A former Christ Hospital student has got in great shape in his gap year to finish as runner-up in the UK Ultimate Physique junior bodybuilding competition.
Ben Jennings, 19, from Horsham, decided to pursue bodybuilding in a year off before starting university in September.
And his gruelling training and diet routine, which he described as one of the hardest thing he has ever done, paid off as he collected second place at the event.
For eight weeks the student, who will study philosophy at University College London later this year, trained three hours a day, six days a week, juggling working behind a bar.
Jennings said: “I decided to take part in the bodybuilding competition largely because of the sheer difficulty of it and I wanted a project to keep me occupied with during my gap year that would make me a stronger person.
“I actually have little interest in becoming a professional bodybuilder despite encouragement from my coach. After graduating from university I plan to join the Royal Marines and then perhaps go into law or politics.
“The training I went through in preparation for my contest 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.
“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. When I was placed runner up the feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming because I put so much work into getting in shape.”