by Marcus Leach
The world of lifting weights and fitness was once a male domain, but not anymore. In recent years, as the world of gyms has changed considerably, we have seen the rise of the female fitness model.
Contrary to what some may think these ladies are not there to simply be ogled - yes they have fantastic physiques, but they don't do what they do for the benefit of men. Not only do they inspire other women with what they do, but they also showcase the advantages of getting fit and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.
Eager to understand a little more about what it takes to be a fitness model The Essential Cyclist caught up with Rachel Guy, founder of Athletic Fox and sponsored athlete of Ultimate Sports Nutrition (USN).
When you were growing up, was this what you wanted to do?
I had no idea to be honest. I just kind of went with the flow of wanting to do something medical and sporty and ended up as a physiotherapist.
What was your initial inspiration behind a career in health and fitness?
I didn’t plan it, it just happened. I followed my passion and my number one love and that was training, nutrition, health and fitness. I wanted to be the best I could so I read, studied, practiced, remained open minded, messed up, made some epic mistakes and learned from them.
What exactly does being a fitness model entail? Is it just about looking good in a bikini?
I wouldn't necessarily class myself as a fitness model or bikini model by default. I started my career as a physio, progressed to full time training and coaching and focussed on that. For sure, lets get real here, I want to look good in a bikini too but it comes as part of the job - my body is my business card.
However, fitness modelling is damn hard work. There are weeks of hard work and preparation that lead up to a shoot or an event, even if you are in fairly decent shape year round. The large majority of the hard work often goes unnoticed. Doing a photo shoot isn’t about turning up, posing and looking pretty - you are often required to flex for hours on end or stand in odd positions so an image looks good.
Can you talk us through a typical day in your life?
My days vary slightly but usually its a 4.30/5am wake up ready to train my clients between 6am and 12pm, after which I train myself. Once that is done I head home to work online or have meetings in the afternoon. I run by the 10 minute schedule, meaning I never have more than 10 minutes to spare during the day. So I don't do social coffees and catch ups.
My training consists of lifting weights four to five times a week, and I do one interval-based cardio session a week as well.
What motivates you to keep doing what you are doing?
In my eyes motivation is 100% internal. I love my job, I am committed to constant and continuous improvement professionally and personally and I always want to be ahead of the game.
Many people have a preconception that the weights area of a gym is a male-dominated, testosterone-fuelled world, is this the case?
Yeah pretty much. Bad media, a lack of education and resources for females and a lot of idiots who actually have no idea what they are really doing are to blame for this.
Another preconception is that if a girl lifts weights she will get big and muscled, what do you say to that?
It's a shame that mainstream media still touts this bullshit! Its a total lack of education and mis-informed information. Actually weight training and a great nutritional plan can make a woman smaller and leaner.
The truth is that a tiny percentage of the female population have the genetic or hormonal ability to build a ton of muscle very quickly, also there are assisted athletes such as female bodybuilders who choose to look that way through very high volume training and other methods. It can happen, but it is not as common as people are misled to believe.
Can you tell us what Athletic Fox is, and why you set it up?
Athletic Fox brings little bit of harsh reality, tough love and balance back into life, transforming ladies into the ultimate sexy and confident Athletic Fox. It inspires, educates and empowers women of all ages to take control and live life to the max while building a hot body and developing a healthy relationship with food and training.
I set up Athletic Fox as a trusted 'go-to' resource for women who were fed-up of the industry BS and being on a roller coaster of dieting, guilt, restriction, binging and self deprivation.
How much of achieving a great body is down to training, and how much is down to diet?
80 percent diet and 20 percent training. I recommend a diet of natural whole foods, protein, fat and carbs. Carbs usually placed post training. I do not ban any food groups or restrict any foods other than gluten. I have small amounts of dairy.
Do you see yourself as a role model or inspiration for other women?
Good question. I have never really thought about it to be honest. But that said, I have my life together, I love my life and I am happy, so I guess that is what everyone strives for right? And if in being like that I can help to inspire others then that's fantastic.
What is your motto in life?
I have a few depending on the month. This month it is : “Those who are not prepared to take risks will never drink champagne!"
What makes you tick?
Chasing life and everything it has to offer.
Away from your work and the gym what do you enjoy doing?
Learning about training and nutrition - my job never really stops. Drinking red wine, shopping, spending time with my man, being in the sun, laughing, seeing my family and living life to the full.
Images courtesy of Rachel Guy and Athletic Fox