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Erko Jun is one of the most famous fitness models, personal trainers, and MMA wrestlers with Balkan roots. Read Erko’s answers to interview questions and find out everything about a star of contemporary martial arts, his achievements, diet routine and preparation for an MMA fight.
Full name: Erko Jun
Date of birth: 28.06.1990
Place of birth: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Weight: 99.76 kg
Height: 177.8 cm
MMA category: heavyweight
How it all began
Erko Jun was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but when he was only 2 years old, he and his family had to leave his homeland due to the Bosnian war (1992). The family emigrated to Belgium and began a whole new life in Antwerp. It was there that Erko began to develop his love of the martial arts, namely taekwondo and kickboxing. However, during one of the intensive training sessions with his father, he was injured and almost lost a feeling in his right leg. At that moment, his explosive nature awoke in him, and since he could not go back to full training load, he used his energy in street battles. However, coach Bill Richardson gave him a helping hand during this dark period by showing him that nothing was lost. He helped him to set on a journey of fitness and training at the gym. Over the course of 6 months, Erko made great progress, improved his condition, and gained muscle mass. What’s more, with the right combination of training and rehabilitation, he managed to recover from an unpleasant injury that was stopping him from achieving his dream.  
His greatest fitness achievements
Erko managed to achieve great success only thanks to hard work, motivation and self-denial. He is a 3-time junior bodybuilding champion, vice-champion of the Balkan Fitness Competition, and he also won 3rd place at the International Musclemania Show in Miami, Florida. However, despite these awards, he has never stopped being true to what he enjoys the most, so he decided to set out to a journey of an MMA fighter.   
Wins and losses in MMA
Passion and several years of experience in martial arts gave Erko an easy entry into the world of MMA, where he made his debut on June 9, 2018 at the KSW 44 gala evening. KSW is one of the leading mixed martial arts organizations in Europe. During the fight, he managed to deliver “KO” to his opponent Tomasz Oświeciński in the first round. In October in the same year, he repeated his success from the first duel and defeated rapper Paweł Mikołajuw in the first round at the KSW 45 gala evening. At the 49th gala evening, KSW even eliminated Akopa Szostak in less than 36 seconds of the fight. His match with one of the best fighters in KSW, Mariusz Pudzianowski, was unfortunate for him, as he was eliminated in the second round. He also suffered his second loss in the octagon in September 2020, when his opponent Damian Olszewski defeated him by “KO” in the first round. Altogether, Erko has 3 wins and 2 losses on his account.  
Erko Jun is a perfect example of the fact that if you want to achieve something, you have to go for it. He lives by the motto “No risk, no reward“, and his achievements are a true example of that. As he himself said: “My goal is to show the world what I am capable of. Everyone who has a dream and really wants to achieve something must have a will.” It is therefore no surprise that in addition to a great MMA and fitness career, he can be also proud of other achievements.
At the beginning of weightlifting and competition, he found out that he would not make a lot of money with this way of life. That is why he decided to pursue a modelling career that brought him the required earnings. He posed in front of famous photographers such as Luis Rafael, Dirk Alexander, and Kevin De Borger. He already boasts more than 1,100,000 followers on Instagram and more than 4.1 million fans on Facebook, making him one of the most prominent fitness influencers. Furthermore, he lives in private with his partner, fitness champion Oksana Alma, and they have a young daughter.   
Read about interesting facts Erko revealed about himself in our interview, and what is his secret behind success.
Interview with Erko Jun
- Erko, first and foremost, how did you start doing sports?
As a child, I was very active, I liked going out, playing, or dancing. Yes, I love dancing! From an early age, my father helped me to instil a love for sports, especially martial arts. I took up karate and taekwondo. Actually, taekwondo was the first mixed martial art I tried. Since then, I have been constantly training and loving sports. I think that my love for sports was formed from an early age, which I owe to my parents, but also that I was a very lively and active child.
- You started with martial arts. Which one fulfils you the most and helped you get to where you are now?
I started with taekwondo, which formed the basis of my knowledge of martial arts, and I use it even nowadays in standing combat. Then I tried kickboxing and found that it suited me even more, but I still use my basic skills of taekwondo, especially when kicking and boxing. I have to admit that now, after a while, I fell in love with wrestling, which has become my favourite sport. I like its intensity and the fact that it’s really challenging.
- Let’s move on to your childhood now. As a two-year-old child, you emigrated together with your family from Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the war. Do you remember anything from that period?
Fortunately, I don’t remember much, since I was only a little boy, but my parents experienced a lot of hard times during the war. We moved together to Germany, where we lived for one year. Then we moved again, this time to Belgium. Here I began to live my new life. However, my parents saw a lot of bad things, so I am happy that they no longer had to experience similar horrors. But even though I grew up in Belgium, I love my home country and I will always carry it in my heart.
- During your adolescence in Belgium, you had a “bad boy” reputation. Why was that so, and if you could go back in time, would you change anything?
The first reason was that I had many problems, let’s say I didn’t feel good at home. So, I kept running away outside, I just wanted to wander around and that’s why I used to get into trouble that usually ended in a fight. Also, I didn’t like school and I certainly wasn’t a great student. I’m not very proud of that, but all the difficult situations I’ve been through have made me the man I am today. All those street fights, spending time on the street and stuff – I wouldn’t change anything. I would just tell young people to go to school because it is really important and necessary. I say the same to my child.
- But then something changed, and it moved you forward. What was that?
What changed was the fact that I got to the gym through a friend, where an excellent coach Bill Richardson trained me. He saw that I was quite aggressive but at the same time an active boy. That’s exactly what I really was at the time. That’s why he took me under his wing and taught me how to express all my problems, energy, and aggression in sports. This helped me a lot. At the same time, I have found that sport not only calms me down but also gives me the right direction in my life.
- We all know that the beginnings are always hard. Were the first trainings with Bill Richardson just as demanding? What did you have to go through or what did you have to give up?
Beginnings are always challenging, not only in sports, but also in business or everyday life. It is important to persevere and not give up. It was hard with Bill at first, he literally wanted to kill me with his training. To give you a clearer idea, I trained so hard that I couldn’t return home by bike or on foot after training. And that was exactly his goal – to train so hard so I could forget about hanging out, fighting outside, and all my problems. I had to work hard during training, then go straight home, and come back the next day. And to my surprise, I liked it, it motivated and pushed me forward. I also noticed that it made my mom happy too, and she was finally glad I didn’t hang out outside or run away from home. I owe it all to sports, at that time specifically bodybuilding.
- Did you make any beginner mistakes in the exercise?
Of course, I made mistakes. Before training with Bill Richardson, I trained alone because I wanted to start with fitness due to problems with my leg. Well, that wasn’t my best decision. But when you’re young, you think you know everything best, and that was also my biggest problem. However, we’re only human, as they say – young and foolish. I thought I knew everything, and I wanted to do everything my way, but I understood by Bill’s side that I had to listen to the older and more experienced to teach me what was right and what wasn’t. I think it is very important to be able to accept criticism. If someone is critical of you, you need to hear them out and understand them. Subsequently, you should fix those mistakes, otherwise you have not learned anything from criticism, and it will not take you anywhere. And so, you stay on the same point.
- However, success and hard work also have their dark sides. Did you suffer any injuries during the fight?
Yes, of course, I got injured more than once, even when I did fitness and bodybuilding. But I have to say that it can’t be compared to MMA. I had some serious injuries there. With MMA, you never know when something might happen to you. You make a small mistake and you immediately have a problem, for example with your knee, elbow, or hand. I think 90% of people who have been injured in MMA go home with the understanding that they might never return to training again. However, injuries are common in MMA. I had my nose broken three times!
You may injure your ear, hurt your elbows, break a few bones, but if you really love something, you will always come back to it. And that drives me forward. Plus, my nature which forces me to prove everyone that I can do it. However, there were a few moments when I wanted to give it up, but at the crucial moment, I stopped for a while and changed my mind. It happened mainly before the fights; I think most fighters will understand me now. You wait for the fight and ask yourself why you do it. But then when you fight, and especially when you win, there’s no other feeling like that. And that feeling is exactly what drives you forward because you want to experience it again – an amazing feeling of victory.
- What made you continue and not give up in spite of your injuries?
I think it was my character that made me learn to live with it. Personality is formed especially in one’s childhood when everything has a huge impact on you. Everything you see, what happens at home, but also who teaches you. I always tried to show everyone around me what I was good at. If I fell ten times, I got up and tried it again. It is a strong part of my character, which is a big advantage in addition to my sports capacity.
- We know that motivation is a key. What or who motivates you?
Firstly, it is important to always have the right people, relatives, and friends by your side, people who have a positive mindset. This is what will keep you on the right path. However, these people should also have their own life goals, whether it’s in sports or other areas of life. Because if you surround yourself with negative people, you will soon become just like them. Secondly, I follow successful wrestlers, athletes, and actors, or anyone who motivates me in some way. I am most motivated by people who have almost nothing and yet are still happy. Let’s say people with disabilities who can’t walk or people earning a minimum wage. Some people complain about little things and have excuses to everything – today I am too tired, I don’t feel like doing anything and so on. But we have to realize that there are many people with different life stories in the world, and we are very lucky to have a good life.
- Is there a motivational quote that you like and follow?
Of course, my favourite is and has always been this one: “No risk, no reward”. I even have it tattooed on my biceps. If you don’t take risks in your life, you’ll never know what you could have achieved. And I’ve been sticking to that my entire life. I have been living by this motto since the beginning of my career. I’m taking risks. Furthermore, I bought a ticket with my own money and went to America myself. Then I went to Russia and China to get the most out of my career. Sometimes I risked too much, sometimes it worked out and other times it didn’t, but that’s life. For example, my very first fight was a huge risk because my reputation was at stake. When I first stood in the ring, 18,000 people, live and online were watching me. Nobody knew who this fighter with a fitness background was. I took too many risks as I could lose easily. In that case, everyone would forget about me immediately, but I could also win. This is how I see things; you just have to take risks in your life.
- Music can also be a great motivation during exercise. What music do you listen to during training? Can it kick-start your performance?
It all depends on my day and how I wake up in the morning. I like listening to folk, trap, hip-hop, techno, or techno house. However, I might as well listen to something completely different every day. When I train, it depends on the type of training, but I don’t listen to music while exercising. Well, except strength training because in that case, music can properly motivate me. Especially if I train alone, then the music gives me some energy, and I am able to do a lot more. I don’t listen to music during other types of training, whether in a group or not.
- You have won several sports competitions. Which of your many achievements from fitness and martial arts are you most proud of?
I think it is my first Octagon MMA fight. It was a huge step in my life and career. As I have already mentioned, there was an incredible number of people, and it was a huge risk. I did a good job and fought my way into the world of MMA. When I succeeded in this, my life changed completely. It was the most important competition I took part in.
- Let’s talk for a moment about what the basis of your success is. What does your training look like on a regular day, and before a competition or fight?
I usually start my day around 10 in the morning, as I love sleeping, and I am the exact opposite of an early bird. My first workout is around 11, and it is usually very intense, while the evening workout is more relaxing. In the morning I have either grappling or a sparring fight or physical training. In the evening I do kickboxing, wrestling, or something similar. When I prepare for the competition, I always have a two-phase training, sometimes one rest day. Just when I feel that my body is tired, I give it a day of rest. Outside the competition period, I have one to two workouts a day, depending on the intensity. However, I train all the time and if I didn’t train, I would probably go crazy.
- Which muscle parts do you like to train the most, and vice versa, which ones do you like the least?
I have to admit that I don’t do a lot of fitness anymore. Currently, however, I am going back to strength training, once a week. I usually do squats with a deadlift, bench press, clean deadlift, or military press (overhead barbell press). To be honest, I prefer deadlifts, but I also love squats, bench presses, actually I love everything. And this is how my strength training looks like, once, at most twice a week, to maintain my strength and explosiveness. But before that, it was different, and I used to train every day. At that time, I trained my shoulders regularly, I really liked that because they could pump up quickly, and they were just huge. But I don’t do it anymore because my shoulders would quickly oxygenate, and that wouldn’t work in MMA or wrestling.
- Do you also do cardio? If so, which exercises do you prefer?
Yes, I do cardio. I used to do less cardio, but now I usually do interval and circuit workouts twice a week, but they are really intense. Usually, one circuit lasts 5 minutes and I do it five times, or I do a 3-minute circuit nine times.
- What about your diet? What does your diet plan look like on a regular day, and before a competition or fight?
At the moment, my diet is completely different from when I was involved in bodybuilding and fitness. Back then, I used to eat 5-6 servings a day and my diet was really strict. Ever since I did MMA, I’ve found that in martial arts, you burn a lot more calories, so I can afford to eat a lot more. I really like eating and I eat almost everything.
Of course, I still strictly follow 3 meals a day, namely porridge and then cottage cheese. However, I sometimes treat myself to anything I want because I will burn those calories anyway and stay in shape. However, while preparing for a competition, I pay more attention to my diet. That’s when I eat healthy so that I can eat anything again after the competition.
- Do you alternate the bulking phase with the ripping phase, or do you try to maintain the same regime throughout the whole year?
To be honest, I don’t care about the bulking phase anymore. It’s weird because before, I always thought I had to go to the gym every day because my muscles would disappear if I didn’t exercise for two days. But now I don’t think so at all. Even though I no longer do fitness, at most once a week, I still maintain my body shape. It’s natural because I’ve been doing fitness for a long time. But now I also engage in it because of MMA as it also targets almost each muscle group. My form has changed a bit, but it’s simply because the body adapts to the current physical activity. I think the most important thing is to be active, and that’s how you maintain your muscles.
- Let’s move on to some guilty pleasures. What is your favourite cheat meal?
My favourite cheat meal is a kebab with onions, sour cream, and lots of bread.
- You have been cooperating with our GymBeam brand for a while now. Why did you choose GymBeam, and which products are among your favourites?
I am extremely satisfied with the GymBeam brand. First, because of the people behind this company, as they are very nice and friendly. And secondly, they have amazing products. I wear GymBeam clothes almost every day. I especially like compression shorts and leggings, which are perfect for training. But I probably use their home workout accessories the most. Mainly resistance bands, push-up and pull-up bar, and of course also an exercise mat. Since I use them daily, I can say that they are of excellent quality and at a great price. I think that the ratio of price and quality of products makes GymBeam an incomparable brand.
- Which 3 nutritional supplements are your daily must-haves, and why?
Glutamine, BCAAs, and taurine – I use them regularly. Naturally, each of us prefers different things, but for me, these three are the most important. It is simply impossible to get all the vitamins and amino acids that the body needs from the diet, and therefore I take nutritional supplements. Taurine always gives me extra energy before exercise, which I really need as my training is physically demanding, especially wrestling, and fighting. Moreover, this supplement delays the oxygenation of the muscles, a phenomenon that has a limiting effect on my athletic performance.
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- So, we already know about some secrets behind your success in the world of fitness and wrestling. However, you are also a model, and you even had your own brand of clothing. Have you considered giving up wrestling and competitions and just starting a business?
I’m always up to something. For example, MMA, fitness, shooting, I always devote my time to something, and at the same time, I am planning something new for the future. I like setting a goal and working on it. After all, I will not be forever young and in perfect shape. We’re all getting older. There will come a time when everything stops. So, my plan is to create a combination of a gym for martial arts, but also fitness or CrossFit. I want to search for talents and help young people. As a young man, I received help, so I would like to pass it on. I would like to teach children and teenagers that they can be successful in sports and guide them in the right direction. This is my dream.
- You have over 1,100,000 followers on Instagram. Do you consider yourself an influencer and a role model for people?
I don’t consider myself a role model or influencer. I’m Erko, Ermin Jun, and I’m who I am, I have nothing to hide from people. I’ve always been like this, doing what I love and trying to motivate people. And what I want to show people the most is that they can do anything, and they should try everything they want. I think it is very important to show everything and not hide anything. There are many celebrities in the world who will not tell you and show you everything as it is, and they will rather hide it. On social networks, you will find many people who pretend that everything is perfect, but it is not. I will simply continue what I do and what I enjoy because it’s who I am. However, I certainly do not consider myself a role model or influencer.
- And what about you? Do you have your idol or someone who inspires you?
Yes, I do, but I have been thinking about this question for a long time. I’ve been asked a similar question many times in my life, especially during my career, and I’ve always said something like, “I have no idea…”. But after one weekend, I found my idol, I found a man I really love because he’s a guy with a heart of gold who has proven he’s not just the best athlete in the world. He has the best soul and heart, and personally, I appreciate that very much. I am talking about Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In October 2020, after winning the Octagon fight, he announced the end of his career. He dedicated this last win to his father, trainer, and mentor all in one who had recently passed away due to Covid-19. It was his last fight and the end of his career as he made a vow to his mother, and kept it. He announced that he would not return to the ring without his father. But such an experienced guy could handle at least 10 more fights. He has never lost in his life. He has the best results, but he is still human. Likewise, he has shown that he is full of emotions and has a good soul. I appreciate it and that’s exactly what inspires me. And not just me, but the whole world. The right character is the most important thing, and it doesn’t matter that you are the best athlete if you are not a good person.
- And finally, what would you like to say to your fans?
First of all, I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart for their support throughout my career, but also outside it, I really appreciate it. I wish they would really try everything in life. Don’t be afraid that you will fall because it happens in life. What is really important is to get up and keep on fighting. I have tried so many things in my life, and I do not regret any of them. Not even the worst moments when I literally hit the rock bottom and had no idea how to get back from there. You will experience such situations in life, but the most important thing is to get through them. This is where your success begins. I would like to say that to all the young people and to my fans, whom I owe a huge gratitude. Know that I do everything just for you. Thank you!
If you don’t want to read, check out a short version of our interview with Erko:
What do you like about Erko? Him being an MMA fighter, an influencer, a model, or a musician? Feel free to share your opinion with us in the comments, and share this interview about Erko and his achievements with others.