Fitness Modeling 101 – How To Prepare For A Photoshoot

How To Prepare For A Photoshoot PowertecThis past Saturday I had the honor of working with Powertec Fitness as a model for their 2011 ad campaign. It was one of the coolest projects I’ve worked on this year FOR SURE and everyone on set was great.

We filmed a bunch of workout videos…did some video demonstrations…and took a bunch of still shots for the catalog, poster, and website.

The shoot lasted for about 10 hours but it was a great time. I REALLY had a lot of fun even though I was CRAZY sore afterward from doing hundreds of reps demonstrating how to use the equipment!

Anyways, many of my peeps from Twitter and Facebook have been asking me how I prepped for the shoot…and I know many of you have been asking me for a while to post more stuff about my photoshoot/contest prep diet and workouts.

So I figured I would show you guys exactly what I ate and what my workouts were like in the week leading up to the Powertec shoot. That way…when you have your own shoot…you can KILL it!

The shoot took place on Saturday November 20th and since I am in maintenance mode right now at somewhere around 5% or 6% bodyfat I only needed a few days to prepare… but you may need more days or weeks to prepare depending on your level of conditioning and/or goals.

(Keep in mind that there are many aspects of photoshoot prep…tanning, makeup, hair, skincare, etc that I’m not covering in this post. This post mainly deals with the nutrition and workout aspect of photoshoot prep)

Here’s what I did:

I started my prep on Monday November 15th for the Saturday shoot on November 20th…

Monday – 5 Days Out.

Split: Chest/Triceps/Shoulders
Reps: Dropsets. 8/12/20
Sets: 3 of each exercise
Workout: Dumbbell incline bench press, cable crossover, hindu pushups (until failure), spiderman pushups (until failure), barbell military press, side lateral raise, tricep pressdowns, dips, 100 reps with 105lbs on barbell flat bench as a finisher.

Nutrition:
No additional salt on food.
1/2 gallon of water sipped throughout the day
100mg potassium three times per day
1000mg dandelion root three times per day
Multivitamin

During prep I followed my regular meal plan while cutting carbs down to practically zero. I ate nothing but whole, natural, fresh foods such as ground turkey, grass fed bison, chicken breast, and white fish…and the only vegetables I ate were asparagus and spinach. All of my fat intake came from olive oil, almonds, and cashews.

Here is a sample snapshot of my daily mealplan:

Meal1: 8oz ground bison, 2-3 cups steamed spinach, Mrs. Dash no salt seasoning blend

Meal2: 8oz ground turkey, 2-3 cups steamed asparagus, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, Mrs. Dash no salt seasoning blend

Meal 3: 6oz boiled chicken, spinach salad, 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, Mrs. Dash no salt seasoning blend

Meal 4: 40g protein powder, 2-3 cups steamed asparagus, 2 tbsp almond butter

Meal 5: 6oz baked tilapia, 2-3 cups steamed spinach, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, Mrs. Dash no salt seasoning blend

Meal 6: 40g protein powder, 1 serving cashews or almonds

Pretty boring stuff but it works. Don’t worry too much about taste…sure this food is bland but the taste of success after your shoot will taste better than anything you’ll ever whip up in your kitchen!

Tuesday – 4 Days Out.

Split: Back/Biceps/Legs/Calves
Reps: Dropsets. 8/12/20
Sets: 3 of each exercise
Workout: Seated cable row, barbell rows, lat pull downs, one arm smith machine rows, barbell curls, one arm dumbbell curls, barbell front squats, barbell walking lunges, seated calf raise, 100 pullups as a finisher.

Nutrition:
No additional salt on food.
1/2 gallon of water sipped throughout the day
100mg potassium three times per day
1000mg dandelion root three times per day
Multivitamin

During prep I followed my regular meal plan while cutting carbs down to practically zero. I ate nothing but whole, natural, fresh foods such as ground turkey, grass fed bison, chicken breast, and white fish…and the only vegetables I ate were asparagus and spinach. All of my fat intake came from olive oil, almonds, and cashews.

How To Prepare For A Photoshoot Powertec

Wednesday – 3 Days Out (This day is basically a repeat of day one but instead of drop sets I’ll do two sets of 25 on each exercise.)

Split: Chest/Triceps/Shoulders
Reps: 25
Sets: 2 of each exercise
Workout: Dumbbell incline bench press, cable crossover, hindu pushups (until failure), spiderman pushups (until failure), barbell military press, side lateral raise, tricep pressdowns, dips, 100 reps with 105lbs on barbell flat bench as a finisher.

Nutrition:
No additional salt on food.
1/2 gallon of water sipped throughout the day
100mg potassium three times per day
1000mg dandelion root three times per day
Multivitamin

During prep I followed my regular meal plan while cutting carbs down to practically zero. I ate nothing but whole, natural, fresh foods such as ground turkey, grass fed bison, chicken breast, and white fish…and the only vegetables I ate were asparagus and spinach. All of my fat intake came from olive oil, almonds, and cashews.

How To Prepare For A Photoshoot Jamin Thompson

Thursday – 2 Days Out (This day is basically a repeat of day two but instead of drop sets I’ll do two sets of 25 on each exercise. I’ll also eliminate any leg work to avoid water retention and swelling in the legs on shoot day)

Split: Back/Biceps
Reps: 25
Sets: 2 of each exercise
Workout: Seated cable row, barbell rows, lat pull downs, one arm smith machine rows, barbell curls, one arm dumbbell curls, rope curls, 100 pull-ups as a finisher.

Nutrition:
No additional salt on food.
1/2 gallon of water sipped throughout the day
100mg potassium three times per day
1000mg dandelion root three times per day
Multivitamin

During prep I followed my regular meal plan while cutting carbs down to practically zero. I ate nothing but whole, natural, fresh foods such as ground turkey, grass fed bison, chicken breast, and white fish…and the only vegetables I ate were asparagus and spinach. All of my fat intake came from olive oil, almonds, and cashews.

Friday – Day Before Shoot:

At this point I’m feeling pretty hungry, and tired. It’s been a few days since I’ve eaten a carb meal and combine that with the low water intake and high intensity workouts back to back to back, I’m feeling quite drained and low on energy. The meal plan for today is practically the same as all of the other days…6 meals that consist of whole, natural, fresh foods such as ground turkey, grass fed bison, chicken breast, and white fish. I also keep my veggie intake to asparagus and spinach only. All of my fat intake will come from olive oil, almonds, and cashews only. So there will be nothing drastically different than any of the days before.

The only difference is that for meal #5 on this day I will begin to load up with carbs. So for meal #5 the day before a shoot I’ll usually eat a large sweet potato, several Ezekiel english muffins, or a large bowl of oatmeal.

For meal #6 I’ll usually have a large steak and half of a sweet potato. Depending on my conditioning and the shoot/event…I’ll sometimes drink a glass of red wine as well. This can help me appear more vascular.

How To Prepare For A Photoshoot Jamin Thompson Powertec

A little trick I like to use the night before to fill out my muscles is to eat something DENSE. Something that is sugary, fatty, and has a bunch of calories. It’s usually a food that many people mistakenly believe would ruin all of the hard work they have put in…but it actually does the exact opposite.

What’s the trick?

I’ll have a medium sized slice of cheesecake or a medium cheeseburger! And I’ll usually eat it 60 to 90 minutes after my last meal of the day.

Try it and see how your body responds! :)

Please keep in mind that everyone is different and your body may respond differently than mine does. So be sure to experiment to see what works for you as you test out different methods to learn how your body responds. It is always a good idea to keep a journal so you can write down everything. Paying attention to detail is critical.

NOTE: there is no workout or cardio on this day.

Nutrition:
No additional salt on food.
1/2 gallon of water sipped throughout the day
100mg potassium three times per day
1000mg dandelion root three times per day
Multivitamin

How To Prepare For A Photoshoot Jamin Thompson PowertecActing silly with Jmiah Williamson, Ian Lauer , and photographer Natalie Minh @ Powertec before the shoot

Day Of Shoot:

This is where the fun begins and 30 minutes or so after I wake up I’ll make breakfast. This meal will usually consist of some steak or chicken, a small sweet potato, and a small piece of cheesecake. Even though I usually wake up on this day starving, it is important not to pound the food too fast and get bloated but to slowly chew everything thoroughly. The last thing you want is a bloated belly when the cameras start rolling…

I’ll have a few sips of water after breakfast but again it is important not to pound it…even though you are probably thirsty as hell. Of course you need to fill out your muscles, but you don’t want to overdo it…so be sure to check yourself out in a full size mirror before you get dressed. If you look ripped and your muscles don’t look flat as a pancake, just continue to sip your water as you need it. If you look or feel flat drink about 4-6 ounces of water every hour or so and maybe eat something a little salty on your way over to the shoot.

Again, please keep in mind that everyone is different and your body may respond differently than mine does. So be sure to experiment to see what works for you as you test out different methods to learn how your body responds. It is always a good idea to keep a journal so you can write down everything. Paying attention to detail is critical.

Nutrition:
No additional salt on food.
Only small sips of water
100mg potassium with breakfast
1000mg dandelion root with breakfast
One cup unsweetened organic black coffee with breakfast
Multivitamin

But your nutrition doesn’t stop there…you still need to bring healthy food with you to the shoot so you don’t go for hours without eating and/or end up having to blow your diet by eating the catering. Sometimes the catering is healthy food, especially if you’re working on a large fitness project (the catering was excellent at the Powertec shoot by the way ;) ), but for most shoots you’ll go on, the catering (if they even have it) will suck so be sure to pack a cooler.

Here’s what I usually bring:
Bottled water
Protein powder
Chicken or steak in tupperware
Brown rice or baked sweet potatoes in tupperware
Cashews/almonds or cashew/almond butter
One protein bar.

How To Prepare For A Photoshoot Jamin Thompson Ian Lauer Powertec

And that’s basically it. Yes it’s that simple…AND that complicated. Now you know exactly how to prepare for a photoshoot – the only thing to do now is to rock it at your shoot!

So what are YOUR favorite photoshoot prep tricks? Do you have questions for me? Please leave them as comments below!

Jamin

PS – If you’re looking for a resource that will help take you from out of shape to photoshoot or contest ready in no time, check out Brian Cannone’s Stage Ready Nutrition & Training Plan.

Jamin Thompson
Jamin Thompson has been called "the most handsome fitness model in the world" and "a brilliant actor & writer", both by his mom. He's a former Clemson & UMiami athlete and World Ranked tennis player who writes to help others dominate in the gym, on the field, and in life using his real world, in the trenches experience. His book, The 6 Pack Secret, has been sold in over 50 countries and has helped thousands of folks from all walks of life get cut and jacked the healthy way.
Jamin Thompson

@jaminthompson

Athlete. Actor. Fitness model. The U + Clemson. Econ/MBA. Baltimore born. Wolf raised. IG: @JaminThompson. For business inquiries: info@JaminThompson.com
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12 Responses to Fitness Modeling 101 – How To Prepare For A Photoshoot

  1. Ronald November 23, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    Thats awesome congrats on the shoot man! It would be awesome to be able to do some fitness modeling and this information definitely will help me I think. I’ve never really seen it laid out like this….so thanks for providing this useful information!

    Ronald

    • Jamin Thompson January 11, 2011 at 9:04 am #

      Thanks bro and I’m glad this post was able to help you out

  2. Oscar November 23, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    I’ve always wanted to do a shoot like that…fitness modeling is my goal! Thanks for the advice

    • Jamin Thompson January 11, 2011 at 9:06 am #

      Just go after it Oscar, if you put your focus and best effort into it nothing can hold you back.

  3. Natalie Minh November 23, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    Hot chocolata u rocked it like you always do!!! YOU DA BEST! <3

    • Jamin Thompson November 23, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

      You rocked it too Nat! You’re def one of the BEST in the biz!

  4. Jason August 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Hey Jamin,

    I have been following this plan and have my shoot tomorrow at 5:30pm. How should I adjust that sugary, fatty meal and the food in your morning plan?

    Thanks,

    Jason

  5. Jamin Thompson August 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Hey Jason,

    The not so simple answer is: it depends. What I usually do when my shoot is in the afternoon is simply push my carb load time back a few hours the night before and/or just consume moderate carbs the next morning and have the sugary/fatty meal 2-3 hours before the shoot. If you feel your muscles start to go flat say an hour or so before 5:30 rolls around just try to eat a few rice cakes with natural honey. Everyone is different, so if my way doesn’t work try to experiment with different times, foods, & ratios to find your sweet spot. It’s a learning process. Hope that helps, good luck with the shoot bro.

    J

  6. ron August 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    hey bro!

    great article. Im 20 days away from my fitness photoshoot. What would You recommend to do at this point?

    thanks

    • Jamin Thompson August 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      Hey Ron,

      Glad you liked the article. Depending on what your physique looks like right now (I’m going to assume your body fat levels are 10% or less) I would just continue your normal routine (training/nutrition) until you’re about 5-10 days out. Then you can begin the prep routine outlined in this article.

      However, if your body fat levels are a bit higher you may want to start doing fasted cardio in the morning (walking or jogging for 20-30 min) and slowly cutting your carb intake right now. Some people opt to do morning AND evening cardio when they are rushing to prep quickly…but in my humble opinion you’ll lose a lot of your hard earned muscle this way and may end up looking flat at your shoot. Everyone is differnt though so don’t be afraid to experiment a bit to see what works for you. Hope that helps a bit.

      J

  7. Zach August 25, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Hey Jamin, interesting article. You obviously have a routine that works quite well for you. I’m considering entering into the realm of fitness modeling, and as I was reading this several questions popped into my mind.

    Do you ever use fish and/or flax seed oil in contest prep – or do you consider what you get from the fish and bison sufficient? What made you choose asparagus and spinach as your vegetables of choice? Would broccoli or kale serve the same or similar purpose? How much does this diet differ from your normal training diet? Also, is the protein powder you use carb-less? Do you use BCAA’s or other supplements to reduce the catabolic effects of cutting? Lastly what’s the purpose of dandelion root – is it related to the potassium which I’m guessing is for water retention?

    Thanks for reading – sorry for the litany.

    • Jamin Thompson January 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

      Hey Zach, glad you enjoyed the article and my apologies on being late to respond to your comment. Sometimes I get behind on responding on threads from older articles.

      To answer your question(s): I used to use fish oil but these days I use krill oil instead as I’ve found it to be a much better omega-3 supplement. I didn’t include it in this article because it’s more of an every day supplement I use, similar to probiotics and digestive enzymes and not a contest prep specific supplement. I prefer to get many of my nutrients from food, but it’s hard to get (and measure) exactly how much you’re eating and/or absorbing from food so feel free to supplement with omega-3 if you choose to. (You can read my opinion on krill oil vs fish oil here: http://perfectbodyrx.com/2014/01/06/the-best-supplements-for-athletes/)

      I choose asparagus because it’s known to have a mild diuretic effect and I like spinach simply because it’s easy to eat (similar to kale). Broccoli just gets nasty to me after a while lol…but I don’t think you will go wrong with any green veggie. Broccoli, spinach, kale, etc they should all work for you.

      At the time of this article I was using Optimum Nutrition Hydro Whey protein and it has 2 grams of carbs per serving. I was not using BCAA’s during this prep as I’ve found that I don’t really need them as much anymore. My prep is usually always less than a week (not 12-16 weeks like some people do) so I don’t really experience any catabolic effects (at least I haven’t noticed any).

      Dandelion root is a natural diuretic that can help get rid of water under the skin. I hate taking diuretics like MHP Xpel, etc, so I try to keep it mild and natural whenever possible.

      My normal training diet is very similar when it comes to foods, but the macros will just change a bit. I try to experiment with my training diet regularly but I’ve been following a similar approach to the style I wrote about in this post: http://perfectbodyrx.com/2013/03/09/the-renegade-diet/

      Hope that helps.
      J

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