Recently, I made a comment on social media that there are very few bodybuilders whom I respect. One of the reasons is that most bodybuilders use drugs, and I have no time or use for drugs in sport. Another is that too many bodybuilders I’ve met have little to say once they leave the stage or gym. They’re not well-rounded whatsoever, let alone interesting to talk to; instead, their whole world seems to revolve around what their next workout and meal will be. That’s probably a controversial thing for the editor of a physique publication to say, but it’s also the truth.
That’s why, when I heard Québec-based bodybuilder Alexandre Villeneuve speaking after he’d won his class at the 2015 Physique Canada National Classic, held June 13, my ears perked up. He didn’t sound vain, egotistical, or without a life outside the gym. He also said out loud something that interested me – that Physique Canada’s ideals and values line up with his own – so I wanted to talk to him more. Once I did, I decided that I needed to interview him for SeriousAboutMuscle.com so our readers could learn more about this new Physique Canada star and learn about the direction he’s taking.
The interview was conducted during the third week of July, about five weeks after he walked off the stage as a winner. Here is what Alexandre said:
Doug Schneider: How old are you?
Alexandre Villeneuve: I will be 29 years old on August 8.
DS: How tall are you? And how much do you weigh on the stage, and off it?
AV: I am 5’ 9.5”. I am between 175 and 180 pounds on the stage. In the off-season, about 195 pounds.
DS: What is your day job?
AV: I am a physical education teacher in primary school. Soon, I will also begin as a personal trainer as a part-time job.
DS: How long have you been training?
AV: I started when I was 16, so it is already 13 years that I have been training. However, I want to clarify that in the early years, I was training alone in my basement and my training was not necessarily suited to my objectives. I also trained myself in several different ways and not always in order to develop muscle mass. I did Olympic weightlifting, cardio of many kinds, and plenty of strength training.
DS: How long after you started training did you start competing?
AV: I was thinking about competing for a couple of years, but I wanted to remain absolutely natural. At that time, I didn't know that natural federations existed. Then I discovered one. My first competition was in October 2013, when I was 26 years old. It was when I saw my former coach, Pascal Lapointe, participate in a competition with IDFA (a natural federation) that I decided to throw myself into it too!
DS: Why did you decide to compete in Physique Canada?
AV: I planned to compete with almost every natural federation in the country. But Denis Pedneault, whom I met for the first time in March 2015, suggested I should get involved in a single federation rather than go everywhere. After discussion with Denis, who became my coach in the meantime, I concluded that Physique Canada was the best federation for me, simply because this organization had the best anti-doping program in bodybuilding.
DS: What did you feel about your first competitive experience with Physique Canada at the 2015 National Classic?
AV: I enjoyed my experience with Physique Canada. My victory stimulated me, but also the victory of the entire team Denis was coaching, which also included two female athletes, encouraged me too. Everyone came out a winner after this evening and I will always remember that moment.
Alexandre Villeneuve, Julie-Christine Cotton, Denis Pedneault, and Janick Charbonneau
DS: How do you feel about Physique Canada not only drug testing in competition, but out of competition as well?
AV: This is another very important element that caused me to join this organization. Moreover, to my knowledge, it is the only fitness federation that tests participants out of competition. So this convinced me to measure myself on equal terms against real natural athletes who share the same values as me. Without these tests, it could be quite easy for some participants to cheat by using performance-enhancing drugs during their "off season."
DS: After the competition, I heard you say, “Physique Canada’s ideals are in line with my own.” What exactly did you mean by that?
AV: We share the same values – I want to promote a drug-free sport and that is exactly what Physique Canada is looking to do.
Like some athletes who claim to be natural without being so, there are also organizations that call themselves natural but apply almost no kind of control. I am not interested in associating myself with that kind of organization. In short, I want to compete in a real natural federation and against real natural athletes and that is what Physique Canada allows to me do.
DS: You claim to be a lifetime natural competitor. What do you say to people who doubt you?
AV: If someone thinks I am a cheater, I will first take it like a compliment because it will mean that I had been able to reach a pretty high level naturally.
If anyone doubts me, I would start by explaining all my years of effort. I have not achieved these results within a few months, unlike some who use illicit substances. To get where I am today, it took me years and years of work and discipline. To me, bodybuilding is a marathon, not a sprint. Also, do not forget that nutrition plays a large part in my results. I would say it is not just doping products that can help to develop a good physique. When we make efforts in other areas, we harvest the results, even without drugs!
DS: What would you say to someone who says, “He just knows how to beat drug tests?”
AV: My reply will be quite short, I will tell him or her: “I am ready to pass any test, anytime, and anywhere!”
DS: What do you feel your strong points are?
AV: My strong points are, in my opinion: my pecs, triceps, and volume of my thighs.
DS: How about your weaknesses?
AV: In my opinion, my weaknesses are: my lats, biceps, and definition of my thighs.
DS: Will you compete with Physique Canada this October?
AV: Before the competition in June 2015, I was not really considering the competition in October. But I really enjoyed my experience in June and I decided that I will compete again in October!
DS: What are your plans for, say, one year from now?
AV: I will try to gain a little weight, since I plan to do another competition later in June 2016.
DS: If you met someone in your gym who is clean but is considering taking drugs, what would you tell them?
AV: I would tell them to think about it beforehand because the most important thing that you can have is your health, and one thing for sure is that using performance-enhancing, drugs will not improve it. What is unfortunate in our society is that people often look for quick results, without worrying about the impact in the longer term. So I would suggest to them to go the natural way and let time do its work while thinking about the longer term.
Furthermore, most of the guys who try enhancing drugs get results quickly and dramatically, but when they stop, they lose almost all their gains. In the end, what have they actually achieved?
I want to finish this by saying that it is possible to achieve a nice physique without the use of doping products. I am also the proof, like several others, such as Denis Pedneault. In truth, the only real way to get physically impressive is the effort, self-improvement, and discipline.
DS: Once your competitive career is over, what do you want to be remembered for?
AV: I want to be recognized as someone who was passionate in the sport. I think that it is important to have one or two passions in life, whether it be artistic, athletic, or otherwise. So I hope to be an inspiration and encourage other people to develop their passion in life.
DS: Thanks, Alexandre.
AV: Thank you!
SeriousAboutMuscle.com Founder and Publisher