It has been a long road to becoming a pro

David Paterik has caught the attention of judges when he gets on stage and strikes a series of mandatory poses.

Editor’s note: Enumclaw resident David Paterik has worked his way to becoming a nationally-known, professional bodybuilder. In this, the first of a two-part series, we look at the process leading up to turning professional.

David Paterik has certainly come a long way – from a Tacoma teenager who made a habit of bad decisions to a professional bodybuilder gracing the pages of fitness magazines and, just maybe, the TV screen.

Paterik, a 36-year-old husband and father who lives in a quiet Enumclaw neighborhood, admits he’s sometimes amazed at the twists and turns his life path has taken.

From rather inauspicious beginnings, he has fashioned a life built upon the prodigious muscles that bulge with every flex. His bodybuilder’s lifestyle has morphed into a growing business that has become a full-time occupation.

And it’s the prospect of keeping his family financially healthy that motivates him. Paterik freely points out that making a happy and healthy foundation for his wife and daughter drive every business decision he makes.

A long process

Paterik recalls his early teen days when he checked in at 5-foot-8 and weighed perhaps 140 pounds. He’s quick to mention his athletic skills were above average, but is just as quick to admit he didn’t take advantage of the natural ability he was blessed with.

Following graduation from Tacoma’s Stadium High School, Paterik fell into a career in the retail paint business. He can rattle off all the companies he worked for, all leaders in the industry. The fledgling career took him to a temporary job in Alaska where there wasn’t much to do for a young man with time on his hands but few friends.

During his lonely days in Anchorage, Paterik took a look in a full-length mirror and didn’t like the image. Looking back, he says, “man, I was pathetic.”

So he bought a set of barbells and, aside from the lifting, was soon doing 300 pushups and 300 crunches daily. More importantly, he stepped into a gym where he met the first in a series of mentors who convinced him there was a future in bodybuilding.

Working out two hours daily – after work, from 11 at night until 1 a.m. – paid big dividends.

He came home a different person, with a reshaped body that was 20 pounds bigger and a dedication to bodybuilding.

“It’s something that I’m just passionate about,” he says.

By 2004, Paterik had entered his first competition, at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center, and was on his way to becoming a name in the bodybuilding world. He was soon doing fitness modeling, but stayed away from competition.

“People pushed me to get back on the stage,” he said. It was a long process, but by 2012 he took the leap and entered the Washington State Open at the Auburn Performing Arts Center. Competing as a heavyweight, he was a close second. A year later, he was on stage again, this time at the Emerald Cup.“I decided, to be more competitive, I needed to drop down to middleweight,” Peterik said.

Competing again in Bellevue, he won the Emerald Cup, which featured bodybuilders from all over the nation. Then came the 2013 USA Championships in Las Vegas, where he placed 10th.

“It was respectable, but I was a little bit bummed out,” he said.

But that showing set the stage for a national competition on Nov. 22, 2014.

“It’s a date I’ll never forget,” Paterik said. “I basically won with a perfect score. And that’s what turned me professional.”

Next week: staying in the bodybuilding game while growing a business.