John Terilli

John Terilli
John Terilli

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The Remarkable Journey of John Terilli: From Anorexia to Bodybuilding Success

Born in Italy and later relocating to Sydney, Australia, at the age of eight, John Terilli’s life journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. From a challenging childhood marked by weight issues and eating disorders to an illustrious bodybuilding career, John’s story is a testament to resilience and the pursuit of one’s dreams.

A Battler’s Beginnings

Terilli’s early years were marked by being an overweight child, an experience shared by many. However, what set him apart was his tenacity to transform himself. At the tender age of 11, he grappled with the shadows of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. Remarkably, by the time he turned 12, he embarked on a transformative journey towards a healthier and more sensible lifestyle.

The Ascent to Bodybuilding Stardom

John’s introduction to bodybuilding was nothing short of iconic. A chance encounter with a magazine featuring his lifelong inspiration, Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the cover sparked the flame of passion within him. John’s bodybuilding odyssey began modestly, lifting bricks attached to a broomstick handle, setting the stage for his incredible journey.

In 1976, with minimal weight training and a focus on calisthenics, he entered his first bodybuilding competition, the Teen Mr. New South Wales, and emerged victorious. His remarkable physique and success led him to enter the overall Mr. New South Wales competition, which he also won. This achievement was historic as John became the youngest person ever to achieve this accolade, a record yet to be surpassed.

As John’s star continued to rise, he set his sights on larger stages. His pinnacle moment came in 1980 when he claimed the title of the best bodybuilder in Australia. Remarkably, it was the same night and the same stage where his inspiration, Arnold Schwarzenegger, won the 1980 Mr. Olympia at the Sydney Opera House.

Turning Pro: The Journey Continues

John’s remarkable journey continued as he transitioned into the professional realm. In 1982, he secured the titles of Mr. Australasia and Amateur Mr. Universe. His impressive achievements paved the way for his decision to turn professional after his Mr. Universe victory in 1983.

John’s entrance into the professional bodybuilding arena was met with a remarkable feat. He secured the fifth position in the 1983 New York Night of Champions, an extraordinary achievement for a relatively unknown bodybuilder competing at such a high level. He also came close to victory in the 1983 Caesar’s Palace Pro World Cup, losing by just one point to Lee Haney.

In 1985, John made the momentous decision to move to the United States. The following year, he qualified for the Mr. Olympia competition, and in 1986, he achieved the status of a finalist. John’s dedication and remarkable journey were recognized internationally.

An Expert and Pioneer

John’s journey didn’t end in bodybuilding arenas. He transitioned to become a pioneer in the field of dieting, nutrition, and training protocols. His insatiable curiosity led him to work with medical practitioners at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Woman’s Hospital Obesity Centre in New York. Here, he explored the effects of food on body composition and body fat levels. His experiences enhanced his understanding of the intricacies of eating for maintaining body fat levels and body composition.

Returning to Australia in 1989, John continued his work as a personal trainer, delving deeper into the gender-specific biochemical effects on the endocrine and adrenal systems when dieting. His expertise made him a leading figure in this field.

A Legacy Beyond Competitions

John continued to compete in various professional bodybuilding contests, finishing as the runner-up in the Professional Mr. Universe in 1993. The following year, he etched his name in history as the only Australian male to win the Professional Mr. Universe Title.

In 1994, John retired from professional bodybuilding competitions, but his journey was far from over. He entered a new phase of life, embracing married life, becoming a father, and diversifying into the world of media and film. He featured in feature films, short films, and television commercials and graced the covers of numerous health and fitness publications worldwide.

John’s passion for media led him to become the co-producer, host, and researcher of BodyRenovator, a monthly weight loss, health, and fitness DVD series.

Through it all, John Terilli’s personal motto, “eat more and exercise less,” exemplifies his approach to health and fitness, emphasizing the importance of balanced and sustainable practices.

In conclusion, John Terilli’s journey from a challenging childhood to bodybuilding success, professional expertise, and a fulfilling personal life is a testament to the power of determination and the pursuit of one’s dreams. His story is an inspiration to all aspiring athletes and those seeking a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

John Terilli Bodybuilding Competition History

World Amateur Championships – IFBB, Light-HeavyWeight, 6th

Mr Universe – NABBA, Medium, 1st

Grand Prix Las Vegas – IFBB, 2nd
Night of Champions – IFBB, 5th

World Pro Championships – IFBB, 8th

Night of Champions – IFBB, 6th

Los Angeles Pro Championships – IFBB, 6th
Olympia – IFBB, 9th
World Pro Championships – IFBB, 5th

Niagara Falls Pro Invitational – IFBB, 6th

Arnold Classic – IFBB, 13th
Grand Prix France – IFBB, 12th
Grand Prix Sweden – IFBB, 11th

Australian Championships – IFBB, Tall, 2nd

Ironman Pro Invitational – IFBB, 16th

Ironman Pro Invitational – IFBB, 18th
Universe – Pro – NABBA, 2nd

Universe – Pro – NABBA, Winner

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