Josh Bielecki of Kamsack is the first to admit that when he started playing six-man football at Kamsack Comprehensive Institute (KCI) in Grade 7, he was not, by any means…an athlete.
“I played a ton of video games and ate a lot of junk food,” admitted the 18-year-old KCI graduate.
Recently, Bielecki signed a contract with the Regina Thunder, a football team within the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL). Beginning this summer, the six-foot-five, 245-pound athlete will be playing various positions on the team’s defensive line under Coach Scott MacAulay.
Born in Yorkton, Bielecki grew up in Kamsack where he stills lives at home with his parents. Having recently graduated from high school (class of 2020), Bielecki is living a much different lifestyle than that of his earlier teen years.
“I had to make some significant lifestyle changes. But I was lucky - I had a growth spurt where I grew a full foot, took my training much more seriously, and lost a ton of weight.”
Bielecki says he is grateful for the time he had with his first coach, Tyler Lorenzo, who guided him through his early years playing in Kamsack through grades 7 to 11. He credits the KCI shop teacher, Brian Angeloni, for always encouraging him to challenge himself and aim high in his aspirations. In fact, it was Angeloni who introduced the promising young player to Yorkton Raider Gridders coach, Jason Boyda - another influential mentor in Bielecki’s life. For his senior year, Bielecki travelled up to six times a week to Yorkton to experience his first year playing in a full, 12 on 12 football season with the Raider Gridders.
“Switching from six-man to twelve-man was a huge change,” reported Bielecki. “The Raider Gridders played at a whole new level and I really learned a lot. We were undefeated, winning the provincial championship in 2019. It was an excellent experience.”
Bielecki told the Kamsack Times that playing in the CJFL can run anywhere from two to five years, with players aging out by the time they are 23 years old. Whenever that time comes for him, Bielecki says he is considering a number of career options for his future, including kinesiology, physical therapy, or becoming a personal trainer.
Bielecki has advice for younger kids who show an interest in taking their sport of choice to an elite level.
“Start training early,” advises Bielecki. “Strength training is so important. Start with low weights. Work on your form. Watch video tutorials. Ask for help. You’re wasting your time if you start overloading right away. It just doesn’t work like that. Remember your core is the power plant of your body. Strengthening your core will help with speed and agility in any sport.”
As for diet advice, Bielecki speaks from first-hand experience.
“I had a terrible diet. I have really changed the way I eat. First thing you have to do is cut sugar. Even just one sugary treat in your day can spike your levels and hold you back. I had a coach explain to me once that sugar was as addictive as cocaine. That says a lot. Just cut it right out.”
Currently, Bielecki is focusing on self-directed training at the Average Joe’s Gym in Kamsack. Along with strength training, Bielecki does skipping to build his cardio fitness and has cut bad fats and unhealthy carbs from his diet.
“You really have to make the decision about what you want. If you make the commitment, and you’re 100 per cent dedicated to a proper diet and exercise combination – you will see results - guaranteed.”