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Carb Cycling Guide for Athletes

Originally published on HVMN by Nate Martins.

10,080–that’s how many minutes are in a week. Maintaining a diet through all those minutes, for weeks or months, requires supreme, almost unwavering willpower.

Even The Rock doesn’t do it; his Sunday night cheat meals are stuff of legend, consisting of thousands of calories of his favorite food.

The social side of dieting is tough. It takes dedication to remain unmoved on a diet; happy hour invites, dinners out, work-sponsored lunches–saying “no” to all these are small wins on the battlefield of dieting. For a diet like the ketogenic diet, avoiding carbohydrates can feel like tip-toeing through a minefield of Western, carb-centric eating.

 

For athletes, it can be difficult because we rely so heavily on carbohydrates for fuel. Of course, there’s growing research about how to use bodily fat as a fuel source,1 but carbohydrates have been the gold standard exercise nutrition for years.

Carb cycling is planned consumption of different amounts of carbohydrates, usually throughout the week. Everyone can develop their own carb cycle based on need; for example, keto athletes might work in carb days during especially hard training blocks.

While carb cycling isn’t for everyone, it can be a great way to optimize a diet based on your personal needs.

What’s a Carb, Anyway?

There are three different types of macronutrient fuel sources in our food: fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

An image of an egg, granola, chicken and exogenous ketones to show the different ways the body uses fuel

 

The main function of dietary carbs is to be a source of energy. Some even argue they aren’t essential, and can be made from dietary protein and fat.2 This process is called gluconeogenesis, a metabolic pathway generating glucose from non-carbohydrate substrates.

Carbs (especially refined carbs) raise blood sugar, resulting in the body producing extra insulin to bring that blood sugar down. Insulin is a hormone that triggers fat storage–so more carbs means more insulin which means more conversion of carbs to fat stores.

As a fuel source, carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores in the muscle and liver. They also maintain blood glucose concentrations as fuel for the body, but also for the brain. That’s the spike in energy you experience after an afternoon stack, as blood glucose fluctuates throughout the day when we consume carbs.

Simply put, carbohydrates are the body’s most readily available fuel. But when we don’t use that fuel, carbohydrate manifest as fat.

When following a keto diet, lower carb intake is necessary (like 25g of carbs per day–the amount in a single banana). This encourages the body to burn fat and also to convert fat to ketones. Consuming carbohydrates causes insulin release, which inhibits ketone production in the liver.

Science Behind Carb Cycling

What is carb cycling, and why is it beneficial? Looking at the science can provide some clarity. Maybe a more accurate definition of carb cycling is carb manipulation.

The goal is to match the body’s need for glucose depending on activity or activity level overall.

High-Carb Days

High-carb days are usually matched with workouts when you might need more glucose–like high-intensity interval sessions or a long day in the weight room.

An image of a man at the gym showing how high-carb days can help performance

 

When you exercise at a high intensity, the body makes most of its energy from carbohydrates, either breaking it down aerobically (with oxygen), or anaerobically (without oxygen), forming lactic acid. This would be the optimal time to introduce a higher amount of carbohydrates into the diet because the body uses more carbohydrate during the workout itself, and then after the workout to make glycogen to refuel and decrease muscle breakdown.3

When looking for your highest possible power or speed output, carbs are often necessary for the body to produce its best results during intense training sessions.

Low-Carb Days

In traditional carb-cycling, low-carb days are meant for days on which you do not train–the idea is the body doesn’t need carbs because its demand for fuel is far less than on workout days.

But further investigation by scientists have shown some of the advantages of training on these low carb days, which has two main benefits: it helps to speed up general adaptations to aerobic training, and it increases fat burning and thus improves endurance.

One of the key, groundbreaking experiments in this field was conducted using single-legged cycling exercise. Athletes had to cycle using just one leg at a time; the left leg cycled one hour straight, and the right leg did two half hours with a few hours in between where no recovery fuel was given. This means that the right leg was training in a carb depleted state during the second session. Muscle biopsy samples revealed that the twice-trained leg saw bigger gains in the enzymes that are key for aerobic respiration. This led to the conclusion that low-carb training could accelerate aerobic gains.4

Strategic low-carb days focus on switching the body back to using fat as energy and increase aerobic capacity. Research is continuing on this topic, but athletes are looking to boost the ability of the body to tap into fat as a fuel source, since we store more fat than carbohydrates.

Training in a low-carb state has been shown to increase the ability of the body to burn fat over the long haul, improving metabolic flexibility.5 There have even been studies noting keto-adapted athletes can use fat in preference to carbohydrates for moderate intensity endurance exercises, in which carbohydrates would usually be used as fuel.6

But it takes time. Robert Sikes is a professional bodybuilder and founder/owner of Keto Savage. He’s a bodybuilder on the keto diet; backstage at events, he receives inquisitive looks from competitors when they find out he’s keto. But the results speak for themselves and after events, he’ll even get asked about he’s able to train with such little carb intake. He says it can takes years to full fat-adapt, and that it’s something that doesn’t happen in the short term.

“You need to allow yourself to be completely adapted to life without carbs. Play the long game. Be diligent with hitting macros and eating wholesome foods.”Robert Sikes

By controlling carbs, and the types of carbs consumed, there also may be a benefit in manipulating insulin and insulin responses.7,8 This would likely help with improving metabolic health.

It is becoming widely accepted that athletes should adopt carb cycling or periodization of carbs based on training needs. This ensures fuel for the work required (so training intensity isn’t compromised), while also empowering the body to metabolically trapease between carbohydrates and fats as fuel sources as available.9

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Benefits of Carb Cycling

The benefits are carb cycling are measured against personal goals. Do you want to improve body composition? How about improve training or recovery?

Ask yourself what you want to achieve with carb cycling to best understand its benefits.

An image of a male soccer player kicking the ball on the field

 

Body Composition

As with most diets, a major goal is usually weight loss. Because we consume such a high amount of calories as carbohydrates in Western diets, limiting those calories and carbs will ultimately lead to fat loss. The process aligns with most other diets: consume less calories than the body burns, enter a calorie deficit and promote weight loss.10

Though specific research on carb cycling is limited, generally studies show that limiting carb intake works well for weight loss. One study analyzed overweight women who had a family history of breast cancer. Three groups were randomly assigned different diets: calorie-restricted and low-carb diet, low-carb but unlimited protein and healthy fat, and a standard, calorie-restricted diet. Women in both low-carbohydrate groups showed better results for weight loss.11

Performance and Recovery

Training in a low-carb state can help with weight loss, boost fat burning capacity, and can speed up aerobic adaptation to training. However, athletes face a compromise when employing low-carb diets; they need the carbohydrates to perform at the highest intensity (especially in a race), and want to keep that energy system working well, but still want the benefits of carb restriction.

Making sure the body has carbs for tough training can help performance. The body needs fuel for the most difficult exercise days. Since carbohydrates are the body’s most readily available fuel source, consuming carbs before a workout enables the body to train harder for high-intensity, short-duration exercise.12 Interestingly, even the presence of carbohydrates in the mouth (meaning, not actually ingested) can lead to increased performance, because they activated brain regions believed to be involved in reward and motor control.13

Carbs can also help accelerate recovery. After exercise, consuming carbohydrates can lead to glycogen resynthesis and protein synthesis (after resistance training).14,3 So, it’s easier to perform and recover if you have enough carbohydrate in your diet. Carb cycling means those big training days can be high quality.

Other Benefits

By cycling carbohydrate consumption, you may be afforded some of the benefits of both higher-carb and lower-carb diets–and avoid some of the common negative side-effects.

Metabolic Health: The combination of two types of diets may help you become metabolically flexible.5

The days with low-carbs may have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity; this study showed the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet on glucose metabolism, lowering fasting glucose and insulin values.8 And when compared to a low-fat diet, a low-carb diet led to greater weight loss, which in turn led to a decrease in triglyceride levels15–high levels of triglycerides have been associated with cardiovascular disease.16

Hormone Health: There are some concerns that hormones might be negatively affected by a badly put together low-carb diet, but this could be mitigated by strategic carb feeding.

High-carb feeding periods can potentially boost the levels of some vital hormones, like cortisol. There are some concerns that cortisol can decline when following a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet (although not much research supports this fear). To combat this possibility, either make sure your keto diet is well-formulated with enough calories and nutrients,17 or cycle periods of carbohydrate feeding to give your body a break.

In men, testosterone concentrations were higher after a ten-day high-carbohydrate diet, while cortisol concentrations were consistently lower on the same diet, suggesting the power of diet (specifically the ratio of carbohydrate to protein) as a factor in hormone regulation.16

Thyroid hormones are essential to regulating metabolism,18 being crucial determinants of resting metabolic rate. But they themselves are in turn regulated by diet and metabolism because glucose fuels the production of those thyroid hormones. The thyroid produces a large amount of T4 hormones, which are then converted into T3 hormones (T3 is the active thyroid hormone influencing many body processes). When carb intake is reduced, conversion of T4 to T3 reduces.19 People worry that this might lead to a lower metabolic rate and thus slow down weight loss with a low-carb diet

Longevity: The ketogenic diet may help to increase lifespan and healthspan.

This might be increased further by taking a cyclical approach to the diet: alternating high-carb and low-carb weeks. One study fed a ketogenic diet to mice every other week. Results showed avoidance of obesity, reducing midlife mortality, and prevented memory decline.20

How to Carb Cycle

Anyone from ametuer dieter to serious athlete can carb cycle. There are different options for how carefully you implement carb cycling, depending on training and recovery needs as well as your overall goals.

Creating a schedule, tracking your progress and targeting carbohydrate intake can help develop a well-formulated plan to succeed cycling carbs.

Create a Schedule

Before a single carb touches your lips, think about your goals. These will formulate your carb cycling plan.

A guide to scheduling carb cycles, with a woman studying, a woman lifting weights, an avocado and a fitness watch

 

Do you want to lose weight, or maintain weight? Do you want to boost aerobic fat burning capacity or target a lean body composition?

Then consider your typical training week. Which days are your most intense workouts? Which days can you recover, even without carbs? Do you meal prep to make sure you get enough quality, low-carb foods?

Serious athletes might want to take it one step further and consider carb cycling over a longer period, to keep up with training or competition cycle. Instead of breaking up a single week into high-carb and low-carb days, each week would have a different carbohydrate goal. Weeks with a heavy training load would be carb-heavy, while weeks with a lower training load or coming into a weigh-in could be more low/moderate-carb.

Your answers to these questions will determine how you go about cycling carbs. Don’t be afraid to change the schedule and be a bit flexible once you get started.

Log calories and macros

Establishing a calorie goal could prove helpful (especially if you’re trying to lose weight). Multiply your bodyweight by ten, and that’s the amount of calories to work toward if you want to lose weight. To gain weight, you can multiply your bodyweight by 15 to garner a ballpark daily calorie target.

Tracking your macros in a food journal or an app will help keep you accountable. Taking note of everything you eat will let you make sure you get enough calories from the right type of macronutrients while giving you a better understanding of how diet impacts your training output.

Target for a High-Carb Day

High-carb days should accompany your toughest training sessions of the week, such as intense intervals or prolonged weight training. These days call for about 2g of carbs per pound of bodyweight, and they’ll be your highest calories days. If you’re working out four times a week, and weight training once or twice a week, then you should have about one or two high-carb days each week.

Note that you might want to eat high-carb the night before a heavy morning workout to make sure that you are fueled up and ready to go, even if the training on that day was not that intense.

Target for a Medium or Low-Carb Day

Low-carb or medium-carb days can be used to fuel less-intense workouts or recovery days. Depending on training volume, low/medium carb days can be anywhere from 50g – 150g of carbs.

Training low doesn’t mean training on zero carbohydrates. On low-carb days, be sure to prioritize other macronutrients such as good quality protein and fat. High protein intake is important for post-workout recovery and the development of muscle mass. When cutting back on carbs, make sure you get enough calories, and the bulk of these should come from fat.

There are a few strategies that you can use to control your carb intake around your training sessions.

Training low: start your training having limited your carb intake beforehand. Implementing this strategy is simple. You may wake up and workout in the morning without eating before. You may even increase the effect by limiting carb intake the night before. If you workout during the evening, you may limit carbs from morning until that evening training session.

Sleeping low: don’t refuel using carbs after a workout, and stretch out the period before you refuel by sleeping overnight before refuelling with carbs at breakfast. This has shown promise, with a recent review in elite cyclists describing how the “sleep low, train low” method (where morning exercise commences with less than 200 mM of glycogen), improved results for cycling efficiency.20

On low-carb days, be clever to ensure quality training and recovery. Performing on a low-carb day can be difficult, so consider taking a low-carb or keto energy source, such as HVMN Ketone. Elite athletes have used HVMN Ketone to give them BHB as a fuel during high intensity time trials, showing that if you really want to avoid carbs, swapping in ketones can be a great energy alternative.

Another way to get a boost is to mouth rinse with carbs; this can improve performance without needing to actually eat carbs. You can also use caffeine before your workout, which is another reliable, carb-free way to get your body ready to perform.

What about recovery? BHB from HVMN Ketone is a carb-free alternative for recovery on low-carb days. Studies have shown that not only is less glycogen broken down in training with HVMN Ketone,21 but glycogen22 and protein resynthesis23 are also increased by 60% and 2x respectively. BHB could be a great way to help protect your recovery but also keep carb intake low.

Foods to Remember

An image of oats, broccoli and blueberries showing helpful carbs, food low in carbs and foods with fiber

 

With all this talk of carbs, you need to know where to find them so you can either stock up or steer clear.

A carb cycling diet requires high quality, healthy carbs and whole foods. Every once in a while it’s fine to treat yourself in epic, The Rock-like proportions, but from day-to-day, it’s all about maintaining balance. Good carbs include whole grains (like brown rice and oats), legumes (like beans, a good slow-digesting carb) and tubers (sweet potatoes).

Foods low in carbs include meat (beef, chicken, fish), eggs, vegetables (like bell peppers, broccoli and mushrooms), nuts (almonds, walnuts) and dairy (cheese, yogurt). Building a meal plan to incorporate all these types of food should help with each phase of the carb cycling. Even better? Meal prepping, so the stress of cooking depending on the day goes out the window.

But don’t forget about fiber; it plays an important role in weight loss, energy maintenance, regulating blood sugar and controlling hunger. Though fiber is a carb, it doesn’t raise blood sugar like other carbs and plays an important metabolic role because it doesn’t convert to glucose.

Is Carb Cycling Right For You?

It depends on your goals. It also requires some experimentation–based on your lifestyle and fitness routine, finding the right balance of high-carb and low-carb days can take some time and will probably change over the long-term.

What’s nice about carb cycling is the flexibility. It empowers a dieter some choice, while also providing the ability to fuel on days where it’s required, like ahead of intense training sessions. Benefiting from each could help an athlete reach goals for exercise, as well as goals for body composition. But remember to check with your doctor before implementing such wholesale changes to the way you eat.

If you’ve tried carb cycling, let us know the results in the comments.

 

Scientific Citations

1. Volek, J.S., Noakes, T.D., and Phinney, S.D. (2015). Rethinking fat as a performance fuel. Eur J Sport Sci 15.
2. Westman, E.C., Yancy, W.S., Edman, J.S., Tomlin, K.F., and Perkins, C.E. (2002). Effect of six-month adherence to a very-low-carbohydrate diet program. Am J Med 113.
3. Borsheim E, Cree MG, Tipton KD, Elliott TA, Aarsland A, Wolfe RR. Effect of carbohydrate intake on net muscle protein synthesis during recovery from resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2004;96(2):674-8.
4. Hansen AK, Fischer CP, Plomgaard P, Andersen JL, Saltin B, Pedersen BK. Skeletal muscle adaptation: training twice every second day vs. training once daily. J Appl Physiol. 2005;98(1):93-9.
5. Kunces L, Volk B, Freidenreich D, et al. Effect of a very low carbohydrate diet followed by incremental increases in carbohydrate on respiratory exchange ratio. FASEB Journal. 2014;28(1).
6. Volek, J.S., Freidenreich, D.J., Saenz, C., Kunces, L.J., Creighton, B.C., Bartley, J.M., Davitt, P.M., Munoz, C.X., Anderson, J.M., Maresh, C.M., et al. (2016). Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance runners. Metabolism 65, 100-110.
7. Reaven GM. Effects of differences in amount and kind of dietary carbohydrate on plasma glucose and insulin responses in man. Am J Clin Nutr. 1979;32(12):2568-78.
8. Gower BA, Goss AM. A lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet reduces abdominal and intermuscular fat and increases insulin sensitivity in adults at risk of type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 2015;145(1):177S-83S.
9. Impey SG, Hearris MA, Hammond KM, et al. Fuel for the Work Required: A Theoretical Framework for Carbohydrate Periodization and the Glycogen Threshold Hypothesis. Sports Med. 2018;48(5):1031-1048.
10. Sacks FM, Bray GA, Carey VJ, et al. Comparison of weight-loss diets with different compositions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. N Engl J Med. 2009;360(9):859-73.
11. Harvie M, Wright C, Pegington M, et al. The effect of intermittent energy and carbohydrate restriction v. daily energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers in overweight women. Br J Nutr. 2013;110(8):1534-47.
12. Pizza FX, Flynn MG, Duscha BD, Holden J, Kubitz ER. A carbohydrate loading regimen improves high intensity, short duration exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr. 1995;5(2):110-6.
13. Chambers ES, Bridge MW, Jones DA. Carbohydrate sensing in the human mouth: effects on exercise performance and brain activity. J Physiol (Lond). 2009;587(Pt 8):1779-94.
14. Ivy JL. Glycogen resynthesis after exercise: effect of carbohydrate intake. Int J Sports Med. 1998;19 Suppl 2:S142-5.
15. Yancy W, Olsen MK, Guytib JR, et al. A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140(10):769-777.
16. Harchaoui KE, Visser ME, Kastelein JJ, Stroes ES, Dallinga-thie GM. Triglycerides and cardiovascular risk. Curr Cardiol Rev. 2009;5(3):216-22.
17. Volek, J.S., Gomez, A.L., and Kraemer, W.J. (2000). Fasting lipoprotein and postprandial triacylglycerol responses to a low-carbohydrate diet supplemented with n-3 fatty acids. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 19, 383-391.
18. Chidakel A, Mentuccia D, Celi FS. Peripheral metabolism of thyroid hormone and glucose homeostasis. Thyroid. 2005;15(8):899-903.
19. Bisschop PH, Sauerwein HP, Endert E, Romijn JA. Isocaloric carbohydrate deprivation induces protein catabolism despite a low T3-syndrome in healthy men. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2001;54(1):75-80.
20. Ketogenic Diet Reduces Midlife Mortality and Improves Memory in Aging Mice Newman, John C. et al. Cell Metabolism , Volume 26 , Issue 3 , 547 – 557.e8
21. Cox, P.J., Kirk, T., Ashmore, T., Willerton, K., Evans, R., Smith, A., Murray, Andrew J., Stubbs, B., West, J., McLure, Stewart W., et al. (2016). Nutritional Ketosis Alters Fuel Preference and Thereby Endurance Performance in Athletes. Cell Metabolism 24, 1-13.
22. Holdsworth, D.A., Cox, P.J., Kirk, T., Stradling, H., Impey, S.G., and Clarke, K. (2017). A Ketone Ester Drink Increases Postexercise Muscle Glycogen Synthesis in Humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc.
23. Vandoorne, T., De Smet, S., Ramaekers, M., Van Thienen, R., De Bock, K., Clarke, K., and Hespel, P. (2017). Intake of a Ketone Ester Drink during Recovery from Exercise Promotes mTORC1 Signaling but Not Glycogen Resynthesis in Human Muscle. Front. Physiol. 8, 310.

 

In case you hadn’t noticed, spring has well and truly arrived and with it the feeling of excitement for new challenges and opportunities on the horizon. And so, in the spirit of experimentation and mixing things up a bit, let me ask you this: have you ever thought about giving your hair a makeover? So many of us tend to stick to the same hairstyles for years on end when little did we realize that there are so many different ways we can be experimenting, thus spurning our confidence and creativity.

Always fans of changing it up a bit, Boon Models (one of the top emerging modeling agencies in New York, DC and Tampa) have put together for you a few suggestions – some bolder than others – to get your creative juices flowing in the hair department.

Suggestion #1 – Get to the ‘root’ of the issue.

This is mainly for all you ‘blondies’ out there. Have you ever thought about darkening your roots? This might seem like an alien thought but it is apparently an approach that many hairstylists are adopting to take the heat off highlighted hair and give you more room to breathe instead of worrying about having a full ‘helmet’ of blonde all the time.

As we’ve just said, this transition might not be an easy one, but try and think in terms of Carrie Bradshaw circa Sex and the City Season 6 and you’re on the right track. Your hair will also thank you in the long run for not having to constantly bleach the life out of it.

Suggestion #2 – Subtle Streaks.

At the risk of sounding repetitive from previous articles, we are here to reiterate once again that bold streaks of risqué hair color are incredibly fashionable right now. And no, this doesn’t have to mean going back on our previous point about not ‘over-dying’ your hair. With so many temporary colors out there you don’t have to worry about the long term consequences and can also try out as many different colors as you like, in as short amount of time as you like.

What’s stopping you?

 Suggestion #3 – Is a blow-dry really necessary?

It is a common misconception that blow-drys are all about ‘the bigger and better’ approach. Nowadays, hairstylists are actually advocating that this could be a bad thing because it puts your hair into contact with way too many heated products that have considerable damaging effects.

Instead, why don’t you think about choosing a sleek and fashionable hairstyle that doesn’t require so much maintenance and products? This is the new challenge of hairdressers across the globe, seeing more and more styles such as the low maintenance ‘bob’ taking precedent. It is a hairstylist’s job at the end of the day to keep their clients looking their best, now with a minimal amount of effort. And quite frankly, what could be better than waking up with your hair all ready and good to go? This is definitely a suggestion we’re going to look into.

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This might seem like an odd question, but have you ever given much thought to whether you’re getting the right amount of sleep? You’d be surprised at how much our bodies can be struggling without us realizing and in the lead up to New York Fashion Week, here at Boon Models (one of the top up and coming New York modeling agencies ) we believe that you should be taking care of yourself first and foremost before anything else.

 

So let me ask you this: are you an early bird, who gets up happily at the crack of dawn? Or are you – like a much larger portion of the population – pressing your ‘snooze’ button continuously in the hope that the nightmare idea of getting up might just go away? Your answer to this isn’t exactly a defining factor as to whether you’re getting enough sleep or not because there are pros and cons for both sides. It is however useful to know which side of the spectrum you fit into because it could be that you are adopting the wrong approach to your sleep pattern.

 

There is significant evidence out there to underline that all of our individual sleep patterns and needs are different. Some of us can get by on 6 hours a night and some of us feel we need closer to 9. But does this have an impact on our productivity during the day? People who are considered early-risers are often described as more productive than those who aren’t, but at the same time display more symptoms of stress and anxiety as the end of the day approaches. On the other side of the argument, late-risers display an altogether more laid back temperament, but are not proven to be as fruitful in their labors. If you were to go on this evidence alone, then it would seem that people who get more sleep are happier yet less industrious… But this is not always the case.

 Whilst the sleep benchmark for adults (aged 18-64) is described as 7-9 hours, as we’ve stated before: every individual is different. Therefore, too much sleep can actually end up being counterproductive for some people, resulting in a ‘groggy’ feeling where you don’t feel like you can truly wake yourself up without vices such as coffee.

 So what is there to do if you don’t feel your sleep pattern is quite right? Well our first advice if you feel there is a real issue (such as insomnia) would be to seek advice from your doctor. But secondly, if things aren’t quite so serious but you fancy a change, why not try switching things up a bit? For example, if you are an early-riser then why not try giving yourself twenty minutes extra in bed and see if that helps your mood in the afternoons? Or even better, if you’re working from home, then why not try out a strategic ten-minute power nap on your lunch break? Furthermore, if you are one of those late-risers, that takes the chance of more sleep whenever they can get it, then how about turning your schedule on its head and voluntarily waking up an hour earlier? This could be the best, most productive thing you’ve ever done and you might never look back.

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If there’s one thing that you can count on for the AW15 round of Fashion Week shows (taking place in New York City from 12-19th February) it’s that the seventies are back – in a big way. This doesn’t just extend to the catwalks on which we can guarantee you’ll be seeing many varying patterns, prints and cuts. Oh no, the seventies have taken a firm standing in the make-up stakes too and here at Boon Models (on of the top up and coming NYC modeling agencies ) we couldn’t be more excited.

Therefore, we have put together a bit of a guide for you to get some of your best make-up products together, ready to experiment with the look and also a few suggestions about which products you might want to be investing in this season. Apparently it’s all about dumbing down the bold patterns of the era that will be showing up in the clothes and this therefore means a lot of ‘blurred lines’.

Complexion

Taking the ‘blurry’ approach into consideration you should aim to make your complexion as light and airy as possible. L’Oreal’s ‘Blur Cream’ is perfect for this combined with a ‘CC cream’ or concealer. As we’ve said before, try to keep the tone as light as possible. This shouldn’t be a problem for those of us who have been hiding away from the sunlight for most of the winter.

Cheeks

Rosy cheeks are important for this era – in the style of Jane Birkin – so make sure you pick out your rosiest blusher. Any blush colors that you have on the redder / darker side will be an added bonus as they match very well to high fashion.

Eyes

A top tip from our make-up artist friends is to completely forgo mascara on this occasion, which detracts from the definition and adds a softness to the look. However, it’s important that you don’t overlook the eyes completely as you definitely need them to underline your seventies persona. Therefore, try out a brown eye shadow (preferably cream) and then apply one thick line of black eye liner to your top lid. If you want to add a bit of sparkle then try a silver or baby pink cream liner for the bottom lid but this is really just an added extra. Your look is very nearly complete.

Lips

Now is your time to shine. So in true seventies style you should reach for your brightest red/orange lipstick and apply it evenly to make this the crowning focus of your look.

If you have followed all of these steps, you should now be able to look in the mirror and feel that you’re embodying everything that represents the ‘70s Jetset Cool’ look, which has taken the fashion world by storm in the past year. Just be sure that your clothing choices don’t let you down when you’ve come this far.

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In case you hadn’t heard the buzz all over Hollywood – and the rest of the world for that matter – Kate Hudson is trying her hand at sportswear designing and has consequently co-founded new brand ‘Fabletics’. And taking into consideration that she is not only on of the most naturally beautiful, but one of the most well-toned and fit women in the world it makes a whole lot of sense when you think about it. At the age of 35, I would even go as far as to say that Kate looks like she’s getting younger by the minute due to her great approach to health and lifestyle. Furthermore, here at Boon Models (one of the top up-and-coming modeling agencies in Tampa, DC and NYC ) we are always fans of a well-thought-out celebrity endorsement, especially if it’s going to get us in the mood to hit the gym.

 

Never has this ‘gym-spiration’ been more prevalent than the recently released photos of Kate Hudson gallivanting around LA with her close friends Erin and Sara Connor working on the ‘Fabletics’ promotional material that will hit our screens imminently. The fact that she has decided to use her friends to model the brand, rather than bringing in models she doesn’t know, is Kate Hudson all over. It’s not very often that an actress as beautiful as Kate can portray herself as totally unintimidating and down to earth, but she certainly has it nailed, especially when you see her having a an amazing time with her gal-pals. Consequently, we love her all the more. Even though there is the unmistakeable fact that Erin and Sara Connor (step-sisters to Gigi and Bella Hadid) are toned to perfection, which coincidentally works out quite well for Kate in terms of making the products look good!

 

So what exactly is it that makes ‘Fabletics’ so unique as a sportswear brand? Kate claims that there is a gap in the market for great outfits for working out that are affordable and stylish, hence her decision to co-found the brand. A good point for sure. She also goes as far as to say that she wants to create a network of strong independent women that form the ‘Fabletics’ community, so also a bit of a feminist spin on it there which we love.

 

The garments themselves consist mainly of delicately shaped cropped tops that evidently support a range of different bust sizes without having to come across too harsh with big adjustable straps. Another notable quality of the ‘Fabletics’ collection are the leggings – that come in a varying array of lengths – and their on-point variation of patterns that are so popular in the fashion world right now. Kate, we hope there’s a lot more where this came from.

Now we are in the midst of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (taking place from 12-19th February in New York City), there has never been a more important time get our networking techniques in order. In the fashion world it is imperative to realize that there are potential opportunities around every corner and if we are afraid to reach out for them we will only have ourselves to blame.

Therefore, Boon Models (one of the most prominent up-and-coming modeling agencies in New York ) have put together for you a list of very basic body language styles and gestures to help you look like the kind of person that everyone will want to work with:

1. Smile

And ‘oldy but a goody’, the smile is the most widely recognizable form of positive body language that anyone can take on. It transcends the language of happiness and positivity throughout any culture worldwide. Therefore, you should consider it your most valuable tool when it comes to networking. After all, and there is no point in making people feel intimidated to approach you. That would be a ‘game over’ situation before you’d even begun.

2. Be ‘Open’

It’s amazing what our body language can say about us without us realizing. Therefore, in order to make yourself seem a friendly, accessible person you should make a conscious effort to stand or sit upright with your shoulders as open as they can be, being very careful not to cross your arms.

3. Eye Contact

This is a really important thing to consider, not only when you are actually talking to someone but also before they approach you. It is a proven fact that if you use more downward eye contact then people will think that you lack confidence and be less inclined to want to speak to you. Whereas if you are willing to engage in eye contact you are showing that you are a friendly approachable person.

You should, however, be careful not to use too much eye contact once you’ve struck up a conversation because this can also have an adverse effect and seem quite off-putting and intense. A good trick is to try and pretend that you’re chatting with a friend or perhaps a family member who you wouldn’t have to worry about any weirdness with… This trick will help you to relax a bit more and more importantly stop you weirding people out!

4. Nod your head

This, like eye contact, is another one you need to be quite cautious with, seeing as you shouldn’t be too overzealous and repetitive with your nodding. However, if you smile and gently nod your head whilst speaking to people you will subconsciously be reassuring them that you’re taking on what they’re saying.

5. Back away from the phone

Sorry guys but cell phones are a complete put-off when it comes to networking events and make you look introverted and unapproachable. Of course if you have to use them for work then that’s fair enough but if not then put it away in your bag and enjoy the benefits of real-life face-to-face interaction.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Oriental-Inspired Make-Up

It can be argued that there has never been a more exciting time to be involved in the fashion industry and with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week taking place in New York City from 12-19th February, we are here to tell you that Oriental inspirations are going to be incredibly prominent, not only on the catwalks, but in the designers’ choice of make-up styling. Throw in the ever-experimental addition of bright florals and then you’ve really got something to be excited about. Issey Miyake, Carven and Maison Martin Margiela a strong representations of how this craze hit the catwalk last year and you are about to see a lot more in 2015, mark our words.

Being one of the top up-and-coming modeling agencies in NYC, it is important that we here at Boon Models are on top of all of the most influential trends. Therefore we have put together for you a few hints from our helpful make-up artist companions, in order to set you up for one of the most exciting fashion weeks ever. No problem, you can thank us later 😉

Complexion

When you think ‘oriental’ it is easy to presume that we’d advise you to go for a paler complexion. This is not necessarily the case in this particular instance because our aim is to add a modern twist. Therefore, all we ask is that you make sure that the natural contours of your face are well defined with a great bronzer and blush so as to add a certain amount of ‘drama’. If any of you are in doubt of a ‘go-to’ make-up company for this then Bobbi Brown is your guy.

Eyes

When it comes to the eyes its important to keep it subtle, with a thin stroke of black eye liner, combined with your best lengthening mascara or lash primer. We have also been advised that clear gloss is the next big thing for your eye lids to keep them looking bright and neutral so try dabbing on a small amount of lip gloss – yes you heard the right, we said LIP gloss – and see how you get on. You will find that if you get this right then it will represent understated drama at its best.

Lips

And now for the main event: the bold matte lip. We’d highly recommend that you choose a darker red to bring an element of the nineties to the mix and most definitely have your lip liners at the ready. Matte lipsticks are absolutely stunning and if you’re having any trouble getting it to stick then why not try blotting then reapplying to add more staying power? And remember: never actually kiss people’s cheeks. It’s all about the air kisses, darling,

Ponytails 

Some of the simplest looks take the most time to master. How many times have you looked at someone’s hair and thought “how come she can get hers to look so good?” Ponytails range from classy, sporty, sassy to fashionable. One might think that a simple ponytail can be pulled back and quickly wrapped up. That might be fine if you are sitting around with your girlfriends and watching ‘Game of Thrones’. However, if you are heading out for girl’s night out or for a casting, the perfect ponytail can say how much you care about your look.

 No woman wants to be the one that looks like they have just been through a wind storm. Spending as much time perfecting the way you wear your hair as you do on how you walk, or how you wear your makeup is key to make a good impression on people. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. It would be a shame to have a simple ponytail be the reason you are not selected to be the part of top modeling agencies in NYC, or that much anticipated job. Don’t let a ponytail tell people you don’t care about how you look.

So to help you out, here is one great way to pull off an amazing ponytail.

  1. Start off with clean hair. Apply a great leave-in conditioner to the ends of your hair. This will protect the hair from the thermal styling tools. Blow-dry your hair until it is completely straight. If you cannot get it straight from blow-drying follow up with a ceramic styler.
  2. Start from the top of each ear and divide your hair into two sections – a top and a bottom. Secure the top half with a clip and leave the bottom half loose.
  1. Pull the bottom section nice and tight and secure it with a snag-free elastic pony tail holder. Place your ponytail at or slightly above eye level, this will give a face-life effect.
  1. Pull out the top section and brush through your hair. Add some volumizing powder to your roots. (see below for product recommendations) You will need to find the product that’s best for your hair. However, do not use it for the first time on the day you need it. You may find that you added too much, and you’ll end up with a greasy mess or a giant rat’s nest. Run your fingers through your hair to add texture.
  1. Add the top half of the ponytail to the bottom half of the ponytail using a second holder.

This is one way to pull off a great ponytail. If you want to take it a step further try the next step

  1. Take approximately 1 centimeter of hair from the bottom of the ponytail and wrap it around the elastic. Then secure it with a bobby pin underneath the ponytail.

Some of the best volumizing products on the market right now are (highest price to the lowest price) –

  1. Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion – It is on the pricey side. Starts out as a powder and turns into a gel. It does have a learning curve but it is worth it once you figure it out, and it will last awhile. If you have fine hair it is a great product for you.
  2. Sexy Hair Concepts Powder Play Volumizing & Texturizing Powder – It is middle of the road in the terms of price, but it is still more than the average styling products. Starts as a powder and then turns into a liquid when you rub it into your scalp. Some people find that it is hard to wash out if you accidentally use too much.
  3. got2b Powder’ful Volumizing Styling Powder – It is the lowest cost of the three by at least $10 and in some cases more. It is a powder, and if you use too much, your hair will be unmanageable. A little in a few key spots is all you need.

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15 Tips To Help You Become The Successful Model Every Photographer Wants To Work With

Nobody likes to be around people who are unpleasant, bitter and seem angry all the time. They most especially don’t want to be around these types of folks at work. These types of folks tend to suck the life force and energy out of those who are around them. And, if you have to work with these types of folks, they often don’t respect you or your time.

While it’s great that you have the physical characteristics that people would kill to have, that’s no reason you should flounder it with a bad attitude. It’s much more important that you have the right personality and attitude than looks – and if the three characteristics can be brought together… even better!

When it comes to people in the modeling industry, it’s not pictures that garner attention – it is references! If one person within a company has a negative opinion of you, you can rest assured that you won’t be hired for any kind of work with that company.

The majority of the people working in the modeling industry survives and thrives on two things:

  • Networking skills
  • Connections

And, these folks won’t harm their perfect business relationship for just one model, and if that one model is you, you’re just out of luck. Do not ever be the model that people hope never come knocking on their door, begging for a job. Rather, you need to learn how to be the perfect model – a model that’s both easy to get along with and professional, as this will increase your reputation positively.

It’s true that the modeling industry is one of the most intense industries to work for. Models that are in-demand and experienced will need to travel from one location to another location, spend time in airport and live out of their suitcase in a hotel room. They often work with strange people – people they may never have worked with before.

15 Important Tips That Ensure Models Have the Right Personality and Characteristics For The Industry

If you’re going to work in this industry, there are extremely important personality and characteristic tips to remember to ensure you are the in-demand model.

  • You need to love the lights and camera, as you’ll be in and in front of them often.
  • Don’t be shy – you’ll be “showing off” for a lot of people.
  • Have a good level of energy, as you’ll be working for long periods.
  • You need to be on-time for all your photo shoots and keep any promise you make.
  • To ensure you maintain your figure, you need to eat healthy foods and exercise on a regular basis.
  • You need to be a determined type of person to be a model. After all, it may take several shots to get the perfect look for a picture.
  • You need to have a full understanding of the effort you will need to put forth as a model in order to be successful.
  • Your personality needs to be pleasant when you’re on set.
  • Patience is a necessity – modeling tends to take the snowball method where you must build up your profile and build connections from every assignment.
  • You need to work within the photographers’ visions, as well as any others who have input into the pictures.
  • The majority of the industry is artistic or creative, and they’ll be looking to bring out their creativity in the pictures they take. You will need to make the effort to turn their dreams into reality. Whatever you put into it is going to be worth it in the end.
  • You need to have confidence in yourself and have belief that you can be successful in the modeling industry.
  • You’re going to run into unpleasant people from time to time, forget them and move on.
  • Quickly move past denials and push forward with your goals.
  • You may be subjected to many castings before you’re offered something. If you’re not called to make one casting, don’t fret. There are others out there that you have a chance to make it in.

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In today’s dynamic society, being career oriented is as crucial as survival itself. Models face similar challenges as would any other professional individual. Today, so many aspiring models wonder how they can make more money as freelance models. It is not any more an unfamiliar fact that there are large numbers of models struggling to get selected for the paid shoots and assignments. The strengths and qualities of a model over rest of the potential candidates determine whether he or she is to be selected or rejected. This can be a turning point in the careers of many.

It is easy to accept the fact that there are a very few models who solely depend on modeling for the bread and butter. This is true because professionals have now become career oriented and strive to earn the competitive edge through multi-tasking. This not only adds to the portfolio and experience but also helps them plan a successful career. Boon modeling agency seeks to provide best advice and tips for striving models and serves to offer career up-lifts throughout the careers.

So without further due lets see what makes a model financially successful.

One. Giving utmost importance for your reputation

At Boon Models, we believe in the word of mouth and real commitments. We treasure and appreciate professionalism as much as we discourage attitudes that cause delays and compromises in the schedules. We also hold a strong policy of disqualifying persons who do not respect time limitations or happen to be repeatedly late. We expect a code of conduct that includes work ethics and that which requires our models to be as professional as possible.

We also make it a point that people can count on our bright, talented and youthful models and as a prestigious modelling agency offer this service as smoothly as promised. Our recognized and fabulous models are expected to realize the investments and risks involved in depending on their involvement. Together, we aim to understand these risks and help them reduce it.

Two . Learn a trade related to modeling.

We prefer models who have professional knowledge about makeovers and show less dependency on make-up artists. Also, models who have experience with back stage management, hair-dos and lightening etc. are a big asset to have. This can help reduce overall cost and to derive more money from the same gig that too for the same time spent.

Three . Identify the clients you want to work with

We recommend our models to be focused about the type of modeling they want to opt for. They must have a rather realistic approach in this regard as they are accordingly expected to search for the companies who are interested in your domain, contact photographers, modeling agencies. If you are high fashion model you can opt for fashion events, store opening etc. to network with photographers and agencies and hence to specialize in that market. Show them their portfolio and ask for feedback. If they like it they will offer you to work with them without asking.

Four. Short list of demands

Understand modeling industry is a close knit industry. Try to be a people’s person and keep your list of demands shorter. Silly demands trun off people you are working with. Always aim for a long term relationship with people especially in the industry.

Five. Importance of Social Media.
A good fan following and presence in your social media is very important for a model. A huge fan following in social media sites like FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram etc will separate you from your competition.

Six. Communication Skills

One of the major challenges we face at while coordinating with our models is related to poor communication skills. It is to be realized that you must be available to respond and read the emails sent out and reply immediately when you see an email. Reply to phone messages as soon as possible. Even if you are not interested, reply to the email mentioning that with a little politeness as it will go a long way.

Seven. Work on your wardrobe

A ward robe stylist costs money for the company and that’s one thing you can tap into if you have a good ward robe. Your ward robe doesn’t needs to be the most expensive clothes, but when you buy clothes keep in mind your modeling career.

Eight. Importance of skin

As a model one of the most important factor in extending his/her modeling career is a healthy skin. Please take care of your skin from blemishes, sun burns and acne’s. From a photographers perspective a good skin is a must for a model. This eliminate the need for a photographer to retouch the images.

Nine . Having a fit body

Since there is a lot of hype for thick models apparently, but realistically such markets are scarce. Also, the competition in that market is extremely fierce because any lazy person can be a thick model and we appreciate fitness-oriented models.

Ten . Importance of testimonials and reference letters

A testimonial will go a long way in a models career. It is a fact that most of the time photographers and modeling agencies know each other in a metropolitan area. A model, who shows up with a testimonial from a person whom the modeling agency trusts with particular recommendations will be considered in the light of achievements, experience etc. and will also have an edge over other candidates due to long serving trustworthiness.

Hope these tips helps you in your career.