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IFBB Pro Iain Valiere Retires!

by Christian Duque

Legendary Canadian bodybuilder Iain Valiere has announced his retirement from the pro bodybuilding stage. He’s been competing for fifteen years and has been a pro for a decade. He’s won six pro shows, took 2nd at the Arnold Classic, and battled at the Superbowl of Bodybuilding at the prestigious Mr. Olympia. As Valiere puts it, it’s been a wild ride and he’s competed at the highest levels. That said, now in his early 30’s, the bodybuilding champion has put his priorities in perspective.

He’s married and wants children, but he also understands the health side of bodybuilding. This is not to say he’s going to stop lifting or stop having a muscular physique, but as he said on his video, he’s not looking to be 280lbs throughout the year while keeping low body fat and living such a regimented life. It’s a real breath of fresh air to hear Iain talk about what motivated him to turn the page.

While we can sit here and talk about how great physiques are built in the kitchen and how important lifting is, this is a sport that’s dominated by powerful drugs. These drugs are oftentimes taken in large stacks and very few athletes ever truly come off. It’s like running on 100 octane gasoline 24/7. For many, the ride doesn’t stop until their 40’s and by that point there’s been so much damage done to the body that their quality of life may be significantly reduced. There’s wear and tear and there’s the kind of damage you just don’t come back from. Countless guys have multiple tears, multiple hernias, and quite frankly must undergo countless surgeries just to have some semblance of a normal life.

Iain is not only healthy, but he’s injury free. I really respect the fact that Valiere was so transparent with this video. He didn’t need a contest to call his last. He didn’t need a speech on stage. Instead, he spoke to his legions of fans on a video. There weren’t a bunch of bells and whistles or fancy gadgets at play. This was as raw and honest as it could be. And the person interviewing him – if you can call it that – was his wife Melissa Bumstead. This wasn’t an interview. It was a heart-to-heart conversation with the bodybuilding world. And what I think is truly powerful is that Valiere put it quite plainly that he was not forced out of bodybuilding. He’s truly leaving on his own terms and that’s more than what most bodybuilders at this level could ever hope for.

The fact Iain is leaving the stage to actually live his life is groundbreaking. We’ve all heard the established science that physique-based sports are among the most time-consuming of them all. As the “off season” shrinks more and more with the Olympia being held in November and the Arnold in late February, the sport has become a 9 months out of the year endeavor. And that said, very few guys let go completely during the three months in question because that’s their Arnold prep. Unless you’re a Mr. O, chances are you’ll eat clean and push the weights to compete in the second biggest contest in bodybuilding. Very few guys are going to sit out a contest where they can win $300,000.

The problem with always being in shape and always eating and saucing to stay 280 is that that doesn’t leave much time for significant others, much less starting a family. A great many guys live on the road. Whether they’re competing, guest posing, and/or making appearances, that too takes a toll on your private life. A lot of guys lose their marriages or don’t see their kids grow up. And while being obsessed isn’t a bad thing, bodybuilding shouldn’t consume you. When it’s all said and done, you might have a room-full of trophies but burn every relationship you’ve ever had. While it may be worth it to some, it’s not worth it to Iain Valiere. There’s bigger fish to fry and a whole life to live beyond the stage.

What’s also noteworthy is that while the Canadian legend is retiring from competing, he’s by no means leaving the bodybuilding world. It’s more like re-inventing himself. Although he’s done competing, Iain plans on getting more active on social media. He also plans on continuing his appearances on the podcast and possibly getting into judging. He’ll continue to be a part-owner of RAW and he may launch other companies.

Besides that, he’s only 33, so there’s always the chance he’ll make a comeback, but as he says on his video, what’s one or two more pro wins going to do for him? How’s it going to change his life? And the fact he knows the answer to that question from the get go, I think it’s unlikely he’ll back track. Plus he’s retiring in his prime. Why would he do a comeback in 2, 5, or more years and bring a physique that’s less than his potential? The fact is he’s leaving at the best possible time to do so. And he’s leaving with a very bright future, professionally-speaking.

On a personal note, he’s going to be able to start a family and do it when it makes sense for him and his wife. I bet you there are countless guys who see what Iain is doing and wish they could do the same. What’s stopping them? Maybe it’s fear. Maybe they just don’t think they have the ability to recreate themselves.

It can be a pretty daunting task when you stop to think about it. There are guys who have been doing this their whole lives. Remember, I’ve interviewed hundreds of competitors and there folks who have never held a regular job that’s not related to bodybuilding and if competing has become their livelihood since turning pro, they may think that’s the only thing life has for them.

If you’re a sponsored athlete, for example, and you stop competing, chances are you’re going to lose your gigs. Unless you command hundreds of thousands of real followers on social media, then competing and doing appearances is how you stay relevant in this industry. And if you’re not where people are at, there’s a big chance people will stop talking about you. They may ultimately forget you. And if they forget you, then your code won’t get used and companies will start to question how much value you bring for the money they’re spending. Shit gets real when you’re talking about money and if you have a certain way of life, you can’t just “turn the page” and do what makes you happy. For those few rare types who can, it’s just as daunting.

The fact is that what Iain is doing takes guts. I love how transparent he is on his video and I love that he’s always been straight with the fans. This is a big part why he’s always been so popular. For what it’s worth, it really seems like he made the right decision. Just a few days into it, he seems to be in high spirits and very happy with his decision. We, here at Iron Magazine, are also very happy for Iain. Kudos to you brother!

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