The material needed to score high is out there, but the prerequisites are getting harder and harder. You just have to learn where to look, be very patient, and most of all, persistent. Why?
Well, the bodybuilding and fitness industry is very stingy with their money and who they give it to. If you assume, just because you are a "bodybuilder" or someone who lifts weights, and religiously loyal to the magazines, that you should get that coveted supplement contract or your picture in the magazines then you are barking up the wrong tree.
If you're a man you better be "huge," a woman bodybuilder - I don't care how much muscle you have someone will not like it, and even if your into fitness competitions or swim suite modeling the road is very difficult. But, there are ways to establish yourself and find your way to the head of the class.
First and foremost, you have to compete, whether that is in competitive bodybuilding shows, fitness competitions, swim suite shows or power lifting meets you need to be in the soup and Campbell's Chunky is what its all about. You need to be knee deep in the system to get the just rewards. These are some of the classes you need to take.
You can generate regular income from seminars, guest posing, gym openings, selling your photos, and everyone's favorite, personal training. Maybe you've got the stamina to train 30 or 40 clients a week, or use your knowledge in dieting for nutritional counseling.
Show promoters, local gyms and fitness clubs are always looking for something to offer their members. Sometimes special events like gym openings or local health food store and supplement outlets will use you for special appearances for their grand opening. There you can sell your best photos, to generate a little extra income.
Also, there is the ever-growing Internet. Develop your own personal site; it's as easy as 1-2-3. What do you do on-line? Well, for starters offer all the above, and see what happens.
If you have the extra funds, place an ad in one of the magazines. Check out the advertisement specials offered right here in this magazine. An ad for what you ask? An advertisement to sell your pictures, offer personal training, or what about the nutritional guidance we just talked about.
You can offer almost anything else that can generate an income, and establish a market for yourself. Offering your pictures for sale is a major source of income. Hey, don't forget about the fantastic world of the Internet.
Web pages are easy to put together, and relatively inexpensive. But first, if you don't already have one, invest in a computer. The Internet road is currently the best way for marketing yourself. You should check it out!
Flyers & Newsletters
These are special flyers designed to show off the best pictures of yourself for sale, and flyers that offer other possible job descriptions. These accessories are your best marketing tools. Photo and business type flyers must have the best pictures of you.
The pictures can either be in color or b/w, and unless you have some major bucks I would go with b/w pictures. Color flyers are on the expensive side. You can always ask the printer to be a sponsor, and offer them credit on your flyer, that could lower the price a little.
Always ask. That's my motto. If you don't ask, you'll never know. It is up to you, either way it does not matter if you use color or B/W, as long as the flyer is done professionally, and not tacky. Don't you have some great pictures of yourself? Sure you do. You don't think anyone will want a picture of you. Think again. There will always be someone who will want to buy a picture of you.
Choose your best photos, usually two sensuous pictures and one competitive shot. Yes. I said sensuous. SEX sells, my friend! Sorry, but it's the truth. Besides, the fitness competitor and female bodybuilder definitely have better legs then those Sports Illustrated models. Bodies too. Especially when those hard shapely legs are in lace stockings and stilettos.
Your photo flyer should have your name (nickname too if you have one), mailing address (get a P.O. Box), the cost of each 8X10, and add a discounted price for a picture package deal too. Don't forget, to explain which ones are color or B/W. You will be very surprised to what pictures will be your best seller's.
Don't think that wholesome, girl next-door look is going to sell for you, unless the wholesome girl next door looks a little sultry. I am not being rude; I'm just stating a fact in this business. You're getting those sponsorships because of that sweet smile and top flight "sexy body" that you're sporting not because you are all knowledgeable and are "all natural." All ways remember to know your industry your in.
If you notice the so-called fitness model gets the magazine pub and works most of the booths at the Arnold Expo. Why? Because, T & A is what men like. So, jump on the bandwagon, IFBB Pro Denise Masino did with Muscle Elegance and now she is turning into Female Bodybuilding's Hugh Hefner.
So what about that business flyer? First, come up with an introduction for yourself. By introduction, I do not mean put down your whole life's story or document every single show you have competed in, or plan to compete in either. But, rather, write about five or six sentences describing yourself.
Then add what type of work you can be available for, such as:
- Guest Posing
- Grand Openings
- Signings, etc.
Also, add your mailing address, preferably a Post Office Box, and a phone number that is a business line (never give out your personal phone or address). A post office box is the best and safest way to go, and a phone number that you will conduct for business only. Now, that's your business flyer. Simple.
How about compiling a list of business's. This is a list consisting of bodybuilding and NON-bodybuilding companies. Send each business a flyer, and a cover letter asking for financial sponsorship or product swap. And remember, be sure to always send a "Thank You" card after you have received a reply.
NOTE: Even if you never receive a reply from them, always conduct business like a professional. Because you will get several companies who will not acknowledge you. And in the real world of business, that's not good business! But, it happens, and way to often. So, if you have a look, those certain companies will go hand-in-hand with each other, and then there could be possible endorsement contracts. These types of contracts represent short-term stability. But, any money is a good thing.
What about getting your hard body in the magazines? How do you go about doing this? First of all, write to the publisher, or editors for each Bodybuilding and Fitness publication available send a good color 8 x 10 picture, or two, a SASE (that's a self addressed stamped envelope), and pray it is that easy.
If you're lucky, and your presentation was clear, they might give you a little acknowledgment. It often helps to compete and win a major state, regional, or national event. But, you don't have to win a show to get your face in print. All those girls you see in the magazines swim suite and lingerie issues?
Well, most have never competed in a fitness or bodybuilding competition but who's face and bodies grace the covers of magazines and fitness product companies advertisements? So, for you women out there you can see what I mean. Competing in fitness and bodybuilding is hard. Men it's a little easier, it's always been easy for men. Just make sure that you do workout and have a fit looking physique.
That does help. Another asset is to make yourself known by appearing at local fitness and bodybuilding shows in your area. If you can get yourself over to the Arnold Classic, then do so. The Arnold Classic fitness expo is one of the best places to make contacts in this industry. I worked the Arnold in 1999.
I was very lucky that "House of Pain" hardcore gear picked me instead of a fitness model to represent them. Another place that is particularly good to women's fitness is Europe. In Europe you can secure more guest posing and seminar work then you could here in the states.
Europe also offers the biggest Fitness Expo in the world called FIBO. Approximately 20,000 plus people each day for three day's attend to this celebration of fitness and muscle. You can find every business imaginable under the sun at FIBO.
This is the bodybuilding/fitness industry and you should be prepared for everything and anything. Now about who are the photographers and writers at the shows.
Please, ladies, don't be naive, or overly excited if someone comes up and say's they are with "Muscle & Fitness" magazine wanting to take your pictures.
Ask them who they work for? Ask to see a business card? And for God's sake, do not sign anything that looks like a release.
Most importantly, ask the show promoter first. There are a lot of individuals running around at shows saying they are with the top fitness/bodybuilding magazines taking pictures of un-expecting girls.
If you are going to be part of this industry then you should know who takes pictures and writes for the magazines and who does not. My husband used to tell me, "Know your sport, inside and out!" He's right. Be careful, there are a lot of wolves in sheep's clothing watching you. Just be aware. That goes for you men too.
Just to show you what is possible. I am a NPC competitive female bodybuilder, and I have been competing for over a dozen years. Like other female bodybuilders, I am muscular, very strong and exhibit an extremely hard body in-which in most cases is viewed unacceptable to the "pro-women should look a certain way look club."
Hey don't think women have it bad, the men do too. I've heard constant remarks from your run of the mill women who thinks all those muscles on men are disgusting. I have been very fortunate to secure sponsors over the years.
I have been fortunate to have-been featured in several bodybuilding & fitness magazines, and also three European publications. Over the past 12 years I have been in a total of 30 plus magazines. I said fortunate, because it is very hard for any female bodybuilder, Pro or amateur, to get her pictures into the magazines now-a-days.
Here are just a few samples of sponsors I was able to attain with persistence and hard work in the class room:
- ASICS Tiger Corporation's Women's Fitness Alliance Team, from 1993 through 1996. (ASICS Tiger Corp., is a major high school and collegiate wrestling shoe and sneaker manufacturer).
- Champion Nutrition
- MUSASHI supplements
- House of Pain Ironwear
- Labrada Bodybuilding Nutrition
- Boss O'Leary Sports supplements & Eclipse 2000
You can get into the magazines and get that contract too, so, if you are a fitness competitor or a bodybuilder get to class if you want to graduate from Marketing & Promotion 101 with honors.