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Fitness | Guest Workout

'Nash' Actress Takes Karate to Punch Up Her Routine

September 21, 1998|CANDACE A. WEDLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Working stiffs take vacations and working actors go on hiatus. I learned from Kelly Hu that taking a break doesn't necessarily mean kicking back. "This hiatus," the actress explained, "is time to get in shape and do all the things that I've been wanting to do." When the actress was done filming "Nash Bridges" (CBS) in San Francisco, she returned to her home in L.A. and went on a workout kick. "I'm trying to get physically and mentally prepared so that when the season starts, I'm ready for it."

Hu's character, Michelle Chan, will be in a couple of episodes of "Nash Bridges," beginning its fourth season Friday. Then, Hu moves to the new hourlong comedy / drama "Martial Law," which CBS kicks off at 9 p.m. Saturday.

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Question: Before you tell me about your workout, what were the other things you'd been wanting to get to?

Answer: In the last few days--this is great exercise--my brother helped me tile my two bathroom floors. Bringing tiles upstairs is pretty back-breaking work.

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Q: Oh, you were talking about renovations.

A: I love doing stuff with my hands. I've just got to decide what I want to do with the baseboards, if I want to paint or stain or leave them natural. I don't want to wait too long because I don't want moisture to soak in. I've been playing Tim Allen for the last few days.

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Q: Now let's hear how you've been getting ready for the new season.

A: I'm taking karate classes over at the Beverly Hills Y. I do that two to three times a week in the evenings; the classes are two hours. And then, independent of karate, I do workouts with my trainer, Steve Mancuso, two to three times a week, usually 9 or 10 o'clock in the morning for an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half. And then I also take basic ballet classes.

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Q: What are you doing with your trainer?

A: We always start off running around the Veterans Hospital. Then we go inside to a place called the Gym. I'll put on gloves and do some punching against a heavy bag, and then he'll put on some pads and I'll work out with him doing punches. And that is a really heavy, heavy workout. I mean, I can run for half an hour and no problem, but to do this stuff, it just takes so much out of you.

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Q: Why did you pick ballet?

A: The ballet gives me the grace and things that I need to look feminine on camera. I don't wanna look like, you know, an Arnold Schwarzenegger or something out there. You know, just recently I've noticed that my body's been going through a lot of changes.

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Q: I wonder why.

A: I don't know. I know why but I'm not gonna say it. I never, ever had to watch what I ate when I was in my 20s. I ate everything. In fact, I'm infamous for having a huge appetite. ["Nash Bridges" star] Don Johnson loves ragging on me about my appetite. In fact, can I tell you something that's really funny? I would miss my mark all the time, like when we'd stage and block things out. So to get me to stand exactly on my mark, they'd put a cookie down on the floor.

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Q: What kind?

A: Chocolate chip.

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Q: Yeah, that would work. What's your diet like?

A: Breakfast, I usually have a bowl of cereal either hot or cold. And definitely fruit. I love grapefruit. And, you know, I gotta have coffee. If I'm working out with my trainer, though, I'll wait till after I finish to have my coffee because it affects your heart rate. I love Naked Juices. I'll try to drink that or carry around a bottle of water in my car. I try to load up on carbs in the morning--bagels or cereal or toast. After my workout, before 1 o'clock, I'll have the pastas or salad, just as much as I can stuff into my face pretty much. And then I'm cool for the rest of the day. I'll have a light dinner with fish or chicken breast, and I love salad, luckily. Love eating the veggies--broccoli, spinach, cauliflower. And then for snacks--I don't believe in dieting by starvation at all--when I get a little hungry between lunch or dinner, I have little granola bars or fat-free bars and that'll usually tide me over.

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Q: Dessert after dinner?

A: Every once in a while. Anything chocolaty. Like heavy-duty chocolaty. Like a hot fudge sundae with brownies. And maybe I don't have to eat the whole thing. I'll just have a taste, but I don't believe in depriving myself.

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Guest Workout runs Mondays in Health.

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