Wigan beefcakes flexed for national glory

A Wigan gym is celebrating after SIX of its beefy members muscled in on a prestigious national bodybuilding competition.

Amateur athletes who train at Apex Health and Fitness Centre in Hindley will compete for top honours at the IBFA (International Bodybuilding and Fitness Association) British Finals in June, with both trophies and prestige up for grabs for the champions.

Patrons, from second left, John Taylor, Barry Leach, Alex Kay and Gabrielle Lewis with coaches Mark Scott, left, and Graham Hodgson, right

Patrons, from second left, John Taylor, Barry Leach, Alex Kay and Gabrielle Lewis with coaches Mark Scott, left, and Graham Hodgson, right

Gym manager Graham Hodgson praised the hard work and efforts undertaken by the successful bodybuilders as they bulk up and hone their impressive physiques.

“It’s a massive thing.

“To get invited to a national event like this is huge.

“You might get one person a year from one gym, if you’re lucky, but we’ve had six.”

The IBFA championships

The IBFA championships

The lucky six are: John Taylor and Joshua Olagoke in the mens category, Barry Leach and Craig Sharples in the over-50s, Alex Kay in the under-18s, and Gabrielle Lewis was also invited in the women’s category of the UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation.

“They’ve trained pretty hard,” said Graham.

“They’ve worked all year and hoped for the best.”

The 40-year-old added: “If they win, they’ll be among the best bodybuilders in the area.”

Graham believed Apex had a unique approach and revealed the secret of their patrons success.

“Between all of us who work here, we have 40 to 50 years’ experience to help the guys who train and work so hard.

“That’s what we offer, and the proof is in the pudding.

“They’re all individual competitors but it’s the gym that’s helped them get there.

“We push them really hard.”

And they’re not finished yet.

Graham is already looking ahead to helping the next batch of fitness freaks achieve their dreams and make it to the higher echelons of the sport.

“If you’re interested in taking bodybuilding seriously, we can get you there.

“It’s a big mental challenge, but we’re a very positive and open minded gym.

“If we feel like anyone is struggling with their goals, we help them with it through positive spirit.”

The British finals take place in Gateshead on June 25.

The IBFA is one of several international bodybuilding organisation which holds major competitions in many countries and invites entries for a wide range of weight and age group categories for both sexes.