By Damien Taylor, S11 Strength – In 2016 I saw success come on the world stage in the WNBF Bodybuilding World Championships in Men’s Physique and at State level back home. At the age of 47, I was able to win at my home State Titles in Melbourne, Australia in the INBA Men’s Open Physique and follow that up with winning 2nd at the World Championships in the Men’s Physique Masters and top 8 overall in the Opens in November. This was an amazing feeling to be winning at these levels because if you rewind six years ago, life looked very different.
January of 2011, life felt as though it was falling apart. I went through the difficulties of separating from my wife. I had two young children, a large house that I had to leave behind, my work as a Project Manager was extremely stressful at that stage, also I was moving into a rental home with no furniture and sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Everything I thought life would be has literally taken a paradigm shift and you find yourself going in the opposite direction.
Needless to say, anyone who understands these circumstances, it brings a wave of emotions such as fear, depression, anger, guilt to name a few. Everything that you thought life would be has turned on its head. Being away from my children is the hardest thing in the world to cope with. Looking back, fortunately one constant was being able to separate our differences from the children and they stay with me every weekend and have done for that six-year period. Through a lot of hard work and some very confronting times, my ex-wife and I get along extremely well to be able to be the right parents that children deserve. She has a very good partner who the children like very much and I have chosen to remain single which suits me as a person now in life.
The one constant in my life has always been sport, health and fitness and I truly believe that having participated in high level sport and coaching, helped me survive those times. During the initial period of being on my own, I needed another outlet to help focus on something positive. I had been going to gym for 20 years but one of my friends from my football days was now a National runner. He suggested I take up running half marathons, which I did.
I immersed myself in training as it was the only thing that would take my mind away from the other harsh realities of that period of time. I trained with national runners who were much better than I was but they taught me drills and encouraged me to keep working. In the end, I was able to get my times under the 90 mins. I was going to the gym and running 55 miles a week. I did this type of training and competing for four years and that helped me fill an important space as well as keep my health at a constant as I needed to be for myself and my children. I had always loved the gym though and quite a few people were encouraging me to try bodybuilding.