Brooks Nader reveals the workouts and food plan that keep her in shape

EXCLUSIVE: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Brooks Nader reveals the workouts and diet she relies on to stay in shape – as she shares exactly how she prepared for her sizzling bikini shoot in the Bahamas

  • The 22-year-old, who is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, spoke to about her typical workouts and eating habits 
  • Brooks said she regularly works out by boxing, which she credits with keeping her strong and ‘toned’, as well as keeping her ‘endorphins going’  
  • When it comes to her diet, Brooks said she tries to avoid ‘sugar and dairy’, however, she admits to regularly satisfying her cravings 
  • The model confessed that she had a ‘strange’ relationship with food and weight, but working with the magazine taught her to be the ‘best version’ of herself  
  • Brooks was hand-picked out of 10,000 girls by modeling legend Christie, 65, to appear in this year’s issue of the magazine 
  • She took part in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search, and is now included in a public vote in the hopes of being named as its official winner  

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit star Brooks Nader has revealed the workouts she swears by in order to stay in top shape – while opening up about how she prepared for her debut shoot for the iconic magazine. 

The stunning 22-year-old, who is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told that her typical workout routine sees her boxing, a hobby she credits with helping her stay ‘toned’ as well as keeping her ‘endorphins going’. 

Brooks admitted that she initially thought she had to slim down in order to make it in the industry, but said working with the magazine has empowered her to want to become the ‘best version’ of herself, which is what she now strives to do when she works out – rather than attempting to get down to a certain size.

Fit! Sports Illustrated model Brooks Nader, 22, has revealed the different ways she stays in shape, including the typical workouts she does and her usual eating habits 

Workout! The 22-year-old model, who made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit debut this year, said she regularly completes boxing workouts with Rob Piela (L) at Gotham Gym in New York 

Struggles: Brooks admitted that she had a ‘strange’ relationship with food when she started modelling because she felt like she would have to ‘starve herself’ in order to be a model

The 22-year-old model, who was chosen out of 10,000 hopefuls to appear in this year’s issue as part of the magazine’s Model Search, admitted that when she first began modelling, she felt a pressure to workout to lose weight. 

However, Brooks, who is now going up against the other five Model Search finalists in the hopes of being crowned this year’s winner, said exercise now benefits her in a number of different ways, both mentally and physically. 

She said: ‘I feel like when I first started, I had this idea that I had to workout to lose weight but now I do it to relieve stress, strengthen my body and help clear my head.’

The Louisiana native said her typical workout sees her boxing at a gym in New York City, where she moved from Louisiana to in 2017. 

‘I love boxing! I’ve been training with Rob [Piela] at Gotham Gym since I moved to NYC and I’ve found it really helps strengthen, tone me and help keep my endorphins going which is my main goal!’ she said.

Brooks said she also attends ‘the occasional’ hip hop class at a dance studio in the city.    

But despite her efforts to work out regularly, Brooks said heading to the gym to work up a sweat is often the last thing she wants to do after a busy day of shooting. 

‘I always dread going but once it’s over I feel amazing!’ she admitted.

‘I’ve gotten more into working out since I started modeling, it’s a great way to relieve stress. If I’ve had a long day, I just punch it out in the boxing ring,’ she added.

Brooks credits her friends, family and peers with keeping her feeling motivated, not only with her workouts, but in ‘all areas’ of her busy life. 

She said: ‘I think the people I surround myself with are super motivating and that keeps me on the right track, that’s very key in staying focused and motivated in all areas of life!’

When it comes to her diet, the model said she isn’t too hard on herself in terms of what she eats, admitting that she once had a ‘strange relationship’ with food.   

‘I try and stay away from sugar and dairy but if I have a craving, I’ll definitely satisfy it,’ she said.

‘I’ve gone through the whole “crash diet” thing when I first started modeling and had a strange relationship with my weight and food and found that hurt me, both mentally and physically. 

‘Any “diet” a person goes under should just consist of healthy eating, but don’t beat up yourself if you need to satisfy that fried chicken craving – I am southern after all,’ she added. 

Having previously admitted that she didn’t feel any pressure to lose weight from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit team before her shoot, Brooks praised the magazine for allowing women to embrace ‘who they are’.  

Empowered: Brooks, as seen when she announced her participation in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, said working with the magazine has empowered her to be ‘the best version’ of herself

‘SI has changed the conversation, actually opened the conversation, about women embracing who they are and not simply fitting into a mold that the world pressures us to fit into,’ she said. 

‘Look at he models in the SI Swimsearch, we all have different backgrounds body shapes and sizes – what MJ Day and the SI Team is doing resonates with me because beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder and each of us as women are most beautiful when we are true to ourselves and band together!’

Brooks added that the only pressure she put on herself before taking part in her shoot for the iconic magazine was to ‘be the best version’ of herself.  

She explained: ‘SI empowered me not to try to change myself, but to be the best version of me possible! 

‘That’s what I’m striving for when I work out. It’s a completely different mindset,’ she added. 

But despite her current self-confidence, Brooks admitted that she wasn’t always as happy in herself as she is now. 

The model said that when she first embarked on her journey in the modelling world, her self-confidence took a knock as a result of regularly being rejected for jobs, adding that she was rejected ’99 per cent of the time’.

She said: ‘Most agencies or clients thought I was too curvy or busty, I was too short I was too tall, especially for the NYC market and I was told by so many people I would never be able to succeed as a model. 

Growth: Brooks admitted that she wasn’t always as happy in herself as she is now, as she said she ‘didn’t handle’ rejection she received when she started modelling

Rising star: Model Brooks Nader, 22, is one of the new faces in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, having been chosen for the shoot by Christie Brinkley

‘As a young, impressionable girl, I didn’t handle it well and it really hurt my confidence,’ she said.

However, after working up the confidence to go to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit open call in Miami, Brooks said ‘everything’ changed for her.  

She said she was ‘accepted’ by so many people, including the magazine’s editors MJ Day and Christia Brinkley, for the way she looked naturally.  

‘It really empowered me and brought my confidence back,’ she said. 

‘That’s why whoever wins the swimsuit contest we’re all winners, as to me it’s empowered each and every one of us women and shattered the perceptions that so many in our industry put that ideal label of what “acceptable beauty” is,’ she said. 

Brooks previously branded herself as a ‘tom boy’ when she was growing up, admitting that she loved playing team sports. However, she said her busy schedule in the Big Apple has meant that she no longer takes part in them. 

But the model said her new hectic lifestyle and modelling career is like a team sport in itself.  

‘Since being in the SI swim issue my life has changed and so many doors have opened – if it’s a global movie premiere, meeting the top fashion mag editors and now working with other legendary photographers.

‘My new team sport is the team I now have around me and the sport is navigating this new incredible path that has opened up,’ she said. 

Her new ‘path’ has also seen her continuing auditioning and acting in films, as well as trying to break into the fashion world.

‘I love my new version of Team Brooks sports – without MJ Day and the SI Swimsearch none of this would have been possible,’ Brooks, who previously told DailyMailTV that she thought she was destined for a ‘boring’ career in finance, added. 

Surprise: The 22-year-old said that she thought she was destined for a career in finance, and never planned on a career in modeling

‘I couldn’t believe it, honestly,’ Brooks told DailyMailTV last month about her debut in the magazine, adding that this wasn’t even an honor she had dared to dream of as she thought her future lay in finance, not modeling.   

‘I didn’t intend to be a model, I went to college, I was like OK I’m going to do something boring like finance,’ she said. 

‘I was a total tomboy growing up, I was into sports and didn’t ever really think about modeling,’ she added. 

However that interest in sports is what first introduced Brooks to Sports Illustrated – although rather than focusing on the Swimsuit Issue, the model first saw the publication because her sport-loving family members would read it. 

After breaking into the modeling scene a few years ago however, Brooks decided that she would enter the magazine’s Model Search, which launched just a few years ago – and sees thousands of young women entering in the hopes of landing a coveted spot in the issue. 

But even though she had a few jobs under her belt, the Louisiana local never thought that she would be chosen from the hoards of models in the search. 

‘I remember looking around and seeing all of these beautiful girls, and I was like, oh there’s no way,’ she admitted. But, as it turns out, she couldn’t have been more wrong. 

Not only did Brooks get chosen as one of the six chosen models to appear in the magazine – with Christie hailing her as her ‘favorite model’ from the competition. 

‘Christie is this superwoman icon for Sports Illustrated but honestly face to face I was like, you are gorgeous,’ Brooks said of her first meeting with the 65-year-old. 

‘When I think about Sports Illustrated, I think about the icons like Paulina [Porizkova] who is in it again this year, and Christie.’  

Power player: Brooks admitted that she didn’t think she had a chance in the Model Search, and that when she was chosen she ‘couldn’t believe it’ 

Shock: ‘I remember looking around and seeing all of these beautiful girls, and I was like, oh there’s no way,’ she admitted

When it came to preparing for the shoot, Brooks said that she actually didn’t feel as much pressure as people might think, explaining that both Christie – who has appeared in the magazine nine times, including three cover shoots – and editor MJ Day helped her to feel as comfortable in her skin as possible. 

‘I didn’t give myself a diet, which was so nice,’ she said. ‘That’s what Sports Illustrated is doing this year, it’s shattering perceptions.’   

According to the model, when she was chosen to appear in the magazine, she was told not to change anything about her body – quite the opposite in fact. 

Icon: Christie Brinkley, 65, pictured in New York last month, hand picked Brooks to appear in this year’s issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit after seeing her at the magazine’s Model Search

‘[MJ] said this is the you that we want,’ Brooks revealed. ‘[She said], “We’re not asking you to lose 20bs for a shoot, we want you, we want you as you are. We want this Brooks.”‘ 

However she didn’t always receive such positive reinforcement – and admits that at the start of her career, she wasn’t sure whether she needed to slim down in order to be successful.  

‘At first I had a strange relationship with food, I was like do I need to starve myself for [modeling]?’ she explained, before explaining that she eats ‘pretty healthily’ because she wants to feel good in her own skin, but that her Sports Illustrated shoot taught her that she doesn’t need to panic about going on wild diets.   

Brooks is not the only one to have those perceptions about the industry – and about Sports Illustrated Swimsuit specifically – and that is something that the magazine is trying to change this year with its Shattering Perceptions theme. 

As well as reassuring models that they want them to look as real and comfortable as possible, the magazine’s editors also worked hard to cast a diverse group of women in its pages, hiring several curvy stars – including Hunter McGrady and Veronica Pome’e – and featuring Halima Aden as the first ever model to pose in a burkini.  

Hunter, 26, also previously revealed to that MJ doesn’t actually cast the women in swimwear, but instead focuses on getting to know their personalities, in order to ensure that they are a good fit for the magazine as people – rather than as photos.  

Future: ‘I want to work on so many other things outside of modeling, and seeing what other girls have done is so inspiring,’ Brooke said

‘One thing people doesn’t know about MJ is that she doesn’t cast in swimsuits,’ Hunter said. 

‘A lot of people think that MJ casts on literally just the body, the face, but she’s so much more than that. It’s the person first and foremost. 

‘It’s how you are, what else do you have going on, because [MJ] knows that we are so much more than beautiful girls. 

‘We’re all beautiful girls, but we all have something behind us, we have a platform, we have things that we are doing, and it’s like she was saying the other day, we’re the CEOs, we’re the mothers, we’re running businesses, we’re not just models, we’re so much more than that,’ she added.

That idea is certainly one that appeals to Brooks, who said that she is not only grateful to be included in such an iconic publication, but for the opportunities that it creates for its stars – many of whom have used Sports Illustrated Swimsuit as a launching pad for phenomenally successful careers, both in modeling and beyond. 

‘I want to work on so many other things outside of modeling, and seeing what other girls have done is so inspiring,’ she said. 

‘Sports Illustrated does that for girls, it gives them an opportunity to do so much more, and that’s amazing.’ 

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