When Olivia Ward first appeared on The Biggest Loser, the professional opera singer weighed 261 pounds. Six months later, she had a fit 132-pound body and a new life.

I’m naturally drawn to any kind of cardio running, spinning, anything that gets me moving, says Ward, 37. There is something about the rush you get after a great cardio workout.

HLMS: Was there a mental trick that helped you stick with the hard work on the show?

O: Bob (Harper) and Jillian (Michaels) made it simple. They taught us that it boils down to our choices. There were times when I wanted to stop, and then I remembered I always had a choice. I would ask myself if I wanted to press on. The answer was always yes.

What exercise is most effective for you in burning calories and building muscle?

O: I love Spinning and CrossFit. The combination of cardio and strength training gives my body the most complete workout. I can’t get enough!

What advice would you give to our readers who are trying to lose weight?

O: It’s all about baby steps. Start by moving more. Park at the back of the parking lot, take the stairs and always stay hydrated. Its one of the easiest changes you can make in your fitness routine and helps with your overall goals. Not everyone can go to The Biggest Loser Ranch, but everyone can make small choices that add up to huge changes.

For more information about Olivia Ward, visit myfitspiration.com.