Erik Kuusisto – Male Fitness Model Statistics
- Name: Erik Kuusisto
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 176 pounds
- Date of Birth: 12/11/1992
- Hair Color: Dark Brown
- Eye Color: Blue-Gray
- Location: Mount Kisco, New York
- Website: ModelMayhem.com/ErikKuusisto
Erik Kuusisto – Male Fitness Model Interview
What is your background?
My name is Erik Kuusisto. I am 20 years old and I work as a personal trainer along with being a college student from Mt. Kisco, New York. I graduated from Fox Lane High School in Bedford, New York, and currently attend Ohio University where I am studying Physical Education. I have personal training certifications by the NFPT (National Federation of Professional Trainers) as well as ASFA (American Sports and Fitness Association). I’m also certified in First Aid and CPR/AED. Sports and fitness has always been a huge part of my life. I played baseball, football, basketball and dabbled in track and field throughout my entire childhood, but ultimately found that my real passion was in the gym. I have experience in many aspects of exercise, from CrossFit training, to Olympic powerlifting and everything in between. Although, I specialize in weight training.
How did you get started in the fitness field?
Athletics has always been a large part of my life, but weight training didn’t find its way into my heart until later in my high school career. It’s actually a pretty lame story to be completely frank, but ultimately, I started lifting after my first real breakup. I was devastated beyond measure, and thought that if there was any way I could win her back, it would be by getting as ripped and jacked as I possibly could.
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
Fitness training and being in peak condition isn’t for everyone. Some people do it for the looks, others do it for how they feel after a workout, but when it’s all said and done, you must have something to strive for. Lifting for me is all about the challenge and proving people wrong. Originally, yes, I wanted to do it for the looks but as I continued to workout it became much more than just about getting the girl back. It became the bully that would steal your lunch money or the baseball team you could never beat in the playoffs. It took over me, emotionally, physically, and psychologically. It became an obsession. Turning into a workout machine was all I wanted to do. To show the world and everybody in it that didn’t think I was good enough or wrote me off, or said I couldn’t do it. Pushing myself to my limits, to exhaustion, to total fatigue in order to get to the next level.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
I don’t know if there’s one thing that’s any bigger than the next. Fitness is all about setting goals for yourself. Having one ultimate goal, but having little accomplishments that you can strive for along the way, to keep you going. That, to me, is the most important aspect of determination for success in this industry. But, becoming a model and personal trainer have probably been the most significant achievements I have been able to conquer, along with finally sticking it to that ex-girlfriend I mentioned earlier which happens every time I take my shirt off for a photoshoot. Yeah, that’s a pretty big one for me also!
What is the best way to get started in the fitness modeling industry? Should I just contact the photographers directly or should I use an agency?
I would recommend building a portfolio and doing a few small private gigs before you decide to walk into a big agency and ask for a contract. This will build up your experience in front of the camera as well as give the agencies something to look at to see your individual “look” and how you shoot. I almost forgot, make sure to do your research! These agencies want someone who’s not only interested in themselves, but also interested in helping expand and benefit their company. Read up on their approach, check out their current models, find their philosophy and walk in there with some confidence.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
I normally wake up between 8:30 and 9:30am. I take my supplements, hop in the shower and check some e-mails. And then it’s off to the gym. Most days I spend between two and three hours there, always doing my heavy weight training in the morning. After that, I go home, make my protein shake and post-workout supplements and rest for an hour or so. Once I’ve had enough sitting around, it’s either back to the gym for abs and cardio, or I take myself to the track or through town on a run. That is followed by a little snack to keep my energy levels up so I don’t crash. Then its back to the computer and phone to see what jobs I have coming my way and what I have to get ready for in the upcoming days, then it’s dinner time. Once I’ve given myself enough time to digest, I head to the local park to play basketball (5 on 5 always). Half court hoops isn’t enough to get a good cardio workout. After an hour or two, I head back home and veg out for a bit before bed.
I don’t have that much time during the day to workout, so I really want to burn major calories in a short amount of time. What is the #1 “bang for the buck” cardio exercise I should do to burn serious calories?
HIIT Training (High Intensity Interval Training). 100%. This type of cardio is done for shorter durations of time. But you should only do it between 3-5 times a week. It should not be done for more than 25 minutes per session, and basically you need to alternate between sprinting and slow jog or walking. The normal rule of thumb is 30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds walk. This will get you sweating like a pig and it keeps your body burning calories for an extended amount of time even after you get off whatever equipment you’re using, rather than regular low to moderate intensity cardio for more extended amounts of time that stops the calorie burning process the minute you step off the machine.
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
It is not healthy for anyone to be losing more than 2 pounds a week. Anything less than that is absolutely fine, but stick to no more than 2 pounds since anything more than that is unhealthy for the body.
What type of food or supplements should I take before and after my workouts to help me see results in gaining lean muscle and losing fat?
It is about eating the right foods, but honestly, society has made fat loss and losing weight so much more complicated than it has to be. At the end of the day, it comes down to a caloric deficit and a caloric surplus. If the body is taking in fewer calories than needed to maintain weight, it’s going to lose that weight. But with regards to food, lean protein sources like fish, ground turkey, grilled chicken breast, and beans are all going to be the most helpful in building muscle and staying lean. Healthy fats include oils, low-fat dairy products such as Greek yogurt, skim milk and nuts. Good carbs include whole grain pasta, brown rice, and wheat products like bread, English muffins, waffles, and hearty cereals such as raisin bran. Here’s the beauty of it, body fat is the first and most easily burned substance on your body. Working hard and eating a bit fewer calories should do the trick. Fat burners and healthy food adjustments will provide added help to shedding that extra fat.
How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food? I can stay on a diet for maybe a few weeks but I eventually get really bad cravings and binge on snacks and fast foods.
There are healthy options for everything. Frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, whole grain pasta instead of white pasta, or all natural chunky peanut butter rather than regular and smooth peanut butter. Cheat days are just as important as eating right. The body actually responds more positively to healthy eating habits when it is given a day out of the week to cheat.
I’m trying to create a healthy shopping list to stick with. What are some of the main foods I should include to maintain a lean and muscular physique?
Lean protein sources like egg whites, fish, ground turkey, grilled chicken breast, and beans are great for building muscle and staying lean. Healthy fats include oils like olive oil and macadamia nut oil, low fat dairy products such as Greek yogurt, skim milk and nuts. Good carbs include whole grain pasta, brown rice, and wheat products like bread, English muffins, waffles, and hearty cereals such as raisin bran
I’m about 35 pounds overweight. I have never started an exercise program and really don’t know where to start. What tips can you give me to get started on the right track?
Give yourself a main goal and then come up with little weekly goals to help keep your motivation up. Eating right and making the little changes in your grocery shopping choices are very influential also. Fitness is about 80% nutrition and 20% working out.
I tend to eat out most of the time and really don’t know what healthy foods to order from the menu. What tips do you recommend for eating out at restaurants to make sure my diet will not suffer?
There’s nothing wrong with eating out if you know how to approach it. Most people have no idea what is going into their meals when they eat at restaurants. But looking at the menu and altering their meals to fit your nutritional needs will not get you kicked out of the restaurant or be a burden to the chef, I promise. Asking for grilled chicken instead of fried breaded chicken or asking for water instead of a soda are good routes to go.
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
Squats and lunges all day baby! These exercises are perfect for getting those buns nice and tight.
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
Honestly, at least for me, weight training is something I could do all day, everyday, if I could. What the toughest thing for me is has got to be the nutritional aspect. Staying on top of your diet day in and day out gets very boring. Having friends and family who aren’t as serious about fitness as I am is increasingly difficult, especially when it comes to going out with them.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Breakfast: 2 whole grain waffles with 1 scoop of all natural peanut butter.
- Mid-Morning Snack: Non-fat Greek yogurt with granola.
- Lunch: Grilled chicken breast sandwich on whole wheat, steamed broccoli, and yams.
- Mid-Afternoon Snack: Whey protein shake with skim milk.
- Dinner: Salmon or chicken breast with steamed veggie and a yam or brown rice.
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
- Strength Training Exercises: Varied rep and set ranges to keep my muscles confused (drop sets and super sets) with high weight and low reps. As well as moderate weight with high reps.
- Cardio Exercises: HIIT training, jogging, stationary rowing, basketball, bicycling.
- Additional Training: I tend to enjoy finishing my weight training routine with a body weight CrossFit routine.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. Set goals.
2. Train hard and push yourself to your limits.
3. Eat right, eat clean.
4. Sleep a substantial amount (8-10 hours nightly).
5. Don’t overtrain.
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Keep your diet clean.
2. Increase your protein intake.
3. Decrease your starchy carb intake at night.
4. Do cardio at least 4-5 times per week.
5. Drink a lot of water.
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Eat a lean protein source at each meal.
2. Focus on clean carbs like yams, brown rice and oatmeal.
3. Use heavy weight and lower reps around 6-8 per set.
4. Eat a nutrient dense meal every 2.5 to 3 hours.
5. Get maximum sleep.
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. Make small goals and stick to them.
2. Keep a fitness journal to track your diet and exercise plan.
3. Stay consistent with your plan.
4. Surround yourself with positive people.
5. Always keep your chin up and have a positive attitude.
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
- Monday: Legs, abs, HIIT cardio, basketball. High sets, 8-10 reps per set, 30 seconds rest in between.
- Tuesday: Chest, abs, jog, basketball. High sets, 8-10 reps per set, 30 seconds rest in between.
- Wednesday: Back, abs, HIIT cardio, basketball. High sets, 8-10 reps per set, 30 seconds rest in between.
- Thursday: Shoulders, abs, jog, basketball. High sets, 8-10 reps per set, 30 seconds rest in between.
- Friday: Arms, abs, jog. High sets, 8-10 reps per set, 30 seconds rest in between.
- Saturday: Lower body, bodyweight CrossFit routine, abs, HIIT cardio, basketball.
- Sunday: Upper body, bodyweight CrossFit routine, abs, jog, basketball.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for losing fat around the stomach and developing a toned and defined midsection?
1. Lower your caloric intake.
2. Eat right.
3. Do lots of cardio.
4. Sleep 8-10 hours nightly.
5. Don’t get discouraged, it takes time.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. Running stairs.
2. Walking dumbbell lunges.
3. Barbell squats.
5. Step ups to a bench.