Genetics are one thing, hard work is another. Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima is fortunate to have both in the bag. The Brazillian bombshell is no stranger to the gym — and her workout of choice involves little more than a jump rope, two gloves and some coconut water. Oh, and a former middleweight boxing champ.
Trainer to some of the most photographed bods in the biz, Michael Olajide, Jr., has kept Lima at the top of her game for 10-plus years, using his AEROBOX method to deliver cardio, strength, endurance and more. And while one workout does not an “angel” make, DailyBurn jumped in with the 32-year-old supermodel (and mother of two) for a 45-minute burn session (part of a benefit for the St. Lukes Foundation for Haiti). Read on to learn how Lima stays in runway-strutting shape, and what cheat meal she’s reaching for after the show’s over.
Have you always loved exercise?
Honestly, it was hard because I never found something I really loved — not until I started boxing. I knew I wanted to be healthy and find a workout that would fit my personality. I tried many different things: spinning, aerobics, step, yoga. And then I tried boxing and I loved it; it became my passion. I love that it’s an intense workout, and it’s the best form of cardio. You get toned but not bulky. And it’s not boring. Every day you learn something new, whether that’s different combinations of punches, or more moves with the rope. You’re always building up to a new level, and that helps with your confidence as well.
When you’re short on time, what’s your go-to workout?
Some days you have an hour, and some days you only have 15 minutes. So the most important thing is to keep moving. And that’s one of the greatest things about jumping rope. You don’t always need a whole hour to work out. You jump for 15 minutes — and that can sometimes be [just as effective as] 45 minutes of running. Plus, it’s easy to travel with, and you can do it anywhere.
What’s the one exercise you love to hate right now?
The Ab Wheel. I hate it!
And your favorite move?
I love to spar.
How do you fuel your workouts? What’s for breakfast each morning?
It depends. I go for oatmeal, eggs, fruit, smoothies. It helps to have a variety of healthy options around.
When you have a big show or photo shoot coming up, how do you prep?
I try to work out every day if I can. But the most important thing is what you eat. You can’t skip meals because these workouts are so intense. You need something substantial to give you the energy to get you through those boxing and cardio sessions. [Post-workout], I usually drink a protein shake to re-fuel my muscles.
Do you feel pressure to always be camera-ready?
I don’t feel pressure to be camera-ready at all, actually. I’m very natural in the way that I look. And working out is something that I do out of love. Even if my modeling career comes to an end, I’m still going to keep doing this.
What are some of the misconceptions people tend to have about models and fitness?
I think now times are changing. Before, models weren’t necessarily working out as much. But right now, there seems to be more of a focus on being healthier. We want to be a little more toned. We want lean muscle. We want to look — and feel — good. People can sometimes think that models don’t eat or don’t work out, but that’s not the truth. We do work out, and we do eat.
So… your favorite cheat meal?
Cupcakes! I love cupcakes — it’s crazy! My favorite place in the whole world is run by a friend of mine in Miami, The Baking Girl. She makes the best cupcakes.
You have two daughters. How do you instill in them a healthy body image?
I try to be an example for my daughters with everything, including health. I eat balanced, healthy meals. I cook and I work out. Sometimes I bring them with me [to the gym] — so they can be there. I sit and have meals with my children when I’m home. I cook for them, and they help me cook. It’s important.
So will they grow up to be models or boxers — or both?
They’re still so young; they don’t know what they want to be yet! But whatever it is, I’m here to support them.
And if you weren’t a model, what career path would you have chosen instead?
I think I would be a doctor — a pediatrician.
World … Cup … Are you excited?
Yes, I am! I plan to go back to Brazil during it at some point. I’m so excited it’s happening over there. We’re very passionate about soccer in our country. If you drive around, literally on every corner you see children playing soccer. It’s just part of our culture; it’s in our blood. I’ve tried to play — but I suck, big time. I’m afraid of the ball. Well, I’m not that bad. I can pass the ball; I can do it a little. But [this June] I’ll just be cheering instead!