I would dare to say there are millions of people desperate to break into the fitness industry. This number continues to grow and brings with it a lot of preconceived notions that I believe should be uncovered. After all, your future requires planning, and planning requires details.
Most of you know that we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas last week. For those of you that have never been, imagine for me a carnival of sorts- exploding with color and protein samples, tans, six packs, butt cheeks, more samples and thousands of people shuffling through the Las Vegas convention center waiting in lines to see some of their most beloved fitness icons.
Now I’m about to drop some truth on you so if you’re not ready- prepare your heart now. These fitness icons that people wait in line to see – in most cases are not able to sustain themselves with the money they are earning in the fitness industry.
Again- most of the biggest names in the fitness industry have to have a day job to pay their bills. That means that these multi-bajillion dollar companies that build their brands using the faces and personalities of these people do not pay them enough to even begin to think about putting money away for their future.
I don’t know about you- but if I am devoting my entire life to something and someone is getting filthy rick off my image- I’m not really feeling the idea that I’m still forced to go out and hustle to make ends meet.
In my case when I was signed to the biggest supplement company a few years back- I was working 8-5 as an Orthodontist Assistant- meanwhile, I was covers everywhere. People would say “oh well I could look like that if I were paid to stay in shape too” oh- really?? Because most of these people are busting their asses as bartenders, personal trainers, waitresses, you name it- and finding time to workout themselves in between then.
I’ve considered quite a bit how to legitimize the professionals of this industry and somehow allow them to earn higher wages so they can truly be offered what they deserve for building the brands we love. I arrive at the same blockade over and over again- there are too many thirsty people willing to do ANYTHING for a little fame and these people will always undercut those that are our stars today. These days, with enough instagram posts showing just enough skin- fitness sensations are created overnight.
For my last campaign photo shoot with my previous endorsement – I showed up on set to find another fitness model. Nobody had told me that I was going to share my 2-day shoot with someone else and as the day developed I realized exactly what was happening. They had stumbled on this girl as a before an after volunteer, did their checks and balances and realized that she was willing to do all of their ad campaigns for free….and guess what. She did. And guess what…I did not renew my contract that year.
It was that experience that caused me to realize that aesthetics are always and will always be replaceable. What is NOT replaceable is a personality that goes along with the aesthetic or profound abilities that compliment a great look. Today, I choose to put my athleticism on display before my appearance because any other fitness model can have a great body. But not every fitness model can move. Ashley Conrad looks amazing, but it’s her ability to communicate on camera and relay very complicated concepts in an extremely digestible and simple way leaving her impossible to replicate.
I put a quote on my social media the other day that came from Oprah and the gist of it was- if we are all to stay in our own lanes, not looking to the right or to the left to compare ourselves to what others are doing – I believe that we will develop the things inside of us that are destined to set us apart. The more the fitness industry keeps its head on a swivel looking around to see what everyone else is doing- the more we will just recreate the same replaceable person over and over again.
Set yourselves apart with what is unique about you and you will never have to worry about fighting for your place. It will always be yours.