MONDAY MAN: Shaq’s eyes on the prize
IT WAS A BLEAK rainy day.
But not even a flood warning could keep Shaquille Lavine from pumping his muscles in the gym.
His goal is to become one of the best bodybuilders not only in Barbados, but the world.
Hence, the commitment needed to reach the top is more powerful than a few showers, he quipped during an interview with the DAILY NATION at Fitness Zone in Hastings, Christ Church.
The 21-year-old has been working towards his goal for the past 13 years. It all started when he was just a student at St Paul’s Primary School.
At that time he was a scrawny youngster, possibly only strong enough to lift a fork to his mouth – by his own admission. But his physical education teacher, Coradean Layne, saw something in him.
Up to this day, Shaq, as he is affectionately called, still doesn’t know what that “something” was, but she encouraged him to take up weight training and this was the catalyst for his journey.
In the early 2000s, Shaq competed and won his first show called the Tiny Tots. He later won Mr Schoolboy, and has been winning ever since.
Practically every show in which he has competed, be it in Barbados, at Sports World Classic in Trinidad, or in Guyana, he has either won or placed in the top five. In fact, just a couple of years ago he created history when he became the youngest muscleman to win both Mr Bridgetown and Mr Teenager on the same night.
“That was an amazing night. I still can’t believe that happened but it was a lot of hard work,” he said.
What he meant by a lot of hard work was hitting the gym daily and eating properly without fail.
“When I was younger, a lot of people laughed at me and said I looked bad, looked hungry and I would just laugh,” he said. “I would train so hard, I would come home brek-up. It was sometimes difficult but I’m accustomed now.
“When I go out with my friends, partying or wherever we go, I would walk with my food; some of my friends thought I was crazy. If they come around me eating [fast food] sometimes I might be tempted, but I would come to my senses quick and my mind tells me ‘nah’.
“If my mind wasn’t strong, I would have easily given up but I used it as motivation. I used it to push me. You tell me I look bad, let me show you I can look better. When somebody say you can’t do something, never believe them – just try. Encourage yourself and go for your goals – that is what I did.
“You may not get it now but later on after training and trying, you gine get there. Would you believe . . . a lot of guys that get and laugh at me in the past, want to train with me now? They want to lift weights, they want to know how they can put on muscle in a month, two months,” Shaq said, laughing aloud.
A past pupil of Princess Margaret Secondary School, Shaq stressed his circle of friends and supporters provided his encouragement. They include parents Heather and Morris Lavine, as well as fellow bodybuilders Darcy Beckles, Roger Boyce, Stephenson Belle and Joe Bourne. His dream is to one day become a Mr Universe.
“I looking to keep my focus; I want to be one of the best. When I watched all of these men [Beckles, Boyce, Belle, Bourne] when I was younger, I wanted to be just like these men, but now I am like, I want to be better than them. My trainer Joe Bourne, we train together, and he pushes me hard and gives me that motivation that I really need.”
It’s a new year and this young man plans to work harder towards his goal, letting nothing get in his way. But he also has a passion to reach out to persons beyond his Vauxhall, Christ Church neighbourhood.
In February he is looking to launch the Get Fit programme which aims to help Barbadians of all ages maintain a healthy living. He also wants to continue going to schools to speak to and inspire other youngsters to work towards their goals, in spite of how difficult they may appear at first glance.
“One of these days I will be known as the little boy from Vauxhall that dominated Mr Universe or an Arnold Classic. It’s all about believing, and I believe in me, he said.” (SDB Media)