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Thatcham man beefs up to win bronze at national body-building competition

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Self-employed builder Stuart Essex, aged 41 came third to win bronze in the Master’s category at the national championships.
He said he was “absolutely delighted ” to get the trophy. “There were people there who had been doing this for years and I just came along and got third.”
He was first challenged to lose the weight by his wife Leanne so that he could go skydiving.
“I bought him a sky-diving present for his 40 birthday” she said, “but he needed to lose a stone to do the jump within five months.”
Stuart achieved his goal and then went further, going from sixteen and a half stone to eleven stone after the dive, before beginning to train for the championships at local gym Body Bionics.
He said the gym had been fantastically supportive and “everything was down to owner Nick (Openshaw) who trained me and supported me.”
“The gym even took care of the kids so that I could train.”
It took Stuart 15 months before he was ready to compete, and after winning the trophy he took to Facebook and promised to keep competing, writing: “First show…not my last though. I’m hooked.”

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