The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines maverick as “a person who refuses to follow the customs or rules of a group.” Similarly, Google defines the word as “an unorthodox or independent-minded person.” From that, you get the gist of what the word means – if you didn’t know already, that is. I took an interest in this word lately because Physique Canada’s president, Brian Robitaille, started using it regularly to describe many of the organization’s top competitors.

For example, there’s Nadia Moussa, who graces our cover this month and is the 2014 Physique Canada National Classic Tier 1 women’s muscular physique (aka figure) winner. Prior to her first competitive retirement in 2002, Nadia competed successfully and exclusively within the IFBB and CBBF streams – and I have no doubt that had she made her comeback there this year, instead of with Physique Canada, she would’ve been very successful, given her amazing physique. But Nadia has always been a ferociously independent individual who has long marched to the beat of her own drum. As a result, when she decided to come back to the competitive stage, she was open-minded and confident enough to look at what Physique Canada offered, liked what she saw and heard, and decided to ply her skills there.

Nadia Moussa

Nadia’s choice proved to be a good one, because she not only showed up on the Physique Canada stage in the very best shape of her life and took home the title, she also told me afterwards that her win at the National Classic was a very rewarding one, personally and emotionally. In short, she made the right choice. So it should be no surprise to learn that right now Nadia is preparing for the 2014 Physique Canada Canadian Championships, which will be held on October 18, and is even considering the WBPF’s world championships in November, where I know she’d do well.

Another example, but this time on the men’s side, is Denis Pedneault. Denis isn’t only a maverick, he’s a true original in the Canadian bodybuilding scene. Denis has won more CBBF national-level titles than anyone in the last two decades, and he has also represented Canada three times at the IFBB’s world championships, each time successfully. Yet the moment that Physique Canada was created, he came aboard because of the strict drug-testing policies and because one of the organization’s goals was (and still is) to return the sport of bodybuilding back to its roots, which he feels the other organizations have strayed far away from in recent years (just look at the IFBB’s current top pros in comparison to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Serge Nubret, the guys who reigned in the ‘70s). I say he’s an original because, unlike so many competitors who pay lip service to drug testing and say they really want to help grow the sport in a positive way, yet do nothing about it, Denis put his money where his mouth was and cast away his previous competitive life and threw his support wholeheartedly behind the organization from the get-go.

Denis Pedneault

When Denis did compete on the Physique Canada stage, which was last October in the Tier 1 men’s bodybuilding category at the 2013 Physique Canada Canadian Championships, it was like a tornado hit the event – his physique and presentation were nothing short of world-class. As a matter of fact, his performance there is still talked about today as if it happened just an hour ago. Obviously, Denis won that day, and like Nadia’s win, he told me it was also tremendously rewarding for him – so much so that it eclipsed all of his CBBF and IFBB achievements!

Last, but certainly not least, is Rob DeLuca, who won the 2012 Physique Canada National Classic and 2012 Physique Canada Canadian Championship Tier 1 titles in the men’s bodybuilding division, and was the runner-up to Denis at the 2013 Canadian Championships. I’ve known Rob for several years and I know that he doesn’t give a hoot where others might compete – he’s a highly successful businessman and bodybuilding competitor who competes where he wants to, on his terms, in organizations that appeal to his values. His participation in Physique Canada proved to be a win-win situation for him and the organization – he can be justifiably proud of the titles he won, including being the organization’s first ever Canadian Champion. Physique Canada was thankful to have a competitor of his caliber and reputation represent the organization at the highest level.

Rob DeLuca

Obviously, the bodybuilding world isn’t full of iron mavericks like Nadia, Denis, and Rob, just like the entire world isn’t full of independent-minded, unorthodox people. If it were, the word maverick wouldn’t exist. Instead, mavericks are few, while those who tend to follow the herd make up the rest. As a result, Physique Canada won’t be the biggest kid on the block anytime soon insofar as physique organizations go; however, being the biggest doesn’t necessarily mean being the best. My respect goes out to competitors such as the great ones I highlighted who have achieved great things on Physique Canada’s stage, and have probably inspired more to join in with them at future events.

Doug Schneider Founder and Publisher