People that follow my stuff know I generally write about
nutrition, supplements, training, and other topics that are more
science based than subjective topics, such as what is covered in this
article. I decided to shuck my science geek persona, and write on a
topic I know will be helpful to thousands of would be and wanna be
fitness models. As a well known "hardcore" science based, no BS writer,
why am I writing what some will perceive as a "fluff" article?
Over the years I have gotten hundreds, perhaps thousands of gals that ask me
via email, letters, or in person "how do I become a fitness model Will?
You have been in the business a long time, surely you of all people
should know." I get this from newbies and I get this from women that
have been at it a while but have been unable to "break in" effectively.
The fact is, I have been in the fitness, health, and bodybuilding biz a
long time, and though I am known as a science and nutrition based
"guru" type, I have trained many a fitness athlete, and judged fitness
and figure/bikini shows for the NPC, Fitness America, Fitness USA, and
other federations as well as given marketing and business advice to all
sorts of athletes, including fitness models. So, it's not as far fetched as
it might seem that I am going to use this space to cover a non
scientific topic, which is, how one goes about being a fitness model.
This article will be useful to both experienced and novice types looking
to "break in" to the biz. If you are already a professional and
successful fitness model, I am sure you may still glean some useful
information from this article.
First the bad news, there is no one way to become a successful
fitness model. There is no single path or magic secret. There are
however some key things a person can do to greatly improve their
chances of "making it" in the fitness biz as a model, and perhaps using
that success as a launching pad to greater things, such as movies, TV,
Several of the top fitness models (Trish Stratus and Vicki Pratt
come to mind but there are many others) have gone onto careers in
entertainment of all kinds. Bottom line, though there is no magic
secret to being successful as a fitness model, this article will be about
as close to a blueprint for success as you will find.
"Do I Need To Compete?"
This is a question I get asked all the time and it's not an easy one to
answer. In fact, the answer is (drum roll) yes and no. The person has
to decide why they are competing in the first place to answer that
question. For example, do you need to compete if your goal is to be a
successful fitness model? The answer is no.
Many of today's well known fitness models have never competed, or they competed in a
few small shows and it was clearly not part of their success as fitness
models. However, competing does have its potential uses. One of
them is exposure. At the upper level shows, there will often be editors,
publishers, photographers, supplement company owners, and other
business people. So, competing can improve your exposure.
Also, competing can make sense if you are trying to build a business that is
related to your competing or will benafit from you winning a show. For
example, say you have a private training gym you are trying to build.
Sure, having the title of say Ms. Fitness America, or winning the NPC
Nationals and being an IFBB pro, will help your reputation and the
notoriety of your business. There are many scenarios were it would
help to have won a show for a business or other endeavors.
On the other hand, it must be realized that winning a show does
not in any way guarantee success in the business end (and it really is
a business) of being a fitness model. The phone wont ring off the hook
with big offers for contracts. Also, it's very important to realize that it's
common that the 4th or 6th or 8th place finisher in a fitness or figure
show will get more press than the winner.
Why? Though the winner
might have what it took to win that show, it's often other gals the
editor, publishers, supplement companies etc, feel is more marketable.
I have seen it many times where the winner was shocked to find she
didn't get nearly the attention she expected and other girls who placed
lower have gotten attention in the form of photos shoots, magazine
coverage, etc. Something to keep in mind when you ask yourself the
important question "do I need to compete and if so, why am I
Answer that question, and you will know the answer to
the heading of this section. Winning a title of some sort can be a
stepping stone, but it is not in itself any guarantee of success in the
fitness industry. It's like a college degree, it's what you do with it.
Now. If you compete for the fun of it, then by all means go for it,
but the above is focusing on competing as it relates to the business
aspect of being a fitness model.
Right Body, Wrong Federation?
Ok, so after reading the above you have decided you are going to
compete, or will compete again. If you don't plan to compete, you can
skip this section. The biggest mistake I see here is so many gals have
the right body for the wrong federation. Each federation, has its own
judging criteria and a competitor will do poorly simply because they
didn't bother to research which show would be best suited for them.
I will give you a perfect real world example of this. Recently I judged a
show whose criteria for the figure round was the women should be
more on the curvy softer side with some tone, vs. being more
muscular and athletic with less bodyfat that other federations might
allow. At this show one of the most beautiful woman I have ever seen
came out. She was very proportional, great muscle tone, lean, and
athletically shaped with narrow hips and waist and wider shoulders.
How did she do at this show? She didn't even place in the top ten!
Why? Because she was not what we were instructed to look for and
didn't fit the criteria. After the show I informed her that she looked
great, but this may not the federation for her. I told her she had much
more of an NPC type body, where a little more muscle, athletic build,
and less bodyfat is rewarded.
The following week I was judging an NPC
fitness, figure, and bodybuilding show and there she was. How did she
do? She won the entire show with all judges voting her number one
unanimously. Conversely, if your body type tends to be more rounded
and toned, but with a little more bodyfat, wider (but not fat!) hips, you
may be better off competing in say the Fitness America Pageants.
If You Are Going To Compete:
- Find out exactly what the judging criteria is for that federation
- Go see those shows as a spectator for several different federations and see which one your physique, style, etc will fit into best.
- You have decide if you truly have the
athletic abilities to compete in a fitness competition (which requires a
routine) or a figure/bikini competition.
I often see women who would
do well in a figure show but really don't have the athletic abilities do
the routines required to be competitive with other athletes in the
show. Some shows will allow you to do both competitions and some
Networking 101: Dos & Don'ts...
In so many respects, this is the area that will make or break you in
any business, and yet, people in the fitness industry do an amazingly
poor job at it. If you don't network and market yourself properly, you
can pretty much forget about having any real success as a fitness
model, or a success in virtually any business. For the sake of space,
we will stick to fitness. When I first started out, I was a self marketing
I could be found at every show I thought might be an
opportunity, walking the isles of trade shows, bodybuilding, shows,
fitness show, and others. I gave out a zillion cards and I took a million
home with me, and followed up on each and every one. I went to as
many industry related meetings, outings, parties, etc. as I could get
into. I now have the reputation and experience in the industry that I
don't have to go to such a show unless I feel like it, or have meetings,
but they were quite helpful in the beginning.
I am always amazed at the number of fitness models who contact me who have never even
been to the Arnold Classic Fitness Weekend, or the Mr. Olympia, or the
trades shows like the NNFA Expo West and others. If you want to
make it in the fitness business you sure as hell had better treat it like
I have seen many times a pretty girl who wants to be a fitness model
who thinks if they stand there looking pretty long enough, someone is
going to offer to put their face on the cover of a magazine. News flash,
there are millions of beautiful women out there and to be noticed, you
have to hussle to get that business like everyone else by networking
your butt off, or having a good agent (if you can afford such a thing)
who is doing it for you.
Pick a few major industry shows to attend (some of which were
mentioned above) and go to them every year. Have a plan of attack of
exactly how you plan to market yourself and network. Many fitness
models, bodybuilders, etc see a show as one big party. If that's you,
then have fun at the party, but don't think you are really marketing
yourself as a serous business person or athlete.
Another thing that always amazes me is the number of fitness
models who either have no business cards, or have some cards they
printed up on their bubble jet printer at home! They ask me to help
them or what ever and I say "give me your card" and they look at me
like "I am so pretty I should not need a card you fool." This attitude
turns off editors, photographers, writers, and industry people faster
then if they found out you were really a transvestite. Don't do it.
For every pretty girl out there who thinks the world owes them a favor,
there are 100 who are ready to act like professionals. Ever wonder
why some fitness model you know is doing better than you are even
though you know you are prettier than her? That may be why... never
ever go to a show to network without good cards, bios, and
professionally done head and body shots you can give to said editors,
publishers, photographers, industry types, etc.
Don't stand around looking pretty assuming they will find you, find them first and
introduce yourself. And of course it should go without saying you
should be in good condition and have something of a tan to look your
You want to go to the shows and party? Fine, but do it in private
after the work is done and don't make a fool out of yourself at some
industry sponsored get together. Hell, I was virtually poured into a cab
at last years Arnold Classic after going to a sushi place with some well
know industry types and companies owners (you know who you are!)
but at least no one saw me! We had our own little private get together
after the show to let loose.
Let me give you one final real world example of how NOT to
market yourself. Last year I was on retainer as a consultant to a mid
sized supplement company. The owner of the company asked me if I
knew a couple of fitness model types that could work his booth for a
trade show. In fact, he requested "unknowns, some new faces people
had not seen yet but had real potential to grow with the company." I
went and found him two such gals I thought fit the bill.
He offered to pay their flights, room, and food plus a thousand dollars each for the
days work. The two girls were told to be at the booth 9am sharp. The
night before at the hotel, I saw the two girls getting in a cab at 11pm
or so dressed to kill, clearly on their way out to party. The next day
they showed up at the booth an hour and a half late and hung over!
What was the result of this? (1) it embarrassed me to no end as I had
recommended them to the company owner (2) they would never get
work from that company again (3) they would never get any work
from me again and (4) they would not get a reference from either of
us for other jobs.
I see this type of thing all the time in the fitness biz,
and it's not limited to fitness models. Amazingly, a few weeks after the
show they emailed me and the company owner wanting to know when
their next job would be! Amazing...
Who Loves You Baby?
If there is one universal truth, it's that the camera either loves you or
it does not. Any professional photographers will tell you this. For some unknown reason, some people are very photogenic and some are not.
Truth be known, there are some well known fitness models (who shall
remain nameless as they would probably smack me the next time they
saw me) who are not all that attractive in person.
It's just that the camera loves them and they are very photogenic, but not terribly
pretty in person. Conversely, I have seen the reverse many times; a
girl who is much better looking in person than in photographs. Such is
the fate of the person who wants to be a model of any kind, including
a fitness model.
If you find you are not very photogenic, keep working
with different photographers until you find one that really captures you
well and pay that photographer handsomely!
Now, to be bluntly honest, there are also some wanna be fitness models who are not
unphotogenic, their are just ugly! There are some people out there
who have no business trying to be fitness models. It does not make
them bad people, it just means they need to snap out of their
delusions and find a profession they are better suited for, like radio
"How Do I Get In The Magazines?"
This section sort of incorporates everything I have covered above, and
adds in a few additional strategies. For example, as I mentioned
before, competing in fitness shows and or figure/bikini shows can
increase your exposure, thus getting the attention of some magazine
publisher or photographer.
Networking correctly at the various trade
shows may also have the same effect, and of course having a good
portfolio done by a photographer that really captures your look, a good
web site, etc., will all increase your potential for getting into the
magazines, or getting ad work, and so on.
However, all of these strategies are still somewhat passive versus active in my opinion. It's
still the fitness model waiting to be "discovered." As far as I am
concerned, waiting is for bus stops and pregnancy tests. Success waits
for no man... or woman as the case me be. So, after all the above
advice is taken into consideration as having an added effect to getting
you magazine coverage, what else can be done? For one thing, you
should read and be familiar with all the magazines you want to be in so you know who is who and what the style of the different magazines
I can tell you right now, if say the Editor-in-Chief of a good sized
fitness or bodybuilding publications and says "hi, I am the Bob Smith
what's your name?" and the fitness model has no idea who Bob Smith
is, Bob will not take kindly to that. Why should he? You should know
who the major players are in the publications you want to be seen in.
He is doing you the favor, not the other way around. You should know
who the major players are and actively seek them out, don't wait for
them to "discover" you.
If you look at the masthead inside any magazine, it will tell you
who the publisher is, who the Editor-in-Chief is and so forth. The
mailing address for that magazine, and often the web site and email,
can also be found. What is to stop you from looking up those names
and mailing them your pictures and resume directly? Nothing, that's
what. If you see a photo spread you think is really well done, what is
to stop you from finding out who the photographer is and contacting
them directly and sending them your pics?
Nothing, that's what. My point being, you want a get a break in the business, make the break,
don't sit there thinking it's looking for you, because it's not. Be
proactive, not reactive! Luck is the residue of design. Be successful by
design. As my older brother used to say to me as a kid when I told
him I was too scared to ask out a pretty girl "what's the worst that can
happen Will? All she can say is no." That's the worst that can happen
to you also.
Beware Of Web Idiots, Schlubs, Morons, Perverts, Scum Bags, & Sleazoids!
This part is sort of self-explanatory but worth mentioning. As with all
industries that deal in entertainment based media (e.g., television,
theater, modeling, etc.), the fitness industry attracts its far share of
web idiots, schlubs, morons, perverts, scum bags, and sleazoids, to
name just a few.
There is also the class of person known as the
schmoe, but we will leave that for another place and time. Point is,
you want to meet the right people while not getting involved with that
group of worthless types who will only drag you down, delay you, or
just flat out screw you up and over.
For example, a guy comes up and says he wants to "shoot you" for the magazines, but what do you
really know of this guy? He has a camera and some business cards, so
that makes him a photographer right? Wrong! If someone want to
shoot you and they are not a well-known name (and you should know
who the well known photographers are because you researched that
already!), find out who they are. Do they have references you can call?
Girls you can contact he has shot before and were happy with the
What magazines has he published in? Does he do it professionally or as a hobby? That type of thing. Another thing I see is the big web scam. I'm amazed how many
girls get scammed by these web idiots. Lesson here is, you get what
you pay for, so when some person wants to build you a web site for
free, you are getting what you pay for. Yes, there is good money to be
made on the 'net, and the net can be great for marketing yourself and
making contacts, but most of it's a scam. You are better off paying a
good web designer and web master who has experience with other
fitness model types and has references you can talk to.
I can't tell you the number of girls who have been screwed over by some internet
thing that went to hell, like the "fan" who volunteers to build a free
web site and either runs off with any money made from the site or
puts their picks on porn sites and any number of other things that
made them regret like hell ever agreeing to the site in the first place.
Clearly, I can't go down the list of all the possible pitfalls of the
various of web idiots, schlubs, morons, perverts, scum bags, and
sleazoids out there to be found in the entertainment business, but you
get the idea. Be careful!
Well that pretty much concludes my down and dirty guide to the basics
of "making it" as a fitness model. Of course there are tons of business
related issues I could cover and tricks I could give, but the above is
the best advice you are going to find in small space and will do more
for you-if properly followed-than you may realize.
Now, if you want to know my opinions on the best ways to lose fat by diet, training, and
exercise, so you can look your best as a fitness model, you may want
to read my ebook Diet Supplements Revealed. If you are looking to
add lean mass with a minimum of bodyfat via diet, training, and
supplements, then consider reading my ebook Anabolic Nutrition. You
can see full details of where to find these ebooks below.
Good luck and see you in the magazines!
Want To Build Muscle Fast... Finally?
Get the FACTS on exactly how, what & when to eat to achieve
maximum lean muscle gains with minimum bodyfat in record time, &
discover precisely which muscle building supplements you need to be
using to achieve those goals. You can download the book NOW: Learn More Here!
by: Will Brink
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