About 10 weeks ago, I got an email from my editor confirming that I would indeed be one of the models photographed for the exercise demonstrations appearing in my upcoming book (you can pre-order your copy of the Ultimate Booty Workouts now through Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca and Chapters/Indigo.ca.).
While I felt very strongly about representing for the ‘over-40 female crowd’ (one of the book’s underlying messages is that women need to strength train for function as well as form), I have to admit that I was also quite apprehensive about the upcoming shoot.
What if the other model was ‘Oxygen’ magazine calibre? Would photographs of a woman with a more ‘realistic’ physique sell? What if I embarrassed my inexperienced self at the shoot?
Unsure of how to prepare for a fitness photo shoot, I sought advice from friends, colleagues and a figure competitor or two. I read blog posts and how-to guides and immersed myself in the science of ‘bulking’ and ‘cutting’ and ‘peak week’.
Suggestions included upping my cardio, cutting my carbs, eliminating fruit, taking fat burners and following low calorie diets that relied on specific food pairings to shed weight, fat and water without burning muscle (all while remaining cheerful to be around and capable of helping my children with their math homework…). I tried the low-carb thing last year and we all know how that went…
While I have no doubt that each of these suggestions has merit (and many have been shown to work for physique and figure athletes ‘leaning out’ in the weeks preceding a competition), in the end, I felt that resorting to such focused, extreme and potentially unhealthy measures would completely undermine my initial reason for wanting to be photographed for the book.
If I couldn’t create the physique shown in the book by simply following the programs I’d written and cleaning up my diet, why should readers believe they could (and hence, why should they bother buying the book)?
So then, how DID I prepare for a fitness photo shoot without starving myself and alienating my friends and family?
- I increased my strength training workouts from three, 30 minute sessions per week to three 45 minute sessions per week (yep, that’s it; an extra 45 minutes in the gym each week and using the butt and leg workouts in the book to make sure my booty was camera-ready)
- I reduced my intake of starchy carbohydrates from 2 servings per day to 1 serving per day (not even noticeable)
- I gave up alcohol and dessert for the three weeks immediately preceding the photo shoot (unless you count that 1/2 glass of wine and the creme brûlée I ‘tasted’ while out for a fancy, date night dinner with my hubby…)
- I kept the frequency and intensity of my cardio workouts exactly the same as always; three, 30-minute sessions of interval-style training per week
- I bought two new workout outfits in styles that flattered my body and colours that brightened my skin
- I succumbed to last-minute jitters, tried an all-natural diuretic and drank a ton of water for three days before the shoot (other than keeping me running to the bathroom and tiring me out by draining me of electrolytes, it didn’t do a darned thing; muscles looked exactly the same as they did last week)
- I spent the day before the photo shoot relaxing with a dear friend, went to bed early, then put on my new clothes, sucked in my belly and squatted and smiled for the camera
Did you catch my real-time Facebook and Instagram updates? Here’s a montage of some behind-the-scenes videos I took at the shoot (which was so much more fun than I had anticipated. And the other model? Another ‘real’ woman also without experience modelling for fitness photo shoots who enjoyed it just as much as I did! Way to go Nadia!