American fashion superstar Jelena Noura “Gigi” Hadid started her career at the age of two, after being discovered by Guess cofounder Paul Marciano. Since then, the 23-year-old has appeared on the covers of countless top fashion magazines.

In addition to — and because of — her modeling work, Gigi is focused on physical health. “My biggest thing is just to eat healthy and work out,” said Gigi. Of course, what she means by working out isn’t what most people imagine when they head for the gym.

Following years of playing volleyball and riding horses as a child, Gigi has fallen in love with a more combative activity. “Boxing has been great for me because it’s like my new sport, and it’s something that I can get better at,” Gigi revealed.

The model is a regular at the Gotham G-Box gym in New York City. She typically warms up by jumping rope — ideal for slimming down the legs — and moves on to strengthening exercises like lying hip raises and crunches. These techniques are staggered between intense, intermittent boxing sessions lasting 10 minutes each. “There’s no better workout than boxing,” said Gotham owner Rob Piela. “It’s a perfect balance of cardio and resistance training.” Gigi does it for another reason, of course. Traveling the world as she does, you never know when you might need to defend yourself. “Girls, prepare yourselves so that, if you ever feel in danger, muscle memory can fight back for you,” the model once recommended.

Though Spartan with her training, Gigi is more liberal with nutrition. Keep in mind that the metabolism of a young, on-the-go, boxing supermodel is different from most people. Approach some of these foods with caution … and moderation!

The Los Angeles native starts the day with a traditional American breakfast: “Scrambled eggs, bacon and toast,” she said unashamedly. “I drink orange juice and coffee always,” she added. Gigi is also partial to acai bowls — smoothies topped with oatmeal, fruit or peanut butter. These are sweet, filling and packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. “We always took them to the beach growing up,” she said, “so I guess it’s a little piece of home.”

In addition, Gigi sings the praises of baked beans, which are a great source of protein, fiber, calcium, potassium and iron. Between meals, she gives herself over to many snacking options — again, a mix of healthy foods and others that are high in the sugar and sodium department. “In the fridge, I always have Evian, soda, orange juice and lemonade,” she revealed, adding she also keeps a supply of “my favorite snacks like salami, chips, hummus, carrots and fruit.”

Even if her diet isn’t perfect, Gigi has adopted a healthy professional philosophy — without which anyone’s physical health might suffer. “Days off are so important, not just for energy, but also to stay excited about things,” she explained. “It’s good to work hard, but if you always do, you can lose the steam.” She added that her best curative advice can be summed up simply. “I’ve always said when I go to work my goals are: Be nice, work hard and make a friend. From day one, that has been my philosophy.”