Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola from MTV's "Jersey Shore" is known, along with her castmates, as a party girl.
On TV, she's been a part of much drama while the cast has stayed in Seaside Heights, N.J.; Florence, Italy; and Miami Beach. The fifth season, which started Jan. 5, sees the group returning to New Jersey.
They define their lives as "GTL," meaning gym, tan, laundry. And Giancola likes to keep in shape, hitting the gym just about every day. In fact, Giancola played center-midfield at William Paterson University until 2009.
These days, what's her secret to keeping slender while partying hard? Club soda and vodka.
Why do you keep fit?
Because it makes me feel good mentally and physically. I want to look good and feel good. When you look good, you feel good. And it minimizes the stress level.
I played soccer in college, so health and fitness has always been a huge part of my life. I want to move toward that direction, maybe with my career and life [after the show ends]. I want to be healthy and live life as best as I can.
What's your workout routine?
When we're filming, everyone is known for GTL. What's crazy, we actually go to the gym every day. GTL is our routine ... I work out every day. Love it.
In Italy (during Season 4), the gym situation was different. Only two people in our house knew how to drive a stick-shift, so we had to walk almost everywhere and the gym was far. I was losing weight by walking. It was difficult for me to not go to the gym and do my normal workout routine. We filmed for a month and a half there and then straight to Seaside and back to the routine: GTL.
What are your workouts when not filming?
I've been going three to five times a week. I vary exercises and don't always go to the gym. When I don't, I'll try to work out 10 minutes before bed. Lunges, pushups, abs, yoga. A little of everything.
When I'm at the gym, it's at least 45 minutes to an hour. Arms, legs, treadmill, elliptical for cardio. I do a lot of leg machines to keep my leg muscles up since I'm not playing soccer as much, and calves. For arms, I do sets of tris (triceps) on arm machines. Arms are my weak point.
You guys party hard on the show. How do you work out the next day?
It's so weird. We get up and work out after a night of partying. It's crazy. But it's our routine. We like to go out early. Some people in the house can't work out after, but I love fitness and do the best I can.
What about when you were living in Miami Beach?
We would walk on the beach a lot or play Frisbee and volleyball on the beach.
Have you changed physically since starting "Jersey Shore"?
When I was playing soccer, I was a lot more thicker. Was more muscular. I'm not doing the hard college workout now that I used to. I think I'm a decent size, just not crazy muscles.
Do you still play soccer?
I've played since I was 12. Now I play with a bunch of high school friends indoors twice a week.
What conditioning did you do for college soccer?
It was brutal. Eat, sleep, play soccer. A lot of work, but fun. It entailed a lot of running, drills, soccer moves, skills, abs and pushups, and other fitness routines, scrimmaging.
So you like playing sports in addition to just keeping healthy?
I was like my dad's boy when I was younger so we pushed sports. Softball, soccer — sports was my thing. I love how sports make me feel, accomplishing an activity. I did track — hurdles — in high school and the 400 relay. Softball when really young.
Your family keeps active?
My sister works out at the gym and on Wednesday night has a cardio dance class. She's an amazing person, an exercise person. We eat healthy. When Mom's shopping, she's buying healthy food so we know we're eating healthy.
Do you have any physical problems that hinder exercise?
No. Never broke a bone in my life, no bloody nose.
Do you smoke or have any other health vices?
Nope, I don't smoke or do drugs.
Do you take vitamins?
I'll take calcium chews and fish oils and a daily multivitamin. If I'm working out, maybe a protein bar. I'm lactose-intolerant, so I have to be careful.
What's your typical daily diet?
When I'm home, I like a really good breakfast. Makes me feel full for the rest of the day. Egg-white omelet with sweet toast, maybe cereal, oatmeal.
For lunch, peanut butter on wheat-bread sandwich. I'll eat a normal dinner: grilled chicken, vegetables. If I'm at home, my mom will cook.
I'm not a snacker, but on the show I'll snack when drinking. And we're eight people living together, so we have snacks and all types of food — chips, cookies. When you're hungry and you see that, you'll eat it.
In Italy, the food was much healthier. It was amazing. The food didn't have chemicals. Was natural, organic.
What do you drink typically?
A lot of water and juice. Sometimes my juice is high in calories so that's not good, but I like the flavor. I like Lipton Diet Green Tea with Citrus. I think I'm allergic to soda. At restaurants, I'll drink it, but I stay away at home.
[For alcohol], I'll drink anything, you know. Actually, in Italy we were trying to stay healthy. We would have club soda and vodka. Not all the juice and concoctions.