There’s a scene in The Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo a choice “You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” The blue pill represents something that we all crave deep down – certainty. A risk free life of following the path, going through the motions, and living out your days feeling unfulfilled while you wonder what could’ve been. But the red pill – it represents possibility. It’s an opportunity to do what something the majority of people don’t have the courage to do: risk everything for chance to venture down the road less traveled and discover a sense of purpose few people will ever know.
Long before he stepped onstage at the NPC Nationals David Paterik was faced with a choice: take the blue pill and continue living a life of certainty, or take the red pill and open Pandora’s Box as you dive head first into uncharted waters. Recently I had a chance to catch up with David to talk life, bodybuilding, and so much more. And you can read it all right here, in this Iron Affinity exclusive interview.
Q.) Tell us a bit about how you first became introduced to bodybuilding.
A.) In 2003 I was working for a Paint retailer, (like Sherwin Williams) and was selected on assignment to relocate to Anchorage, AK to work at a new location. Moving to AK, I knew no one. Besides working and the incredible fishing, I had nothing else to really do. I was 140 pounds soaking wet at the time, and had always been a fan of bodybuilding, but knew nothing about it. I bought some basic weights at a second hand sports store called Play It Again Sports. I lifted weights in my company rented condo and did endless amounts of pushups every day. Soon, co-workers and customers noticed I had put on a little size which motivated the hell outta me, and I soon joined a small independently owned gym called Body Works. Immediately, the owners of the gym saw my potential as a competitor and they took me under their wing. They’d close the gym at 11 pm every night and the 3 of us would just train. In less than 6 months, I gained about 20 pounds of lean muscle. In 2004 I moved back to WA State. I joined Gold’s gym in Kirkland, WA where then newly turned IFBB pro Mark Dugdale trained. I ended up training with the Dugdale crew for months while Mark took me under his wing and helped me get ready for my first show, the WA State IronMan as a light weight. To this day, Mark is a good friend and someone I really look up to.
Q.) What was it that initially attracted you to the sport?
A.) As a kid, my friend and I would look at his father’s Muscle magazines and read about Dorian Yates and Kevin Levrone. I was literally in awe and almost thought it was fake. I guess from a young age, I’ve always had a fascination with muscles like probably most young boys. But it wasn’t until I was about 23 years old that I actually picked up a weight and realized how much I enjoyed it.
Q.) You actually competed in your first contest all the way back in 2004, but then had an eight year layoff from the stage? Why so long? What made you decide to return?
A.) After my first show in ’04, I was approached by a gentleman about fitness modeling. I quickly picked up gigs and started traveling all over to do photo shoots. My focus became just this and I left the competitive side of it behind. Then in 2012, friends in the sport wondered why I hadn’t competed and thought I could really do some damage on the stage. I was “talked” into entering another state level show called the WA State Open where I competed as a light heavy taking 2nd place to Dominick Semenza. After this, I had a totally different mindset and took my bodybuilding to a whole other level.
Q.) You really first caught the attention of the bodybuilding world last year when you won the Emerald Cup, which is an impressive feat in and of itself, but doing it as a Middleweight is particularly impressive. What expectations for yourself did you have heading into that show?
A.) The Emerald Cup is like the damn Olympia out here man! My best friend Casey Bunce called me one day from CA and told me that he and I were going to do the Emerald Cup, and predicted we both win our classes. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. I knew I’d be going against some of the best in the North West but my competitive nature just told me I could win this. I had plans of going in as a light heavy again, but was quickly informed by a former judge that if I wanted to win that I needed to drop to middles. Casey and I both I ended up winning our classes in a very stacked field and also shared the overall stage with the overall winner Allen Kuhl, who also turned pro at Nationals this year.
Q.) At what point did the goal of turning pro enter the equation for you?
A.) After taking the middle weight title at the 2013 Emerald Cup which qualified me for a National show, I again had friends talking me into doing the 2013 USA’s which I thought was way out of my league. Then I thought to myself, WHY NOT? I made the trip down to Vegas only to place top ten. Not bad for my first national show, but honestly I was devastated. I felt I was overlooked and it fueled my training to yet another level. I took a year off to make drastic improvements. I linked up with prep coach Matt Porter for the 2014 NPC Nationals where I beat 31 of the nation’s best middle weights with a perfect score, thus earning me an IFBB pro card.
Q.) Let’s talk about your experience at Nationals. You found yourself standing dead center in the first call out during pre-judging, so heading into the night show you had to have a relatively good idea that your were most likely going to walk away with your pro card. Tell us a bit about what your thoughts were as you came off stage following the pre judging.
A.) Pre judging was almost surreal to me. As I got first callouts, they ran us through the mandatories once. Then they moved Tank Moore and I to the middle. I had so much damn adrenaline I was posing and flexing with absolutely everything I had. After the judges ran us through another set of poses, they excused Tank and I off the stage leaving all the other competitors still in place. I was confused LOL. I stepped to the back of the stage at first but the expeditor said, “No brotha, you’re done!” I could not believe it. Tank and I were both just shocked and knew we were 1st or 2nd and new pros to the sport. My coach Matt Porter ran back stage and gave me a huge hug… I’m not goning to lie, it was a bit emotional for us. Honestly, it’s still sinking in!
Q.) Take us back to the moment when you hear your name announced as the winner and realize that you’ve just become a National champion and an IFBB Pro. Tell us what you remember feeling.
A.) The day leading up to finals was a bit nerve racking. I knew I was either 1st or 2nd but the will to win was strong. The forums on Tank and I were 50/50 but everyone I talked to was saying it was a clear victory for me. You just never know what the judges are going to award. Tank had some freaky muscle and size as to where I brought a more aesthetic and conditioned package. At finals when it came down to the two of us, we shook hands and waited for the call. When they called his name for 2nd place, I raised my hands high and yelled out in victory! I could not believe I came and beat 31 of the best in the nation. Absolutely satisfying feeling with crazy emotion. My Emerald Cup win did not even compare. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all my competitors and feel incredibly privileged to have shared the stage with them. Furthermore, to win, was just icing on the cake to a journey and dream I have had for many years. I still cannot believe it!
Q.) The night show also had a bit of extra significance as well because you got to share the stage during final pose down with your good friend, welterweight winner Santi Aragon. What was did it mean to you to have that unique opportunity to share that special moment together?
A.) Oh man! When I came off stage with my trophy, Santi was backstage and said, YOU WON??!!” I replied, YES!!!!” and picked him up off the ground. Immediately, we staked out our overall pose down routine. LOL. We’re planners haha. The crowd response to our head to head most muscular pose was awesome. It also made for an epic picture! We were buddies before this but it has drawn us much closer as friends with a real respect for each other. We talk almost daily.
Q.) Now that you’re crossing over into the next phase of your career, tell us what’s next for David Paterik.
A.) It’s time to grow brother. As my coach stated in another interview, I have never really had a structured off season. My focus is the pro stage and I am working harder than ever with more purpose than I have ever imagined. The goal is to make my pro debut late in 2015.
Q.) Is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping you reach this point in your career?
A.) Without a doubt! MY WIFE! She’s an Amazing supporter. She has believed in me more than I have in myself, which has kept me pursuing what seemed like an impossible feat. My coach Matt Porter for his direction and guidance. I truly could not have done this without him. My incredible sponsors Inner Armour Sports Nutrition and War Hammer Gym Gear for their continued support. And all my followers! Thank you so much. Sincerely.
Q.) If someone would like to find out more about you, or contact you for potential sponsorship and guest posing opportunities, what’s the best way for them to reach you?
A.) I may be reached through social media or email.
Bestselling author and speaker Steven Maraboli once wrote “You were put on this Earth to achieve your greatest self, live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
Now, once again David is standing on the precipice of stepping into the unknown and is faced with a choice: Either he can take the blue and slide back into the warm comfort of certainty, or he can take the red pill and once again step into a Wonderland filled with twists, turns, dangers, and opportunities as he courageously seeks out his greatest self…living out his true purpose.