by Peter Renault
Staying on top in the male fitness model scene requires more than just killer looks and an eye-popping physique. A star in the field has to embody the standards of the sport as well as its surface attractions. Success demands discipline, determination and desire.
David Morin has mastered all of these challenges in a career that has lasted decades not just years. His perfectly chiseled features and shredded abs have graced the covers and pages of the leading fitness mags: Ironman, Exercise for Men, Muscle & Fitness, and Natural Muscle. He has figured prominently in high-profile industry ads, countless online blogs and magazine spreads. The biggest names in photography — David Vance, Luis Rafael, Mark Jenkins, Kemuel Valdes, Jason Ellis and Michael Anthony Downs — have sought him out to enrich their portfolios. Starting out as a pro skateboarder at 17, David Morin was spotted by the Outlook brand. Later he was the face of Yahoo Personals, did a stint on a VH1 reality show, appeared in Vitamin Shoppe ads and promoted Dymatize Nutrition. He has teamed up with fitness icons Greg Plitt and David Kimmerle in photo shoots and videos.
But success has not been a simple cakewalk for David Morin. There have been highs as well as lows in his quest for the spotlight. Born in Germany in the mid-70s, where his father was serving in the USAF, David is a mix of English, Native-American, French and German roots. From an early age, he was drawn to martial arts, which provided him with core principles that shaped his mindset, keeping him intensely focused, his eye always on the prize.
As a young married adult, fresh out of school and living in Virginia, Morin grappled with the demands of being a parent with two small boys. There were bills to be paid and family issues at home. “I was consumed and overwhelmed,” he has stated in interviews. That early marriage ended in a “painful divorce,” a blow to his self-esteem that left him feeling like a failure. But instead of harping on the negative, he channeled his energy and frustrations into working out religiously at the gym. “Training is a metaphor for life,” he says. “Weights don’t exist.” They are just the necessary resistance that makes us strong.
In time Morin moved to South Florida to devote himself full-time to modeling and training, and continued to land magazine covers and media exposure. In 2011, he beat out some particularly fierce competition to win the first Masculine Magazine Model contest, and was flown to Jamaica for an exclusive shoot with Luis Rafael and Michael Anthony Downs. The breathtaking results proved hands-down that David Morin has a uniquely powerful presence in front of the camera and a timeless virile allure. He epitomizes a type of manly appeal that is natural and unaffected, without the need for theatrics, but still packs a punch. Perhaps his proudest achievement, however, is becoming a father again, this time to twin daughters.
“You are the maker of your own destiny,” Morin says. He has faced more than his share of hurdles, some of his own making. “You acquire some baggage,” he has admitted. “We all make mistakes, have shortcomings, trauma. But don’t block this out!” Instead, he recommends recycling past experience to build a better future. Missteps become the “fuel,” he says, for turning things around through a kind of spiritual alchemy, transforming painful lessons into personal progress. In such moments, Morin has been inspired by the wisdom he picked up from his years studying martial arts. “A warrior does not give up what they love,” he says. “They find the love in what they do.”
What is most striking about David Morin’s compelling story is his staying power. A Libra, he’s in his late 30s, and yet he looks and acts like a much younger man. This is a testament to his passion for a strict healthy diet and lifestyle, but perhaps even more-so to his winning attitude. He takes modeling and training very seriously, but knows how to kick back. He lightens the load, he says, by playing guitar, singing, and acting, and hanging with friends. He also relaxes by kayaking, hiking, motorbiking, swimming, surfing and yoga.
For David Morin, life is about finding an inner balance between family and career, love and ambition. The road may seem long and difficult at times, but that is what makes it worthwhile. In life, as in training, he adds, “Resistance is required so your persistence can be admired.”