Robin Taberna Jr. weighs just five more pounds today than he did as an East Union High sophomore football player.
As weight gain goes, that sounds OK for a 30-year-old until you realize how Taberna added those five pounds.
The 5-foot-11, 225-pound Taberna earned the overall grand championship of the National Physique Competition Best in the West bodybuilding championships in Reno on Oct. 7 by methodically using a regimen of nutrition and workouts.
Taberna — who won the Golden State competition in Sacramento in his class on Aug. 12 and finished second in an event at Lake Tahoe — is now preparing for the national competition next July. If he wins there, he can go pro.
“It (bodybuilding) has helped build my self-confidence,” noted Taberna.
Taberna, who has 20 years under belt in martial arts thanks to parents Robin and Janis Taberna — his father has offered free martial arts lessons to Boys & Girls Club members for 37 years — said his outlook on fitness and health changed after his sophomore year in high school.
“I had the soft look of a football player,” Taberna said of his sophomore days when he tipped the scales at 220 pounds.
He then decided to hit the weight room harder and pay more attention to nutrition. He lost 50 pounds by the start of his junior year. He also played basketball and tennis for the Lancers before graduating in 2005.
Looking back, he said he would laugh at himself if anyone ever said he could shape his body into what it is today let alone be winning bodybuilding competition.
Taberna said he got emotional in Reno after he got off the stage where he was presented a sword as overall champion. He spent five minutes reflecting on how far he had come and what he was able to do.
“If you put your mind to something you can make it work,” he said. “If not, you make excuses as to why you can’t.”
While Taberna has built a body that impresses judges, he said it is more valuable in terms of what it has done for his life. It has made him more confident and focused.
It doesn’t come without sacrifice. He spends two hours in the gym before heading to work for an 8 to 10 hour shift. And then after work it is back to the gym for another three hours. His gym time is a six day a week commitment with one rest day.
“It (bodybuilding) is a 24 hour thing,” Taberna said.
Like in any successful fitness program working out and good nutrition are equally important. The toughest part for Taberna — as well as most bodybuilders — is eating.
“Food tastes too good,” he said.
That said he has come to understand you are what you eat.
Taberna believes his sport shows that it is true that anybody can make improvements in their health and fitness even if it is incrementally for the better.
He credits his martial arts background for keeping him flexible.
Taberna said the fun part for him is working out in the gym.
“It helps get rid of my stress and relaxes me,” Taberna added.
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