About-Muscle talk With Fitness Model Linda Cusmano, after suffering with anorexia Linda used fitness to lead a healthier life and beat anorexia
Could You Tell Us A Bit About Yourself And How You Got Involved In Fitness?
I was a teenager whose father has passed away leading me into anorexia. I recovered through fitness, wanting to look and be like the fitness competitors so I learned that eating was essential to have the body that anorexia could not provide. This led me into a healthy lifestyle and helped me conquer my anorexic tendencies. I was able to finally use what I did learn in gymnastics, dance, performance and martial arts in the dynamic fitness routines.
What Helps You Stay Motivated?
If I don’t keep motivated life takes over and depression can set in. I have many tough things to deal with at home, toxic family, responsibilities which make it essential that I keep focused or the chaos and toxicity can impact my life and leave me paralyzed from proceeding forward. Anorexic habits can creep back in so I must stay positive, motivated and loving life with every tool I have. Results are a big factor in keeping me on track and eating healthy keeps my health issues under control.
What Does Your Workout Look Like?
My workouts vary from on, off and pre contest seasons so for now in my off season I am working out 3-4 days per week to maintain and rest as I just ended my on season. I always like to give the body a break. On season I am training twice per day 6 days per week with routine, weights and cardio incorporated into my workouts.
For now in my off season I do more weights, easier cardio and much less, plus moderate diet, some treats and otherwise healthy and lean. I would choose compound exercises and focus on shaping areas to compensate for the plyos and exercises that I cannot do right now as I am awaiting knee surgery in a month. So at the moment I am unable to do plyometrics so I focus on leg and glute work with weights, shoulder caps, lats and abs. The whole body is trained but the focus remains on the X frame.
Glutes is a big one as they can flab out if you don’t keep them toned! I would work 4 sets of 10-25 reps depending on the area I am working and the goal for that area, on average 8 exercises. My body is strong so I keep it so, my abs are well shaped so I maintain them mainly but always work toward more glute shaping and keeping legs in check as I tend to get saddlebags when I increase body fat even fit.
What Sort Of Rep Range Do You Use?
Again depends on the goals at the time, for size I go for 4 sets of 8-12 reps on average, for cutting and shaping I would go with 4×15-25.
Free Weights Vs Machines What Do You Feel Are The Pros & Cons and Which Do You Prefer?
I feel they are all needed for specific reasons relative to the goals at the time. I feel there are no pros or cons to anything in general, it’s specific to the person’s needs. I like free-weights as it trains balance and joints but machines are helpful for lazy days and when I want to go heavier. Machines are essential for beginners.
What Mistakes Did You Make When You First Started As A Newbie?
I tried to keep up and learn to avoid any mistakes but there is always a learning curve. I messed up my rotator cuff in the right blade by going to heavy on an old pec machine where you keep arms bent, this was probably the worst mistake as it affects me still to this day.
How Often Do You Perform Cardio?
3 days during off season 6 day on season twice per day, in the middle its 5-6 days cardio with 4 days night cardio. The time varies from 30-60 mins per session as does the intensity.
Which Do You Prefer and Why… Steady State Cardio Or HITT Cardio?
I like hitt because steady state is always harder for me as i’m asthmatic, at least with running, otherwise I find changing it up gets me the best results. I never only train one way, it’s always changing to my needs at the time.
What Are Your Personal Thoughts On Fasted Cardio?
I like to do cardio on empty stomach for comfort of it, but again I think this is specific to the person, some people get hypo and need to have something before they do cardio and depends on the time of day. Some get better results on empty and have no issues with hypo but feel gross when they have something in their stomach. Specificity is key when it comes to workouts.
What Does Your Diet Look Like?
I prefer pescatarian so I tend to still eat clean, fish, green beans, etc but like rice cakes with nut butter and still do have the occasional veg burger or drink or slice of pizza or but these are sporadic. I love sushi and eat it most depending on affordability. I also love curries and beans but don’t eat them daily. I tend to have majority on clean foods, produce and foods which are as close to its natural state as I can.
I love eggs and eat them daily, I used to be allergic to them from 1993 til a couple years back so now I appreciate them even more. Oatmeal and nuts are also a favourite. I tend to like veg but have to be conscious about eating veggies and like some flavour and tang with them so vinegar, grainy mustard and olive oil make great base toppings for all types of cooked or raw veggies.
Being on the run on some days I tend to eat simple and plain, steamed veggies for example. I love home made fruit and veg salsa, great on anything so if I keep basmati or quinoa made I can add some black or kidney beans and top with the salsa.
Do You Bulk and Cut Or Do You Stay Lean For The Whole Year Round?
On season I cut, off season I bulk with moderate diet without cut as focus but still remain looking very fit with lines and curves. Striations are not a focus off season.
What Do You Find Gives The Best Results When You Are Cutting?
Lots of water and running. Cutting out sugar and keeping to a small range of carbs such as rice cakes, oatmeal and sweet potato push results along quickly when coming from off season to pre season allowing my body to get used to it into the on season.
How Do You Deal With Cravings?
I remind myself that it only takes me a week or so to get over it, technically 28 days on average for anyone to get over a habit, addiction or craving…
Pepsi is a big one for me and I have been able this time around to really control it, in the past post contest I would go hog wild on pepsi but this year I have been very disciplined. I am having some now im off season but balanced with activity and more good choices than bad. I am also trying to keep with my 2 gallon water which I use pre and on season. I found post contest my body still wanted to keep up at least a gallon and have been avging 1.5 gallon per day. It keeps me leaner and health issues in check – keeps me off pepsi too.
What Supplements Do You Use?
I used to use it all, but I find with my irritated tummy that glutamine is a main stay, multi’s with a few extras such as D, C and B and sometimes like to go on creatine cycles. I am also now using Geranium 20 which helps with asthma giving me a boost with cardio.
What Activities and Hobbies Do You Enjoy When You Are Away From The Gym?
Hiking is great as I have dogs, hill walks are also great with the dogs. I try to mix my activities with my furkids. Going for sushi with my Bro, not blood related but better than any family I have, is a highlight for me and we then follow it up with a ride visit to some of our favourite parks walking and hiking my dogs. Non active, I love MMA, I love watching fights!!
What Are Your Favourite Supplements?
Glutamine is a favourite as it helps with joints, recovery and muscle pain. Even those who are labouring and get sore from that find glutamine a God Send. I find supplments are also relative to the needs at that time so on season I tend to take more things adding in stuff like milk thistle due to the higher protein intake.
What 3 Exercises Have Contributed The Most To Building Your Physique?
Squats, Deads and Pullups but now that I am dealing with bone issues I have to lift much lighter in the first 2 choices. I used to use 200+ lbs and miss that horribly but like I repeat, training is always relative to the person and their needs at the time. Training should always change, never remaining stagnant.
What Is The Most Common Training Question People Ask You The Gym?
How to get my abs. Yet most are unprepared to eat the way you need to get the lean you need to see those abs.
What Is Your Favorite Workout Music?
I burn through songs within a month or two but I have faves changing every month. I love dance, rap, chill dance, hip hop. Old stuff like MJ, Prince etc… and new stuff like Mia Martina, Massari, Justin Bieber… yes I have bieber fever and adore his song ‘as long as you love me’.
Take a peek through my facebook page, I posted my playlist a few months ago and tend to post songs which really catch me. Loved Breathing by Jason Derulo, Battle Scars by Guy Sebastien, Karl Wolf, Enrique Iglesias, JLO… I range in and about all these dance types of music.
What Is Your Greatest Achievement?
My glutes, my abs are phenom but came easy, the butt took lots of work and focus and now I am proud to say I have the best butt on stage as a natural competitor.
What Is Your Favorite Quote?
Live Your Life In A Way That When You Awake, Satan Shudders ‘Oh Shit She’s Awake!’
What Do You Love About Competing?
The journey and the accolades. I was not able to fullfill complete goals in any activity as a child as I was sick and in hospital for months at a time so now as an adult I am milking my ability for as long as my body allows and even when it does not I push!
What Are Your Plans For The Future?
I would like to obtain my IFBB pro card for fitness but also would like to get more paid fitness model work.
Who Are Your Favorite Athletes, Bodybuilders and Fitness Models?
I still look at Corey Everson as one of the greats, one of the last who did bodybuilding looking like a woman and not so much freakish. Rachel Mclish is also an old fave as well as Sharon Bruneau who was my absolute fave and who I looked up to when beginning on my journey.
If Someone Wants To Connect With You How Can You Be Contacted?
I am on most media websites. I have my personal facebook page and also one for fitness/figure and one for Body Rush Personal Training. I have the same for my youtube channels and twitter. You can look me up on Linkedin, instagram as well as my website.
Anything Else You would Like To Share With Our Users?
I am now taking travel training sessions for those who wish to fly me out for a weekend or week of intensive training and nutrition work. I will teach you how to make lifestyle changes which are permanent and help you with a program and meal plan that I leave you with. Follow up can continue online or through further travel sessions.
I am taking 2-3 new clients locally in Vancouver BC and those who wish to travel to me are welcome to contact me for details on this type of arrangement, similar to my travel out except you come to me.
Online training can be very effective for those who are most self-sufficient, taking you to the next level. My custom packages are the most effective means if you have the budget but I also have some semi-custom plans which can help you along.