Bodybuilder transforms life after battling crippling depression 3 years ago

Bodybuilder transforms life after battling crippling depression

A bodybuilder from Liverpool battled depression and jail time to completely transform his life

Jay Pattinson's journey is a real example that hard work and dedication can help you achieve your fitness goals.


Although he now hopes to inspire people all over the world, the Liverpudlian has had to overcome some major obstacles on the way.

Just three years ago, Pattinson's depression was so severe that he could not see a way out and contemplated suicide. He admits that some bad decisions had previously been made which contributed to his problems.

Pattinson fell in with the wrong crowd and turned to drink and drugs as a coping mechanism for depression.


Perhaps his lowest point occurred in July 2015, shortly after attending a festival in Belgium. Pattinson was arrested at the event and immediately taken to a jail in Antwerp.

He states that he was made an example of by the Belgian authorities due to his status as a tourist. Upon arrival at prison, Pattinson experienced an array of emotions and the terror of the situation began to take its toll.

Facing a potential jail sentence of at least two years, Pattinson says the situation only exacerbated his depression and anxiety. He had to make an agonising phone call to his girlfriend, informing her that he wasn't sure when - or if - he would be home.


Pattinson says: "Still to this day it is the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make."

Some good luck came his way and Pattinson was granted a three-month bail. The whole situation caused him to take stock of his life. Landing home he was physically and mentally exhausted, and his depression spiralled.

Riddled with guilt, the Liverpool man realised it was time to make a change. He began by taking up yoga and then threw himself into fitness training. Committing himself to bodybuilding, the process kept Pattinson's mind and body active and changed his outlook on life.

Six months later, Pattinson entered the UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation Championships (UKBFF), finishing second.


Riding the crest of a wave, the Liverpudlian commented:

"From scratch I’ve transformed my life for the better."

Today, he has firmly built on that success.

"I sit 12 weeks out from stepping on stage with the best 35 physiques in Britain. I'm also currently one of the busiest personal trainers inside one of the biggest gyms in Liverpool."

To prepare for a competition, Pattinson trains at least five hours a day and favours a particular style of lifting.


"My training is mainly hypertrophy (muscle growth) based, and bodybuilding and circuits have always been my favourites."

Training alone isn’t enough, though. Pattinson spends his Mondays and Tuesdays preparing meals. He cooks up 5 kg of sweet potato, 3 kg of chicken and 2-3 kg of turkey mince making around 30 meals a week so he can eat a meal every two to three hours.

Jay's Daily Diet


  • Whey protein shake
  • Three whole eggs
  • Three egg whites


  • Turkey or chicken sandwich on wholewheat bread


  • Tuna, mixed green salad, tablespoon of olive oil, tablespoon of vinegar

Afternoon Snack

  • 2 Cheesestrings
  • Handful of nuts


  • Sirloin steak, mixed leaf salad and vegetables

Late Snack

  • Low-fat cottage cheese

Post-Workout Meal

  • Whey protein with milk
  • Handful of gummy bears, jelly babies or Haribo

There were general dietary changes that Pattinson feels made a crucial difference to his results.

"The discovery of intermittent fasting and the basic understanding of refined sugars and processed foods has help me the most over the past few years."

He also has advice for others hoping to build their physiques and confidence.

"People need to take their eyes off the scales. A number should never define your happiness."

There's a lot of truth in this statement. Although fat loss will involve losing weight, adding muscle size will increase the number you see on the scales. An over-reliance on those numbers clouds the real achievements you make in the gym.

Bodybuilding and fitness expert Erny Peibst is championing male bodybuilders who have their own inspirational story to tell.

Although regular exercise is proven to help your wellbeing, seek advice from your doctor if you are struggling.

If you - or someone you know - has made an impressive transformation with a story to tell, you could be featured on JOE's Transformation Tuesday!

Just send your nominations to [email protected]