A Leamington fitness instructor has become a world champion in bodybuilding and achieved professional status.
Ben Howard, who works at Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre, was part of the United Kingdom Drug Free Bodybuilding Association (UKDFBA) team that was selected to take part in the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) World Championships in Los Angeles, USA, in November - and he went on to win the men’s lightweight world title in the amateur category.
The 26-year-old was also awarded a pro card, which gives him the title of a WNBF professional.
Ben, who only took up bodybuilding ten years ago, said: “I never expected to get this far, but I knew I was always going to work towards these goals - they just happened a decade earlier than I expected.
“I love the fact you can build a strong and powerful physique whilst leading a healthy lifestyle and compete in a bodybuilding competition without the use of drugs.”
The father-of-one limits his training to three high intensity sessions a week at the Workout Mill in Leamington - which is owned by World Heavyweight Champion Richard Gozdecki - so he has time to spend with his partner and 18-month-old daughter.
He said: “Family comes first and I work my training around family and work. It makes me train harder knowing I’m not in the gym more than an hour and a half three times per week.”
With the support of his coach and UKDFBA president, Lee Kemp, and his wife, Amy Kemp, Ben entered his first show in September - the UKDFBA Heart of England Championships - and he won the middleweight class and the overall title, qualifying for the UK finals. In October he went on to win the middleweight UK title at the UKDFBA UK championships, qualifying for the world championships. All the competitions require him to be tested for drugs each time he competes.
Ben said: “My next goal is to make my professional debut in 2018 after a year off competing to grow bigger and stronger. But bodybuilding is just a hobby and a direction for training - and I enjoy it that way.”