As seen in the following photos and videos, Joanna Wilson was a woman who was dedicated to bodybuilding. Now, the world of bodybuilding is buzzing about the death of the NPC bodybuilding competitor, and Wilson’s Facebook page is collecting condolences.
— CHERYL FAUST (@DEVINEMUSCLE) August 3, 2016
As noted by the GoFundMe page set up for Joanna, Wilson died in Las Vegas. Thus far, $2,445 of the $20,000 goal has been raised.
“Joanna Wilson was a huge inspiration to many in our community as well as others across the world. She genuinely believed in you, encouraging you to believe in yourself. She pushed you to strive to your full potential both in the gym as well as outside the gym. She was an amazing wife as well as mother to two kids. While in Las Vegas with her family and friends, she passed away due to health complications. This campaign was set up to support the heartbroken family. All proceeds will go directly to the family. Thank you.”
According to her Facebook page, Joanna was the owner of Anytime Fitness, located in Centralia, Washington.
Folks are reacting to Wilson’s death on forums like Get Big and on social media. There are also several videos about the popular bodybuilder now available on YouTube.
Warning: The below videos contains explicit language that might be offensive to some viewers.
As reported by the Evolution of Bodybuilding, Joanna died Friday, July 29. The publication published the last photo that Wilson posted to social media. She was photographed with her husband, Jay Wilson, as they were on their way to Las Vegas. According to the report, Wilson was preparing for the 2016 NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships and IFBB Pro Qualifier, which was held Friday, July 29, and Saturday, July 30, in Las Vegas.
Indeed, as most bodybuilding participants know, the week prior to a big competition is called “peak week. This is the week that competitors’ bodies are expected to go through the most changes in a process that sometimes involves 12 or 16 weeks worth of previous preparations for a show.
The details of Joanna’s death, along with any autopsy or toxicology reports, have not been released to the public at this time. In the absence of the official toxicology reports that should reveal Wilson’s exact cause of death, fitness folks are speculating on what could have caused the young wife and mother to die suddenly during her preparations for a bodybuilding contest.
It is not known if there were any existing heart conditions that may have exacerbated Joanna’s death, or if diuretics, insulin or steroids were involved. Speculation is rampant online about what Wilson’s cause of death may have been.
Trainers and fitness experts around the country are also using her passing as an opportunity to teach others to avoid dangerous habits when preparing for a bodybuilding contest. For example, Adam Atkinson, owner of SeeYouLaterLeaner™ LLC, warned against using the unsafe and harmful methods that some bodybuilders have used for years to “dry out” and make their muscles “pop” on the stage.
As seen in Adam’s below Instagram post, which was also posted to Atkinson’s Facebook page, he warned fitness competitors not to cut out water and sodium during the final week of their contest prep; calling water and sodium depletion, coupled with raising potassium levels, a dangerous cocktail that is reminiscent of the lethal injection process.
Coaches need to be informed: Its so sad to hear of another competitor who passed away at the venue of the contest this weekend. Unfortunately our inner bodybuilding circles and media immediately jump to conclusions and blame anabolic steroids for the cardiac arrest of this competitor. This was a show day incident….and likely anabolic steroids are not to blame….Diuretics or improper contest peaking are likely to blamed due to the competitor having an improper electrolyte balance. Its sad to see competitors dangerously misinformed and go to this level to win a pro-card using peaking methods which will actually make them look worse on show day. Im only writing about this to educate people and hopefully keep this from happening again. We'll dont take diuretics…right? This can even happen without a diuretic people…and unfortunately typical contest peaking suggest such a dangerous cocktail of depleting water and sodium and raising potassium . DO NOT eliminate water or sodium during peak week. DO NOT raise potassium for peak week. I will explain below: Sodium is necessary to keep water inside muscle tissue. Eliminate it and your muscle tissue will push water out …your body will start retaining water, but now it’s not in your muscle where it can help make you look fuller and tighter. As I said, no sodium means the muscles can’t hold water—YOUR HEART IS A MUSCLE—and overdosing on potassium can push out the last drops of intra-cellular water. Coincidentally, it’s the same method used in lethal injections for capital punishment to stop someone’s heart. Please take care of your bodies and don't swing major variables before a show. Please keep family of the competitor that passed away this weekend in your thoughts. The bodybuilding world lost a great person. -Adam
Other bodybuilding experts are echoing those sentiments, including those who might speculate about what substances may have contributed to Joanna’s death. As seen in the video below from the “Tiger Fitness” YouTube channel, the theory is posited that dangerous extremes in bodybuilding are not worth dying over for a trophy or in the hunt for a sometimes elusive sponsorship deal.
Warning: The below video contains explicit language that might be offensive to some viewers.
[Image via Shutterstock]