“So You Want to Be a Fitness Model?”
My regular readers know that I prefer to focus on more objective matters, such as nutrition and exercise, rather than the more subjective ones mentioned here. I decided to shed my image as a science nerd and produce an article that will be useful to hundreds of aspiring fitness models.
Why, as a well-respected “hard core,” science-based, no-BS writer, am I penning what some may consider being a “fluff” piece? Many hundreds, if not thousands, of women have written to me, emailed me, or approached me in person over the years to ask me this same question “Will, how I can get started as a fitness model? You’ve been working there for a while, so you should know better than anyone.” This is something that both newcomers and seasoned ladies who have struggled to “break in” have told me and more information avail at greetingsus.
time, and despite my reputation as a “guru” of sorts in the realms of science and nutrition, I have trained a wide variety of fitness athletes, judged fitness and figure/bikini shows for the NPC, Fitness America, Fitness USA, and other federations, and offered marketing and business advice to athletes of all stripes, including fitness models. Therefore, it is not as far-fetched as it may appear that I will utilize this space to discuss a non-scientific topic, namely, how one goes about being a fitness model.
This piece is helpful for those at all stages of their careers, from those just starting out to those who have been in the industry for decades. I have no doubt that you will still find some helpful information in this article even if you are already a professional and successful fitness model.
The bad news first: there is no guaranteed formula for success as a fitness model. You won’t find a silver bullet or a simple solution. A person’s chances of “making it” in the fitness business as a model and possibly using that success as a launching pad to higher things, such as movies, TV, etc., can be considerably increased by following a few simple but crucial guidelines.
A number of elite fitness models have gone on to successful acting, singing, and dancing careers (Trish Stratus and Vicki Pratt are just two examples, but there are many more). Though there is no foolproof method to becoming a good fitness model, the advice in this article will get you quite close.
The question, “Do I have to compete?”
This is a common query, and one that I find particularly challenging to respond to. Yes and no (pause for dramatic effect). The answer to that question requires the individual to reflect on their motivations for competing. Is it necessary to compete if you want to make a living as a fitness model, for instance?
To put it simply, no. Many of today’s top fitness models either have no competitive history or have only competed in a handful of low-stakes contests. Competitiveness, on the other hand, may have its benefits.
Exposure is one such factor. Editors, publishers, photographers, supplement company owners, and other professionals in the business world frequent the top-tier exhibitions. That’s why entering a competition can help you become noticed. It makes sense to compete if you’re attempting to launch a company that’s connected to competition or stands to gain from your success.
Let’s pretend, for the sake of argument, that you are constructing a personal training gym. Of course, if you win the title of Ms. Fitness America or the NPC Nationals and become an IFBB pro, people will take notice of you and your company. It might be beneficial to your business or other pursuits in many different situations if you won a show.
However, it’s important to understand that competition victories do not necessarily translate to commercial success in the fitness modeling industry. It’s unlikely that you’ll be inundated with lucrative contract proposals at your beck and call. Furthermore, keep in mind that it is not uncommon for the fourth, sixth, or eighth place finisher in a fitness or figure event to receive more coverage than the winner. Why? However, while the winner may have all it takes to win the show, the editor, publisher, supplement companies, etc. may believe that another girl is more marketable.
Many times I have witnessed the winner be surprised to see that she did not receive nearly the attention she expected, while other females who placed lower received attention (photo shoots, magazine articles, etc.). Think about this when you ask yourself, “Do I really need to compete, and if so, why am I competing?” Depending on your answer, you may or may not understand the significance of this section’s heading. Although a title win can open doors, there is no guarantee of long-term success in the fitness sector. Comparable to a university diploma, its value lies on the individual’s application.
Now. By all means, enter competitions just for the joy of it, but keep in mind that the advice given above is more applicable to the professional side of fitness modeling than the recreational.
Wrong federation, right body?
Now let’s assume you’ve read what was above and have made the decision to compete, or to compete again. This area is optional if you don’t intend to compete. The most common error I observe is that many of these women are physically suitable for the wrong federation. A contestant who doesn’t take the time to learn the judging standards of each federation’s shows will perform poorly.