NOT every woman can boast about being married to Mr Universe.
But Cheryl Steele, from Preesall, can.
Her husband Dave has just scooped the over 50 title in the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association (NABBA).
It was through body building Cheryl and Dave met – because she has also been competing for 25 years.
Female bodybuilding hit the headlines recently, after former glamour model Jodie Marsh showed off her new, muscular body, as she took part in the Natural Physique Association Mike Williams Classic and Pro-Am Bodybuilding Championships.
She came fifth, and revealed she had gone from a size 10 to size 6 in just eight weeks through a gruelling regime of strict diet and tough training.
She told reporters it was “the best I’ve ever felt and the best my body has ever felt.” She said she felt “a million dollars”, telling how “at first, I wanted to lose weight and tone up – I was soft all over. But within two weeks, I had definition in my stomach.”
Cheryl – who trains twice a day – around 30 minutes cardio in the morning and then weights on a different muscle group every day – said: “I think the Jodie Marsh story is a good thing to raise awareness of women’s bodybuilding.
“There was this image of being a bit masculine, and something just for tomboys.
“But the glamour girls – with long nails and hair extensions and so on – can still take part.
“There are different categories. There is a category for women who are toned and like a nice beach body. I still want that feminine look. I still want to be able to wear a dress.”
At 55, Cheryl – who just scooped the NABBA UK women’s title after coming fourth in Miss Universe – believes weightlifting keeps her young.
And she also says there is plenty of glamour alongside the hard work, careful eating and sweat.
She started bodybuilding after becoming bored of other fitness activities, like aerobics.
“It definitely keeps me young, all the training.
“And there are a lot of younger girls who compete, so mixing with them helps keep me young too.
“I take supplements and make sure I do exercises for flexibility and stretching – things like Pilates and yoga.
“It is more glamorous than people think when you’re competing. My husband says I just talk about bikinis and hairdos.
“It is all about the glamour when you’re competing, and I really like that side of things.
“The bikinis are not the type you just get off the shelf – they are specially made, and some of the girls pay up to £500 for them – covered in crystals, and they are really beautiful.
“We wear six inch heels – which you have to learn to walk in – to look elegant.
“Everyone has a spray tan and I use a product as well for the stage called Dream Tan, which has bits of glitter in, so it shimmers and really catches the light.
“You can wear jewellery – just earrings and a small bracelet and it’s all about your hairdo. I just love it, and will keep going as long as I can.”