Ev­ery­one starts some­where – and for the win­ners of the BodyPower Model Search, vic­tory is just the be­gin­ning

Men's Fitness - - Promotion -

Since its in­au­gu­ral event in 2009, BodyPower Expo has en­abled more than a quar­ter of a mil­lion peo­ple to meet their idols, try the lat­est in­no­va­tions in train­ing, and be ad­vised and in­spired by the smartest, hard­est-work­ing men and women in the fit­ness in­dus­try. And this year, a hand­ful of those peo­ple took their first steps on the road to great­ness.

The BodyPower Model Search, launched this year, at­tracted al­most 500 hope­fuls to 17 re­gional cast­ings held through­out the UK. Each was put through their paces by top in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als, cur­rent and for­mer fit­ness com­peti­tors and pho­tog­ra­phers – and 50 made it to the fi­nal on Sun­day 14th May. Af­ter two tough rounds of com­pe­ti­tion, Ike Agho and Son­jia Ashby were an­nounced as the male and fe­male win­ners.

Suc­cess didn’t come easy. “I was train­ing twice a day, six days a week,” says Agho. “Once at 6am, and then again for two hours at night. I’d hit two mus­cle groups a time – split­ting it between two gyms just so I wouldn’t get bored.”

Di­et­ing is the tough­est part for any physique com­peti­tor, and Agho was no ex­cep­tion. “I eat clean any­way, and I’ve stud­ied nu­tri­tion, but there are al­ways days when your friends are go­ing ‘Come on, have a beer’,” he says. “There are times when you think ‘I can’t do this’ but you re­mem­ber what you’re do­ing it for and push through.”

And even tiny de­tails made the dif­fer­ence on the day. “It’s about un­der­stand­ing your body, learn­ing poses that suit your physique,” Agho says. “Peo­ple copy each other, but you have to learn and un­der­stand what works for you.”

For the win­ners, this is just the be­gin­ning. Agho is aim­ing to turn pro as a physique model and make it to the Mr Olympia stage by 2021, while Ashby’s goal is to in­spire and mo­ti­vate oth­ers through per­sonal train­ing and com­pe­ti­tion. Any­one look­ing to em­u­late them will have the op­por­tu­nity: ap­pli­ca­tions will be open for 2018 soon… and it’s never too late. “Age is just a num­ber,” says Ashby. “I’m 40 in Novem­ber, with two young chil­dren, and there were test­ing times when I was tired and just wanted su­gar – but it’s never too late to try some­thing new and chal­leng­ing. Never give up.”

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