(Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada.)
My name is Mike MacLean of Island View. I am a bodybuilder, outdoor enthusiast and former amateur Olympic wrestler. "My son Sebastian is a bodybuilder and operates Inches Weight Loss on Prospect Street. He inspired me to continue being active so I tried to find a more relaxing medium."
(Article written by Sebastian MacLean)
In The Beginning (1967)
Many can recall a time in their past when they felt they had reach their all time best physical condition. For my father, Mike MacLean, the year was 1967, he was 23 years old and had just returned to cottage country in Muskoka for another summer of water-ski instructing and performing. My grandfather thought he had developed so much physically while he was away that he took this photo. (See photo left)
As a water-ski instructor, wrestler, and gymnast my father was never a lifter of weights. Although he didn't considered himself a bodybuilder, the callisthenic exercises he did daily, and the physical demands of his chosen activities, resulted in his achieving a highly developed physique for a time when physique development was not popular.
However, over the coming months and years, as life presented new responsibilities, the photo at left would become a marker for what he considered to be his best ever condition. As the years rolled by, with no knowledge of nutrition or weight training and no real interest in what he understood to be bodybuilding, it became harder to hold on to the physique he held in his youth. Although callisthenic exercise always kept him above average, it was just assumed that he would never be able to out do the physique of his youth.
Mike MacLean - 1967, Age 23
Defying Age and Hitting The Stage (2003)
Going into 2003, dad was 59 and more dedicated than ever. However, although he was improving with every BFL challenge, he had been struggling with a degenerative arthritis disorder in his knees since his twenties. Back in his water-ski days a number of surgeries had been done on his knees, which resulted in the removal of almost all of the surrounding cartledge, causing the knee joints to rub bone against bone. Doctors were amazed that he could even walk, let alone engage in many of the water sports he still enjoyed. Over time dad had learned how to lock out his legs or maneuver his knees to reduce stress on them during physical tasks. Rather than get knee replacement surgery he was advised by doctors to work around them until he no longer had a choice.
Because of this condition, the knee joint was weak and badly worn, making exercising his legs nearly impossible. Since his leg muscles tended to be so much smaller than the rest of his physique, he had often felt he would never have the symmetry to compete on stage. Competing for his own physical best in the BFL contest was one thing, but standing next to someone else and being compared body part for body part seemed like quite another.
2003 BFL after photo, age 59
When discussing the challenges that dad faced, I would often refer to the fact that many competitors have strengths and weaknesses. Where he was strong others are likely to be week and vice versa.
These ideas, along with his own resolve, were enough for him to decide that now might be the time for a contest on the bodybuilding stage. Knowing dad's hesitations, I committed to providing all the diet and training advice I could in order to get him as ripped as possible. The idea would be that he would do another BFL challenge at the same time as he prepared for the show. Since the BFL challenge would end 4 weeks before the provincial show, he would have the time to evaluate if he should keep moving on to the contest stage.
After twelve weeks of training and dieting harder than ever, dad had made his best transformation to date and committed to proceeding with plans to compete in the provincials. This time dad would be under the lights and I would be doing the backstage helping and cheering from the crowd.
Improving with every challenge,
it was time to get on stage.
twelve weeks of training and dieting harder than ever, dad had made his
best transformation to date and committed to proceeding with plans to
compete in the provincials. This time dad would be under the lights and
I would be doing the backstage helping and cheering from the crowd.
Arriving at the provincial contest, dad found himself the oldest male in the show. He was only two months away from turning 60 and the next oldest male after dad was a man 45 years of age.
Watching my father step out on stage that night, after the years of training, posing and traveling to shows together, I was overcome with pride. Seeing him seize hold of this challenge at an age when many feel afraid of new challenges left me speechless. He didn't walk away with a trophy that night (even though I believe he should have), but he did walk away with a sense of exhilaration and with the respect of everyone who saw him that night.
As our whole family celebrated dad's achievement on the stage, he was already talking about wanting to reach a new goal, one that he could say he had reach at age 60. Before getting to that though, take a second to check out my dad's on stage pictures.
Surrounding pictures are of Mike MacLean at the 2003 New Brunswick Bodybuilding Championships, Men's Masters Class.