Bodybuilding booming in P.E.I.

Mitch MacDonald
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A boom in bodybuilding on Prince Edward Island has allowed athletes to compete in their home province for the first time in 20 years tonight.

The Prince Edward Island Fitness and Physique Association is hosting the provincial championship at the P.E.I. Brewing Company to a full house.

Josh Rioux, president of the association, said the turnout has been overwhelming even for the pre-judging event held Saturday morning.

"At any show I've ever been to, usually prejudging is very low key. There's usually not much of an audience," he said. "It was really, really awesome for the athletes to come out on stage and not see any empty chairs. To be able to see so much interest for something that hasn't existed on P.E.I., it's been 20 years since there was a show here, it's really cool."

The event sees competitors face off in four classes; bikini, figure physique and bodybuilding championships.

The bodybuilders will also be competing to represent their province on a national stage. Depending on placements at the event, competitors can qualify for nationals.

Rioux said that having a competition in the province is a welcome change, with P.E.I. athletes previously having to go to New Brunswick in hopes of qualifying for the national competition.

"On one side of things you have all these travel expenses plus you're competing against a whole province you shouldn't have to go up against," he said. "And now that we have our own show, it's fair for New Brunswick as well because they don't have people coming over and taking their placings.

"This just puts us on an even playing field so we're on par with the rest of Canada."

Part of the momentum of bodybuilding on P.E.I. has been due to Samantha Rioux gaining her professional bodybuilding title at an International competition in Pittsburgh last year.

"We don't have a whole lot of pros in Canada anyway so to bring that back to the Island in the same year we're starting the association... I think really helped add to the whole movement," said Josh Rioux, who is married to Samantha.

Samantha, who is head judge for the event, will also be representing P.E.I. at the Toronto Pro Supershow on May 30.

International Federation of Bodybuilding pro Santana Anderson is the emcee for the evening. Anderson and fellow IFBB pro Leah Johnson will also be guest posing at the event.

The association will also be honouring Summerside resident Ernie Heckbert, 82, with a LIfetime Achievement Award. Heckbert has been statistically given the Canadian title as the oldest bodybuilder in Canada and has been pumping iron for more than 60 years.



Winners from Saturday's competition will be available at The Guardian's online edition Sunday.

Organizations: Prince Edward Island Fitness and Physique Association, P.E.I. Brewing Company, Toronto Pro Supershow The Guardian

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada, New Brunswick Pittsburgh Summerside

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Recent comments

  • good job
    April 14, 2016 - 12:05

    You all look amazing, and your hard work is to be applauded. Wishing I had the gumption to do it too.

  • UnrulyCanuck
    March 25, 2014 - 07:41

    I have to say that it does take a lot of confidence to get up on stage in front of many people hooting and hollering (appreciatively of course). I could never do it. I'm an avid runner and cyclist, 6'0 and 170lbs. I consider myself fit and healthy, but I don't look like that. I tried to get into bodybuilding - the countless hours in the gym, the special nutrition, the pills and supplements, but it wasn't for me. I admire their dedication to achieve the look that they are striving for. A friend of mine is into bidybuilding, and I would see him train with extremely heavy weights, eat tons of food in the off season (lots of rice, brocolli and chicken), and then cut out almost everything and do 3 hours of cardio a day to get down to 'competition weight'. He loves what he does and that's great. He doesn't judge others who are trying to get fit at the gym, no matter what their size and fitness level. He just dedicated himself to go beyond what the average person does to achieve their fitness goals. I mentioned in an earlier post about body dismorphia. I said that a lot of body builders are affected by this - the ever grwoing need to achieve perfection. That's the downside, but there is always a downside to everything. I was listening to a podcast on which a woman explained her journey to enter one of the fitness pageants in the USA. The pressure to look perfect is too great for a lot of people and some were devastated backstage finishing second place while others were happy just to make it in the top 10. I see a lot of bashing back and forth. Part of it might be some jealousy on the part of those who which they could but can't, while on the other side, I see comments from those who are in the sport who act like the the bully on the beach, you know the ones you see on tv, kicking sand all over the nerds. Both sides should just relax. Be healthy, but be happy with who you are, no matter what you do.

  • saga
    March 25, 2014 - 03:47

    I`m wasn't a big fan of this sport but my son got into it and I support him 100% so I learned about it & I went to the show. The tans look better on stage then in photos, the reason they tan is so they won`t look washed out on stage from the brite lights, & to add to the appearance of definition, if you haven`t noticed it`s MARCH, not like they can suntan!! At least they are doing it the healthy way!! GYMNISTS actually do it too!! As for the food they eat, do you cook for them? My son eats healthier then he ever has, & drinks water now which is one of the healthiest things there is!! He absolutely does NOT do steroids & has only been doing this for well less then a year with extraordinary results! It takes dedication & hard work & like one guy said I doubt many of you could give up your tv or computer to go to the gym for 2-3 hrs a day 5 times a week. There were different categories, Bodybuilding, physique, bathing suit, so before you all start running your mouth do your homework on the subject. Also, it`s the first year for the competition so I applaude all the brave guys & gals who got up there & did their thing. Try not criticing something you don`t know about or haven`t even tried. Oh and ¨bodybuilding¨ guy, you seem to know sooo much, where were you, why didn`t you enter the show? You sound like one of those jealous types... All I know is my son is healthy, happy and fit and doing something he loves, to me that`s all that matters. Not to mention the trainers seem to take a real personal interest in their athletes, Josh & Sam ty for all you`ve done!!

  • brock caissie
    March 24, 2014 - 20:46

    Seems to be a lot of trashing on here about how bad the participants looked. Did you make it out to the show man or whatever you are and see it for yourself? My tan was almost black and i was in great shape. I wasn't deprived of nutrients. I ate bowls of vegetables, packages of lean meat, plenty of potatoes and litres of water. Pretty sure i saw most of that in canada's food guide. As for yourselves (trash talkers sitting on computer with bag of chips and couple bottles of pop) writing away and blasting everyone who is taking initiative to better themselves how about you sign up early for next years fitness competition and tell us all how it went for you. I didn't think you had the guts to go on stage in front of 300 people and show them how proud you are of yourselves. Because you aren't. That's why your on sitting home making fun of people. Your scares of change and making the effort to look like you care about yourself. Your in the dumps because your embarassed of that spare tire under your shirt keeping you on the couch. Cheers suckers, see you at the show next year. Brock

  • most of these not althletes
    March 24, 2014 - 17:23

    The only competetor I see close to a natural healthy elite athlete build without anorexia nervosa tendancies is Sara Bernard who is the picture of overall health

  • UnrulyCanuck
    March 24, 2014 - 14:22

    Google "body dismorphia". A lot of bodybuilders experience it.

  • Listen to your fans..
    March 23, 2014 - 23:23

    People are allowed to express opinions. They are the people who paid to watch the show. The fake tans these days do look ridiculous. The dieting down to onion skin levels is dangerous and far from healthy. The illegal use of steroids is rampant and necessary to obtain a pro card or to compete at a high level. The sport is not about health and fitness when drugs are involved. It's about winning at any cost and doing what the other top competitors are doing. Same in other sports too but much more obvious in bodybuilding, figure and physique if you want to achieve success at a higher level. It's a shame that the sport is that way but it is. Bodybuilding is a great and healthy lifestyle until you go to the extremes. We need federations that will take a stand to change the judging criteria so that natural athletes can compete safely, without risking health, on a level playing field. That is the true spirit of bodybuilding!

  • Nice Tan
    March 23, 2014 - 20:22

    Are you sure this was not a contest for the worst tan,WTF are these people thinking.Like the orange spray really helps their looks.

  • Tazman
    March 23, 2014 - 19:05

    Although the stay on tans, keeps a lot of them out of the tanning beds. Just a thought, it's also nice to see contest come to Charlottetown instead of going to Fredericton.

  • Ab Fabulous
    March 23, 2014 - 18:57

    The negative comments are obviously from those who do not follow the industry. If it was, they would know the different categories of the competition and realize the photos shown were only a small snapshot of the bikini and men's physique categories, and that the spray tans (for highlighting muscle tone and physique of the competitors) are par for the course in all bodybuilding competitions...get with the times people! These competitors look amazing, worked extremely hard in the gym? and are inspirations for many! Way to go PEI!!

  • ego
    March 23, 2014 - 17:12


  • Bodybuilding
    March 23, 2014 - 16:57

    Great to see that PEI is getting up there in "bodybuilding." However , I am unsure if that is even the correct word to describe this event. 1.Bodybuilding A person who strengthens and enlarges the muscles of their body through strenuous exercise According to the oxford dictionary. These people look like they have just the worst tans imaginable and their pigment is completely orange. Also non of the guys or girls look like that have actually improved a physique with definition of muscle groups. Most of the guys and girls arms are just flat (or toned) as they call i and have no muscle definition what so ever. I can't see where one guys tricep begins and bicep ends. Also no pictures of correct poses like a back double bi? What are the factors that these men and woman are judged on? Must be just a swim suit comp to see who has the best spray on tan? Not trying to hate but these "bodybuilders" are definitely not what I or I believe many others know what true bodybuilders are. I have seen several athletes and regular people who attend the gym (regularly) who look way healthier, (skin tone and muscle definition) then these people. I hope to see the sport excel but not that the cost of peoples lives. Still shows how behind PEI is in the times. This just seems like a bunch of people who crashed diet and hit the tanning bed to see who looks best in a swimsuit.

  • wog
    March 23, 2014 - 15:16

    I'm all for dedicating oneself to developing good health and peak physical conditioning, but whats with the discoloration of their skin? Its supposed to highlight muscle tone? or is it supposed to suggest health? Hope not, ...because that doesn't come across.

    March 23, 2014 - 15:07

    I thought this was a body building comp...seems more like a comp to see who had the worst spray koodos to that gals who lost all the weight.

  • Adolphus
    March 23, 2014 - 14:34

    Are these the 'before' or after' pictures?

  • Grossness atitsfinest
    March 23, 2014 - 13:48

    It sure does takr a lot of dedication to starve your body for weeks at a time and not get the proper nutrients your body needs. than eat huge portions of a specific food that basically only carries a couple nutrients. The up and down cycle these "body builders" endure are causing nothing but harm to the body! The "tan" looks ridiculous as well..yes it may help the judges see their muscles (rib cage really) better but they look ridiculous being sprayed with orange fake tan spray!

  • Hugh Myron-Gaines
    March 23, 2014 - 13:03

    I'd like to see these people step under a bar. Looks like a bunch of YOLO's who crash dieted without any significant training history. Not to mention the lack of conditioning in all of the girls. Whoever told these people they looked good enough to get on a stage....just lol. I challenge all of them to even fathom training harder than Dalton Brewer. Test your limits, eat clen, tren hard, anavar give up.

    • huh
      March 23, 2014 - 15:29

      "you" challenge them? Who are you? The post your wrote sort of demands some insight into your credentials.

  • Impressive discipline
    March 23, 2014 - 12:50

    It takes a tremendous amount of discipline and hard work to accomplish these kinds of results. Great work guys and ladies. It is unfortunate that the posters here are choosing to focus on the photos displaying bikini and physique only. The article says there was bodybuilding too but the photographer chose not to post those. I don't know why. Anyway, kudos to these athletes. Amazing results.

  • Inner circle
    March 23, 2014 - 12:46

    Love the beautiful suits on all the gals!!! Tans look spot on too!!! Great competition color! Almost flawless! Two thumbs up:)

  • susan boyce
    March 23, 2014 - 12:40

    Congrats to all the competitors!!! Great job I hope you are all celebrating your huge accomplishment!!! Be proud of yourselves!!

  • Hugh Dunn Goughed
    March 23, 2014 - 12:18

    Came in expecting to see pictures of people who actually lift, leaving disappointed

  • Fit Fam
    March 23, 2014 - 12:17

    Before any of you judgmental jerks sit behind your computer screen and write pathetic insults towards athletes in a bodybuilding competition, get your facts straights, act like an adult and stop being a bully. Do you even know how much work and dedication goes into preparing for a competition? NO probably not, since you are disrespectful and have less manners then a child. Why come on a public form and spread hatred and insult towards a sport you know nothing about. I could sit hear and defend and answer all your arguments and questions but I will save my time because you are a waste of time. Deliberately insulting something and someone is pure ignorance. If you don't like it then don't look! GET A LIFE AND WORRY ABOUT YOUR OWN LIFE!

    • Stan Hope
      March 23, 2014 - 13:51

      Who's the bully ? You need to chill out and stop with the name calling and upper case shouting.You have a valid point but you come across as a very bitter , angry and aggressive person.When your sport is 100% based on display and appearance people are going to judge. Isn't that what this is about ? Fit Fam you have lowered yourself to every cliche in the book regarding body building and reduced this sport to the knuckle dragging mentality people expect. Promotion is not your strong point. As the old saying goes "if you can't the heat ... "

  • Jacob
    March 23, 2014 - 10:43

    Ron, I know this is true. They look like they were hosed down with brown paint. It looks horrible.

  • EyesPoppedOut
    March 23, 2014 - 10:02

    Where are the muscles on any of the competitors? The women just look well toned and very fit. I don't think that they should be in a bodybuilding competition, however maybe they are only beginning. The men, what the heck is with board shorts? LMAO!!!!! The picture of the two girls with their asses stuck out (photographer had an eye full) OMG, looks like a pole dance was about to happen. Keep pumping iron though, good job, the muscles will happen with time.

  • Explosive joseph
    March 23, 2014 - 07:33

    Great to see bodybuilding back on PEI I competed in the last provincial competition on November 12 1994. Ted MacPherson won mr.PEI over Mark Gillis. Jason Lundy won the Junior mens division. Bruce Patterson was the guest poser Those were the good ole days...70 pounds ago and several belt sizes

  • Ron Taylor
    March 23, 2014 - 06:42

    Not a enough spray tan, they need a few more cans.

  • ???
    March 23, 2014 - 02:36

    Why do they look like burnt pumpkins it's gross aside from that I admire their dedication but the tans a bit much ......