“Success is not about being better than someone else, or even bigger. It’s about yourself…your life, and how you learn from it and deal with it.”
Big Back Grips User Profile: Kevin Lisak (Big Back Student Rep)
BBG: Hi Kevin. Nice to get a chance to talk. Now, you’re a Big Back Lifting Grips Student Rep, so we know a little about you. But for everyone else, can you fill us on your background a bit: what you do, where you go to school, where you’re from…anything you want us to know, anything that puts you in context for people.
KL: Well, I was born and raised in upstate New York in a small town called Owego, near Binghamton. My whole life I’ve been very competitive and into sports. I started playing football and basketball in 2nd grade and continued playing football for 10 more years. I started to lift weights in the 10th grade when I reached varsity-level football. I knew if I wanted to survive it and successful at it, I had to pack on some size and strength. I spent hours training in the gym and on the field, going over all the steps and movements to better myself and the team. I decided to play in college, too, and luckily I had some teams looking at me to come play at their school, nothing that was a huge deal but enough to work hard and look forward to. I decided to attend Morrisville State College in New York and it was time to start working hard again. Much like in 10th grade, I was moving up to a new level, the college level. If I wanted to be a successful player I had to get bigger and faster AND STRONGER! I started working even harder in the gym and on the field. But then I missed the deadline to make the team! I was so caught up in time I hadn’t realized how soon the season had started. So I decided to take a year off, focus on school, and pushing my body to develop as an even better athlete.
BBG: How did the year off go?
KL: It’s when everything changed. I started caring more about my lifts and my body size than how I performed on the field. I was becoming what some may call a “Meat Head”. I didn’t think about how fast my 40 times was anymore; I just wanted to transform myself into a giant. I changed up my whole routine; no more body lifts and running, all weights and power lifts. Over the course of a few months I had gained a few solid pounds but nothing to brag about. And I had no idea what I was doing wrong. I started looking to the books, following the pros and their tips on gaining muscle. And I discovered the power of diet. I learned everything there was to know about diet and gaining muscle. I changed my whole entire life around to benefit the gym. I started working even harder in the gym and before I knew it I was gaining more muscle each time I stepped on the scale. In the course of 1.5 years I went from a skinny 150-lb 18-year-old to a solid 195-lb almost-20-year-old. I kept my body fat between 8-12% the whole time.
BBG: That’s a lot of change to absorb in a year and a half.
KL: Well, bodybuilding changed my whole life. I realized it was what I was intended to do. I went back to the books again and became a Certified Personal Trainer and started my business, Kevin Lisak Fitness. Since becoming a trainer and expanding my knowledge of fitness even more, I learned to develop my body better. In 2011 I was contacted by top fitness photographer Michael Anthony Downs and asked to shoot with his company. Since then I have expanded myself as a bodybuilder and fitness model and hope so see much more come with that in the future. I’m about to turn 20 years old and am three weeks out from my first fitness competition, “The Arnold,” where I will be competing in the Men’s Physique Division. I also have a few photo shoots set up with photographers around the nation that I am very excited to work with. I’m not sure where life is going to take me from here, but one thing that’s for sure is its only going one way and that is up.
BBG: We’d like to ask about your business a little. What can you tell us about Kevin Lisak Fitness?
KL: Our motto at KLF is “Stronger today than I was yesterday.” That means success is not about being better than someone else, or even bigger…it’s about yourself, what’s going on in your life, and how you learn from and deal with it. “Stronger” can mean mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. It’s about moving forward today, from where YOU were yesterday. After transforming my body and realizing how much fitness had changed my life, I knew this was something I needed to share with the world. I developed this business not only because I enjoy fitness and training, but because I truly enjoy changing lives, and that’s exactly what we have done. We offer Online and Hands-on personal training, exercise/nutrition guidance, tips, workout videos, motivation, etc. As well as exercise and diet programs and full One-on-One Body Coaching. KLF is a place where everyone is accepted. It’s not about your current body structure – it’s about everyone feeling welcomed and supported at KLF. The KLF Facebook community page is taking off! It’s a place where everyone on Team KLF can go for all their fitness questions and concerns. As well as share their own personal journey and just have a place full of people they can relate to and count on. If you would like to join Team KLF and become a part of the community check out Facebook.com/KevinLisakFitness
Also check out the site www.KevinLisakFitness.com
BBG: Personal training has become so competitive, and can be considered a luxury in any economy, but especially now. What do you do that sets you apart from other trainers? Is there a philosophy you adhere to as a trainer?
KL: Personal Training over the past few decades has absolutely become a very popular job. With everyone realizing the importance of health, exercise, and nutrition; it seems that more and more people are flocking the gyms and looking for guidance to reach their goals. I believe I set myself apart from other trainers simply because I LOVE WHAT I DO. One of my favorite motivational speakers, Eric Thomas, once said “You will never be successful until I don’t have to give you a dime for what you do.” I love personal training and nutrition consulting, both online and in-person that I would do them regardless of the pay. Well, I do have to eat and grow myself and support my mission in KLF. But as long as I’m helping people improve their lives, I’m happy.
BBG: So how did you come to be a Big Back Grips Student Rep and where does fit in with KLF? Do you have your clients using them?
KL: Well This past summer as I was living in Myrtle Beach, SC I came across Big Back Grips! I did a little bit of research on the product and followed up on some quick reviews and I was instantly sold! I came in contact with you guys and decided to become a representative so I could help spread the word of these great grips to all my friends and clients! As soon as the package came in the mail I rushed over to my gym and tried them out! I was running around the gym talking to people I’ve never spoken to before asking them to test them out for themselves! All of which LOVED them! I recommend BBG’s to every one of my clients and friends, as well as everyone on the KLF community! I actually was handing out a pair of the grips to everyone I’ve trained with!
BBG: For your own workouts, what did you use before BBGs and why did you settle on Big Backs. How do they help your workout?
KL: Before I came across Big Back Grips, I had always used straps, gloves, or just nothing at all. The straps would always not only take forever to set up-strapping to every bar, but they would always kill my wrist and leave me with tons of bruising. Gloves, well I always have just flat out hated gloves. They make your hands hot and half the time doesn’t even work well! Plus they just get ruined with in a months’ time. When I use nothing, obviously I have a very weak grip on the weight, really leading to less contraction on the targeted muscles. Not to mention my hands will get torn to pieces with some of the equipment I use! When I found BBG’s I feel in love instantly, they didn’t take time to strap in, you just grip and go! You can set them down or in your pocket easily, you don’t have to unwrap them. Your hands won’t be torn to pieces from the rough equipment and there is never bruising on your wrists! Most importantly however, your grip is amazing! I cannot even explain the work load it takes off when doing pull downs or pull ups! It almost feels like you don’t even have to grab the bar at all and you can completely focus on contracting your targeted muscles!
BBG: Where do you work out?
KL: I lift at the best gym in the Southern Tier! Court Jester! It’s an amazing gym and fitness club with an awesome and supportive staff and very friendly owner! Couldn’t ask for a better place to prepare for my competitions and succeed in my fitness journeys.
BBG: Did you play or excel at any sports?
KL: As I mentioned before, I was very into football my whole life. I played for 10 years up until I moved onto college. I was going to still play in college but after missing a deadline for the team, I decided to spend the year in the gym which resulted in me falling in love with the sport of bodybuilding.
BBG: What is your competitive history? Do you have any shows coming up?
KL: So far I have not officially competed yet, however, my first show is March 1st 2012. I set my first competition up to be a very LARGE one, The Arnold! I’ll be competing in the first ever Men’s Physique Division at the Arnold. I’m now less than 3 weeks out from the competition and I am more ready than ever! I also have a bodybuilding competition coming up in the end of April which is just a small amateur one held at my school! It’s not definite yet, but I hope to possible compete in the NPC pro qualifier Men’s Physique Competition March 31st as well.
BBG: What is your workout schedule like?
KL: My schedule changes quite often, right now since I am cutting down for my competition it goes a little something like this.
- Monday: Chest
- Tuesday: Back
- Wed: Legs
- Thurs: Shoulders
- Fri: Arms
- Sat: Cardio
- Sun: Rest
I am currently going twice a day, hitting about 30 minutes of cardio in the morning then going back in the afternoon to destroy the weights and my abs! My reps rang at the moment is set high; I’m doing lighter weights with higher reps and little-to-no rest between each set.
When I’m bulking up I have somewhat the same routine, however it changes every four weeks. Each four weeks I’ll substitute the “Sat-Cardio” with a muscle group, so I will be hitting one muscle group twice a week for 4 weeks, then I change it to a different muscle group. For example, I would hit Chest on Monday and Saturday for 4 weeks then I would hit back on Monday and Saturday for four weeks and so on. Usually when I’m bulking up I do little to no cardio because I tend to stay pretty lean due to my clean dieting. Also my reps stay low with heavy weights.
BBG:What about your diet?
KL: Much like my exercise, my diet changes often. Bulking and cutting however, are not much different for me as they are for others. I’m not one of those dudes who thinks “Eat as much as you can and you will get bigger” Those are the guys who cram their mouths with whatever they can find and they just end up building fat. Myself, no matter if I am bulking or cutting I always keep it clean. I keep my fat intake pretty low, usually getting it from nuts, seeds, and oils. Protein comes from Chicken, Lean Beef, Fish, Eggs, Cottage Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Protein Supplements, Etc. Also since my family is big into the outdoors, I am always around wild game meats such as venison. My carbs are always slow digesting coming from whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes, oats, etc. Also making sure I get my veggies and fruits each day.
As of now since I am cutting down, I have been getting around 2000-2400 calories a day- 200g of protein, around 250-300g of carbs, and 30-50 grams of fat every day. I keep my carbs up and the fats low because I want to keep strength and muscle size and mainly focus on burning away the fat. I am eating only egg whites, chicken breast, salmon, brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, berries, nuts, seeds, fruits, spinach, mushrooms, apple cider vinegar, almond milk, and rice cakes. This is pretty much all I’m taking in every day. It’s a very low fat, high protein and medium carb diet, getting my carbs in the morning and right before working out. I’m supplementing with Whey Protein, BCAA, L-Glutamine, Glucosamine, Multi-Vitamin, B6, Milk Thistle, Acai Berry Extract/Green Tea Extract, Caffeine, and Beta Alanine. The diet has been very strict the past 6 weeks but the results are incredible!
BBG: What are your favorite exercises or body parts to work? What do you consider your best body part? Do have a body part that’s especially challenging to make headway on?
KL: I would have to say my favorite body parts to exercise are my chest and my shoulders. There is nothing better than a full chest and shoulder pump, especially after doing the heaving weight when your body has extremely low body fat. Your veins blow out and you can see every muscle fiber in you. I also love working legs because it’s one muscle group that completely drains everything out of you more than anything else. I love the feeling after an intense leg work out of just falling down into bed and not wanting to even walk to the bathroom across the hall to pee. My best body parts I would have to say are my arms and my abs-BEACH MUSCLES! My arms have always been something I love to build, I just admire the look Arnold had at his prime with giant bicep peaks and I want mine to someday be exactly the same! As for my abs, I work them every other if not every single day! I’ve pretty much mastered the art of building abs up over the years and found all the secrets to getting them completely shredded! My hardest body part to build I would have to say are my calves and my side deltoids. Calves are usually everyone’s hardest muscle to build, but I’m working hard with them and I’m seeing some nice results, as well as the side delts.
BBG:If someone were going to work out with you, what are they in for, what’s your workout style? What would you want from a partner?
KL: I love to have fun when working out, some people may look at me like I’m a cocky prick but I find if you go in that gym like you own those weights then nothing can stop you. Have fun, yell, smile, and kill the weights! Don’t think for a second though just because you are going to have fun working out with me that you won’t be in pain the next day! It’s going to be a ball busting full out workout because my motto is “Lift ‘till you puke…then do 10 squats”. I would want a partner, who doesn’t look down at themselves for doing the weight that’s right for them. I want someone who is going in the gym to better themselves, not to impress everyone else in the gym. I want partners that believe in themselves and don’t look at the weights in doubt saying “I can’t do this”. My partner’s need to have the enthusiasm and drive that I have and it will be the best workout of our lives!
BBG: What’s your advice to people just starting out?
KL: The best advice I could give you is to never give up. Set goals in your mind and never let anything get in the way of reaching them. There are so many people who set goals, work at them for a few weeks then just stop because they don’t believe in themselves. One things for sure, you will never accomplish anything in life without you believe you can do it in the first place. Go at everything in life with a positive mind, because it’s true “Mind over Matter”. Remember that everyone starts somewhere; I started at around 115lbs benching about 95lbs 3 times. Don’t be discouraged or embarrassed because you are weaker or smaller than someone else, because at one point they were right there with you and some day you will be up there next to them. Never hate on anyone, nothing can come from giving out hate, especially one those who are more advanced than you. Just because someone is more developed/stronger/bigger/better looking than you, doesn’t mean you should hate on them. This is when you should become their best friend and get as much advice as you can take from them! Keep your mind open and listen to what others have to say, and again, always believe in yourself. Nothing should be a question in your mind; it should only be a matter of when and where.
BBG: Finally, can you give us your workout for just one body part: back or legs, shoulders, chest or arms, even abs. Just pick your favorites.
KL: Sure. Let’s do shoulders!
- Warm up with Rotator Cuff Exercises: 3×10 light weight
- Dumbbell Military Press: 3×10,8,6 not including warm up
- Barbell Military Press: 1-3xRest pause*
*(Find a weight you can do 6 reps of, 1 set of 5 reps, 15 second break, 1 set 2-3 reps, 15 second break, 1 set 2-3 reps)
- Machine Shoulder Press: 3×10,8,6
- Behind The Head Machine Shoulder Press: 3×10,8,6
- Front Raises-dumbbell: 3×10, 1×3 Drop set*
*(1 set of 10 with heavy weight, without rest lower weight and do 10 reps, without rest lower weight again and do 10 reps)
- Lateral Raises-dumbbell: 3×10, 1×3 Drop set
- Cable Weights Lateral Raises: 3×10
- Bent Over Reverse Fly’s-Dumbbell: 3×10
- Reverse Peck Deck: 3×10
- Shrugs-Barbell: 3×25
- Shrugs-Dumbbell: 3×25-50