Previous Cover Girls
TF: You’re one of the most recognized Canadian fitness models and have worked with the industry’s top photographers. How did it all start?
HB: Thank-you! I definitely don’t see myself that way and strive towards a positive presence in the industry every day. There are so many women that I look up to and to think that I am recognized amongst others is a huge compliment! I’ve admired the women I see in magazines for a long time. I loved going into the gym with a plan and feeling strong. It wasn’t until I opened my first fitness club with my husband that I decided to get serious about my nutrition. Taking that step and setting a competition date changed things towards the Holly Barker you see today. After competing for my first time in 2011 I was pulled aside and asked to take part in a photoshoot. Since that first competition and that first photoshoot, I have gained a tremendous love and respect for not only the ability to grow in the sport and fitness industry, but the ability to transform myself into different characters and emote multiple depictions of strength and beauty through each shoot. I have been extremely lucky to work with the most talented professionals in the field and to have learned something from every experience!
TF: You’ve had a great highlight reel; have you managed to avoid the numerous pitfalls that many fitness models (and models in general) experience?
HB: I believe I have found a place in the industry as a constant presence and definition of growth. I believe in health as a mind, heart, body approach and I live this each and every day. A lot of women have reached out to me seeking advise on how I stay in shape year round and even the fact that I look happy most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I have down days and days where I do not feel like that girl you see in a bikini in that picture. And there are days where I’m tired and just want to eat peanut butter straight from the jar…but the payoffs that living healthy and well far superseed an empty tub of nut butter. I am extremely happy and feel so lucky to be able to live my healthiest every day, not just for a competition. To have so much energy that I love working out, I love growing, I love doing better and motivating others to make a change towards a healthier life. Finding balance and what works for you is my triumph. I thrive on structure. I love learning what works for my body and how that continuously changes as I consistently live my best. Life is so beautiful and you can’t enjoy it unless you live it each day! Owning clubs and being surrounded by others changing their lives, finding time to stay fit in their busy schedules, getting to work alongside my husband each day and being a part of an amazing brand. Our mission statement is to “Improve the Worlds’ Self Esteem”. I truly love being a part of this! I believe it’s absolutely fine to have a day off. To not follow a strict plan in an off season, but I believe fully that we need to fuel our mind, heart, body for what we expect it to do. Managing your expectations and knowing what you are working towards is extremely important. My goal is to motivate others through living my healthiest life. Case and point….it is much more enjoyable to do this if I live my healthiest life!
TF: You’ve mentioned running a successful business with your husband in Saskatchewan. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in getting your business to where it is now?
HB: Oh boy! We are challenged every day. We were super naive when we first started, but were willing to make the sacrifices needed to be made. I could not imagine opening a business and putting in all the hard work it takes if it were something you were not passionate about. We both love business and are passionate about fitness, sport, wellness. We excel in different areas and come at decisions from different angles which is a benefit. Being able to work things out together, work towards things together is something we’ve learned along the way also. We are not perfect and are still so naive to the things we will learn from this point forward, but that is what makes it so exciting! We are so proud of all that we have accomplished, but have no plans to slow down any time soon.
TF: We’ve followed your modelling career and also your competitive career. Which of these aspects of the fitness industry do you enjoy more?
HB: They have typically went hand in hand. I have been able to travel to locations to compete and thus have had access to the photographers at the shows and locations attended that weren’t accessible to me in Saskatchewan. However, being sponsored and being able to participate in shoots while working at the Arnold Sports Festival or the Olympia Sports Expo I do have to say I am able to express myself with the photoshoots more. I continue to learn how to condition my physique so that I feel photoshoot ready without having to be competition ready. I love taking photos and putting a message behind them. I love emoting strength, beauty, fantasy and appealing to so many different demographics. With a photoshoot, I am not exposed to second place or compared to another physique. I am captured at that moment at that stage of my life. And at every stage, I am my best at that moment. However, I am grateful for the opportunities that competing has brought me and do not believe I would have grown as much as I have personally if I hadn’t have competed or met the network I have been so lucky to meet. So with that said, each venue – photoshoot or competition – provides an outlet and a chance for adventure. I love meeting the girls and the hype of a show, but the results from a photoshoot, the possibility of being published, having a voice published with my photo’s and an audience to motivate and inspire are what drive me to live fit each day.
TF: Who inspires you?
HB: Strong women. The obvious is Tosca Reno. I love that she reinvented her life and found herself after already living a full life. She is a real person and everything she has accomplished is reachable for anyone willing to work really hard to get there! A true representation of living fitness. I look up to Jillian Michaels, Anna Olson, Oprah Winfrey, Jackie Warner. A woman that can empower other women through business savvy, happiness and health. Of course my Grandma. At 80+ she has lived a life of education, travel, family, friends. My Mom and Dad. They love each other and laugh each day. They are best friends and go through life together seamlessly experiencing new adventures. They support me in everything that I do and decision I make. My Husband. He listens and reasons and supports me. I love living this beautiful life with him and learning from him each day.
TF: What’s on your 5 year plan?
HB: 5 Year Plan:
I will continue to grow my business with my husband.
I will continue to create a positive presence in the fitness industry.
I will strive to empower women to express themselves, to live healthy, to work to their full potential and represent a strong, confident, positive role model.
I will continue to represent the brands I believe in.
I will continue to expand my knowledge in sport.
I will further my education – towards my masters of business.
I will start a family with my husband.
I will buy a ridiculous amount of bikini’s along the way! (smiley)
7 Random Questions:
TF: Peanut Butter or Almond Butter?
HB: Almond Butter absolutely!
TF: Jackie Chan or Jack Black?
HB: Jack Black
TF: First concert you attended
HB: Cats the musical. Does that count? If not then I think it was Toby Keith.
TF: A lot of people don’t know this about me, but in High School I…
HB: Was bullied.
TF: Rank these in order of importance (1 is most important):
– Hair extensions
– Ice Cream
4. Hair Extensions
5. Ice Cream
TF: The hardest thing you’ve ever given up.
TF: The biggest compliment one could pay you would be what?
HB: That i’m doing a good job. Support is all I need. You don’t need to understand me. Just please don’t judge me.
Follow Holly in her adventures!
Instagram – @hollsbarksfitness
Facebook – /hollsbarks
Website coming soon – thehollybarker.com