The fitness industry has always fared well here in Australia and, as a result, the fitness modelling industry has traditionally been a busy one. But in recent years, and especially since the pandemic, the fitness industry has boomed and, as a result, the demand for fitness models has been off the charts. Here at Hunter Talent, keeping up with that demand has been tough, and so we’re always happy when someone asks us about becoming a fitness model.
With this in mind, we’ve gone ahead and created this ‘all you need to know’ guide for anyone, male or female, who is interested in becoming a fitness model. From the physical requirements for the industry through to how to prepare for a fitness modelling shoot — this is the full lowdown on what it takes to get your start and succeed in the industry. And trust us, it’s not all about having a great set of abs and some killer biceps.
So break out the sweatbands and gym shoes and let’s see if you’ve got what it takes.
What is a fitness model?
It might seem like a silly question, but the thing is, a fitness model may not be exactly what you think.
Generally speaking, a fitness model is a model who works with fitness and lifestyle brands that sell fitness attire and products. Simple enough so far, right? But that’s not the only type of client that they work with. Fitness models can be hired by clients who have general healthcare products or even medical devices and services. We’ll talk a little more about this later in the fitness model work section, but suffice to say, fitness models’ primary function is to use their fit and healthy physique to promote general fitness, health, and wellbeing products and services.
A fitness model will often feature in print campaigns and TV commercials and will occasionally do live events such as exhibitions or fashion shows for fitness attire.
Can anyone be a fitness model?
Yes and no. At Hunter Talent we believe that anyone can achieve their goals with enough hard work and determination. So yes, we believe that anyone can be a fitness model once they have put in those hard yards.
But there are some requirements that you’ll have to meet before any clients will consider you for work. And yes, these are physical requirements.
First off, it’s height and weight.
Female models – 5’8” or taller weighing around 59kg or less
Male models – 6’ or taller weighing around 77kg or less
These are general requirements and for the right model, there may be some wiggle room especially when it comes to weight. After all, a model with a lot of muscle mass will weigh more than a model with a slender but highly toned body. So don’t be put off if you’re not in those ranges.
However, the following are often considered must-haves for both male and female fitness models:
- Well-toned physique
- Minimal body fat
- Healthy skin
Can anyone be a fitness model?
There’s no point in saying otherwise — the fact is that fitness clients want fit models so anyone carrying a little extra weight or out of shape may struggle to land fitness modelling gigs.
That said, there’s nothing stopping you from doing those crunches and spending more time in the gym to achieve your goal.
Is fitness modelling easy?
Anyone who tells you that any kind of modelling is easy has obviously never worked in the industry. All kinds of modelling such as runway modelling, fashion modelling, and even hand modelling is tough work. But we have to say, fitness modelling is quite possibly the toughest of them all.
As a fitness model, it’s super important that you maintain your physique at all times. This means frequent trips to the gym and plenty of healthy eating and that’s before we even think about auditions and polishing up your modelling skills. You’ll need to stay on top of all of that before you even set foot inside a studio for a paying assignment.
Being physically fit isn’t enough though. You’ll also need to be mentally tough. This is because not only will you experience plenty of rejection but clients and photographers will speak about your body in a very matter of fact way.
Now, on the topic of rejection, this is part and parcel of the modelling industry. All models will face rejection on countless occasions and that’s perfectly fine and normal. After all, a client can only hire a fitness model that meets their specific requirements. You’ll get used to this as time goes on.
The way people speak about you is another aspect of fitness modelling that people don’t often expect. This is especially true for fitness models as the reason you are hired is often related to your physique. For this reason, photographers and clients and even casting directors will often talk about you and your body as if you are not there. You just need to remember that anything they say is not personal but merely an observation based on the project you’re auditioning for or working on.
Even if these comments start to feel a little negative, don’t let it bother you. It’s nothing that is specifically wrong with you, it’s just that you may be unsuitable for their needs. This is the one aspect of fitness modelling that can be tough at times so you’ll need to learn how to accept that it’s nothing personal.
What skills do fitness models need?
Fitness models, like all models, will need a certain set of skills if they are to succeed in the industry.
General modelling skills required include the ability to pose on command for a photographer and being able to hold a pose for a prolonged period. This is much harder than it sounds, but if you’re fit, then it should be no trouble at all. With regards to the poses, we’d suggest checking out some of the big fitness models in the industry and seeing how they pose in their shoots. You can simply try to imitate them in front of a mirror, but make sure you learn a few.
Fitness models may also be asked to flex their muscles for a shot. This could be your legs, arms, back or pretty much anywhere that you can flex. So get flexing in front of the mirror at the gym or at home so you can drop a little flex into a pose if required.
It shouldn’t really need to be said that you’ll also need to be able to run, jump, lift, and stretch with relative ease. These actions will be required to capture the perfect shot for print campaigns and will certainly be needed for TV commercials.
One skill that you may not realise you’ll need as a fitness model is to have an in-depth knowledge of all things fitness. You’ll be expected to understand all the fitness terminology, know how to use gym equipment, and understand the latest trends in the world of fitness.
Believe it or not, fitness models are also required to be good with people. As mentioned earlier, you may be hired to do live events such as exhibitions and product launches. At these events you’ll be expected to speak to people about the product you are promoting and perhaps even push a sale or two. This is why people with outgoing personalities are often well-suited to fitness modelling.
Fitness model work and assignments
Now you may think you know exactly what kind of work a fitness model will do, and for the most part, you’re probably right. Fitness models will work with any client who has a product or service that is fitness related. This includes gyms, fitness clothing brands, fitness equipment brands, and much more besides.
We also mentioned earlier that fitness models also do a lot of work for general health products and services along with medical devices. This is quite a busy market covering all kinds of prescription drugs and supplements so there’s plenty of this kind of work available.
Then there are the other types of assignments that you may not think of. For example, a bicycle manufacturer may need some fitness models to promote their bikes or a local government may hire you for a campaign promoting local hiking trails. Even camping gear brands may prefer to have a fitness model promote their products for a particular campaign. We’ve also come across a few hotels that wanted fitness models to appear in shots of their swimming pools or on their beach.
One thing we will say about fitness modelling work is that it’s certainly varied with no two jobs quite the same. As you can imagine, this makes it a very interesting career.Apply Now
How much do fitness models get paid?
When we’re asked the question ‘how much do fitness models get paid?’ our answer is usually along the lines of ‘that depends’. This is because it really does depend on the model, the assignment, and the client. There are so many variables that it’s impossible to accurately predict how much you will make.
Fitness models can be paid anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for a photoshoot so you can imagine how tough it is for us to give you an exact figure. One thing we are certain of though, is that if you sign with Hunter Talent, we will negotiate the best possible rate for your time. And that won’t be small change as our clients tend to pay accordingly for the great talent that is on our books.
If you start to make a name for yourself it’s a good idea to supplement your fitness modelling income by doing some influencer marketing work. This type of work will see you promote a product or service on social media to your followers. You could be paid anywhere from $200 to $20,000 for a post, but this will depend on how big a following you have and how engaged your followers are with your content. So if you are starting out as a fitness model, do yourself a favour and get started on social media too.
A fitness model’s tips for success
If you are genuinely interested in becoming a fitness model and want to make this work, then it’s best to start off on the right foot. And what better way to do that than by following some of these tips that have come from successful fitness models that we have worked with in the past.
Practise those poses
A lot of new fitness models think that just showing up to the shoot in peak condition is enough, but it really isn’t. You need to practise those modelling poses that we spoke about earlier. Learn how to smile on cue or flex a muscle here and there when asked and above all else, you’ll need to be able to hold a pose.
In this instance, practice really does make perfect.
You never know who is watching
Remember what we said about getting yourself on social media? Well, if you follow our tip and share your journey and experiences, you need to be aware that anyone could be watching you. This means potential clients or even past ones, so try to avoid saying anything negative and remain positive at all times. In fact, while you should certainly be yourself on social media, you should also treat the platform like one big open audition. Like we said, you never know who is watching.
Staying in shape is essential, but all that working out takes time and energy and you need to leave something in the tank for any assignments. This is why it’s vital that you don’t tire yourself out by overtraining. Getting enough sleep and relaxation is equally as important as working out, but then you probably know this already, right?
Get to know the industry
You will be expected to know the ins and outs of the fitness industry and understand all the latest trends. So spend some time staying on top of what is going on around you by following fitness brands and influencers on social media.
It’s also a good idea to learn about a company if your agency tells you that you’re being out forward for an assignment. This means that if you land an audition, you can speak with authority about the client’s products or services if asked. This is a surefire way to impress a client or casting director.
Think about what you eat
Your physique is what will get you your assignments and so it makes sense to maintain it. That means thinking carefully about what you eat and not indulging in too many random cheat days. A client will hire you or call you in for an audition based on the images in your portfolio (which we’ll talk about later) and they will expect you to look the same as you do in your photos.
Start networking as early as possible
Working as a fitness model isn’t about who you know, but at the same time it doesn’t hurt to have the right connections. As soon as you decide that fitness modelling is the career for you, it’s time to start connecting with people in the industry. You can do this on social media or in real life, but remember that it has to be a genuine connection for it to work. That means actually speaking with people in person or engaging with them on social media.
How to get started as a fitness model
Decide what physique you want
Yes, as strange as it sounds, you will need to think carefully about the physique that you want before you become a fitness model. It doesn’t matter if it’s lean and toned or big and muscular because there’s plenty of work for either type of model. What’s really important is that you maintain this physique throughout your time as a model. We’re banging that physique drum again, but it’s so very important as clients expect you to look the same as you do in your portfolio.
So if you’re currently working hard towards making some significant muscle gains or cutting down on your body fat, it may be a good idea to hold off jumping into modelling until you’ve achieved that goal.
Take care of your overall health
Clients will expect to see you in good shape but that doesn’t just mean your abs or toned arms. They want to see healthy skin, good teeth, shiny hair (if you have any), and a great smile. In other words, they want the complete package. So don’t spend too much time focusing on building muscle and keeping trim when you also need to focus on the rest of your body too. Eat well, sleep well, and make sure to set aside some time for pure relaxation.
That means honing your modelling skills by studying what successful models are doing in the industry. Look at their poses, how they hold themselves, even their smiles. Then create your own poses and perfect them at home or in the gym.
You’ll also need to study up on the industry. As mentioned before, this means following and understanding the latest fitness and health industry trends. Paying close attention to this will also help you decide which types of clients or assignments you might be best suited to.
Create a fitness modelling portfolio
This is the fun part and also a hugely important part of your journey. A fitness model’s portfolio is the first point of contact for clients, photographers, and casting directors who are in search of talent. This means that it’s crucial that yours is on point and creates that all-important great first impression.
All modelling portfolios should be shot by a professional photographer and in your case, ideally one with fitness modelling experience. This way they’ll understand the right poses that accentuate your physique and highlight any physical attributes that might appeal to clients. This won’t be cheap, but look at it this way; it’s an investment in your future career and could mean the difference between success and failure.
A word of warning — your portfolio must be an accurate reflection of who you are which is why we are so insistent on reminding you to maintain your physique.
Sign with a fitness modelling agency
You don’t need to find an agency that is solely dedicated to fitness models, but you will have to find one who has worked with some well-known brands and household names in the past. This shows that the agency has the right connections which could make all the difference when clients go looking for new talent.
We could go right ahead here and toot our own horn, but the fact is that perhaps Hunter Talent is not a good fit for you. Then again we might be the perfect agency for your new career. The point we’re trying to make here is that you should do some research to see how you feel about an agency before you sign anything.
Don’t accept an agency that wants to sign you over the phone without at least having a video call or in-person meet. Don’t accept an agency that is rude to you or talks down to you — this is a team effort and respect is a two-way street after all. And most importantly, don’t accept an agency that makes you any guarantees of work. The nature of this business means that no one can guarantee you work, ever. It’s your hard work and dedication along with some clever promotion from your agency that will land you the best assignments.Apply Now
How to prepare for a fitness model shoot
Preparing for a fitness model shoot is a little different to prepping for a normal modelling shoot. Sure, you’ll need to do the usual things such as making sure you know your route to the shoot, giving yourself plenty of time to get there, and not drinking alcohol or eating anything unusual the night before your shoot. But there’s a little more to it for fitness models.
You may be off caffeine already, but if not, we’d suggest avoiding caffeine the day before and on the day of the shoot. It can lead to jitters and muscle twitches and could even cause you to sleep poorly so just stay off it for a day or two.
While it might be tempting to exercise as much as possible in the days leading up to a shoot, we’d suggest training as normal and on the day before the shoot, just doing something light. The reason for this is because you don’t want to overexert yourself and possibly strain a muscle as this could affect your ability to pose or stretch during the shoot.
Don’t try anything new
For a couple of days before the shoot, you don’t want to try anything new at all. And we don’t just mean a new exercise routine or the new piece of equipment at the gym, we mean anything including food and drink. Stick to your usual routine or lighten it up as we suggested and eat your usual food. This way you won’t have any muscle strain or a dodgy stomach during the shoot.
Don’t ‘pump up’ at home before the shoot
There’s really no need to ‘pump’ yourself before the shoot. If you’re doing anything that requires muscle flexing, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to warm up and stretch before and during the shoot
Trim and groom
You may have noticed that most fitness models have no body hair. That’s just the way it is as most clients prefer this look. This means that you’ll need to trim, shave, or wax prior to the shoot. But stick to your trusted grooming routine. There’s no need to try new products the day before a shoot.
Don’t wear makeup or hair products
You’ll have makeup and hair done at the shoot so don’t bother using any makeup or hair products on the day as these will just be taken off as soon as you arrive.
Eat low-fibre carbs
On the day of the shoot eat low-fibre carbs that will help you feel full but not bloated. A small half pizza would be fine or a turkey sandwich. If you’re in need of some snacks during the shoot, try some rice cakes with a little peanut butter. Again, these will fill you up without feeling bloated while also giving you a nice little energy boost.
And that is about as far as we can take you on your journey to become a fitness model, unless of course you sign with Hunter, then we’ll have lots of work to do. Seriously though, if you want to succeed as a fitness model you will need to be as dedicated in your career as you are in the gym. It takes a lot of focus and determination to get ahead in the fitness modelling industry, but with some hard work, a little luck, and the right agency behind you, we believe you can make it. So if you think you’ve got the right stuff and would like to sign with us here at Hunter, apply to join us now or get in touch and we can answer any questions you might have about getting started as a fitness model.Apply Now
Want to break into the world of modelling and acting?
Our agency is dedicated to helping aspiring models and actors achieve their dreams. We have a team of experienced industry professionals who will guide you every step of the way, from helping you create a portfolio to finding the right auditions and casting opportunities. With us, you’ll have access to a wide network of industry contacts, and we’ll provide the support and guidance you need to succeed. Don’t miss this opportunity to kickstart your career.