Bodybuilder and mobile personal trainer Linda Cusmano said it’s ironic life has brought her to where she is now — days spent predominantly at the gym.

Cusmano spent her formative years battling chronic bronchial asthma and anorexia.

But the 37-year-old Vancouverite — who next month is competing in the B.C. Provincials bodybuilding competition — said it was those illnesses that drove her to lift weights.

“I’ve come from a background of a lot of illnesses and so this is empowering for me,” said Cusmano, who works out two hours a day and maintains a protein-rich diet.

She’ll be spending the next month working on whittling her body fat down to 10 per cent ahead of the competition.

Despite being lean and fit, Cusmano admits it’s difficult to keep up a rigorous wellness regime, and her body image still isn’t perfect.

“I have ups and downs. I still look in the mirror some days and see a 300-pound person, believe it or not. Those are the days you have to ... walk away, and I’ve learned to recognize when my eyesight isn’t right.”

Cusmano said that experience helps her address similar insecurities with her clients.

“To be anorexic or not eat takes willpower,” she said, explaining that you have to take that motivation and turn it around so food becomes a building block toward health, rather than a hindrance.

“That’s the same (strategy) I use,” she said.

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