Bodybuilders flex their muscles at Solent City Bodybuilding Championships

BODYBUILDERS from all over the country wowed the crowds as they flexed their muscles at a showpiece event in Gosport.

Saturday, 17th August 2019, 10:23 pm
Updated Monday, 19th August 2019, 5:45 pm
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170819-6)

The 41st anniversary of the Solent City Open Bodybuilding Championships, held by Don Styler’s Physical Training Centre, saw bronzed enthusiasts of all ages and abilities strut their stuff in front of a packed crowd and five eagle-eyed judges.

The event at the Thorngate Halls, one of the UK’s longest running bodybuilding competitions, offers a fitting legacy for Don Styler, who started it in 1978 - spearheading the careers of three Mr Americas and a Mr Universe.

Don’s son, Matt Styler, said the show must go on in the absence of his revered dad who died in 2016. ‘It was started by my dad and we’re now in the third year since he died. It’s a great legacy for him and we’re glad to keep it going in his memory,’ he said.

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Paul Strevans. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170819-2)

‘People take the competition very seriously and can take months to get in shape and make many sacrifices.’

Andy North, 54, from the Isle of Wight, entered the over 50s competition having lost three stone in a year. The former national bodybuilding competitor, who had a knee and hip replacement, said: ‘It’s a great event but takes a lot of effort to get in shape for. You have to be totally committed to it.’

Male and female competitors stripped down into their underwear before performing a number of poses which they were judged on.

Former bodybuilder Dave Wright, 51, revealed the competition offered a ‘buzz’ when on stage but was not for the fainthearted. ‘You must eat a high protein and low carb diet - you end up craving fats and sugar.

Di Sorrenson applies the tan to husband Martin. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170819-1)

‘Two weeks before the competition you must drink lots more water and then dehydrate yourself two days before which helps highlight your muscle definition.’

UK powerlifting champions Ellie Steel, 27, and Jack Johnson, 21, were making their debuts in the bodybuilding competition. ‘It’s very different to what we normally do but it’s something we wanted to try,’ Ellie said.

Jack added: ‘It’s taken it out of us changing our diet in the week leading up to the event as we normally eat lots of carbs but had to cut this out.’

Lifelong friend of Don and MC of the event John Copeland, said: ‘I’m the only person to go to all 41 events since Don started it. There is so much history associated with the competition with people coming from all over. Our first show we had a man who went on to be Mr Universe.

Tony Martin Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170819-5)

‘It’s a highly respected competition and Don would be so proud to know it is carrying on through his son with everyone from the gym mucking in.’

Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170819-4)