The line between sport and lifestyle is blurred for Eddy McLean.
The Sylvan Lake bodybuilder placed third out of 13 competitors in the men’s middleweight class at this year’s Canadian National Bodybuilding Championships, held Aug. 18 in Edmonton.
“It’s a lifestyle now more than anything,” said McLean.
It’s a lifestyle McLean said requires dedication, motivation, and especially discipline.
“I like that it’s a sport but you don’t depend on anyone else. It’s just all you,” said McLean.
While preparing for a competition, McLean’s day starts with a cardio workout first thing every morning before breakfast. He also lifts weights five days a week.
McLean follows a strict diet of chicken, fish, brown rice, and protein powder for 20 weeks to get into competition shape. He eats six times a day, measures everything, and only drinks water.
“For some weird part of it I like the diet part,” said McLean. “There’s no 70 per cent or whatever. Diet and training are 100 per cent.”
McLean uses spices and hot sauce to flavour his food. Different flavours of protein powder also add some variety.
“That kept me somewhat sane,” said McLean, adding that he cut out the protein powder five weeks before competition.
While McLean said he gets tired of the food, he doesn’t like to cheat on his diet because it throws off his mental resolution.
“I like to know when I’m on stage I’m the best I can be,” he said. “It’s only 20 weeks and it goes by pretty fast. All that good food is still going to be there when you’re done.”
McLean became interested in bodybuilding through playing high school sports. He started lifting weights to get stronger, and liked the muscles that developed, so he kept going. Muscle magazines gave him something to aspire to, and he competed in his first bodybuilding show when he was 19.
“I just got hooked on that and I’ve been competing ever since,” said McLean.
To qualify for the national competition, McLean first had to place in the top three at a provincial competition. He would like to compete in the Canadian Elite Bodybuilding Championships, the highest level in Canada, after placing among the top three at the national championship next year.
“You get such good competitors from all over Canada,” said McLean.
Competing in the elite championship will give McLean a better chance to achieve his goal of becoming a professional bodybuilder.
“It’d be a big accomplishment for me. It’s something I’ve always wanted since I first started bodybuilding when I was a kid,” said McLean.
Professional bodybuilders have an identifying card, said McLean, and compete in different shows outside of Canada for a sponsor. However, McLean has two children he would not want to leave.
“Just to get the pro card would be satisfying for me.”
McLean, a welder by trade, moved to Alberta four years ago after splitting his time between Cape Breton and western Canada for many years.
He told the Cape Breton Post one of the best parts of the competition was the support he received from fans from his hometown.
“I had the biggest fans from New Waterford in the whole building and I think it was 1,100 people (in attendance)”, said McLean. “I probably had the biggest fan base there for sure.”