(Health.com) -- On a soundstage in Los Angeles, Sarah Michelle Gellar, 34, has just finished filming a scene for her new CW show, "Ringer." We sit on a couch on set, a well-thumbed script beside her. Still in an olive gown and full makeup, she's ready for her next scene -- oh, except for the pair of white Nikes on her feet.
It's a perfect illustration of how this working mom (of 2-year-old Charlotte) and wife (of nine years, to Freddie Prinze Jr.) manages both sides of her life. Much like the twins she plays on TV, she has twin personas: "I'm Sarah Michelle Gellar when I'm at work," she says, "and I'm Sarah Prinze when I'm not."
As the crew sets up the next shot, Sarah talks about her healthy food obsession, why she naps during lunch, and the "weekends off" rule she credits for keeping her happy.
Q: How do you think growing up in New York City affected who you are today?
I think, automatically, you look at the world differently if you're from a big city. You're never bored, you don't stay home, you're always on your feet. I think it generates type A personalities.
Q: What are your favorite workouts?
I like anything outdoors. But I'm just as happy on a treadmill. I love Pilates. I grew up with [stretches her back], and I still have, major scoliosis.
Growing up in Manhattan, you had your schoolbag, but we were so trend-conscious, nobody wanted to put a backpack on both shoulders, so almost all the girls I grew up with have it to some degree, because we all were so lopsided. So Pilates not only is a great exercise, but does relieve a lot of discomfort.
Q: How did you keep fit when you were pregnant?
Well, I went into labor at the Pilates gym.
Q: You didn't!
And it was funny, too, because I was getting cranky, and I said to my trainer, "I'm just cranky today." She was like, "Maybe it's because you're going to give birth!" And I was like, "Nah, not yet." It turned out I was in labor, I didn't realize.
Q: Have you changed your workout since you started Ringer?
Ha, ha, um, if you count walking from Stage 3 to Stage 16! No. If anything, it's downgraded. And I made sure that my body was strong before we started, because these hours are really difficult.
Q: Do you have a go-to way to lose five pounds?
I don't believe in trying to trick your body into things. I eat healthy, I exercise, I love food -- but I don't like junk food. I mean, we're women. We go up by five pounds, we lose it, depending on the water, the moon, your cycle, whatever. So I just try to maintain.
Q: You seem so confident. Do you ever have moments of insecurity?
Oh God ... I'm a female! [Laughs.] I totally have body dysmorphic disorder. I think most women do.
A makeup artist friend once said, "I don't think I've ever seen you look in a mirror." I'm surrounded by them all the time -- you sit in hair and makeup -- so I guess I just have this mechanism where I tune it out. So every once in a while, I'll look and I'll be like, "Wait, that's what I look like?"
I just have to remember that I'm human, and I'm a mom. Being a parent changes the vanity at least a little bit. It has to. Your priorities are different.
Q: If you were ever to put a famous woman's body on your fridge for inspiration, whose would it be?
I would never do that to myself, especially because I'm aware of the airbrushing and trainers and food programs. You have to use yourself as inspiration. I think if I were ever going to put something up, I would put a picture of myself where I was proud of my body. But I would rather not look at a picture of myself on my fridge. In fact, we have a nonmagnetic fridge.
Q: What picture would it be?
Probably before I got pregnant -- I was in really, really good shape. I think when I was doing Buffy I was a little bit thin, actually, because even though I was working out constantly, it was just the time and the age. But I was happy being pregnant, too. I'm not as critical as I used to be about my body.
And it's also funny, too, how women perceive women, and how men perceive women. Because a woman will look at the skinniest person and think that's the most attractive, and a man will not think that's attractive at all!
Q: Everything I'm seeing now is about Kate Middleton, like, "Oh my God, she's rail thin."
But it seems like people are worried that she's stressed. I feel like 10 years ago, it would have been like, "Oh, she looks incredible." Whereas you look at her sister, who has such a fabulously athletic body -- I mean, a real athlete's body -- and I think there's this movement now, where more women, finally, want to look like that.
Q: How will you raise your daughter so she has a healthy outlook?
Well, we've already taught her to love [healthy] food. We took her to sushi on Saturday night, and everybody couldn't believe what she inhaled.
I think it's important at a young age to enjoy different tastes. And we make this green juice for her. It's basically everything but the kitchen sink. We go to the farmers' market and buy everything and just put it in the juicer: kale, Swiss chard, carrots, celery. You name it. And now we've all started drinking it, and we've all been healthier.
Q: You drink it in the morning?
In the afternoons. And we all get that boost. Messy to clean up, though. I'm going to invent a juicer that self-cleans and I'm going to retire!
Q: Who gets the job of having to clean it?
[Puts head down and jokingly whispers] My husband.
Q: What has been your favorite age?
Oh, right now, for sure. A lot of people say how much more relaxed I am, and it's because I don't take things as seriously. You know, it's not just [about] work, I have a different priority. And I can let things roll off differently. The only thing that makes me mad is if I lose time with my child.
Q: Is there a way you speed up the quality time with your family?
Napping. That's why I never do anything at lunch, because most of the time I eat before we break for lunch, and I nap during lunch. I don't want to miss the mornings with her, so no matter how late we work, I get up with her. My weekends I refuse to work. Because that's her time. I love this job -- it's not my first priority anymore.
Q: What's your go-to healthy meal?
Sushi, probably. I eat a lot of fish, and it's so high in omegas. I do love some halibut sashimi with truffle, I like me some blue crab hand roll. Ooh, I'm making myself hungry.
Q: What's the one thing you put on that makes you feel really good about yourself?
I'm a New Yorker: T-shirt and blue jeans. My stylist years ago said, "If you have a crisp white shirt and a nice pair of blue jeans, you can't go wrong."
Q: Do you worry about what you're putting on, and if paparazzi will be taking pictures?
If you've seen some of my paparazzi pictures recently, you would knoooooow I don't!
Q: You and your husband have been married for nine years, which is a lifetime in Hollywood, of course. What's your secret?
We communicate. That's my secret. It's not a secret, but it's how I handle all my good relationships, whether they're male-female [or not]. If you bottle things up, it explodes on you.
Q: How do you keep from getting too stressed out?
I'm not saving the world. I have to remember that I like my job, but it's work, and it's not my life. My life is my family. And I think that's the best thing. You know, take a minute. It's not the end of the world.
Q: If you could paint a picture of you in your happiest place, where are you?
Snuggling with my daughter. Doesn't matter where. I could be on a subway. I don't care.
Copyright Health Magazine 2011