By: NANCY BAKER FAUL
Dedication, diligence, willpower and a drive to succeed; this is how local bodybuilding champion TJ Faeser exemplifies the sport of bodybuilding. A young man loaded with determination and gumption, who intends to make his mark in this highly competitive world. His next competition will be right here at home, at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. He will compete at the 1st Power Shack Classic on Saturday July 31, against some of the best body builders in the country. His ultimate goal is to own the title of Mr. Olympia someday. TJ is well aware of the challenges and the very long road before him. “I have a close network of family and friends that support me and my goals,” he said. His biggest fan is his 4 year old son, Asher.
Faeser competes in the Junior Middle Division which is the most popular. The competitors are fierce. This athlete focuses on the development and display of each and every muscle in his body. The competition is not about worrying about what the other guys do, it is about his personal best. TJ trains at least once a day, beginning with 30 minutes of cardio then moving on to weights. His weight must always remain below 187.5 lbs. Every bite of food is carefully and closely monitored. During this phase of preparing for competition, TJ’s diet consists of lots of protein, and good healthy shakes. Carbohydrates are currently completely excluded.
TJ attended D’Iberville High School and found that team sports were not is calling. He discovered that he was drawn to strength and power, and liked the self discipline that bodybuilding demanded. “Sculpting the human body takes time, determination and a lot of sweat. It’s a constant mental fight. I tell people to just stop complaining about all the things that are holding you back and just do it. No excuses! My motto is train hard and never quit,” he said. TJ adopted this “take no prisoners” attitude from a bodybuilding champion he greatly admires, Lee Priest.
This is a remarkable athlete, but his character and moxie go much deeper. The young man was stricken with a very serious genetic ocular disease called Lebers Optic Neuropathy that left him blind when his adult life was just beginning. His vision began to deteriorate in December 2004, and by March the following year, he was totally without sight. Quitting was never an option for TJ and he continued training, and living his life to the fullest. The challenges are even greater, the demands are mind boggling, but he devised a way to work it all out. He has his own system of training which requires more time and even more effort but the results prove that nothing gets in his way. He believes being blind may even give him a slight advantage when he is competing. “I can’t see the judges faces or watch what the other competitors are doing or how they look on stage. All I have to concern myself with is hitting my poses and doing what I know is best,” he said.
TJ is also a licensed massage therapist. He is a graduate of Blue Cliff College and began his own business called “Healing Beyond Sight.” He feels the muscles, and completely depends on the sense of touch to do his work. This offers a very unique perspective that enhance all the services he offers. Please call Healing Beyond Sight at 228-861-9886 for more information.
Faeser is proudly sponsored by the Power Shack in Biloxi. Come by and visit with him after the Power Shack Classic on July 31st at the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.