Taking a break was just what Rossland native Chad Brandt needed to raise his natural bodybuilding profile to the next level. But just because he didn’t compete for a whole year doesn’t mean he was idle – far from it.
Brandt took all of 2014 off from competition and focused on training and practicing his craft, bringing up his physique and symmetry, and improving his posing technique.
“I’m not the biggest guy and I’m also a taller bodybuilder at six-foot-one, and I’m competing against guys that are in their low 20s,” said Brandt from his home in Lethbridge.” So if I can get my posing down and look very aesthetically pleasing, and learn angles, there’s certain angles that I can use to look bigger than the guy beside me, so I really practiced my craft during that time and it paid off.”
The 41-year-old trainer and nutritionist returned from his 12-month reboot to compete in the INBF 2015 Natural Nationals championship in Calgary in May where he captured second place in the Masters division behind former pro hockey player turned bodybuilder Warren Babe.
“I wasn’t ready yet,” said Brandt “It was like a warmup show, because I hadn’t been on the stage for almost two years so I needed to get some nerves out, because it is nervewracking up there.”
A month later, he returned to the stage to compete at the International Natural Bodybuilding Federation (INBF) Central Natural championships in Winnipeg.
A typical INBF event includes a demanding series of mandatory poses where competitors are judged on symmetry, muscularity and conditioning. After prejudging, competitors also perform a dynamic bodybuilding routine for up to 90 seconds with music and props to display their overall physique, conditioning, individuality, and creativity, before moving onto finals judging.
“I was peaking extremely well, I was feeling fantastic, and when I got there everything just seemed to flow, it was easy.”
Brandt claimed first place in the Men’s Masters and the Men’s Middleweight division. He then went toe-to-toe against the top bodybuilders in the Lightweight and Heavyweight division to compete for the overall title.
“I was up against a heavyweight and he was very big, but I was able to out-pose him, and I’m more symmetrical, everything matches on me, and he was just blocky,” explained Brandt. “They usually choose big guys, even over the posers, and that’s sad about the sport that big guys always win, but this time I was able to pull it out.”
Along with the triple triumph Brandt would also be awarded his World Natural Bodybuilding Federation Pro Card which enables him to compete in professional bodybuilding competitions anywhere in the world, a remarkable accomplishment for the Rossland Secondary School graduate.
“I even thought about retiring, I mean no bodybuilder ever gets that in one night, three firsts in a night, plus turning pro,” said Brandt. “I am still blown away and very grateful.”
Brandt’s next challenge is to compete at the Pro/Am INBF Canada Western Natural and WNBF Pro Intercontinental Championships in Edmonton on Oct. 24.
“I’ll get this one (Edmonton) done and over with and then I’ll go back into an improvement season, and then I’ve always wanted to compete in Boston at the World Championship of the WNBF so we’ll see what happens.”
The proud Greater Trail product has spent years striving to achieve his goals through dedication and hard work and he now, through his gym Action Conditoning, helps others do the same. But there is still one goal, with a tie to Greater Trail, that still eludes him.
“I am a huge believer in making goals and manifesting my dreams,” added Brandt. “As a teen I always said I wanted to be on Trail’s ‘Home of Champions Monument.’ As an adult and going into my bodybuilding journey I remembered this as a teen and made this a goal to work hard to get on this Monument.”
Brandt lives in Lethbridge with his wife Katrina, and the couple are expecting their first child in October. Brandt is set to begin a unique online training program called Action 90 Transformation designed to transform your physique in less than three months. Start date is Sept. 9. Go to www.actionconditioning.ca for more information.