A Stratford personal trainer has outmuscled the competition to win the coveted Mr Universe title this month at the third time of asking.
Max O’Conner has twice fallen agonisingly short in the competition, having been named runner-up in both 2012 and 2017, but 2018 has proved to be his year.
Max’s success is remarkable given that he suffered a horrendous car accident in 2009 which shattered most of the bones on the right side of his body.
To fix these and other issues he has had to undergo eight surgeries over the past decade, but at last injury-free he has finally reached is goal.
Max first gained success in the bodybuilding world aged 23, winning the NABBA Pro-AM Title, won only by one other person at that age, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Since then, he’s become NABBA World Champion (2015) and has twice been a runner-up at Mr Universe.
Discussing his preparations, which included consuming 5,500 calories-a-day, Max said: “They were very smooth – zero injuries or illness for a change which allowed me to grow in to the diet. By that I mean I was able to add muscle as I got closer to the show, which is very rare to see these days with the size that bodybuilders ‘blow up’ to in their ‘off seasons’.”
“I was very confident going in to the show and I carried that through to the show itself while hitting my compulsory poses. I still got nervous when they were calling out the top six as I’ve been there a few times before.
“All of the top three competitors were representing the UK so I flinched every time they called UK out. It was only when I heard my name being called out in first place that I finally raised my hand when they did I think I smiled for until I was asked to leave the stage.”
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m sure it will, probably when I can switch off properly.
“I’ll definitely continue to body build – my body feels great and the fittest it’s felt in years. As for which competition next, that one’s still to be decided. My current goal is just to continue developing my physique and adding on good quality muscle.”