wellness theories

Debi Mazar on Disco Workouts and Getting Her Life Together

Photo-Illustration: Stevie Remsberg; Photos: Getty Images

Debi Mazar’s made a name for herself playing brash, refreshingly straightforward characters over the years, from parts in Goodfellas and Entourage to her latest stint as Maggie on Younger. She also just released a new cookbook, Super Tuscan, with her husband, Italian chef Gabriele Corcos. Mazar — who’s as delightfully candid offscreen — talked to the Cut about her disco workouts, training for a new role, and staying energetic.

How I start my morning: My morning begins with my husband going downstairs, making a pot of espresso, cooking the milk, then serving me — every day, for 17 years — my coffee in bed. My two daughters – Evelina is 15, Giulia is 11 — both like their coffee as well. So now my husband not only makes it for me, but he has to make it for all the women.

What I eat for breakfast: I’m not a huge breakfast person; I don’t get hungry right away. Giulia loves breakfast. If I’m making her some eggs, I might scramble up some eggs for myself. A little bit of butter — yes, butter. Or we like avocado toast like every other person in the world these days. I also make them a good whole-grain bread, like Ezekiel bread. My husband makes Tuscan bread, so it just depends on what mood they’re in; they’re really picky because they can be. But for me, I have multigrain generally, and a lot of times I’ll just put almond butter on it. I love fresh almond butter that I get at the machine. I love a good jam; my mother-in-law has all these fruit trees on her property in Tuscany, and my favorite one that she makes is the susine jam, which is plums. It’s this magic jam. Depending on my mood I might grab a banana, occasionally I’ll have a yogurt.

How I sweat: My usual routine is I go in my basement: I have a Lifecycle [exercise bike], a treadmill, an old-fashioned bench with weights and lots of different arm weights, those bands that you connect to the top of the door for tension, a bosu ball.

I need a lot of action around me, so I put the lights up, I have mirrors down there, I put my disco on blasting over my Sonos sound system, and I start singing and dancing like I’m in a club. High as a kite, really feeling my freedom because I don’t get to do that anymore — or not enough, anyway. My husband didn’t live that time period so he’s more of a rock and roll dude. So here I am singing to some 1970s disco hustle song, swinging around the room — shaking my booty and sweating, pumping my fists in the air — and then I don’t hear him and I turn and he’s looking at me, laughing his ass off, and I get so embarrassed.

My kids just think I’m ridiculous, but that’s my way to let it out, you know? So I go down there and I put the news on and I have it on mute, so it’s NY1 on rotation — I see the weather like 20 times in a row. Or CNN, but CNN gets me kind of depressed.

My approach to nutrition: Nutrition I get through food. I’ve been told to take vitamin D because I’m a New Yorker who is never in the sun. I hydrate constantly. I believe in living your life to the fullest, so if you wanna have cocktails or wine just because it makes you feel happy, I think that’s healthy in moderation. And I think portion control is important. People could be surprised how much they don’t need in terms of huge amounts on the plate. When you go to a restaurant any place else in the world, it’s not like “all you can eat” with a Big Gulp.

I buy supplements, I get all gung ho and then I fuck off and I forget to take them. Or I get bored with it or I’m like, “Whatever.” But I feel that I should be able to get the vitamins that I need through food.

My wellness struggle: Salt. I love anything salty. I steal my kids’ cheese puffs. I’ve now started to buy the jalapeño cheese puffs because the kids are like, “Whatever. We’re done with those kid snacks.” So now we’ve reverted to eating them.

On training for a new part: I’m training for a part that I’ll be shooting in the New Year and I have to lose weight for it. I can’t tell you what the role is because the deal’s not closed, but it’s a really great role and I need to lose probably a good 25 pounds. Normally I’m not as concerned, like most actresses, about being skinny. It’s kind of unfortunate because I’m always asked to be nude and do scenes where you might not see everything, but my crew does. I’m very self-conscious and I want to give my best, and I don’t always necessarily feel my best because I’m a little chunkier right now than I’ve ever been in my non-pregnant life. I’ve eliminated a lot of stuff but also I have to watch the carbs because I’m half Latvian, and my people have a tendency to be round.

I think the reason I got chunkier is because my husband has a shop down the street from me.

[To her husband] I’m blaming you. It’s your fault.

His store is down in my neighborhood, so it’s like, “Mmm, pesto. Mmm, Bolognese. Mmm, pasta fagioli.” All the things that I love are at my fingertips in a second, and so now I have to focus on kind of calming down with all that. So for me, I’m eating a lot of salads, good grains — quinoa, brown rice. My mother was a hippie so I ended up eating that stuff to begin with.

On aging: Fifty wasn’t a big deal for me. I look really good, my skin’s good, my body’s nice. I can tell that I’m more tired than I used to be. But I think if you get it together at this age, you’ll last a lot longer and you keep your youth a lot longer. You know a lot of people turn, all of a sudden they become middle-aged — and there’s nothing wrong with the number, but I think that you really have to focus on your health and keeping your shit together at this point. It’s better to be in shape. So right now I’m trying to get my shit together and — I don’t want to say capture my youth, but keep my energy happening.

My wellness advice is: Eat well, have lots of sex, and dance. And you have to be happy.

Debi Mazar on Disco Workouts and Getting Her Sh*t Together