Entertainment reporter Sangita Patel spends her days interviewing celebrities, but don’t let the fact that she’s rubbed elbows with George Clooney and Priyanka Chopra, among many, many others, fool you: she’s a down-to-earth mama of two daughters before she steps into wardrobe, and the spotlight.

As a personality for Entertainment Tonight Canada, and host of HGTV Canada’s reno show, Home to Win, she is quickly becoming a household name—something CoverGirl took notice of, nabbing her as a Canadian spokesperson for its “I Am What I Makeup” campaign. “At 40, I became a CoverGirl, which is insane,” she says. “I’m so honored and proud.”

“Fitness came into my life when I really needed it.”

The cosmetics giant’s campaign, which speaks to not only creativity and talent but also self-acceptance, draws parallels with Sangita’s own life, in which she balances her family, passion for fitness, and career; all while making her mark in an industry that only recently started celebrating diversity and a variety of body types.

A proponent of maintaining a healthy mind and body through fitness, Sangita has fought hard for her muscle, training in CrossFit, Muay Thai, and pretty much any style that gets her a good sweat on the regular. And her hard work has paid off: “I started looking different because I’m getting a little bit thicker in the muscles,” she says. “It’s not that slim look, and I’m really proud of that.”

Like any strong woman knows, year-round body confidence is no easy feat—and for our May/June cover athlete, a red carpet is always around the corner. To survive, and thrive, in an industry where she’s always front and center, she commits to a balanced routine 365 days a year. Here’s how:

1. Stick to a solid routine. 

Sangita and her husband go to Crossfit every morning before work—no excuses. That way, she’s not sitting in bed going through a list of reasons why she should hit snooze instead. “It’s something that just is a ritual, like this morning, with [daylight savings time], I still woke up and went to the gym even though I had to drag myself out of bed,” she says. “It’s just something that I don’t even question anymore. So I’ve come to that point where fitness not only makes me feel great, but it’s part of life.” And because the WOD is always laid out, there isn’t any guesswork about which exercise to do or how many reps—something many sleepy early risers are more than happy about.

2. But always have a gym-free backup plan.

Sangita spends a lot of time travelling for interviews and awards shows, so despite her best intentions to stick to a gym routine, sometimes it’s just not an option. She doesn’t use that as an excuse to stay sedentary, though. She’ll hit a local studio, work out in the hotel gym or even in her hotel room. “When I don’t have time to do just upper body or lower body, I do a full-body movement,” she says. This means having an arsenal of bodyweight and minimal equipment exercises in her repertoire.  For a quick cardio boost, anywhere, anytime, she brings along her skipping rope to crush some double-unders.

3. Eat whole foods 70 percent of the time.

Thanks to scrolling through endless photos of delicious meals and fancy doughnuts on Instagram all day, most of us have food on the brain 24/7. Sangita is no exception: “I love food so much,” she says. “Cake is my weakness. I’ll have cake, and sometimes I indulge a little too much, especially in the winter.” She keeps it in check by being “good” 70 percent of the time. “I tried to be really good 100 percent of the time, but I wasn’t happy.”

She loves cooking for her family and shares her recipes on her YouTube channel and Instagram. You’ll find a mix of sugar and spice on her social platforms: overnight oats and healthier tandoori chicken—and Nutella lava cakes, for good measure.

Sangita loves spending quality time with her gang. 

4. Sneak in (intense) cardio.

While there are those who live for the consistency and zone-out-worthiness of a long run, Sangita is not one of them, declaring instead that she “hates cardio.” But she considers it a necessary evil, so prefers to get her heart pumping through an activity she loves: Muay Thai. “It’s just been such a blast doing it. It’s like you’re taking all of that negative energy out of you and letting it all go,” she says. She concentrates so hard on getting her kicks and punches right, she says she doesn’t even realize she’s working out. Win, win, right?

5. Get the family involved in your lifestyle.

On the weekend, Sangita’s daughters, Shyla, 9, and Ava, 12, come along for a family Crossfit event, and Ava can be seen on Sangita’s #FitnessTuesday workout videos and on her YouTube channel because, quite simply, she enjoys working out with her mama.

“It’s interesting because when I was growing up, I wasn’t exposed to my parents working out. I mean, they were first-generation immigrants to Canada, so they worked and they came home. My kids, it’s different,” Sangita says. “They’re exposed to their dad and mom working out, we take them to the gym, they do some fun stuff, my kids love being outside … they live an active life.” By staying active with the fam, Sangita manages to fit in family time and take care of her health, and theirs, too.

Emilie Dingfeld
Emilie has worked in the editorial world for 10 years, focusing mainly on health, beauty, and lifestyle topics. Her career has taken her to Paris, France to cover beauty launches (she’s fluent in French) and sailing in St. Martin. Currently, she is working as a copy editor in a newsroom in Ontario, Canada, and is also a Pilates instructor in training.