat and don't eat red meat. I stick to vegetables and whole grains. I drink coffee. I replaced my sweet tooth with Michelle's Naturally vegan cookies, or dates.
"Sometimes there's no routine - in the beginning of the creative process I'm at the piano for seven hours. Sometimes I'm in the studio and that schedule's more predictable."
"Mental clarity, because I need to be the best artist I can be and feel good about myself."
"Grizzly Bear, The Shins, Bon Iver, Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fleet Foxes or LCD Soundsystem - super fun to work out with."
"Some girls can eat pizza and ice cream - I don't have that kind of body."
Craig Ballantyne, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, says that exercise won't make her body bulky, as long as Ms. Sudol avoids steroids. What she needs is consistency with a program, which may add a welcome boost in creativity.
Do bodyweight workouts for a sleek figure
Mr. Ballantyne, who holds a master's degree in science, prescribes two days of gear-free resistance training. "Do only half the reps in the first round (but don't rest between exercises). Rest one minute at the end of the circuit before repeating as many times as possible in 20 to 30 minutes," he says.
• Prisoner squat, 20 reps
• Push-up, as many as possible
• Reverse lunge, 15 per side
• Plank, 60-second hold
• Split squat, 12 reps per side
• Close-grip push-up, as many as able
• Side plank, 30 seconds per side
• Jumping jacks, 30 seconds
• Optional: resistance band rows, 15 reps
Maximize calorie burn on runs
He warns against carrying hand weights on jogs, but suggests Ms. Sudol try interval training, which plays well to her spontaneity. "Start with a five-minute warm-up; do short bursts for 10 to 50 seconds followed by walking for twice the time spent in the burst."
The interview has been condensed and edited.