How to Be a Fitness Model (or just look like one)

How to Be a Fitness Model (or just look like one)

Advice from a real life fitness model.

I recently was contacted by one of my fans who was writing about how much she loved POP Pilates when I found out that she was a fitness model too! I was intrigued and invited her to do an interview with me. I think you guys will love getting a peak into a real fitness model’s diet and workout routine. We may not all be from the pages of SHAPE or Maxim, but we can surely do what we can to look it! Introducing the beautiful and super fit M.C.! (What a cool name)

Name: M.C. Barao

Age: 31 

Weight: 110 lbs.

Height: 5’4”

Ethnicity: Filipino

C: Why did you decide to go into fitness modeling? How long have you been doing this?

M: I didn’t pursue modeling until after college. I already had a job and a daily routine, but I wanted something more fulfilling. I was one of the girls that would look in magazines, see billboards and posters and say “I want to do that! Be that!!”. Being one of the girls chosen to help promote a product was so alluring. The desire to become a model grew daily. An opportunity presented itself through a local magazine’s model search. I thought to myself, here’s your chance – do something! I went to the open call not knowing what to expect. As soon as I stepped through the doors my confidence was crushed. Every single one of the girls were taller, beautiful and had way more modeling experience. When I finally got over that silliness, I started focusing on what I can do to stick out in my own way. I sure can’t make myself taller – the one and only thing I had complete control over was fitness. That same day, I started replacing my meals with healthy options and got a gym membership. I worked so sO SO hard and it paid off. I made it to the FINALS! I suddenly found myself focused on just winning… then (pause for effect) …got 1st Runner Up…

I was devastated. At that moment, it didn’t even occur to me that I met so many wonderful people in the modeling industry, made new friends and gained my first modeling experience – which was what I wanted in the first place. I know now that I focused on the wrong thing at the time. So for the next 3 months, I didn’t step into a gym and ate unhealthy meals and lost all my muscle that I worked so hard to build and gained 10 additional lbs….

One day, I was going through some photos from a party I went to – and I saw one of me! I didn’t even recognize myself. Needless to say, it wasn’t the most flattering shot. I went from having a fit and tone body to having a muffin top. Just from seeing that photo, it was as if a switch turned on in my head. I told myself, “Self.. don’t EVER waste the hard work you went through… learn from from all experiences no matter the outcome.” I didn’t care how hard it was going to be to get back on track – I wasn’t happy with myself and was determined to do something about it. After 5 months of healthy eating habits and exercising, I was back, BABY! This was the moment I decided to be a fitness model.

I’m happy to say that 2011 is my 3rd year promoting fitness 🙂

C: What is the best way to break into the fitness modeling world?

M: It’s not as difficult as some may think. Fitness models’ resume are their bodies and the way they carry themselves. If you look and feel like you can promote fitness, then it’s easy to persuade others that you can do the job. All the opportunities that came my way were the result of researching and networking. I recently moved to NYC to kick up my fitness modeling another notch! I want to find an agency who will be a great fit 🙂 As soon as I find a great agency, I will share with you as to which I prefer… finding my own opportunities or working with agencies.

In the meantime, when you are presented an opportunity to promote what you believe in – GO FOR IT! You’ll never regret doing anything you believe in. I must say, every single modeling experience I’ve done that I was so scared of doing was THE most exciting times of my life…. and it all started with being petrified… HAHA!

C: What is your sample meal plan and sample workout plan when preparing for a photoshoot?

M: Cardio is key – biking and elliptical are my faves (plus they’re easy on the knees). For about a week, I do 45 minutes in the morning when the metabolism rate is at it’s peak. I hold off on weight/strength training until after so that I won’t be sore on the day of the photo shoot.

Sample meal plan:

Bfast: Protein shake (Currently, I’m drinking Optimum Nutrition Cookies n’ Cream) Bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, almonds, cranberries and raisins

Mid-morning snack: My fave snack is a banana with a some fresh strawberries (try Driscoll’s strawberries – each batch is always perfectly sweet!)

Lunch: Mixed green salad with fat-free vinaigrette dressing topped with roasted almonds -OR- A whole wheat sandwich with grilled chicken, spinach and sun-dried tomato spread.

Mid-afternoon snack: Hand full of orange cuties, pineapples, grapes or a banana. Yogurt 🙂 (my absolute fave is the low-fat Wallaby Dark Chocolate… ahhh I want one right now)

Dinner: Mixed greens (they have these pre-packed and pre-washed at your local grocery store – pick your fave! Mine are the ‘Baby Greens’) topped with toasted almonds and grilled chicken or salmon.

C: What is your sample daily diet with no show or shoot in place?

M: Bfast: Protein Shake Bowl of cereal (I love me some Trader Joe’s Very Berry Clusters cereal. It was oat clusters, multigrain and corn flakes, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries – YUM!)

Mid-morning snack: You guessed it… bananas and strawberries 🙂

Lunch: A whole wheat sandwich with grilled chicken, spinach and sun-dried tomato spread/or pesto 🙂 I also like the grilled chicken or grilled tofu teriyaki they have at Whole Foods. They tend to give about 1.5 servings so for $7.00 you get a little more than a meal! Perhaps a mini snack for later… YESSS!

Mid-afternoon snack: Dark chocolate yogurt :9 with fresh strawberries

Dinner: Ahi-tuna, salmon or grilled chicken with brown rice and steamed veggies. (Pick up your favorite protein and marinate it with a little lemon juice, olive oil and favorite seasonings) Add a side mixed baby green salad and I’m all set!

I center my meals around chicken and fish then add salad, whole grains and fruit as sides. Combined with multi-vitamins and a protein shake post work out will help you feed your muscles and nourish your body 🙂

C: What’s your favorite healthy meal?

M: Quinoa Salad with Avocado Dressing from ‘sNice… sooo gooooood

C: What’s your favorite bad food!?

M: UGHhhh… Cassey you had to ask, now I’ll be thinking about it all day 😛 I LOVE LOVE LOVE mint chocolate chip ice cream on a waffle cone…. yummy!

C: Have you always been fit?

M: Most of my life I’ve never been too thin or overweight – just right in the middle and far from having a tone body. It took a lot of work for me, but once I focused on my goal… changes were inevatable. Living the fit and healthy lifestyle is one of the few things in life where the results are 100 % positive physically and mentally.

C: Tell us something fun about yourself!

M: I’m fluent in French… JK! Hahaha… but I’m learning. I want to travel the world, and learning new languages helps in enjoying the experience 🙂

C: What’s your #1 fitness model tip?

M: Work out with someone more fit that yourself – they’re able to push you to a level that you normally you wouldn’t go on your own. <— You can follow her on Tumblr! Thanks M.C. for your advice. We love you!

5 thoughts on “How to Be a Fitness Model (or just look like one)”

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  1. I am also a fitness trainer and these points are very relevant.

  2. Robin Mosher says:

    Wow this is sooo inspiring…I found your post by googling how to become a fitness model. I too have finished school and have a normal everyday routine. Lately though I’ve been trying to eat clean and workout. I’ve been searching on how to be around more fit people and get into the modeling industry but didn’t know where to begin…Then I found this! Love it and I hope someday I can do exactly what you are doing. You gave me motivation, Faith, and Hope…Thank you!


  3. So so inspirational! A friend of mine also became a fitness model and I couldn’t believe her transformation.

  4. Akansha says:

    I love her sample meal plans! Seem delicious and practical 🙂

  5. Fallon says:

    Two things before I start my rant (lol)
    1. I know I’m VERY late commenting on this lol
    2. I’m surprised no one else has commented on this.
    Anyway, Cassey, you by yourself have inspired me to become fit and eat healthier, but when I went on MC’s tumblr and watched her youtube videos I was even more inspired! I’ve been trying to be fitter and get in some serious shape for summer! I’ve been pushing myself past my normal limits and I’ve got the sweat for proof! Hopefully with all these new tips, exercise (yoga, pilates, cardio), and my new healthy eating, I will be able to achieve the body I’m so close to having!
    Thank you for all the support and just for being amazing ! (: