We sat down with Laila Ali, who continued Muhammad Ali, her father’s legacy in the sport, as well as trailblazing outside of it. As a professional boxer who went undefeated in her career, she held the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA female super middleweight titles and the IWBF light heavyweight title. She is a TV personality and host of OWN’s Home Made Simple, participating in Dancing with the Stars, Food Network’s Chopped as well as Celebrity Apprentice. In our interview, we took time to talk with her about the importance of fitness, nutrition and how we can focus on spring cleaning this time of year.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Can you tell us the moment when you realized that you wanted to be a boxer and eventually parlaying that into TV hosting, nutrition and wellness?
LAILA ALI: So I first saw women’s boxing on television when I was about 17 years old and that was when I first had the idea and desire to become a professional boxer myself. So it wasn’t right away that I took the leap because I was at school full time and I had a business at the time and it took me about a year to start training and once I did, that was it – end of story. Of course I ended with 24-0, 21 KOs and 4 world titles.
So boxing was my first love and I focused so much time and energy on it for about 9 years and then I decided I wanted to retire and to start a family, then I started to think about what I wanted to do next. Right around that time, Dancing With the Stars called and I decided to do the show as it was a great platform for me to show other sides of myself. From there, I just went onto TV hosting and different opportunities. During that 5 year period I began to think about what I was passionate about, what I wanted to do next, and that was really when I came to the conclusion that I really wanted to be able to help other people live their best life. I wanted to help them make healthy lifestyle choices and then I started doing shows such as Home Made Simple which I host, now which comes on OWN every Saturday. I’m able to work with families, make their living spaces amazing, also cook healthy recipes with them out of my cookbook Food For Life and now we’re launching our own product line which is simple plantbased cleaning products. They are available at select Walmart stores and Walmart.com.
So, things have really come full circle, but it was all about really encouraging people to make healthy lifestyle choices and live their best life.
AM: Can you tell us a little more about Home Made Simple’s product extension of cleaning products and why you enjoy using them?
LA: So we have hand soap, we have dish soap, we’ve got laundry detergent, fabric softener, multipurpose spray. It comes in lemon, lavender and rosemary. All of these products are not only safe and affordable, but they are effective and that is the most important thing. I’m all about using products that are good for my family, the environment and Home Made Simple’s products are amazing in that they actually work as well.
AM: We know that you have a number of tips about cleaning your home – especially in a way that keeps it simple, can you share 3 with us?
LA: Now is the time that everyone is thinking about spring cleaning right? We are in my household as well! Some of the things that I like to do is to get my kids involved and what I do is give them a series of chores on a chart. When they have done everything that they need to do, then I reward them. Whatever they are asking me for, I tell them that they can get it once they have gotten all of their stars on their chart. One of the other things that works out really well for me is not to wait for things to pile up. I like to take 10-15 minutes out of everyday to put things in their place. Another tip I have is that whenever you have things that you want to give away or get rid of, clothes that don’t fit anymore – put them in a big bin. I leave mine in the garage and remove them quarterly as it keeps clutter down. Every time you buy things – when you bring something into the household, you take something else out. We all have things in our kitchens and other rooms of the house that can be placed in a bin. I think that when you do that, you’re encouraged to donate items and I think that it’s really good to be able to help those in need or to be able to repurpose those items. That’s how it keeps everything nice and organized. Of course, it's all about using products that you love and that work and Home Made Simple really makes that easy to do with their new plant-based cleaning products.
AM: With it being the Spring and people needing ways to spruce up food options when it comes to supporting their workout, what smoothies and power foods should we think about incorporating into our day to day?
LA: I think it’s very important to be consistent first of all and make sure that you are getting enough rest so that you can do your best workout. Staying hydrated is key! A lot of people don’t realize how important it is to drink water as it enhances your performance, effects the way that you think and it’s really important to do. I like to have a protein shake after I workout. I don’t want to eat and put my body through having to digest food which is more work. I like to have a protein shake and just kind of get everything in and then eat a couple of hours after which is what my routine is.
AM: As someone who I’m sure travels a lot, what are 3 skincare products that you swear by that you enjoy using in your routine?
LA: I don’t think that it’s so much products or about a routine. I make sure that I clean my skin really well every night. I wash my face and I use a good moisturizer before I go to bed. In the morning I like to clean my face in the shower after my pores have opened up with the hot steam and then I will clean my face. I like to use my Clarisonic because it really gets into those pores really well. So those are tips that I have. Water and sweating are actually amazing for your skin. Sweating out toxins and that comes from working out and drinking water. Beauty comes from within.
AM: We’re all about #Tribegoals and the power of tribes which are the source of inspiration. Who are 3 people that you are inspired by?
LA: Well I definitely have a tribe of people that are around me. I think that every successful person does. It takes a team and nobody is doing it by themselves. My husband is part of my tribe and is my best friend, my confidant. One of my best girlfriends is like my person my go to who will keep it real with me and be honest. I don’t want to have yes people around me. Of course I would also include my business associates as well.
You can hear Laila Ali's interview now on our show, #TRIBEGOALS which is a part of Athleisure Studio, our multimedia podcast network! Make sure to subscribe to find out when the episode drops. You can hear it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and wherever you enjoy listening to your favorite podcast.