From bullied to bodybuilder, Pateman to shine in Vegas
BODYBUILDING: While her strong neck muscles easily carry the weight of enormous gold medals and trophies she's holding, Beccy Pateman has needed some broad shoulders to carry her through her young life.
Plagued with crippling anxiety, bullying and self-esteem issues, she found her calling in the gym room.
And after meeting a local who's been to the top of the world in bodybuilding, she's now well on her way to taking on the best in the business in Las Vegas.
Pateman recently returned from the NSW International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) titles winning every title available to her.
"I really wasn't expecting anything. I won best female poser, and then I competed in physique and figure, and they announced I'd won both of those," she said.
"All of the stage photos are of me crying because I was in such shock."
The surprises didn't end there, with the association awarding $1000 towards flights to take her to the world titles in Las Vegas next month, and one huge surprise.
"The thing that topped the day off was they awarded me my pro, and I now get to compete as a professional bodybuilder in their federation," she said.
"They weren't necessarily looking to award it on the day, but if the judges think you're of a pro level they can give it out, and they awarded me.
"It kind of took my breath away."
While Pateman's eyes light up talking about her new "obsession", it wasn't always the case, and as a 16-year-old, she found herself at a low point.
"When I was 16/17 I struggled a lot with anxiety and depression and suffered a lot of bullying through school," she said.
"I gained a lot of weight and stress and had a tough time. I was on medication, seeing counsellors and it was at a point that I had to do something about it or get completely lost."
Luckily, Pateman said she was "dragged out of the darkness" by friends and family, especially her brothers who introduced her to gym training to become more active.
"I started seeing results, and felt better as you do when you become healthier," she said. "I started seeing results, and I was just addicted. I went to the gym every day, and it became a lifestyle I was passionate about."
And then a meeting with local bodybuilding legend Brad Clarke at Bodyrock Gym further pushed her ahead.
"He said if I wanted to do competition that he was there to help, and it was then that it hit me that it was something I could do."
Pateman has been training competitively for three years, and has competed with different associations, but aimed at this year's competition from as early as last year.
"I've been mentally preparing for more than a year, knowing this is what I wanted to do," she said. "I've been diet prepping since February, and we had to do a building phase as I'd lost a bit of muscle before we shredded down."
And then the work starts, with Pateman working two jobs, and "split training" twice a day in the lead-up to competition.
"I work in the early morning, train, go home, do cardio, cook and prepare food, train, go home and then go to work for the last few months towards the end," she said.
"It's been really great to get the results, to get something out of it and see you're not working your absolute guts out for no reason.
"In saying that, in my mindset, I don't see myself as being any better than all the competitors. I've never expected any of this."
Pateman's next challenge comes on the international stage, where she'll face the best in the world in Vegas, and she's in no doubt of the extra hard-work involved.
"Brad's told me what's required of going to Vegas, and it really hit me what's required," she said.
"But he's done all my diet, all my programs, it's been so much easier because of him.
"I want to thank the Bodyrock family for all of the love and support with the raffle, my friends, family and the community in general for being so generous and supportive towards helping make my Vegas dream come true.
"I just can't imagine not doing it. I love it so much."