What a Difference a Year Makes

“My journey to return to competitive bodybuilding actually started in April of 2009. I decided to get back in shape after not competing for 11 years & allowing myself to reach an all time high of 240lbs at 5’4”. I was introduced to Jason at the 2009 Cincinnati Bodybuilding show when I saw the condition of the overall winner Joe Daniels and was floored. He was shredded & full. I learned then that he worked with Jason. Jason also had some other clients who likewise were in tremendous shape & placed very well. So I figured go work with the best.

So I met with Jason & he put together a plan just to get me back in shape & no real hopes of competing at this time. But as lbs dropped I got more excited & by August 2009 I had dropped from 218 to about 175. At this point I set a goal to get back on stage at the 2010 Northern KY & Cincinnati. So we started trying to gain as much wt as possible while keeping my bodyfat under 8% & my AB pinch under 10. By December I was up to bout 190-195, under 8% & AB pinch around 8.

Now it was time to start my prep. We started coming down & was doing great till I hit a road block in Feb & began holding a ton of water & to make a long story short missed the Northern & Cincy when I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure on 4/24/10 & was told I’d need a heart transplant if I lived long enough to get to the Ross Heart Hospital in Columbus. Well I spent 12 days there, received an ablation to help slow my pulse down (that had been running over 150 beats a min for the last year or so & over 100 since I was in college in the late 80’s), with proper medication, sodium & water restriction, & minor diet adjustments my heart fully recovered by December 2010.

I was then given the green light to compete again so I set my goal to do the 2011 Cincinnati. I was at 187lbs & 7.9% bodyfat. Jason put me on my normal Keto diet & 30min AM cardio. We increased cardio & cut calories about every 2 wks. When I stepped on stage at the Cincinnati I had been doing 2hrs of cardio/day (3-45min sessions a day – AM/PWO/PM) & was cycling Protein Veggies (PV), PV, Protein Fats (PF), PV, PV, PV, PF days (cals were 1300 on PV & 1600 on PF) & doing 3-4 HIIT sessions a week. Needless to say it wasn’t easy but Jason had me in the best shape of my life! I won the Open Middle Wt at 158lbs & placed 3rd in the Masters Over 40 losing to 2 guys who out weighed me by 40 & 70lbs.

We then decided to do the VPX Derby in Louisville on April 23, 2011, exactly one year to the day I went to the hospital & was told I might not live through the night & would never get to workout like I was accustomed too, needless to say ever compete again. Well my Dr’s attribute my miraculous recovery to being in such good shape & I owe a gigantic portion of that to Jason & Steph setting me on a path 2 years earlier that would help save my life. I can’t thank them enough!

Well the 4 wks between the Cincy & the VPX was a totally different game plan. Jason slowly increased my carb intake & calories & as he did I got tighter & leaner & came into that show basically the same wt but in 10x the condition & won the Open Welter Wt & place 2nd in the Masters Over 40, losing by 1pt to the Light Heavy who won the show, again giving up 40lbs, and placing 2nd in the overall. I received great praises from fellow competitors & judges, who stated I was by far the best conditioned competitor in the show & lost only because of size. So one year from being on my death bed to competing in & winning my second class of the year & being in the best shape I could possibly be in ( I honestly don’t think I could be better without taking time off & gaining some size) was an amazing accomplishment.

I give huge props to Jason & Steph!!!!! They’re the best! I also give thanks to all my friends & family who have kept me in there prayers over the last year. Most of all to Sarah, my partner in every aspect of life & an amazing woman who has been there with me in the hospital & everyday along the road of recovery & my return to the stage, without her I wouldn’t be here today. We FINALLY made in it on stage together!!!!! Can’t wait to do it again next year, just on a much bigger stage! So proud of you!

Now it’s time to get to work on gaining some lean mass & stepping on stage a bigger better Welter next year at possibly the Jr USA &/or Jr Nationals, but definitely the Masters Nationals & I’ll be doing it at the guidance of Jason Theobald of course.

Tomorrow isn’t promised, so make the most of today!!!!! No Regrets!!”

John Tatman