For a few days, The newspaper will present to you the portraits of former glories of their sport who remain as passionate as ever, even if they have now reached the milestone in 70 or even 80 years.
Gilles Morissette trained seven days a week while following a strict diet which, in the end, consisted mainly of eating egg whites, rice, white fish and asparagus…a vegetable “that he doesn’t like”.
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All to realize a great dream that had been in his mind for five years, and which he finally achieved at the age of 77: that of taking part in another bodybuilding competition.
“People have the impression that when you go up to the stage, you go there to show off. But if they knew all the sacrifices that we make in terms of diet and training itself, we would stop seeing bodybuilding as a discipline that consists of showing off your body, ”raises the Beauceron de Sainte-Marie, a former teacher who still gives in tutoring.
“We do it a lot more to show the work we’ve done and how much we’ve been able to push the machine,” he says.
Gilles Morissette, 77, during strength training.
Photo taken from Gilles Morissette’s Facebook account
Five years of hard work
Of course, Mr. Morissette speaks with knowledge. Between bodybuilding and him there is a passion born very young, when he consulted magazines on the discipline that his older brother brought home.
But it was in 1976 that he began to devote himself to it in a more serious way. And if he has participated in the past in three competitions which he describes as “lesser scale” in Beauce, nothing compares to what he experienced in May, at the Fitlog Classic in Quebec.
And, yes, he “pushed the machine”. Thoroughly, to the point, “some days, to have wanted to abandon the project”.
Because this parade on the podium is the fruit of five years of hard work with his trainer Jean-Philippe Ferland, also co-owner of the Maxi-Forme Fitness gym in Sainte-Marie.
Not a “coffee sip”
A man he describes as “passionate like him” and “a leader, both in training and in food”.
“JP”, he calls Gilles Morissette “The Man”.
“We like to remind him that he’s not a coffee sipper at McDonald’s or Tim Hortons, like some people at his age are,” laughs the coach.
“He told me from the start of our association that I would not have the right to any free pass, despite my age, except perhaps weight loads which are sometimes a little lighter,” says Mr. Morissette.
Six or seven days a week, in the months before the competition, Gilles Morissette mixed private muscle training and solo training.
There was also cardio: in the last miles before the event, it was an hour of stationary biking.
“On an empty stomach, in the morning”, he specifies.
“I really wanted to take on the challenge I set myself when I met JP five years ago, which was to do a fourth bodybuilding competition. So pride helping, I held on.
To “counter ageism”
Moreover, Gilles Morissette loved the experience so much that he won’t close the door to repeat it for a fifth time.
Less than a week after walking the catwalk, he was already back in the gym.
“What I wanted, through this competition, is to counter ageism, he says confidently. When you reach 65, I have the impression that in Quebec, we are placed on the bypass track.
“I wanted to show that even at 77, it’s possible to have goals, dreams, and that you can achieve them, with help.”