Friday, May 27, 2011

Interview with Bodybuilding Hall of Famer Roy Callender (Part One)

Our first interview with Roy Callender. Why do you speak French and English? Because I know you are bilingual and I’m curious how you learned.

That is very interesting that you say I’m bilingual. I've only lived in Quebec in Canada. I've had offers to live in many other provinces, B.C., Ontario, but I just love Quebec and if I want to live and work here. I have learned it mostly from my clients at Gold's Gym Prestige Dix30 because a lot of them would hide the fact that they are bilingual or I never asked them and just started speaking their language. It came along like that.

Great. So how many years have you been here?

Oh you wanna know how old I am! I'm not telling you that! No, I came here in 1972 as a youngster where I competed and won Mr Canada and Mr Universe and then went back to Barbados in 1982. I opened a gym there which kept me busy but I was getting requests to give seminars all over North America, so in 1991 I moved back to Canada to be closer to my market. I met a guy from Newfoundland who came to be trained by me and stayed in Newfoundland for about four years but yearned for Quebec and so I came back.

And you're called a Master Trainer. What does that mean?

If you have won a world title in any sport; swimming, boxing, hockey, and you've trained yourself in this domain for 5 or 6 years and have been called to do seminars and train people, the Bodybuilding Federation will give you that title. And it stuck with me. I only know one other master trainer in Quebec, a champion diver.

It must draw a lot of people to train with you.

Yes, it's merit. I charge more and I can show the client that it's worth it. It also draws a lot of people to our gym (Gold's Gym Prestige Dix30), so I'm happy about that. (We will talk more about Gold’s Gym and more specifically why Roy chose Gold’s Gym DIX30 later in our interview.)

Could you tell me about your background. What drew you to bodybuilding and what titles have you won?

Well one lead to the other. As a youngster growing up in Barbados, everybody goes to the beach. And people started getting magazines there. I saw my brother and his friends posing in the mirror and talking about their chest, their pecks, their arms and all that and they wanted to do this bodybuilding thing. But they would never let me close to the bar; they all shared just one bar and some weights and by seeing him and his friends, I was encouraged to look the same way, so I used to sneak away and use their bar. They did everything on that one bar, only one between the lot of them.

 As I grew up, I trained with some of my friends who were the same age. Cause you know, we're weren't allowed to train with the older guys, but we started looking in the mirrors ourselves and getting big heads. We stuck with it until I left for England.

In England, my mother wanted me to study law but I used to go to the YMCA all the time and got hooked up with some guys there who liked training, started missing a lot of school, and deceived my mother, bless her soul. I started to bodybuild and there was more knowledge there in England and the food was better. A few months later, at 18, they asked me to compete. And so I went to compete and believe it or not, I won and my head got big and I wanted to keep competing. And I moved on from there: Mr London, Mr Southeast Britain, and Mr United Kingdom.

Stay tuned for the rest of the interview with Roy when he tells us about living and training with his mentor, Arnold Schwarzenegger!


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  2. Never forget one summer day early 80s in the small town of Vaudreuil,QC and who is coming down the street pushing a baby carriage with one finger? Really nice guy took time to chat. I was a small town kid and had never seen a body builder in person.
    "Hi I'm Roy Callender.." Soon after I bought a set weights started training alone in my basement thinking how much time and dedication must've gone into getting those kind of results. Never forget, Thanks for the memory and a great post indeed. God bless!