Do you ever look at models on the covers of magazines and wonder how they are able to achieve their lean, chiseled, athletic physique?
Although health & fitness principles are the same across the board, achieving that cover model look is really about HOW you tweak and apply the traditional weight lifting, cardio, diet and supplementation rules to meet the aesthetic norms of the industry.
Here, I'll dive into my experience as a cover model and how I’ve been able to achieve and maintain my physique over the years.
In my experience, I’ve found that in order to be versatile enough to work with a majority of commercial and fashion brands, there is a specific aesthetic, proportion and look clients and agencies alike desire. Lean muscle mass, definition, and size can make or break a client booking. There were times I heard,
“Your arms and shoulders are too big.”
“You’re too muscular.”
“This is not going to fit you, Weston, maybe once you’ve leaned out a bit and are less bulky we can consider re-booking you.”
Most guys would be FLATTERED to hear any of the above. Those are compliments when you strive for muscular aesthetic goals! But when the physique you’ve been working so hard on is actually preventing you from doing your job, those words can be a kiss of death.
In a nutshell, you need to be just muscular enough to fill out clothes nicely. Not too lanky and not too bulky. One or two inches over or under can be a deal breaker. Ultimately, what you strive for is a lean muscle build that’s a bit more on the athletic side.
The average clothing measurements that you’ll most likely be styled in for shoots falls roughly around a size 38”- 42” chest, 30”- 32” waist, and a 15” - 16.5” neck. I happen to be at the high end of the aforementioned measurements, so it can be challenging to stay within that range.
Here's how I approach my training, nutrition, and supplementation to maintain the cover model look year-round:
Photo Credit: (Richard Moran Instagram @moranphoto1 for Avery Dennison)
I dedicate 4 days a week to lifting weights. Each session, I'll start with 1-2 very light warm up sets for 20-30 reps each to get the blood flowing to my muscles. For the actual workout, I'll do 4 exercises minimum per muscle group. My lifts all fall within the traditional bodybuilding approach- maximum weight resistance, absolutely optimal form, lower reps, and a full range of motion. I typically aim for 5 sets of 8-10 reps per exercise.
As for cardio, I stick with fasted HIIT either in the AM or immediately following non-fasted lift days (4x week minimum). The combination of weight training and cardio helps me keep residual bloat or water retention at bay so that I can achieve more definition for my shoots.
Focus on Lagging Body Parts
In order to maintain the ideal physique for the profession, I also have to address the areas of my body that are lagging, proportion-wise. For example, my arms and shoulders tend to grow easily, so I try to avoid weight training those muscle groups directly. I get more than enough secondary stimulation from other upper body related exercises that fall on chest or back day.
In contrast, my chest and legs are not as naturally proportionate to my arms and shoulders, so I double down on those muscle groups to compensate. Each week I do a split where I hit chest and legs on both Monday and Friday. I’ve found that this additional stimulation and focus helps me achieve the balance I need for my overall physique.
I typically have three days of rest each week and I make sure to optimize that recovery time with adequate sleep and supplementation with aminos.
Photo credit: @aestheticrevolution
I try to remain at a slight caloric deficit every day. It helps me maintain a lean physique while weight training, as I don't get the additional muscle growth from a caloric surplus. Approaching my nutrition this way also helps me maintain abdominal definition for any last minute swimwear, shirtless or underwear related modeling jobs.
As for my meals, I stick with lean protein, complex carbs, veggies and other clean whole foods. I keep my daily protein intake very high to complement my lifting routine and to offset my calorie deficit. This helps ensure I am maintaining my lean muscle while keeping my body fat low. I'll supplement with two COR-Performance Whey protein shakes per day to make sure I am hitting my protein macros.
You may not be gearing up for a photo shoot anytime soon but you can certainly apply the same principles of training, nutrition, and supplementation if your goal is to have a leaner, more athletic looking physique. Nutrition will be key, so if you aren't following a program, I suggest visiting IIFYM.com to enter your specs and activity levels into the free calculator to get a personalized number for your goals.
Keep an eye out for future articles touching on the rapid bulking I implement as well as more insight into my unique fitness journey. Thank you for listening!
Weston Bouchér is 37 years young professional model and fitness influencer residing in the sunny San Diego surf town of Encinitas, CA. He is represented by LA Models, Brand Models, Metric Fit Models, Shamon Freitas, and Sports & Lifestyle Unlimited. Weston has worked for many iconic brands such as Harley Davidson, Cadillac, Mattel, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, LG, Indian Motorcycles and Aesthetic Revolution.
"My hope is to inspire, share knowledge and reflect a positive mental, spiritual and physical lifestyle to those around me. Without your health, you have no quality of life. So let's get healthy, happy, and fit...together!" -Weston