Pro Bodybuilder and Coach John Meadows Dies at Age 49

The Ohio native was revered in the fitness community.

John “Mountain Dog” Meadows, a professional bodybuilder, trainer, and nutritionist based out of Ohio died at the age of 49 on August 8, 2021. The news was shared on his verified Facebook page in the afternoon on behalf of his wife (Mary) by a person named Brooke Nappo.

“Dear Friends and Family, I am posting this on behalf of Mary. This morning John passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in their home,” the post read. “As you can imagine, this is a complete shock to her and the boys. She will update as soon as she can.”


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A post shared by John Meadows (@mountaindog1)

No cause of death was announced as of this writing. Meadows did have a history of medical issues. In 2005, he was diagnosed with a rare colon disease called Idiopathic Myointimal Hyperplasia of the Mesenteric Veins. He would need to have his colon removed, but he recovered and resumed his then amateur bodybuilding career as well as his coaching business.

In May of 2020, Meadows suffered a heart attack that was caused by blood clots which resulted in a long hospital stay. He eventually recovered, but doctors confirmed that part of his heart wasn’t working properly at that time. He would go on to return to training and coaching. By the end of 2020, he had played a coaching role in the victories of 212 Olympia Champion Shaun Clarida and Fitness Olympia winner Missy Truscott.

Meadows’ Career Retrospective

Meadows had a love for training and bodybuilding going back to his childhood. He was also involved in powerlifting early on, having trained at the legendary Westside Barbell in Columbus, OH. After his stint at Westside, he pursued his ultimate goal of becoming a professional bodybuilder. That goal was realized at the 2015 NPC Team Universe contest. He immediately began competing on the pro circuit, placing in the top five of his first three contests, and narrowly missed qualifying for the Mr. Olympia that year.

Meadows’ last pro contest was the 2017 Muscle Mayhem Kansas Pro, where he placed 14th. His focus then shifted to coaching fellow pros full-time. Aside from Clarida and Truscott, he had worked with numerous pros in various divisions including Fouad Abiad, Theresa Ivancik, and Ivana Ivusic, to name a few. His last post on Instagram was on August 7, 2021, in recognition of client Brooke Walker, who had won the 2021 Tampa Pro Women’s Physique contest.


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A post shared by John Meadows (@mountaindog1)

His impact on bodybuilding went beyond the stage. The one-arm row exercise with a barbell in a landmine base became known as the Meadows Row. He was also involved with various companies in both bodybuilding and powerlifting including EliteFTS and Iron Rebel. He started his own supplement company, Granite Supplements, in 2016.

The Community Reacts

Shortly after the news of Meadows’ death broke, coaches and competitors quickly shared their condolences. 

Joe Sullivan, Powerlifter and Coach

“I was and always will be proud and glad to have been able to call John a friend and a mentor. My heart goes out to his family. I’m grateful for the Thursday nights we got to train together in London (Ohio).” 

Theresa Ivancik, IFBB Women’s Bodybuilding Pro

“I am at an incredible loss and in complete shock to hear I just lost a very special person in my life. I never would have thought in a million years this would be the last time I would see my coach! John Meadows was a legend in the fitness industry…and not only a coach but a best friend! We have created such a strong bond in such a short period of time. He is and always will be such a huge part of my life. I am so heartbroken to hear we lost one of the best in the industry. Many prayers to his wife, Mary, and the boys, along with friends, family, and everyone he has helped and taught so much knowledge to. You will be incredibly missed but never forgotten!”

Sergio Oliva Pro, IFBB Men’s Open Pro

“I hate now more than anything that we didn’t get a chance to show the world at Chicago all the work we’ve done but I swear to God I’m gonna show the world next month. The bodybuilding world lost one of its best contributors and role models.”

Shanique Grant, Two-Time Women’s Physique Olympia Winner

“With tears rolling down my face I remember you telling me how much family meant and kept reassuring me how much more life there is after the stage when I told you I was retiring. You helped me so much not just in my prep but with life. I was supposed to come out and train with you this year and build some content with you — we had so many plans. I don’t even know what to say but you’ll forever be a legend and such an inspiration to me.” 

Meadows is survived by his wife, Mary, and their twin sons. Everyone at BarBend extends their condolences to Meadows’ family, friends, and supporters.

Featured Images: @mountaindog1 on Instagram