Fitness model and men’s physique competitor Andrew Holztrager is going to share some deep secrets, and by that we mean the power of going deep when getting your body in shape for underwear and swimwear.
The Michigan native has lived all over the United States, but his current residence, Knoxville, Tennessee, is a record for him (12 years).
Andrew is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, and is currently putting his degree in supply-chain management to good use. He also enjoys training and traveling, including competing at the NPC Knox Classic and The Arnold.
Here, Andrew shares his tips for getting the most out of your underwear and how to take a slammin’ body shot (he should know).
What exercises should we focus on to look better in underwear?
Well, that depends on what you want to improve. The vast majority of fitness models and competitors will tell you that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. Very few guys I know do much direct ab training at all, believe it or not. In terms of getting a booty to rival Caitlin Rice, it’s going to all be about how deep you can go and how hard you can squeeze!
The butt muscles are a difficult muscle group to work on. What advice do you have for getting a better butt?
One of my favorites is leg pressing with things like the good ol’ trusty squat, and lunges as well. The primary thing here is to get deep! Generally speaking, the top half of the exercise targets the quads and the lower half of the exercise targets the hamstrings and the glutes.
After a deep rep, the second key is to squeeze your glutes at the top of the rep for a second before going down for another.
If you want to really hit the glutes hard, then try banging out some wide stance squats while only completing the bottom half of the rep.
Any special diet tips to get the middle tightened up?
Ah, yes, the elusive six-pack that everyone dreams of! This one, as most will tell you, is all about what you do in the kitchen. Everyone has abdominal muscles. However, the key to getting them to show is cutting away at the fat until they begin to POP. Doing this requires a slow drop in body weight, coupled with some lifting, and fair protein intake to maintain muscle, until they begin to appear. Keep the scale ticking downwards until they are where you want them to be.
If you are someone with abs that are not naturally very thick, then you may want to add some weighted decline crunches to your routine in order to get them chiseled into your physique.
How do you recommend posing for a body shot?
This is going to really depend on you, your body position, and the photographer. Obviously, you want to show off the best of what you have. While it may seem intuitive, give the camera your best side -- or pose in a way that shows off one of your better body parts.
In my case, that may be my back, so some of my underwear shots have me with my side facing the camera, with a slight turn to capture more of my back and butt. Then I turn my head toward the camera if it’s a shot that’s going to have more of a front profile of my face.
The other thing I would say here is to practice. Unless you are very naturally self-aware, and especially if you are someone who has used training to recently change how your physique looks, it is hard sometimes to imagine what the camera sees. In order to capture the best-looking parts of your body, it generally means the sometimes-judgmental selfie practice or, better yet, time in front of a camera.
Lastly, I would say the best way to pose is how you are most comfortable. Get in a good, loose, relaxed, and confident mood -- sometimes listening to music helps me do this -- and be a little animated during the shoot. Hit poses that feel natural and comfortable because if it feels even the least bit fake or forced, the camera will definitely show it.
You have a really winning, natural smile. What advice do you have for guys wanting to take a good selfie or headshot?
Thank you! I definitely can have a good smile if the mood is right but it isn’t always the case and it’s something I’ve had to, more or less, teach myself when it comes to ‘manufacturing’ the smile for a shoot.
Many shots won’t have a smile in it simply because photographers want more edgy/seductive looking photos.
However, I have really found two keys to this that are pretty simple:
Have fun. You can’t create a good smile if you are uncomfortable, on edge, or nervous. So, the first thing here is to relax and enjoy yourself! This is much easier when shooting with a photographer you already know or one that is just a lot of fun themselves. This goes back to the last question about getting loose and relaxed so that your smile does not feel forced.
Bring a friend. Grab a girl (in my case) or anyone you are good friends with that will be flirty with you during the shoot. Have them stand behind the photographer. Make some jokes, have them make faces at you, and so on. This can help tremendously for people who are having a hard time getting in the zone. This has helped me nail some shoots and could have helped me salvage others.
How do you project such an air of confidence? Is the body language something that you work at? Does confidence come easy to you?
This sometimes will come naturally to people. However, even guys who are naturally confident may not always look that way in front of a camera, or vice versa.
In many ways, the moment you step in front of a camera for a photo, you are an actor. You have to be able to get into a mindset that allows you to capture the look you want to portray.
The photographer -- or the people with you -- can either help or harm the ability to hit that mindset. Here, you have to be -- in your mind at least -- whatever you want the camera to see. This may mean telling yourself how amazing you are or considering all of your accomplishments, no matter how arrogant that may seem.
Everyone has those days where they feel like a failure because nothing is going right. However, you can’t have “one of those days” in front of the camera. Because of this, you have to envision yourself as your perfect ideal to be able to capture that feeling. Music can also help a large amount in this area, as can the people with you during the shoot.
Are there any more tattoos in your future?
I am starting to think my mother may disown me if I get any more ink. However, I have to say it is pretty addicting and I do have some pieces in mind that I will be planning for the future!
Can you tell us about at least one of your tatts, and what significance it has for you?
Almost all of my tattoos have some significant personal meaning, while there are a few parts that I added simply because I enjoyed the artistic value.
I have really never shared what the day lilies on the inside of my arm mean, with anyone except for a few people. You may be getting a little more than you bargained for with this one but I don’t mind sharing!
To understand this, you have to understand I've always been an overly compassionate person since I was a kid. I always wanted to help people, save animals, and volunteer my time.
When I was in Puerto Rico a couple of years ago, me and my brother were walking back to our hotel from lunch (we had Fuddruckers and it was delicious!). I saw a homeless guy on the side of the street, selling the most gorgeous, fresh day lilies I've ever seen in my life. I looked -- and he was selling them for five cents each. That particular experience really, really stuck with me and, believe it or not, still makes me cry thinking about it.
I really couldn’t tell you why as, obviously, I've seen homeless people before, but it just blew me away that this guy was selling these incredibly gorgeous flowers for a measly five cents on the side of the road. What happened in his life to get him to the point of being so desperate that he is selling flowers for a nickel -- much less, flowers that would cost a couple bucks at a store. I couldn't imagine being at that point in life, especially since it was right after Christmas.
I didn't buy a flower, even though I had change in my pocket from lunch. That still bothers me so much to this day. But that encounter stuck in my head for weeks and weeks.
So, I got the tattoo partially as a reminder to take action in the moment and also partially as a symbol of hope for me -- a reminder to think of others more and think less about myself.
It’s a symbol of hope, because I can't come to terms with things like that in the world -- things like the poverty I’ve seen in Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize, as well as other places. I don't talk about faith much on social media but it's a symbol that I hope and pray God will reconcile the amount of horrible shit that goes on in this world one day, even if it isn't today.
What kind of underwear do you like to wear? And why?
I actually have acquired a very strong opinion about this lately and was discussing this with a number of other friends in the industry recently.
The general consensus from many guys is that shoot underwear is NOT daily underwear. The underwear you shoot in tends to be uncomfortable or so short that you’re fixing wedgies every 15 minutes. Also, shoot underwear is often expensive, so most guys save those pairs for the camera. This doesn’t apply to everything I have shot in, but it does apply to a lot.
My favourite underwear to actually wear is the fairly new American Eagle compression short line. They have multiple length options and, personally, I like the longer ones. That’s most likely due to the fact that I am very active, so they never ride up through long cardio sessions or leg workouts. They are amazingly comfortable, but also wick moisture well and dry fast. For me, that’s a big one, since I am frequently coming to or from the gym before changing clothes. In terms of every day performance, those are by far my favourite along with many of the clothes and pants in their stretch/flex lines.
What kind of swimwear do you prefer? And why is that?
I may have some different answers coming from a swimming background. For everyday at-the-beach stuff, I really like a good pair of old-fashioned trunks, Many times, I find myself going back to the days when I worked at Hollister; I love the way a lot of their new stuff fits and how it looks casual for a day at the pool or the beach. However, being an ex-swimmer, I love everything from Speedo practice suits to some of the new, flashier briefs.
I have to give a shout-out to my guy, Danny Miami, as he has hooked me up with lots of swimwear. I love every pair of briefs I have from him! There are a number of shots of his stuff on my pages and I have to say the swimwear fits and feels great!
Have you entered any competitions lately, like The Arnold?
The last competition I did was a local national qualifier, the NPC Knox Classic, on a very last minute decision. I decided to jump in about four-and-a-half weeks from the comp, which is rare considering that the typical dieting time is anywhere between 8 and 16 weeks for most competitors. However, things went well as I won my class, which qualified me for national level competition through 2017.
I have my eye on a few future comps but nothing planned as of now.
Do you have any words to live by, or life philosophy you feel is important?
Absolutely! My main words here would probably be three main things.
Trust yourself. While it may seem cliché, I have come into contact with more and more friends who do not have good support systems in their lives. This may mean less-than-supportive, or even derogatory, parents, friends, or co-workers. This lack of support system, which is often times just as simple as having someone there to affirm you did a good job, can have huge impacts on a person’s perception of what they can achieve. So, have good support systems.
This may mean finding someone who can mentor you through life’s struggles and decisions. I have been extremely lucky to have great mentors in my life and it is something I would highly recommend.
Make a plan. Many people -- and I am often guilty here too -- talk and talk and talk some more about all the things they want to do and accomplish. However, turning an idea into reality seems to be the sticking point. The first step here is to make a plan. This probably means getting a pen and a piece of paper and simply writing your goals down and then laying out a handful of steps to help you get to those goals. Cross them off as the steps are completed and maybe even give yourself rewards by letting yourself have that thing you have been wanting to buy.
Take action. A great example of this was the book that I started over a year ago. I wanted to write a book geared towards athletes that would condense a lot of knowledge and give them several years head start on understanding the principles of training, nutrition, and supplement usage, along with some life advice.
I had all the ideas in my head but never took action, besides a rough outline that I managed to partially finish. One day a few months ago I realised the only thing holding me back from finishing that book was myself. So, I sat down at the computer and am now about 40,000 words in and more than halfway done!
Keep an open mind. It is free to read, ask questions, and learn from others, so always take the approach at school, at work, or anywhere else that there is something to be learned that you can apply elsewhere in your life to make yourself or others better.
What are your future plans?
My future plans right now include a lot! I am beginning to jump into a great career, which has a lot of my focus right now and enormous benefits for the near future. The job is great with a huge scope, lots of room to improve, international travel, and an upcoming six-figure income in the next year or two.
While growing in my career, I am also in the process of doing some real estate investing, in addition to a number of other short and long-term investment plans.
My primary goal is to have the freedom to pursue anything I desire by the time I hit my early 30s, so that means getting the ball rolling now!
Some of my longer-term goals include commercial investing, business ownership, and a trip back to school to get a doctorate.
Those pursuits have limited my training time, so finding a balance that allows me to maintain my physical condition while putting countless hours into work have been a new challenge for me, but an adventure as well!
Check out DailyJocks’ recommendations for compression pants, and the style of flashier briefs that Andrew loves.