This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Noora Kuusivuori.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I would describe myself as a lifetime athlete, a fitness model, a business woman, a mom and a wife. I got involved in health and fitness thru my career in sports. After I was done with baseball and swimming, I continued training hard and was asked to compete in figure. Competing was a start of getting into fitness modeling and health and fitness.
You served on the national women’s swimming team and baseball team in Finland, where you grew up, tell us about that time in your life.
Playing sports was a big part of growing up and taking the competition to the highest level was a natural path to take. From a very young age I knew that I had to work hard to get to my goals in every area of life including sports and that was and is a way of life.
Playing baseball was such a great experience having a whole team work together with towards our goals. And with swimming, I got to travel a lot and make friends in other countries and see life in other places. Playing sports got me used to putting in the work and loving the process of learning new skills but it also opened my World to so many new experiences, friends and just life in general. I am forever grateful for the opportunities that I have had thru sports.
So how did you end up in the United States, competing as a top figure competitor?
I met my son’s father while I was training for the World Championships and he was an American playing sports in Europe. He derailed my plans to study marine biology in France and I ended up in the US instead. I didn’t get into the figure world until after my son was born but my athletic background and the fact that I had been training my whole life helped me advance quickly in the new sport as well. Besides competing in figure in the States, I went back to compete in Europe also which was a great experience.
Did you have a lot of support from family and friends as you embarked on your fitness adventure and How important was that for you?
When I started competing in figure, I really didn’t have a lot of family around but I felt like I had a whole fitness family around me at all times. The fitness lifestyle is pretty extreme to a lot of people so having support from the people in your life is key or your family will be divided. I have always had great support around me and the more you’re around it, the more new friends you also make that have a similar health focus in life.
You hold an MBA, speak multiple languages, have a very successful career as a business executive, do you feel that in the fitness industry, people overlook those qualities and focus primarily on the outside?
Most definitely. Most people assume that I am a personal trainer. Why, I am not sure. There is nothing wrong with being a trainer but I have chosen a different career path. Stereotypes in fitness definitely apply and people assume that if you are in fitness, that is all that you do. And the focus is heavily on the outside and how you look.
I personally love the balance that I feel having a career in business that stimulates me in other ways as well. I feel that it is important that we start to change this especially with young women seeing success as having a body that looks a certain way and showing that off. There are other more meaningful ways to contribute to the society and to be successful. And it is absolutely doable to have a fit, healthy body and a mind that is even more powerful and productive.
You wrote an article for Muscle and Fitness Hers where you explain that Fitness is a lifestyle, for someone starting out that might sound a bit overwhelming, what is the first step to living the fitness lifestyle?
Take the first step! And never stop continuing with the next step! It sounds simple but we all started with the first step whatever our motivation or timing was. Some discover the fit lifestyle much later in life but the great thing is that it doesn’t matter when you start. Just start and you will see and feel the benefits and they will only continue as you get further, learn more and discover your own strengths.
Always continue to learn new ways to cook healthy foods, new ways to train and condition your body, new ways to live the best life you can live. Once you feel the difference, you won’t go back to your old unhealthy habits.
On top of your business and fitness career you’re also a mother, raising your kids, how do you balance everything?
I think moms have a superhuman ability to just get it all done. I’m not sure that it’s all in balance at any point but you make time for what’s important to you. Business is imperative to keep my family’s needs met, fitness makes me feel great and helps me power thru everything else in life and my kids are my heart.
I’ve trained with my baby from birth and now at 5 months old, she loves moving just like my older son. So incorporating the kids into the lifestyle is great all around as it teaches them healthy habits as well. Life really is about choices. I choose to wake up every morning early enough to train and the rest of the day is much more manageable when you feel great.
I read in an interview online that you like to get out of your comfort zone at least once a day, what does that help you accomplish?
If you always stay in your comfort zone, I believe you are staying stagnant and not growing. Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to push yourself hard and break your own limits. You discover things you didn’t even know you could do and now reaching higher becomes a way of life helping you grow everyday. Give it a try! 🙂
Looking back, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life?
The most important lesson is that I am in charge of my entire life. My mind is my most powerful resource and by controlling my thoughts, I control my life. I generally choose positive outcomes and when I slip, I can look back and recognize what I could’ve done differently to change the outcome and learn.
And how important are rest days, and what do you do to unplug and relax?
What is a rest day and how do you get those? Lol In all seriousness, rest is just as important as training itself when you get to a certain level in fitness. However most people don’t train hard enough to have to worry about scheduling physical rest in your schedule. If you are training intensely though, one day a week is important to set aside for recovery.
As far as unplugging and relaxing goes, I like to get outside and enjoy nature. Ideally I can leave my phone home and go play outside with my family. Cooking together is another way that I like to relax too and focus on spending time with loved ones.
What are some of the things you would like to accomplish in 2017?
I have big goals with my healthcare business for 2017. Outside of business, I definitely want to get in the best shape of my life after the birth of my daughter and take on some fun fitness modeling projects as well.
I am also finishing a book that has taken a few years to finish in 2017 and I am excited to share what I know about life and happiness in the book.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?