Building strength

by Catherine Divaris | May 3, 2013

Greater Sudbury bodybuilding competitor Richard Nolin.

Finding the motivation to get off the couch and into a gym can be difficult at times. Setting goals is a great way to stay motivated and keep you on track. Competing in bikini/figure/bodybuilding shows has become increasingly popular over the last few years, according to Troy Thompson, owner of The Gym Fitness Centre in Sudbury. He said anyone can compete, as long as they have a plan and a good support system.

“If you’re new to competitions, you need a plan to help you achieve your goals,” he said. “You can’t just follow your friend around the gym and expect to get amazing results. Coaches and trainers help you play up your strengths, and improve your weaknesses.”

So, where do you start? Thompson said he has hundreds of clients and gives each of them their own program.

“The more I see my clients the better. The ones who are going to be competing usually start their show prep 16 weeks before the competition date.”

Choosing to compete in a show requires enormous amounts of mental and physical dedication.

Jessica MacMillan

Jessica MacMillan

Jessica MacMillian is a local figure competitor, competing in her first national level figure show this month. She

started competing several years ago after a car accident left her injured. She admits juggling her family, career as a personal trainer and competition prep is difficult at times.
“When you’re a mom, you have responsibilities in your life to your family,” she said. “So you need to find a balance where you’re not taking away from your kids when you’re doing your diet and training.
“It’s a great sport for mothers especially; to be able to reach your own goals and feel good about what you are able to accomplish, physically and mentally.”

MacMillan said she dedicates about one to two hours, six days a week to her training.

“I prepare my meals three days ahead of time,” she said. “I find the most difficult part about competing is upping my cardio before a show, either in the morning before I drop my daughter off at school, or between clients.”

Once you’ve figured out your workout plan and schedule, you’ve got to make sure you’re eating the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates and supplements to fuel your body.

Richard Nolin

Richard Nolin

Richard Nolin is another local bodybuilding competitor who has recently stepped back on stage with amazing results. He took home first place in his class and overall physique at the Fouad Open in Ottawa last year, and plans to attack his first provincial show at the end of May.

Nolin has been training since he was 13 years old and competed as a junior in his teens. He took a break from competing to pursue his law career and is now a practicing lawyer in Greater Sudbury.

Nolin said he relied heavily on his coach in his junior years, but now prefers to do his own meal prep and workout plan.

“I do my own research because it interests me,” he said. “It’s important you understand how your body works. I adjust my meal plan whenever I need to and try to keep up with cutting edge research.”

Nolin eats every three hours, and calculates the amount of calories his body needs to sustain itself based on his metabolic rate and how much cardio he’s doing.

“As long as you have a passion for it, you will find the time,” Nolin said. “You have to figure out a plan of attack. Make sure you eat, go to the gym and repeat every day.”

All three of these fitness professionals agree that if you are confident, competitive and seeking new challenges, suit up.


The Sudbury Classic Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Physique and Bikini Championship will be held May 25 at Laurentian University’s Fraser Auditorium. Pre-judging begins at 11 a.m. and tickets are $20. Final judging begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are $45. Access to both the pre-judging and the finals is $55. Contact 705-946-7774 or visit

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