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Victoria’s Secret Model Quits Smoking, Gets Jacked

Weightlifting convert and Popsicle producer Erin Heatherton shares her regimen.

Erin Heatherton
Photo: Lisa Predko

She was scouted at 17, and she put on her first Victoria’s Secret angel wings at 21. Now the 30-year-old supermodel is returning to her roots, postbankruptcy — living in River North and reconnecting with the girl who fell in love with basketball, swimming, and healthy foods while growing up in Skokie. She’s overhauled her routine from her New York days, when, she says, her body began to rebel against the restrictive nature of the industry.

Hard reset

“There was a point where my heart was broken, where I was doing everything right with diet and exercise, and it wasn’t enough. I knew I couldn’t, as a role model to young women, parade myself around saying, This is what you need to look like, knowing what it takes. I didn’t want this thing that’s supposed to be about being healthy and vibrant to be something sick and ugly. I decided to try to get into the best shape of my life — the way I want to do it, as an athlete, without worrying about measurements.”

Training routine

“I do Studio Lagree — it’s a Megaformer workout — on Monday and Wednesday. Then it’s Barry’s Bootcamp twice a week. On Fridays I lift with my trainer Ross at FitPro West in the West Loop. I’d never done weight training before, because I was afraid of bulking up. But after I quit smoking, I gained 20 pounds in two weeks and needed to do something about it. I do a lot of dead lifts, one-legged squats, and pistol squats, things that build core strength. Now I can lift more than I weigh — and it feels amazing.”

Eating plan

“I always wake up two hours before I need to leave the house so I can make breakfast and coffee and have peace and quiet. I have a smoothie with almond milk, goat whey protein, matcha, and maca root. I always have raw almonds to snack on. For lunch I’ll make chopped salads with seeds, nuts, vegetables, and a dressing I make with hemp seeds. For dinner, I tap into my creativity. What’s seasonal? How do I make this healthy and different? Recently, I made baked chicken that was like a Reuben deconstructed — no bread, just cabbage and Gruyère.”

Sweet treat

“My boyfriend got me these Popsicle molds. I’ll put coconut milk, monk fruit sweetener, and chocolate or pistachios in the Vitamix, then pour it into the molds. I have one every day. It just makes life so much better.”

Simple skin care

“For years, I’ve washed my face with AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Foam. And recently I discovered the Ordinary — I love their products, especially the rose hip seed oil for my dry skin.”

Snooze signals

“Midcareer, I had an incredible bout of insomnia and depression. I knew I needed to go away and reset my circadian rhythms. I went to Costa Rica for 21 days, quit smoking, and had no coffee. It was the first plane ride I’d ever taken for myself and not for work. I thought, I’ve been such a dick to myself — no wonder we’re fighting. Now I protect my sleep like a tiger mom.”

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