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HEIGHT:  6'0"

I was born and raised in a town called Yakima in the State of Washington. I am the younger of two boys, my brother Bryan being 2 years older than me. I was always the tallest and fastest kid in class through grade school. In my early years I played on a local soccer team with many of my classmates. When I broke my tibia during the first practice of my 3rd season on the team I gave up soccer. At the age of 10 I moved with my family to a ranch outside of Yakima where we grew hay and raised pigs and cattle. It was there that I learned the meaning of hard work. I learned many different aspects of farm life including how to drive tractors and operate many different farm implements. I even aided in birthing a few calves. I enjoyed riding ATV’s and off-roading in our work truck on the ranch along with my brother and 2 of my stepbrothers. Eventually my brother and I began making trips to various ORV parks with our father to ride in the sand dunes. I gave it up in 2006 to focus on my bodybuilding career but this is something that my brother continues to enjoy to this day.
I began lifting weights when I was about 14 using my father's dumbbells. Like many, I idolized Arnold Schwarzenegger after watching several of his movies including Predator and Terminator 2. By doing dumbbell curls I hoped that my arms would someday resemble Arnold's. I continued the curls until I got into a weight-training program as a freshman in high school. Having developed at an early age I was 6' tall and 180 lbs. I made huge improvements in my first year. At the end of my freshman year I was already bench-pressing 246 lbs. The football coaches watched as I excelled in the weight room and eventually convinced me to play some ball as a sophomore. I knew very little about the sport but my natural athletic ability made up for that. The first down I ever played (I was a defensive end) was ended quickly when I sacked the quarterback. I fell in love with the game and played for the remainder of my high school days. Before I graduated I had a 335 lb bench, 405 lb squat, and I weighed 210 pounds. 
My passion for bodybuilding didn’t sprout until 1999 when I was working as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym in my hometown. Between clients I would read Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding to get new ideas for my own training and eventually began reading the sections on contest prep and the rules of competition.
The following year I began training along side Matt Lowden (2010 NPC Jr. Nationals Overall Champion) and watched him win several competitions. Eventually Matt convinced me to step on stage. Twelve weeks out my prep began for a local competition called the West Coast Bodybuilding Championships in September of 2002. Matt took me under his wing and helped me with my diet, supplementation, and posing, as well as many other aspects of bodybuilding. At the two week out mark I caught a case of stage fright and decided not to go through with it. For the next 4 days I shoveled down pizza, burgers, ice cream, and all sorts of foods that I wasn’t supposed to be eating. On the fifth day Matt managed to talk me back into getting on stage. So, back on the diet I went and I managed to win the light-heavy weight class at 197 ¾ pounds.
After a short off-season to gain more size, I competed in the NPC Emerald Cup in April of 2003. Unfortunately I had to weigh in behind Michal Kindred, an incredible bodybuilder who is a full 8 inches shorter than me and weighed in only about half a pound less.  Having never watched the Emerald Cup I feared that I was out of my league at that point. The Emerald Cup is one of the largest National Qualifiers in the country. Despite being very tall for the light-heavy weight class I managed to place 4th in the division. Not bad for my first NPC competition. The following weekend I competed in the WFNA Rocky Mountain Natural, placing first in the open men tall division as well as winning my first overall victory.
Three years passed after I walked off the stage. Life outside of bodybuilding became my focus. I bought a house and married my high school sweetheart of 7 years, finished school, and continued in my career as an aerospace machinist. I continued training but with much less frequency and focus. It wasn’t until I saw my friend and former training partner Matt Lowden win the overall at the 2006 NPC Emerald Cup that I got bitten by the bodybuilding bug again. In June of 2006 I made the decision to compete again. For ten months I trained my ass off. Stepping on stage at 249.8 pounds, I earned 1st Place in the Super Heavyweight Class of the 25th Anniversary NPC Emerald Cup on April 21, 2007.
Twelve weeks later I made my national level debut at the 2007 USA Championships in Las Vegas. I managed a respectable 7th place in the Super-Heavyweight Class at 254 pounds. Although this was not my best placing, I learned a lot from this show and was glad to have my first national level competition under my belt.
Nine national level competitions later and a lot of hard work and setbacks bring us to today. I have a lot to be thankful for. I am living my dream. But what many people don’t know is that I am just thankful to be alive. I finished up the 2010 competition season with a disappointing 9th place finish at the NPC Nationals and found out afterwards that I had been suffering from appendicitis and pancreatitis since four weeks prior to the competition.
Two days before Christmas I was scheduled for surgery. Unfortunately there were a couple of screw-ups in the radiology department that day and the surgery had to be canceled. A last minute CT scan was performed and my surgeon had written in my chart that I was not to have oral nuclear contrast since I was going in for surgery and would be under general anesthesia. Being extra thorough the surgeon also called down to the radiology department to instruct them over the phone as well.  With all of the excitement over Christmas the orders were not properly followed and I was given the oral contrast. Following the CT scan the radiology tech chose to leave an I.V. in my arm in case the surgeon could use it for surgery. What he forgot to do was immobilize my arm. This is where the problem started. The I.V. was placed across the joint, which meant that when I reached up to scratch my head the vein was torn open. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, a clot began to from in that vein.
After being completely prepped for surgery the Anesthesiologist was going through her standard list of questions with me, one of them being, “ Have you had anything to eat or drink in the last 12 hours?” My answer was, “No, except for the oral contrast for the CT scan.” I was under the impression that the radiology tech new what he was doing and that it was acceptable to have the contrast in my stomach before surgery. I didn’t know any better. The anesthesiologist was shocked that they had given it to me. After careful consideration it was decided that the surgery would have to be rescheduled.
One week later, the day before New Years Eve, the surgery was performed, successfully this time. My gallbladder and appendix were removed. By this point the clot in my arm, which was yet to be detected was growing very large. I was in a tremendous amount of pain. In the recovery room I spoke with the surgeon regarding the pain and swelling in my arm and was told that it was probably just some inflammation from the I.V. and I was instructed to come back to the hospital if it continued to get worse. By the following day, New Years Eve, the pain and swelling had become noticeably worse so I was taken back to the hospital. An ultrasound was performed at which point a 15cm long clot was found. Because the probability of suffering a pulmonary embolism that stems from an upper extremity clot is extremely small, I was instructed to take an aspirin per day and was sent home.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a pulmonary embolism is, this is when a blood clot in a vein breaks loose and travels to the lungs where it becomes lodged and blocks the main arteries of the lungs. Oxygenation of the red blood cells becomes difficult and can eventually result in death.
On January 1st of 2011, New Years Day, I did in fact suffer from multiple, bi-lateral (both lungs) pulmonary emboli. In the emergency room my blood oxygen saturation percentage dropped into the high 70’s at which point I began losing my vision. An anticoagulant drug was immediately administered via I.V. to stop the clots from becoming larger. My hospital stay was three days in duration after which point I returned home and began a regimen of Coumadin, an oral anticoagulant drug that I took daily for three months. Along with Coumadin come weekly INR checks. INR, or International Normalized Ratio is a test used to test the clotting tendency of blood. Too high of clotting tendency and the clot will continue to grow, too low and there is a risk of major bleeding problems, which can result in death if too severe. The anticoagulant nature of Coumadin decreases the ability of the blood to clot, which increases the risk of bleeding. Because of the increased risk of internal bleeding from muscle tears any form of weight training was out of the question.
When the dust settled and it was time to start preparing for the 2011 National Championships, I had been out of the gym for a total of 5.5 months. There was a considerable amount of atrophy during my time off which amounted to a loss of around 30 lbs. To regain the lost muscle I enlisted the help of The Pro Creator, Hany Rambod. Together Hany and I put a plan in motion to get me healthy and back on stage at Nationals in November looking better than ever before. With Hany’s help I stepped on stage 10 pounds heavier at 265 pounds and leaner than the previous year, which allowed me to walk away with unanimous 1st place finishes in both the super-heavy class and the overall qualifying me for the IFBB Pro ranks.
Todd Jewell