How to Become a Fitness Model: Step by Step Guide

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Before we begin, did you know that can begin a career in fitness by completing OriGym's Level 3 Personal Trainer Diploma?

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If you're reading this article as you must be thinking that a becoming a fitness model might be a career avenue worth exploring.

Within this extensive article we asked the opinions of some of the top fitness modelling agencies in the UK and fitness models to find out exactly how to become a fitness model.

You will learn what fitness modelling agonies look for, different routes, how much you will be paid as a fitness model and much, much more……


There are not many jobs in the world where your physical condition actually affects if you get paid or not, but becoming a fitness model is certainty one of them.

The shape you are in will dictate if an agency signs you or if a client wants to use you in a commercial or within their magazine.

There are many types of fitness modelling that suit different soma types. Some prefer the natural, authentic look, whilst others prefer the bigger the muscles the better sort of approach. It all comes down to what the client is selling or promoting to their audience to what fitness model they hire.

This is simply untrue…..

Take a look below at what fitness modelling agencies told us they desired…..

What do fitness models agency looks for?

We reached out to some of the biggest fitness model agencies in the UK and the common consensus is that authenticity to their own sport is extremely important:

Requirements to become a fitness model: 

Of course, fitness models must be in good shape, but very few leading sporting brands are looking for that extreme look to represent their brand. Quite often the more realistic and authentic look will get you far more agency work than the super ripped stereotype that many people after when looking into how to become a fitness model.

The reality is that fitness models need to be attractive in the eyes of the masses to which they are intended to appeal, generally with good skin, a nice smile and hair.

As discussed earlier, physique depends on what brand or sport you’re representing. If you
are representing a sport such as basketball, the desired look that brands are looking to
represent them is far different to Rugby.


There are many routes into becoming a fitness model. You need to be clear on what route
you wish to go into. Here are some options you can think about when thinking how to
become a fitness model:

As you will see in the later in this article, when we see how much a fitness model earns through this different routes as some are more lucrative than others. But first you must have top quality images to use within your portfolio and like all professions, not all photographers are of the same ilk. 

Read the net chapter to finding the best fitness photographer for you…. 



Before you jump ahead of yourself, you need to have the right images to get in front of magazines and brands, otherwise your efforts could be in vein. Finding the right photographer is critical to your success to becoming a fitness model.

Finding a reputable fitness photographer is critical to helping you secure both fitness modelling jobs and getting you noticed by modelling agencies. But, what skills should you look for in a photographer?

1. Settle on the Style you want

Research photographers based on the style of the images you feel would be best for you. If you are unsure what you are looking for, use Google images or Adobe stock and pull up some images that you feel would suit you and ask the photographers you have shortlisted if that style is something they are familiar with. 

2. Reviews, Testimonials, success stories

Like buying anything in life, you need to do your due diligence. Check out fitness photographers reviews on neutral platforms, not their website. Review platforms such as Trustpilot, Google, Feefo and Review Centre is a great starting point to finding out what real customers think about the photographer. 

Looking at testimonials and success stories are an absolute must and you want to verify those reviews by reading up on the individual whom has achieved success. Keep a watchful eye on the what someone has gone onto achieve with the photographs and ensure its specific to becoming a fitness model.

If you're looking for further inspiration on careers you can pursue in fitness, read this article 'Career Change To PT'.

3. Experience 

Like in nay profession, experience plays a key role in the quality of images you will end up receiving.  Generally speaking of course, the more experience the better! If a fitness photographer has 10 years’ experience of photography and that has been their sole income, then you can naturally assume that they are highly skilled in what they do.

4. You pay for what you get

Like most things in life, generally speaking of course, the higher the price, the better the quality. This shouldn’t be taken as an absolute, but there is a reason a Ferrari costs far more than a Fiat right? The same applies for photography. Yes, you can find up and coming photographers that are operating at discount rates and some that are very overpriced, but if your serious about becoming a fitness model, you need to be prepared to invest a little. 

5. Photographer that specialises in modelling

This should go without saying, but you want to find a photographer that has a proven track record of working with models and hopefully specifically fitness models. Like many professions, you will find specialists within certain elements of photography.

You might have found a great photographer who produces great wedding photos or images of beautiful landscapes, but that does not mean they will be the right choice for developing your fitness modelling portfolio. Another added reason as to why to get someone who is specific to fitness modelling is so you know they understand the fitness industry, what sort of images your looking to replicate and that they too have a genuine interest.

6. Website and social platforms.

Any fitness photographer who is anyone, would have active social media accounts, especially the more visual platforms like Instagram or Pinterest.  

Take a good luck through the range of photographs they have produced on multiple platforms and even reach out to people who have featured in some of the photos if they have been tagged to get their validation.

Reputable fitness photographers have high end websites as after all they need to portray quality to entice people to buy their service. Malfunctioning websites, poor images or errors on a fitness photography website are all little warning signs that something is not quite right.

7. Galleries

Many photographers in fitness will send you a show reel or gallery of their work before it comes to buying. Remember, they are only going to send you their best work.

Ensure to ask for at least 3 galleries and go through every image to make sure you are happy with the style and image clarity.

8. Mini-Interviews

Is perfectly fine to ring around a few fitness photographers with some pre-defined questions that can iron out any concerns that you may have, before coming to a conclusion. on which photographer to go with. Here are just a few questions you could ask to help you reach your decision:

9. Ensure your personalities match

When working one to one with another person in a close nit environment, it is critically important that you actually get along. Think about when going to get your hair cut, they might be a great hairdresser and cut your hair just how you like it, but if you don’t feel at ease in their presence or have nothing to say, you often find you end up switching to somebody else. Working with the right fitness photographer is no different and part of the whole experience to feel comfortable, have a chat and build long term relations.

10. Staying Safe

Always be cautious when trying to find a fitness photographer. Your safety is of paramount importance, especially if you’re an aspiring female fitness model. Impersonators are few and far between, but it does happen.

Always check out sole traders and LTD companies using companies house to ensure they are a real business. Checking out the studio to where the photo shoot will take place either online or in person if its local is great idea, peace of mind is important when going to a fitness photoshoot. 

11. Qualifications & Courses

Like many industries, qualifications speak volumes. A good place to start when sourcing a skilled fitness photographer is to analyse their academic background within photography. Although being a photographer does not legally require any form of pre-requisite, a photographer who has invested their hard earned money in time to enhance their skills is a good indicator to narrowing down your choices. Outside of just giving them extra skills, it shows that this is a profession they take seriously, shows professionalism and gives them creditability, all good signs for you.

Photographers will often advertise and list their credentials on the website, social pages or galleries to showcase their expertise. What fitness photography qualifications are good to take note of:

12. Price and packaging 

Of course any major buying decision comes down to price, but like many things you tend to pay for what you get. Experienced, qualified and well renown fitness photographers come at a price. When asking yourself how to become a fitness model, need to appreciate that photo quality is critical and you are better off paying a high amount once, than paying a small amount for images that you end up being dissatisfied with and paying more in the in run.

13. Prepared for the day

An experienced fitness photographer will know where to shoot, what backgrounds to use and what props to use. A good fitness photographer will send you a timeline or timetable. for the day of what it is going to include, what they expect from you, both on the day and what to bring with you.  Remember they are the expert, you would just need to give them the ideas that you are looking to capture and portray.

14. Ask about your image rights

This point is really key! When looking into becoming a fitness model and once you have identified the right photographer for you, this should be your first point of call.

You might be sent a policy or it might be hidden in their terms of service about the photographer having the legal rights to the images produced. You MUST read the terms and conditions and you MUST stipulate that you want exclusive rights to the images. This is where so many people looking on how to become a fitness model go drastically wrong.

The reason this is so extremely important is that the photographer might watermark all your images, might claim royalty on your images, can’t print them, or can’t use them for more than personal use. You must ascertain in writing (not verbal) that they can be used for building your fitness modelling career and that you exclusively own the rights to those images.

15. Service Post Production

Like any service, you want speed, quality and efficiency. You want to clarify beforehand the waiting period to create suitable parameters of delivery of when you will receive the finished images ready to submit to brands and fitness modelling agencies a like. Bear in mind it takes huge sums of time for photographs to be processed as they are dealing with raw files, making editorial changes, adding shading amongst other technical areas. Waiting a month after the photoshoot for production is typical, but you need to create a realistic parameter of time prior to hiring the fitness photographer.

You want to also find out the extras with post production, such as will the images be high resolution or low resolution. How many images will you receive, in what format will receive them? Will they be suitable for print or just digital. Can I get images re-touched, if so is there a charge?

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When contemplating how to become a fitness model, it would really be helpful to know how much a fitness model makes for a photoshoot for a cover magazine or in a fitness brand’s advertisement video.

There is no pre-determined number to how much you can make as a fitness model. Fitness modelling is no different to any other type of role.

Like most professions, the top fitness models earn big bucks via massive brands, but for most of us, It should be considered a freelance or a part-time passion and way to earn some extra cash. 

If your lucky enough one day and you have built a reputation for yourself within the fitness modelling industry then you could make a really good living from becoming a fitness model, with established connections and regular work. 

The top three most common areas fitness models are needed are for magazines, fitness expos and ads:

Health & Fitness Magazines

Fitness modelling for magazine covers can pay up to £250 for a typical shoot. This being said, with the huge influxes of people looking to accelerate their careers just like you to become a fitness model, magazine such as Men’s Health or Bella can often be unpaid, as they get inundated with models who will work for free. 

This is because they can utilise their platform and large audience for future work which gets you in front of the right market who will provide paid work.

TV Adverts

These types of fitness modelling jobs are very hard to come by and sometimes require acting skills, which many models do not possess. These types of roles are extremely difficult without the expertise of a fitness modelling agency and then you will have to give them their due cut for sourcing the work. Often this type of work is one off fee as there is no re-occurring need, but it can be luxurious, ranging from £200 to £2000 per day, depending on the niche requirements.

Fitness Shows 

A typical model will earn around an average of £300 per day for a fitness fashion show. Here at OriGym we have paid on numerous times when attending Expos for fitness models and this is a going rate. 

Brands are the key to becoming a fitness model in 2019….

One thing you have to quickly realise in fitness modelling is that it is supply and demand. Thousands of people want to become a fitness model and want to turn it into a revenue stream. Only a very few make it into a full-blown career that earn them a fitness modelling salary that most of us would give our right arm for. 

The reality is though, due to the emergence of social media platforms, that earning a very healthy fitness modelling salary from brands is the key. As a fitness brand ourselves, we have worked with many aspiring fitness models, fitness influencers and athletes to promote our brand.

We want what every brand wants……SALES!

To get sales, we need exposure to your audience with your endorsement to give our brand the TRUST we need to generate sales. This is why growing your social foot holding and marketing is all part of the new fitness model’s requirements.

We will show you how you can do this in the next chapter, step by step……


There are many ways to getting yourself discovered to consider when looking how to become a fitness model. Brands are the key to making a good career as a fitness model. This is because brands want exposure, which results in sales.

When looking on how to become a fitness model, you must have a strategy to get yourself in front of brands and most importantly the right individuals at those companies. See below a list of strategies to get in front of fitness brands and the right people!.....Be warned, these all take effort and plays the numbers game! 

Let’s jump in…

Familiarize yourself with potential fitness career paths by examining the highest-paying jobs in fitness.

Attend fitness Events and Expos Systematically

You might already go to the odd fitness expo as it is, but you need to go prepared! Huge amounts of key decision makers attend fitness shows and expos, in fat we landed our contract to run Sports Direct Academy from a fitness show. 

Take your portfolio, collate your best digital fitness model images and dress to impress ready to network with brands and key decision makers.

Make a list of all the fitness EXPOs you can get to, with the dates in your diary.

Once you have your ticket sorted, get the EXPOs map, which provides you all the brands that are attending. Categorise brands into groups e.g. Gym Shark and Underarmour would be fitness clothing. If you have never heard of a brand before research them, nothing is worse than approaching a brand and you don’t know what they do or you haven’t even taken a look at their website. 

Conduct your research and include the following:

Once you have done this, you should have around 10 categories or so. 

Now you are going to prep your sales approach based on how you can benefit that brand as a fitness model.  Here is a quick step by step guide to follow: 

PART 1 – Speak to the right person

Don’t waste your time speaking to the wrong person. Depending on the size of the company, either ask for a Sales Director, Marketing Manager or the equivalent. This is because they generally are the right person or have the authority to make a decision. 

PART 2 – Know & Compliment their brand

As discussed before, we should already know their brand as you have done your research. Pay them a compliment to either the size of the company, their growth, their quality or their message. This will make the decision maker automatically endear to you and build instant rapport.

PART 3 – Use Your Website / Portfolio 

After you have developed a foundation of rapport, be concise and demonstrate through your portfolio, website or previous work that you are a good fit for their brand. You should have these ready to appropriate pages to show the key decision maker. Use leverage that you may have, such as subscribers, email numbers, followers or status e.g. I have a 40K following on twitter alone or I am a triathlete for team GB. This creates additional leverage beyond your images. 

PART 4 - Have a Clear Pipeline to Action

Have a clear action that you want to happen as a consequence of instigating conversation.

Whether that being you setting an appointment, arranging a call time or getting their details.

PART 5 – Follow Up (Quickly)


Like any form of sales, which is what this is, you are selling yourself, you need to follow up. The follow up process should be fast after an EXPO, so they remember you and can see how serious you are to model and represent their brand. 

PART 6 – Repeat The Process

Repeat this process for every stand that is at the EXPO. Collate all the date at the end of the day and then systematically follow up with them all. You have to play the numbers game.

Social Media - How to build your social audience to get fitness brands coming to you…..

As we all know, social media is huge and whether you like it or not, its not slowing down. Social media is now one of the most recognisable ways of getting noticed for fitness modelling and self-generating endorsements.

Fitness modelling agencies and marketers for major brands use Facebook, Twitter and especially Instagram to source brand ambassadors and potential fitness models to feature and work with.

We mentioned earlier about how brands are the future for those looking how to become a fitness model on Instagram and other social media platforms.

The higher your followings and the more engaged your audience is, the more social currency you have, therefore the more you can charge a brand when you become a fitness model. Brands will pay large amounts for your name, image rights and you will end up fighting them off with a stick if you grow your social following to good proportions. 

But, how do fitness models build their social presence?....

This quick step by step guide will show you how you can get noticed on social media to become a fitness model everyone is talking about…. 

PART 1 – Get The Basics Right 

First you need to do the basics……If your serious about finding out how to become a fitness model you need to spend some time creating a top end profile on all social platforms. This includes:

Part 2 – Themed Content 

You are an aspiring fitness model and therefore your images are your content (by and large) especially on image based social platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest. This being said you need to create a theme and keep your content around that theme that matches your fitness modelling ambitions. If you are trying to ideally fitness model for major supplement companies then your content needs to reflect this.

Fitness is a very broad term and you want to pick an aspect of fitness that your content will focus around. Here are some niche suggestions for you:

Part 3 – Building your Audience - Types of Content & Frequency 

Content comes in all forms, and you need to have some diversity around your modelling images you will be posting. Having a strategy in place and a routine for building your audience is key and fundamental to growing your account. 

Here are some ideas for you:

A very common question, might be when do I post and how often? Don’t worry, your not alone. This really depends on the platform! But, with following based platform such as Instagram, Twitter and Google plus, the more you post, the more followers you will attract, its that simple!

Facebook, however this is not the case! You will want to limit this to around 3 posts per day!

Part 4 - Build your Niche Audience on Automation

Manually operating social media should be a thing of the past and the only way to build your social presence and stay on top of your social accounts is through harnessing tools, especially for following based platforms.

To gain rapid growth and traction as a aspiring fitness model using social media, you need to minimise your workload and time and maximise efficiency.

Tools will help you make your life very easy and time profitbale. 

There are tools for each platform:

Through using these tools you will also be able to post at the times you choose, not just when you have a spare 5 minutes so you can capture the maximum user engagement, first thing in the morning, evenings and weekends when more people are scrolling down their social media accounts. 

Part 5 - Hashtagging

We have already seen that the more posts we do the better results, but the importance of utilising hastgas when posting is understated.

Using hashtags allows people to discover your content organically and try to mix in a combination of common hashtags like "fitness" or "model" with some more obscure ones that are talking directly to your audience such as "fitnessmodelUK". The more hashtags you use per post, generally speaking the better, but you don't want the post to be unreadable so we recommend about 10 on average. 

Part 6 - Positive Content

By and large all content we see on social media is either really positive or really negative. Studies have shown that focusing on positive content has been proven to be far more engaging, including increases in likes, shares and followers. Yes, we all like a moan from time to time, but don't make it a common occurrence on your social media accounts.

Part 7 - Collaborate with other aspiring fitness models

Find and reach out to other aspiring fitness models or fitness related indivduals who ae looking to grown their account. Sharing each other’s content drags followers from one another’s accounts over and gives you more content to display. 

Part 8 - Reply to your audience

If someone has gone out of their way to message you or comment on your post, always take the time to drop them a reply. This will create future engagement and lasting relations with your audience. 

Using these tools to build your fitness modelling Instagram account fast will allow you to be in the position to approach brands directly as you now have what they want, an audience!

Approach fitness companies Direct 

Approaching fitness brands can get surprisingly better results than you think and there are thousands of them! Think about all the different niches of fitness and then collate a list of fitness brands within those different niches. Here are some to get you started:

Using the power of Google and our recommended tool Buzz Stream or just email if you prefer you can mass find and email decision makers of fitness websites to find opportunities. As always pro-activity pays off!

Approaching brands direct means you won’t have to pay any fitness model agency or management fees and you can get instant results. Follow this quick step by step guide so you can do this for yourself:

Becoming a fitness model is not easy and requires pro-activity, but the rewards can be great, take a look at what these top 5 fitness Instagram models have built through their social platforms and the modelling avenues it has created for them.

 1. Michelle Lewin

 If you have not hear of Michelle Lewin before, your one of the few people that has not. Michelle has a following of 12.8 million on Instagram and growing and is a former catwalk model, before moving into more fitness modelling roles. This female Instagram model has word for a variety of fitness supplement companies, magazines and has entered a variety of IFBB and NPC competitions 

2. Jen Selter

Jen Selter is a US born model and has built up a hug social presence, with an 11.7 million following on Instagram. Jen is not just an Instagram fitness model, but has gone onto appear on TV shows, signed multiple endorsement deals, released fitness books and worked with huge brands such as New Balance and Nike. 

 3. Sommer Ray

Sommer ray has the largest following on Instagram of any fitness model we could find. 17.5 million people follow her daily fitness posts and this has not gone unnoticed by leading sort brands and supplement companies. Sommer regularly puts up sponsored content from some of the biggest names in the world. 

4. Ana Cheri

Ana is a 31 year old fitness model who started a fitness Instagram that has grown to a following of 10.9 million, and unlike many names on this list, became a model from Instagram, not the other way around. Ana posted helpful fitness tips, workouts and soon became an online sensation. 

Ana has since secured fitness modelling work with Shredz supplement where she became a brand ambassador and sponsored athlete, as well as appearing in many fitness based publications such as muscle and fitness magazine.

5. Eva Andressa

Eva is a former Brazilian figure champion, turned fitness model. She regularly competed from the age of 21 and changed to fitness modelling after winning multiple fitness modelling contests in her Native Brazil. Since then, her profile has exploded, appearing on Television, magazine covers and work with many global brands. 

Approach Modelling Agencies

Pro-activity has its rewards in every discipline of life. When finding out how to become a fitness model, one of the first points of call is to approach agencies that specialise in fitness modelling. Waiting to be approached is for the unsuccessful, becoming a successful fitness model is about putting yourself out there, using good old-fashioned phone and email.

Google is your friend, it gives you the website and names of fitness modelling companies, why wouldn’t you use that to your advantage?

Lucky for you, we have done the job here for you……Here is a list of UK modelling agencies that sign fitness models:

Before you start phoning away, you need to be fully prepared!

When some people think of how to become a fitness model, they think the agencies will come to them and deals will land on their lap, this is far from reality!

This is like sales, a numbers game, the more agencies you speak with, the greater chance you have of getting signed and getting rec-occurring work as a fitness model. Pro-activity is the key!



Stay In Shape All Year Round 

Ensure you are on top of your fitness regime. Potential clients could want you at the drop of hat, thus ensuring you keep in shape all year round is extremely important. Imagine turning up for a shoot two stone heavier than your photograph portfolio or size credentials suggest. You will never get work from that client again. 

Study and Practice

When looking into how to become a fitness model, you need to be prepared to study and review successful fitness models of what they do right. This could be from their stances, when they smile, when they don’t, where they put their feet or hands during a shoot or the angles they create. You should be taking note and implementing in your net shoot. 

Get Camera Confident

It takes time to get truly camera confident and feel at ease when in the presence of a photographer. When becoming a male or female fitness model, practice makes perfect! The more time you spend practicing your posing in front of the camera in your own time will make you more comfortable when the opportunity presents itself with a real fitness modelling photographer.

Learn To Take Instructions 

You might already be comfortable with the camera and assuming good modelling stances, however you might need work on taking directions from a photographer. When becoming a fitness model you need to be receptive, patient and 

Handle Rejections Constructively 

When deciding how to become a fitness model you need to evaluate who you are as a person, as getting rejected is all part and parcel of fitness modelling jobs. The ability to handle rejection, use it constructively to improve your portfolio and never give up, is vital to being successful in this sector. Don’t be disheartened if you do get a knock back, most often than not, it’s not actually a reflection on you. One Brand looking to hire fitness models might have a different type of look they want and your just not a right fit for them, but you could be a perfect fit for another.

Build Your Fitness Modelling Portfolio

Reach out to reputable fitness model photographers who have a proven track record of producing top quality images that you can present to potential employers and agencies. Not just is it great to have sublime photographs to show them, but it also illustrates your commitment to making a career out of fitness modelling.

Be Reliable and Ready to Travel

Fitness Modelling agencies (UK) get bookings requests as short notice as for the next day and frequently their client is not on your doorstep. You need to be prepared to travel for jobs, especially if you live in a more remote aspect of the UK. Fitness modelling agencies want to work with reliable models, who take work when it comes, turn up on time and give a professional representation of their agency. This will ensure you get even more work moving forward.

Be Prepared

If you get the opportunity to be invited to a fitness modelling photoshoot, then you want to be as a prepped as possible to do the best job that you can. Taking a list of inventory items with you to a shoot is highly recommended. This includes:

(this list may vary depending on the shoot and client you are shooting for)

Showing that you are ready for anything, even if you don’t need the items listed, leaves a positive lasting impression of you with both the photographer and client and can be the difference between using you again in other campaigns.

Create a website showcasing your credentials

Creating a website is a great way to showcase your fitness modelling portfolio to prospective clients. Listing your fitness modelling measurements, requirements, show reel and past experience will help you get signed up by an agency who can supply further work or get you direct employment as a fitness model via a brand or magazine.

Before You Go!

Like any industry, becoming a fitness model (a successful one anyway) is hard work. The more effort you put in, the more you will get out of it! 

Looking to kick-start your fitness career? Perhaps you're looking to become a PT to supplement your career as a fitness model, as many in the sector do.

If so, go download our FREE prospectus, or check out our Diploma in Personal Training to find out more about what you could be learning! 


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Written by Luke Hughes

CEO and Co-Founder

Join Luke on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Luke is the CEO and Co-Founder of OriGym. Holding a first-class degree in Sport and Exercise and an MSc in Sport and Nutrition, he is also qualified as a Level 4 Personal Trainer with various specialist credentials covering the entire spectrum of health, fitness and business. Luke has contributed to a variety of major industry publications, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Metro, Cosmopolitan, The Mirror, The Sun, The Standard and more.

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