2020 hit us harder than a round of 100 burpees. And, while we’re well on the way to being in the clear here in Australia (or at least, appear to be), the same can’t yet be said for other countries around the world.
The Bat Kiss is still sending shockwaves through various industries, none more so than fitness. Keeping active isn’t just beneficial for your health and appearance, but your mental health too. Being confined to the four walls of you home for days on end is enough to send anyone round the bend.
So what do you do when your career relies on you looking your absolute best? How do you keep fit during lockdown when you’re an international male model?
Answering that question is Rafael Miller, a 23-year old from Paris who is signed to a number of modelling agencies around the world and who, like many of us over the past 12 months, found himself unable to get to his usual gyms. Undeterred and just as motivated to stay in shape – for himself, as well as his job – Rafael found the Vitruvian V-Form trainer – a piece of home gym equipment that we’ve previously seen can help with at-home chest exercises – and can now share his knowledge and routines that can hopefully help you to keep fit when at home.
“This year has been tough to stay in shape. Until I found out about the Vitruvian V-Form Trainer, I had no access to gym equipment at all, I only worked out with bodyweight on a fitness mat.”
“It’s the first weightlifting home device that met my expectations and since acquiring it, it’s changed my entire home fitness experience.”
View this post on Instagram
Much of Rafael’s fitness knowledge: exercises, form, technique, hasn’t come directly from fitness professionals, instead, he tells us “I acquired most of my fitness knowledge through inspirations over the Internet for the past 7 years.”
While Rafael may have found good sources of information, blindly following online fitness gurus isn’t something that is often recommended. But if you have trustworthy and reliable sources, then the Internet can be a goldmine of information.
So how exactly does Rafael stay in shape? Here are the exercises he does, listed for your convenience below.
Deadlift (good form is key)
The deadlift is one of the absolute best exercises anyone can perform at the gym (along with the squat and bench press) and literally refers to lifting ‘dead weight’, i.e., without the assistance of momentum. As Rafael says, good form is key for this movement, as the wrong technique could spell injury. You should start off with a light weight if you’re new to the deadlift, to get the technique right, before advancing to heavier weights.
Cable Flys on a bench
Cable flys are a fantastic chest exercise. In Rafael’s case, he performs them on a bench, which can be set as various angles – as well as being left flat – to help target specific areas of the chest. This is an isolation movement, in that only the chest muscles benefit from this exercise. Try setting your bench to various angles of inclination to help build your chest.
If boulder shoulders are what you’re looking for, then you’ll want to become familiar with lateral raises. This sees you lifting dumbbells or resistance bands to your sides, ensuring you keep your elbow at a constant angle. Some people make the mistake of bringing their hands above shoulder height, but you only need to bring them in line with your shoulders.
Squats using the bar attachment
As mentioned earlier, squats are another of the ‘big’ exercises you can perform in the gym. However, since it is a compound movement, you need to get the technique right to help avoid injury. When squatting, it’s suggested that holding your breath for the duration of the movement can help provide extra stability. You’ll need to brace your core by tucking your pelvis in, lowering your body as if you’re going to sit down (the aim is to get as deep as possible) before pushing back up, ensuring your knees face outwards.
Calf Raises holding the cables
One of the most well-known mottos of the gym is “never skip leg day”. But while this usually refers to building up your quads and glutes, you should pay extra attention to your calves. If you don’t have the V-Form trainer, you can hold dumbbells in your hands instead, and all you need to is stand up on your toes, stretching the calf muscles as you do so. Hold for two seconds at the top of each raise before lowering and repeating.
“This one is my favourite of all on the V-Form,” Rafael told DMARGE.
Cable lunges do hold some merit, although if you have access to dumbbells or kettlebells instead, you’ll probably be better off using these. Put one foot out in front of you, squat down, keeping the front knee at 90-degrees and ensuring the trailing knee gets as low as possible. Once you’ve mastered these, you can have a go at reverse lunges.
Body Weight Exercises
If you don’t have a V-Form trainer, fret not, as Rafael also provided his favourite bodyweight exercises that can have just a great effect.
“I would suggest push-ups, planks and [hanging] leg raises for the upper body, and bodyweight squats and jumping alternating lunges for lower body.”
Of course, as you should all know by now, nutrition plays a vital role in your overall health and body composition – something I found out when I tried eating like Chris Hemsworth – and Rafael agrees.
“I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for the past 3 years – first meal at 1pm, last at 9pm – and I’ve felt the best since I started it.”
“I definitely adapted my diet during the pandemic while I was doing bodyweight training, but now I’m back on the V-Form, I can go back to my regular diet which looks like this for almost every meal”,
- Protein Source approx 150g (Chicken, Eggs, Fish etc)
- Carb Source if it’s a training day and I feel the need to get some (Rice, Wraps etc)
- Vegetables (any kind, a lot and no limit on the quantity)
“I eventually add on oatmeal with fruits (no sugar added) during the day if I need to.”
“I allow myself cheat days quite often but if I over-exaggerated I will usually do a run the next morning.”
Keeping fit by way of lifting weights and eating the right foods is all well and good, but keeping on top of these doesn’t necessarily mean your mental health will be kept in check too. And in Rafael’s case, the closure of gyms affected him more than he expected.
“I have to be honest, it did [the closure of gyms and lockdown]! This year  was super hard in terms of stress and mental health, the social life isn’t what it was and not having a place to release all of that (for me, that was the gym) impacted me.”
“I managed to overcome this by keeping a positive mindset and looking for alternatives, such as setting up my own home gym.”
While we may not necessarily have the looks of an International male model, it seems our worlds have more in common than previously assumed and, in fact, there is much we can learn from The Good Looking Industry.