Dad, overall champion! Photo by Lachlan Callender.

25 Years in the Making

All my life growing up I have been surrounded by bodybuilding. It was my Dad’s passion, and now it’s also my passion. So growing up I always wanted to be bigger and better than Dad, like the song in “Pumping Iron”.

This year (2018) I had the opportunity to step on stage with my hero and father, which will forever be one of the greatest moments in my life.

This opportunity was 25 years in the making (my age at the time). We originally planned on competing together in 2014. This didn’t get to happen, adversity had gotten in the way.

You see, a few years ago now Dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He had to get cancerous tumours cut out of his bladder, and then was catheterized for almost a month. He got past that obstacle. But then he had to have more tumours removed, from his feet and torso that could have potentially been cancerous. He hobbled around the gym after that and still trained, and he even helped prep athletes backstage despite his condition. It’s a testament to his drive and work ethic, and passion for bodybuilding, that he has persevered through these challenges, including neck, knee and back injuries.

So, the last few years it’s been great to be able to watch Dad back on stage doing what he loves. And the time came this year for us to do it together.

As we were preparing for the show, people would ask me what’s more important to me, winning the show or beating my Dad. But of course, I never set out to beat my Dad. And I didn’t! He was able to win his Masters category, the Open and the Overall, whilst I took second to him in the Opens.

I was so proud of my Dad at that moment. That win was the result of a lifetime dedicated to bodybuilding, and it was well deserved.

But the show meant so much more than trophies or placing. The show was the realisation of a life long bond between father and son.

Top three open men. Dad 1st, me 2nd. Photo by Lachlan Callender.
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25 YEARS IN THE MAKING Bodybuilding has always been a part of my life. And this weekend will be the greatest moment of my bodybuilding career. I get to step on stage with the number one hero in my life, my Dad. Someone asked me what's more important to me, winning the show or beating my Dad. Well, I don't set out to beat Dad. No matter which one of us comes out on top, we'll both be extremely happy. And although I stir him up and tell him I'll beat him this way or that way, prepping together I've realised something. The old boy is probably gonna beat me. But he deserves it. His physique is the result of over 30 years of relentless, consistent training. No matter what obstacles have been thrown his way. We were gonna compete together back in 2014. It didn't get to happen, adversity got in the way. Dad's journey to getting on stage with me hasn't been easy. He's had bladder cancer, needing major surgery for tumours in his bladder to be cut out and after that to be catheterized for around a month. He got past that obstacle. Then he had to have potentially cancerous tumours cut out of his feet and torso. He still hobbled around the gym and trained, even hobbling around backstage at shows on wounded feet to help prep people. He's had injuries to his knees, back and neck. Still he persevered. He has a relentless drive and work ethic that I really can't put into words. It's been great watching Dad finally competing again these last couple years. And now it's time for us to do it together. I owe my Dad so much for the life I live and the person I am. He is the greatest man I know, and he pushes me to be the best man I can be. So this weekend means so much more than trophies or placings. This weekend is the realisation of the lifelong bond between father and son. #ILoveYouDad

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My original post the night before the show.
Our signature pose together. Photo by Lachlan Callender.

I’ll be sharing more posts on my journey in bodybuilding. If you’re interested follow along in the Ryan’s Blog section of the website.

Ryan Norman

Owner & Editor in Chief of NatBod. Promoter & Head Judge of the NatBod Showdown. Natural Mr Australia - Physique (Classic) 2019. Owner of Moruya Gym. Passionate about natural bodybuilding and the fitness lifestyle.

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