A Marton mum who turned her life around after taking up weight training has ranked among the best in the bodybuilding world.
Anita Cottam, 38, competed in the Bodybuilding World Championships in Rome last weekend.
She placed fourth in the ‘Miss Shape’ competition ahead of fellow competitors with years of experience.
She said: “The UK completely smashed it. We did really well.
“In my first year of competing I have managed to get to the World Championships, so I’m very proud considering I have not been doing it long.
“You work extremely hard, training three times a day. It’s been extremely difficult and exhausting. It’s been the hardest competition I have done since I’ve started.”
Anita, a personal trainer at Tuff Training on the Sycamore Trading Estate, Blackpool, took up bodybuilding five years ago to keep in shape.
The mum-of-one participated in her first bodybuilding competition in Newcastle this year, where she placed second in the ‘athletic’ category.
She said: “It was an incredible experience. It was tough competition made up of other athletes from all over the world, so we did really well.
“We did a bit of sightseeing while having meals every two hours. We had to remember to keep on form.
“The day before you need to dehydrate your body because you need all your muscles to come through. Throughout the day you have sips of water every two hours until you go onstage, and we were actually onstage until 9.40pm.”
Anita must successfully compete in the UK championships next year in order to qualify for the World Championships once more. She said: “I know now what I need to work on to win.”
Bodybuilding as a sport
The International Bodybulding and Fitness Association World Championships took place in Rome.
Athletes competed in a number of different categories, each separated into age groups up to and over 70-years-old.
Mr and Miss Universe is crowned yearly at the event, as well as Mr and Ms Fashion.
Bodybuilding competitions judge based on size, muscle definition, body condition and symmetry. Physical strength is less important than in powerlifting competitions.
Next year’s IBFA British finals will take place in Gateshead on June 10 2018. Mr and Miss England 2018 will be crowned in Mansfield on September 16.