Elegance. Grace. Power. These are the words that best describe the model and fitness influencer extraordinaire Tessa Zimmerman. Committed to being her best self, choosing to share her journey with her Instagram followers in the most authentic way. She also sports one of the most magnificent bodies in the biz.
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What inspired you to begin your fitness journey?
My desire to get fit first came up when I was still in high school. It wasn’t even really from a place of wanting to be healthy or strong; I just wanted to be skinny and that was that. Then as I got older and social media began to have us all in the first stages of a chokehold, I started to spend more time on Instagram. I would say that THAT’S where the journey took a completely different turn and really lifted off into something serious and what I knew would be a lifetime commitment. I was inspired by all these stunning fitness models and fitness influencers at the time, and said to myself “I wanna be like that”. Almost 10 years later and I can confidently say that diving into fitness, discipline, and getting strong was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
What are 3 exercises you can recommend for a quick workout session on a busy day?
If a workout is gonna be quick, it has to take effort to be worth it in my opinion. I would recommend Jump Rope straight for 10 minutes, any variation of Mountain Climbers for 5 minutes, and Burpees (with a push-up) in intervals for another 5 minutes.
What drives you to keep going on rough days?
Just like my discipline and stubbornness with staying in shape, I’ve also become very stubborn with my purpose and what I desire to achieve in this life. My vision and my knowing that each day gets me that much closer to the next milestone toward my dreams is what keeps me going. But even when there are rough days, I make a conscious effort to find beauty, and joy and stay as lifted as possible.
When preparing for a shoot, what are some differences in your workout regimen?
If I have a few days or at least a week leading up to a shoot, I’ll focus on doing pilates, exercises that are lower impact, and incorporate more stretching into my routine. I find that continuing to lift heavy or doing high-impact training close to photoshoots not only causes more prolonged inflammation and muscle swelling for me, but it also stresses my body and results in more soreness; all of which sucks when you’re trying to look lean, defined and comfortable while posing!
How can newcomers on their fitness journey better manage their relationship with food?
It depends on where they’re coming from mentally/emotionally, their goals, and their natural disposition. Once someone gets clear and honest about where they want to be, they then need to get clear and VERY honest about what eating habits are holding them back (and WHY they have these habits). Managing stress, and hormone levels, getting quality sleep, and not depriving yourself are key places to start. I LOVE food, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I sure can put it away! But I also see most things that I eat as fuel and serve a functional purpose to my body.
I’ve found that when people start to see food as something functional as well as for occasional pleasure, the relationship becomes more balanced and their choices become conducive to their goals without becoming obsessive or too strict. Healthy food gradually becomes more appealing when you know it’s doing something good for you. Treats become just that: a treat, and no longer a major part of your diet because satisfaction now stems from something making you feel your best for the long run, rather than just tasting good for a moment.
If you could have one absolute favorite meal of all time that wouldn’t affect your body, what would it be and why?
Coming from someone who was a vegan for over 12 years… a bucket of fried chicken strips with Cajun seasoning!
Some people could mistake consistency for intensity when trying to get their ideal body. What would you suggest they do to get out of that mindset?
This is a great question! It’s something I’ve discussed with my own clients many times, especially at the start of their fitness journey. This usually stems from a place of impatience and wanting to see results as quickly as possible. Anyone would love to achieve a dream body that took a year or more to build, in 3 months or less. It’s been done before, but it can be dangerous for your health and hard to continue maintaining without proper experience. People need to understand and keep in mind that fast results NEVER yield maintenance in the long term. Doing intense workouts once in a while, or only for a few weeks won’t give anyone the lasting results of working out 3-4+ days per week for years and years.
Do you have any inspiration within the fitness community?
I look to a good handful of other models and influencers for inspiration from time to time. Stef Williams, Oksana Rykova, Sarah Stage, and Georgina Mazzeo to name a few. All in all, though, we are all different, respond and develop differently. At the end of the day, my major inspiration is my future self. She doesn’t exist if I don’t put in the necessary work.
If you could work with anyone in the industry, who would you work with?
Working with Kelsie Smeby would be a dream!
What’s your no.1 favorite travel destination for work or vacation?
It’s a toss-up between Cyprus and Mexico.
If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Might sound cliché, but I would tell her that just because others reached their peak sooner doesn’t mean that you’re not going to when it’s meant for you. That it’s all going to be more than okay. Everything is going to work out exactly how she dreamed it would.