Richard Nolin has big dreams.
With each bench press, squat and bicep curl he completes, he’s one step closer to making that dream a reality.
Last month, the 27-year-old took the top spot in both the men’s bodybuilding heavyweight division and overall championship at the 2012 Fouad Abiad Open in Windsor. It qualified him for the Ontario Provincial Championships, which will be held next summer in Toronto.
Lifting weights is old hat for Nolin. He’s been at it for the past 14 years.
“I just admired muscular physiques since I was a kid,” the Elliot Lake native said.
“I don’t know if it was watching superhero comics or wrestling, but I just admired that,” he added with a laugh.
Growing up in Elliot Lake, Nolin started working out with his best friend and his father, who was a “big policeman — a fit guy who was big into working out.”
“He said ‘You’re old enough kids, come to the gym with me,’” Nolin recalled. “I just loved it. I loved the ability to test yourself.”
Nolin stuck with it and began to get results. He was seeing improvements with his body and was lifting heavier weights.
“It was motivating ... and my interest just grew from there.”
He turned his attention to bodybuilding after catching a trainer’s eye at the gym in Elliot Lake.
“His name was Dave King. He’s the one who said I should compete. He basically instilled in me the fundamentals of bodybuilding and from there, I did my own research and saw what I could improve on.”
Nolin started competing in 2004, and by 2005, he had won the Ontario Provincial Championship as a junior bodybuilder.
In 2007, he took the middleweight title, as well as the overall best bodybuilder, at a competition in Sault Ste. Marie.
That was the last competition he would do for the next five years.
He put bodybuilding on the backburner as he focused his energy on completing law school.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to compete in bodybuilding afterward,” he said. “But I still trained, still ate well.”
In 2012, four years into his career as a trial lawyer with the law firm of Weavers, Simmons LLP in Sudbury, Nolin had a solid handle on his career and decided it was time to step back onto the bodybuilding stage.
“I took a stab at it,” he said. “I wanted to see where I stood with the rest of the bodybuilders. I decided to diet down and enter the competition (in Windsor).”
Two titles later, he’s picking up right where he left off.
“When I looked back as to how I did, I didn’t want to say someone outworked me, that I could have done something more,” Nolin said. “I wanted to leave it all out there and say OK, I’ve done my best, and be satisfied with myself, give my best showing.”
He said he plans to compete at the provincials at this all-time best, with a shot at the nationals in his sights.
“Every competitive bodybuilder wants to become professional but that would be a high achievement,” he said. “That’s what I’m gunning for but I just want to keep improving and doing better in the sport.”
Nolin has an undeniable passion for bodybuilding, but he said it drives him crazy when people automatically associate the sport with steroids.
“When you bodybuild, you have a goal in mind of what you want your physique to be and so you’re working out, you’re establishing a plan — nutrition and exercise-wise — and you’re executing that plan to get to that goal,” he said. “Those fundamentals and principles of bodybuilding can be applied in everybody’s daily lives for success, in order to achieve any goal. Anything can be possible if you can (execute a plan).”
He said the benefits of bodybuilding are numerous.
“I just want people to get (the steroid association) out of their mind. I want people to think bodybuilders are people that work hard, they have a great work ethic, great motivation and great determination."