Marilyn Monroe was celebrated for her blonde bombshell beauty. Interestingly, the curvy sex symbol’s diet and exercise regimen was surprisingly savvy and ahead of her time.

Monroe’s fitness routine included weightlifting and a low carb, high-protein diet decades before either fitness trend became hip. In fact, very few women did weight training during the 1950s at the height of Marilyn’s fame.

Despite being known for her curves, Marilyn lifted weights to maintain her voluptuous bikini body, according to a 1952 Pageant magazine interview (see photos in video).

“I couldn’t stand exercise if I had to feel regimented about it,” said Monroe. “I spend at least 10 minutes each morning working out with small weights.

I have evolved my own exercises for the muscles I wish to keep firm, and I know they are right for me because I can feel them putting the proper muscles into play as I exercise.”

Weightlifting can help women get a lean, toned bikini body without looking bulky or masculine, said Michael Matthews, author of Thinner Leaner Stronger.

Lifting weights can dramatically slow down and even reverse the aging process by preserving lean muscle mass, enhancing brain function, and boosting antioxidant enzyme activity, according to Mary Kay Sellek, author of The Body Whisperer.

Marilyn Monroe also followed a low-carb, high-protein diet at a time when the standard American diet was high-carb.

The 5-foot-6 Marilyn, whose weight fluctuated between 115 to 140 pounds, typically had eggs and milk for breakfast, steak and vegetables for dinner.

“Before I take my morning shower, I start warming a cup of milk on the hot plate I keep in my hotel room,” said Monroe.

“When it’s hot, I break two raw eggs into the milk, whip them up with a fork, and drink them while I’m dressing. I supplement this with a multi-vitamin pill.”

Marilyn continued her low-carb, high-protein eating plan at dinner: “Every night I stop at the market and pick up a steak, lamb chops or some liver, which I broil in the oven. I usually eat four or five raw carrots with my meat, and that is all.”

Despite her worldwide fame, Monroe never understood all the hype about her beauty. “I’ve never considered my figure so exceptional,” said Marilyn, who spent part of her childhood in foster care. “My biggest single concern used to be getting enough to eat.”

Related: Raquel Welch crowned best bikini body of all time: Diet tips

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