Don Mendiola is now setting his sights on becoming, probably, the first professional bodybuilder from the CNMI.
The 23-year-old made the bold announcement after his third-place finish in the highly-competitive 2017 NPC Shawn Ray Hawaiian Classic held last Nov. 4 at the Honolulu Convention Center in Hawaii, and he has set a three-year plan to achieve that goal. Included in the plan is his participation in more off-island competitions.
“I plan to compete off-island again for sure. My short-term goal is to defend my title as the overall champion in the DC Classic next year. Then hopefully become an overall champion in the Guam Bodybuilding Championships,” said Mendiola.
“The next thing I have lined up is the Michelob Ultra at the Leo Palace Resort in Yona, Guam more than a week from now. I’ll compete again on Nov. 17 and let’s just say I’m ready to take a medal home with me once more,” he added.
He will also continue with his training under the guidance of Latte Built Fitness owner and professional trainer Derek Cutting as he looks forward to joining more tournaments in Hawaii, including next year’s Stingrey Classic, and a few more in the mainland before turning pro.
“I plan to compete in the states, somewhere in Las Vegas or in Washington State. Then I plan to turn pro when I turn 26 or before 28 years old. I know it is not an impossible thing to do. With the right mindset, great work ethic, and the Lord in my life, anything is possible,” he added.
“Bigger and better things are yet to come. I plan to represent my islands well. I just want to show everybody that no matter where you are from, anything is possible with hard work and dedication,” the bodybuilder said.
Mendiola said he dedicated his win in Hawaii to his family, who are all out in supporting him in his journey. “[My family] knows what I went through every day, as the months went by, and as it turned into years. I just appreciate their support as I hit my goals and the dreams that I have. I would also like to thank God for blessing me with this win, for guiding me through the rough times and giving me the strength. And my girlfriend (Jarene) for the love and support in what I do.”
He also thanked Clayton for being a great friend and supporter, Cutting, for helping with his training, and MAGAS owner Frank Cabrera for his gear.
“I wouldn’t be able to join these competitions without Dee’s (Clayton) help. She gave me the chance to compete and put my physique to the test against the best bodybuilders in Hawaii,” said Mendiola.
“Thank you also to Derek for the support and for being a great coach, mentor, and brother to me. Thank you for helping me with my daily training and workout, and always keeping my meal plans on point.”
Mendiola competed in the men’s bodybuilding (not physique as earlier reported) novice division and went home with the bronze behind gold medalist James Tani and silver medal winner Changdae Kim.