To achieve a tip-top physique, Miss Universe Singapore Lisa Marie White has been training under the guidance of local trainer Alexander Salihin, who owns fitness gym Level.
For five days a week, she goes through a combination of hour-long strength and conditioning sessions, as well as high intensity interval training that sees her nailing kettle bell swings, squats with weights, leg presses and other gruelling exercises.
Mr Salihin, 35, told TNP: "Nuraliza (a former Miss Universe Singapore winner and Miss White's mentor) approached me with a goal based on the image of past Miss Universe contestants from around the world who have achieved their physique from training for a long time.
"We needed a more realistic and measurable goal.
"In my view, it was for Lisa to not be just a pretty face. She needs to be strong and athletic."
He said that Miss White has made "good, noticeable progress". She lost about 6cm off her hips within a month.
Declining to reveal her current weight, Miss White said: "It was difficult for me to go from running once a month to training almost every day. Every session was intense and I struggled."
Miss White also had to forgo her Malay mum's delicious cooking, which includes Malay, Japanese and Western cuisine, and stick to a diet.
For example, she eats scrambled eggs made from egg whites for breakfast and chicken salad for lunch. She cuts back on the carbs, staying away from even brown bread and quinoa.
"I can't wait to eat prata, carrot cake and rendang once I'm back. Some days, I have just a small spoonful of her homemade dishes to satisfy the craving and then grit my teeth and watch my family eat," she admitted.
Miss White is also undergoing weekly catwalk training sessions with former supermodel Hanis Hussey, 50.
Hanis was the first Singaporean model on the catwalks of Paris, Milan and Tokyo and she has modelled for brands like Givenchy and Dior.
"I saw Lisa's potential from the beginning. She is smart and witty, has a pleasant personality... She is like a sponge and soaks up knowledge rather quickly," Hanis told TNP in an e-mail interview.
Although Miss White has catwalked before, she never realised how much improvement she needed.
"Hanis made it look so easy, but there are so many things that makes a perfect catwalk like posture, swaying your hips a certain way and twisting your back foot. The first few times, I did it until my back hurt," she said.
On coming on board to groom Miss White for Miss Universe, Hanis told TNP: "Nuraliza and I discussed our ideas and had the same passion for wanting to bring this pageant back to its prestigious standard.
"It has lost its glory for many years and many young girls were told by their parents to stay away from such pageants, but Singapore has many beautiful, promising girls... who just need mentoring and cultivation so they fly the Singapore flag high.
"We will have a winner soon."
This article was first published on November 20, 2015.
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