1. What's your background? How did you get started in the fitness modeling/fitness competition field?
I am Cuban-American and raised in Miami, Florida. I got started almost 3 years ago as a fitness model in Los Angeles, when I had initially moved from San Diego to become a private personal trainer. Instead, I found myself flipping through a fitness magazine and realized I didn't have to be a "stick-figure" at 18 yrs. old and it really motivated to get in shape and just go for it!
I wanted to compete so I took an obstacle weekend training camp in Venice Beach, but ended up injuring my lower back. I'm currently taking time off from competing but, I've done many fitness photo shoots and I've been published numerous times in man fitness magazines. I still plan to compete in figure & physique shows some day in the very near future for my own personal challenge. At the moment, I'm focusing on perfecting my skills as a commercial actor & TV spokesperson, but I still shoot for fitness publications.
2. What do you feel is your biggest fitness-related accomplishment?
I began weight training 3 years ago and transformed my physique from being on the slender side to a very toned and defined body, without looking masculine.
In the past, I taught & took aerobic classes to reduce my bodyfat percentage, but it wasn't until I began lifting weights that I noticed a new sculptured physique with great definition. My upper body always needed more of a build to be porportionate to my well defined and slightly muscular legs.
3. Is fitness modeling/competition your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?
I believe that fitness modeling is only a part time job for me because it is not quite as lucrative as I would like it to be. But aside from that fact, I'm also working on many other projects & personal accomplishments.
I used to work as a private personal trainer, but I find that I no longer have the time to help others in their fitness goals due to my schedule. I spend most of my time marketing & promoting myself as an accomplished model/spokesperson, auditioning for commercials, parts in movies, representing many reputable companies at trade shows and I recently began taking classes to become a TV Spokesperson. As you can see, juggling all these different projects and finding time from my busy schedule barely leaves any time for me to train others as I'd like to.
4. What are your immediate and long-term goals?
My immediate goals are to begin working as a TV spokesperson for the Food/Travel network and getting to do more commercials on television as well. I would love to start my own show that talks about fitness, fashion, food and travel!
One long term goal of mine is to make smart investments to secure my future. I'd also like to begin my own charity groups to help others with disablilities by changing their lives into a positive & more productive one. Getting involved in a community is also very important to me.
5. Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
Personally, I tend to take the winter season off (for now) from following a very strict diet and exercise routine, while still keeping an eye on how much and what I eat.
During my working seasons as a fitness model, I weight train one muscle group once a week and do some cardio-training 2-3 times a week. Luckily, I have a fast metabolism and don't need to over do it.
I prefer to do my cardio workouts outdoors such as rollerblading or biking, hiking, surfing etc...When I need to be very lean for a show or specific photo shoot, I intensify everything including my diet routine by staying away from "starchy" carbs and following a stricter diet.
6. Please describe your normal diet. How do you eat to stay in shape?
High Protein/Low Carb/Low Fat Diet: I try to eat 5-6 small meals a day. In the morning I have a cup of coffee, 3-4 egg whites and a 1/2 cup of oatmeal. At lunch, I have a chicken or tuna salad with oil and vinegar. I snack on a half of cup of steamed green vegetables. I have one low carb/fat protein shake a day mixed with water. I snack again with a small green apple slices with one tablespoon of peanut butter or a half cup of almonds.
At dinner I have a grilled piece of 6 0z. chicken or fish with a cup of green beans or broccoli, sometimes half a cup of brown rice. I eat dinner before 8pm. I eat about every 3 hours and eat about 5-6 small meals (including snacks) a day to get my metabolism going.
7. What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details - training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
Monday - Legs
On Every Excercise: (3-4 sets & 8-12 reps) ham curls, quad extentions, hip flexors, lunges, squates and leg presses.
Tuesday - Arms
3-4 different exercises for biceps and triceps. I try to alternate types of excersises every week.
Wednesday - Back
(Alternate 3-4 different exercises)
Thurs - Chest & Shoulders
Chest press & flies with dumbells (lightly) vary different exercised for shoulders with machines and dumbells
Friday - 15min. of cardio on the treadmill, 15 min. on stepmill and 15 min. on the bike (45 minutes total) and stretching entire body. 300 Crunches
Saturday - Outdoor Activities Rollerblading, hiking, biking etc...
Sunday - OFF
8. What supplements do you use (if any)?
9. How do you motivate yourself to get/stay in shape? (Please talk about any motivational books, music, or tools you use.)
What really motivates me is when I'm hired to work as a spokesmodel for any fitness/bodybuilding tradeshow such as The Arnold or the Olympia show. These types of shows are filled with beautifully toned and lean physiques! It really motivates me to attend fitness/bodybuilding shows and/or events the most and by watching a Fitness America show on ESPN, especially a live show!
I also try to read informative fitness/health magazines such as Kennedy's Oxygen, Muscle & Fitness/Hers & Shape to educate myself with different articles from different sources. But, I believe your shouldn't1 believe everything you read...do your own research first and ask experts lots of questions to help you understand why there are certain exercises and diet plans.
10. What are a few of your favorite fitness and health-related web sites?
11. What tips would you give to someone who wanted to get into the fitness modeling (or fitness competition) industry?
For fitness modeling, it is required to be lean, proportionate, display muscle definition and make sure that you have a nice glowing tan on the day of your photoshoot. Don't forget to brink baby oil or PAM (YES, cooking spray oil) to shine up those muscles! Knowing how to pose is extremely important, so know your best angles (practice makes perfect). Make sure you are always in shape if you want to be in this business.
Have an off season. Most of the time you'll be called as late in the night before a photo-shoot and you must be ready & in shape if you want to feel confident, look your best and get published. Let's not forget....remain working as a fitness model. (It also helps when you work with a professional makeup/hairstylist to make you look your very best)!
If you are just breaking into the business, you should practice your poses on your own and in front of the mirror by looking at fitness magazines before you go on your first photo shoot. Make sure that you meet with the photographer prior to your photo shoot to review his/her work and talk about any concerns that you may have. Trust the photographer's credibility and that he/she is reputable in the business prior to the shoot. More importantly, trust that there's no personality conflict and that you are comfortable shooting with him or her.
Remember, your image may be around for a long time thereafter you have shot, so it's best to shoot with someone who is great at being director of photography to "guide" you throughout the shoot and make you look your very best! Smile!
12. What do you think in general about fitness/bodybuilding and how it is important and how it has changed your life if you could change something what would it be?
In general, I think fitness/bodybuilding is a wonderful sport, but you should consult a doctor/nutritionist and a personal trainer prior to any diet or fitness program. You should also know that your body is different from everyone else's body and you will need a specifically designed program to achieve your fitness goals for your body type.
If you plan to compete, please don't feel that you have to take drugs to do so. Health and fitness should be a healthy lifestyle, not a trend. Be safe when you decide what your fitness goals are and how you get there. Do your research and educate yourself before you experiment with any sport or diet program.
13. What do you feel differentiates you from other people in your field?
I'm not only immersed in the fitness industry, but in other forms of media too. I like being a part all medias and promote health and fitness wherever I go.
Most fitness models and competitors only stay in the fitness field, which is great, but I think that there are everyday people that we come in contact every single day that need our expertise to live a longer healthier life. I've grown more as a person by venturing to other forms of media. For example, I speak about fitness in other industries because people always ask me how I stay in shape.
When you limit yourself to just the fitness industry it limits the possibility of educating others who don't know how to loose weight properly or reach their fitness goals. Many Actors/Actresses in Hollywood think that by starving themselves, they will loose weight. Not only is this dangerous to one's health, but the results are only temporary.
14. Is there anything else you'd like to say? (Mention your website, contact info, availability and interest in modeling or personal training work, etc. - if you want.)
Yes. It's very easy to get stuck in a rut from the daily rat race. But I encourage you to make time to exercise regularly and don't listen to "fad diets". They may be dangerous and I've known people to go on these "fad diets" only to gain even more weight in the end. v If you'd like to receive free fit tips and/or contact me for advice...visit me at www.carmenfitbody.com or if you are a fan, visit me at: www.carmengarcia.com or: www.carmenfitbody.com . Stay Fit!
The information contained in this article is strictly for informational purposes. You should consult a physician before beginning any new nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program. The information contained in this article is not meant to provide medical advice. Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Carmen Garcia and/or her likeness will not assume any liability, nor be held responsible for any injury, illness or personal loss due to the utilization of any information contained herein.