BODYBUILDING: AWESOME Rob Hope has powered his way to become the natural bodybuilding world champion.
Rob, 23, of Hill Street, El-worth, Sandbach swept aside more than 100 competitors to lift the men's middleweight and overall amateur world championships, in New York.
The dedicated performer, who has only been competing for 12 months, travelled across the Atlantic as part of the British Natural Bodybuilding Federation (BNBF) team which swept the board.
Rob, who is already British champion in his class, said: 'I was delighted to do well because it is by far the biggest event of the natural bodybuilding year. It was held over one day in the Manhattan Centre in front of large crowds.
'Most of the competition came from the USA, Switzerland, Germany, and there was a large team from the Cayman Islands. There was a really high standard of entries.
'The win means I get my professional card and can enter pro competitions, where there is prize money for the winner. It was a good feeling up on stage and great to be part of a winning team.'
Rob, who works at Bentley in Crewe as an engineer, lives by a gruelling regime to get himself in perfect condition.
He trains at the FBI Gym, at Dragons Lane, Elworth, five times a week, and begins his cardiovascular training at
5.30am each day before work. He returns to the gym after his shift for another workout.
Rob eats eight small meals a day, which are loaded with protein. He consumes few foods rich in carbohydrates, and eats almost no fat at all.
He is subject to random drug tests to ensure that he is not taking illegal substances to enhance his physique, and competitors have to take lie detector tests to prevent cheating.
In competitions, participants are judged on symmetry, balance of muscles, muscularity, condition and their posing routine to music.
Rob, sponsored by supple-ment company Maximuscle, said it is all worthwhile. 'It is definitely worth it, although you have to make bodybuilding a way of life. In the run-up you are basically training, eating and sleeping - and working when you can fit it in.
'But I love it and I plan to compete in the Mr Natural Universe competition in Barbados in May, and the world championships in New York again next year. Fortunately I have stopped the most strict dieting for the while and will enjoy Christmas time.'
Despite the fact the steroid-enhanced side of the sport is better recognised, and the prize money far greater, Rob has never been tempted to take drugs. He said: 'I have always preferred to stay natural, and it is more healthy.'
A BNBF spokesman said: 'Rob will make a great pro. He was obviously enjoying his time on stage and totally dominated the class.'
Joyce Hancock, whose son Paul runs the FBI gym, said: 'Rob trains extremely hard and he is a lovely lad. We are all very proud of him.'