Issue #8


by Juan Carlos Lopez

Campeonato Selectivo Nacional 2005 San Luis Potosi

Campeonato Selectivo Nacional 2005 San Luis Potosi Review / Reseña

Cover Model Video Interview: Karen Zaremba

Close Grip Bench Press Article and Video
by Sandy Grant

20 Questions with out Cover Model Karen Zaremba

Karen Zaremba, Kristi Wills, Dawn Principe. Nancy Hirsch and Alia Anor

Video Interview: Sherry Smith

Fitness Power by Linda Cusmano

Video Interview: Cynthia Sharp

My Journey Towards a Pro Card
Katie Szep

Video Interview: Kristi Wills

Competition Journal
by Natalie Verges

Karen Zaremba IFBB Figure Pro

Team Universe Experience
by Karen Patten

Drinking Coke
Rossella Prunetti

Fitness Power by Linda Cusmano

If there is anyone familiar with obstacles her name is Linda Cusmano. An Elite trainer, Linda was born with Chronic Bronchial Asthma and severe allergies. Today these issues are much better dealt with but up to the 90s Linda was unable to keep active consistently. The medications available then were never enough to allow a somewhat normal active lifestyle because she had no immunity to fight colds or flu, leading straight to Pneumonia. Dance, Gymnastics or any class she decided to take she would never complete usually due to ending up in the hospital 2 – 3 times per year.

In the mid 90s medications were available that Linda responded well to. Suddenly Linda discovered the ability to run and exercise or participate in sports without loss of breath and asthma attacks. She described this as Freedom. With these new found abilities Linda became active in weight training, inline skating, running, kickboxing, basic gymnastics and plyometrics. Competing in Fitness was a given. 10 years later she is now a Pro Fitness Champion as well as a competitor in Bodybuilding, Obstacle, Strength, Fit Model and Figure. There were other obstacles in the form of injury throughout the years and to the present. ACL reconstruction, meniscal trimming, 2nd degree groin strain, low back due to rear end car accident and fractured feet have all contributed to Linda's ongoing growing experiences within these sports.

Enjoying the experience of natural competition had led Linda to promoting her own shows in Western Canada. With the success of the Body Rush Classic in 2001 WNSO decided to have Linda host the Fitness Canada Western and Muscle Mania Western. A full blown Bodybuilding, Fitness, Fitness Model and Figure contest open to male and female competitors for every class. The show was a hit for 2 more years and then to concentrate on coaching competitors and Linda stepped down.

While she runs her Body Rush Personal Training business both online and in the Vancouver, BC area she also writes for various magazines, models, hosts workshops, dabbles in acting, trains competitors and choreographs.

“Creativity is the best part of competition. You have the ability to be very creative with Fitness, any of the classes really. Choosing music is usually the first thing but you want to pick tunes which you can apply to a costume in your mind, and maybe some story or theme.” Linda continues “Choreography is also very open to a diversity of talents. You don't have to have any particular acrobatic background to do well but you do want to examine what talents you do have, then you work it into the routine.”

Linda discusses her training a little bit, “My training has changed so much, up and down depending on the injury at the time! I mainly train a 6 day split but I also enjoy the efficiency of super setting. Power training is very helpful such as the good old squats and deadlifts. Core training and plyometrics are always incorporated in my training for balance and jump height. Body weight exercises are challenging but added in my training. Moves like Wide Grip Pull ups and Chest Dips are my bread and butter of training,”
she explains, “but of course I vary all these training types depending on the cycle I am in for the year. I keep my training periodic around contests and events, or around injuries.” She laughs. “A huge weakness is rotator cuffs, and that is a big one for many people. Well I hate the exercises but without them I can’t take increases in weight with shoulder or chest workouts so it all goes hand it hand.”
Linda takes time away from weights for a few months during her off season instead hiking, biking, blading and doing other activities. Competing in many classes and shows in year you can find Linda taking a year off in between then coming in stronger, bigger and leaner than the year before with much more dynamics. This is proof that rest is part of the road to achieve goals.

Here is one of Linda's random training days during off season:

-Warm up with balance work on the extreme board for 10 mins
15 mins light jog on treadmill or low intensity on elliptical trainer
3x12 – 15 (stretching appropriate to each exercise after 2nd or 3rd set)
-Stationary Lunges holding dumbbells
-Concentration Dumbbell Flat Chest Press
-Standing Calve Raises holding dumbbells
-Bent over Close Grip Mid back Dumbbell row (both arms)
-Inner and Outer thigh
-Overhead shoulder Dumbbell Press balancing on body ball (knees on ball)
-Knee raises on throne
-Cool down with Splits and stretches

A typical ‘healthy’ day diet would be as follows (including 2-3 liters of water):

-Oatmeal for breakfast with a multi-vitamin/ mineral combo, Vitamin E & C, B Complex, Magnesium

-3 hours later a protein shake for snack including soy protein, greens product, Omega oils, glutamine, frozen berries, banana, OJ, water and some ice all blended together.

-Mixed Bean Chili with Tuna, huge spinach salad with omega oils and balsamic vinegar

-2 hours later soy yogurt, plain or with some fruit

-Sashimi (raw fish) with some sushi (rice and raw fish)

-Calcium and Magnesium before bed and maybe a protein shake, just powder and water if hungry after dinner.

Visit Linda Coaching Website at if you want to compete!!

Back to Issues

About the Author...

Linda Cusmano

Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Competitor
Body Rush Personal Training & Lifestyle Consultation

If you are beyond this level and looking for more tips toward contest physiques then feel free to email me your questions and I will try to help.
Any fitness, health, diet, rehab or contest (fitness, figure, bodybuilding, fitness model) questions can be emailed to

Please visit Linda's Web sites:

© 2004 HardFitness Design All right reserved.