LISTOWEL – For Jeremy Scheerer, bodybuilding has never just been a hobby or pastime since he became fully invested over three years ago. For him, it’s very much a way of life.
“The reason I fell in love with it was just the mental challenge,” he said. “The consistency that you have to show everyday, there’s no days off doing these competitions. It’s not like you just train for five days during the week and then take the weekends off to party. It’s not how it works – it’s every single day. Every day is the exact same. I just enjoy that challenge.”
The 22-year-old Listowel personal trainer saw all his hard work pay off last month at the 2021 Canadian Physique Alliance (CPA) Natural Nationals in Toronto. Competing in the junior class for those aged 16 to 23, Scheerer took the top prize and with it the distinction of being a national junior bodybuilding champion.
Originally from Millbank and employed full-time at dynafit University, Scheerer also competed in the heavyweight open class (maximum of 225 pounds – the 6’0” Scheerer weighed in at 209 pounds for the competition), finishing fifth of five, which also automatically qualifies him for the 2022 CPA nationals.
Scheerer graduated from Listowel District Secondary School in 2018, and that summer took his physical training to the next level. While he previously worked out in pursuit of higher fitness for athletics like hockey, basketball and badminton during his high school days, a love of weight training quickly transitioned into a drive for bodybuilding prowess, and he would start competing in fitness shows not long after.
“I don’t socialize a lot, I never did even in high school,” said Scheerer. “I think I went to one party my entire five years of high school. It just wasn’t my scene. I enjoy the solidarity of being a bodybuilder.”
Scheerer learned a lot from those initial shows – overall confidence, physique and posing are all key components to victory – and employed the training expertise of Cambridge’s Marc St. Pierre to help him manage the extensive workout routines and complementary dieting that every bodybuilder requires to be successful. He competed in three CPA shows this year: the Stephanie Worsfold Natural Classic in Niagara Falls on Aug. 21, winning both the junior and heavyweight open categories; the King Kong Classic on Nov. 20 in Toronto, again winning both the junior and heavyweight open categories; and most recently, the CPA Natural Nationals in late November.
“The actual stepping on stage and posing for everyone, that’s not the part that I love the most about it,” he said. “But it’s the only part that actually matters in terms of results. It’s the process that really does it for me. If there were no shows to compete in, I’d still be living the exact same lifestyle and doing the exact same thing I am now.”
During his ‘off-season’ when he’s not competing, Scheerer focuses on heavy physical training and building muscle mass, while typically consuming anywhere from 3,500 to 4,000 calories per day, spread over four strictly-regimented meals. Four weeks out from competition, his calorie intake gradually decreases to about half that total, while focusing on cardio to maintain the muscle definition he worked hard to achieve. That last stretch can be physically taxing, however.
“You’re tired all the time, you’re hungry all the time,” he explained. “But yet you still need to train as hard as you possibly can, you still need to stick to your diet. Cheat meals are just not a thing at that point.
“You don’t want to lose what you worked so hard in the off-season to put on.”
While he technically still has one year of junior eligibility remaining, Scheerer won’t be competing in that category at nationals next year. Been there, won that kind of deal. Instead, he has set his sights on claiming a national open heavyweight title. From there, every class winner then competes in a final showdown, with the overall champion obtaining a coveted International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) professional card.
That status opens up a whole other level of competition, with global contests across North America, Europe and Asia, potential sponsorships, and international recognition all there for the taking. While still a relative newcomer to the world of bodybuilding competitions, it’s easy to see that Scheerer’s early success certainly has no ceiling.
“It didn’t sink it for a while. I didn’t really realize what was going on all day Saturday,” recalls Scheerer of his thought process following his win at nationals last month. “Sunday morning you wake up and reflect on what you just accomplished, and then it sort of hit me a little bit. The feeling of knowing I’m on the right path, the path that I’m meant to be on, it kind of gave me that reassurance. Something just clicked, and you just know that you’re doing exactly what you need to be doing.
“I’m a believer in purpose, that everyone has a purpose in life. I feel like mine is helping people in the gym, and obviously doing this bodybuilding. It’s right where I’m at and right where I need to be.”