by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
LOS ANGELES – He is a Filipino Hulk.
Last week, Ternida became the first Filipino Middle Weight Division Champion at 172-pounds and captured the Overall Championship in the US Musclemania Universe competition in Miami.
“It’s an overwhelming feeling,” said Ternida to the Asian Journal. “I’ve trained hard for the past six months. I came off an injury and won this [competition] making me the first Filipino to capture the overall Musclemania championship.”
Musclemania is one of the more prestigious competitions for professional bodybuilders. The bodybuilding organization holds two events a year – the Musclemania Universe competition event in June and Musclemania World Championships in November.
Ternida became the very first Filipino to win a US bodybuilding championship when he captured the Musclemania Lightweight Championship at 148-pounds in November 2003. Ironically, it was the same time boxer Manny Pacquiao defeated Marco Antonio Barrera, starting his streak of besting Mexican boxing opponents.
Like Pacquiao, Ternida is considered to be the very best in his sport.
For the past several years, Ternida has built up an impressive bodybuilding resume. He’s a six-time Mr. Philippines title-holder, a Musclemania World and Universe champion, a Battle of the Philippines champion and has numerous second place finishes in the Superbody International competition.
The most remarkable part of this is that he’s usually the lone Filipino competitor in these major bodybuilding competitions. “There’s only a few of us [Filipinos],” he said. “There are maybe two or three FilAms and one Filipino from Kuwait.”
According to Ternida, the recent Musclemania Universe championship was his fifth bodybuilding title this year. Earlier this year, he racked up victories in Asia and the Philippines.”
Despite all the accolades, he said the victory in Miami was his most memorable title. After being stuck in an airplane for two days just traveling to Miami, the airline lost his luggage, which had important vitamin supplements.
“Luckily, I got everything in time,” he said. “The crowd even cheered for me because they knew what I was going through and what I had to overcome to win.”
He said he felt fortunate just to even be able to compete again this year.
At 37-years-old, he’s not necessarily at the peak of his career. Ternida, whose nickname is also mass of muscle, had considered retirement last year after suffering an almost career ending injury. Trying to pick up a 600-pound weight during a deadlift exercise, Ternida tore his left bicep muscle. He was unable to lift weights for eight months and seriously pondered retirement.
“I really did consider retiring,” he said. “My whole [left] arm was blue. I [remembered] hearing a crack in my muscle. It was really sore. I really thought my career was over.”
Despite the injury, Ternida persevered. He sat out most of last year just trying to rehabilitate his arm. He said the injury was a blessing.
“It made me focus on my exercises more,” he said. “It was starting over again, back to the basics. Before when I did a bench press exercise, I let the bar bounce on my chest and used the momentum to pick it up. Now, I use smaller weights. It’s about controlled movement. I train smarter now. Now, I’m contracting the muscle more.”
Although the torn bicep injury was painful, he’s used to persevering through long odds.
Growing up in the Philippines he had an asthmatic condition that prevented him from exercising regularly. An injury to his left thigh from a misplaced doctor’s needle almost prevented him from walking again.
But at the age of 21, Ternida who then weighed less than a 100 pounds found his love in bodybuilding.
He said exercising made him overcome his asthmatic condition. Bodybuilding for Ternida, lead to a healthier lifestyle. He also liked how his ripped body looked.
But if you think it’s easy, Ternida said bodybuilding requires a lot of discipline.
During the competition season, he has a strict diet – sirloin, plain chicken breast, no carbohydrates, no sugar, no salt, and lots of vitamin and protein supplements. “Basically, anything that tastes good I can’t eat,” he said.
For competitions, he works out six days a week isolating each muscle. He eats or takes a supplement 10 times a day.
Ternida, who also serves as a personal trainer in the off-season, said the championship trophies are well worth the strict lifestyle it demands.
When asked what he does with all those trophies, he said he keeps it in his gym (Gymcore Hardcore Gym) in the Philippines as motivation for his clients.
With all of his accomplishments, there is still more to be done, he said.
He’s hoping one day that the Olympics consider bodybuilding as a sport.
“I want to win a Gold medal for the Philippines,” he said.