Some are born with it; some just work hard. Heather Marr is a Canadian expat living in New York City and known internationally as the go-to training guru for working and aspiring models alike. Her aesthetic-focused custom training programs create ideal figures through a combination of nutrition and exercise.

Aesthetic training is an art using the human body as the subject to mold. It is my passion and where I have been fortunate enough to carve a career for myself in fashion, working with models. Training and nutrition are used like strokes of a paint brush to shape and manipulate not only the body size, but proportions and symmetry as well. A person’s bone structure cannot be changed, but muscle can be added to or stripped from certain areas to create the illusion of desired proportions and even the illusion of bone structure, to a degree.

While it’s no secret that models need to be tall and slim, the industry also covets certain proportions and looks. For instance, a long neck is desired by everyone, but especially so in fashion. If a girl is born with a shorter neck, dropping the size of the trapezius (the upper back muscle that appears to sit above the collar bone and connect to the neck) as much as possible will help to create the impression of a longer neck. With muscle, the golden rule is if you don’t use it, you lose it. This rule can be applied, of course, to shape and control the size on all areas of the body, not just focused on the trapezius.

Clients often hire me to create an hourglass shape for their physique. If a girl is born with a wider hip bone, for instance, this can be balanced by bringing up the medial deltoids (shoulder). This will also make the waist appear smaller resulting in a curvy, feminine finish.

The hip measurement in fashion is very important: the major markets expect girls to maintain a measurement under 36”. This strict standard exists because models need to be able to fit into the client’s samples, and clients have a baseline for what size they need to construct (for runways/presentations) or pull (for photoshoots). When training, it is important to be cognisant of not increasing the size of the glutes if the model is struggling with their hip measurement, no matter how trendy these moves currently are. This is especially true for a girl who may have a wider hip bone, as this type of training would further increase their hip circumference. Instead, training and cardio can be focused actually on decreasing size in that area.

Nutrition is so important in controlling the size of the body. It is vital that your efforts in the kitchen are supporting what you’re doing in the gym, or the desired results won’t be there. When trying to lose body fat or decrease measurements, there needs to be a caloric deficit in the diet. If you’re eating too much (even if it’s healthy choices!) and not creating a caloric deficit, not only will weight-loss not occur, but it is even possible to gain weight/size. In order to add muscle or increase size (for those looking to do so), the diet needs to support these goals. A person can be weightlifting with excellent programming, but if they are not taking in the food necessary to increase muscle mass and size, they will find themselves simply spinning their wheels in the gym. With intelligent, targeted training and proper nutrition, the possibilities for molding the human body are endless.

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The former model turned personal trainer is the co-author of The Model Trainer Method, a comprehensive guide to exercising and eating like a model. For more information, visit liftologie.com/product/the-model-trainer-method/or follow her on Instagram @modeltrainermarr

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