18-year-old Maddie Tatro of Sebastian took 1st place in the True Novice Bikini Competition and 4th place in the Open Division that took place in Miami in June. Tatro’s journey to the win was not an easy one. She had to beat an eating disorder and deal with hurtful comments from classmates about her slim body.
Tatro told Sebastian Daily, “I never felt insecure about my body until I encountered comments from classmates who enjoyed making fun of my scrawny physique. I told myself I wanted to prove to others that one’s mindset is more powerful than the words of another individual.”
She graduated from Sebastian River High School in 2023. Tatro started working out almost four years ago, a few years after she managed to beat her eating disorder. After the Covid-19 pandemic, she joined a gym in her town.
Tatro said, “With commitment, perseverance, and the desire to learn from others, I began developing physical strength despite not knowing how any of the equipment functioned.”
About eight months ago, Tatro wanted to participate in a bodybuilding competition. Her uncle, Ron Toperzer, who had also taken part in competitions, noticed her determination. He advised her to get in touch with a female trainer.
That’s how she met Brittany Hamilton, a friend of her uncle. Hamilton is an IFBB Pro. This means she is one of the best in the International Federation of Bodybuilders, and it takes years of hard work to reach this level.
Tatro and Hamilton discussed her bodybuilding plans, and soon after, they started focusing on how she could become stronger. Tatro had to change her diet completely.
She explained, “All the junk foods most people enjoy were off the menu to get the results I needed, which included my weakness, sweets! My macros: carbs, fats, and protein, were adjusted weekly as the competition got closer. I spent weeks implementing my new diet, which allowed me to grow and feel stronger. I spent hours, sometimes three times daily, achieving my weightlifting and cardio goals.”
Tatro also had to learn how to do her stage routine in high heels, which was a big achievement. She did all this while finishing her high school and college studies.
She is very proud of what she has achieved. Tatro said, “I am beyond proud of my results and will continue to improve my physique, as I plan to continue my bodybuilding journey but go into a building season (eight months to a year) to put on more size (muscle mass) and then compete on stage again in hopes of winning first in all divisions registered, enabling me to qualify for nationals and, from there, earn my pro card.”
Tatro concluded, “Bodybuilding is mentally challenging; you can let it tear you down or allow yourself to become your best. If you can dream it, you can certainly achieve it.”