An Inescapable Relationship
By Rick Trottier with Bre anne McGinness
Modeling and Baseball are so very much alike in so many ways. The eminent sports writer Daniel Okrent once said, “No one gets to the Major Leagues on talent alone. A lot of refinement has to take place first”. The same is absolutely true of modeling. A young woman can be blessed with incredible beauty of face and figure, but the practice and effort required to refine that potential is simply staggering. A rise through the ranks based on a naturally pretty face and an attractive figure can occur, but eventually skills have to be honed, strengths must be stronger than steel and weaknesses must be addressed so they no longer stand out as weaknesses and are simply subsumed into the whole of beauty.
One vehicle which allows any model the chance to rise to greatness is a fitness regimen that sharpens the body, mind and spirit. Modeling is one of the most demanding professions out there. The physical requirements, on the set and off, are murderously challenging. The levels of concentration and focus required day in and day out are just as punishing. And the vicious nature of the competition exacts a mental and spiritual price akin to that of any athlete fighting for their spot on the team year after year and dealing with the bright lights of publicity at the same time. To those on the outside looking in, it would seem that the life of a model is all easy glamor and entertainment. But to those who have dedicated their lives to following this path, it is a journey that is best taken after sculpting yourself into a rock hard fighter on the outside and inside as well. I sat down with Bre anne McGinness, one of the most accomplished fitness professionals in New England, she who is Owner/Personal Trainer at Fire Physiques, Sponsored Athlete at Beast-Up Apparel and a model for RJT Images/Light Works Studio. Bre and I discussed the nature of fitness as it applies to people in general but far more specifically as it relates to the world of modeling.
“If I were to define FITNESS, I would have to say it is an individual concept. Each person must set for themselves goals that will lead to an end result where the achievement is something sustainable and brings that person a sense of accomplishment and well-being. When it comes to what kinds of exercise I envision in my definition of FITNESS, it is quite broad. It can be walking up stairs to running a marathon. It all comes down to the goals of the person and what they are trying to create for themselves. However, I do think that FITNESS is not just about physical factors. The mental side of FITNESS is equally important. Each and every weight lifted or minute expended in cardio exercise must be leading to a growth of emotional well-being by attaining goals and maintaining the health of the body and mind”.
“I came to love working out and developing an interest in physical fitness because I was and still am a very active person. I am always interested in doing something. I was an athlete as a child and in school. It was while I was in school that I grew to love studying anatomy and physiology. It was during my college years that a fusion took place that combined my active nature, my interest in human anatomy and my love of setting and reaching goals as an athlete that I realized I was absolutely engrossed by the intensely personal nature of fitness training, that it forced me to keep pushing myself to higher levels of achievement and that anything was possible. After I focused on my own journey into better health, I realized I wanted to help others walk that same path”.
“Since fitness is a process and not a precise end result, I have seen my understanding and appreciation for training change over the years. I use to be the kind of girl who went by what the media told us about fitness and followed trends that were popular in magazines and on television. Then I realized there were scientific and philosophical elements to training and I learned ALL I could about bodybuilding, explored new concepts I had learned with my friends and colleagues and really tried to educate myself about the habits and behaviors of my fitness idols. All of these studies really changed how I used my time, utilized my energy and helped me to see how I could reshape my body. Now I use what I started with and how my thinking has evolved, to help others reshape their bodies and their minds as they relate to their health. Fitness can help ANYONE, from the very healthy, to people who are battling for their lives against whatever health problem afflicts them. I believe whole-heartedly in the mind-body-soul connection. Most people are usually only lacking a few of the pieces in their lives to come together to find balance, success and happiness. Fitness helps bring together all of those pieces. People are never more in tune with what is going on inside them than when they have focus on what your body HAS to do during an exercise regimen. Only you can activate the muscles of your body. Once activated and once intense concentration has begun, you begin listening to what’s inside your heart, head and your body as a whole”.
“There are few places where fitness has a more important role in the professional life of a person than in modeling. Models’ lives entirely revolve around how they are viewed and how effectively they can be the focus of an image. No matter what type of modeling a girl pursues, from the most conservative fashion to the sexiest glamor, maintaining your shape and looking your best is Job #1. Each type of modeling demands a very specific look that requires a model to sculpt her physique as carefully as possible if she is going to be successful. Leaving things to chance means you’re going to be out-competed by the girls who want that chance at the Brass Ring more and will find ways to step over you. A better figure is going to get more attention from the right people. It’s that simple.
For the uninitiated, modeling is physically taxing and a test of strength and endurance. A fit model can stand up to the demands of a photo shoot, whether it is a long and arduous day of shooting or a short but punishing series of difficult poses. Too many people think models just stand around and look pretty. Reality is FAR from that incorrect standard. Being strong is not only important to look good, but like any athlete, it allows you to do your job right. Models have to be flexible, to attain dramatic poses, have the kind of muscle control necessary to hold and intensify poses, and at the same time craft any facial expression that fits the needs of the image. There is an old saying in The Industry, “if the pose feels awkward, it’s right”. Imagine trying to craft and hold a look that doesn’t feel right and do that for hours on end. You have to be a very fit young woman to do that day after day.”
“I am often asked what kinds of fitness regimens a girl should adopt if she wants to sculpt her body for modeling. What I advise isn’t all that different from most of my clients, but there are a few modifications. Even though a lot of girls fear weight training, that it will bulk them up or some such nonsense, it is without a doubt, essential for the modeling build. Weight training builds muscle which helps intensify your metabolic rate. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so if you have lots of strong, lean muscle, your metabolism will run faster; you will look leaner and be in the appropriate shape for modeling. I highly suggest that models do weight training 4-5 times a week for 45-60 minutes a day and selectively target specific muscle groups. Find what your strengths are and continue to develop them, but make sure you attack your weaknesses too. All forms of exercise should deal with your own personal fitness needs. Nothing should be a higher priority than that.
Cardio-vascular exercise is important to developing a fit and strong figure, but it is important to NOT overdo it. The entire purpose of cardio, beyond having a strong heart and vascular system, is to lean down the fat content in your body but to not strain your system so much that it cannibalizes muscle. Muscle is what gives the body its defined and sexy shape, so cardio exercise should support that plan. I always suggest a plan of 3 days a week at 30-45 minutes a day for cardio exercise. Be sure to stretch with both exercise types as often as chance allows.
I am a huge believer in the value of yoga. Yoga refines and improves your flexibility, the strength of your core muscles and while all exercise is a valuable stress reduction tool, yoga is one of the best programs for managing unwanted anxiety and finding mental and spiritual balance. Everyone should look into doing yoga 1-2 times a week, but for the model, yoga is even more important. Yoga mirrors the primary characteristics of modeling; posing, body control and breathing techniques. Every model wants to be better at all those things and yoga can help you get there.
Finally, I highly recommend that everyone start with a personal trainer. A personal trainer can help you determine what is most important for your body type, help you avoid injury and start off with a confident state of mind. It is that positive, confident approach that will lead to success. When it comes to maximizing your success, keep some basic principles in mind. With the help of a trainer and your own research, avoid doing the same routine. The body adapts to what you ask of it rather quickly and your success will begin to plateau, which will lead to a more negative attitude. Plan how you can break through these plateaus, which are natural occurrences, by mixing it up every few weeks. The changes will invigorate you. Next, avoid fads in fitness and nutrition. There are no quick and easy fixes. It takes dedication, hard work and a thoughtful, sensible plan to achieve the success you want. Lastly, check the qualifications of the trainer you may be selecting. Make sure that fitness professional has the accreditation and certifications that make them someone you can benefit from knowing.”
“If you want to be a successful model, every girl has to reach for the stars. Being fit and strong requires the same The Sky is The Limit thinking; otherwise you’re going to settle for unspectacular results rather than the healthy and incredible physique you want and need for the modeling profession. Your body will only show you what you put into it for nutrition and an exercise program. If you put a determined, aggressive approach on the table, the results you will see will be precisely what you want. The opposite is true too, but in both Fitness and Modeling, it is always best to have the most positive mental state possible. That is the way to success.”
Breanne McGinness: https://www.facebook.com/firephysiques
Website for Fire Physiques Coming Soon