M&S Talks To Ripped Fitness Model Mike Raso

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Mike Raso
Quick Stats
  • Mike Raso
  • 6'1"
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Men's Physique
  • Click Here
  • 5
  • 210-215 lbs
  • 220 lbs
  • Optimum Nutrition, Monsta Clothing
Ripped champion Men's Physique competitor and fitness model Mike Raso shares his 5 favorite exercises, cardio plan, advice on recomping and more.

Major Accomplishments:​

  • 1st Overall Men’s Physique Stratford Festival Championships OPA.
  • 1st Tall Class Men’s Physique Ontario Provincial Championships Toronto SuperShow.
  • Published Fitness model in: MuscleMag Magazine, Maximum Fitness, Reps! Magazine, Sweat Equity.

What keeps you motivated?

My grandfather’s fighting spirit keeps me motivated. He has been recovering from a stroke for over 10 years. Seeing that others in my life have major obstacles to overcome makes what I do simple.

If he can battle through a stroke for 10 years then keeping focused and consistent with my train should be a breeze. I draw my motivation from my family and close friends.

Build your Upper Chest with this Exercise - Brock Aksoy & Mike Raso

What are your future goals, dreams and plans?

My goal in this industry is to create the biggest outlet I can to reach out to others and provide help and assistance. Magazine appearances, commercial work is awesome but it just helps create an avenue to reach out to more people. Exposure creates awareness!

How often do you perform cardio?

I perform my cardio year round in my weight lifting routine. My routine is very high pace with heavy weights. I find I burn more calories weight training at this pace compared to traditional cardio. I do add some morning fasted cardio from time to time when preparing for a shoot or competition.

Mike RasoI get up first thing in the morning and get my cardio in for 20-30mins HIIT style. I have studied what works for myself, I used to do certain things articles and others recommended. I started to lose too much muscle and quickly realized what works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you.

What are some of the most common mistakes made when someone is trying to build muscle and/or get ripped?

I believe one common mistake others make is there indecision about whether they want to bulk or cut. They tend to get into one phase and then half way through they decide they want to switch to the other phase. I would recommend if you choose to bulk/cut then set your mind to it and give it some time (12 weeks) to see proper results. With consistency comes results.

What are your favorite 5 muscle building exercises and why?

Squats, deadlifts, big bar curl, close grip bench, incline press. All five exercises are major compound exercises that help build the muscle.

Do you have any gym, muscle building or fitness pet peeves?

Be there for the right reason. The gym is not a social club or a night club. I find people spend more time fixing up their hair and looking at themselves in the mirror at the gym and get very little done when they are actually there.

Mike Raso

What are your best tips for getting ripped and shredded abs?

I would suggest the use of carbs for morning and around your workout and also hours following the workout. Stick with morning cardio in a fasted state and weight lift at night. Be sure not to overdo it, the lack of carbs and overtraining can actually have you lose sight of your abs.

What does your post-workout nutrition and supplementation look like?

How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or cook for the week?

I cook my meals every 2 to 3 days. I will cook enough for that day and the next. I prefer having food fresh compared to always reheating food a few days old.

Do you believe recomping is possible (gaining muscle while losing fat), and if so, is it as difficult as most people think it is?

I personally believe it is possible. The thing is with recomping you need to make sure your protein levels are 1.5-2 X your lean bodyweight and make sure you are also in that caloric deficit. The problem becomes carb intake, I find the best way to attack this is to surround 70% your carb intake within a few hours pre and post workout.

What are thoughts cycles of bulking and cutting for non-competitors who just want to look good?

I do not believe it is necessary for those who are not competing. I would not want to put my body through emotional and physical highs and lows to get a certain look. I believe to obtain a good look it is more than possible to go about it by adding lean mass and keeping fat gain to a minimal.

Mike Raso

What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?

I love to indulge in homemade pasta and pizza. I am of Italian decent but I rarely choose to enjoy most home cooked meals due to a strict diet. I like to allow myself one or two cheat meals during the week. This way I can rest my mind and enjoy some of this food.

These meals usually contain 1-2 main dishes and dessert. I prefer to have homemade either from home or an authentic restaurant. I also enjoy bread pudding and ice cream for dessert. I am not one for cravings of fast foods or junk food.

Mike RasoHow important is carb cycling when trying to cut fat and retain muscle?

I like to cycle 3 days high carb, 1 day low carb, 3 days neutral and rotate the timing each week. It keeps your body guessing and adjusting to the increased and decreased carb intake. This promotes muscle growth and triggers fat loss.

What are your favorite meals and foods?

I like oats as my power source and brown rice pasta as another complex carb. I am always trying to find ways to manage to get pasta into my diet, the Italian side of me ;). I get the benefits of both worlds this way.

What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?

  • Be consistently consistent.
  • Believe and achieve.
  • Your dreams, your goals, YOUR life.

If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?

You can find me at:

Mike Raso

Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to compete in your sport?

You need to adjust to make it your lifestyle and not some 3 month diet fad. Do it for yourself and no one else because at the end of the day you are the one doing this.

What attracts you to the natural side of sports and competition?

My family and friends can be proud of my accomplishments in this sport.

Which college or professional sports teams do you root for?

I root for the North Carolina Tar Heels for basketball and the Miami Hurricanes Football team. I am an ACC fan, UNC is a NBA factory while The U produces some the best NFL players. I enjoy the training style of certain Hurricanes players (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Andre Johnson to name a few).

Mike Raso

Photo Credits:

Jason Breeze, Michael Ching, Bert Pierre


1 Comment
Posted on: Wed, 08/29/2012 - 17:51

I follow Mike's training and nutrition tips in facebook. He really knows his stuff. Truly amazing and inspirational.