Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with the handsome gentleman above, who you've undoubtedly seen on some of our fellow blogs' pages. Bryan David Thomas has gone directly to the pages of fitness magazines, all the while in the hands of some of the best photographers in the business.
We had a lengthy chat about the business, his personal training advice, plus our signature Random Hunk Questions, of course!
Check out our full interview with him -- right here!
Chris, Hunk du Jour: So Bryan, how did you get started in the business?
Bryan Thomas: It ALMOST started when I was 5 years old. My uncle was a international male model, he worked with all the top agencys (Ford, Wilhelmina just to name a few) and they always needed kids for shoots. Naturally I got a few offers with him being in the biz.
Bryan Thomas: BUT! There was a problem... the week prior my dad took me to the circus, and I was so amazed with the job of being a lion tamer. (Ya know, the guy with the small whip cracking the lions in the ass?) I decided from that day that I wanted to be a lion tamer. So to make a long story short I refused to go to NYC to be part of any shoot.
Chris: Haha -- so you gave up fashion at the age of 5 to be a lion tamer with the circus!
Bryan Thomas: I did! I can remember it clearly, my family was furious with me! But i was 5, so they got over it.
Bryan Thomas: So years go by and at the age of 16 I begin to hit the weights. It was good having a male model around as I grew up... I would always see my uncle doing push ups, pull ups, sit ups... always outside, as thats how he maintained his all natural skinny male model physique.
Bryan Thomas: I also remember watching him eat.... grapefruit every morning, oatmeal... all the good stuff. I just wanted Lucky Charms, and I remember thinking "Why would anyone NOT want Lucky Charms!?!?" Now looking back I can see why today I live such a healthy lifestyle, and how working out and good nutrition is such a major part in who I am today.
Chris: So -- how about your first gig... Terrifying? Exciting?
Bryan Thomas: Well this is how I got my start. A friend at the gym said..."You should try fitness modeling!" This was 2 half years ago, and i was not in the shape that I am today. I had a looong way to go.
Chris: What were your stats back then?
Bryan Thomas: 6' 1", around the same weight but (believe it or not) I did NOT have the abs! I was a built guy but I wasn't in "fitness model shape."
Chris: So your friend tells you to try fitness modeling -- what do you do with that advice?
Bryan Thomas: [A modeling site] told me that they were interested in me but I needed to work on the body a bit more. They liked my face and said they thought that I had a great personality.
Bryan Thomas: I had NO idea that personality had anything to do with a good model, I just thought they were giving me the "Sorry kid, we like ya but..." They told me that they would call me back.
Bryan Thomas: I remember feeling pretty hurt at the time, but instead of moping and feeling bad I decided I was going to get in the best shape of my life! I decided that night that I would get my body looking BETTER then the guys I saw on their cover! For the next 6 months I worked my ass off in the gym and cut out all processed foods. I have GREAT genetics in my family so I found how I could tap into that (my Mothers Father was a body builder as well)
Bryan Thomas: Finally [the site] tells me "Bryan you went from good to amazing in a few months." I always say yes I did! with a BIG grin!
Bryan Thomas: They flew me down for a test shoot with Mike Downs. We did the test and he told me..i am going to put you up on [the site] and we will see how you do.
Bryan Thomas: The [website] fans LOVED me for some odd reason!?!? I began to attract a huge fan base very fast. After shooting with [the site] I started to book jobs and get emails from photographers from all over.
Bryan Thomas: I shot with Impact Photography (sports and fitness), Bruno Rand in NYC (who is not only a great photographer but a great friend now.)
Bryan Thomas: I knew I had fans but he would always tell me..."Bryan you are blowing up man!" I had no idea my pics were all over the net on blogs all over the world. He had to sit me down and show me on the net. So that's how my blog started!
Bryan Thomas: I then shot with Troy Phillips for Exercise For Men Only, which was my true goal from the start -- to get in the Mens workout magazines! I was named "Mr. Exercise" January 08 issue of Exercise For Men only. They did a big 3 page article with a giant tri-fold poster of me! After that I would receive emails everyday asking about working out and nutrition... so we set up the Bryan Thomas Fitness group on Yahoo.
Chris: What goes through your head the first time you run across yourself in a magazine?
Bryan Thomas: I was so proud man. You have no idea. I remember my heart starting to race a bit. I always want to show my work and mags to my #1 fan, my Mother, but she passed away in a sudden tragic death 3 years ago. I do a lot of this in her memory.
Bryan Thomas: I was lays her little actor growing up. I would always manage to get myself in the local news paper and she would go nuts for it! Every time I get in something big like a workout mag or even a fashion magazine such as I-D... I get really excited, I then think real fast..cant wait to show my Mom. But then realize I can't, and that always hurts.
Bryan Thomas: But I take all that negative stuff and turn it positive. I know she is looking down and I know that she is pulling for me with all this great stuff. I get my fun loving spirit from her, she loved everyone and so do i.
Chris: You mentioned being surprised that personality was such a huge part of modeling. Does something as simple as being a nice person give you an edge in the industry?
Bryan Thomas: 110% yes! It's what has helped me. I mean, it is a business but we're all just people here going down the same street. If a model is an asshole or if a photographer has a bad rep for whatever reason, it will be known.
Bryan Thomas: This is a very small industry (especially NYC), so if you have a bad rep you have a bad rep... people talk! I always send emails to my trusted photographers asking if they think I should shoot with this photographer or not. I refuse to work with bad people.
Chris: Have there been folks you've been steered away from?
Bryan Thomas: Many! I always look at their work first.
Bryan Thomas: I am unsigned to an agency as of now but working with Silver Models, and modeling is a part time gig for me. That enables me to be VERY picky and only take top notch, classy jobs. If that weren't the case I can see how some guys get seduced into the dirty parts of the industry
Bryan Thomas: If ya gotta pay your rent ya gotta pay your rent, so that might mean them taking a somewhat sketchy job or shooting with a photographer who is not as talented.
Bryan Thomas: I shot with some of the best in the world -- I am picky and I hold out for the best. Rick Day, Troy Phillips -- two shoots that launched me into the modeling world. I just had the cover of Exercise For Men only Abdominals issue! Shot by Troy Phillips, and one of their best-selling issues.
Chris: So, summer is coming into focus -- and a lot of the boys are starting to panic about having the beach bod. You're a personal trainer -- what are some of the simple changes folks can make to be in better shape for the summer?
Bryan Thomas: For one, folks need to check out my yahoo fitness group! There is a TON of info. I am currently working on a DVD series. It is a workout program for the average Joe, because that is where every fitness model as started out. We were not born like this!
Bryan Thomas: I am going to outline how I got this bod and what I do to keep it! If you eat lean you will look lean, and cutting out processed carbs is a BIG one. Get your carbs from fruit (in the morning), oatmeal, yams, and veggies.
Bryan Thomas: To really rip fat off you can do cardio in the am on an empty stocumach. (This is what I did for the Abs cover.) A.M. cardio will force your body to use fat for fuel. Drink plenty of water and do 45 minute to 1 hour sessions. After that make your first meal egg whites and oats with honey and fruit. Your metabolism will he going full force thought out the day.
Bryan Thomas: I eat small to moderate meals every 2-3 hours. This will turn your body into a calorie burning machine... you wanna burn it, NOT store it. Too many over weight people will starve themselves, thinking not eating anything will help them. Eating clean and often is what will keep you satisfied and lean. If you don't believe me take a look at my pics! :P
Bryan Thomas: P.S. This interview has all been done from my bed.
Chris: Haha - so the AM workout has been postponed for the readers... what a guy!
Bryan Thomas: before i go to bed at night I have a protein shake next to my bed, so AS SOON as I wake up I drink! That's another Bryan Thomas trick. Every guy should do that. It gives your body the amino acids it needs fast and will help you make a better decision in the kitchen for breakfast.
Bryan Thomas: Next time you're starving I want you (Chris) and all the readers to make a quick observation. See what foods you run for... I have a feeling it will be the quick carbs, such as chips or lucky charms! Your body knows what will give it that quick fix. Instead, grab some fruit and then make a lean source of protein (such as eggs or chicken.) Try it!
Chris: So you're a busy physical trainer, have appeared on All-American Guys, been seen all over the internet in fantastic photos by amazing photographers, are appearing in men's fitness magazines... Why do I get the impression you're just getting started?
Bryan Thomas: Great question! Well right now I am working on my fan site, it will be a place for fans to come and get solid advice from a person who is living what he preaches. It will also have photos and videos. I am working on a workout DVD series that is being put together from a guy who works with MTV on many of there big projects such as jackass and the BAM show.
Bryan Thomas: I am also going to apply to go on the hit tv show American Gladiators. Like I said, I am unsigned to an agency but will be working closely with Silver Models this summer. Hopefully you will see me in such magazines as Men's Health and Muscle and Fitness! Lean natural guys like myself and fitness model Tim Taylor (a good friend of mine) will HOPEFULLY be taking center stage this summer. Such magazines as Muscle and Fitness went the other direction but seems that they are taking a turn for the better! The realistic lean and muscular man. (No offense to the BIG BIG guys but I think it will be a turn for the best.)
Chris: The professional life is definitely buzzing -- how does the schedule affect your personal life? Are you seeing anyone?
Bryan Thomas: there is a very special someone in my life at the moment. :) We are both very focused on our careers right now.
Chris: (Hears the collective "Awww, shucks!" from men and women alike...)
Chris: I've already kept you too long, but 5 more rapid-fire Random Hunk Questions!
Chris: What was your nickname in grade school?
Bryan Thomas: BrySki
Chris: Your favorite guilty pleasure?
Bryan Thomas: Godiva!!!!
Chris: ...dream vacation spot?
Bryan Thomas: Europe! Never been anywhere in europe yet.
Chris: Most important thing you look for in romance?
Bryan Thomas: Amazing connection...mentally, physically and spiritually. It HAS to all be there, or else I dont want it.
Chris: What would you love to read on your next fortune cookie?
Bryan Thomas: "You will live a happy fulfilled life."
Chris: "In bed."
Chris: Bryan, thank you so much!