Melissa Fumero On Post-Pregnancy Workouts, Face Massages, and Scheduling Her Wellness Routine


The actress shares how the COVID-19 pandemic and having kids changed her approach to exercise and self care.

Having grown up as a dancer, Melissa Fumero knows how much movement can impact your health and mood.

"My mom, like most moms with little girls, put me in dance class because I was a very hyperactive kid," the actress tells Shape over Zoom. "I really fell in love with it, and did it from my whole childhood pretty much until my 20s. Through my high school and college years, I danced anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a week, so for me, I feel the best when I feel strong — and that doesn't necessarily always correlate with what size I am."

Feeling strong helps Fumero keep up with her two young sons, six-year-old Enzo and two-year-old Axel. Plus, that strength and energy help her stay on top of long days working on set. The actress stars in Netflix's series Blockbuster, premiering on November 3, 2022, as Eliza, an employee at the last remaining Blockbuster in the U.S. who's returned to her old high school job after a fallout with her husband. It's a plot that taps into nostalgia for many, including Fumero, who remembers spending Friday nights picking out movies at Blockbuster with her brother.

Fans who fell in love with Fumero as Amy Santiago in the hit procedural comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which ran on Fox from 2013 to 2018 and on NBC from 2018 to 2021, may recognize a hint of Amy's trademark type-A persona in Blockbuster's Eliza. But in Fumero's hands, the characters feel wholly distinct. Still, the actress admits she gives off "type-A energy" herself, and reasons that's perhaps why her characters tend to be highly focused and ambitious as well.

"I'm a planner; I'm very organized," says Fumero. "I love when someone else takes the lead, but if no one's doing it, I'll be quick to be like, 'Okay, here's what we're doing.' In my house, I'm like a house manager."

As it turns out, Fumero also puts some of that type-A energy into her wellness routines. Ahead, she breaks down her workouts regimenn (which she often carefully schedules into her busy days), her favorite self-care methods, and what she loves doing during her time away from work.

Adapting Her Workout Regimen

Though she's not dancing full-time these days, Fumero has a solid workout plan with trainer richard toth. Together, they've crafted a routine that consists of strength training, high intensity interval workouts, and a little bit of yoga.

"We have bodyweight days, and then we have days where we do more kettlebell and heavier weights," says Fumero. "And then we have some days where I'm just trying to catch my breath the whole time," she says with a laugh.

Fumero and Toth first met while she was pregnant with her second child after he began training her husband, actor David Fumero. They began training together over Zoom, along with the occasional outdoor sweat session during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Finding time for wellness has become more of a challenge for Fumero since becoming a mom, she admits. "You realize that you had it so good before you had kids," she jokes. "It was so easy to just like, fit it all in. [Now,] I have to literally schedule my wellness. I love spontaneous workouts, but 90 percent of the time my workouts are planned and scheduled."

In addition to training sessions with Toth, Fumero also loves peleton workout , which are about as spontaneous as she gets when it comes to exercise. "I'll be like, 'I'm [getting] on the Peloton at 9:30, but I will choose my class when I get there.'"

Having kids hasn't just altered Fumero's workout routine. It's also helped her rethink mental health and self care. "I think the other interesting thing I noticed about myself when I was pregnant was that I was really good about self care — and I think it was because I felt like it was not just for me, I was also doing it for my baby," she says. "But I was like, 'Why don't I do that when I'm not pregnant?'"

So during her second pregnancy, Fumero made it a point to commit to caring for herself. "I'm still not as good as during my first pregnancy, where I meditated every day ," she says. "But it has gotten a lot better, and I find I have to be organized and committed to carving out some time — because it does make me a better mom too, at the end of the day."

Creating Self Care Habits

Self care, for Fumero, encapsulates so many things — including skin care. "I, like a lot of people during the pandemic, got really into skin care," she says. "I had a newborn, and so it was kind of an easy thing I could do at home that was a little bit of me-time."

One thing she's really gotten into? Gua sha and face massages. "I do it in the morning sometimes, and I find that it just wakes me up," says Fumero. "It's a really nice ritual before I'm getting ready for something."

Although she's fallen in love with the practice, Fumero isn't perfect, and some of her gua sha tools have paid the price. "I've broken so many gua shas," she says. "You drop that thing and it snaps, and I'm clumsy," she continues. "I'm on my tenth gua sha in like two years."

Also crucial for self care? Getting outside — whether that means an escape to the beach or going on a restorative hike. "I can run a little anxious, so I think those things calm my whole nervous system down," says Fumero.

When she's not working, spending time with her friends or simply by herself is of utmost importance, says the actress. "I find, for me, a bit of quiet alone time can be really restorative," she explains. "My house is very loud because I have two little boys, so anytime I get to just be quiet, I feel like it resets me."

Getting downtime with her husband also acts as a reset for Fumero. "Another thing that my husband and I do often — especially after long days — is after we put the kids down, we'll sit outside with a glass of wine and hang out," she says. "It's the best way to decompress and get whatever is on your mind from the day off your chest and hang out with your bestie and have a good chat."

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