Fitness models rarely have the luxury of an off-season. They don’t just have to look good for a contest, fitness models have to look good pretty much constantly as they never know when they will be called and asked to be in a magazine, a video, or ready for a photoshoot.
Fitness Model Diets
Competitors and models have tried many approaches to dieting. Different people respond differently to various diets, just as people respond differently to exercises and schedules. No single diet will work for all models. Listening to the advice of others can help keep you from repeating similar mistakes, but doesn’t guarantee your success. You have to go about learning what works best for you individually. This takes trial, error, effort, and practice at the learning process. It may take several years! Varying the amounts and ratios of carbs, proteins, and fats in your diet can have a profound effect on your physique. You may want to make small adjustments on a daily or weekly basis to keep your body off balance and keep it from adjusting and countering your efforts.
Various Diet Plans
Again, this is truly a trial and error learning process. If you never try different approaches, you’ll never learn what is best for your body. Regardless of which plan or approach you take, it will require discipline. As you try something new, it’s important to assess how it makes you feel. Also, you should write down everything, I repeat everything, in a journal. It takes awhile to see results. If you abandon a new diet program after only a few days, you won’t necessarily get an accurate view of how well it works.
Sometimes restricting your diet really makes your body crave certain things. Some people don’t have a problem, while some people are almost certain to cheat. This goes back to discipline, but there can sometimes be a physiological response that’s causing the cravings. If you’re honest about your effort, and keep a log of what you eat, what you drink, and how you feel, you can identify these patterns and try to shape your behavior as you go. Nobody will ever be perfect, so your goals have to be realistic. Maybe your “cheat” goal is to stick to your diet plan 80% of the time? What’s important is to have a goal and document both your progress as well as your methods. It’s okay to cheat. If you include that in your diet plan (a more relaxed cheat day) sometimes that can keep cravings to a minimum and keep you on track.
You should be eating protein at every single meal. It doesn’t necessarily have to be food, you can substitute a protein shake. Keep canned chicken or tuna handy so that when you are in the breakroom at work or don’t have time to cook a real meal, you don’t skip your protein intake. You may need to consume as much as 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This is hard to do! Some women think they need less protein than men, but this isn’t true in the fitness modeling world. Your body will tend to cannibalize lean muscle tissue and leave you looking stringy and unhealthy if you don’t protect this muscle with protein intake.
Exercising vs. Diet
We can all agree that exercise is important and helps keeps you healthy. When you are going for that lean, fitness model look, it’s literally impossible to achieve without a combination of exercise and diet. Unfortunately, some people use exercise as a crutch or an excuse to overeat, or indulge with the wrong kinds of foods. Eating a Snickers bar takes me about one minute. Delicious! Boom, I just dumped 400 (or more) calories into my system. I happen to know that it takes me 40 long minutes on the eliptical trainer to burn those 400 nearly worthless calories off. At that point I’m just breaking even. It’s hopeless, you can possibly exercise enough to make up for a terrible diet. Don’t fall into this trap. Use exercise to:
a) keep you healthy
b) tweak your physique (balance fat levels)
c) build muscle and shape
It’s crucial that you keep yourself hydrated. This is an important part of a disciplined diet. Forget the diet colas and the low cal gatorade type drinks, consume water. Take it with you everywhere. Drink it in the car, drink it when you wake up, drink it before you go to bed, and a whole bunch in between. You should have a goal of 2-4 qts of water per day, depending on activity level and temperature. And yes, you’ll be visiting the bathroom a lot!
Opinions on supplements vary. Many professional fitness models supplement with at least a daily multivitamin as well as protein drinks. Depending on your goals, you can consider the use of some type of thermogenic fat burner, but this is a temporary aide and you should really concentrate on a lifestyle that eliminates the need.
Honestly, I’ve done it both ways. I’ve dieted to the point where I walk around hungry all the time, telling myself to “embrace the hunger.” And I’ve also tried to consume small and frequent meals to reduce the hunger and keep my body’s metabolism a bit higher. The former isn’t as effective as the latter, but come on we have to be practical. Sometimes when traveling or working it’s hard to prepare and carry around that much stuff, and buying it can be a challenge both because of availability and costs. The important part here is to make a plan and stick to it. This discipline will always be your ally. If you tend to eat frequent small meals, it’s kind of easy to let that get out of hand and end up eating too many calories over the course of the day. If you plan this out, the portions will stay in control and you’ll see some incredible results.
Rest, diet, and exercise are really the 3 critical items to achieve that fitness model look. Don’t skimp on the sleep. If you feel tired a lot or you don’t think you’re getting enough sleep, you probably aren’t. Cut it out and turn it up! I don’t think everybody has to get 8 hrs per night, but come on 5 per night just won’t cut it.