Born in South America, Isha Blaaker grew up in the Netherlands and was a national champion in karate both as a teenager and as a high school senior. He won titles in Belgium and also competed in the Israeli Karate Championships during his successful martial arts career.
Blaaker has a degree in business administration and a master's degree in management consulting, but modeling became his priority when he moved to New York and delved deeply into the fashion industry. Since then, Blaaker has graced countless billboards, posters and magazine covers, representing brands such as Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger.
He's also beginning to make a name for himself on screen, thanks to appearances on hit shows like HBO's The Flight Attendant. And as someone who defies the "airhead" stereotype of a model, Isha Blaaker also speaks five languages.
But now that he has his sights set on dominating Hollywood, the popular pin-up speaks to M&F about his current attitude towards health and fitness, and shares how previous bad habits like focusing on how he looks on camera rather than his functional fitness led to problems with his back. Fortunately, the competitive flame that karate first ignited persists today.
But how did Blaaker balance karate tournaments with a young modeling career in those early days? Was he scared of breaking his moneymaker? "Yeah," Blaaker laughs. "Maybe I broke some other people's noses, too. That was definitely an issue. I also did MMA for a while. I remember this really big guy once punching me right between my eyebrows if it had been an inch lower [he would have broken my nose]. But there are many actors and models competing. The biggest problem for me was the velcro scratches from the gloves in MMA and on my face. Turn up [to a modeling job] Like that or with a black eye is unprofessional but it gave me a certain work ethic.”
Courtesy of Isha Blaaker
Isha Blaaker's abs are done in the kitchen
With a busy schedule of modeling, acting, and auditioning, Blaaker has learned that being ready means staying ready.
"Actually now [my abs] are really good,” he says. "I've found a few things that are really working for me now. Abs are made in the kitchen, so I try to go fast intermittently. That helps a lot. Coffee helps a lot. I do cardio on an empty stomach in the morning. So no food and then I go out and do jump rope for 30 to 45 minutes. This helps a lot with weight loss, and then the abs come out. Also, I go running. When I'm travelling, I don't always have access to a gym, so I'm happy to do that."
When it comes to food, Blaaker, like many in the modeling industry, has experimented with extreme diets, but he's learned that they're unsustainable and harmful to his health, so instead he makes sure to eat enough food to fuel energy fuel up, but finds that intermittent fasting is a great way to stay in control. "I usually try to eat my largest meal at night and no snacks," says Blaaker. "So I'm not going to eat anything for 12 hours after that [my evening meal]. Sleep is also part of it, and I drink coffee in the morning, it takes away my hunger.”
Blaaker's first meal of the day is typically 85 grams of rolled oats with two whole eggs and four additional egg whites. Sometimes he replaces the eggs with protein powder. Blaaker likes Gold Standard Whey but says he only mixes it with water as he finds it sweet enough on its own. "I'll make sure I have those six eggs sometime during the day so I can maybe eat the eggs with something else later," he shares. "I try to stick to the same mealtimes because it makes things easier and I don't have to think about it." Isha Blaaker may have six eggs for dinner, but his busy schedule means he needs to be flexible and can choose one Choose a wrap from a deli to avoid getting too busy counting calories.
Isha Blaaker is finally getting to the heart of the training
Blaaker admits that in his early modeling days his focus was almost exclusively on building his chest so that it would look good in photos, but he was concerned about dressing too large and not being able to fit the pattern sizes anymore would neglect other body parts. "But I would get lower back problems," he admits. "w I'm working my core and glutes so I don't get those issues." Blaaker has found that the many hours of cardio he's put in with the jump rope also have a nice side benefit of being beneficial to his core is. "The weird thing about core muscles is that they're behind your abs. I don't think you really have to see them. The ones you see are losing weight," the fashionista shares. But without a doubt, building those deeper muscles like the transversus abdominis and internal obliques will push the outer muscles further outward and create the potential for better definition.
In addition to his daily cardio training, Isha Blaaker prefers to work out three times a week at maximum intensity. This allows him to devote the rest of his time to reading scripts or doing auditions. Blaaker likes to work out with high volume to tone, but having reduced his weight to single-digit body fat percentages in the past, he knows from experience when to eat right and when to overdo it, so he doesn't feel the need to do track macros. Blaaker says he doesn't recommend losing weight too quickly and using extreme methods like food deprivation to replicate someone else's aesthetic. "I think people should listen to an expert," says Blaaker, reflecting on how social media has become an influence on the way so many people live. "Besides, if you see a picture of me, it's an edited picture. There's a makeup artist, photographer, lighting, all that, so I can stand in a room and my body would look average, or I can stand under a lamp and look like Schwarzenegger.” While it's fair to say Blaaker tries as he matures to remain more balanced with his fitness, but some aspects of his personality remain, such as the competitive spirit that developed during his karate days. Blaaker recalls that a few years ago when he started running he was meant to hit a 20km milestone, but instead decided to keep going and eventually doubled the distance at 40km.
Isha Blaaker is poised to dominate Hollywood
Competitiveness is of course an important trait for any aspiring actor and Blaaker has landed some enviable roles such as 'Michael' in the Dutch TV series; DNA, as "Anton" in Red Riding Hoods and as "Nate" in The Flight Attendant, where he starred opposite Kaley Cuoco. "It was incredible to be on set with these people," says Blaaker. "[Kaley Cuoco] works extremely hard and I have a lot of respect for it. I trained hard every morning, because that's what the figure did. It was funny because people looked at me like, 'Oh yeah, he really is the jerk he's playing.' So that was fun.”
As Blaaker's fame rises, he also finds that his identity is frequently misused by unscrupulous people online who want to capitalize on his boyish looks. He tries to laugh at the constant use of his catfishing resemblance for his own sanity, but understands that this is another dark side of social media that can have a negative impact. "I think what's sad is that the women they talk to can share very personal things, so when they find that out [the person they are talking to] isn't really that person, it must be shit."
With perhaps his biggest project to date, Tyler Perry's A Madea Homecoming now on Netflix, Blaaker looks set to be in demand for some time. But when asked about some of the far-flung and exotic places our man has modeled or filmed in, he doesn't hesitate when asked about his favorite place: "Home... Home is always best!"