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Linda Cusmano Interview

FF: How did you get involved in the fitness field?

LC: In my teens I went through some health issues from being overweight down to the other extreme of being anorexic which brought my attention to healthy bodies. I would see on these Fitness Pageants shown on the sports networks and the 'follow along exercise programs' on TV which used trainers and competitors. I was in the midst of a career change so the timing was perfect for personal training. I also decided that since I love to perform and had the dance and gymnastics talent, then I would do these Fitness Pageants one day, but I did not imagine I could ever go as far as I have. I was sick with Chronic Bronchial Asthma most of my life, in and out of hospitals monthly and could not jog a block , never mind doing this stuff - the doctors and my family never thought me able to live past my teens........but in the late 90s they came out with some great medication which allow me to be almost normal with activities! Now I guess I do so much out of compensation from being held back all my life. Being a sick child also meant my parents did not demand much of me other than not to die of this. They could not support me in my athletic needs out of fear with my illness and having seen me nearly die a few times from this health problem, so I was forced to quit gymnastics 9 months after I began. I was not supported even if I was just doing lip syncs.......they were so scared and treated me like a 'china doll', but I can't blame them for that of course. To this day I have had such a lack of family support or maybe the old "good for you" comment, but I guess I am used to it now and instead I turn to some great friends who do support me with whole heart, like Tracy Holly!!!

FF: Why do you do what you do? For example, is it for money, fame, fortune, the love of the sport or because you enjoy teaching others about your fitness philosophy?

LC: I do this for many reasons, one is because this is an awesome job, very flexible, I can run this myself, no overhead and good money when you have a nice run of clientele. I love to translate my knowledge into helping others, especially when I look back at all the obstacles and health issues I had to deal with. Now I can take these lessons I learned and help others become empowered with exercise, achieve goals they never imagined possible and fight health issues with success!! This of course in turn empowers me as well!

FF: What is your personal fitness philosophy?

LC: Exercise, fitness and nutrition are a lifestyle necessary for a long healthy time here on earth. Pretty simple.

FF: What keeps you motivated and on track? Do you have any role models?

LC: Usually my own achievements can do that, but lately I have had a run of injuries starting back in Aug of 2000 when I was in the back of a truck, stopped waiting to turn, and we were rear ended. This spiralled into injuries that have slowed me down since. In turn this kills my motivation a bit, but then I see my rival competitors and become motivated to excel past their achievements - I am so very competitive! As for role models who I admire, who live "the lifestyle" I mentioned above......well I could list a few but Cory and Tracy Holly are 2 big role models who never seem to waiver from their healthy lifestyle regardless of life! If they can do it, I can do it - hey you can do it too!!!!!

FF: With such a busy schedule, how do you balance your family and social life with work and training, and still find time for yourself?

LC: I have no social life. I do see my friends but not weekly or anything. I can 't go out and just spend money since supporting my competitive lifestyle takes all my income (even with some sponsorships) which means 'no social life' but I don't care. I did all that from ages14-26, once I dedicated myself to this that means all scarifies toward my goals. I like to live simple, watch videos, TV and train. Writing articles and preparing my athletes for their shows, training my clients, walking my dog and spending time with him are basically the life I have chosen and am very happy with. I also love going for East Indian Vegetarian foods and Sushi! Maybe once I am rich and famous I can go and party and club and all that again.

FF: Where do you see yourself ten years from now in the health and fitness industry?

LC: Wow, I want my own Fitness show on TV. I want to get some leading acting roles. I want to win more 1st place titles and get World championship in Fitness. I want to do more local amateur bodybuilding. I want to be paid to write and model for magazines rather than doing it for advertising only. I would love a studio, not public but for training 'one to one' only with a floor for routines and kickboxing. I want a few bestseller Fitness or health type books. I want to teach more workshops and courses. These are a few goals - not all. I have enough goals to last my next lifetime in heaven - I will drive God crazy telling him to get fit because he just sits on his throne and works all day watching over us!!!

FF: Do you have any final thoughts you'd like to share?

LC: I want to tell everyone not to hold themselves back but to TRY stuff, even if you think " I could never do that", just try it, if you don't do well or whatever, what have you lost? Nothing, you gained experience, self worth and learned something new about you! I went to my last contest with a fractured foot, strained hamstring and shoulder but rather than cancel, which many people may have done - and I did think of it too, I still went out and did it, full well knowing I could not win! I still did get so much from this, even though I did not get 1st place, I actually placed very low.

Linda is a Canadian Pro Fitness Champion and Elite Personal Trainer located in Vancouver, BC. Training everyone from competitors to health risk and rehab. Owning and running Body Rush Personal Training & Lifestyle Consultation is only part of the work, she writes and models for various fitness, health and bodybuilding magazines and is the BC promoter for the Muscle Mania West Fitness Canada West as seen on TSN. Linda has also appeared on a Much Music commercial and several other television shows. Linda also competes in Bodybuilding and Figure as well as kickboxing when she is not competing in Fitness.



Photographs by: www.larry-niven.com