IN-DEPTH NEWS FEATURE:
Sleek, super toned and supple are just a handful of words that can be used to describe a model, male or female. Those who don’t model are often envious of the model’s physique and many believe that these models were born with perfect bodies and eat very little to stay lean. However, the reality is far from this.
Models come in all shapes and sizes and they work hard to keep themselves in such good shape. They spend hours in the gym and they eat healthy, nutritious meals that are jam packed with protein and all of the essential vitamins and minerals.
Shiralee Coleman, Model and PR Manager of RAW Fashion Agency
Just ask Shiralee Coleman, 30, PR manager of RAW Fashion Agency, who has been a model for 13-years and says that food and fitness are extremely important in her industry.
“Eating well and always incorporating fitness as a part of your lifestyle, no matter what you are doing and where you are living, are vital,” said Coleman. “Grooming can be time consuming but it’s also an important aspect,” she said. “Nothing feels better than knowing that you are going into a shoot prepared and ready, and that you have worked hard to be at that point.”
“I’ve done fashion shows, photographic shoots, features, and editorials, as well as movies and music videos,” said Coleman. “Modelling wasn’t exactly a dream or goal when I was younger, but then I was approached by a Chadwick Booker when I was 17, while I was out and about in my local shopping centre. This sparked my interest, and I have modelled ever since.
Coleman says that working out is a definite requirement for modelling.
“You have to be fit,” said Coleman. “Working out on a regular basis of a minimum of three days a week is a must, but ideally it should be five days a week,” she said. “Modelling is all about proportions — bust-to-waist-to-hip — you have to be in balance.”
“I train four days a week,” said Coleman. “Two days of circuit resistance training, and two days of cardio with high intensity,” she said. “I generally have two days of ‘active rest’ where I might go for a walk along the beach or do some ‘cardio shopping’ with one of my friends.”
“My typical high intensity interval training or HIIT method includes working ‘back and forth’, ‘slow to fast’ with immediate switches of intensities,” said Coleman. “This keeps the body working constantly and guessing throughout a workout,” she said. “I keep it varied so that my body does not adapt to a particular exercise and I keep it interesting so I enjoy it. I’ve found this most beneficial as your body continues to burn calories long after — up to 72-hours — a workout.”
However, this does not mean that Coleman does not find challenging.
“Keeping slim is not as easy as it used to be,” said Coleman. “However, I try my best to keep that in check by sticking to a good eating plan,” she said. “I eat lots of protein, but I do allow myself the ‘cheat meal’ once a week too.”
“Maintaining mental fitness when modelling is all about having the right life balance,” said Coleman. “Having regular sleep is a simple pleasure, and I am in such a better frame of mind if I allow myself the time to rest between my busy days,” she said. “Staying in, and just as much — a night out, keeps me energized.”
Coleman says that she rates her current level of fitness a seven out of 10 and could invest more into her training levels, in terms of how hard she pushes herself during a session.
“I know what I need to do,” said Coleman. “It does take determination for me to eat clean and to stick to it, because I really love food,” she said. “But, at the same time you stick to it because you don’t want to undo all the hard work you put into your diet and training.”
“I can train myself to a certain point, but I do need a personal trainer to push me into the red zone, where it really counts,” said Coleman. “It gets easier as the food choices and your training become your natural routine,” she said. “And even easier when you can eat healthy with those that you spend your time with.”
Coleman follows a specific nutrition plan to maintain her health and fitness when modelling.
“I eat using my personal trainer’s 80 percent to 20 percent rule of thumb,” said Coleman. “This means that I eat clean 80 percent of the time with wholesome foods, and I can splurge 20 percent of the time,” she said.
“I maintain a five to six meal a day plan,” said Coleman. “These are small portioned meals every day to keep my metabolism firing,” she said. “I’ve found preparation, and having my food’s pre-packed in advance and ready to go works best. Then I avoid nutritionally dead junk and fast food.”
“Eating more can translate to burning more fat,” said Coleman. “Too many people think that starving yourself makes you lose weight but that is the biggest mistake,” she said.
“This eating plan gives my body the essential fuel throughout the day to maintain my active lifestyle,” said Coleman. “Evis Heath, my personal trainer from 365, has really inspired me and keeps me on track for reaching my nutritional goals.”
In the lead-up to a modelling assignment, Coleman says that she controls her carbohydrate intake.
“I eat carbohydrate based food strategically throughout the day,” said Coleman. “I find that if I maintain my lifestyle of eating ‘clean’ wholesome foods then I do not need to make dramatic changes in preparation for a modelling assignment,” she said. “I will maintain my interval style workouts to help tone for those final touches and consume between two and three litres of water.”
“When an assignment is finished then I have my cheat meal, if I am lucky,” said Coleman.
Coleman says that modelling can be physically and mentally draining, but it does develop your well-being, self-confidence and esteem.
“A shoot can be exhausting if it’s long,” said Coleman. “It is like doing a performance all day in front of a camera,” she said. “When in the sun or in front of the lights the heat also uses a lot of energy.”
“Knowing your angles and shapes, and interpreting each project is mentally challenging,” said Coleman. “Modelling pushes you to be your best,” she said. “Especially when you get feedback about a killer shot, it feels really rewarding.”
Coleman says that fashion is a bonus when modelling, but she does not like it when the images are not up to scratch.
“The best aspect of modelling is the fashion of course, mixed with my other obsession, photography,” said Coleman. “This is where my favourite worlds meet.”
“My least favourite aspect is when I don’t like the images from a shoot,” said Coleman.
Evis Heath, Personal Trainer of Models
Evis Heath, master trainer and a fitness connoisseur, says that he became motivated to personal train models due to his own experience within the industry.
“I currently compete as an international fitness model myself, so my understanding of what it takes — commitment, dedication, and belief — to maintain a fitness and modelling physique all year round is a part of me,” he said. “I also enjoy the connection you get with a client, knowing that to achieve a goal there has to a journey, and you’re going to share the experience.”
Heath says that in order to maintain a modelling physique, models have to be vigilant.
“I believe maintaining that ‘athletic, lean model physique’ requires a balance of an optimal cardiovascular, core and resistance-training program,” said Heath. “A combination of anaerobic and aerobic cardio’ combined with an interval, back-to-back style of training works,” he said. “If it is used with consistent frequency through the week and balanced with palates and other meditation techniques.”
Heath says that his training techniques simply motivate models to keep fit.
“It’s the results and the satisfaction of your personal achievements and having goals met, that motives,” said Heath. “It gives models routine in their lifestyle, creating a balance of day-to-day activities,” he said.
The greatest issues models encounter, says Heath, are stress and time-management, plus they need a ‘quick-fix’ weight management program. In order to rectify these problems Heath suggests that models use meditation or yoga.
“Yoga and meditation classes bring you back down to earth,” said Heath. “Along with simply balancing rest and recovery with your work commitments,” he said.
“I believe you should only be working the hours prescribed,” said Heath. “Unfortunately we seem to be a society who puts in a lot of over-time and then we tend to lose track of time for exercise and pleasure,” he said. “If you keep the exercise interesting and keep fit for your pleasure, then it ends up not being a chore and you become more accountable to put in the hours.”
“Not stressing is important,” said Heath. “We live in a ‘thought and intention’ universe, so having a strong mindest is important,” he said. “Having a strong will and commitment to your fitness journey will drive you to your fitness goals. This then helps you to maintain a motivational level, especially when you have the support of an organised plan.”
In order to keep himself fit, Heath seeks a balanced lifestyle that combines good food with fitness.
“I make fitness a lifestyle. Like my company name says, ‘All Year Round’,” said Heath. “I keep an organised balance of an active lifestyle — exercise program –and a well-balanced nutrition plan to maintain my health and fitness with the intake of at least three litres of water a day,” he said.
Heath says his lifestyle and living mantra is eat clean, stay lean and train like a machine. He believes good food helps you to live, whereas diets deprives the body.
“Eating ‘clean’ is vital,” said Heath. “Keep to an 80/20 rule of thumb, this being eat 80 percent clean — plenty of vegetables and a couple servings of fruit a day — and have a 20 percent splurge,” he said.
“We truly are what we eat,” said Heath. “Eating food as close to its natural state as possible — un-processed foods — is essential in providing your body with the essential fuel to function,” he said. “Your meal planning should become your lifestyle and not become some diet fad. Have you noticed the first three in lifestyle and diet?”
“With our current busy lifestyles, I truly believe that our nutrition is 70 to 80 percent priority,” said Heath. “I still see many busy people, who have achieved lean, athletic and model-like physiques,” he said. “Obviously it takes a change in priorities. So when health becomes a priority this is when we eat supportive foods and make the time to exercise.”
Tamika Wilson, Athlete and Model
Tamika Wilson, 20, is a model and athlete, who has been modelling for three years knows about making time to exercise.
“I have done various editorial, promotional and runway work,” said Wilson. “I got approached when I was 16-years-old at the shopping centre by an agent,” she said. “So tried it out. My first shoot was for Dolly Magazine and I absolutely loved it. I decided that it is what I wanted to do.”
Wilson says that listening and fitness are important when modelling.
“Being able to follow instructions well, balance and a medium level of general fitness are definitely major requirements,” said Wilson.
“I am a part-time track and field athlete, therefore any fitness I need for modelling I get from my training sessions for athletics,” said Wilson. “The workout varies depending on the time of the year,” she said. “It is our goal to be fit for the up and coming competitions.”
“Normally I will train Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings,” said Wilson. “I focus on drills for co-ordination and endurance,” she said. “Tuesday and Thursday afternoons we focus on fitness or speed work, sometimes both. And Saturday mornings we focus on technique.”
Wilson says that eating well can sometimes be an issue when modelling.
“When I have shoot after shoot and they involve having to travel, the biggest health issue I encounter is eating,” said Wilson. “Most shoots will last all day, so you have to get up early enough to eat a light breakfast and get to the shoot on time,” she said. “Most shoots will give you a lunch break and provide food, but it is quite hard to maintain a healthy balanced diet when you are always on the run.”
“Plus, I am a vegetarian,” said Wilson. “I have to make sure that I maintain energy and iron levels for both modelling and sport,” she said. “I do this by eating spinach at least once a day and by taking supplements too.”
“If I get enough free time in between modelling and sports I like to catch up with friends, most of them will want to eat out at places that don’t always cater for my dietary requirements,” said Wilson.
Wilson says that she maintains good mental health by taking time out for herself when travelling to and from modelling work.
“I love to read, and because I am always travelling to Sydney for various castings or work, I like to take a book with me for the drive,” said Wilson.
Other challenges for Wilson include cold winter mornings and training.
“Another time where it will be a struggle is in winter when we have to get up in the early morning and go to beach sessions,” said Wilson. “Most of the time I just like to think about how far I’ve come in the last few years and how closer my goals are,” she said. “This gets me going.”
Modelling can be physically and mentally exhausting says Wilson.
“The poses and work require a lot a stamina and can go for as long as eight or nine hours,” said Wilson. “Sometimes you really need to block out absolutely everything and really focus hard on what you need to be doing,” she said. “This helps you to cope with stress. Modelling teaches me to be happy with who I am, as a person, and to really love and accept myself.”
Before and after a modelling shoot, Wilson follows a ritual.
“I like to limit the amount of junk food I eat before a shoot,” said Wilson. “Normally I won’t eat much junk food, just the odd packet of chips, lollies or an ice-cream with friends,” she said. “But, about a month to two weeks in the lead up to a shoot I will cut out all junk food.”
“After a shoot I like to take a bubble bath with some music playing,” said Wilson. “Then I snuggle up in bed with either a book or a favourite movie and a warm cup of tea,” she said.
Wilson says that water is the best kept health secret she knows of.
“Water is my number one,” said Wilson. “Not only does it do amazing things health wise, but it does wonders physically as well — healthy glowing skin, shinny hair and healthy nails.”
Modelling for Wilson is work that she loves, but she does not like the constant scrutiny of the public.
“The fact that I get to do something I really love as work is the best, it just entails so many different things,” Wilson said. “I get to travel to different places, work with amazing people and have the best time,” she said. “But, I don’t like the continuous judgement, a lot of people — the public — will see you in the magazine, in an ad, on the TV or on a poster in the shops and just find so many things to pick on.”
Grant Lofthouse, Personal Trainer of Models
Grant Lofthouse, personal trainer and founder of Cardio Haters, a fitness training facility, says that training a model is all about strength and results.
“I’m very heavily influenced by Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC), a system developed by Pavel Tsatsouline, which incorporates kettlebells and body weight training to produce phenomenal strength and conditioning results,” said Lofthouse.
“In a nutshell, mobility and flexibility comes first,” said Lofthouse. “If you cannot get into a certain position correctly then you cannot add load to that exercise until it’s performed properly without load,” he said.
“Once flexibility has been taken care of we get into the training,” said Lofthouse. “Priority, no matter what the goal, is to get stronger,” he said. “No light weight dumbbells and high repetition fluff. Low reps and heavy weight.”
“As Pavel says, “anything above 5 reps is bodybuilding,”said Lofthouse.
“We do something physical every day, but don’t always go “balls to the wall” each and every session,” said Lofthouse. “We understand that we can only realistically train hard once a week, so that we don’t get sick, burnt out or injured,” he said. “The remaining sessions for the week are at a light to medium intensity.”
“We use finishers, walking, skipping, swimming, sport and playing as our cardio sessions,” said Lofthouse. “And, most importantly we don’t work out. We train,” he said.
Lofthouse says that motivation for training comes from the nature of the training sessions.
“Since we don’t train hard every single session, it’s easy to deal with psychologically,” said Lofthouse. “Everyone thinks they need to train at a high intensity every single session until they actually do it,” he said.
“Also, due to the training being minimalistic it’s easy to see where you’re improving,” said Lofthouse. “If you keep changing the training program every two weeks you cannot see what you’re doing right or wrong,” he said. “You will only lose motivation as you’re not seeing results.”
Models, and other clients, says Lofthouse, sometimes struggle with the reasoning behind why they are doing specific kinds of training.
“There is always a struggle with getting clients to understand that I’m giving them what they need, not what they want,” said Lofthouse. “They want to do the latest cutting edge workout,” he said. “For some this means wanting to use bosu balls whilst standing on one leg with a kettlebell in one hand and a barbell, while they spell their name backwards.”
“Some also want to feel like death by the end of the session,” said Lofthouse. “They want that feeling of “about to pass out” and being really sore the next day,” he said. “To them this is perceived as a good workout. However, I’m not a fan. To me this is just entertainment.”
“I often get asked questions such as, “Deadlifts again? But why? Push ups again? But why?” My answer is always, because they work,” said Lofthouse. “I have to continually remind them that I’m giving them what they need,” he said. “If you want entertainment go watch TV.”
To overcome any training obstacles, Lofthouse says he uses honesty.
“Honestly works,” said Lofthouse. “If a client cannot understand this, then I won’t continue to train them,” he said. “This might sound harsh, but I only work with people that want to do the work.”
“I look at it this way,” said Lofthouse. “You don’t go to a dentist and tell him how to fix your teeth,” he said.
Time management is the key to maintaining good health and fitness, says Lofthouse.
“Balance is difficult. Everyone is different,” said Lofthouse. “However, I believe if you can improve your time management then a work, exercise and pleasure balance could be achieved every single day,” he said.
“There is 168 hours in a week and all you need to do is dedicated three to five of these hours to your training,” said Lofthouse. “It’s not that hard when you break it down and prioritise things,” he said. “A few years back I use to be a typical gym junkie, spending two hours a day at the gym. I didn’t have a life and I lost a lot of friends because of it. So I don’t recommend that either.”
Lofthouse stays fit himself by following his own trainer’s programs.
“I don’t write my own programs anymore,” said Lofthouse. “I have someone else do it,” he said. “This allows me to switch off and just do what I’m told. When I write my own programs I second guess everything and waste time.”
“I currently train six times a week for about an hour,” said Lofthouse. “I don’t usually train this often, normally four to five hours a week is about right for me,” he said. But, at the moment, I’m currently training for my RKC certification in November so I have to be super conditioned and strong.”
“As for nutrition, I to like to keep things simple,” said Lofthouse. “I eat when I’m hungry,” he said. “I eat some sort of protein, fat and high or low energy carb every single meal.”
“High energy carbohydrates –rice, bread or pasta — are consumed after training,” said Lofthouse. “Low energy carbohydrates — fruit and vegetables — are consumed at all other meals,” he said. “Sunday is cheat day.”
“When it comes to food, focus on the big stuff,” said Lofthouse. “Don’t worry about whether the milk in your coffee is low fat or full cream, or if there is a little bit of skin on your chicken,” he said. “Worry about those donuts you have at 3 pm. Worry about the pizza you have for lunch every second day. Worry about the bacon and egg muffins you have for breakfast every day.”
” Variety is also important,” said Lofthouse. “The best diet will be the one you can stick to the longest,” he said. “Too many diets cut variety, therefore things start to get stale and before you know it you’re off the wagon.”
Lofthouse recommends that if you are looking to improve your health and fitness, then you should try his special training method.
“Over the next 30-days don’t train to failure,” said Lofthouse. “Instead, keep two repetitions in the bank on every set,” he said. “Then in 30-days time if your joints don’t feel better, you don’t experience more energy and you’re not stronger, then I’ll shave my eyebrows.”
Andi Lew, Model and TV Presenter
Andi Lew, 39, author, TV presenter and model, began her career with Warner Bros Movie World when she was a 17-year-old.
“I’ve done actress type modelling for brochures for companies like Austral Bricks or Australia Post, insurance companies, display homes, McCormacks and even Cardio Tech gym equipment,” said Lew. “I am a trained dancer so I also did catwalk modelling that involved choreography,” she said. “It was great fun.”
Lew says modelling was not something that she set out to do.
“I was a dancer my whole life and was teaching ever since I was 14,” said Lew. “I wanted to make a living from dance, but it was tough so I put on my own shows where I grew up,” she said.
“During the school holidays, I sold a concept to the Gold Coast City Council and put on my own show in their mall,” said Lew. “It was a huge hit. But, one day the MC didn’t show up and it was my show, so I had to save it,” she said. “Somebody shoved the microphone in my hand and I had to take over. I got the MC or presenting ‘bug’ even since that day.”
“Modelling was an extension of acting or dance,” said Lew. “You have to be multi-skilled in the entertainment profession.”
“Being a presenter requires you to engage and connect with an audience so you have to be comfortable with you,” said Lew. “When delivering a piece to camera,” she said. “It’s important to imagine you’re talking to one person in their lounge room, not the whole country.”
While Lew says that she does not need to have a specific level of fitness for her line of work, she does maintain her fitness so that she is healthy and has a positive mindset.
“You are expected to look your best and be your best,” said Lew. “I have started a grappling and wrestling martial arts sport and personal defence class called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ),” she said. “It’s really addictive. I’m hooked.”
“Most fights end-up on the ground,” said Lew. “And, this is where you can excel with BJJ,” she said. “It’s awesome for cardio and overall toning.”
“I’m training at BJJ about 4-5 days a week now,” said Lew. “Sessions are an hour and a half to two and a half hours long,” she said. “I don’t do this for my work, but just because I am a better person when I exercise or do what I love.”
“The good thing about BJJ is that you don’t realise you’re exercising as you learn, because you’re so focused on technique or defending and submitting,” said Lew. “The fitness is a bi-product,” she said.
In addition to her martial arts, Lew also follows a specific nutrition plan.
“I eat foods that are in my new book called, ‘Eat Fat, Be Thin‘,” said Lew. “Eating well takes preparation and effort, but the investment pays off for me,” she said. “I feel more energetic than most people half my age.”
“It’s better not to crash diet and just maintain a healthy approach,” said Lew. “The day before I have a gig, I only eat fresh wholesome foods, I drink plenty of water and I avoid alcohol to stay focused,” she said.
Lew, who is the mother of a two and a half year old, says she enjoys just being a mum at times.
“The buzz after a gig is grand,” said Lew. “I just go back to being a mum to my gorgeous two and a half year old boy, Beaudy,” she said. “Always do what you love and love what you do.”
“I love making people laugh, educating them or sharing stories,” said Lew. “I have always been this way ever since I was a really little girl,” she said. “But, it’s a fickle industry, so you have to have another job on the side to bring in the income sometimes,” she said.