What It's *Really* Like to Train Victoria's Secret Models : Justin Gelband, Certified Fitness Trainer behind ModelFit
Updated on: 30 Nov 2015
Victoria's Secret models don't just waltz onto the runway looking ~flawless~. It takes a-ton of work to get them in such great shape — and lots of help from people like Justin Gelband, the certified fitness trainer behind ModelFit, an exclusive boutique fitness studio in New York City. He's currently training nine of the women walking in this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, including six of the 15 Angels. The show tapes Nov.10 and airs Dec. 8 on CBS.
Gelband estimates he's trained an average of six models per show over the past nine years. "I'm a lucky, fortunate man, being able to train the most beautiful women in the world," he says.
But it's not really about luck. Gelband, 40, has earned more than 10 diplomas and certifications in fitness and nutrition, and is currently studying at the Gray Institute for Applied Science. "There's not one facet of exercise that I don't know about," he says. "I'm constantly learning."
To help you learn more about the man who sculpts supermodels for a living, Cosmopolitan.com spoke to Gelband in an exclusive interview:
How did you become one of the Victoria's Secret Angel's go-to trainers in the first place? Angela Lindvall gave me my start. She needed to lose weight for the 2006 show after having her second baby, and we were introduced through a friend. It was July, so we only had 3.5 months to make her look fabulous and get her on the runway. But she did it.
Then the modeling agency IMG introduced me to some agents and managers who led me to Miranda Kerr and Candice Swanepoel. And after that, my phone never stopped ringing — probably because I know how to train women. It's about self-esteem, motivation, discipline, and getting each girl to love herself and count on me — no matter how much pressure they're under.
The Angels' bodies appear pretty flawless on the runway — how much do you attribute to genetics versus hard work? Stop. Yes, these girls are born beautiful, and some have been given the gift of being tall and lean. But lots of girls I work with didn't grow up skinny. No one would ever know that they used to be 25 pounds heavier. So while they're given a gift, it's a little one. They're not lucky in the way that the public portrays them. For Karlie Kloss, it took 11 years of ballet. Candice grew up doing ballet. Jasmine did gymnastics for 10 years. They all had to learn how their bodies worked and how to get where they need to be.
How much time do the Angels actually spend exercising every day leading up to the show? My sessions last an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, usually four days a week. I see my youngest clients most often. The older ones are always traveling, so I give them bands, weights, filmed workouts, and Skype sessions so they can keep up with their programs while they're on the road. Technically, training season begins in September, but fitness is a foundational thing. My newer clients — like Jasmine Tookes, Romee Strijd, and Lais Ribeiro — might take three months to get in shape, compared to Candice Swanepoel, who I've been training for nine years and can get into shape in three weeks. Her body bounces back immediately. It's like a joke, in a good way.