Ex-Miami Dolphins cheerleader Brenda Lowe stars in the latest season of "Survivor," which began airing this month, and bloggers have already been proclaiming her the show's sexiest female contestant. A cover girl for the cheerleaders' calendar and twice featured in Maxim magazine, Lowe mixes natural beauty with a solid fitness routine.
During production of "Survivor: Nicaragua," Lowe experienced nonstop physical and dietary challenges and — if previous seasons are indicators — also backstabbing and scheming from other contestants. She's home now and although she won't divulge how well she did, she does share how she prepared for the Nicaraguan jungle, and how she stays fit for South Florida.
I couldn't tell anyone I was going so I [quietly] got a personal trainer and said I needed to get really strong, really fast and work on my agility. We worked a lot on my core muscles, a lot of times on the exercise ball. True fitness starts with the core.
I would position myself on the ball to do exercises like sit-ups while holding weights above my head, and I would roll down, up to my neck. Rolling down helped my abs and lower back.
I did a lot of heavy weights [at a gym] … Other training included arm curls while doing lunges for my legs, jumping in and out of a ladder placed on the floor, running backwards and side to side, and doing funny runs kicking my knees up high.
Did you exercise during "Survivor"?
Off camera it was my little secret. Nobody was watching me do it, but I wanted my body to not forget to be strong. Not much, maybe five minutes and I'd be exhausted. I wanted to keep my muscles awake, alive. I was losing a lot of muscle mass and weight.
How much did you lose?
I can't say how much I lost because people can guess how well I did. They have to watch the show to find out!
What's your workout routine now?
I [stand-up] paddleboard three or four times a week off Miami, which is a great core workout, tones all of my muscles and gives a solid cardio workout. I've seen manatees, dolphins, sea turtles and sharks. On weekends, I mountain bike at Markham Park [in Sunrise] for an hour or two. I jog on Brickell and Key Biscayne twice a week. It's nice to get outside. I used to road bike across the Rickenbacker but stopped because it's too dangerous.
Twice a week, I do weight training at the gym in my building. I use the machines and free weights, do a lot of lunges and squats, pull-ups, pull-downs. On the ball, I do crunches for my abs.
Do you do any sports for fun?
I like to swim at a pool or in the ocean for recreation. I Rollerblade on Key Biscayne once a month and like to go rock climbing, free diving, sailing. I do yoga every once in a while at home to get my stretching on.
How tough was cheerleading?
We did a lot of dancing and kick line three times a week, for three hours a practice. You'd be surprised how hard it is to dance holding pompoms, which are not light, and while wearing boots!
What's your diet?
After "Survivor," my diet changed. Before, I would eat whatever. But now my body doesn't want sweets, and I eat smaller portions because I know my body doesn't need that much. My body now has more energy even though I eat less. The less sugar you eat, the more energy you have. Sugar is not good energy.