A bodybuilder who trains at a Leamington gym has realised his dream of winning the prestigious title of Mr Universe.
Max O’Connor, 30, of Stratford, trains at the Workout Mill in Leamington’s Regent Place and has been bodybuilding for ten years having been forced out of playing rugby at a high level through injury.
When he was 23 he won the National Amateur Body Builder’s Association (NABBA) Pro – AM title - a feat previously only achieved by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger at that age.
Since then, he became the NABBA World Champion in 2015 and has twice been a runner-up at Mr Universe, both in 2012 and 2017.
This was despite having to endure eight surgeries in the last four years.
Having fallen agonisingly short in previous years, Max was desperate to go one better at this year’s Mr Universe event - which took place at the Birmingham Symponhy Hall on Saturda November 10.
Speaking on how his preparations went going into the contest, the personal trainer said: “They were very smooth - zero injuries or illness for a change which allowed me to grow in to the diet.
By that I mean I was able to add muscle as I got closer to the show, which is very rare to see these days with the size that bodybuilders ‘blow up’ to in their ‘off seasons’.”
He added: “I was very confident going in to the show and I carried that through to the show itself while hitting my compulsory poses. I still got nervous when they were calling out the top six as I’ve been there a few times before.
“All of the top three competitors were representing the UK so I flinched every time they called UK out.
It was only when I heard my name being called out in first place that I finally raised my hand when they did I think I smiled for until I was asked to leave the stage.”