I am 45 years old and stand 5ft3” and at my heaviest I weigh 14st7lb but I have had the pleasure of competing at nearly every level of bodybuilding you can imagine. From local shows, regional, national, international, amateur and IFBB professional. I have competed in over 40 shows and have enjoyed every one (once I’d got there!).
I was born in Swinton Manchester and have one older sister and have lived pretty much all my life within 5 miles of where I was born. At school I became very active in sports and was on the footy team, the rugby team, the athletic team but I never made the basketball team! I continued throughout my teens & early 20’s to play competitive sports and eventually focused on rugby. As I got older everyone around got bigger and heavier and as a result of multiple broken bones I decided I needed to add some weight and strength to my game to stop people breaking me. That’s when I first went to a gym.
It soon became apparent that I was better suited to lifting weights than being battered around a rugby field. Lifting weights suited me because you only have yourself to blame if things go wrong. I enjoyed the self reliance and self determination that I found in the gym.
In my first year of training I was naïve enough to think I was good enough to compete (Oh the joys of youth!) and entered my 1 st show, The Walter O’Malley Spring Classic at Parr Hall in Warrington and came 11 th out of 10!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t compete again until about 10 years later. After I started competing again I really knew that this was what I wanted to do and to be one of the best I needed to make some changes in my life. It was then that I decided to give up my job as an engineer and go back to college to do a HND in Leisure Management, as my ultimate aim was to have my own gym. As this meant I would be able to eat, sleep and train as and when I needed to and not just as and when I could.
In 1994 I realised my dream and bought The Olympic Gym in Eccles in partnership with Allen Brett, who remains my business partner to this day. From this point on I began my steady climb up the Bodybuilding ladder. Although I was having a moderate amount of success on the circuit it wasn’t until 1998 when I broke through by taking the EFBB Lightweight British Championships title. Although I cannot consciously ever recall making the decision to go for condition instead of size at some point I must have realised I was never going to be a mass monster at 5ft 3” so in order to be up there I did what came naturally and that was getting in good condition and using my symmetry to my advantage to attempt to create and show a perfectly balanced physique. It’s something that has held me in good stead ever since. You can only paint with the colours you are given. In 2004 I took the EFBB Middleweight title and then went on to take the overall British Title and my IFBB Pro card. I went on to do the British Grand Prix and took 8 th place.
I may never beat the likes of Coleman or Cutler but I can say that I have stood my own on a stage with them and didn’t look out of place and no one can take that away from me and very few can say “ Oh I’ve done that too!”
In 2007 I did some guest spots for NABBA. This is a change in direction for me. The previous year was a bad year for me, not only competitively but also personally as I lost my father to cancer. After this happened I sat back and thought long and hard about what it is that I actually wanted from life and in that what I wanted from bodybuilding. What is it that gives me a kick and why do I love doing it? Was it the training? Was it the dieting? Was it the people? Was it getting another trophy for the gym windowsill? Having dedicated over 25 years of my life to the sport I realised it was all of it and much more. BUT I think over time I had lost the purity of it and the innocence of when I first started competing.
Although competitively I have gained so much on a personal level I also lost a lot now as I approach my 45 th year I feel a lot calmer and can see bodybuilding for what it is and that is still fun, exciting, hard work and rewarding. I just love the sport. I love competing, standing on stage after months of hard work enjoying the crowd hopefully as much as they are enjoying me and showing off all my hard work and dedication. I don’t want to do just one show a year and I can’t afford to jet off all over the world even though both my sponsors, Dougie at Extreme Nutrition and Sam at SK Sports, have been fantastic over the years and I wouldn’t swap their support for any big buck sponsor, it still costs an arm and a leg to compete abroad. So for that reason I’ve made the decision to compete nearer home whenever I can. I want to give back to all of you who have supported me over the years and cheered me on and I want to have fun again doing it and maybe inspire somebody else to pick up the baton and run with it.