How to Become a Fitness Model, According to 5 Real Models

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Becoming a fitness model is an increasingly competitive and popular profession. However, not a lot of people know about fitness modeling or what it takes to become one.

Here’s what it’s like to work in the industry, as discussed by actual fitness models.

Let’s find out:

Melissa Riemer

Melissa Riemer

Fashion and Fitness Model, Neumer Tribe

Becoming a fitness model is similar to fashion modeling. You have to be both realistic and aware of the effort it takes as well as the strict measurements and aesthetic the industry is looking for.

If your body type suits being a fitness model, then the first thing you must focus on is fitness

It’s great to be able to do a lot of different sports, as you’ll be booking different sportswear companies and shoots. I like to do boxing, running, yoga, F45, tae kwon do and swimming just to keep it fresh.

It’s also really great to have a niche sport that sets you apart from other models

Mine is scuba and free diving. While it’s not a high-demand sport for commercial shoots, it is a talking point and definitely makes me stand out on the fitness board of my agency.

It goes without saying, but eating well is a super important side to fitness modeling

Nutrition can play such a huge part in shaping your body, and it’s good to be aware of what kind of body type your clientele are looking for. Check out their recent advertisements and see what the models look like that they’re using. Are they bulked, toned or lean?

I’d highly recommend getting an agent

Freelancing not only undercuts other models, but it undercuts you and your potential earnings. An agent is fantastic at helping you create a long-lasting career, as well as introducing you to high-end sports clients that don’t just offer free products in exchange for a shoot.

Lola Chél

Lola Chel

International Model & Model Coach

Becoming a fitness model is not a one-time declaration and then like magic you just are. It really takes a lot of dedication, commitment (both mental and physical), and a love for this modeling niche.

If this is really what you want to do though, I think in the next five steps, if you take them seriously, you could be well on your way to becoming a fitness model.

Decide to become a fitness model

Now, this might sound super cheesy because I started off this how-to buy telling you it’s not that easy. Hear me out though!

Deciding to become a fitness model is a big step. Think about it, telling yourself that this is what you want to do and honestly meaning it will put a lot of things into motion. I consider this the first step because if you never make the decision to become a fitness model you’ll never put the work in to make that a reality.

Do your research

Don’t let social media for you – becoming a fitness model is more than just taking cute photos at the gym. You should definitely do your research to make sure this is a lifestyle that you want to adopt fully to bring your dream to fruition.

Start by looking up the lifestyles and workout regiment of some of the top fitness models in the industry. Even if you’re not at that level yet that’s the level that you want to strive to attain so you need to know what the end goal is going to be.

If they work out three hours a day and have a pescatarian or vegan diet and that has helped them become the best in the fitness modeling industry then you need to understand that in order to be the best those are some of the things you’re going to have to do in the long run.

Now if that sounds too hard or you’re already struggling to wrap your mind around it this step will help you figure out if becoming a fitness model is still for you.

Related: 13 Best Fitness Books

Making fitness your lifestyle

If you made past step number consider this. Unlike other types of modeling, fitness modeling is a true “what you reap is what you sow” style of modeling. Fitness modeling it’s all about your body and because that rings true your body will be under a lot of scrutinies.

As you should be able to tell from your research and the last step, the body of fitness models is extremely important. You will have to constantly work for your body to make sure that your body works for you in the fitness modeling industry.

Though terms like “cheat days” exist you better believe that you will still be working just as hard to compensate for those days where you’re able to break out of your diet and typical workout routine.

If you’re not into monitoring your diet, consistently working out, or cutting out certain things from your lifestyle then this step is going to help you figure out if fitness modeling is still for you.

Figuring out your niche

Now though fitness modeling is a niche inside of the modeling industry there are still niches within the fitness modeling industry. This would be a great time to do some additional research to figure out what type of fitness modeling works best for you.

You could be a bodybuilder, you could operate inside of the yoga space, you could be a firm advocate for getting the body you want successfully through your diet, you could be a demo model for a new fitness program, and so much more.

This step ties and the last three steps beautifully because once you’ve decided you want to be a fitness model, you’ve done the research to see what that takes, you know that you can adjust your lifestyle to achieve the dream, and in this step you figured out exactly what part of the industry you wanna pursue you’re going to be perfectly set up for step number five.

Get out there, work, and make your dream a reality

You know what to do! You’ve made the declaration, you’ve done the research, you’ve prepared yourself for a lifestyle shift, you’ve decided what portion of this industry is going to work best for you, and now you need to put all those things into motion.

So whether it’s crafting your daily, weekly, and monthly workout goals, throwing out all of the things in your storage that no longer serve your diet, or even making a new Instagram page showing your process to becoming a fitness model- this is where you take hold of your dream and start putting in the workday in and day out to make it come true.

Omega Zumpano

Omega Zumpano

Exercise Physiologist, Omega Fit Life | Model, Model’s Inc.

Participate in fitness competitions

Fitness modeling is a sort of career path that takes focus and dedication. Once you’ve established a workout routine you can start submitting yourself into fitness competitions.

Participating in fitness competitions not only provides you with a deadline for a goal, but it gives you an opportunity to gain recognition amongst the fitness community.

Within fitness competitions, you will meet so many vendors, photographers, and coaches. These competitions are a great opportunity for you to network.

Plan for your photoshoot

Immediately after the fitness competition plan for your photo shoot so you can start submitting yourself to modeling agencies. Don’t be too intimidated, photoshoots can happen with your best girlfriend and your i-phone. You can also find and hire a professional photographer for as little as $250 in big cities.

Look for agencies

Modeling and talent agencies are always looking for new faces. To start finding agencies, you can simply google within your state or ask fellow fitness models who their agents are.

Overall, the most important thing to know about fitness modeling is to always be yourself – you are unique and the more you play on your uniqueness the more recognizable you will be.

Gia Fey

Gia Fey

Personal Trainer, Body By Gia

It used to be required that a fitness model had to be at least 5’4 to 6’ and be lean and fit with firm muscle tone but now the fitness industry has evolved to become more representative of all types of bodies from age 16-70.

I never thought I would be a fitness model in my 30’s but now thanks to Instagram there are more ways to be discovered and make it without the Wilhelmina model contract.

Here are my tips on how to become a fitness model in this new digital era:

Love fitness

You really have to love fitness so you stay in shape regardless of if you are a fitness model because you always need to have a camera-ready body.

And you don’t just need to look stronger than regular models but actually be stronger. Being able to do 20 push-ups to get the perfect shot is required. Consider hiring a personal trainer for yourself or get certifications if need be.

Related: How Much Do Personal Trainers Cost

Have body awareness & confidence

Be aware of your body and flaunt it with confidence whatever size you are. This will show in your pictures and help get paying jobs. You can start by building a portfolio on Instagram. Take pictures with friends to learn your poses and angles. You need to know your best body poses.

Start knocking on doors

Slide into fitness brands DM on Instagram, get on sites like lacasting.com, create fitness content, email modeling agencies, consider signing up for a fitness competition, all those are useful in being discovered.

Now stop making excuses and just do it, you never know until you try it!

Elliot Robinson

Elliot Robinson

Owner, Gunsmith Fitness

Fitness and modeling are industries that go hand in hand and complement each other beautifully. That is because most models have to be fit to work in the industry.

Fitness modeling is also referred to as sports modeling and becoming one entails the following:

Lean physical requirements

The good news with fitness modeling is that it isn’t as demanding physique-wise as the other niches of modeling. They need you to be lean and fit with good muscle tone. Nothing as extreme as the bodybuilder physique but the definition is crucial and firm muscle tone as well. Women can be 5’4” up to 6’ tall while men can be from 5’10 to 6’3” tall.

Attractive features

A beautiful smile, excellent skin, and glossy hair are requirements. This niche advocates for healthy-looking models, not rail-thin men or women. Their look needs to be commercial to attract a wider consumer base, unlike runway models who can have quirks that make them distinct.

Photogenic appeal

They should be able to take pictures very well to market the client’s products. This is because their phots appear in billboards, catalogs and magazine adverts as well.

There is a lot of dedication to physical looks with this craft so you will spend a good chunk of time in the gym. Eat healthily and work out to maintain your physique. Make sure you prepare a professional portfolio of your various fitness looks ranging from pictures in swimwear to fitness wear.

There are three ways to find work:

  • Go for blind auditions for billboard, magazine or catalog deals.
  • Enter fitness modeling competitions and get noticed by modeling agencies and fitness companies.
  • Join a model scouting agency with access to the best client base.
  • You always have to have a picture ready body to make it in the industry which means a lot of exercise and healthy eating.