By Claire Connors
January 14, 2011

Marisa Miller: A gorgeous supermodel who loves to eat and boxes to stay fit. That makes her a superhero to us! Here she shares the seven daily habits and life lessons that have helped her stay strong, centered, and gorgeous in her Sports Illustrated bikini photos and beyond ( Follow these three tips to get a body like Miller's).

Marisa Miller's Secret to Supermodel Success #1: "I Never Take No for an Answer"

"When I first started playing team sports, I was a little too sweet for my own good," says Marisa. "I'd be in tears because I wasn't doing well. But the healthy competition really toughened me up." It's a life lesson that has served her well in her career. When Marisa Miller was first starting out in 2000, she was told she didn't have the right look. "They said I was too curvy and too American," she says. "I couldn't change my body. But I always believed I was going to find my niche in the business and eventually I did. I recognized what my strengths were and forged my own path."

Marisa Miller's Secret to Supermodel Success #2: "I Make a Mean Mac 'n' Cheese"

Marisa is obsessed with cooking. "I'm addicted to the Food Network," she says. Her favorite TV chefs are Bobby Flay and Paula Deen, best known for her decadent southern recipes. "She has one for macaroni and cheese with a crusty topping that is unbelievable," says Marisa. She also follows Paula's rule to use only "real" ingredients in all of her dishes. "If I'm going to have something rich and yummy, I'm not reaching for prepackaged brownies. I'm going to make a pie from scratch," she says. Of course, Marisa doesn't indulge in high-calorie dishes all the time. Most days, she sticks to organic fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

Marisa Miller's Secret to Supermodel Success #3: "They Called Me 'Bubble Butt'-but I'm Over it!"

It's hard to imagine Marisa ever being teased for her looks, but in high school she and a friend were known for having big butts. "We refused to do squats at volleyball practice because we didn't want them to get any bigger," she says. Oh, how times have changed! These days, Marisa works hard to keep her bottom up. "Muscle starts to disappear as you age, I've discovered," says Marisa. "I love my butt and want to make sure it stays where it is." Find out which move for glutes she can't get enough of today in SHAPE magazine, on newsstands now.

Marisa Miller's Secret to Supermodel Success #4: "I Know How to Throw a Punch"

Three or four times a week, Marisa pulls on the gloves and steps into the boxing ring with her trainer. "I'm one of those people who likes to sweat," she says. "I go to a down-and-dirty boxing gym, and I don't want to worry about how I look or whether I'm wearing the perfect outfit. For me, it's about focusing for an hour and a half on my workout." Marisa starts her workout with jumping rope for 15 to 20 minutes. Then she does 3-minute rounds hitting the heavy bag or her trainer's mitts with 1-minute breaks. "And finally, we finish up with five sets of 30 to 40 squats. That's my butt workout right there," she says. "It's pretty simple, but extremely effective."

Marisa Miller's Secret to Supermodel Success #5: "There's a Wild Side to Me"

When Marisa wants to relax, she goes home to Santa Cruz and hops on her motorcycle. "My dad taught me how to ride," says Marisa, who owns a Harley-Davidson Nightster. "Being outside in nature is so freeing for me. And whenever I really focus on something-whether it's surfing, biking, or cooking-that's how I de-stress. But I also love the challenge. Riding my motorcycle builds my self-esteem and confidence."

Marisa Miller's Secret to Supermodel Success #6: "I've Always Been a Jock"

As a teenager, Marisa was on both the basketball and volleyball teams in school. "Back then, my fitness regimen was about getting stronger and working out the parts of my body that helped me run faster and jump higher," she says. But her commitment to being active actually started long before that. "I'm thankful to my parents for raising me with a focus on fitness, health, and nutrition, rather than worrying about being thin."'

Marisa Miller's Secret to Supermodel Success #7: "I'm Low-Maintenance"

"When I'm not working, I give my face and hair a rest from too many products." But there are a few beauty essentials the supermodel can't live without. Read Marisa Miller's 5 tips for looking supermodel-gorgeous to see which products make the list.

See more bikini photos of Marisa Miller in the February issue of SHAPE on stands January 24. In our exclusive interview Marisa reveals her fitness idol, the one move she and her "bubble-butt" friend can't get enough of and why she hates yoga and pilates.