Orillia bodybuilder Cameron Lenssen has a drive that comes not from the determination to be a champion, but rather to become better both physically and mentally.
After graduating from Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School, Lenssen, who was 18 at the time, was hired for a construction job.
Weighing just 120 pounds, and standing 6’3" tall, he became worried that his body wasn’t up to the task of working in the physically-demanding line of work.
“I was also tired of looking in the mirror. I wasn’t happy with myself. I felt that I could put a better effort forward in regards to my lifestyle,” Lenssen said.
After two years of hard work at the gym, Lenssen tipped the scales at 195 pounds - mostly muscle. The now 23-year-old became obsessed with men’s physique and bodybuilding.
“It took off and I got to a point where I was confident enough with what I had done in regards to my body and I felt that maybe it was time to join a competition,” Lenssen explained.
Lenssen turned his focus to competing at the Barrie Natural Championships. He went through an intense 16-week training regimen where he made extreme nutritional and physical sacrifices.
After working 10 to 12 hour days in construction, Lenssen would grab a bite to eat and head to the gym. By the time he laid down to rest he was left with just five hours of shut-eye before waking up to do it all over again.
“It’s a sport that takes a lot of dedication, time and energy, but it’s absolutely all worth it,” Lenssen said.
When Lenssen stepped onto the stage at the competition last July, he had already crushed his goals before he was even judged.
“Going into it, and it being my first one, the biggest thing for me was just pushing myself to do it,” he said.
“It wouldn’t have mattered if I finished dead last, I still got out on that stage and came there already achieving what I wanted to,” said Lensse. “That was a proud moment for me.”
To Lenssen’s surprise having had no expectations of where he would be ranked, he was awarded a third-place medal for his division by the judges.
“I was ecstatic that I placed third. It was one of the proudest moments of my life because I knew how hard I worked for that,” he said.
Even more impressive, he did it all on his own, without any support from a coach.
“I wanted to learn the process and everything that goes along with it by myself. I wanted to enrich my knowledge for the game,” he explained.
Lenssen’s rare approach was a way for him to hold himself accountable.
“If I was going to take this into my hands, I couldn’t blame anything on anyone but myself,”
Lenssen has given some thought to his next goal, pursuing his International Federation of Bodybuilding pro card would be the next step for him.
To obtain pro status Lenssen needs to finish first in his division and first overall at the Barrie Natural Championships. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition is likely going to be postponed this summer.
Looking even further in the future, Lenssen would love to compete on the world's biggest stage, either the Arnold Classic or Mr. Olympia.
“Those two events are legendary. It’s definitely a dream for me and it’s good to shoot for the stars, but for now I’m just taking things one step at a time,” he said.
While Lenssen still has more to learn before getting to the pro level, he’s already learned enough through bodybuilding that will help him be successful no matter where life takes him.
Lenssen says the work ethic that he’s learned from bodybuilding is something he will be able to apply to whatever he ends up doing for the rest of his life.
“What I’ve learned in regards to discipline, passion and hard work ethic, it’s changed my life completely,” Lenssen said.