By Rosemary Hahn Special to the Live Wire
Perviously published in the December 9th,2013 issue of the Live Wire Newspaper

Rick Letts Sr. is a local bodybuilder, and a student at Manchester Community College. He has recently been featured on the cover of The Natural Physique, a magazine about natural bodybuilding.

You can find more information about The Natural Physique and see the piece about Letts on the publication’s website

Where did you grow up?
Manchester CT.

Where did you graduate from high school?
Manchester High School, class of ‘74.

What are your interests?
Bodybuilding, school and work.

How did you get into bodybuilding in the first place?
My older brother was into weightlifting and working out when I was 12. I would ask my mother for $1 and she would ask me why I wanted a dollar. I wanted it to work out. I would go down to Hartford Bar Bell, a gym in Hartford. When I say gym I don’t mean the kind you think of today with treadmills and ellipticals. I mean this was the real deal; big huge guys working out, chalk on the floor, wires hanging from the ceiling.

What did you do after high school?
I joined the U.S. Marines and was sta- tioned at Camp Pendleton [in Califor- nia] for two years, from the time that I was 18 to 20. It was during Vietnam so I was on standby.

When you got out of the military, what did you do?
I got into bodybuilding again. I com- peted up and down the eastern seaboard and placed in several competitions. I won Mr. Cape Cod in 1978.

Are you/have you been married?
Yes, I got married when I was 29, but we got divorced in February 2011. Later that year I took a good look at myself and I didn’t like what I saw. I had gained a lot of weight and in October 2011 I weighed 337 pounds. I decided that it was time to change. I gave myself three months, and on Dec. 28, 2011, I started getting back in shape. It was discourag- ing at first because I only lost 15 pounds in the first four months, but after the next four months I lost 80 pounds.

What classes are you taking at MCC?
I am taking English 101, Math 138, Public Speaking and Addiction Coun- seling. I have been at MCC since the fall of 2012, and I made the President’s List last semester.

What are you involved with besides school and bodybuilding?
I help with the DARC (Drug and Alco- hol Rehabilitation Counseling) program at MCC. I really want to help inspire people to find purpose and motivation to change their lives. Sometimes I bring people to the gym with me to work out, just to give them something else to do.

So now that you are back in shape, are you planning on competing again?
Yes! Actually, 10 days from now (Octo- ber 16), on October 26th I will be com- peting in the Granite State Open in Do- ver, New Hampshire. This will be my first competition since I’ve gotten back into shape, and I am very excited.

Who in your life is your main support through all of this?
My girlfriend Kim is my backbone. She has supported me and stuck with me through all of this. The dieting and working out is very demanding and she has put up with all of it. You know, if you’re doing the right things and are surrounded by people who are encour-aging and supportive of you, you can’t help but succeed.

Note: After this interview took place, Letts emailed updates on his competi-tion.

I took a 3rd place trophy in the masters 35 plus class and took a 5th place tro- phy in the masters 45 plus class. I also competed in the World Championships in Worchester, Mass., on Nov. 9 where I took a 4th place trophy in the masters 40 plus and took a 2nd place trophy in the 50 plus Grand Masters class. Now it’s my off season till January, then it’s back at it!