10 Supermodel Icons Who Sculpted Their Ideal Physique
Supermodels make a living looking a very specific way, and they train for runways just like athletes train for sports competitions and games. But how do they keep up their wellness routines when they aren't working? Just ask models such as Elle Macpherson, Vanessa Williams, Tyra Banks, and others who combined specific diets and workouts to get into the best shape of their lives. Here are the secrets behind their stunning physiques—no crazy diets required!
Alessandra Ambrosio, 42, is not a fan of restrictive diets. "Whenever I start to diet, everything goes downhill," she says. "So if I want a little bite of dark chocolate on a plane or a cocktail with friends on the weekend, I'll have it. In fact, I'll drink a glass of red wine with dinner most nights, and two or three times a week I'll have a cup of tea and a cupcake with [my daughter] Anja." Ambrosio swears by Pilates for her stunning physique. "It's important to break a sweat every day, and I love the way Pilates makes me feel long and lean," she says.
Iman, 67, gained a few pounds during the pandemic lockdowns and intends to keep them. "People keep wanting to be extremely skinny with no body fat," she says. "As you get older that shows in your face and hands. You lose the collagen. People run to get fillers and stuff like that. I'm intending to keep the 8 lbs… Just because you are over 50 and you put on five pounds, dear Lord, let's not stress over that!" The supermodel stays active for both health and wellness. "I started really started working out around 30," she says. "I stay in shape by boxing and hiking."
Cindy Crawford, 57, works out with a trainer and eats plenty of vegetables. "Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are my usual workout days," she says. "I have a trainer come in and we do stairs and weights. I'm kind of old-school with the workouts because that's what works for my body. Monday is my sacred day when I use the infrared sauna down in my gym. When I get out of the sauna and I take a shower I always feel like it's as clean as I'll get. You sweat out all of the toxins and then you do a cold blast in the shower. Then I really feel like I'm ready to go."
Elle Macpherson, 59, is happiest when she's working out in the fresh air. "I believe in maintenance, I'm not a big binge and purge person," she says. "I think it's really important to maintain wellness year-round. Not because it looks good but it actually feels good – which is really important when you're running a business and you've got kids and a full life. It's easy – I just make good choices and I enjoy the choices that I make. I really enjoy a plant-based diet, I love vegetables… I do sports like water skiing, running, cycling, swimming laps, snow skiing if it's winter, walking the dogs – I just love to be outdoors."
Vanessa Williams, 60, says her best advice for fitness is to stay active. "Just eating as clean as you possibly can when you have a goal to attain," she says. "If I wanted to drop a few pounds for any kind of event or red carpet, you cut out alcohol, you cut out sugar, you cut out carbs. Juicing, hot water and lemon — those are all great cleansers to keep you hydrated … nowadays it's so easy to get organic products, whether they are seaweed snacks or anything. I try to do something everyday, whether it's taking a class or jumping on the treadmill. Also, yoga, just trying to keep moving for sure."
Tyra Banks, 49, uses food journals to keep herself accountable without having to count calories. "I used to feel like my body was not mine," Banks says. "I've been too thin or too big. And I used to feel like I was betraying people if I lost weight. I do not believe in diets. I have been on diets in the past. They are a bunch of bologna. This is a lifestyle change. It's not about being skinny. It's about being in the best shape you can be."
Claudia Schiffer, 52, loves taking walks with her family. "We eat seasonal, locally grown fruit and vegetables that are pesticide-free, and organically produced meat and dairy from local farms," she says. "I start my day with quinoa, pineapple, almond slithers and fresh almond milk with dates in it. Lunch usually consists of vegetables and a small amount of turkey, chicken or fish, and it's the same for dinner. Snacks are sheep's or goat's yogurt with banana, chia seeds and flax seeds, and treats are always chocolate, a great red wine or my favorite Leoube rosé. I also love the traditional old-fashioned German stews that my mother used to cook for me, which I now have when I'm with my siblings in Hamburg."
Irina Shayk, 37, is not a fan of what she calls traditional cardio. "Running is my worst nightmare, so I've had to find something I enjoy that gets me all the calorie-burning benefits of cardio without boring me to death," she says. "I started jiu-jitsu with my personal trainer and it's great. It's a Japanese self-defense discipline, but because there's so many possible move combinations, it's brilliant for constantly challenging my body and pushing it to exhaustion every time. I do it four times a week when I'm at home in New York, then if I'm traveling I try to work out in my hotel room or at work during breaks, focusing on simple barre moves that don't need any equipment and really work my arms and bum."
Lauren Hutton, 79, loves diving, trekking, and other outdoors activities. "For breakfast, I have oatmeal and fruit salad with yogurt and honey and nuts, or huevos rancheros," she says. "In L.A., there's a place that has a great seeded bialy with harissa, a soft fried egg, and arugula. That's a weakness. I take off the thicker slice of bread. I don't want to eat too much bread. I check my weight every day, so if I find that it's going north, I try to just eat either protein and vegetables or carbohydrates and vegetables. You don't want to mix protein and carbohydrates because that's when it sticks to you. I do that for three or four days, and it changes my weight very quickly."
Heidi Klum, 50, tries to maintain a balanced lifestyle, and spends as much time as possible being active rather than hitting the gym. "The myth that models don't eat is totally not true," she says. "I just think that because we're in this business, we have to choose more wisely… It's not just about doing the cardio so that you're nice and fit, and slim and trim, but your heart needs to pump, too. I love my shape because it's mine. At the end of the day, it's not what anyone else thinks about my body but how I feel about myself. I'm working it and owning it!"