Retired bodybuilder Retess gives back – Trinidad Guardian

In­nis Fan­cis

Desmond Ret­ess is no or­di­nary na­tive of Princes Town. The 62-year-old for­mer in­stru­ment and elec­tron­ic tech­ni­cian of the Ste Made­line Sug­ar Fac­to­ry in Ca­roni found his niche in body­build­ing af­ter the clo­sure of the com­pa­ny in 2003.

Ret­ess said he was born and raised in the tran­quil com­mu­ni­ty and be­gan his pro­fes­sion­al bod­build­ing ca­reer in 1981. He com­pet­ed in the Mid­dleweight Cham­pi­onships and suc­cess­ful­ly made the fi­nals then, but was nev­er for­tu­nate to re­tain a ti­tle. The high­est he ever placed was third.

Ret­ess re­tired from the sport at the age of 50. He said he opt­ed out of com­pe­ti­tions be­cause the ef­fort he poured in­to the sport and the sac­ri­fices he made did not give him ad­e­quate re­turns in any way.

Ret­ess has been op­er­at­ing his own gym in Princes Town—Fit­ness Con­nec­tion Gym—for the past 15 years. What is unique about the com­mu­ni­ty gym which he op­er­ates is the “old-school ver­sion”, where he works with peo­ple of var­ied body types us­ing raw weights for a favourable out­come, un­like the high-tech gyms that use dig­i­tal equip­ment.

Ret­ess said, “Clo­sure of the sug­ar fac­to­ry did me good. This has caused me to be­come di­verse in work­ing for my com­mu­ni­ty and my­self. I have had my chal­lenges op­er­at­ing in Princes Town, but I over­come those.

“I give back by ap­ply­ing my years of ex­pe­ri­ence and be­ing recog­nised through cer­ti­fi­ca­tion by the In­ter­na­tion­al Fed­er­a­tion of Body­build­ing. I give back to my com­mu­ni­ty; I of­fer to speak at sem­i­nars, help peo­ple through per­son­al train­ing to suit their body type, and vis­it and lec­ture at schools on the top­ic of keep­ing healthy.”

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