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Style & Living Beauty

Miss USA's Kára McCullough Has a Surprisingly Easy Fitness Regime

This scientist beauty queen makes no apologies for eating rice.

By Wendy Rose Gould
Learn How to do The Beauty Queen Wave

While some of are motivated to hit the gym and count calories due to that pool party or beach getaway coming up, Miss USA contestants feel pressure on a whole other level. Not only do they walk across stage in a bikini in front of a live audience of millions, they’re also judged on the way they present themselves as they strut their stuff.

Sure, there’s a bit of controversy surrounding the swimsuit portion of the Miss USA pageant, but at the end of the day there’s no denying the hard work these women put into their health regimen. Something must be said of their dedication and resolve to absolutely kill it on stage. We hit up the recently crowned Miss USA winner, Kára McCullough, for the scoop on her own gym and food habits to see how she keeps fit. Turns out, she’s not so different from the rest of us.

“I had a full-time job, so it was really difficult working out while preparing for the Miss USA competition,” said Kára. “I would go to the gym like two or three times a week, and that includes the weekends.”

She told The Lookbook that she likes do a mix of Barre classes and solo gym trips that last no more than forty minutes. Hey, the woman is a physical scientist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a beauty queen—she’s busy! For her solo gym excursions, she’ll warm up by running a fast-paced mile on the treadmill, and from there it’s all about body weight calisthenics.

“I typically will do three sets of 30 reps of squats followed by another three sets of doggy kicks and fire hydrants,” she said.

We asked what she keeps in her gym beauty bag and how she freshens up post sweat-fest, and she told us she carries three essentials: a comb or brush, Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream, and CHI Silk Infusion Silk Reconstructing Complex.

“After working out, if I'm wearing my hair straight, I'll run the CHI silk infusion through the ends of my hair,” she said. “It makes it manageable so I'm not breaking the comb through my hair, and it adds moisture back and shine, as well. If my hair is curly, I'll apply a bit of the MorocconOil Curl Cream to slightly wet hands and run my fingers through my hair from the middle to the ends. I don't put anything on my scalp because my hair is so fine.”

Other than that, she walks out of the gym door owning that post-workout glisten. As an athlete, she says that a little bit of sweat “shows that you put the work in.” Amen!

As for diet, Kára told us, “The Miss USA trainer taught us that 80% of your green vegetables need to be cooked and 20% should be raw, so I am big on following that advice. I also eat a lot of lean meats and I love fish; my favorite is blackened salmon. Typically, my meals are a glass of water with no ice, and a six-ounce piece of salmon with brown rice and vegetables.”

And by the way, she makes zero apologies for that brown rice. As for snacking throughout the day, she likes to keep gluten-free, vegetarian bars within reach. She says oat-based bars slow her down, so it’s superfood fruit-bars all the way.

Her takeaway tips for anyone who wants to slim down and tone up: drink tons of water, get lots of rest, and watch your portion sizes. Solid advice!

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