Since the age of nine, actress Tika Sumpter has stayed active through tap, jazz and ballet classes and competitive cheerleading, but it wasn't until the star of Tyler Perry's upcoming OWN series The Haves and the Have Nots took her first Pure Barre class that she started to really feel her muscles burn.
"I heard about Pure Barre, went [to a class] and thought, 'Wow, this is the hardest workout I've ever done," the actress told Us Weekly at a photo shoot for our annual Hot Bodies issue. "You're exerting all this energy, but it's small isolated movements. After the third time going, I saw differences in my body," Sumpter, 32, said of the total body workout class that has studio locations nationwide.
Taking Pure Barre classes 2-3 times per week, Sumpter also works with a trainer and fits in Zumba sessions, "for fun and getting all the stress out of the day," she says. "I think everyone wants to work on something. For me it's about looking good on camera and health," explains Sumpter, who also appeared in Sparkle and on TV's Gossip Girl. "If I'm going to be healthy and feel good, it's nice that it's esthetically pleasing as well."
Staying fueled for her workouts with diet staples like fruit, almonds and oatmeal, Sumpter loves to make smoothies for snacks on most days -- but will never turn down a red velvet cupcake when cravings strike. "I feel like everything, in reason, is fair game," she explains. "I will have a cupcake, but am I having them every day? No."
For Sumpter, sticking to her workout routine helps her gain confidence. "I feel the sexiest when I don't have to worry," she explains.
This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Tika Sumpter: Pure Barre Is "the Hardest Workout I've Ever Done"