You might know Nina Davuluri as the recently named Miss America—or maybe you know her from the ridiculous controversy that erupted on Twitter over an Indian-American taking home the crown.
But behind the parade of crazy gowns, cameras, and social media, Davuluri is just a nice, normal person who tries to fit in sweat sessions and eat well to stay in shape, just like the rest of us.
And don’t mistake this Flywheel and CrossFit loving pageant queen for someone who subsists solely on celery sticks. “It’s not about doing Paleo all the time or following the trends,” she says. “It’s all about maintaining a healthy routine—it’s okay to eat carbs sometimes. It’s normal!”
So what do snacks and workouts look like for Davuluri? We met up with her for a ride at Flywheel on New York’s Upper West Side to find out:
Beauty competitions get criticized for their unrealistic ideals of beauty. Do you ever feel pressure to be super skinny? Absolutely not. The Miss America Organization always has an emphasis on lifestyle and fitness. That’s why we actually call it the lifestyle competition instead of the swimsuit competition, and we value healthy bodies. It’s not about being a size zero. As long as that person is physically fit and healthy, that’s what they’re looking for.
You’ve been really open about how you used to be 50 pounds heavier. How does your weight loss journey affect your current workout routine? Quite a bit. I’m putting such an emphasis on balance because that’s what I’ve learned. I used to put such an emphasis on crash dieting, but you just cannot live healthy like that. And so yes, losing the weight was difficult, but I’m actually the most proud of myself for maintaining it.
That’s a great attitude. So what do you do to stay fit? For me at least, now that I’m on the road as Miss America, I’m traveling 20,000 miles a month on average. So it’s really 90 percent diet. I try to stick to high protein, low carbs, eating healthy snacks along the way, and exercising whenever I can.
What workouts do you fit in on the road—and what would you rather be doing? Obviously I love Flywheel, which is why I’m here today. I also did a lot of CrossFit before I was Miss America. But now that I’m on the road, I do a lot of interval sprints on the treadmill because that’s do-able at hotel gyms. I also try to keep strength and weight training.
You’re clearly very dedicated. What’s the best piece of workout advice you’ve ever received? Stay balanced. It’s not only about working out, and it’s not only about eating right, it’s a combination of both. And if you fall off the wagon for one meal, get right back on the wagon for the next. Don’t wait until the next day.
So what did you eat the day of the Miss America pageant? Everything in the vicinity! The thing is, we’re there for two whole weeks, so we need to eat carbs to keep our energy levels up. You’re going from 6:00 a.m. to almost 1:00 a.m. And so the day of, they had healthy snacks for us, like Greek yogurt, protein bars, fruit and nuts. It was actually really easy to stay healthy during the whole competition. —Jamie McKillop