2016 In Reviewby John Meadows on December 20, 2016
What a whirlwind of a year 2016 has been.
Last year at this time, I was holding my breath waiting for an Arnold Classic 212 invite. I remember the precise moment I got it, I took my kids to see the new Star Wars movie and started getting text messages that I was added to the list as we were walking out of the theatre. I was extremely excited. I turned “it” on immediately and went to a place I don’t know I have ever been before for prep. I figured with all the top champs competing (except for Flex), my only chance at getting a real look was to come in with conditioning so extreme, I could not be overlooked. The last 2 weeks were grueling. I was contest ready and sub 4% at 220. Unfortunately, the results didn’t go as I had expected despite me achieving this condition. I wouldn’t change a thing though, as getting my family and friends to see a dream come true for me, was a lifetime memory I’ll treasure forever. Competition wise, this was the pinnacle for me.
The other very personal thing I went through leading up to this contest was the entry into the Catholic Church. My wife is a devout Catholic, and I had tagged along with her since 1998, but never really felt the need to “convert”. I was always open to it, but I was waiting on something to happen that I knew was a sign from God. Well I never got the extreme sign I was waiting for. One day I thought to myself, why don’t you just dig deeper into the faith, and see what you find out, and if it seems like the right path, make the DECISION to follow it, don’t wait for lightening and thunderbolts from the clouds to hit you.
This class was every Wednesday leading up to the Arnold, and it was the highlight of my week. I go to a Dominican Church (known for their scholarly teaching), and the Priest that taught our class was just so impressive. He knew how to communicate with me perfectly. He answered my unending questions humbly and with total honesty and also helped me to see how some of the perceptions that I had were wrong, and that mainstream society essentially gets a lot wrong when it comes to relaying what the Catholic church is based on. Long story short I converted, and I believe I made a great choice.
Based on the feedback I got after the Arnold, I felt I had a legitimate chance to qualify for the Olympia. I competed 5 times in a 6-week span which was absolutely insane. Truthfully, I loved it though. I kind of felt like all the years I had so narrowly missed a pro card, were being made up in short order, HA! I did earn Olympia qualification points, but not enough. Still again, I wouldn’t change a thing about all these shows. My family got to see Alaska, California, and other places. The best thing of all, I didn’t die after repeat weight drops that were not pleasant at all. After much thought, I have decided to do the open class next year. At this point, I simply want to look my best, and I know I look my best in the 220 range not at 212. Placings will fall where they may, but what I can control is coming in at my best, and that is what I am going to do this year.
My seminar schedule this year took me to England and Ireland mid-year. Other than some awful issues at airports (not let on plane in Madrid Spain – stuck with no flight), more memories were created as a family. Mary and I took the kids with us to these places. I have no idea if my boys will remember these trips at 7 years old, but I hope they do and someday appreciate them. My friend Suby Ali arranged the trip and made sure my kids had fun as he and his assistant “Rok” took them to a monkey farm they loved as one example. The crowd in England was fantastic too, just a bunch of people ready to get to work and train hard just as the folks in Scotland and Australia were last year. Once I got to Ireland, it was a little different, awesome people just a little more on the “have fun” side, then the focused and crazy side..ha!
There was a festival going on in the beautiful town we were staying in and we were definitely out of place not walking the streets with a load of beer in hand. We got to visit many different places here including the capital of Dublin and a nice beach, making for a great trip. It’s always nice to present with Dr. Serrano also. He had brought his family to Ireland as well. I look forward to returning to the UK next year as I seem to have a very good connection with the crowd over there.
I also had the absolute pleasure at presenting at the Swiss symposium this year again. Last year was special, and this year was as well. I also was happy to have my good friend Scott Stevenson join me on stage to speak. 90 minutes is not a lot of time, we tried to dump as much open and honest information on the crowd as we could. It is sort of mind-blowing to be presenting next to for example, the greatest strength athlete of all time Bill Kazmeir, one of the greatest powerlifters Donnie Thomspon, and on and on. We could go on all day about the speakers. Suffice to say, this was a joy for me.
Yea, chatted with Dorian Yates this year too
The Prime Controversy
I can’t do a year in review and not mention this. I dropped a bomb on the supplement industry to say the least. It was a very unfortunate situation. I had been stiffed out of a lot of money, and had uncovered products with my name on them were not being dosed correctly. I remember being in Iowa guest posing, and running into the 2 awesome kids who were 19 years old. They told me they had saved up and were buying products from Prime with my name on them. Well I had recently got back the 2nd test to confirm the issue, and it just hit me really hard. Here were two kids saving up to buy something, and weren’t getting what they were paying for. I made a few phone calls that night to let some friends know it was coming. I also contacted a well-respected lawyer in our industry who is a friend (not the lawyer I had retained), and he told me to not do it, to just walk away. That was legal advice I could not take. I believe that if I concealed this information I would be just as guilty. This was an easy choice, but I knew there would be consequences. I knew lies would be made up about me, etc, and it happened right on cue, but I also knew that my history, and how I have acted over the years, would prevail, and it did. End of story.
I believe that this event will help change the supplement industry to a degree. You can bet everybody was running to their manufacturers now to review testing policy etc. Once all this info had been released, I was contacted my multiple manufacturers and no less than 10 supplement companies wanting to partner with me. This was really cool to me, and I appreciate every one of those companies reaching out to me.
The result of all of this, and my future in the supplement industry is going to be released next week. So STAY TUNED!
We managed to take a real vacation this year too! We went to Aruba. I have always wanted to go there and it didn’t let me down. What a beautiful island with great people. We were made to feel very welcome there and the 7 days flew by!
I also took a nice little break to go out to California to train and hang out with my friend Ed Koo. I really do love California, and will be back out there in January 2017.
Alexander and Jonathan were crazy busy this year. They completed their 4th year of karate, but it appears they are going to quit it now. Alexander played hockey on Saturdays but is ready to quit that too. This is the tough part about being a parent. Do I force them to do something, so they know it’s not ok to just keep quitting, or do you not push it on them? Though I am really frustrated, I decided to not beat them up over it. You can bet I talked to them about quitting though. I also thought back about my own childhood. I want in any sports until I was in 4th grade, so it’s not the end of the world. They do still love to play football with me in the backyard, and that is my favorite too honestly!
I enjoyed another year training with my man Dave Tate. We also talk about business a lot, and its always time I really treasure.
I got to play in my first poker tournament since the kids were born. I used to be a crazy online player. I was one of the guys 4 tabling all the time as an action junkie. I really miss it. One of my goals for this year is to make it to the final day at the World Series of Poker. Chances are really good I am going to play there this year. I was telling Fouad about this and he was cracking up. He never imagined me as a poker player.
Let’s all have an awesome 2017!