Bodybuilding: BHS grad places second, third in first competition
Former Brainerd Warrior athlete Nick Schwen is making waves in the bodybuilding community. The 2014 Brainerd High School graduate and rookie bodybuilding competitor finished second in the novice division and third in the overall division at the I...
Former Brainerd Warrior athlete Nick Schwen is making waves in the bodybuilding community.
The 2014 Brainerd High School graduate and rookie bodybuilding competitor finished second in the novice division and third in the overall division at the Iron Viking event in Duluth June 3.
"Most of the competitors are five, maybe six years older than me when they start," Schwen said. "I'm fortunate to be able to do this well this early."
The novice division is for bodybuilders competing in their first event. Participants in the novice division also compete in a separate division featuring rookies and veterans.
"I had no idea what to expect going into this," Schwen said. "My goal was to learn what I need to improve on and I ended up placing high. It felt unbelievable."
The 21-year-old's pursuit of physical perfection isn't new.
"When I was a junior in high school, I really started to push myself," Schwen said. "I would come to FitQuest after school and shoot hoops every day. Even though I kept wanting to better myself, I still didn't know what I was doing."
From his junior year until now, Schwen has not only developed his skills on how to beneficially exercise, but also how to eat right.
"When I moved to the Cities after high school, my main focus was to put on weight," Schwen said. "I would eat anything and everything but I was still lifting. I really had to teach myself that eating the right way is half the battle."
Schwen, who played basketball and competed in track and field and cross country running in high school, has worked out for the past four years to get to the point he's at this summer.
"Every day of the week, two hours a day. That's roughly how much I work out," he said. "It's not easy. Some of the days I just want to go home and skip my lift but I know I can't cheat myself to get to where I want to be."
While Schwen's immediate goal is to earn a professional bodybuilding card and get sponsored, his ultimate prize is a spot on the big stage.
"I want to be Mr. Olympia." Schwen said. "The best around the world go every year and at my last competition I had some people tell me that if I work hard enough I have a good shot to qualify in the future. That's all I need is my shot."
The Mr. Olympia competition is the most prestigious bodybuilding event in the United States. The last winner took home $650,000 in prize money, not including sponsorships.
While Schwen is getting after his training at a young age, he is still aware of his critics. One of the stigmas that surround a bodybuilder is the assumption they use performance-enhancing drugs.
"I hear it all the time, whether people say it to me or behind my back. People always think I'm juicing," Schwen said. "I choose to take those comments as compliments. If people think I need help to look this good, then I know I'm doing something right."
Bodybuilders can also have their own struggles with their image.
"Eating disorders are something to be cautious of," Schwen said. "When you spend so much time in front of a mirror, it's hard to see the results. That's why it's very important to stick with a diet and a routine that works."
Schwen, who was in jazz band and wind symphony in high school, is also an accomplished drummer. He formerly drummed for "Last Call" and is now drumming with "Avery and Duncan."
He also has a bright future in bodybuilding and is determined to live up to his expectations.
"I'm going to work on what the judges told me to work on and get ready for my competitions next summer," he said. "I will do whatever I have to do to get the best out of myself."