‘Cover Model Look’ – Is It Necessary?

By on April 1, 2016
Cover Model

Points You’ll Takeaway –

  1. The problem with the media today and especially Instagram is we are always questioning and comparing ourselves to FAKES. We are always asking ourselves “are we good enough?”
  2. But what you need to realise and understand is that this bodybuilding/bikini competitor ‘look’ is an extreme that pushes the limits of muscular development and leanness.
  3. They have spent months preparing for that single day and likely do not look like that on a regular basis.
  4. Fitness and dieting doesn’t have to rule your life, it should fit into your lifestyle!!!


We have always been inspired by magazines of bodybuilders/bikini or female super models on the front of magazines or on social media, but is that the body we should be setting our sights on?

All we started out to do was improve our looks, build more confidence, attract more attention and look like that idol of ours on that poster. And at first, all the workouts and endless calorie controlled diet seemed o… kayyyyy. You went from not giving a damn about health or nutrition to your whole life revolving around it. After a few weeks/months you either caved in and gave up or you stuck at it, but still struggled to build the body you saw on that poster, and so failure creeps over you.

You take either 1 of 2 routes at this point – You completely give up and go back to your old lifestyle, maybe putting all the weight back on you lost, or you prepare to force yourself through another gruelling month of workouts. All you really wanted was to build a lean, muscular, and athletic body…. that ‘cover model look.’

If the above situation sounds like you then when you started out you felt you were improving your lifestyle and health but to some degree you could look at it as if you ruined it and actually got worse. You no longer enjoy your diet, you miss regal social events and have many depressed nights binging.


But I am here to tell you that you’ve been misled. The problem with the media today and especially Instagram is we are always questioning and comparing ourselves to others and FAKES. We are always asking ourselves “are we good enough?”

Ask yourself these questions when you look at that body on Instagram.

  • Do they really look like that?
  • Has the picture been air brushed?
  • How long have they been training?
  • Are they happy?
  • What does their true life really look like?
  • What are their goals?
  • What is their lifestyle like?
  • What is their job?

Many of us believe, as I used to, that this bodybuilding/bikini body was the ideal representation of a perfect male/female and ultimately what we should all striving for, everyday.

But what you need to realise and understand is that this ‘look’ is an extreme that pushes the limits of muscular development and leanness. In a sport littered with performance enhancing drugs and eating disorders, yes that is right eating disorders, this extreme conditioning is often pointless and impossible without the help of steroids or a professional lifestyle. It may inspire someone to compete in a fitness competition, like myself, but when compared to those who just want to look and feel better, this ‘look’ is no way necessary.

Their goals and job is very different to yours. What is optimal for their lifestyle is not optimal for yours. That is why following someone else plan, that is not individualised to you, is never going to be the best approach. Preparing for a competition or cover photoshoot requires an extreme level of dedication and perfection that’s just not necessary for everyday health and fitness. What I hate is when you see a magazine advertise articles about ‘everyday fitness’ and print a picture of a professional model, because people will then link that look with ‘everyday fitness.’

I am not abusing or hating bodybuilders/bikini competitors or models, but I am just trying to let you see that there is a difference between ‘everyday fitness’ and bodybuilding/bikini/super/cover models.

 

I can tell you now you do not need to be as lean or muscular as a bodybuilder/bikini competitor to have an awesome body or even attract the opposite sex. I, like many guys, thought that in order to get girls you had to constantly look like a stage competitor and have a chiselled 6-pack 24/7, but having been there I can tell you, looking like that most of the time gets you less sex, due to a massive drop in social life and libido. That guy or lady you see in a magazine or online who’s ripped to shreds has spent years preparing for that single day and likely does not look like that on a regular basis. Not to mention the air brushing and photoshop that occurs in magazines and photos.

Having been focusing a lot more of my flying training, living my life and spending time with friends and family I can tell you consistency and sticking to a sustainable and enjoyable plan in the long term is what will get you long term results.

Social media has influenced our minds massively, regarding training and nutrition. So I hope this article has helped.

Many people I have spoken to are convinced you can not live a life and must restrict all the enjoyable food when on a health kick to lose weight.

People like extremes and FAD diets because they think these are the best and quickest ways to get results, but this is not necessary. The everyday achievable look is something you can maintain while still having a life outside of the gym. Getting a look that you can sustain in the real world just isn’t that complicated, at all!

More often than not, people will not be training hard enough and over instead complicate the whole training process when they are not getting the results they demand. Randomly choosing exercises, sets, reps and load week on week. Training is the stimulus to build muscle and strength and you therefore need to train hard with a plan! That does not mean going into the gym shooting for PRs every session or working out to be sick, but you need to create enough of a stimulus every session to progress.

This will be achieved through training primarily your larger muscle groups utilising compound, multiple-joint exercises, like squats, deadlifts, press, pulls ups etc. It will also be key to focus on progressive overload, the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body. This is an important factor to building muscle and strength which can be achieved through increasing workout volume (load x reps x load) a tiny bit at a time, to produce an adaptation response. Your lifestyle constraints will determine how often you get to the gym and also how experienced you are as a lifter. So find what works best for you.

 

So what do I do now with my diet? 

Like everything in life, you will have to moderate your indulgence. I track my macronutrients, pro/carbs/fat, and I too consume a wide variety of foods with the majority of my calories (approx. 80%) from whole nutrient dense foods, getting sufficient micronutrients and fibre each day. But every now and then I choose to enjoy some processed sugars in moderation, like sticky toffee pudding or apple crumble and custard. Of course someone is going to read this and say ‘you’re telling people to eat junk food every day!’ No, that’s not what I said, so don’t take it out of context. I said you can eat it in moderation and you won’t suffer any adverse effects, and that’s absolutely true. Of course, one’s belief on what is healthy or nutritious will vary from person to person and that is why knowing what your actual overall dietary needs are and using a variety of foods to meet these needs, leads to a nutritionally complete diet, rather than a diet that is based around good and bad food, with no control over calories or macronutrients. Sure you could track a diet that labels food, but I guarantee that due to the limited food types available, the diet will still be lacking in variety and enjoyment.

 

Why 20%?

The NHS advises added sugars shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your calorie intake and a literature review by Gibson found that 20% of total calories from added sugars is roughly the maximum amount that won’t adversely dilute the diet’s concentration of essential micro nutrition. (1)

And this is what I do all year round, whether I am prepping for a photo-shoot/show or looking to build muscle, only my calories and macronutrients change. This allows me to enjoy my diet with no cravings, which means I do not feel the urge to binge! It allows me to enjoy social events and not get stressed out if only certain foods are available. Instead of looking at foods as good vs. bad, you should have been looking at your overall diet as a whole, rather than one food in isolation.

Fitness and dieting don’t have to rule your life, I found this out the hard way.

It should fit into your lifestyle!!!

 

 

References - 
  1. Gibson SA. Dietary sugars intake and micronutrient adequacy: a systematic review of the evidence. Nutr Res Rev. 2007 Dec;20(2):121-31.

 

Scott Edmed

About Scott Edmed

I am currently serving the Royal Air Force as a pilot with a huge passion for nutrition and training, having competed in physique competitions and playing rugby and cricket for the RAF.