Nina Davuluri lost 53 pounds two years before being crowned Miss America 2013, thanks to circuit training, weight-lifting and a healthy diet.
The 5-foot-7 Davuluri, who once tipped the scales at 170 pounds, has credited her strength-building workouts with trainer Tia Falcone for her dramatic weight loss. Falcone says emphasizing weight-training over cardio exercise was critical to Nina's makeover.
"All women need to gain as much muscle as humanly possible," Falcone told FitSugar Oct. 1. "That’s what’s going to make you smaller, and it raises your base metabolism permanently. You’re not going to change the shape of your body [with cardio], you’re just going to be exactly like you are but you’ll be a smaller version."
Like other trainers, Falcone said women need to get over their fear of weight-lifting and focus on becoming strong instead of focusing exclusively on burning calories through cardio workouts. Building lean muscle will ensure optimal weight loss, she explained.
Falcone said adopting a mindset to eat for fuel (instead of only for flavor, or out of boredom) has been the reigning Miss America's biggest diet and weight-loss secret.
Davuluri, who suffered from bulimia before slimming down two years ago, overhauled her diet and now eats mostly egg whites, chicken, Greek yogurt and lots of vegetables. She avoids artificial sweeteners and white foods (e.g., flour, bread, pasta) and eats very little processed or junk foods.
"The less processed stuff you eat, the better," said Falcone. "So if it’s in a bag, it’s probably not good for you. If it’s in a box, then you know it’s really not good for you."