Vanessa Hudgens Switches Off the Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting: ‘You Feel Really Energetic’

If there’s a hot new diet or workout class out there, chances are Vanessa Hudgens has tried it.

The self-described “exercise fanatic” is all about challenging her body with different fitness classes and eating plans to feel her best. But she also finds ways to indulge in her favorite foods.

“I’ve been intermittent fasting a lot, because for me, I love pasta, I love pizza, and when I’m not eating carbs I feel like a little piece of me dies,” Hudgens, 30, tells PEOPLE with a laugh. “Intermittent fasting is great, because when I am fasting — those first two weeks are definitely rough, I’m not going to lie, but after that I feel more grounded and powerful in my workouts. And I get the nutrients that I need when I eat, but then I also eat what I want.”

Hudgens says she eats for six hours — between noon and 6 p.m. — and fasts for the other 18.

“I feel like it’s a recipe that works for me,” she says. “Everyone’s different of course, but for me, that’s what’s been the most beneficial so far.”

Sticking to that six-hour eating window is tough, though, for Hudgens to maintain when she’s filming. So the RENT Live star goes “back and forth” between intermittent fasting and another trendy diet: keto.

“It’s great,” she says. “If you have the right ingredients to keep you on track, I think it’s amazing. People a lot of times think of fats in diets as a negative thing, and when you’re doing keto it’s a very positive thing. I’m always making sure I’m getting those healthy fats in, so I eat a LOT of almond butter. You feel really energetic and supported on the keto diet.”

While Hudgens changes up her eating habits, she’s found a consistent exercise plan in the last few years.

“I feel like I’ve kind of found a recipe for my body that works,” she says. “It’s SoulCycle for cardio, to keep my heart healthy. It’s Pilates for lengthening, leaning and toning. And yoga for my mental health.”

Hudgens will work out six days a week, but she often doubles up on classes each day — on Thursday she took a Pilates class and then headed to SoulCycle. The actress jokes that she’s “basically always working out,” which means she’s also well-versed on the merits of her workout gear. She’s putting her knowledge to the test with her new line of athletic wear with AVIA, released Friday.

Hudgens thought about the things she wants out of her workout gear and made it happen in her capsule collection.

“I know for me, and I feel like for just about all women, you want a high waisted legging,” she says. “It just kind of holds everything in and makes you feel great when you look in the mirror. You just look better and feel better. I also look for a fabric that’s durable so you feel supported. Nothing’s worse than putting on a pair of leggings that’s saggy in different places. I wanted to make sure that the material was going to be durable and practical.”

Hudgens wanted clothes that would be a “confidence booster.”

“Fitness is a massive part of my existence,” she says. “It’s no secret that I’m an exercise fanatic, and I think it’s so important to feel good and confident in what you’re wearing, even when you’re working out, so I wanted to design a collection that is functional but also stylish.”

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