Model Advice

Inside the mind of a working fitness model

Written by AEFM International

Originally from Brazil and enrolled there in a Law Degree, I made the difficult decision to defer my law studies to become a Personal Trainer based in Spain. After the completion of my course I headed to Australia in 2008 and immediately started working at Fitness First in Sydney. I am now a senior trainer and a boxing coach at both the Randwick and Bondi clubs. I decided to start my own personal training business, Coppola Training & Health Coaching, to help clients create the bodies they have always dreamed of.

I am now a fitness model sponsored by Australian Sports Nutrition in Bondi and I am a speaker and Fitness Industry Advisory Committee member of the Australian College of Physical Education (ACPE).  I am a writer for Fitness First magazine and am an Ambassador for Fitness First Australia and Malaysia. I have also participated in several Fitness Modelling competitions throughout Australia gaining second place in both the INBA QLD Tropix, 2012, and the City Nationals, 2013.  I have qualified to compete in both the IFBB Arnold’s Classic in Melbourne and the INBA World Championship in Greece. I have featured in TV ads nationally and internationally for clients such as Toyota, Athlete’s Foot, Merrell and Nike.

Over the past ten years I have developed a unique butt training concept called Brazilian Butt Express (BBE) that I have successfully been using with my clients.  Earlier this year I released an eBook dedicated to this concept BBE eBook is a very exciting ten week, step by step guide and twenty minute workout that includes my top lifestyle tips including all you need to know about nutrition, how to choose the perfect swimsuit and everything in between.

Carving out a niche in the fitness industry encouraged me to recently launch my own unique training accessory, the Brazilian Butt Express Ankle Strap, which has been shipped directly from Brazil and is specifically designed to effectively train the gluteus like no other equipment!

Inside The Mind of a Working Fitness Model:

For some absurd and illogical reason, athletes and fitness models are often portrayed by the media as having lower levels of intelligence. There are many articles that ridicule and criticise celebrity athletes for poor errors of judgement or bad behavior they may have exhibited. I agree that certain behaviour is unacceptable and the media is right in reporting this but it is sadly common to hear that athletes and attractive people in the fitness industry are considered ‘dumb’. Each of us lives under different principles, regardless of whether we are athletes, politicians, doctors or lawyers. The amount of money someone earns should not be used to classify their intelligence level in relation to a specific action or behaviour. It almost seems that society doesn’t believe that an attractive or physically talented person can also possess other assets such as intelligence, good business instincts or be easy going.

Ironically those ‘dumb’ people who reach the top are often responsible for a large part of society’s entertainment. This can be as a top athlete in an important sport or as a model in a fitness or fashion show that will decide what the latest trends will be and define and show the best way to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. These successful people are followed, copied and inspirational to so many in our society and should not be constantly ridiculed or judged due to the poor behaviour of only a handful of silly athletes/celebrities.

So please, don’t let people think you are stupid, narrow-minded or that all you do is look in the mirror all day long. Don’t let those ill-informed opinions creep into your mind and have a negative impact on you. Show them that being healthy and attractive are just a few of the assets you possess. Be proud for having self respect and for taking pleasure in simple, everyday things. Be proud for giving love and for considering and caring about the interest of others, for caring for the environment, for accepting your responsibilities, for planning ahead and not fearing the future, for welcoming new experiences and new ideas. Most of all be proud for using your talents and for putting the best effort into what you do and getting enormous satisfaction from doing it.

That is what it takes to be who you are and to look the way you do!!

Main Reasons for Becoming a Fitness Model:

I could start by telling you about the financial benefits of becoming a successful fitness model, but instead I will reveal the noble side of taking this path. Being a positive role model in a society that suffers from a lack of health education simply feels good. As author Anthony Robbins states, “The feeling of significance is one of the six fundamental needs we all have in common. From motivation to nutrition information or exercise tips, being able to impact people’s lives is priceless and this is, for sure, what’s drives me the most”.

Adopting the active fitness model lifestyle will result in having a healthy body as your biggest asset, which is not a temporary advantage but a lasting benefit for better quality of life in the future. A healthy body is totally self-determined and that is very empowering. Another benefit of being in the fitness industry is having a healthy, great physique all year round. For most people that is a good enough reason to start.

Of course, as with anything done with dedication, persistence and love, the financial rewards will eventually come along!

Apart from getting paid to ‘look good’ many times you will receive gifts from photo shoots or campaigns in which you were featured. This can include items such as gym gear, shoes, accessories or event invitations and traveling. The list is endless and can help to reduce your own day to day lifestyle expenses and make it easier to stay up to date with the industry’s latest fashion and technology.

Networking and traveling are equally attractive in the fitness model lifestyle. Being around others in the fitness industry can be intimidating at times but for the most part it inspires and motivates you to become the best version of yourself you can be. I really enjoy the versatility and dynamic of traveling around. If you are fortunate enough it can be a great way to see the world.  Working for a range of industries and doing something totally different every time, even to the point where you must learn something new just for the sake of a photo, keeps things interesting. I love it all!!  

Ten Things Not to Do When Starting Out:

  • Don’t be arrogant or cocky.
  • Don’t be late.
  • Don’t dress unprofessionally.
  • Don’t reveal too much about yourself.
  • Don’t try to change things.
  • Don’t complain.
  • Don’t ignore assistants.
  • Don’t try too hard to stand out.
  • Don’t expect to be perfect.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Self Promotion:

Having a fit and well proportioned body is certainly a good start.  However, don’t think taking a few sexy body shots and uploading them on social media will take you far. Beautiful people are everywhere. It is your responsibility to be different and to stand out. What makes you different? What do you believe in and what would you like to offer to others? I believe that if you are spontaneous, innovative and clear on your messages while letting your personality shine through, you are on the right path.

Take into consideration that if you are lucky people will see, listen and then reflect on what you say. Try finding the balance between just being active on social media and only writing posts that you feel would change people’s lives.

You may think you know all the techniques and tricks of the various social media channels. Self development though, is still the best investment of all. Keep working hard, keep learning, stay hungry and be humble.

Social media platforms are powerful and free and it is up to you to make the most of them. Being yourself is the easiest part and is also your best chance of succeeding.

Naturally you should always contact people you would like to connect with or work with. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Take their cards and send a hand written thank you to follow up.  Give product feedback, offer to help others and always be prepared to tell them about your projects and how they can be beneficial for them. Be nice and most importantly: SMILE.

Top Ten Core Exercises:

  • Leg Raises
  • Swiss Ball Jack Knife
  • Decline Sit Ups
  • Side Crunches with Twist
  • Kneeling Cable Crunch
  • Swiss Ball Crunches
  • Cable Wood Chop
  • Abs Roller
  • Indo Board Balancing
  • Cardio: Hill Sprints and Boxing 

Top Ten “Booty Exercises”

  • Straight Leg Kick Back on Cables (using BBE Ankle Strap)
  • Straight Leg Abduction on Cables (using BBE Ankle Strap)
  • Butt Kicks on 3 Point – on Hands (using hamstring lying curl machine for resistance)
  • Walking Lunges
  • Single Leg Press
  • Hip Extension
  • Split Squats
  • Straight Leg Kicks on 3 point – on Bench (using BBE Ankle Weights for resistance)
  • Squats
  • Single Leg Dead Lifts

How to Maintain the Perfect Physique All Year Round:

I find it interesting to listen to people talk about the unhealthy effects of participating in a bikini competition. Girls and guys who participate in fitness competitions often mention how strict their diets were and how hard they trained to achieve the stage body. I’ve got a few points I’d like to share about the myths of getting ready for a show or a photo shoot. Please understand I am talking as a bikini/ fitness competitor. I am not referring to a figure or a bodybuilding competitor experience.

Firstly let’s take into consideration the time under which those models worked under ‘strict’ diets. Perhaps they had to change their bodies so dramatically to be able to compete on a certain date that gave them no other choice than to be on a strict diet for that time period. On top of that let’s not forget this situation is likely to promote potential emotional stress.

Another aspect is the intense training regime which they put themselves through, sometimes in a short period of time, in order to achieve the body shape they need. What I am trying to point out here is that of course it is going to be hard and tough if you always have to transform your body for each competition or photo shoot you participate in. However, if you consistently eat healthy, train and live an active and stress-free lifestyle, the pressure is not nearly as tough as for someone who has to completely change their habits to be in shape.

In other words, your lifestyle is basically what will determine how hard it is for you to be a fitness model. It can be stressful and painful every time you prepare to be featured in a campaign, or it can be very enjoyable and stress-free to get ready for a shoot. The choice is yours.

I’m not saying it is easy as I am still finding my own balance and I have learned from experience that it is up to my everyday choices and efforts that will make my preparations either easy or painful.

Finding the balance is relative to each one of you. A good example is how I choose not to drink alcohol on a regular basis. In fact this happens so rarely that I can’t even remember when I last had a glass of wine. I’m not judging people or being unrealistic. We all know that alcohol takes a while to leave our systems and having a few drinks regularly will definitely affect your training regime. If it is your choice to drink every week don’t complain later that preparing for a fitness show is so hard, that you don’t have a social life and you can’t even see friends in restaurants and so on. It all comes down to your lifestyle choices. IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT!

At the end of the day you must decide what makes you most happy. Be very close to your peak condition and feel good about yourself on a daily basis, succeed in your career and be featured in magazines, covers and TV ads? Or, surrender to temptation and be temporarily satisfied?

Those are the reasons why I disagree that to be a model is either stressful to the body, boring or unhealthy. Yes it can be all the above but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a lifestyle choice that at some point becomes effortless and pain free. When you reach this point all you need are adjustments to your training and to make small nutritional and hydration changes for one to two weeks to turn up to work in your peak condition.

All I hope now is that I have unlinked the usual “chicken & broccoli” idea to the fitness model, lifestyle perception. In fact you can eat a lot and a variety of foods, especially vegetables, day in day out if you remain consistent with your choices.

The most important key for success is the ability to delay gratification.  Impulsiveness can be strong when we face temptations. Sometimes the good looking dessert, tasty wine or having a sleep in sounds better than maintaining your diet or planned training schedule. Although the temporary pleasure of doing these things may be nice, it won’t take you where you want to be. The good news is that the self-discipline needed to take you there is like a muscle: the more you train it, the stronger it gets.

Exercise and diet is similar to a savings account. The more consistent and productive you become the better gains you will obtain. You can’t expect to see significant progress at the end of the month if you are not constantly making small improvements.

Decide what you dream of, what makes you happy and satisfied and what your balance should be.

Start your career off right and get closer to your peak condition, physically and mentally, one day at a time.

Dealing with Rejection:

It is accurate to say that most fitness models will be rejected at some point during their careers. The difference between the models in the industry who fail as opposed to those who succeed, is how they identify and respond to their experiences and what they do with the feedback they receive.

It is important to take rejection as positively as possible and not let it affect your mood, fitness regime or momentum. As a fitness model you should always be prepared for a last minute TV campaign, photo shoot or event. We never know when they will come.

Never be scared of applying for a position that attracts you even if it seems too difficult at the time and you are not even sure you will be considered for the job. What is the worst that can happen after all?! Once I was rejected for a job that I really wanted and one day later I got a very exciting call from someone offering me another amazing opportunity! It is just how the business works. At least I tried and if anything the rejection just motivated me more as I saw how well prepared the model that was eventually chosen for the job had been.

The more you try the more experience you will acquire for future jobs. Plus your network will expand!  Also, the more jobs you apply for the more chances you have of being chosen. So you really have nothing to lose by putting yourself out there and giving it a shot! If you don’t get picked, life goes on. Remember to still be thankful for the opportunity you were given and to maintain contact with the people there who may be useful to you in the future. You may very well be remembered for another opportunity either because it suits you better or quite simply for being professional and graceful.

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said: “Success is a peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming”.

Successful people persist. They listen, they improve, they grow and then they try again, and again and again.  That is quite simply why they succeed.

Always remember that rejection does not mean failure. Rejection is a temporary state that is helping you to work on your weaknesses so you can prepare for a better opportunity that may present itself in the future. As long as we are quoting basketball greats, Michael Jordan said: “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something.  But I can’t and won’t accept not trying.”

Written by AEFM International

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