Brady Ervin has been working with Wilhelmina agency for a few years now and has scored some sweet gigs by doing so. He has worked with photographers such Bruce Webber, Greg Swales, Tony Duran, Leonardo Corredor, Anthony Golston and Danny Cardozo. I got a chance to talk with him and see what his current training split is and any projects Brady is working on. Be sure to check out Brady’s site.
1. What is your athletic background and how did you get involved with modeling?
I grew up playing football, basketball, baseball and golf. I was a senior captain on my varsity basketball and football teams in high school. I was voted most athletic by my peers in a graduating class of 800 students. Being a All-State Safety in high school, I was received scholarship offers to play D-II football but wanted to play at the highest level so I walked on to the Iowa State football team. After playing there two years, I hated football and transferred to the University of St. Thomas which is a D-III school in Minnesota to continue playing football and also basketball. I started modeling after my senior year of high school. I had a friend that was working with a local modeling agency in Minnesota and she brought me in to meet the bookers. I did a test shoot, got some photos, and began modeling in Minnesota in the summers and while I attended college.
2. What do you love most about modeling?
I love the lifestyle it offers. The freedom to travel where you want and see different parts of the world. So I’d have to say the traveling.
3. What keeps you motivated?
That’s a good question. Different things motivate me at different times. I’ve always been a competitive person so wanting to be the best has been motivation. But once you realize you aren’t the best looking person in the world and you can’t control genetics, you start to learn the things you can control that make you a better model.
4. What were the major milestones that gave you that “extra” motivational boost?
Whenever you book a job you’re instantly motivated. You get a feeling of accomplishment and approval. Like,
“Hey, someone actually likes the way I look and wants me to represent their brand/company.”
It’s quite an honor. I’d have to say that everything I shot with the legendary Bruce Weber were major milestones (Abercrombie and Fitch, Armani Acqua de Gio, Moncler, Vogue). Those are the fun shoots that motivate you to keep going.
5. What are your future goals, dreams and plans?
A goal I set when I first started, (that I still haven’t obtained) is I want to be the face of men’s cologne. I was close with Armani Acqua De Gio but the people at Armani decided to use Simon Nessman instead and I was just booked as his body double. I try not to plan to far in advance, it can limit you to possibilities and doors that open out of no where. This industry is so spontaneous, you have to keep your head on a swivel. I’d like to do some more traveling, see parts of Asia and South Africa.
6. What does your current training split look like, and what do you like most about it?
Right now I’m doing a 3 day split workout. I’ll lift Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and then Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I’ll focus on cardio with some higher intensity stuff that gets my heart rate up. I like the structure of it, and it gives me something to do everyday. I need to do something everyday or I feel lazy. And there is always someone else at the gym training when you aren’t competing for the same jobs you are.
7. What are some of your best tips for someone who wants to break into the modeling world?
Get photos. Don’t stress about getting perfect pictures, just get some pictures that will get your foot in the door. I found a photographer on craigslist to get some free photos and my agencies in Minnesota used them. They helped get the ball rolling.
8. What’s the best advice you would give to someone wanting ripped or shredded abs?
Don’t focus on getting abs as your goal. Having abs won’t fulfill you in the long run. The lifestyle habits you adopt that give you the abs is what will fulfill you.
You need to create a lifestyle that not only allows you to get ripped, but maintain it.
If you find a strategy to get abs but it was so difficult you only have abs for a week before ditching every healthy habit you were doing, what was the point? Abs are a by product of discipline and consistency. Motivation won’t get you abs. You need discipline to stay with small daily habits that over time change your physique. With discipline, you will start to see results and the results will feed your motivation. Discipline gets you going, motivation keeps you growing. Once you get abs, allow yourself to eat anything your want, as long as its in moderation. Stick to single servings of high calorie foods, and include a variety of different foods. Having a single serving of Ben & Jerry’s and a serving of chips will satisfy your cravings for sugar and salt without breaking the calorie bank. A flexible and varied diet is key I think.
9. What does your off-season bulking (eating) plan look like?
I don’t believe in “bulking” so I’ve never done it. I guess the only bulking I do is between Thanksgiving and New Years when I go home and eat big family dinners. I came back from New Years gaining 12 pounds. My eating plan was the “see food diet”. I ate everything that was put in front of me. Then I went on to lose 20 pounds over the next 2 months. That’s the extent of my bulking season.
10. What does your cutting (eatting) plan look like?
It varies depending on my weight and how much I need to lose. Like when I came back from the holidays at 200lbs, the cutting plan was in full effect. I started eating 2,000 cals/day which led to days of eating 5,000 so 2,000/day was not maintainable for me. I was yo-yoing too much. I usually try and not go over a 1,000cal/day deficit. So if I eat 2,000cals and burn 3,300 I either ate too little or was too active. When cutting I’m usually in a 500-1,000 calorie deficit every day. This is how I lost 20lbs after the holidays. Consistently being in a deficit is what gets me in great shape. I’m now eating 3,000/cals a day and still losing weight since most days I burn 3,000-3,600 cals/day. I walk a lot though. Some days getting over 20,000 steps. And eating 3,000/cals is hardly restriction. If I want to have a day of eating 4 or 5k, I do it. I just plan on being a lot more active that day. To experiment one day, I ate 5,000 cals once day but since I burned 4,600 I didn’t gain any weight the next day. The best cutting plan though is eating a lot of vegetables. It gives you a crazy amount of volume for your calories. So when I’m cutting, I like to have the fridge stocked with veggies. And I hate wasting food so not wanting food to go bad makes me eat them.
11. What are some of the biggest training mistakes you’ve made?
Trying to lift heavy weight despite pain in my knee and lower back (knee pain comes from college football and basketball). Training through pain, especially in those areas is stupid. Not worth it in my opinion so I’ve stopped doing anything heavy when it comes to squats and deadlifts. I just do explosive jumping movements to keep the legs toned.
12. What are some of your favorite supplements and why?
I go in and out of using supplements. I read an article or listen to some fitness guru talk about the benefits of using certain supplements so I buy them. So I’ve used creatine and taken water pills and fat burners and BCAA’s. I can’t say they did anything because the effects aren’t measurable. If I can’t see or feel a difference I really don’t mess with them. The only thing I will take is whey protein, and that has got to be grass-fed whey and as close to unheated or raw as possible. But even with the whey protein, I’m not sure how much of a difference it makes with my gym performance or the way I look. I seem to look fine and perform just fine in the gym when I’m not taking it, so it might just be placebo or it might make such a small difference its not worth the price.
Getting older, I’m more concerned with recovery so I’ve taken magnesium or glutamine or teas with turmeric to help reduce inflammation. Hard to tell if that stuff makes a difference either. Supplements are such a toss up. I can only recommend experimenting for yourself and see if you notice any changes. Most people have never not taken why protein so they don’t know if it even helps them or not or to what degree. I’m a big fan of self experimentation since everyone’s body is different and reacts in different ways.
13. Favorite activites and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?
I love playing golf. Probably my favorite sport to play. It gets me outside in nature with beautiful scenery and its a great social activity. Anything active and outside I love to do. I also love to snowboard. Being in the mountains with fresh snow is amazing.. I grew up in Minnesota so the lake activities are huge for me. Fishing, jet-skiing, wake boarding, tubing, all fair game. Booze cruises on pontoons around the lake are also pretty great. I also have a couple longboards (skateboards) that I like to ride. I love hiking for much the same reasons as golf and snowboarding.
14. What newbie mistakes did you make when you first started modeling?
Listening to my agents who told me I needed to lose weight and listening to their advice on how to do that. I mean these were bookers, not registered dietitians or physical trainers. They told me to stop lifting weights, just run and stop eating carbs. Ok. Started running 6 miles a day and didn’t step foot in a gym. I’m a former college football and basketball player and I was very coachable. I treated these agents like my coaches and whatever they said I did, often without any contemplating. If I could go back, I would have gone about losing weight a different way.
15. Any last advice for beginners or anyone looking to get into modeling?
Don’t assume it’s easy. Be realistic. Just because you’re tall, good looking, and someone said you should be a model, doesn’t necessarily mean you can make it a living. Find genuine people in the industry and stick with them. Don’t crash diet and stop eating because an agency tells you to lose weight. Shop around. One agency can tell you to lose weight and another agency can love you the size you are. Find out the direction the agency wants to take you and make sure it lines up with where you want to go.
16. Any upcoming projects you are working on?
Nothing big coming up. Wish I could say I got some national campaign coming up but nothing that exciting. I’ll fly to Ohio next week to shoot at the Abercrombie & Fitch headquarters for their website. Beginning of April, I’ll shoot 3 days for the McGregor campaign that I do a couple times a year for them with another guy and two girls. Those are always fun shoots. They are in Amsterdam, so while it’s a campaign, you’ll never see the photos in the U.S.