International Personal Trainer, Heather Marr on What it Takes to Get that Body - REALLY!

International Personal Trainer, Heather Marr on What it Takes to Get That Body - REALLY!

International personal trainer for models and ordinary folk, Heather Marr tells you what it really takes to get the body you’ve always wanted

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With society putting so much pressure on looking like models, many of us begin to wonder if they are blessed that way? One of the most sought-after personal trainers in the world, Heather Marr says that models are no different from any of us. They work hard to get fit and stay that way. If you want to change your physique you can, simply by putting in the right work.

Originally from Canada and formerly a model, Heather Marr is known for her sustainable, healthy and transformative methods with her clients. She turned on her entrepreneurial cap into starting her own business in Toronto mainly focusing on models and helping them achieve the desired look in a healthy way as she found there was a need in the industry. Heather has since relocated to New York and works with models and people from all walks of life and has clients all over the world, who rely on her for personalized nutritional and training plans.

As a big advocate of empowering her clients with healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle, Heather helps you to understand what the body needs and how to work out the right way for achievable results. We speak to her and find out more!

Vanilla Luxury: What’s different about aesthetic training with a model client vs a civilian client or any of us?

Heather Marr: The main difference is that models have to hit certain measurements or certain ranges of measurements, while the public is interested purely in visual aesthetics. For example, if I have a 5’11” model with a wide hip bone, we’re probably going to flatten the butt; that would be a non-issue with a public client. When there are no measurement constraints, the way you’re able to healthily mould the body is really incredible. The non-model clients that I’ve worked with are generally aiming for fit, athletic-type physiques, which is also different. Oftentimes, when they contact me, they say they want a model physique, but when we actually break it down, it’s more of a fitness body. There seems to be a real gap between what many think a model physique is versus what it actually is.

Vanilla Luxury: Do models have cheat meals?

Heather Marr: Yes! Models do have cheat meals. It would be impossible to live without indulging occasionally. There are times of the year when a model may have a special job or casting and may tighten their diet up and remove these indulgences but that’s just temporary. Treat meals are part of a healthy, long term plan for everyone, including models.

Vanilla Luxury: Women are often worried that heavy weightlifting will result in big bulky muscles. Is this true?

Heather Marr: Heavyweight training will not result in large amounts of bulky muscle. You cannot gain large amounts of muscle unless your diet supports it. This would not happen by accident or overnight. It takes years of hard work and dedication with programming and nutrition geared specifically towards that goal. By strategically putting muscle on in certain areas, you're actually able to create an hourglass physique, sculpt a rounder, shapely glutes and firm, tight upper arms. This really highlights the importance of resistance training and why we shouldn’t rely on just cardio alone. Cardio, when performed alone at its best (if additional calories are not being consumed to compensate for the increase in activity), will result in a smaller version of your current physique.

Vanilla Luxury: Will my muscle turn to fat if I stop exercising?

Heather Marr: Muscle cannot turn into fat just as an orange cannot turn into an apple. Many people are concerned that if they gain muscle while training, that this muscle will turn to fat if they are unable to continue their exercise regime. This is not the case. The muscle would simply get smaller from not being used. Don’t let this misconception stop you from beginning a workout regime.

Vanilla Luxury: There is a common perception that after a certain age or pregnancy an individual is unable to get back in shape. What are your thoughts on this?

Heather Marr: This is totally false, and I think it’s really sad that some people believe this. You can certainly get back into shape after pregnancy. Your body reflects your lifestyle. I have worked with many new moms that actually get into better shape post-pregnancy than they were in before. If you’re on a solid training and nutrition program your body will reflect this whether you’ve had a baby or not. 

As we age we need to adjust our expectations with our fitness abilities. We are not going to be running as fast at 100 years old as we did when we were 20 for example. That being said, you can certainly be fit and get into shape at all stages of your life. Again, your body simply reflects your lifestyle. I have clients in their 40s and 50s who have full six-packs even. I myself am not 30 years old anymore and am still relatively fit. If you’re training right and you’re eating well, you will be your best self at all ages and stages of life. You are your only limit.

Vanilla Luxury: Should people be exercising every day? How often should we be taking rest days?

Heather Marr: Rest days are part of a well-designed training program but their importance is, unfortunately, sometimes overlooked. More is not better and can actually prevent us from reaching our goals and be detrimental to our physical and mental health. Failure to incorporate rest days into your training may result in unwanted consequences.  When we lift weights we actually break down the body by putting tiny tears in the muscle. With proper nutrition, sleep and rest, our bodies rebuild and repair and we come back stronger. This is an essential part of the process and why properly designed training splits are necessary. The importance of rest days cannot be denied but how often we should be taking them depends largely on lifestyle and will vary person to person. Training split, volume, intensity, experience, diet, sleep, age and stressors are just some of the factors that will influence how much rest an individual requires. When choosing rest days it’s important to listen to your body and use common sense.

Vanilla Luxury: What is a common mistake you notice when individuals are training to tone up and shred extra body fat?

Heather Marr: A common mistake you see is people switching to high reps and low weights in an effort to “tone.” Toned” means lowered body fat over the muscle. This can be achieved with a combination of weight training, cardio and a smart nutrition plan. When you're shredding, it's critical to continue lifting heavy to spare muscle. This obviously keeps the metabolism higher, but also aesthetically is more pleasing. The goal in most cases is to lower the body fat, not drop the muscle, so be sure that you’re challenging yourself with enough resistance throughout your workout.

Vanilla Luxury: What is the biggest mistake you see people just starting out on their fitness journeys making?

Heather Marr: Hands down, the biggest mistake I see over and over is people going to the gym without programs.This is comparable to trying to arrive at a destination in your car with no GPS or road signs and just driving around aimlessly. You're likely going to run out of gas before getting anywhere. The same is true with fitness.

Many people hit the gym but unfortunately, they do so without programming. Going to the gym and doing random workouts often leads to loss of motivation when the results don't match the effort. Your training needs to be in-line with your goals. If you're new to fitness, you won't know which exercises work which muscles, how many reps and sets to do or even how to design a simple training split with recovery times. Rather than abandon your goal, prevent this situation altogether by downloading a program to follow, or hiring a professional to design one for you.

Vanilla Luxury: With the current state the world is in, many have started exercising to lose weight and get fit. How long will it take someone just starting out to reach their weight-loss goals? 

Heather Marr: This answer will vary greatly from person to person, obviously. One person might have 5lbs to lose and another might have 50lbs to lose to reach their goal. The important thing to remember is that your body is just a reflection of your lifestyle. No matter where you’re starting from you are capable of achieving your goals no matter how far off they seem. If you want to lose a hundred pounds in a year, for example, remember that year will pass no matter what you choose to do. If you simply start now, where you are now, you will get there. In a year you will either be at your goal or you will be feeling regret, wishing you had started 12 months earlier.

If you want to train directly with Heather Marr, you can find her on ig@Modeltrainermarr. She is available to the public for customized online training as well as virtual sessions. Heather also has a book for sale with a detailed 4week training and nutrition program that you can find here http://www.liftologie.com/product/the-model-trainer-method/.

Natasha Tulsi

09 Oct 2020, 10:00 AM

Wordsmith and marketer by day, Natasha is your go-to girl on all things beauty, travel and family. This mommy to two loves her cheese, a fab read and crooning to Ping Fong (don't we all?). Natasha also heads up Communications at Expatgiving and helps volunteers find their dream non-profit role! Reach her at email or via her Instagram @sonattymama