Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell knows her angles, even in spin class. On an early weekday morning, Mitchell was smiling for photographers and posing for selfies with fans while perched prettily atop a stationary bike. The Biore ambassador was at a press event for the brand’s new launch of a tie-dye limited-edition version of their Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, which will benefit the United Nation Foundation’s Girl Up charity. After sweating it out, Mitchell talked to the Cut about the best protein powder, her favorite way to eat in bed, and how she taught herself to cook.
How I start my morning: Honestly, if I have the day off, I like to get a workout in. Even though I enjoy it, it just gets it over and done with — then I can jam-pack the day with other things. I’m not really a big breakfast fan, so I make a smoothie. I have a protein powder that I like called Naked — I really enjoy it; there’s nothing else that’s simple like it. I add PB2, a banana, and spinach for the smoothie and it tastes like a chocolate-banana milkshake.
How I sweat: I never worked out to get “skinny.” It really was about getting stronger. That’s why I like cycling and yoga; I like to see the growth and improvement from class to class. I try to work out three to four times a week, if I can.
Right now, I’m into boxing — anything in the moment. My mind races a million times in a second, so it’s almost relaxing at the same time. I work out with a few trainers, some on this coast, some on the west coast. I like going to Wildcard in LA.
What wellness means to me: It’s when I feel good: so that includes getting enough sleep, being healthy and hydrated. If I go out, I go out, but then I balance it the next day. It’s different for everyone. Some people work out once or twice a week and feel great. Other people, like myself, really do enjoy it, so I like to get one in whenever I can.
How wellness has changed for me: My dad raised me and my brother to stay active. He used to say, “You have this one body, you want to make the most of it,” so I enjoyed dancing and exercise. I’ve also been more educated about food. My diet when I was younger was a little different. For me, I’ve modified it to not eating as much sugar and eat more of a plant-based diet — not completely, but trying to change it. I also do more home cooking. I didn’t used to cook before, but I always feel so much better when I cook during the week than when I eat out.
When I started the show, we were so busy with filming — it was so new for me. But I learned that it’s important for my wellness to balance everything. I learned how to prioritize better. I started working out early morning or late at night, since you can’t do it while you’re shooting; you can’t take your makeup off.
Regardless of how you look, I’ve learned that you don’t feel good on the inside, that’s worse. I need to feel good on the inside before I can care about looking good on the outside. For me, what looks the best is when I feel strong. I feel the most confident after a workout.
How I cook: I do a concoction of whatever is in the fridge, so I will make my own stir fry mix. Or sometimes, I will create a pancake protein recipe. I’ll YouTube things to cook — I need to watch a recipe. I can’t just read it.
How I eat when I’m alone: I make a million snacks. I like having a bunch of things to nibble on. I’ll make a soup, then a salad, and avocado toast. Then I bring them up and watch something in bed — that’s my dream. I’ve been watching a lot of great documentaries on Netflix, like What the Health and Chasing Coral.
My biggest wellness struggle: Not getting enough sleep. I do too many things. I could probably use a little more — I usually get 4 to 5 hours of sleep.
My best wellness tip: Start from the inside. Feed your body nutritious food. Keep hydrated. You feel better when your skin is great. Your skin is great when your insides are great. It all correlates.