A body-builder champion, Adelaide-based Willbur Glenn Colaco says his fascination for Lord Shiva is the inspiration behind his sculpted body.
It took Willbur Glenn Colaco 18 gruelling weeks to transform his body and make himself ready for the South Australian Bodybuilding and Physique Championships this September. It was his first foray into any body building competition, and Willbur admits to having no expectations of winning. All he did was give his best shot to a dream he had always harboured as a child. He ended up surprising himself and everyone by winning prizes in all the three competitions he took part in.
The moral of the story, says Willbur, is not far to seek. “If you decide something in your mind, you can actually achieve it, 100 per cent.”
Willbur did not grow up wanting to be a body builder although he did have a leaning for sports. He was born into a Roman Catholic family who originally came from Goa, hence the weird surname ‘Colaco’, which is pronounced as ‘Colaso’, he laughs. Growing up in Baroda, Gujarat, he did his schooling at a Jesuit institution called Rosary High School where sports, western movies and Hollywood figures such as Arnold Schwarzenegger left a mark in those impressionable years.
“Baroda is a cosmopolitan city close to Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Studying in a Jesuit school played a vital role in the formation of my character and mindset,” he reflects, adding, “We had teachers from countries such as Spain who focussed on our all-round development. From dancing to sports to swimming to horse-riding, we were given the opportunity to take part in everything.”
Willbur excelled in soccer and captained the state football team for five years playing in all-India tournaments. But it was India and apart from cricket there was not much scope in other sports so he was never encouraged to pursue a career in it. Rather his parents made sure he remained focussed on his studies to have a good career. “And you had to go for either medicine or engineering.”
But he had little interest in either. So after year 12, he opted for environmental science. At the same time he was still dabbling in a bit of sports and going to the gym just to keep fit. Studies and chalking out a career became the priority.
In 2004, Willbur came to Australia to study Masters in in Environmental Management. He landed in Adelaide as his uncle was already residing there. But like all migrant students, he had to work hard and divide time between studies, jobs and other responsibilities. “My passion for sports and training in gym got sidelined for a few years,” he rues.
After completion of his degree he got a well-paying job as an environmental scientist, working the mines. The high flying job lasted four years during which Willbur travelled to as many as 16 countries on holidays in between breaks. In 2010 he lost the job. It would also mark the turning point in his life.
Willbur got a break for six months and during that time travelled to America, a place he had initially wanted to study and live in. He stayed for three months in California and living by the beach he was inspired by the sight of well-toned people around him. So he started to look at fitness again, something he had pushed to the background.
But more importantly, says Willbur, it also rekindled his childhood attraction for Lord Shiva, who for him is the ultimate epitome of a male warrior with good looks. “I grew up reading the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and was fascinated by all these mythological figures. But more than the good looks, I was drawn to the connectedness of the body, mind and spirit that I wanted to work towards it. I didn’t want to do something for my ego or simply to show off my six pack.” he says.
When he came back to Australia after few months in the US, Willbur changed his career and undertook another Master’s degree in Public Health. Combining his knowledge of environmental management and public health, he started working for a local government council as an environmental officer in Adelaide. “A government job in Australia gives an amazing work-life balance,” he says.
He got back into a routine of working out at the gym when a Japanese friend, who worked as a firefighter and was also a title holder of Mr Australia in body building, egged him on to take part in similar competitions. The friend thought Willbur’s physique was cut out for such contests. It was an idea Willbur did not take to seriously at first. He admits to being a bit shy standing on the stage scantily clad, although it was something he secretly desired, he smiles. Meanwhile his friend did not give up on him and Willbur ended up giving in to him instead. Thus he decided to take his fitness to a whole new level and challenge himself by competing in not one but three state bodybuilding competitions consecutively.
But also worthy of mention here is the fact that among the other things that shaped his decision were issues on the personal front. Being 34, his parents wanted him to settle down and though he did find someone, the relationship, unfortunately, did not culminate in marriage. “I was a bit depressed and wanted to refocus on my life. Working on the mind, body, spirit became my goal.” Wilbur set three goals at that time. His first spiritual goal was learning the Third Eye (Shambhavi Mahamudra) Meditation by Sadhguru, the second a mental goal to write his own book (he had co-authored two books), and the third was to challenge himself and join a competition.
Under professional coach Ben Wortley for 18 weeks he trained hard and took the ‘massive decision’ to give the competitions a shot in September. He began preparations for three competitions with strict dieting, a nutrition program and six-seven days of cardio and weight training. “What happens is, the body starts slowly getting rid of all the fat through the diet and with weight training you sculpt your muscles and slowly it transforms itself. It is a tough sport,” he explains. Starting from 86 kg, he lost 16 kg in 18 weeks to reach his target weight of 70 kg “and have a 6-pack ‘Aamir Khan – Ghajini’ like physique naturally”.
The hard work paid off. Willbur competed for three back to back events – the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA), Australasian Natural Bodybuilding (ANB) and World Fitness Federation (WFF) titles. All come under the aegis of international bodybuilding federations that conduct Australia wide state competitions. The top three winners from each state qualify and contend for the Australian titles and then the winner of Australian title moves on to compete for the world titles.
At INBA which was held on September 11, he stood first in the ‘Posing Routine’ and won the ‘Overall Best Male Poser’ and stood third in the Men’s Physique Division Short (below 173 cms).
At WFF / NAABA (National Amateur Body-Builders Association) on September 17, Willbur stood 2nd in the ‘Men – Sports Model Class 1 Division’ – South Australia; and at ANB on September 25 he stood 2nd in the ‘Male Posing Theme Wear Routine’ and won third place in the ‘Men’s Physique Overall Championship’.
“Being a novice and amateur athlete as well as the only Indian-Australian competing with professionals, and being placed in the ‘Top 3’ winnings for all three Natural Bodybuilding Federations in South Australia was a fantasy come true,” he says, adding , “You know there are 10 judges over there and it is a subjective sport. I went with an open mind, to enjoy the experience of it all. Eating the same meal a day for 18 days in a row was very tough.”
He explains the concept of peak week in body building in which one is supposed to have no carbs but protein and vegetables seven days prior to the show. And because he chose natural body building which is based on diet, exercise and right supplementation of multi vitamins, iron tablets etc., he had to follow the regimen for three consecutive competitions. It also meant he had to have 10 litres of water every day during the no-carb days, drinking no water 24 hours before the show besides other rigors. “It is a calculative step and you have to know what steps are required with the help of a proper coach who will look at your body and blood type and know exactly how much you weigh, what your fat percentage is etc.”
Doing three peak weeks was no mean feat. “I was told it is impossible to do it but I did it. That was a big thing. Many professional players have come up to me and asked me how and what I did it and if I could train,” he says with a hint of pride. Willbur sees his achievements as the result of the way he viewed the competition: a journey and devotion to Lord Shiva.
Post the competitions, Willbur is basking in his new fame. But he is back to his normal diet of healthy eating and exercise, he reveals. Having been told he has the potential to be a world class athlete he is finding the idea tempting but plans to give himself a year’s time before he takes the bigger plunge.
Apart from being known for body beautiful, Willbur is also a co-author and international speaker on topics such as universal laws (Law of Attraction ‘The Secret’ etc) and Rudraksha (Lord Shiva’s Tears) Science dealing with Spirit, Mind, Body Balance.
He has a message: “Whatever our mind can conceive, our body can achieve. Having a goal and motivational pointers (both self and surrounding) is the first step towards transforming anything in your life. And when it comes to transforming one’s body, discipline in one’s eating is an absolute must for overall Fat loss. A regimented weight training program under the guidance of a Personal Trainer is recommended if one does not have experience in weight training. Combining all of the above, and being consistent and dedicated for a set period of time, makes anything we do a habit. As the Greek philosopher Aristotle says, ‘You are what you repeatedly do, Excellence then is not an Act, but a Habit’.”
Asked if there is anything else not many people know about him, he quips, “I am single at the moment.” Given his wisdom, determination and body beautiful, there can’t be shortage of takers!
• Regular diet
Eat 5-6 small meals a day as follows:
Start my day around 7:00 a.m. with 2-3 glass of Lemon Water & Himalayan Salt to alkalise my body.
Morning breaky @ 8:30 – Nutri-bullet Smoothie (Protein Powder + Banana + Honey + Walnuts)
Mid-morn snack @ 11:00ish – 4-5 Egg whites omelette
Lunch @ 1:30 pm – 150 gms of chicken or cottage cheese & vegetables
Mid-noon snack @ 4:00ish – 1-2 Cans of Tuna on Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter
Usually train in the evenings and have a protein shake post workout with a fruit
Dinner @ 9:00ish usually consists of either chicken/dal/rice & salad
• On Indian sweets/chocolates
I love sweets. I believe anything in moderation is good. I tend to have these naughty foods only on weekends as my cheat meals. However during the week I tend to stay strict on what I eat and make sure I am training (cardio / weights) at least four times a week for 45min-1 hour max.
• On motivation/goals
Being a Libran, I have always believed in a balance of spirit, mind & body
• For 2016, I set myself goals in three areas
Spirit – Doing the third eye (Shambhavi Mahamudra) meditation by Sadhguru, which I ticked off in April 2016
Mind – From being a co-author, I wanted to publish my own book as an author. This is in the process and I shall be launching/self-publishing my book in Dec 2016.
Body – I have been an ardent fan of Lord Shiva’s physique since childhood and wanted to transform my own physique and put it to the test by participation in South Australia’s prestigious Natural Bodybuilding and Physique Championships
By Indira Laisram