Gruelling gap year accomplishment for student in bodybuilding contest

Junior bodybuilding competition success for Ben Jennings from Horsham
Junior bodybuilding competition success for Ben Jennings from Horsham

A Horsham student has been left overwhelmed following his recent success in a junior bodybuilding competition held in Sevenoaks, Kent, on Sunday May 22.

Thanks to gruelling training and dedicated dieting, Ben Jennings took second place in the UK Ultimate Physique junior bodybuilding competition which is now in its second year.

The 19-year-old said: “When I was placed runner-up the feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming because I put so much work into getting in shape.

“It really solidified the principle of hard work that I was familiar with during my A-levels last year: namely the more you put in, the more you get out.”

Ben, who graduated from Christ’s Hospital last year where he studied philosophy, history and economics, only decided to take part in the bodybuilding competition as a project to keep him occupied during his gap year.

He added: “After surviving the contest prep and succeeding I feel that I can deal with future challenges unrelated to fitness more confidently as hard work, resilience and persistence that encompasses bodybuilding competitions can be applied to most aspects of life.

“The training I went through in preparation was incredibly tough - perhaps one of the hardest things I have done. It was not just the physical ardour but the psychological strain and grinding that comes with weeks of strict dieting, hours of fasted cardio and heavy weight training that I found so difficult,” he added.

“About eight weeks before I would exercise for up to three hours in a day, six days a week.”

While training for the contest, which aims to promote men and women physique athletes and fitness models, Ben also worked full-time as a bartender in Bill’s Restaurant only to cycle home and go straight to the gym.

“Eventually stepping on stage and presenting my hard work successfully made it all worth it because I had such good support from the large crowd who were all chanting my name while I executed my posing routine,” he said.

“HearJuinoring this kind of support from strangers was spectacular.”

Ben is now looking forward to studying philosophy at University College London in September after travelling the USA over the summer.

“I actually have little interest in becoming a professional bodybuilder despite encouragement from my coach,” he revealed.

“After graduating from university I plan to join the Royal Marines and then perhaps go into law or politics.”