Winnipeg bodybuilder captures two trophies in his first competition

When Riffel started working out, he weighed in at 165 pounds. Now, he’s 185 pounds of muscle. THE PROJECTOR/ Taylor Allen

When Riffel started working out, he weighed in at 165 pounds. Now, he’s 185 pounds of muscle. THE PROJECTOR/ Taylor Allen

Brett Riffel started working out when he was a student at the University of Winnipeg for one simple reason.

“I just wanted an excuse to not study,” said Riffel.

What started as an excuse three years ago has turned into a lifestyle. Riffel competed in the Manitoba Amateur Bodybuilding Fall Classic on Oct. 15 and won both of his classes. He placed first in the junior and light heavyweight categories. It was his first bodybuilding competition, and he considers it his proudest athletic achievement.

“Bodybuilding is a 24-hour job. It wasn’t like baseball where you practice a couple times a week. Bodybuilding consumes your life from Monday to Sunday,” said Riffel.

Riffel was an accomplished athlete before he pursued bodybuilding. He won athlete of the year in middle school and in high school at Kildonan-East Collegiate. He played multiple sports but baseball was his best. In 2014, he won the AAA Provincial Championship with the Elmwood Giants. That ended up being his last full season. The next year, he quit the team after five games.

“I just didn’t have the passion for it anymore. It was around the same time I started working out and I started to enjoy the gym more than playing baseball,” said Riffel.

Soon after, Riffel hired Grant Reid, the owner of Team G-Fit, to be his fitness coach.

“The gym was starting to get boring. I needed something to help take me to the next level and that’s exactly what Team G-Fit did,” said Riffel.

Reid has worked with Riffel for nearly two years. He gave Riffel a custom fitness and nutrition plan, which Riffel followed religiously. He no longer eats junk food like he used to.

“I don’t even remember the last time I had pizza,” said Riffel.

Riffel now eats six to seven meals a day and works out at the gym six days a week, sometimes twice a day. He also has two separate gym memberships.

When Riffel started working out, he weighed in at 165 pounds. Now, he’s 185 pounds of muscle.

“Brett is what I would call the strong silent type. Quiet, polite, methodical, disciplined and hardworking. Basically everything you want in an athlete. He’s a coach’s dream,” said Reid.

When the judges announced Riffel as the winner of the light heavyweight class, Reid was the one to raise his arm and present Riffel with the first-place trophy. Riffel smiled widely when he saw it was his coach walking across the stage with the award.

“It was very fulfilling for both of us. Being able to share that moment on stage with Brett made it even more special,” said Reid.

Riffel celebrated his victories by eating some of his favourite foods that he hasn’t been able to eat in months. He devoured a burger and fries and topped it off with his personal favourite, cotton candy ice cream. He even made a trip to Tim Hortons at 2 a.m. because he had a late-night craving for donuts.

Riffel admits that some days it can be challenging to stay motivated to go to the gym.

“On those tough days I’d rather suffer at the gym for two hours as opposed to beating myself up all day for not going to the gym. You have to have the mentality that you want to get better each day because you don’t want somebody else outworking you,” he said.

Riffel doesn’t know what the future holds for him yet, but he hasn’t ruled out adding more trophies to his bodybuilding shelf.