Check out my Q&A with Warren after the jump, along with some of the great shots from his modeling career an Instagram account.
How did you get started on your personal fitness journey?
I started the night after my mom was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. It took me hours of frantically searching the Internet on my phone for treatment methods — only to realize (after my phone died) that I couldn't help her.
I couldn't stop my brain and needed an outlet. I somehow pushed through a ton of insecurity to join a gym, but stayed insecure enough to where I would only go around midnight.
What were some of the first hurdles and hiccups to progress that you encountered?
I had all these preconceived notions of the gym. Who worked out there and why. I told myself I needed to go at night because people during the day are super fit and I would look silly if I didn't know how to do an exercise. The first hurdles:
1) Needing to know everything about gym and diet before starting.
Like I mentioned before — I can't turn my brain off... I love research. I was in academic decathlon in high school because I loved reading books and binders of information and only having to recall it.
This is awful with physical activity, though, because what does 5 hours of research do for your biceps? Nothing.
You'll find that everything seems to disprove everything in the fitness world and so you either don't start OR you change your routine weekly. Be confident in your ability to watch a couple videos and grab a sample work out plan from someone you trust — then stick to it!
2) Comparing yourself to the people around you.
You can't compare your chapter 1 or 4 to someone else's chapter 12. I've been working out for 5 years now and I am approached and asked how I got my arms so big — and how long until they can expect results.
I've learned now that their eyes glaze over if I don't mention something quick and easy or a specific supplement. It's hard to be motivated and inspired by our own results initially, so we really look to others for inspiration. Some of us then have a hard time looking back in the mirror and realizing their journey — not everyone wants to look super fit — some just want more energy or to feel and look healthier.
It's easy to assume that everyone at the gym is trying to look like the same person on Mens/Womens health — but they might not be, and so setting unrealistic goals right away could destroy any and all motivation you have to persevere.
Describe your first photo shoot. How did it come about? What got you to do it?
My first photo shoot was with Troy Wise. He had contacted me through social media and I was shocked to be considered. I thought it was spam and of course researched everything about modeling and the dangers of responding to emails and where to meet first, and waivers to sign, and brining a weapon.
I thought, "Wow. I'm not doing this. I'm hairy, too pale, and what if he sees me in person and says nevermind? Yeah. Not dealing with that." I didn't respond until he followed up again and was very specific about the shoot. He didn't ask me to shave but I assumed he wanted me to and so I did.
My hair grows in a pattern on my chest with the follicles spinning in different directions — shaving isn't (and wasn't) easy. My insecurities heightened because not only did I have a bare chest — but razor burn! I felt like such a joke. It was hectic for me personally juggling those insecurities about myself and with what I thought models needed to look like. I didn't want to mess up my first time.
The shoot was relaxed. Troy was awesome. The photos got received a lot of exposure.
Describe your second photo shoot... did things get better? Worse?
Photoshoots from there on out were a bit more relaxed — you learn from each and every one to build on your overall experience. Don't worry about sounding silly when you ask questions or think you're going to ruin your chances of ever having a career in modeling just because you're not sure if what your doing is correct. Confide in someone you trust.
You're known now for having a more natural take on body hair -- at what point did you decide to go that route?
I had signed up to do a bodybuilding competition and was in the physique category. I was told that even the biggest ad burliest of men shaved for competitions--that to show off maximum definition I had to shave.
I was asked why I had such an issue with it because I clearly wasn't in as good as shape as professionals, that maybe I just didn't want it as bad as them. I thought, "No, it's simple... it hurts!" My hair gets caught in my shirt and pulled out for weeks because of the way it grows and while I understand the judging part, it's not like I'm my skin is totally eclipsed by hair.
I shaved again... and hated it. It was this second time around that I decided that I wasn't doing it again.
Has it personally been better/worse since? Has it professionally been better/worse since?
I was never accepted by an agency when I was actively trying to pursue modeling. I sent out hundreds of emails and have hundreds of rejections.
The only reason I was okay with the constant rejection is because I was on the other hand growing this following that motivated me beyond my self limiting beliefs--I was inspiring thousands and thought, "Why do I need an agency if I'm reaffirming peoples thoughts and ideas about positive body image?" You can't argue with people wanting to be authentic and true to themselves. With social media and content being shoved in our faces daily, I think a huge shift is happening in marketing that id forcing companies to be relatable. With so many choices, why buy from a company that doesn't feel comfortable representing people like you?
If someone is just getting into the biz, would you encourage them to make that decision before they start -- or get "known" in the business more and then make the decision?
I would tell you--the internet is permanent and so is the content uploaded on it (for the most part) If something makes you uncomfortable or you feel pressured into doing it, take a few days and think about it. Don't go research your favorite model and say, "Well this person modeled naked and their career is great," you don't know that. That models happiness doesn't run alongside your personal career and sanity.
It is a very subjective industry — an industry in which you can quickly get jaded because you have to be okay with hearing "No" daily (and without any reason--which is sometimes harder.)
I've learned to hear no and think, "Okay." Not now. If your intentions are pure and your motivations are driven by a positive and not superficial force, you will be fine. You will learn exactly what you need to know, and you'll be successful with whatever you decide to do. Even if that success manifests into another career.
What do you think about being known around the world as "Model Warren" and not necessarily "Warren Carlyle?"
When I began working out, it was completely out of character profile for me. My mom responded by saying, "What the hell are you doing, exactly? You don't need to work out, you're my model son." I scoffed at this, but more at my own insecurity. I thought, "I'm not a model, Mom... look at me!"
What she meant was that to her, I was ideal. I didn't "hear" that until after she had passed.
I created ModelWarren as a tribute to her and was initially met with a strand of emails that almost made me delete my account. You're not a model, you're not tall enough, you're hairy, you're too bulky, you're too thin... I responded back with my story, and I realized it didn't matter. The hate emails didn't stop. I decided to SHOW rather than TELL and just live my life away from the negativity.
Some of my friends at the time decided that with my perceived success (which to them meant social media fame) my day or two without talking to them meant I was too good for them and was turning into a self absorbed model. I reminded them about the emails I would constantly send out to people wanting help and that unfortunately Instagram and Facebook friends didn't make my car payments. I didn't suddenly turn into a millionaire with 17k Instagram followers.
With that said, I will, with the launch of ModelWarren fitness start mentioning my full name Warren Kenneth Carlyle IV (okay maybe just my first and last name.) I would rather be thought of as a human than as a hairy action figure :D
What is your ultimate cheat day meal? Your food cryptonite that you need to make sure you stay away from?
I love Mexican food. I'm currently the record holder for eating 3lbs of burrito at Las Palapas in 45 seconds.
Dark chocolate. And don't give me this "Oh but dark chocolate is still healthy" stuff because you know what? Eating 3-4 bars at a time isn't. Dude Sweet chocolate in Dallas is amazing as well as black Dinah Chocolatiers in Maine.
How long have you been doing personal training work?
About four years now. I've always felt personally responsible for the success of people who I choose to give advice to. I've gotten better over the years with understanding how fitness can be used as a tool or supplement ones life and not consume it. This website will give me an opportunity to balance my time with clients that are serious and coachable.
What are your current training methods... do you work in a gym? Independent in-home? Your own studio? Skype?
I now consult independently now. Apart from the website monthly membership site that will be updated with work out guides, grocery lists, recipes, and much more, I do group challenges (24 day, 13 day, and 10 day) , Skype sessions, and group and one on one calls. This list will grow into advanced mobile applications, and more services as ModelWarren Fitness grows.
What sets you apart from other fitness professionals?
I am very aware of the young version of myself when I was first getting started on my fitness journey. When I write or instruct I don't want to talk over anyones head using just fitness terms. I'll commonly refer back to basic principals, it takes no time at all to remind people how to do something. If you work with me and already have a fitness knowledge?Great! I'll reinforce it and make you that much stronger.
What is the biggest fitness misconception you see running wild online?
I made a realization the other day when I went into a supplement store to buy a quick snack in between meals. I hadn't been to this store in awhile and so for the fun of it I wanted to see all the latest and greatest products. I guess its because I had been away from all the hype for so long, but its getting to the point where the advertising on jugs and pre-workouts is so bizarre and exaggerated. Example: "Neuro-extreme hardcore super pump muscle fusion shock magic" It's all very instantly gratifying and sounds exciting but unfortunately, for most, grossly unrealistic and put blame on the consumer.
You're running an Indiegogo campaign to launch ModelWarren Fitness, expanding your reach digitally. Why choose Indiegogo to get the seed money for the project?
There's a large population of people ready to start their fitness journey, and I wanted to create something for the people, by the people. By doing an Indiegogo campaign, we are able to spread the message and the vision to more people.
What has response been like?
I'm currently at 32% of my goal with 23 days left. I'm very optimistic — I have a great support system and trust that everything will work out!
With kickstarter / indiegogo / etc, often rewards are given for different levels... what would you say the "best deal" is as far as reward-to-contribution?
The best deal is Yearly membership ($100) and lifetime membership ($297) - this is being offered as a discount on indiegogo. With all the content this site plans to offer--it would be best to jump on board now.
Keeping a site running takes a TON of concentration and content - are ya ready to be married to the site?
So far it's the only legitimate marriage proposal I have ;P
What is the best advice you can give to someone who just bought their first set of gym clothes and is ready to start their journey?
People in the beginning of my journey told me to be realistic, which I thought was misleading because at the time I thought "Okay... the reality is I have NO idea what the hell I'm doing. So now what?"
So I would tell that person to start with consistency. Do some form of physical activity even if its 15 minutes a day (conversely don't start with 1hr a day.) Get started and realize that the only thing holding you back is yourself. Once you prove daily routine to yourself, your voice of confidence says "Hey, do 15 more minutes! You can do it!" You'll feel empowered to take it to the next level.
Ever make it out to Seattle or Palm Springs? Want to stop by Hunk du Jour HQ for a couple snapshots??
We'll have to set something up!
Thanks Warren -- any final words for the Hunk-lovers out there?
Truly believe in yourself. Be the best version of you.