FITposium is an annual educational and inspirational seminar focused on success in the fitness modelling and entrepreneurial industry.
Held in Arizona, this day-long workshop features a variety of sessions to prepare fitness talents with everything they need to know to enter the market and succeed.
As this platform is out of reach for most aspiring South African models and fitness entrepreneurs, we’ve brought a slice of the seminar to you with a series of interviews with some of the renowned fitness talent who attended.
For more info about FITposium, visit fitposium.com.
Lives: Phoenix, Arizona
Trains at: La Fitness & Fitness1
Weight: 117 lbs
Profession: Personal & Online Fitness Coach
Sponsor: Max Muscle Nutrition
What first attracted you to the fitness industry?
After going through my own fitness transformation I shifted my focus towards the fitness industry, specifically bodybuilding competitions. I wanted to participate in a sport that I felt I could do well in, so I signed up for my first show.
How did you get your first break in the industry?
I challenged myself to compete in a regional NPC bodybuilding show. After placing 1st in my class, my motivation grew and I pursued loftier goals. Friends and family began to see my transformation which lead to a ton of outreach for tips and advice, but at the time I wasn’t certified or experienced enough to provide fitness programmes. Over the course of 5 years, I studied multiple training books including the NASM textbook, and grew more knowledgeable and confidence in providing advice. I then turned generous, and free advice and help I gave to others into a business. My passion became my career.
What tips or advice do you wish someone had shared with you when you started out?
I would say: surround yourself with those who are supportive and/or have similar goals. If you allow negativity to get to you, you will begin to doubt yourself and may even hold yourself back from opportunities and success. Having a community of people who support you will help you grow in a healthy way.
What are the top lessons you learnt in establishing your profile in the industry?
You have to invest money to make money. My first crucial step was hiring a professional photographer, James Patrick. Doing so allowed me to use his amazing images to pitch myself to editors of magazines and build a professional portfolio. Investing time and money into creating a website was another big step in my career. The ability to direct potential clients or executives reviewing my candidacy to my very own beautiful, professional website has been key to my success.
Max Sports & Fitness Magazine – Cover Model & 3-page exercise spread (April 2016).
Max Sports & Fitness Magazine – Column (Sept. 2016 & Jan. 2017)
Sponsored Max Muscle Athlete
MOST Fitness Magazine – 4-page feature (Nov. 2015)
NPC Bikini & Figure Competitions:
1st – 2015 Arizona Open (Bikini)
2nd – 2015 Western Cup (Figure)
5th – 2013 Excalibur Championships (Figure)
1st – 2013 Natural Western Championships (Figure)
Weekly training split:
I constantly switch up my training routines to confuse my muscles for growth, but this is typically what my training routine looks like:
Tuesday: Back, shoulders & cardio
Wednesday: Arms, abs & cardio
Thursday: Chest, shoulders (brutal combo) & cardio
I do 3 sets of 12-15 reps per exercise.
What does your average diet consist of?
I eat 4-6 meals a day. My goal is 30% protein. Carbs and fats vary depending on the day, as long as I’m within my calorie range. The majority of my meals consist of lean meats, whole grains and healthy fats, with an occasional treat meal. I don’t follow a strict regimen unless I’m prepping for a show and/or photo shoot. I love creativity in my meals, it’s what makes this healthy lifestyle enjoyable!
How do supplements form part of your health and fitness lifestyle?
Supplements help fill in any gaps in my nutrition, allowing me to achieve a peak physique. My favourite pre-workout is Max Muscle StemoVex and MaxxTor. These help increase my strength and endurance – the perfect recipe for a great workout!
Intra-workout I sip on ProBCAAs, Creatine, Glutamine and L-carnitine. This blend helps with recovery, which is extremely important when training five days a week.
How does your approach change between prep for shows or shoots?
Not much. I like to maintain a pretty lean physique year round, which helps cut down my prep time. When prepping for a shoot, I tighten up on tracking my calories and macros and increase my cardio. The intensity of weight training always remains the same.
Can someone make a career of fitness modelling without a competitive background?
Yes, I definitely believe so. If modelling is your goal, I think the best approach would be to find a great agency. Also, there are seminars (like FITposium) that help educate you on what steps to take to become successful in this field. There are also many other ways to get exposure, aside from competing.
What are your key do’s and don’t’s for building a strong and engaged social media following?
I believe the most important thing is engaging with your audience. Followers want to feel noticed and connected, so achieve this by responding to their comments or questions. Another very important factor is being yourself and also showing your weaknesses. Social media tends to display only the best of someone’s life. Allowing others in on your struggles makes them feel relatable.
What are the best and worst aspects of fitness modelling?
The worst aspects I would say is how it can negatively impact our society. Most people look at models as this perfect figure and feel that this is what they have to measure up to. In reality, we don’t walk around photo shoot-ready 24/7, which is a misconception that magazines can impose. I also think that there is pressure in being a model. Maintaining a peak level of fitness is very demanding and can take its toll on body and mind.
What were the key take-outs you got from FITposium 2016?
Believe in yourself.
We were shown that success is possible, even when it seems impossible. There are many tools and resources out there to help achieve our goals.
Make sure to connect with others who have similar goals. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Many times we doubt ourselves and feel like we’ve hit a brick wall, but having this community can help keep us on track and moving forward. It also helps to build your brand and through collaborations with one another.
Have a plan of action.
Keep a to-do list and make sure you block out time in your day to accomplish those tasks. These are the small steps that help us reach our goals. I was able to utilise the valuable information and tips I learned from FITposium to create this list and complete tasks!
Fav exercise/workout: Leg day! My favourite exercise is barbell walking lunges. They’re a great way to tone up and increase your heart rate!
Must-use supplements: StemoVex & MaxxTor (pre-workout), BCAA, Glutamine, Creatine & L-Carnitine (intra-workout), MaxPro Elite Whey Protein (1-2x/day)
Fav healthy meal: Lean ground turkey and brown rice bowl
Fav cheat meal: Peanut Butter & Jelly (Strawberry flavour)
What’s in your gym bag: Lifting gloves, straps, resistance band, BCAAs, headphones, gum, deodorant, and hair ties.
Author: Mariska du Plessis
Mariska is the editor of Fitness Magazine, Bootcamp Instructor, Writer, Photographer and Wellness Blogger.
Follow her on Instagram: @justmariska_