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Hotseat - Junior Guercin

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Bodybuilding champ

Junior Guercin (32) used his drive for success coupled with his love for bodybuilding and lots of hard work to become the overall winner of the Men's Physique title at the Inter Island Bodybuilding and Fitness Championship held at Sonesta Maho Casino Royale recently. He also clinched the Short Class (under 178cm) title. The Orient Baie resident gives insight into his world as a bodybuilder in this week's Hot Seat.

Who is Junior Guercin?

I was born in St. Martin on June 25, 1983. I am engaged to Julie Conort and we have two children together: Nolhan and Myla. I am someone who has high expectations for results in anything I engage in and I am confident in my ability to produce.

Where were you educated; and what did you study?

I attended the Lycée Polyvalent Des Iles Du Nord school in Marigot, French St. Martin. I studied to become an electrician. I did not really have any early goals. When I was the 22, I wanted to become a flight attendant and I studied this at Air Form in France.

How long have you been a bodybuilder?

I've been doing this sport on and off for three years now. Fatigue with sometimes slow results was the main reason I stopped.

How did you end up doing bodybuilding?

I thought I was too small (skinny).

What is it about bodybuilding that you like?

I love this sport because it gives confidence and self-esteem. Bodybuilding is like life in that it involves overcoming obstacles with creativity and persistence. It is rewarding when a goal has been achieved, whether that goal is the perfect form or the greater weight (hopefully both). Reaching beyond one's own expectations sets the bodybuilder apart from the average person. My number #1 fan is my little four-year-old son, Nolhan, who often says, "Daddy, count my abs."

In general, how often are you in the gym?

I can be in the gym for hours and hours – sometimes from 8:00am to 11:00am and sometimes twice a day.

How do you maintain your bodybuilding physique?

Maintaining my physique isn't necessarily difficult, as I would go about it in the same way if I wanted to gain muscle: by eating good food, resting and providing myself with proper nutrition. The only difference with maintenance is altering the way you train and the way you eat.

How do you prepare for competitions?

The coaches play a big role in keeping you focussed before and during a competition. As an athlete, you always feel as if you should do more, but you need the rest and you need to be mentally strong. I've learned that rest is very important, especially in the final stages of a competition.

What differentiates you from other bodybuilders?

My hunger for success and my determination on how far I am willing to go for that victory.

What is it about bodybuilding that you like?

I like the ability to transform the human body from the ordinary.

What do you think was responsible for your recent win in the bodybuilding contest?

My drive, my ambition, and my fiancé's patience to work and then take care of the kids while I was at the gym for hours preparing; also, my coaches Alex, Big John and President of the Association, Mr. François Carty, and the entire Body Building and Fitness Association of St. Martin team helped. We are a family.

If you were to choose a bodybuilding name, what would it be?

I don't have a bodybuilding name as yet – maybe soon – but if I could call myself one now, I think it would be Champ, but in the future I would go for Mr. Overall.

How do you think you contribute to a better society as a bodybuilder?

I think I contribute to a better society by showing others that this is a way of life. It is a healthy way of life. Not everybody needs big muscles, abs or to resemble one another, but we do need health – and a few cardio can do the trick; nothing much.

Best health tip?

Don't skip any meal. It is very important to eat on time and I am talking from experience.

Best fitness tip?

Everything you consume should have substantial nutritional value.

What are some of the challenges you encounter as a bodybuilder?

Training when you have no motivation.

How many competitions have you entered and how many titles have you won?

This was my first competition ever and I won two titles in one night: first place and overall winner in men's physique – for me that's big.

If you can meet any bodybuilder in the world, who would it be and why?

I would want to meet Lazar Angelov and Ulysees Jr. because I can relate to them. Watching their bodies, you can see that everything is possible for beginners and nothing is impossible.

How can the sport of bodybuilding be improved on the island?

It can be improved by doing exactly what we did for the competition on June 26. It was in public, and the crowd loved it more because it was outdoors.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Let's cut it to five years: I see myself being Pro-Card and being more active in my community.

What do you do outside of bodybuilding, what is your work history?

I currently work as a receptionist and a night auditor at Club Orient in Orient Bay. I also swim and take care of my children. In the past, I worked flipping burgers at Mc Donald's in France for five months to finance the courses for my Flight Attendant diploma, which I obtained. I then worked with airline company Transavia for nine months before returning home to St. Martin to pursue a similar job in this field. However, it was very difficult to get a job. At one point, I also worked as a Check-in Agent with Halley Aviation at Princess Juliana International Airport for close to a year.

Do you have any special talents?

I love doing origami – that is paper folding such as taking a dollar bill and making a heart, dress or boots, etc.

What is your dream holiday venue?

The entire globe if I could.

What message do you have for youngsters who want to follow in your footsteps?

Don't try to be like me, be better than me.

Hobbies?

Swimming, origami and basketball.

Favourite quote?

Believe and achieve. In life you never lose you either win or learn.

What's your favourite type of music; what artistes do you listen to?

My favourite music is RnB and my favourite artist is R. Kelly.

If you could ask any three persons (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be and what would you cook for them?

I would invite my grandfather, my mother and my daughter, who is just six months old and already has quite an appetite. I would cook bull foot soup.