Last fall, Quebec’s Simon Proteau made quite an impact on Canada’s bodybuilding scene when he competed as a Tier 1 Elite athlete at Physique Canada’s 2012 Canadian Championships, which were held on October 20 in the main theater at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It was there that Simon came up against Rob DeLuca, Physique Canada’s Tier 1 Elite winner at the 2012 National Classic held at the same place earlier that year in June, and gave him a run for his money for that first-place trophy. Simon couldn’t match Rob’s flawless proportions and outstanding muscle density, but he was more defined and slightly drier, which resulted in a 3-2 decision in DeLuca’s favor. (Physique Canada is the only organization in Canada that openly discloses the judges’ individual scores.)
That runner-up finish to DeLuca served notice that Simon is a formidable competitor who has what it takes to win in 2013, which is exactly what he’s hoping to do, since he’s currently preparing for the Physique Canada National Classic to be held on June 22. So, given Simon’s top-level status and promising future, I recently invited him to The Saint gym in Ottawa for a training photoshoot, and I asked him to do an interview. Some of the training shots have already appeared on this site. Here is what he had to say:
Doug Schneider: Wow, you’re a lot taller than I am. Exactly how tall are you?
Simon Proteau: 6’ 3”.
DS: No kidding! And what do you weigh?
SP: I compete at about 195 pounds, and I have an off-season weight of about 210 pounds.
DS: How old were you when you started training?
SP: I first started when I was 17 years old. It was a small gym in a mall near my parents’ house. I started training with a close friend and I’ve never stopped since that time.
DS: And how old were you when you first started competing?
SP: I started competing in 2009, when I was 41.
DS: What took you so long to try competing?
SP: I don’t know, I never thought that I was fit for it, and the dieting scared me. A few close friends pushed me to try it and finally I decided to meet coach Jean-Jacques Barrett, who also pushed me to go for it. J-J is now a very good friend of mine and is still my coach.
DS: Now that you’ve started competing, do you have any idea when you’ll stop?
SP: I will compete as long as I have fun doing it.
DS: You competed for the first time with Physique Canada in the fall of 2012. What brought you to that organization?
SP: Well, for me the most important thing is that Physique Canada is a drug-free organization. But even more important is the fact that Physique Canada runs drug tests on athletes at competitions and during the off-season – that way athletes can’t be on steroids off-season and then become clean a month or two before a competition. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging athletes using steroids here, it’s their choice and they have to live with the consequences of their choices. All I’m saying here is if you’re on drugs or steroids, compete in organization where it is allowed and be fair to the other athletes who follow the rules.
DS: As far as I know, you compete only in drug-tested shows. Are you a lifetime natural bodybuilder?
SP: Yes, I am, and I’m proud of where I am today, being 100 percent drug free.
DS: Have drugs ever tempted you?
SP: Yes, for the fast and huge results, but I can’t afford losing my health for it, and I can’t afford it, period.
DS: Do some people doubt you when you tell them that don’t use drugs?
SP: Oh yes, very often. But when I tell them that I’ve been training for 27 years, they understand that it’s a lifetime effort and results come in slowly but surely.
DS: Ultimately, what do you hope to achieve by competing, particularly with Physique Canada?
SP: Honestly, I never thought I could make it to the Tier 1 Elite level, and, once there, I was afraid to be destroyed by athletes like Rob DeLuca or Erik Alstrup. But when I saw the score sheets, it gave me confidence. Now, I want to keep competing with the best natural bodybuilders and promote the drug-free side of the sport.
DS: On average, how many days a week do you train?
SP: Depending on the training plan my coach and I agree on, I train from 4 to 12 times per week. The hardest is making time when I train twice a day.
DS: At present, do you train all body parts equally or are you focusing on certain ones for improvement?
SP: I train all body parts, but not equally. I’m one of the tallest natural bodybuilder and it’s not easy to look full on a stage. My legs are long and look skinny, so I focus on them a lot. I train legs at least twice per week. Also, having herniated discs in the back, I have to be careful and choose my exercises wisely.
DS: You’re a firefighter like Nadine Young. Is it easy to balance training for competitions with your work life?
SP: No, most bodybuilders are scheduled like a clock – they always wake-up at the same time, eat at the same time, work and train at the same time, and so on. For athletes like Nadine and me it’s different: long hours, night shifts, day shifts, weekend shifts, we always have to adjust.
DS: Which bodybuilders do you look up to and why?
SP: Erik Alstrup is an inspiration for me – he looks so at ease on a stage. Rob DeLuca with his massive legs – Rob, what’s your secret? And these two are real gentleman!
DS: As a role model, what words of encouragement can you give to any younger, up-and-coming bodybuilders, particularly if they’re tempted to use drugs?
SP: Wow, I’ve never seen myself as a role model. I would say: consistency, time, and perseverance are the keys. Eat well, train hard, and stay away from drugs that will eventually destroy your health. Life is too short to risk it.
DS: Thank you, Simon, for taking the time to do this interview.
SP: Well, thank you, Doug. See you at the next Physique Canada event on June 22.
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