When Sarah Norsica walks into the gym with
her chiselled abs and highly toned body there are few people who do not stop
and stare. Yet, while this petite brunette, who is also a personal trainer, is
clearly no stranger to a stringent fitness programme, most people are unaware
of the amount of time and dedication that goes into being a fitness model.
“I can maintain a 7.5% body fat ratio, but its
hard work. Often when people meet me for the first time they comment on how
‘lucky’ I am to look like this – but there’s no luck involved, just lots of
hard work and sacrifice. There are many days I don’t feel like training or
eating steamed fish. I love my food,” she says.
And considering most slim women have about
a 20% body-fat ratio, that’s no mean feat. However, she is quick to point out
that she has been doing this for a while and – and it has taken her years of
experimentation to find the balance that works for her.
At the moment Sarah is ‘out of season’,
which means that she is taking a break from her regular gruelling training
schedule and has relaxed her ‘in-season’ diet. This, she says, is her personal
choice as she prefers to train for a maximum of only two competitions a year.
Looking at Sarah, it’s clear she is
comfortable in the weights section of the gym, while still appearing decidedly
feminine and elegant –a balance not many fitness models manage to achieve, and
something most women feel is near impossible.
“There is nothing better than walking into
the weights section and feeling confident among the men – knowing that you know
your way around. I wish more women felt this way. So many women tell me they
want to ‘tone’ and yet are scared of lifting weights, even though the only way
to look ’toned’is to build muscle,” she
Her training schedule in the lead-up to a
competition is rather gruelling and usually includes two workouts a day. It
looks something like this:
Monday morning: run 6 - 10km
afternoon: leg workout – such as
power squats, and glutes and hamstring workout
Tuesday morning: shoulders and triceps
afternoon: interval stepping for 30-40
Wednesday morning: cardio and abdominal
work – often including up to 500 burpees
Thursday morning: 6 -10km run
afternoon: back and biceps workout
Friday morning: a long run
Sunday: fun cardio like a hike up the
The strict diet that goes hand-in-hand with
looking as great as Sarah does when she steps up on stage to compete is not for
the faint-hearted, and speaks volumes about the dedication required to compete
seriously in this sport – especially for a self-confessed chocaholic like
“Generally my diet is quite clean, and in
the weeks leading up to competition it is very bland and boring, consisting
mostly of steamed fish, chicken and vegetables. But I do believe in cheat meals
and I think they’re actually necessary to spark the metabolism.
“One thing I have learned though is never
to tell people you’re on a diet; that’s just looking for trouble. Nobody
notices if you quietly make your own food choices,” she says.
An average day of eating during the weeks
leading up to a competition can look like this:
Breakfast: a whey protein shake with water,
fruit and a fat-free yoghurt
Lunch: lean protein such as chicken with a
bit of cheese or avo and a huge salad
lean protein such as fish or chicken with salad or steamed vegetables
Snacks include lean proteins and
salads/vegetables and lots of water in between.
for aspiring fitness models
Given the strict eating and training regime
that’s required if you want to be a fitness model, it’s not surprising that
there are only a few who make it to the top. It’s a very demanding and
unforgiving lifestyle, and therefore Sarah advises that you don’t take the
decision to become a fitness model lightly.
“A fitness model is a lot more muscular and
well-developed than a bikini model, but less developed than a female
bodybuilder. Which means it takes a lot of effort to look like this and is also
one of the reasons I only enter one or two competitions a year. It is an
extreme lifestyle, but I love it,” she says.
The first step she advises anyone who wants
to become a fitness model to take, is to find a good nutritionist – preferably
one who has been on stage themselves, Sarah says, as they will understand the
demands and requirements of this sport.
Secondly, Sarah says, anyone who is looking
to step up on stage needs to say a firm no to steroids.
“I am dead against steroids. Everything I
have achieved has been thanks to training and hard work and I have beaten girls
who have used steroids hands down. Don’t do it. Just diet hard and train even harder!”
For more inspiration from Sarah you can
follow her on Facebook or e-mail her for more details on the kind of training
she offers at firstname.lastname@example.org.