Get lean for a photoshoot
Around 5-6% body fat

A lot of people have been asking me how I get ready for my photoshoots. If it’s a shoot with no shirt on, I usually start getting ready for it a few weeks before. The goal is to look as lean as possible, but to also maintain as much muscle as possible.

Depending on how lean you are when you start, you have to put different emphasis on different aspects of your training. Science has shown in the past few decades that your body responds better to everything if you are leaner, which is why I try to never go above 10% body fat, even when bulking. This makes it much easier to get in photoshoot shape since my body responds better to carbs, insulin levels etc.

Men's Health Cover Model
June 2016

Depending on the kind of shoot, I try to get down to between 5% to 7% to look my best. For example, when I did the one last year with EazyWorldPeace, I was probably 5% if not less. On the other hand, I was probably close to 7 or 8% for my Men’s Health cover, since the goal was different.

Four to six weeks before a shoot, I normally switch from athletic training to more bodybuilding. I focus on training for hypertrophy, incorporating supersets and dropsets for example, which will burn a lot of fat during the rest of the day. I will also start to add more cardio finishers after my workouts, which normally lasts between 10 and 30minutes. Most of these will be interval type finishers, with different equipment or exercises to vary it up.

These few weeks before a shoot are mainly bodybuilding, because bodybuilders are the experts at getting lean. I’ve learned most of what I know about getting ready for shoots from some of the best bodybuilders and fitness models in Dubai.

The nutrition aspect is huge whenever you want to get leaner. What I’ve learned is to not change anything drastically. To be honest, because I always have healthy habits, when I get ready for a shoot I basically just become stricter on the same guidelines. This means I really control my carbs intake (usually keep them for around the workouts), no sweets, no dairy and no gluten (I get bloated) and make sure I don’t eat too much. I love eating, so for me a huge part is just making sure I don’t overeat.Men's Health workout by Coach Nic

I also make sure I have enough supplements to help me optimize my results and to recover properly. These include omega 3, ZMA, green tea, BCAAs, glutamine and l-carnitine.

The diet and training in the week leading up to the shoot is a completely different story by itself, that I could explain in a different post. If you did everything right in the weeks leading up to the final week though, the hardest part is done. The last week will be playing with water, sodium and carbohydrate intake in order to look as dry as possible by flushing out the water from under the skin, which will show your muscles more. Like I said, this is a completely different talk all together.Battle-ready body model

If you’d be interested in doing a photo shoot, we at The Physical Training Company can help you reach your goal. It’s a great way to set a concrete objective, which will motivate you more and help you progress in your fitness journey. Contact us at for more details!

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