Miss USA — to some it’s the Super Bowl of beauty pageants, but as the years have passed since the first pageant, these competitions have become more than an archaic practice of displaying women. Many of these competitors train for months, maintaining strict health and fitness routines along with prepping their public speaking abilities.

Celebrity and model trainer Oscar Smith says the biggest thing that people should do when training for a pageant or any big event is learn how to motivate themselves. “Try and get up an hour early and just grab a bottle of water and try and go for a walk around the block,” he told Medical Daily, “It gets your routine started and your body used to working out.”

Smith has been training models and pageant contestants for the past 25 years. He says that training will take time. Smith recommends starting three months before. “You want to give yourself that safe time for cushion [so you can] have a cheat day — especially for your body to change and adapt to the workout routine.”

Of course, eating healthy overall is a goal that one should have even when not training for a specific event. Melissa Rifkin, a registered dietician, believes that eating healthy is more than half of the battle, especially for pageants, and she discourages any diet that advises starvation. "When you skip meals your body actually does the opposite of what one would think, instead of losing weight people often gain weight,” she told Medical Daily in an email. “The body feels that you’re in starvation mode, therefore holding on to all calories ingested for fear of future health complications.”

Whether you’re training for a Miss USA pageant or just want to be healthier and stronger, these professionals have shared a few of their coveted secrets. Make sure to speak with a health care provider before starting any new or different fitness program.

1. Eat Well

This might seem obvious, but this is one of the most difficult challenges that pageant competitors face. Smith says that for pageants, it’s all about finding a balance between fitness competitor and fitness models in regard to body shape. It’s also important to abstain from alcohol, even red wine. “Drink lots and lots of water. You can add some lemon to it to kick start your goals,” he said.

Protein is also a big component if you want to tone up. “Aim for 3 meals [per day] with a lean protein at all 3 meals,” Rifkin suggests. “Avoid fried foods which will not only put on the pounds but can lead to acne and future health complications. Add color to your diet, fruits and vegetables are filled with antioxidants which help to keep skin clear and hair shiny.”

These changes are not only useful for pageants, but also to carry with you throughout your life. Eating healthy can lead to weight loss, less stress, and an overall better lifestyle.

2. Don’t Forsake Your Rent Money For A Gym Membership

Most trainers, especially reputable and successful ones can run their clients up to hundreds of dollars per session. And while it’s motivating to have someone there encouraging you, you don’t have to go broke learning how to work out.

“YouTube is fantastic for all different types of exercise,” Smith said. “Just follow along. It’s the best thing you can do. And if you feel like this isn’t working, there are 20 million other videos to watch.” You don’t have to choose between eating right and going to the gym. Make use of the free resources around you.

3. Get A Workout Buddy

Everyone knows it’s so much easier to work out when you have a buddy or a friend sweating by your side. “Find a friend to do physical activities with, get outside, the more active you are the better you will feel overall and reduce stress while having fun,” Rifkin said.

Both experts say that one of the most important thing you can do is get rest.  “Be sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night,” Rifkin said. “Without adequate rest we tend to overeat due to an imbalance in hormones that control satiety.”

Even if you’re not competing to become the next Miss Universe, taking care of your physical health is one of the best things you can do for yourself.