Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Dave Ruel

Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Dave Ruel! - Pics and info and more!

How Did You Get Started?

I always was a physically active person. Growing up, I was always involved in competitive sports such as hockey, basketball and volleyball. I did try to pick up weights a few times, but at that time I couldn't find the motivation to be dedicated to weightlifting for more than a few weeks at a time.

In October 2003, after having gained a few pounds in the summer, I decided to join a local gym (the one I am still training at now) in order to get in shape and gain some muscle. At that time, I didn't know anything about weight training or nutrition. I kept on reading and collecting info left and right and in a few weeks I was able to create my own training program and basic nutrition plan (and I mean BASIC!). The weeks passed and I gradually fell in love with the sport. I was getting good results and wanted more.

In the spring of 2004, I met Stephane, my training partner and now best friend. He had been lifting for almost a decade and was a personal trainer at my gym. We started training together and he introduced me to new ways of training, he really was and still is a huge motivation factor! I kept on improving my knowledge and getting good gains in the gym.

In the winter of 2006, I experimented a big bulk, I brought my weight to 262 lbs, with lots of body fat... at that point I realized that I had gone way too extreme and that I would need to work very hard to get back in shape. This is when I met my nutritionist, and mentor, Steve Sweeney, a several time New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada Champion. In April 2006, Steve put me on a 12 weeks diet plan that made me lose 50 lbs! I just couldn't believe the transformation I had made in just 3 months, going from out of shape to an almost competitive physique.

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This is when I really realized the power of food and how good, clean eating habits can change your physique! At that point, I made myself a promise that I would eat clean for the rest of my life!

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In august 2006, my girlfriend Madelaine decided to compete in figure at the New Brunswick Provincial Championships that would take place in November. After talking with Steve, Stephane and Madelaine, I decided to do it with her. That's why, after 12 weeks of hard diet, I kept on dieting for another 12 weeks, bringing my bodyweight to 197 lbs on stage. I got 3rd in Light-Heavyweights at that show and Madelaine got 2nd in Figure Medium (go check out her BodySpace:

I was very proud of my accomplishment and never would have thought that I will become a bodybuilder only 3 years after I first stepped into the gym. However, even though I was proud, I wanted to get better and go back the next year. After training very hard and eating very clean for a year, I stepped on stage a second time at the 2007 New Brunswick Championships. I weighed in at 211 lbs, 14 lbs heavier than the previous year with even better conditioning. I got second in Heavyweights. But, to my surprise, I also was rewarded with the Most Improved Bodybuilder Award. For the first time in my life, I really felt like my hard work was rewarded! One week later, I made the trip to compete at the Heavyweights Classic in St-John's, Newfoundland. There, I won the Heavyweights title in a very competitive class, my first ever win, and lost the overall by split decision to my good friend and former Amateur of The Month (#2) Lee Hayward (check out his website at:

I just couldn't believe it, I was a bodybuilding champion!

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I never use a specific workout plan. I am a strong believer in instinctive training.

What works, in my opinion, is to vary your split, intensity, number of reps and weight load very often. For example, I do basic powerlifting for 8 weeks, then I get back to a bodybuilding style heavy training for another 8 weeks and then switch to a more high intensity, high rep routine.

Usually I train with weights 5 times a week, working every body part once a week and doing cardio 3 times a week. For example, the split I have now is:

Arrow Sample Training Week:

    Monday - Chest
    Tuesday - Back
    Wednesday - Cardio (30 mins of HIIT)
    Thursday - Legs
    Friday - Arms and Shoulders
    Saturday - Cardio (30 mins of HIIT)
    Sunday - Cardio (30 mins of HIIT)

As far as exercises go, as I said, we go instinctive. If we feel like doing bench press we will do it, another day if we feel like doing dumbbell press, that's what we will do... our workouts are never the same from one week to another.

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What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

Arrow Sample Nutrition Plan:

  • I eat very clean all year long. However, I still allow myself a cheat meal or two per week.
  • I eat every 2 to 3 hours. All my meals include a lean source of protein. I usually get a good complex carbs intake on my 1st and 3rd meal, more than often from oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice or pasta, quinoa, etc... then, I cut my carbs after 4pm (except post workout).
  • I also get a good amount of fats, mostly coming from nuts, flaxseed or canola oil, natural peanut butter or fish.
  • I eat lots of veggies too, mostly greens like broccoli, spinach, asparagus and salad. For my snacks, I usually add a piece of fruit (banana or apple) or raw baby carrots.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I stick to basic supplements like whey protein, glutamine, creatine.

I don't use a lot of supplements, I believe that proper nutrition is worth every supplements on the market. The only time I will use supplements is post-workout! In fact, your body has very specific needs in the 30 mins fallowing a workout!

Here is what my usual PW shake looks like:

    50g of whey protein
    50g of dextrose (corn sugar)
    1/2 cup of quick oats
    10g of glutamine, 10g of creatine

On the go, I sometimes get a Myoplex Light MRP Shake, they taste great and got a good healthy content, low in fat and no added sugars.

I did try supplements like Horse Power, NO-Xplode and NaNO Vapor. I do find they give you a nice feeling in the gym with good pumps.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I love bodybuilding because it is more than a sport, it's a way of life. It is a complete and complex mix of many things. Bodybuilding is an endless learning process! You cannot know everything about it!

I also love the fact that you need to be very consistent, dedicated and organized in your life in general if you want to make progress in bodybuilding. It always keeps me on top of my things.

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What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

Right now, for the 2-3 years to come I would like to get into fitness modeling and get contacts to do photo shoots. I am a big fan of classic physiques in general and that's what I would love to see bodybuilding coming back to. That's why I'd like to promote it the best way I can!

I also plan on competing again in the future. My goal would be to be between 225 and 230 lbs the next time I will be on stage, and win an overall. I'd love to compete on a national stage as well.

Also, My girlfriend and I recently started to follow competitors in figure and bodybuilding. Madelaine has a Bachelor in Nutrition (specialized in sports nutrition) and I am a Certified Personal Trainer with the ISSA.

Any person interested in our services can email me for more info and prices. On another note, I am also currently working on a cookbook for bodybuilders, with lots of muscle building recipes and nutritional info.

Feel free to visit my BodySpace as well and leave your comments! :)

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Eat Clean and do Cardio ALL YEAR LONG...

I really believe that keeping cardio all year long is essential for good gains! The idea that cardio is going to ''burn muscle'' is wrong, if it was true, how come I managed to gain 14 lbs of muscle in 1 year while doing cardio 3 times a week? I hope that I am the living proof that cardio, without over doing it, can be beneficial to muscle gains.

Also, eat every 2-3 hours; clean food with a good lean protein source every meal. Don't neglect veggies and fruits too!

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Dennis Wolf, Ronny Rockel and Frank McGrath (Canadian).

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