John F Xuereb
He is also a motivational life coach!
Recently, a party was held in John’s honor. One of the reasons for this informal gathering was to commemorate his win of the 2018 Canadian Pro Qualifier Bodybuilding Championships, as well as to recognize the impact he has had in the lives of his clients and his friends. Throughout the speeches and “roasting”, there was one consistent theme - in each relationship John has freely given the same gift of encouragement, hope for the future, and taught to each individual the value found in the pursuit of excellence.
The stories told demonstrated vividly that what often begins as a “love-hate” relationship between John and his clients quickly develops into a deep respect. In the beginning, John is frequently perceived as resolute, tough and unmoving. The truth is, John opens his heart up to those he cares about and in turn, impacts their lives in a way that they would never have imagined when they first began their journey to “get in shape”.. It’s the truth…this is a man you will either love or hate. You will love him if you can accept the challenge of change he offers, walk on fire and make the decision to never look back; or you will hate him if you misunderstand his intentions and choose to remain in a life of fear and mediocrity.
John’s approach to betterment may sound harsh to some. But change isn’t easy and no one knows this better than John. How can a man who grew up in an environment of violence, abuse and cruelty emerge with sensitivity, gentleness and compassion? John’s reasons for living, despite the unbearable pain he experienced for the first 25 years of his life, changed as he matured. But by forging ahead despite the disappointments that surrounded him, John learned the important lesson of believing in himself and allowing himself the latitude to make mistakes and despite setbacks, to continue to strive for a better life.
John’s Philosophy of Living
When you speak to John, he appears to have a sense of confidence and peace, both in demeanor and speech. He comes across as calm, yet serious, with a direct gaze that seems to pierce through your façade and leave you wondering if he can see right through you into your most secret fears and dreams. The thing is, he probably can, he just won’t reveal this until you begin to know him better and he feels you are ready to hear the truth.
Asking John why others call him a “motivational guru”, he chooses the humble approach, explaining his belief in balancing a sense of reality with a passion for dreaming big. He explains how he views life:
“Life is meant to be lived in a certain way – passionately and without fear. A part of me has always been a dreamer. Through the challenges I’ve faced, I’ve learned that obstacles can be removed, that destructive habits can be broken and that chains of past behaviors do not need to be repeated. Perhaps this is part of the dream, but I doubt it. Why? I see consistent success for people who take the plunge, commit to change and begin to live life without fear.”
When asked what it is he offers to those around him, John’s answer is simple:
“I try to instill in others the belief that they can achieve great things – that although they don’t think they have the strength to pursue their goal, my confidence in them will carry them until they are ready to do it on their own. It’s called empowerment, a rare commodity in this world.
Most people live in the middle ground, afraid to push themselves to their limits. Who has told them what their limits are? It’s usually other people in their life who are afraid of shaking the boat and perhaps fearful of what role they will play if their friend or loved one changes the way they view life. Everyone has insecurities and these manifest themselves when new challenges arise.
As soon as most people feel a little discomfort, they think that’s as high as they can go. I take them past that point, and yes, it feels painful at the onset. But I know where the road goes and I try to give them the confidence to keep on moving. They’re the ones who do all the hard work, I am only there to keep them going in the right direction. My clients trust in me because I’ve been down a difficult road and emerged a winner. Once they get moving, they’re amazed they’ve come this far, which in turn encourages them to keep going. I have belief in the unimaginable and I pass this belief on to others.”
The First Twelve Years…
The story of John’s life is a sad reflection on how other people’s pain affects innocent children. I’ve chosen to allow his words speak for themselves as he explained to me his first twelve years growing up.
“My father was sixteen when he moved here from Europe. Shortly thereafter, I was born to a woman I still have not met. In the first six months of my life, I was handed over to social services as my home was extremely unstable and I was already suffering from physical abuse. For the next 3 years, I traveled between twenty-two foster homes waiting for a suitable family who would be interested in adopting a little boy.
At age three, I was finally placed in a long term foster home. This home was a complete nightmare, worse than the stories you see on TV. The man of the house was an alcoholic and his wife was a bitter, frustrated woman. Although highly religious, they fought all the time, increasing in intensity for the weekends when all hell would break loose and he would beat her severely. After several hours with her, he usually got bored and would then start in on me. The following days usually meant she would take out her frustrations on me and I became the scapegoat for her anger with him and their personal unhappiness. The house was full of physical, mental and sexual abuse. Torture, though a strong word, definitely described some of the incidents I was put through. I was tied to an ironing board and forced to sleep there all night long. I slept in the bathtub as punishment, was beaten with bats and branches, sticks, ruler, wooden spoons and virtually anything she could lay her hands on in an instant. I was chained down, locked in closets and other things far worse to mention. She would often write notes to exclude me from participating in P.E. at school as I had too many bruises and welts and she did not want the teachers aware of the circumstances at home
Christmastime meant gifts, but as soon as the day was over, they would be taken away. Birthdays were non-existent. I had no idea what a normal life would be like, but I had many dreams of what I felt I deserved. When I was twelve I saw the movie “Hustler on Muscle Beach” which inspired me to believe that if I was big and strong, perhaps no one would hurt me or touch me. This movie motivated me so much I snuck around doing pushups and sit-ups in secret, even buying a York 5 lb. dumbbell set and hiding it so I could “work-out”. In the course of our weekly baths (I was bathed by her right up to age 12), she caught me “posing’ – from then on I had to put my bodybuilding dream away because of her violent reaction to my boyish fantasy.
In this environment I was constantly in fear of abandonment, woken up in the middle of the night, or not allowed to sleep and told I was nothing, that no one could love me, that no one did love me, that I was useless, that I should not be alive…constantly reinforcing my belief that I could do nothing great in my life. But I kept dreaming.
My release was playing sports. I played alone and did it without any support, but I loved what I did. What kept me going was the light at the end of the tunnel that one day I would get a better life, that I would succeed, be supported and loved and would have all the things I didn’t know anything about but knew I was missing.
From Meeting a “Father” to Life on His Own
“One day, I came home (after knocking on the door as I was always locked out by my foster mother) to find a social worker there. My father had been found and I was off to live with him. I was thrilled, intimidated, confused and scared when I met him. I had always wanted a father, but in the midst of my fantasies, I was very angry and resentful that he had not wanted me when I was a baby. He had won the “Mr. North America” bodybuilding championships 6 years before and I looked up to him, physically, as a man that I wanted to be.
Unfortunately, my life did not improve while living with my father. He was a perfectionist, an angry and disillusioned man and vented all his unhappiness on me. In the six months that I lived there, I went through more of what I had experienced in my first 12 years, but more intensely as now my father figured I was a man. There were no mistakes allowed. I was told that I should be happy about my life, that his life was worse than mine and what right did I have to be dissatisfied. I only lasted six months in this situation and began the move from home to home once again.
During my time there, I grew to hate my father, often wishing I could kill him because of how I believed he had ruined my life and let me down.
By this time, I was a messed up kid with a huge chip on his shoulder, despite feeling lonely, distressed and broken-up inside. Through it all I told myself I was just getting stronger. I didn’t know why I couldn’t just die – but I kept on surviving and I kept on asking “why me?”.
After floating around from emergency services, foster homes (where they all promised they would love me and never leave me), friends and even schoolteachers, , my social worker finally decided I was better off on my own.
So at age 15, I became a ward of the court, was given a living allowance and told it was time to become an adult. That’s when the fun really started. Alone, no friends, no family, no furniture or clothes…I did not leave my apartment unless for necessities for almost a full year. On Christmas Day, I sat alone crying, praying and asking God why he had chosen to give me a life like this when all I wanted was to be loved.
I tried to go to school but with no success. I did not have the tools to know how to look after myself, let alone have anyone to encourage me to continue down a path I felt I was doomed to fail.
Hitting Bottom and Reaching Up…
After about a year, I began to make a few friends and started playing baseball and football again – my only real passion at that time. As time progressed, life inevitably started to look a little more “normal”. However, I still found it difficult to work and felt a little lost as I had a lot of time on my hands while I was ward of the court. I began training again at around 17 and began my journey into the world of bodybuilding. My two passions were always to be a professional football play and/or to be big. An injury prevented me from going beyond training camp with the BC Lions, so all my energy was generated into bodybuilding. In these early years, bodybuilding and competing gave me the external confidence to believe that I was finally untouchable. Inside I was still full of fear.
As I entered my 20’s, I continued to pursue the light at the end of the tunnel, believing that once I achieved a few of my goals, I would be happy. But as time went on, and in the midst of success with clients and at the gym, I began to realize that these achievements were not making me happy. I began to be confronted with my own personal demons, began to slide and although I knew it was happening at the time, I allowed myself to “hit bottom”. I felt that I could not overcome my upbringing, my bad start to life, my own personal inadequacies so decided that if I couldn’t beat ‘em, I should join ‘em. I turned to drugs to numb the pain and this facilitated my drop to the bottom.
It was at this juncture that I made a decision that turned my life around for good. Sitting alone in the house, no furniture or possessions, everything sold to support my habit, I had an epiphany…I started writing and kept writing for the next fourteen hours. During this process, I began to look at my life in a different way and I was hit with the realization that my life did indeed have a purpose, that the “why me?” question may have an answer.
I had always been blessed with the ability to see the truth and communicate with others even in the midst of my pain and it was these fourteen hours that gave me a hope that although life would still be painful and difficult for me, I could have a purpose in helping others. When I dotted the period at the end of my last sentence that night, set aside my crutch of substance abuse for the last time, I knew it was time to move on. Clear in my head, I knew the path I was on and how I had veered off course. I knew it was time to get going.
On the Path…
Of course, just because I had an epiphany didn’t change the fact that my life would continue to be a constant challenge, both because of my upbringing and because of the mistakes of the past I had already begun to accumulate. However, I knew I had a mission, that I was alive for a reason and that despite my low times over the next ten years I was given the gift of compassion and understanding and a love of helping others.
Instead of being ashamed of my past, I began removing my self-protective shell with those who needed help and began sharing. I took a break from competing, from the gym, but continued to help others with their goals. The gym for me personally was still full of insecurities, self-doubt and a fear of failure. Bodybuilding continued to be a way of showing something to other people that I was not inside and I was not ready to face that battle yet as I had so much more healing to do before the final confrontation.
It wasn’t until the last year that I began to feel as though I may be ready to take up the torch once again…this time for the right reasons, the reasons I preach to all my clients and believe in my heart but could not apply to myself. Doing a bodybuilding show became a path to a healthy lifestyle, a challenge for personal gain rather than public glory.
Through the time training and dieting for the first July 21st show, then the final August 11th show – the Provincial Championships – I learned to finally conquer my last vestiges of fear – my fear of success and my last remaining doubts I had about my own potential in this area. The amazing thing is that once you conquer your fear, it will rarely come back to haunt you…because now you’re the one in charge, not your fear!
I was reminded of this lesson during the last five months many, many times. I laid it all out on the line, didn’t worry about the outcome and did it for my love of the sport. I’m proud of myself for the outcome because it was like my very first two shows…full of innocence, enjoyment, passion and doing it for the challenge.
Amazingly enough, I was blessed with the same results – winning the October 20, 2018 show in the Grand Masters Division at the Canadian Pro Qualifier Bodybuilding Championships. I continue to spend a lot of time dedicated to my clients, my followers and those closest to me. Supporting and educating anyone to a better lifestyle in health and wellness is one of the biggest prizes I could ever have imagined gaining!!
At this time in my life, I sit back and reflect on my own life and thank God for being so blessed.
To find out more about John F. Xuereb just click here: Contact John
Countries that John F Xuereb has shared his education & philosophy…
San Diego, California USA
Dana Point, California USA
Huntington, California USA
Orange County, USA
Palm Springs, California USA
Awards and Acknowledgements
1987 - Gold's Classic - 1st Place
1987 - Mr Jr BC - 1st Place
1988 - MR Okanogan - 2nd Place
1992 - Mr Iron Ore - 3rd Place
1992 - Gold's Classic - 2nd Place
1992 - Gator's Classic - 2nd Place
2001 - Muscle Rock - 1st Place
2001 - Muscle Rock - Best Poser
2001 - Mr BC Heavyweight 1st Place
2001 - Mr BC Overall Winner
2003 - Canadian Nationals - 9th Place
2008 - Canadian Nationals - 4th Place
2015 - Malta Nationals - 3rd Place
2017 - Malta Nationals Heavyweight – 2nd Place
2017 - Malta Nationals Masters – 2nd Place
2017 - Diamond Cup Masters– 2nd Place
2017 - Canadian Nationals Masters – 8th Place
2017 - Canadian Nationals Super Heavy Weight – 13th Place
2018 - Canadian National Pro Qualifier Grand Masters - 1st Place
2018 - North Americans Grandmasters Heavy Weight - 4th Place
2019 - Canadian National Pro Qualifier Grand Masters -5th Place