In our very first issue of Raw Muscle, Craig Lucas interviews the man who is considered by all as our greatest amateur bodybuilder for the last decade. Ladies and gentleman, welcome the condition master himself, Mr Justin Wessels.
IMAGES MATT KNAPPICK
4x Overall NABBA Australia
Overall NABBA Southern Hemisphere
Over 40 Masters NABBA World
CL: Well done on winning the 2016 NABBA Worlds’ Masters! How did it feel?
JW: This was my most satisfying win. I hadn’t competed since 2010, so to comeback after six years and win a World title is pretty hard to beat. It was my first attempt at the Worlds. Previously I had always done the Universe. Before I went over this year, my good mate Charlie Duca tried to convince me to go in Open Class 2, but my goal was always the Masters. My class was on first so afterwards I sat in the crowd and watched the rest of show. When I saw the Class 2 competitors, I was feeling pretty annoyed that I didn’t take Charlie’s advice; I reckon I had a good chance to win it. To add insult to injury, the Class 2 guy won the overall!
CL: The question that everyone keeps asking is: are you ever going to compete in the IFBB and have a crack at a Pro card?
JW: I’m not sure I’m allowed to be honest. Being a NABBA boy, I don’t think you can unless you stand out for twelve months. If there was no bullshit and no issues, then I’d love to have a go at the Arnolds, it’s the biggest bodybuilding comp in Australia. An IFBB Pro card would be great recognition for what I have achieved but realistically, at my age, what am I gonna do with a Pro card? It would be great to stand on stage with the world’s top Pros though. Bodybuilding has always been a hobby for me, I’ve never really dreamed of being a Pro. I just enjoy my training and as a result, I enjoy competing.
CL: What are your thoughts on modern day bodybuilding?
JW: The problem I have with bodybuilding in general is that it’s the pursuit of excellence in achieving the ultimate physique; that’s what bodybuilding’s all about for me. But by creating all these extra classes, they’ve lowered the bar to reward mediocrity. I respect all the top Pros but personally, I think they’ve taken things too far, they don’t look healthy. When I started bodybuilding, I never wanted to look like that. So we’ve ended up with all these shit classes for the ordinary physiques and then the IFBB Pro level which is almost unachievable.
CL: What made you start bodybuilding?
JW: I started because it wasn’t a team sport. Team sports have so many variables. If someone dropped the ball or made a mistake, I’d struggle with that. Being in the gym and lifting weights was something I had total control over and that suited me.
CL: All Aussie bodybuilders set you as their benchmark for condition, how do you get it right every time?
JW: Well I’m humbled by that. I always have a vision of what I want to look like and I work hard to achieve it. I know my body well enough to see the indicators that tell me if I’m on target or not. If I feel I’m behind then I simply increase the output. I used to start my diet at 16 weeks out, but now its 18 weeks because things happen a bit more slowly as I age.
CL: You must have a brutally honest mirror?
JW: You have to be brutally honest. I often wonder what others see in their own mirror. I look at them and think, “What the fuck are you looking at? I can’t see it!” I’m often asked what my body fat percentage is. I’ve never had my body fat taken or my skinfolds measured, for me it’s always visual.
CL: You work a regular 9-5 job as a firefighter; does this help your bodybuilding?JW: My job is very structured, the shifts are structured and working in a uniformed service means that there’s a lot of discipline. Having so much structure and having your day already planned marries up perfectly with bodybuilding I think. I find that I am at my best when I’m at work because it’s so organised. I don’t live 24/7 in a bodybuilding world. The boys at work talk shit all day and laugh about everything, so it’s actually a welcome relief to get away from bodybuilding.
CL: What do you enjoy doing outside of bodybuilding?
JW: I love riding my motorcycle, going fishing and camping. I come from the Top End, so I love all that outdoor stuff. I’ve always had animals, I find them very therapeutic. I’ve never been a party animal or enjoyed going out; I just like doing my own thing.
CL: Can you leave our readers with some words of advice or an inspirational quote?
JW: Never over complicate things, just keep it simple.