I recently received two separate emails from girls asking me for advice as to how exactly one becomes a fitness model. This is advice I would have died for years ago so let me share my little nuggets of wisdom of what I've learnt since I broke into this industry. I'm not by any means a "big" fitness model but I'm well experienced, know the game and think I've got a couple of cents to share.
When I first thought I was worthy of being a fitness model I asked around as to how I could get an agent to represent me. I was laughed at in my face. In my fantasies, I pictured an agent signing me up then booking me all these fantastic shoots around the world on beaches and gyms for all the top magazines. Well, turns out, doesn't really work like that for most. Unless you're incredibly top-tier already there are no agents for fitness models, generally. Because there's no money for fitness model jobs, generally. I hardly know of any fitness models who get paid to do pose for pictures full-time. Fitness magazines don't pay for the most part, and if they do it's peanuts. You might make a little bank if you supplement company picks you up and puts you on their marketing material and ads. But again, you already have to be very top-tier for this -- I'm talking household name within the fitness community at least-- and you'd better already have a huge social media following, too.[caption id="attachment_73472" align="aligncenter" width="716"] Example of a "fitness" model with a huge following who might actually make a living doing this.[/caption]
Many fitness models make their money not by modelling per se, but by being a fitness professional in other aspects: Personal training, writing, selling books and programs and blogging. Hello!
Get Out There.Ok, if you want others to think of you as a fitness model you have to put yourself out there as a fitness model. The vast majority of fitness models I can think of started in the competition circuit -- or ended up there. Prepping for bikini or fitness model contest with the intention to dominate is likely going to be the best education to can give yourself in how to control, shape and present your body. It also gives you incredible exposure. You puts your physique in front of many of the big wigs in the industry -- from judges, other competitors and photographers. This may, or may not, lead to something. For me it did; it put me in front of the country's preeminent fitness photographer, in his studio and in his magazine. Next, you're going to want some photos to that show your potential to be a fitness icon. The stage photos you get from the competition are a good start but you're going to need some studio shots. Many girls arrange shoots with photographers who specialize in fitness photography around competition time when they are in their best shapes. It's generally very expensive but you've worked so hard to into such fantastic shape it's the ideal time to capture it by someone who knows what they're doing. [caption id="attachment_73448" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Stage photos are a start but they're limited and rather dry.[/caption] Another option is to find photographers who want to collaborate with you on and exchange basis. Typically these will be less experienced photographers who need pictures for their portfolios or experienced photographers who want to expand their fitness photos. I've done many such shoots and sometimes you get lucky and sometimes it's a waste of time. Once you have a couple of decent pictures, you want to show them off. Simply posting them of Facebook might get you in front of the right people -- but likely not. Only your friends who already know you're hot will see them. A site that has helped me a lot is Model Mayhem. If you didn't know, Model Mayhem is a website where models, photographers, make-up artists and all sorts of other folks working in that field have a page and can connect to work on projects together. I've gotten many free shoots this way and have even picked up a few paid jobs. [caption id="attachment_73446" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A fun paid job I picked up completely unrelated to fitness, obviously. Accountant Edith.[/caption] Be a Role Model. I think being a fitness model comes with a lot more responsibility than being a fashion model. The latter can dumb as a bat, drink, do drugs, party and leak a sex-tape and it might even help their careers. Not so for us on the health and fitness side -- and we wouldn't have it any other way. People look up to fitness professionals; they will ask questions, look for guidance and do what you do. I think it's very important that fitness models project a wholesome lifestyle, be down to earth and understand that we aren't just selling a surface look -- we are selling genuine health and fitness. Looking hot should be secondary. Hope that helps. See more of my fitness photos on Pinterest.