Local personal trainer Vince Gumataotao placed fourth overall in the light heavyweight division at the National Physique Committee Georgia Bodybuilding competition July 11 in Atlanta.
This wasn’t Gumataotao’s first time in the spotlight, however.
The former Mr. Guam has been competing in bodybuilding for roughly 20 years. His high placing in Atlanta was a comeback of sorts, having taken five years off from competing to tend to his wife, children and businesses.
Gumataotao owns the 24 Seven Family Fitness & Training Center in Hinesville and just opened a second location in Glennville.
“I’m excited because it had been a while since I had stepped on stage in a real big show,” said Gumataotao, who added that about a year ago a trainer friend of his brought in some stuff from a bodybuilding competition, which triggered his desire to compete again.
Gumataotao said it was tough to get his weight down to 198 pounds. He literally had to shed as much water weight as he could just an hour before the show to compete in his weight class. The 40-year old Gumataotao said his metabolism is different now than when he first competed, but he made weight and was thrilled to place fourth.
“It is a science that you truly never get down packed,” he said about preparing and training for a competition. “You will learn something from every competition. I did a couple of things different for this show than I’ve done in the last 20 years. I’m starting to train now for the May national show in Charleston.”
Gumataotao started training at the age of 18. By 19, he competed at his first show in his native country of Guam.
“I was like, ‘Oh wow, I can take this sport serious like baseball, soccer and all those,’” he said. “I did that and won Mr. Guam (as a) teenager. So they sent me all over the world … I went to the Junior World competition in Spain and placed 10th there. The following year, which was the last year of my eligibility, I went to Turkey and placed third in the world there, and there was like 80 countries in my weight class. It was crazy.
It was probably one of the most important shows I had done.”
Gumataotao was Mr. Teenage Guam in 1995, took the gold medal in Guam in 1999, won in the Mr. Nevada Heavyweight class in 2007, and placed third and sixth, respectively, in the two NPC Excalibur competitions he did in 2008.
In 2009, he placed first overall to earn the title of Mr. Los Angeles in the NPC event there. In the second Los Angeles event, Gumataotao placed second overall.
In his last two NPC shows, both in 2010, he placed 10 and 16th overall, respectively.
“I took time off … met a girl, got married had two kids … You know, life took over,” he said about his competition hiatus. “This is cool because I can show my kids … this is me 21 years later,” he said.
Gumataotao pointed to photos of him in his first show and his recent fourth-place accomplishment. His physical appearance is the same in each picture: strong, healthy and physically symmetrical, despite the two decades that separate each photo.
“I just want to maintain,” he said about his body, adding that now that the show bug has bit he would like to regain his pro-card status.
“I feel like I get better with age because of my muscle maturity,” he continued. “You know, when you try and win a show like that, you have to be at a certain place and time in your life … everything has to be on point.”
Gumataotao added that he doesn’t want to take his level of training beyond attaining natural physical strength. He said he had always been told he could get bigger an attain Mr. Olympia status with the help of steroids or other medicinal means, but always considered the health risks and stayed away from them.
“I do it naturally, and I know my body,” he said. “If I eat right and train hard for a certain amount of months, I know I’ll get better results than by taking anything they have on the market.”