How Carrie Underwood transformed her body since American Idol

Carrie Underwood made history in 2005 when she became the first country singer to win American Idol.

“This is the best night of my life, and it’s about to get better,” a then 21-year-old Underwood told Associated Press (via Fox News) after beating out rocker Bo Bice on the season four finale of the hit singing competition.

And better it certainly got. With 58 million records sold worldwide and multiple Grammy awards to her name, Carrie Underwood isn’t just one of the most successful American Idol alums, she’s one of the biggest stars in country music today, with an estimated worth of $75 million.

But beyond her career and financial success, the new mom to baby Isaiah is also in the best shape of her life, looking even more flawless than she did over a decade ago. Let’s take a look at how Carrie Underwood went from American Idol sweetheart to country music bombshell.

A country cutie

During her time on American Idol, Carrie Underwood was the epitome of a “girl next door.” Often seen performing in jeans, casual tees, minimal makeup, and naturally curly hair, the Oklahoma native was just like all of us — totally average. Still, this didn’t stop Internet haters from doing what they do best. “Back when I was on American Idol, I was a bit heavier than I am now,” she told Us Weekly (via Toronto Sun). “Apparently I was fat. Of course I wasn’t, but sometimes words people choose are not the nicest.”

The singer also admitted to the mag that, because it was the first time she was ever in the public eye, it was challenging to ignore all the negativity. “It was impossible not to look online and see what they were saying,” she said. Luckily, she was ultimately able to use that as motivation for a new healthier lifestyle.

An ‘American Idol’ makeover

Just one year after rising to American Idol glory, a noticeably slimmed down Carrie Underwood attended the 2006 Billboard music awards. She didn’t just look like a star in her form-fitted cocktail dress, she totally slayed at the award show, picking up five trophies, including best new country artist.

So how did the newbie country star get red carpet ready? Good old fashioned diet and exercise. “I gained weight on the show, but I didn’t starve myself afterward,” Underwood said in a 2007 interview with Cosmopolitan. “I may think about it a little too much. I might feel guilty if I eat a pizza. But I’ve tried to be healthy and exercise as much as I can. If that’s made me lose weight, I guess I needed to.”

A little work goes a long way

To support her double-platinum sophomore album, Carni­val Ride, Underwood spent nearly a year on tour in 2008, playing hundreds of shows across venues large and small. In the fall, with about 140 gigs to go, she told Elle that her schedule was so hectic, she often woke up in a hotel room with no idea of where she was.

“Growing up, I always thought musicians would wake up at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, play a show, and party all night,” the then 27-year-old said in an interview with WebMD. “It’s not what happens at all! There’s a lot of work and planning, and no partying.”

And with such a hectic schedule, it’s important for Underwood to stay in optimal health. “In our catering area we have this huge table of supplements for people — little things like vitamin C, echinacea, stuff like that, because if one person gets a cold, everybody’s getting a cold,” she said. She also made plenty of time to sweat it out at the gym. “If I can wake up and I go get a good cardio session in at a class,” she told WebMD, “a class at a gym nearby, or me on the treadmill, I’m happier throughout the day.”

Enjoying the fruits of her labor

By the end of 2009, Carrie Underwood had another Grammy win under her belt, and was happily engaged her pro hockey player beau, Mike Fisher. With the help of her personal trainer Tony Greco, who amped up the bride-to-be’s pre-wedding workouts to include a balance of cardio and strength training, Underwood earned the title of Fitness magazine’s “Best Bridal Body” in 2010.

Stuff she’s learned from her trainer? AM workouts are best. “A lot of stuff happens in the afternoon, so I can get up and have a workout, which makes me feel awesome for the rest of my day,” Underwood told Women’s Health. Cardio workouts, like boxing and jumping rope, are her faves because “the endorphins make me feel good.” She also enjoys kettle bell workouts, especially when she’s out on the road and can’t get to a gym. “They don’t take up much space and work out a lot of different muscles.”

Commitment is key

Few things are more motivating than a wedding to kick your fitness into high gear. But once the festivities are over, many people might fall into bad habits. Not Carrie Underwood. “I’m a very regimented eater. I’ve kept food journals for years now,” she told Self. “I’m 95 percent vegan. I’ll never eat meat again, because I look and feel better without it.”

As for making it work with her hubby and his very different eating habits? It’s all about compromise. “My husband would rather go out to restaurants than eat at home — it makes me mad! I really enjoy cooking and eating together at home,” Underwood told the mag. “If he’s watching TV and I’m cooking, I’m like, ‘Hey, you’re being lazy — come help!’ It’s a nice time to be together and talk. Plus, I don’t know what to do with meat, so if Mike wants it to taste good and doesn’t want to end up in the hospital with food poisoning, it’s best if he makes it himself.”

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