Marisa Miller has a confession to make.
"I'm very shy," says the 5'8" blonde stunner in a friendly voice that seems to contradict the statement. "I know it's weird for a person who models lingerie and swimsuits, but I don't like to be the center of attention!"
Too late for that. Soon after being discovered by famed photographer Mario Testino on a California beach in 2001, she landed a coveted spot in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, which led to a Victoria's Secret contract and numerous endorsement deals.
"Eighty percent of the things I do are not natural for my personality. I believe you have to fake it till you make it. Act like you're confident and you'll get there," says Marisa, who lives in L.A. with her husband of five years, music producer Griffin Guess. There are more words of wisdom where that came from. Check out Marisa's plan for getting everything you want—starting now!
Marisa is known for her phenomenally flat belly. Here, her lean-body secrets.
Zero in on the O. We’re talking about your obliques, the muscles on the sides of your waist that, when targeted, can help melt a muffin top.
"Working your obliques pulls everything together and gives you a slim waist," says Marisa. One of her favorite moves is the alternating crunch: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, elbows out. Lift your legs to the tabletop position (knees and hips bent 90 degrees). Raise your shoulders off the floor as you bring your left elbow to your right knee. Lower, then repeat with your right elbow and left knee.
Perfect the plank. "The plank works your abs and everything else," says Marisa. To do it, hold the upper position of a pushup, keeping your arms straight, back flat, and neck long. Hold for up to 60 seconds.
Give yourself a raise. Marisa also swears by leg lifts. To do them, lie on your back, arms at your sides. Brace your abs, then lift your legs until they’re perpendicular to the floor, keeping them pressed together and as straight as possible. Slowly lift your tailbone an inch off the floor. Reverse to return to start; repeat for one minute.
Diet tricks that really work
Marisa's stay-slim strategies are anything but garden-variety.
Eat naked. Sounds kooky, but she has a point: "Eating smart is all about having an awareness of your body. The most obvious way to do that is by seeing it. So when you're trying to lose weight, spend more time wearing less. I don't think I could eat a plate of nachos naked--could you?"
Prep ahead of time. "I'll cook a batch of brown rice or quinoa and keep it in the fridge, so when I get hungry, I can easily dress it up with olive oil, lemon, and salt and pepper, and then add veggies," says Marisa, who often has zucchini and spinach.
Practice portion control. "I usually say no to the bad things at Whole Foods, but then I get to the register, where they have individually wrapped chocolates. I'll grab five and keep them at home. If I need something sweet, I've got it!" she says.
Make smart swaps. Marisa has found healthier alternatives to fattening foods. Instead of potato chips, she munches on organic kale chips. And she mixes tuna with Wildwood garlic aioli instead of mayo. She also whips up leaner versions of Griffin’s high-fat favorites—such as a BLT made with an Ezekiel English muffin, organic tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, and turkey bacon.
Keep your hands off his junk food. "When I first met Griffin, I gained 10 pounds! When you are falling in love, all you do is make out and eat!" says Marisa. Now she has learned to indulge judiciously. "When I do have one of his favorites, like soda or cake, I look at it as a treat and enjoy it. Because I eat well 90 percent of the time, I don’t feel guilty."
The scenic way to crush calories: Stand-up paddling
This increasingly popular water sport, which entails standing on a long board and using a paddle to pull yourself through the water, is Marisa’s whip-your-body-into-shape weapon. "You’re cruising around, so you’re not focused on the hard work you’re doing," she says. "And you can modify the workout and go faster or slower."
Marisa is so passionate about the sport that she created a line of women’s boards for Surftech. Most boards are designed for men (meaning they’re long and heavy), so Marisa decided to design lighter, thinner boards that are easier to carry to the water and better suited to a woman’s body. The result? The beginner-friendly Surftech Marisa Miller Signature SUP.
Keep your love bond strong
Want to bolster your union? Swipe these tips from a woman who seems deliriously in love with her hubby.
Get creative. "Guys are very visual," says Marisa. So whether it’s treating yourself (and him) to some new lingerie or playing dress-up in the bedroom, keeping things fresh can stoke excitement. "My job is great, because I come home from work every day made over," she says. "So Griffin can get 20 different women in one month!"
Give him space. No matter how hot things get, know when to play it cool. "Understanding what he needs to do to wind down is important," says Marisa. "I let him have that time to play video games or whatever."
Speak your mind. When something bothers you, let it rip. "Griffin used to get busy at work and not pick up the phone. It irritated me! Finally I said, 'Honey, if I call you in the middle of the day, I’m not going to tell you what color I painted my nails. I need to tell you something [important]," says Marisa. "Now, even if it’s for just 30 seconds, he’ll pick up and say, 'Hey, are you OK?'"
Share a project. "Our dog has become our child. We take [our Italian greyhound] Lula to the beach to run, we potty-trained her, and she sleeps in our bed. She’s the first thing we raised together, so that means a lot," says Marisa, who says she eventually wants "a crazy household" with kids.