The co-host of Live With Regis and Kelly gives us the inside scoop on how she’s gotten so fit so fast
Since she took a permanent seat next to Regis Philbin as co-host on the popular Live With Regis and Kelly back in 2001, Kelly Ripa has reigned as America’s favorite talk show sweetheart. The adorable Ripa has been defined as witty, funny, perky and bubbly throughout her years in television, and lately, it’s been the serious definition of her incredibly toned body that has been the talk of the town. The lean, mean, healthy machine has credited her fit-as-a-fiddle form to Physique 57, an effective workout system that brings rapid results to its devoted exercise clientele in New York City. And with the recent release of the Physique 57 Complete 3-Disc Full Body Workout Set, Ripa is stoked about being able to take her fitness routine on the road with her and guarantees that the rest of the nation will benefit from working out in new ways through music, choreography and natural body resistance, right in the comfort of their own homes.
In addition to summer family fun, Ripa has kept busy lately working on exciting new shows for TLC through her and husband Mark Consuelos’ production company, Milojo Productions (named for their children Michael, Lola and Joaquin), whose the first program, Masters of Reception, will debut in September. Ripa will also serve as host of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund’s 12th Annual Super Saturday in the Hamptons this month, and she is flat-out honored to be a part of Electrolux’s campaign to raise money for the fund. New Orleans Living magazine chatted with Ripa about her time spent in our beloved town earlier this year and the dynamic workout that really gets her ripped.
Hi, Kelly! Thanks so much for talking with me today. New Orleans loves you!
Are you kidding, it’s my pleasure—I love New Orleans so much! I am such a fan, I could move there! It’s the only place I could picture myself perfectly happy besides New York.
Every time we do the Live show from New Orleans, I’m like, “Why don’t we just move here and do the show from here?” because it really just doesn’t get better than New Orleans, it really doesn’t.
What feeling do you take back with you whenever you leave New Orleans?
Well, first of all, we always take back feeling an extra five pounds heavier, that goes without saying! You know, I just feel very embraced, very loved, very educated; I feel like I’ve experienced a culture that exists no where else on the planet. I’ve always heard it’s such a great party town, and it is, but to me it’s the best family vacation there is, no doubt. My oldest son, Michael, took trumpet lessons and started playing the trumpet after his first visit to New Orleans; he found the music so sort of intoxicating. And my other two children, Lola and Joaquin, just love it the same way. We went to the Cajun Encounter Swamp Tour in Slidell and my kids really wanted to operate one of those pontoon boats! You know, I could spend my life in nature in Louisiana doing this for a living. And I want to make pralines and work at Mardi Gras World!
You also visited Bourbon Street on one of your trips down here.
Yes! We did a pub crawl; it was so much fun! The energy was incredible. We went down Bourbon Street, we got lots of beads, and our own Schully, Lori Schulweis—we call her “Calamity Schully” because she always spills things or knocks things over—well, we were literally two inches apart from each other, and somebody threw a five pound bag of beads off a balcony and it hits Schully in the head and totally knocks her out!
Ouch! I guess she didn’t take her shirt off; sorry, that’s what happens!
She didn’t take her shirt off! I took my shirt off and nobody noticed! [Laughs] But I really do feel like I’m totally spoiled when I’m in New Orleans. I try to get out on my own a bit, like just running along the water by myself is magic because there are all these incredible musicians who play the bars at night and who become street musicians during the day, playing that sultry jazz, I mean forget it! What’s special is not necessarily the special stuff; it’s the people that are special.
You are so sweet. And you are so incredibly fit! You credit the exercise classes at Physique 57 in New York for helping you get into the great shape you’re in.
I never exercised until my third baby went to school, then I found I had seven hours a day where I was doing nothing but literally just staring at the walls. I thought I should do something to pass the time, and Mark gently suggested that I should exercise! And my best friend turned me on to this class and said “I’m telling you, you will love it!” You really don’t feel like you’re exercising, plus the results are almost instant.
Give me an example of the results you saw in a short amount of time.
The first thing I really noticed, and people commented on, was that my shoulders and my arms had a very beautiful, sinewy definition that they never had before. And the instructors teach you to do new things, like they expose the muscles that you never use, and show you how to tighten those tiny muscles, and that makes such a difference.
And Physique 57 just released a three DVD set that includes its 57-minute full-body workout, the 30-minute full-body workout and the arm and ab booster 30-minute workout. You must be beside yourself!
Oh my God, let me be perfectly honest: The one thing would make me panic about going on vacation was that I wouldn’t be able to take my Physique 57 classes. People in the studio audience or celebrities would ask me “What are you doing to exercise? Your arms look so toned!” or “You look great, what do you do?” And I’d say “Oh, I take this class Physique 57,” and they’d say “Is it in California? Is it in Nebraska?” And I’d say, “No, it’s just here in New York.” All of us who take the class in New York sort of cajoled the instructors to make this DVD, so that we could go on vacation and not feel like we would lose our technique. These DVDs are phenomenal; it’s just like taking the class.
Fans of Physique 57 say it’s tough but fun, and they’re addicted to the routine.
Yes! They have these great shirts in the class that simply say, “Are You Addicted?” They dare you to not get addicted, and it’s so true. Before the DVDs, I’d go on vacation and Mark would find me clinging to the shower bar trying to do Physique 57, ’cause that’s the only place to hold onto in the whole hotel room. He’d say “Are you doing Physique 57 in there?” and I’d say, “Yes, I’m totally addicted!”
It’s clear this is totally working for you. You really look fabulous!
I’ve got to tell you, people ask me about what class I’ve taken, and this is it. I’m not a partner in the DVD, I don’t have ownership in it, I didn’t produce it, I’m not even in it, I just can’t believe how great it is. All you really need is your own body and muscle to do this technique and strengthen your body. And believe me, I had no idea how heavy I was until I started doing push-ups! [Laughs] And you don’t need a fancy gym. I love taking the class in New York; it’s part of my routine. But I love having a DVD, so if I can’t make it to class, I can pop in the DVD and do the class at home.
What sets Physique 57 apart from any other exercise class?
I think that Tanya [Becker] and Shelly [Knight] who are in the DVD are just extremely knowledgeable about fitness. They really use their dance and Pilates background, and they are motivators. You relate to them. I feel they’re my sisters, and we’ve all grown up together. And they make it fun. They don’t make it a grind or say, “You better do this or your body’s going to fall apart!” They say “Do you want to eat that piece of pie tonight? Well then come on, let’s get going.” It’s not about deprivation, it’s about doing this exercise, so that you can have all those extra things that we all love.
Our food alone is good enough reason to give the Physique 57 DVDs a shot here in New Orleans. We just can’t part with our butter and cream, y’all!
I’m telling you, if you try it you’ll love it. And can I tell you: When I was in New Orleans I worked out one day with Mackie Shilstone. And Mackie was like, “Wow! You’re really fit from this exercise class!” Also it’s an escape from the daily grind, and I think sometimes the mental benefits from the exercise far outweigh the physical benefits.
That’s true. So are you a very sensible eater or do you enjoy tucking into those cupcakes and cookies that surround you in the Electrolux commercials?
I’m more of a salt, butter, fried, savory eater than a sweet eater, but you know, I love those pralines! I love the beignets. Look, please, I’ll eat anything in your town!
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and you’re helping to bring attention to funding this type of research through Electrolux’s Web site. Are you close to reaching your goal of raising $500,000 in two years?
Oh, the generosity of people is awe-inspiring. I never really believe that anybody is listening to me or watching me or paying attention to anything I say or do! When people respond to a campaign like the virtual lemonade stand or any of the campaigns that we’ve done where Electrolux donates a dollar to the OCRF (Ovarian Cancer Research Fund) every time somebody just logs on, I’m amazed by how much we raise. And yes, we’re going to reach our goal. In this economy people don’t have lots of money to give, but Electrolux has made it so simple: You log on and they give the money; it’s great! I feel very fortunate that they would even have me be involved.
Why is awareness for ovarian cancer research so important to you personally?
It’s one of these things that I knew nothing about, unfortunately. I was asked to host this event in the Hamptons one year called Super Saturday, which is this fun, huge garage sale that benefits the OCRF. I do it every year, I love it. And then my girlfriend that I grew up with passed away from ovarian cancer and I said to myself, “I should know something about this since I’m here as an ambassador; I should educate myself versus just standing here and enjoying the event.” I found out that most women have no idea they have ovarian cancer until it’s too late and untreatable. There are no early warning signs.
Well, it’s wonderful that you are involved with such a great cause! Now Kelly, you’ve got some cool shows in development with TLC.
Yes! We love TLC and how they like to show the inspiring side of people. Mark and I came up with the concept for a show when we were at our friend’s daughter’s big, elegant, gorgeous wedding a couple of years ago. Mark went to the restroom and when he came back, he sat down, ate his dinner, walked around and didn’t see me or anyone that he knew, and then he realized he had walked into the wrong wedding! [Laughs] He was escorted back to the correct wedding, and he discovered there were four mega-weddings going on at the same time. So we became obsessed with the concept of people who are masters of throwing beautiful, sophisticated receptions ten times a weekend, which resulted in the show Masters of Reception. The other show, Mothers of Invention, features these great women with kitchen table ideas, sort of just thinking like my girlfriend and I do when we go to the park with our daughters who take ice skating class together; something will skate or walk by us, and we’ll say “Why didn’t we invent that?” It’s a show based on taking their idea and teaching them how to market their project, and then HSN is going to present it to the world and hopefully it’ll make millions of dollars.
So is it still a hunk of heaven working with Regis Philbin?
Oh, he is just the greatest man in show business! He’s just a giant! I love everything about him; he makes me laugh every day. It’s such a rare thing when you get to go to work and just laugh and that’s your whole job. I like to point out the fact that my father used to say, “Children should be seen and not heard,” because I was always prattling on. He would say, “What are you going to do, get a job talking for a living?” [Laughs]
Well, Dad, as a matter of fact…. So has your family taken more trapeze lessons this summer? And have “The Flying Consuelii” come to fruition yet with their daring exploits?
That’s so funny! Mark and I and the children were in the Hamptons for the Fourth of July weekend, and we all took trapeze lessons again, except for Mark, who said once was enough for him. Look, I really think there really is something to the flying Consuelli, there really is! [Laughs]
You’ve got to hold on to that dream. And never let go. Never let it go.
You never know! You never know! I am not letting go of that dream!