Victoria’s Secret models. We all know them, we all admire them and we all compare ourselves to them. But, why?
Society has created an unrealistic and unreasonable expectation of beauty. An expectation that can only be met through extensive exercises, restrictive diets and expensive surgeries. Such strict lifestyles based on rigorous schedules and intense structures are simply impossible for a young person in college, like myself, to follow. Maybe you don’t think so. Maybe you are saying to yourself, “No, you can do anything if you’re dedicated and motivated enough.” And to that I would say you are wrong. To prove this statement, I decided to try out this little experiment. Here is how it started.
About a month ago, I was feeling pretty low about myself. I didn’t like my appearance, I didn’t feel confident about who I was, what I looked like or what I had to offer to anyone, and I felt scared to face the summer months in a crop top and a bikini. So, as a result of this insecure self-image, I started watching YouTube videos about health and fitness. I watched videos titled, “HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT FAST” and “HOW TO GET A SUMMER BODY,” and then I stumbled across a compilation of “HOW TO GET A BODY LIKE A VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL,” and that is how this concept was born.
I decided to do some research, and I formulated a Victoria’s Secret diet and workout plan from a variety of different websites, videos and social media accounts to tailor to my needs and what was accessible to me at the time. After constructing my own plan, I started my journey with the hope of lasting 21 days. Not to spoil it, but I did not last that long.
Most of my workout routine came from an article from People titled, “I Worked Out Like A Victoria’s Secret Model (& Somehow Survived)” by Grace Gavilanes. In the article, Gavilanes met with and received a strict workout plan from Chase Weber – a celebrity trainer who focuses intently on model clients. He has mastered and crafted the very popular “3-3-3” plan.
The 3-3-3 method, according to the article and Weber’s description of the routine, is a high-intensity program “based upon strength power and stability.” The workouts consist of three circuits containing three workouts in each, repeated three times. It focuses on the entire body and uses hand weights, as well as body weight for training. So, you are easily able to do this at home if you don’t have or want to pay for a gym membership.
I went into this challenge expecting there to be some difficulties, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. After all, I was involved in sports in high school and I used to be pretty active (not so much now, but whatever…), so how hard could it be?
The answer is… hard… at least for me and my pathetic self.
At the start of the workout you are supposed to run about 0.8 miles as a warmup. This to me was kind of strange because, in my opinion, if I am going to run 0.8 miles, I might as well run a little bit more to make it a mile. So, that’s what I did. I would start the workouts with a quick mile run around my college neighborhood to get my heart rate up and then would go inside and get started on the actual routine.
According to People, Weber’s 3-3-3 Victoria’s Secret Model Plan was set-up like this:
0.8 mile jog or inclined walk (warm-up)
100- abs (25 toe touches, 25 superman’s, 25 bosu ball abs, 25 sit ups)
12- Dumbbell Squat press
10- Dumbbell incline press
20 seconds- Mountain climber
30 seconds- jog
15- Weighted squats
6/leg- Step back lunges with a curl
10- Bent over row
20- Lying hip thrust with a weighted tricep extension
12- Elbow plank to push up
30 seconds- Plank hold
Typically, I could get through the whole thing without taking too many breaks. But, when it was all over, my face was bright red, my hair was greasy and my body was covered in a very attractive layer of sweat. Kind of like the chick from Baywatch, except I am not Pamela Anderson and I would workout in an old Plato’s Closet tank top and a pair of athletic shorts from Walmart’s clearance section.
Overall, I enjoyed the exercises and found them to be realistically challenging. Since the life of a Victoria’s Secret model revolves around their appearance, working out is a part of their typical 9-5 job.
Obviously, most of us do not have the luxury of being able to dedicate several hours of the day to exercise due to the expectations and requirements set by our work, school and social calendars. But, this workout was like the “everyday” life revision to the typical, time consuming VS model routine.
Since this challenge, I have actually come back to these exercises if I don’t have much time in the day before work or class and I want to get my energy up. They take less than an hour to complete and you can do it as you listen to a podcast, study for your class with an E-textbook/Audiobook or, like me, you can watch another episode of Spongebob Squarepants if you’re really feeling crazy.
This was the part of the challenge that literally made me want to curl up in a fetal position and cry.
Just to provide you with a little bit of context: my diet kinda sucks. I am picky (although, I am willing to try anything), I love carbs, sugar and caffeine. I don’t eat red meat or pork, I don’t like most vegetables and if I do eat fruit, it is the most sugary fruit I can find. As well as this, I typically only eat about one, maybe two meals a day and just drink a lot of water. So, yeah, I was already screwed from the beginning.
We can all imagine the types of resources that Victoria’s Secret models have in order to maintain their toned physiques. From nutritionists, to dietitians, to coaches and even to the financial side of things, allowing them to afford all of the expensive organic and whole foods. All of the above plays a massive role and how they are able to thrive the way they do in their specific lifestyles.
Now, as you can all probably assume, this is not the case for us common folk.
Most of us, including myself, do not have the time to sit down and enjoy a home cooked meal. In my case, I don’t even have the time to enjoy a nice cup of coffee before I go into work in the mornings. It sucks, but that is our reality.
When researching the type of food the Victoria’s Secret models typically eat in a day, I noticed that each model has basic rules they must follow when choosing what to eat, and if they fall under those rules, then they are good to eat it. So, they are not “allowed” to eat anything high in sugar, they are not allowed to eat too many high fat foods, nothing can be high in sodium and they are typically forced to eat a very well-rounded, whole and fresh diet. Not surprising and really not so much of a shock.
But, the thing that got me the most was the inability to have! cheat! days! WHAT?
First of all, why? Second of all, WHY?
For the first few days I went into a literal sugar deficit. I was hardly eating processed sugars, I wasn’t drinking much coffee (I typically have a little coffee with my cream and sugar), and I wasn’t drinking my sugary smoothies. So, this really affected me for a few days, but I was able to get over it and eat pretty well since there wasn’t much going on outside of school at the time.
And then, it hit finals week. This is when it went all downhill. Every day I was waking up super early and going to bed super late. I was going to graduation celebrations, final club meeting celebrations and birthday parties for my friends and for myself, all of which were surrounded by candy, popcorn, ice cream, cake and my biggest weakness: brownies. This is where that whole “no cheat day thing” really got thrown out the window.
The first time I cheated, I felt horrible about myself. I was angry. I wanted to quit the whole thing because I felt like a failure and I almost scratched this whole article idea. And then I thought to myself, “This is what young people need to hear.”
This whole lifestyle, at least in this phase of my life where nothing is consistent and nothing is predictable, is literally impossible. Not only is it impossible though, but it isn’t worth it. I caught myself turning down lunch and dinner plans. I wouldn’t go out to get ice cream the last week I was with my roommates before the summer hit, I planned on not eating cake on my birthday (which didn’t really work out) and for what? Is it all to just say that I lost weight? Is it all just trying to look like someone who doesn’t have the same body type or lifestyle?
So, I quit… and demolished a ton of brownies and cake for my birthday and it was amazing.
Long story long, I realized from this experiment that cheat days are OK. You can eat a healthy and balanced diet and you can still indulge every now and then as a reward. You do not have to beat yourself up for being a human being and having the temptations to eat a sugary or greasy meal. That is what makes life fun and worth it.
To all of you still reading, take advantage of this time in your life where you can be social and spontaneous. Eat good and healthy, but cut yourself some slack and allow yourself to enjoy the simple things in life. Whether that be an off day from a workout or a cheat day from your diet, don’t compare your lifestyle to others around you and remember that each of us have a unique set of circumstances that affect where our future takes us, how our bodies feel and react, and how we approach living.
Now, go out there, enjoy your hot girl summer, and if you need me I’ll probably be standing in line for another Andy’s frozen custard.