Being a fitness model can be a rewarding and potentially lucrative career. If you invest the time and energy, you can achieve your goal of inspiring other people with your impressive physique. You will have to put in a lot of effort to stay in shape, so stick with an exercise routine and a diet. Find out what sets you apart and what makes you stand out, and show it off when establishing and developing a social media presence. Enter the industry by submitting photos to agencies and magazines, or dazzle your competition in fitness and bodybuilding contests.
Method 1 of 3: Stay in Shape
Step 1. Develop a training plan based on your experience
If you are a beginner, start training 3 days a week, and add a fourth day over the course of a few weeks. Spread the most intense workout throughout the week so you have more recovery time. If you are more experienced, you can stick to a more demanding schedule of 5 or 6 days.
- It is best to consult with a doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you are a teenager (with growing muscles and bones) or if you have a chronic medical condition.
- A personal trainer can help you develop a training program based on your goals and your level of experience.
Step 2. Keep track of what you eat
Plan meals, monitor your diet throughout the year, and keep track of how many calories you consume daily. Your needs will depend on your age, gender, and fitness goals.
Monitor factors like your weight, body fat percentage, and strength gains, and modify your diet accordingly. For example, if you want to reduce your body fat percentage, stick to healthy fats like olive oil and omega 3 fats (salmon and halibut are good sources), and add a day of cardio to your schedule
Step 3. Don't cut down on nutrients when you cut down on calories
Don't forget about nutrients when you count numbers like calories, protein, and carbohydrates. Reducing calories gradually is necessary to support the fat burning that makes muscles visible, but keep an eye on your overall health. If you are allowed to consume a set amount of a type of food, meet that requirement with a rich source of nutrients.
- For example, if you are allowed to eat 200 grams of carbohydrates per day, do not waste them on sweets that do not have nutrients. Instead, go for nutritious carbohydrates like potatoes or berries.
- Don't rely on multivitamins, and don't make skipping meals a habit.
Step 4. Hire a professional trainer
There is a lot you can learn without the need for an experienced coach. However, when you first start training, do it with a trainer at the gym. As you enter the professional modeling industry, connect with a trainer who has experience in the area you want to focus on.
- For example, competitions and magazine publications require different physiques. If you compete regularly, you want a coach who can help you achieve and maintain a contest-ready physique.
- Even if you've achieved a good physique on your own, a coach can help you set bigger goals.
Method 2 of 3: Advertise yourself
Step 1. Establish your brand
Decide what motivates you, what makes you stand out from the crowd, and what defines you as a fitness model. For example, maybe you have developed your physique after having several children or maybe you overcame a problem through fitness.
- Your daily work can help define your brand as well. Fitness magazines typically use yoga instructors or personal trainers instead of standard fashion models. An instructor or trainer is more likely to execute a technique accurately while looking good on camera.
- Once you have defined your brand, you will know what kind of physique you need. To focus on competitions, for example, you will need a more developed and defined physique than for a magazine cover.
Step 2. Learn to pose
Knowing how to pose properly is just as important as your appearance, so it's a good idea to hire a modeling coach or take a modeling class. You can also search online for fitness magazines to learn how the models pose.
- For example, you can watch videos of poses required by the National Gymnastics Association of America (NGA). You can also search for images online or watch videos on YouTube.
- Practice different poses in front of the mirror to find out which one makes your body stand out.
Step 3. Be active on social media
Create Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat profiles and update them daily. Get your followers involved by tracking your fitness adventure, giving them exercise and food preparation tips, and sharing stories about what motivates you. Follow people in the industry, from models to photographers, to build a professional network and hopefully get discovered by a scout or sponsor.
Step 4. Create a folder
When you're just starting out, creating a binder can be as simple as asking a friend to take snapshots of you in good natural lighting. A beginner's portfolio should include 6 to 12 photos. Try to get as close to professional quality as possible. Once you start having small exhibits, include the posted photos in your portfolio.
- You don't have to start putting together your professional portfolio until after signing with an agent and having exhibits. However, you will need current photos of yourself to send to agencies and magazines.
- Fitness models must include full body photographs. Women must wear a sports bra and shorts, and men must wear shorts only.
Method 3 of 3: Enter the Industry
Step 1. Submit photos of yourself to modeling agencies
Submit your photos to modeling agencies to find professional representation. Your agent will help you develop a career portfolio, alert you to job opportunities, and help you get the right jobs. You may not be able to get a contract with a major agency like Wilhelmina right away, so network widely and submit photos to smaller agencies.
- Search online for agencies that represent fitness models. Take a look at the social media profiles of fitness models at various career levels to get an idea of which agencies represent established and emerging models.
- Many agencies run open calls periodically, so look online for open calls opportunities in your area.
Step 2. Participate in fitness or bodybuilding competitions
Bodybuilding and bikini competitions are a popular way to gain recognition. They're great for networking and can provide opportunities for you to meet headhunters and product sponsors. Search online for competitions in your area and give yourself a few months to get in shape for the contest.
Keep in mind that a pageant-ready physique might not be what a popular magazine defines as "marketable," especially for female models
Step 3. Do your research before signing any contract or clause
Stay away from agencies that require you to make a payment for any service. An agent is entitled to a commission, which is generally between 10 and 20% of your earnings. While you may be hesitant to assert your rights when you're first starting out, try to run the business with confidence.
- When signing a contract with a magazine or photographer, negotiate restrictions such as "Photos may not be used on sexually explicit or pornographic websites or posts" or "Finished photographs may not be used to subject talent to scandal, mockery, or contempt".
- If you know someone with legal experience or have a lawyer, ask them to read any contracts or clauses before signing.
Step 4. Look for the red flags of modeling scams
In addition to asking for money up front, an illegitimate agency could make unrealistic promises of fame and fortune. Big name agencies rarely approach someone roughly, so be skeptical of anyone who contacts you and says they can model you for you.
Find an agency online to verify their credibility. Some scam companies use names similar to well-known agencies. For example, Wilhelmina is a lead agency, but pay close attention if a Wihelmina agent contacts you
- Set your goals based on your genetics. For example, if you have a fuller body, you may do better in bodybuilding rather than bikini modeling.
- Prepare for rejection and criticism. The modeling industry is very competitive and can be quite tough. Remember that even the best models were rejected at some point in their careers. Try to see rejection as a learning experience.
- Be wary of meetings with unknown photographers. Never go alone to meet a photographer at their home.
- Always remember that a professional modeling agency will not make you pay for photographs or any other service.