THOUGHTS & EXPERIENCES THRU MY EYES AS A FITNESS MODEL & COMPETITOR
I started competing thirteen year ago when I was 24 yrs. old as a fitness model & fitness competitor. Before I got into the industry I use to go watch all of the fitness/modeling shows to see what this craze was all about and after watching I knew that this was the industry for me. Competing in shows takes more then anyone can really imagine until one has experienced it themselves, it is not just getting up on stage prancing around in some little bikini as some people may think. The biggest thing about competing is you have to be selfish as this is a sport all about you which means, making your food, doing all your workouts & not going out with your friends at night to eat when your training. Those are only a few of the sacrifices that you will give as there are more.
I've learned discipline, dedication, self control, sacrifice & mostly how to manipulate my body to get it look the way I want. When I competed in my first show I really had no idea what I was doing nor the sacrifice I was about to be making in my life. It was long sessions in the gym for cardio/weights as well as a complete calorie restricted diet of only certain foods. So I realized if I wanted to be on stage I had no choice but to give it my all & do what it took. My first show I needed to start out with a 12 week diet just so I could take it slow & lose the body fat the right way instead of crash dieting it off which is always no good. I learned to become a real good cook because I was constantly in the kitchen making my food since I needed to eat a meal every couple hours. I would wake up every am at 4am and go train then come home prepare my meals for the day, go to the office & then on occasion go back to the gym for my second session if needed.
That became my life as a fitness competitor, always cooking, dieting & traveling all over the country competing in shows on the weekends. When I look back the biggest sacrifice was the years I gave up in my life not being a normal human being because I was so consumed in competing I isolated myself from the daily world. Don't get me wrong I loved every minute of it but now years later looking back I see the big sacrifices that I made. As I continued competing the dieting would very for how long I needed to start out before a show to be ready, and that is why maintaining is so important in competing. Too many people say they have these on/off seasons well guess what no that is untrue. Whenever you hear someone say they have an on/off season unless they are an endorsed athlete making bank then in my opinion it is simply an excuse for them to get fat. I do not see any other reason for these competitors to gain so much weight and not look themselves once the shows are over.
I learned many years later after being in the sport how to maintain my weight all year round so that when I wanted to compete, fitness model, go on a casting call or whatever job it may be, I wasn't that far off & didn't need to kill myself dieting to get where I needed to be. Once I mastered that part the rest was so much easier because I didn't have to diet as long nor do all the cardio. Like I said the biggest mistake competitors make is letting themselves gain to much weight after a show. Then when show time rolls around again they have to take 3-5 months if not more to get it off and that to me is ridiculous. My motto has become "On season all season, there is NO off season".
After competing in my first show I got involved in fitness modeling. It only made sense that when I trained so hard to look so good that I should only show off my hard work through my pictures. As with competing its fairly similar to doing a photo shoot because yes you have to diet to be lean, need to be tan & always have an amazing hair & makeup artist. Hair & makeup for a shoot is highly important because it really does affect how your pictures turn out after wards. Photo shoots are basically like an investment, if you put your time and money in to buy sexy gorgeous outfits, get your hair and makeup done, make sure your body is on point then your pic's will show that in all of your images.
If you skimp out and don't tan & pay for a professional hair and makeup artist then you will have poor quality pictures & you won't be happy with the results as I have experienced that many times in the past. I also think one of the other most important things in fitness modeling is the photographer you are working with. Research your photographer & if you don't feel comfortable do not shoot with that person or bring an escort with you. Also watch what you sign some of these photographers have models signing all kinds of crazy stuff and the models are not really even reading what they are signing. I've been fitness modeling for many years & still to this day do it! I love being in front of the camera shooting amazing images & always coming up with new shoot ideas. It allows my portfolio to be versatile giving people the opportunity to see many different sides to me & who I am as a person.
When I prepare for a photo shoot now because I have learned how to maintain my weight, I may just take the week prior to do a no to low carb diet the week of depending on how I look. I also eat very clean & workout daily. Then the day before I get spray tanned and usually do a little shopping as I like to always have new outfits for the shoot. I don't like shooting in outfits I have already shot in at a different shoot. Besides it makes it fun knowing you have new cool sexy outfits to be shot in..:) There is a lot of sacrifice in competing and in fitness modeling, there's no magic pill to take off weight and be ready. It's all up to you & how bad you want it as with anything you do in life! I have sacrificed many years of my life in this sport & wouldn't change it for anything. I have met so many wonderful people & worked with some of the most amazing photographers.
So if your considering being a fitness competitor or dipping your foot in fitness modeling make sure you are willing to give 100% of yourself or it's not worth doing. It's a sacrifice of endless workouts, clean dieting, buying clothes, hair & makeup, professional photographers, but in the end the results are all worth it. I've had the pleasure of working with one of the most amazing photographers in the valley Tony & Char Mandarich & they exude professionalism in all their work. If you check out my fitness modeling website at http://alicialeombruni.com you will see their amazing photos everywhere.
You get out of life what you put in to it-so do the work & reap all the great results. Competing & fitness modeling is a wonderful experience & if you are willing to sacrifice a little you will be surprised with the changes you can make to you body & have that body you've always wanted, I did! Good luck to all of you who decide to venture into this industry of competing/fitness modeling. It's changed my life for the better & I find the older I get the better I look because I have learned the discipline & sacrifices it has taken me to get to where I am today..:)
The pic. I have attached in this post was taken at Lake Pleasant in Phoenix, AZ on April 11, 2010 by John Mitchell at http://JohnBBpics.com. He is another amazing photographer out of Connecticut that I had the pleasure shooting with!