My name is Tom Terwilliger, and I’ve helped thousands of amazing people just like you produce extraordinary results in their body, business, and life. I work with entrepreneurs, business owners, athletes, creators, and coaches to align their goals, dreams and ambitions with their unique potential.
Long before I could do that, I had to challenge myself to overcome what appeared to be my greatest obstacle to achieve what felt like a colossal dream. The goal: win the National Championship (Mr. America) in my chosen athletic endeavor.
I wanted to be the best (…and still do)!
The leviathan on my path was a crippling lack of belief in my own potential. I knew if I were not able to take down that inner beast, permanently I wouldn’t have a shot at achieving my big dream.
Through some very specific mindset strategies, determination and will I was able to conquer the monster, tap into my potential and realize my dream.
Shortly after having won Mr. America, I had the opportunity to successfully test my new mindset again when I launched my first entrepreneurial venture – a small chain of athletic clubs in New York.
Then, one more time a few years later when my partners and I saw a niche opportunity and wanted fill it with a TV show. We approached a major NY based cable network (MSG) with our idea and the show, MuscleSport USA was born. Six Years later it was picked up by Fox Sports Net and ran for another 10 years with myself as host and co-producer.
Those experiences and dozens more along with a few massive failures over the years has provided me with a unique insight into the dynamics of human potential, peak human performance, and the “winner mindset”.
Most importantly they forged the development of the BODY – MIND tools, rules, and strategies needed to help others create massive and lasting change. Three decades and lots of feedback later I set out to share those tools, rules, and strategies with as many people as I could reach. I put fingers to keyboard and began writing, 7 Rules of Achievement. The week it was published, 7 Rules of Achievement hit #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list.
The success of that book along with my impassioned desire to continue helping others tap into their potential and achieve their dreams has lead to where I am today as a speaker, coach, mentor, and rule breaker. I’ve had the opportunity to personally share my body-mind success strategies with thousands of people across 4 continents. The amazing people I work with are not just realizing their potential they are living it.
Interesting and Fun Facts
- I’ve trained martial arts with several legends including Bill “Super Foot” Wallace, Guru Dan Inosanto and Grandmaster Alan Lee.
- I once played a life guard in a Billy Joel music video (Second Wind).
- I was a featured success story in Tony Robbins, Get The Edge infomercial.
- I was once kidnapped by outlaws and held at gunpoint (check that off my list).
- I made an appearance in the movie, Problem Child (no, I wasn’t the kid).
- Recipient of the Health Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award
- I’ve competed (twice) in the super bowl of professional body building, The Mr. Olympia.
- I’ve coached a Special Olympics weightlifting team that won several gold medals.
- I’ve been in a number of national TV commercials.
- I once wore a Native American chieftain headdress and rode a horse on stage in New York’s historic Beacon Theater.
- I once knocked 80’s icon, Billy Idol down a flight of stairs at The Limelight nightclub in Manhattan. (Accidentally, of course).
- I have an identical twin brother (Mike) who is an extraordinary artist.
My story may be quite different from yours but I am guessing you and I have a great deal in common.
You have achieved a certain level of success over the years. Whether your achievements are BIG or small, in the area of business, athletics, family, spirituality or community you’ve had to work hard, struggle and sacrifice to get there. And I’m pretty sure, like me, you’ve fallen down a few times and perhaps even had your ass kicked once or twice but, like me, you got back up again… or you at least you’re trying to get back up again. And get back up you must!
Today, I’m recognized as accomplished athlete with dozens of trophies on my mantle, an acclaimed author with two #1 bestselling books, (7 Rules of Achievement & Why SMART Goals Maybe Dumb) as well as a keynote speaker, empowerment trainer and success coach. But, I can assure those things didn’t come without a fight or without having my ass handed to me on more than one occasion and certainly not without all the doubts, uncertainties, and fears we all experience in our lives.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1959, an identical twin and youngest of six kids. Both my parents had to work just to get by. We had moved from place to place and house to house several times and I struggled right from the begging to find my place. By the time I had entered the 4th grade I had been labeled dyslexic, hyperactive, and learning disabled and quickly placed in the “special education” system.
Yep, I was one of the kids on the “little yellow bus.”
That was an extremely painful time in my life. Shunted and made fun of by the other kids it wasn’t long before I began to feel stupid, less than “normal” and like an outcast. As you know, we’re often faced with two choices in life: we can either accept our circumstances and shrink to fit the mold or we can rebel and fight like hell to change it. I chose to fight, but in the wrong way. I chose my fists. Taking on the relentless bullies and defending my special education classmates became a daily occurrence that earned me the nickname, “Bully Killer!” It’s a nickname I still wear proudly today.
It didn’t take long before I discovered (painfully) that if you are going to fight you had better gather some effective weapons. I had a great resource. My older brother Raymond who was a NYC Police officer and a martial arts instructor at Grandmaster Alan Lee’s Kung Fu academy in NY began teaching his two scrawny brothers in hopes of providing some much needed discipline. For the next 5 years we diligently studied and practiced the art until achieving black belt level at age 15. Unfortunately we still lacked discipline…in academics, and I still despised bullies.
Kung Fu unexpectedly led to my other lifelong passion
At age 15, I sheepishly entered my first teen bodybuilding competition, ‘The Teenage Mr. Colonial America’ in West Orange, NJ and placed an encouraging 3rd out of whopping 7 guys. Over the next two years, I worked my ass off and up the ladder in the teen bodybuilding division capturing several local, regional and national level championship titles.
Here’s where it gets interesting
That meteoric athletic career was short lived. During what was supposed to be a two month hiatus from training I made the best and the worst business deal of my life when I traded a case of beer (Schlitz) and fifty bucks for a beat up old Harley Davidson chopper. While I was away from the gym and cutting classes to restore the old chopper my old disempowering beliefs and patterns began to resurface.
Have you had that experience?
You decided something had to change, maybe it was your weight, your relationship, or your finances and you made an empowered decision, “NO MORE!” followed by action and some measurable progress only to fall back into the same old pattern again?
You’re not alone.
Less than a year later I had completely lost sight of my new and improved self image and everything I had achieved as a young bodybuilder. My angry and rebellious self had returned. I turned my back on the education system that I felt had betrayed me and was now riding, at full throttle speed my flat black 1958 HD Panhead chopper on the streets of New York City and Long Island with members of one of the most notorious outlaw bike clubs in America.
What followed was a 5 year blur of speeding motorcycles, alcohol, drugs, and physical self abuse that almost landed me in jail or dead on several occasions. I was out of control! After one final near death experience (watch the video story) I made the empowering decision to turn my life around.
Inspired by the writing of Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics; Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich; Ebert Hubbard, Every Man a King; and Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within I embarked on a journey into, what was for me the great unknown that began in a very familiar environment – The GYM.
Rise from the ashes
Within 5 years, I had captured several state, regional, and national level bodybuilding titles including the coveted National Bodybuilding Championship (Mr. America). Turned pro and successfully competed in two prestigious Mr. Olympia’s and several pro shows throughout North America and Europe.
One year after winning the Mr. America, I was approached by Madison Square Garden Network (MSG) with the opportunity to host and co-produce a new cable fitness TV show. I accepted the offer. Six years later the show MuscleSport USA was picked up by Fox Sports Net and I signed a 10 year contract as the show’s host and co-producer. MuscleSport USA ran for a successful 16.5 years, in that time we produced almost 200 episodes and I was gifted with a prestigious Telly Award.
In 1992, my bodybuilding career abruptly ended after a near fatal mountain bike accident. Since then I have enjoyed exercising my entrepreneurial spirit through a number of both successful and not so successful business ventures.
Remember that part about having my ass handed to you me now and then? Well, when you ride your bike at break-neck speed near the edge of a cliff or go out on a limb to start a business venture you will always risk exactly that. However, what I have discovered and reinforce in my teachings again and again is that without risk there is no reward. Without risk there is no sense of adventure and very little joy.
Back when I was reckless, disempowered and out of control the pain was so great that I had to make a single empowering decision to leave my old programmed beliefs and patterns behind and to accept the truth about myself – that I have unlimited potential.
It has since, become my mission to guide, coach, mentor or cajole, if necessary others into recognizing and tapping into that same truth about themselves and their potential.
Today, among other accomplishments, I’ve written two bestselling books, created several successful coaching programs, and the creator of the Max Mindset video coaching series – Muscle and Fitness Magazine’s longest running video series.
All of it dedicated to one thing – empowering the lives of people just like you and me.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Of course there’s a lot more to it but I am much, much, much more interested in hearing your story and getting to know you. I hope you’ll become part of the tribe.
Tom Has Been Featured In
Speak At Your Event
If there has ever been an ambassador for fitness and healthy living, it would be #1 bestselling author, international speaker, and former Mr. America, Tom Terwilliger. Tom has spent the past 30 years practicing, advocating and preaching the benefits of
exercise and peak performance living.
Known as “The Achievement Mentor,”
Tom Terwilliger is a leading authority on the Science of Achievement.