The casting call for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is notoriously terrifying for models, and this year, a few are building up fierce abs and confidence for the big day by spending four days boxing in Tulum, Mexico.
“When we used to prep for a fight, we’d go to a training camp,” explains Michael Olajide, Jr., the former pro boxer and owner of New York City’s Aerospace High Performance Center, who conceived of the Boxing Camp for models with his partner Leila Fazel. “You don’t have the distractions you’d have at home. All you can do—and should do—is focus on yourself and getting healthy.”
Olajide and Fazel designed a program that involves about five hours of physical training per day (ow!), incorporating all the elements from their different classes like Aerobox, Aerojump, Aerosculpt, and Yoaero (yoga). Plus they set up the women with a healthy meal plan that’s full of lots of protein like fish and chicken and fresh, local fruits and vegetables. (Olajide says he based much of the itinerary on the technique he famously used to get Adriana Lima ready to walk the runway just eight weeks after she gave birth.)
And while the Victoria’s Secret casting is the immediate purpose, Olajide says the end goal is bigger than that. “The workout makes them feel so good, and they’re getting this sense of accomplishment, doing things they didn’t know they could do. There’s a mission and a purpose. They’re living like fighters.” And instead of a belt, their prize could be Angel wings, and household recognition.
We caught up with Olajide and some of the gorgeous women in between sweat sessions to bring you this sneak peek inside their tropical runway training camp… —Lisa Elaine Held
(All photos via Cocoshoot/Gaston Levy)
“I feel really good. It’s really tough, it’s really hard, but I’m used to working out with Michael. I know his workouts, so now its just a little more intense,” said Kelly Gale. “And after each workout, we can jump in the pool or the sea.”
“It’s not like working out in the city, it’s way more relaxing,” said Mathilde Frachon. “It’s like intense workout and then chill, intense workout and then chill. It’s really the perfect four days.”
“For myself, it’s about doing something good for me, not only for my body, for my soul,” said Emanuela De Paula. “I’m eating super healthy, and I was never like this before. I always liked bad foods and I’m starting to realize it’s a lifestyle. You have to take care of yourself and enjoy what the earth is giving you.”
The whole crew.
“Michael is just the best trainer, ever,” said De Paula. “He knows we’re doing this for a special reason, so he’s pushing us to work really hard, the whole body, and really sweat and get the results.”
“The exercises are really tough, but it gives you energy at the end,” said Romee Strijd. “I feel sore, but I go for a massage at the end of the day. It helps.”
A morning stretch in paradise.