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         FITNESS TIPS FOR 12/23/2003                

"So You Wanna Be a Fitness Model"
by Will Brink

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 well a known "hard core" science based no BS writer, why I 
am writing what some will perceive as a "fluff" article? Over the 
years I have gotten hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people 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, 
surly 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 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, etc. 

Several of the top fitness models 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 deicide 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 benefit 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 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 people the editor, 
publishers, supplement companies etc, feel are more 

I have seen it many times where the winner was shocked to 
find they didn't get nearly the attention she expected and 
others 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 competing?" 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 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. 

(1) find out exactly what the judging criteria is for that federation 

(2) go see those shows as a spectator for several different 
federations and see which one your physique, style, etc will 
fit into best. 

(3) You have to decide if you truly have the athletic abilities to 
compete in a fitness competition (which requires a routine) or a 
physique competition. 

Networking 101: dos and 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 machine. 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 trade 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 a business. 

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 attractive I should not 
need a card you fool." This attitude turns off editors, 
photographers, writers, and industry people. Don't do it. 

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 good 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 best. 

Editors Note: For online exposure visit 
Female Fitness Model       
Male Fitness Model       

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. 

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.

Conversely, I have seen the reverse many times; a person
 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", they're just "fugly"! 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 personality.

"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 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. 

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 are. 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, and 

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? Models you can contact he has shot before and were 
happy with the work? 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 
people 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 

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 models 
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 
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 s 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 Muscle Building Nutrition. 

Good luck and see you in the magazines!

About the Author - William D. Brink 
Will Brink is a columnist, contributing consultant, and writer 
for various health/fitness, medical, and bodybuilding 
publications. His articles relating to nutrition, supplements, 
weight loss, exercise and medicine can be found in such 
publications as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag 
International, The Life Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, 
Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body International, 
Power, Oxygen, Penthouse, Women’s World and The Townsend 
Letter For Doctors. 

See Will's ebooks online here: 

If you want to see his opinion on the best ways to use ephedrine 
based products, avoid side effects, etc, should read my book 
Diet Supplements Revealed 

If you want more of his opinions on supplements that build muscle 
mass you can find that information and in my latest ebook 
Muscle Building Nutrition
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Neither trulyhuge.com nor the authors of this publication assume any liability for the information contained herein. The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice. Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.

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