Eric Leto
How I Became a Vegan WBFF Pro Fitness Model and European Vice Champion


We talked with Eric Leto in October, 2019. Follow Eric on Instagram and Facebook
Country:
Luxembourg
Age:
33 years
Weight:
75 kg
(165 lbs)
Height:
174 cm
(5'8)


Instagram, @eric.leto - photo by Kemuel Valdes

Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training

Hi! My name is Eric Leto. I am currently 33 years old from Luxembourg. I was born and raised here even though my parents are both Portuguese. I am an assigned Professor in Economics and teach at national High schools.

My passion was always Fitness/Bodybuilding since age 19 after playing eight years of basketball. I had my first competition then where I got first in Junior’s National Bodybuilding. Since then I haven’t stopped training and competing.

I am as well a WBFF PRO Fitness Model, 2016 European Vice Champion and my last competition was April 2018 in Los Angeles at the North American WBFF Professional Show.

I am also a certified elite trainer and diet expert and worked successfully with over thousands of people so far by helping them live a healthier life and attain their physical goals. It has been two years since I turned into a plant based diet and lifestyle and it has changed me completely inside out.

I have currently a few sponsors that sustain my activity as a Professional Fitness Model, Nutrition (tonic.lu), Clothing (kwenchwear.com), Marketing (team4fit.com) and Workout wise (painworld.lu).

I also do a lot of Yoga since two years, mostly 4-5 times a week for a 45-minute session; it keeps me more balanced, flexible and bendy, a great compliment to my weightlifting Schedule. Personally the best thing I can say about Fitness/Bodybuilding is that it teaches you discipline, respect, efficient planning and perseverance that you can apply further in every aspect of your life.


Instagram, @eric.leto

Describe a typical day of training


I always train alone so I can focus on myself and no one can interrupt me during my workout

I usually train five times a week by splitting the big muscles, whole chest and triceps, back and biceps, shoulders, legs, upper chest and calves. All of my workouts don’t take more than 40 minutes, the majority of the time I do Supersets, Drop Sets or Giant Sets, it allows me to feel a better pump, get more blood into my muscles, burn more calories and reach High HR levels. The rep range stays between 15 and 25 per exercise.

For big muscles, five to six exercises are optimal and for small muscles two to max of three exercises are done. Sometimes I change the routine to shock the muscles. I train in the most renowned gym in Luxembourg at Painworld Fitness since 10 years now, they are also my partners and support me in every activity.

I always train alone so I can focus on myself and no one can interrupt me during my workout as I take it very seriously. As supplements, I take Vegan BCAA from Nano Supps during training and Vegan Protein Powder (Sun Warrior) after workout with some magnesium.

As I do lots of yoga at the moment (7-8 hours per week), my cardio schedule is very limited (2 x 15 minutes HIIT per week) and I always aim for sprints on the treadmill. My favorite exercise is inclined dumbbell press (45°), love to feel the upper chest pumped.


Instagram, @eric.leto

How do you keep going and push harder?

My workouts are just like going to work; you just go by not even questioning yourself about wanting or not wanting. Plus with the years of training, it is so natural to go everyday to the gym and the days you are off you don’t feel that great as usual.

Short-term goals as well as long-term goals are important to always keep on going without losing motivation and a true purpose. Competitions are great goal setters, where you prepare weeks and even months to better yourself and come as a stronger athlete.

Life is about evolution, so the same equals for muscles; you have to keep on pushing every time harder or longer to continuously see results.

Gym time is essential, nowadays most of the gyms are opened 24/7 or at least 16 hours a day, there is no excuse to skip a workout, you don’t need to train for hours if you can find 35-40 minutes a day is enough to get a great Workout in and training at home might be also a solution for those you really can’t quit their location.

My biggest challenge was definitely mentally. During a worlds competition preparation, where we spent the last two weeks before the show in holidays visiting the Caribbean islands and we were travelling all around with lots of temptation for delicious food as I had to stick to my not so delicious plan, we had all you can eat buffet in all hotel as well in the cruise.

So being aware that you paid a service to consume everything you want (literally), I could just consume those few foods per day and limiting myself and I didn’t crack once, it made me significantly mentally stronger.


Instagram, @eric.leto

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

At this moment, I do weight lifting four times a week especially high intense series with not much time rest between sets, 45 minutes yoga five times a week and cardio only two times a week around 20 minutes on the Stairmaster.

My goal for the next five years is to improve especially my flexibility and to stay all year around at 7-8% body fat. This goal is important for sustainable health and wellbeing for the rest of my life.

Competition wise I might say that end of next year I will bring my best package to date to set up a big challenge and empower myself in all areas of my life. To attain my goals I set up a plan with the desired goal and split it up in small steps and small goals that I commit myself to reach in specific time.

It takes discipline and everyday work to come near that finish line, but it is an enjoyable process. Besides the fitness challenges, I have a few other challenges, I am finishing my yoga teacher training and will be teaching yoga in multiple areas worldwide and online as well.

I will be travelling a lot with my wife next year, in one way to explore beautiful landscapes of mother earth but as well for business purposes. We might as well start a family, as we already feel ready and love children.

The only thing I would have changed from the beginning of bodybuilding is that I would have directly taken a coach or someone extremely experienced to help me as soon as possible to be the best physical version of myself, with that in mind, you spare a lot of bad experiences and a lot of time (years).


Instagram, @eric.leto

How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?

As an experienced athlete, I know that warm-up and stretching are very important to avoid injuries, they are part of my everyday workout routine.

During contest preparation, I do once a week a deep tissue massage at a friend’s massage Spa (demasseur.lu) to recover properly from the heavy weight lifting sessions.

As a professional athlete supplements are key to optimize performance and recovery, so Magnesium (Zipvit 500), BCAAs (Nanosupps BCAA), Omega 3 (Now Foods) and Vitamin C (IronMaxx Zero Gummies) sustain a better environment for perfect health.

Sleep as well is in my opinion very crucial to improve recovery; I usually sleep between eight and nine hours per night. My wife and me travel a lot so I always plan in advance what’s important to note before arriving like gym next door, food options, apartment equipped with full kitchen and fluid transport to places we aim to get to.

I generally have backup meals like vegan protein bars (PhD Smart Plant Protein Bars and No Cow Bars), nuts and rice cakes in case we got stuck somewhere or flights are delayed. Especially in contest preparation, I prepare all my meals for at least 60 hours so in case something goes wrong I have everything in place.


Instagram, @eric.leto

How is your diet and what supplements do you use?

As mentioned before, I follow a plant based diet since two years. My daily calories oscillate between 2400 and 2800 calories depending on my goal and my activity as well. The diet is high in Carbs (250-300gr), high in Protein (120-140 gr) and medium in Fats (60-80 gr).

At the moment, I take different supplements; BCAAs from Nanosupps, they taste like fruit juices, Sun Warrior Vegan Protein for Post Workout and sometimes as a Snack, Omega 3, Vitamin C, Magnesium a few times during the day.

I stay almost lean all year around, I don’t like bulking and than cutting that’s not healthy at all for the body. So generally before holidays or so I increase a bit more cardio sessions so I stay on point.

With experience, I learned that before going to a social event I always have my meal in so I don’t get so easily tempted when entering a restaurant or visiting family and friends.

I usually have one cheat meal per week, on weekends, where I spend with friends or family eating out where I can eat what I feel like in generous amounts of course. Most of the cases it’s vegan sushi or Indian food.

After years of dieting, I don’t feel any craving anymore for sweets or fast food, it just doesn’t resonate with me anymore. I think the last time I drank alcohol was like three years ago, not a big fan of it and especially knowing what it does to your body and your muscles. Coffee is consumed rarely and tea on a everyday basis.


Instagram, @eric.leto

What has inspired and motivated you?

Fitness and bodybuilding magazines motivated me to start working out, as I looked up to such amazing athletes to reach a similar physique. I always wanted to look muscular and have a hard sixpack.

Within the years of training, a lot of videos and inspirational motivators in fitness came around and they kept me highly motivated to keep on progressing, especially Greg Plitt, my ever favorite fitness model who did more than 100 magazine covers and had such an inspirational and unique character of drive and determination.

For me a workout is like meditation, you focus on your body and yourself with ass less stimulation as possible, so music, no training partner, no chats, it’s a time you take yourself, and only for yourself.

The best advice I got in my career was that I should never give up even if the odds of reaching the goal are against you, it may take longer that expected but one day you get there, life always surprises you.


Instagram, @eric.leto

Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?

If you are new in this area, I would recommend to hire an expert in the field and asking for help when you need and not trying to figure out everything by yourself. You will spare a lot of time and bad surprises.

Most new people entering the gym are ego driven, they focus on the maximum weight they can lift and forget about the principle that fitness and bodybuilding is especially resistance training and not powerlifting.

The strangest thing I see a lot is people occupying machines for half an hour by starring at their phone (?), it gets more and more like a social place instead of a place where you workout.

Five general tips I like to give to people:

  • Focus on yourself, mind your own business;
  • Be perseverant and disciplined and you can reach anything in life;
  • Surround yourself with like minded people that help you grow;
  • Be grateful for what you have and where you are;
  • Help people around you whenever you can.

Instagram, @eric.leto

Are you taking on clients right now?

Currently, I still take some new clients, I have a few spots left at this moment as my ability to manage clients has significantly improved those last years especially with 14 years of experience and having trained with the best professional athletes and trainers worldwide (Neil Yoda Hill, Rehan Jalali, Nathan Harewood).

My clients usually see great results within 2-3 weeks roughly if they stick to the plan of course. My main clients are online clients, especially for diet consultation, I usually do Skype session with them to check up on them and that we can cover anything that is needed for optimum results.

Nowadays everything is connected and easy to manage with the Internet and various social platforms.

Where can we learn more about you?

My official website is www.ericleto.com, my Instagram is @eric.leto and my Facebook is @ericletos.

My main channel and platform is definitely my website and Instagram but you can contact me on a daily basis and I will reply you within 24 hours (e-mail: [email protected]).


Ready to get really fit and inspired?

I’m Mads Phikamphon, founder of Bulk Hackers.

Here on Bulk Hackers we interview bodybuilders, personal trainers and fitness heroes. We ask them to share their stories and all their greatest hacks!

If you liked this interview, join our newsletter below.

Interested in doing an interview? Send me an email.

Stay strong. Get the Bulk Hackers newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share
Tweet
Reddit