“The wolf climbing the hill, is hungrier than the wolf on top of the hill.”
Even though the wolf on top of the hill dismissed quotes like these, these words echoed in bodybuilding history for nearly 40 years. Fast forward to today and one of these hungry wolves is Eren Legend. Having already won notable titles like: Mr. Ottawa, Mr. Ontario, Mr. Canada, and Mr. World Physique, where he earned his pro card.
At only 24 years old, you can see why he’s becoming one of the faces for men’s physique in Canada. I had the pleasure of interviewing him and learning about what goes through the mind of a champion. As much as we see a tremendous physique on stage, we don’t typically hear of how much hard work it takes and the struggles that it takes to make it there. Let’s learn more about this up and coming wolf looking to become a legend.
Hey Eren! It’s a pleasure to be able to chat with you, give the reader’s a little bit of info about yourself, how you got started training and your career in the Men's Physique Division:
Eren: My name is Eren Legend, I am from our gorgeous Nations Capital, Ottawa Ontario. I am the CEO & Founder of Legend Fitness & Health and I occupy a position as a Fitness & Health Consultant, among many other ventures and passions. I have been quite successful competing in bodybuilding competitions and have received great support from my community within the Ontario Physique Association.
At what point did you determine you wanted to become a professional physique athlete?
Eren: I always had an inclination that I would be in the public eye someway somehow! I was never the best at sports, yet I had a passion for fitness & health. I made it mine, and dedicated years mastering my craft, to which I now have the capability to help others take shortcuts to obtaining the same goals. With Men’s Physique still being very new, I shared with my closest family and friends what I had wished to obtain. It was not a "Hey, I want to do a bodybuilding show!" conversation as much as it was a full Action Plan! What I have found has helped me be successful is to envision my final goal, then to work backwards on how my goals find their way to me.
Going into the IFBB there will be a much higher level of competition then what you've faced, what improvements do you feel you need to make to have an edge on these guys?
Eren: I have competed at the International level before; therefore I am not concerned with my competition. I have learned that they will do what they must to make it to the stage. I do not give anyone energy or power, I simply focus on myself and those that give me positive and encouraging affirmation. My only concerns would be that some of these athletes have strong sponsorship backings that will help their placement, and also being a Natural Athlete in the Pro League could be of concern. However, ever since I have commenced this journey, the odds have always been stacked against me and I prevailed. Canada needs a Leader that will carry our Nation to the Olympia stage (which has yet to happen). I know with everything that I am, that I am prepared to take that position. I have never felt more at home competing at this level and I cannot wait to successfully represent my country internationally again.
What keeps you motivated show after show to keep improving and keep putting in the work to come in better each time?
Eren: The overwhelming support I have from other individuals I have had the honor of sharing the stage with. Whether we represented at a Regional level, Provincial level, representing the Ontario Physique Association at the National level or Canada as a Nation at the World Championships! My fellow athletes and friends have always encouraged me to never conform to anything less than the dreams and goals I have set for myself. My work ethic has always been unmatched; however when that is paired with unconditional support from individuals that I admire, who understand and can relate to the effort and struggles required competing... Well, the motivation is unrestrained and nothing short of Legendary!
How important do you find it is to balance your personal and family life mixed with preparing for a show?
Eren: Still to date that has been one of the biggest challenges. With the growth of Legend Nation and the demand for my services, I have assumed the role of a Coach for many Ontario Physique Association athletes. It has now become increasingly difficult to balance a personal life, as I have put my "Legends" priority ahead of mine. I know as I rise within the industry I will garner a larger following and group of supporters, however I am at my supporter’s disposal and I must ensure they have all the tools they need to obtain and fulfill their passions. Some days are easier than others however it can become quite regimented, which is one of the many things I enjoy about competition.
What has been your hardest prep out of the shows you've done and why do you feel this way?
Eren: The most challenging prep I had is tied for my 1st year of competition when I competed in 6 shows and my last show where I won the title of Canada’s 1st Ever Physique World Champion. In my 1st year of competing I had no idea I would compete in as many shows as I did and I prepped too hard, too fast! It was incredibly difficult to maintain a lean physique from April 2013 up until September 2013. I would not change a single thing however, and through those struggles I learned plenty that has helped me attain my goals in my following season, and now my athletes.
As for the World Championships, I had presented my best package to date months prior at the Natural Canadian Nationals. I maintained a very lean physique while putting on clean muscle. Then one day with a few weeks out, I tore my pec (One of the absolute most excruciating experiences in recent memory!) I was able to still perform cardio; however my weight blew up due to the lack of intensity in my workouts. Mind you, while my arm was in a sling I still worked out and performed exercises with my other arm. I had to find alternatives to reach my goals, it was very psychologically weighing going from the best shape in my entire life and ahead of schedule, to having to work over time to simply retain what I had built.
If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice during your first prep what would it be?
Eren: That’s easy! Do not over do your cardio and do not limit yourself from carbohydrates haha! Everyone has different paths they travel to obtain the same goals. What works for others may not work for you. It’s very important to comprehend that, and that’s where a lot of individuals can struggle and fail. I have no regrets however, because yet again, through those struggles I went to the drawing board and suffocated myself with research, which helped me in my later shows. With what I have learned through "failure" I was able to perfect for myself and put into effect to help my clients obtain their goals!
What goes through your head when you feel tired or unmotivated to go to the gym and how do you motivate yourself to go?
Eren: During my prep for the Natural Canadian Nationals and the World Championships, I was getting only 30 minutes of sleep at the absolute most each evening. Not every contest prep is as glamorous as some athletes make it out to be. The thing that kept me motivated the most was the support from my Legends. Which I received daily! There was never a shortage of support from the ones I care about, however support from "strangers" that acknowledge how much work you put into mastering your craft can have a profound effect. The thought that with every second of every minute I was investing in creating the future and legacy that I truly believe I deserve, and to be able to reach a platform where I can reach out to others to motivate, educate, empower and inspire them with my experiences kept me pushing forward even in my weakest moments.
What advice would you give someone with the goal of becoming a pro, preparing to do their first show?
Eren: Ask yourself why you are choosing to embark on this journey. Are you doing it to prove someone wrong? Are you doing it as a small challenge? Are you doing it to create a difference? Do you see an opportunity to be the first of a kind?
Many of us have grand ambitions with great intentions. Some of the expectations of what your life becomes when you become an IFBB Pro are simply impractical. Without a concrete answer to why you are doing this, it will be a long and not so enjoyable journey.
Challenge yourself to truly dig within and find out what your "why" is. The second you have found that, embrace it. It will be the sole source of intrinsic motivation you will use day in and day out until you obtain your Pro Card. When you earn your Pro Card, the fun stuff truly happens. It is not as glamorous as it may seem, however if you do it just right, you will be in a position where you can actually make a difference in the lives of those around you. If you do it wrong, you will walk around with a sense of entitlement which adds zero benefit to anyone’s life and makes it unpleasant to be in your presence. Find your purpose first, and then capitalize on it.
What are your future goals and what is your plan to achieve them?
Eren: I will continue to compete as a Professional Athlete. I will ensure the World is aware of the Canadian potential, I promised that I would carry Canada to the Olympia. I believe since Men’s Physique is still premature and the Olympia has yet to have a Canadian representative in that Division, it is our duty as Canadian Men’s Physique IFBB Pro’s to be as active as athletes we can be to ensure we represent our country among the World’s best! I will be looking to open a gym in Toronto and Ottawa.
Legend Fitness has already commenced growing within Ontario and I am confident within the next few years it will have grown to an International scale. I am passionate about writing, acting, and pursuing hosting health/fitness & motivational seminars. I have not put limits on where I will take my life; of course all my pursuits revolve around one another. However, I am keeping an open mind on experiencing life and am willing to pursue anything once for the fulfillment of curiosity and knowledge.
With the pursuit of achieving the best possible physique and helping hundreds of clients do the same, Juan Rojas has dedicated his life to finding the best strategies for transforming human bodies. Constant research, trial and error and continous education in the exercise physiology and nutrition field, Juan Rojas thrives off finding the most efficient ways to transform your body and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.