Dieting for four months and spending six days a week in the gym was all worth it for Christchurch bodybuilder Kagan Orton.
Orton recently returned from the national amateur bodybuilding association's (NABBA) Mr Universe competition in Southport, England, where he won the junior (under-21) title.
The success followed on from last year's world championships in Dublin, where Orton, 21, was the junior champion. He is the first Kiwi to capture junior world titles in both prestigious competitions.
Orton only qualified for the Mr Universe event at the New Zealand nationals a few days earlier. He was confident about his chances after last year's triumph, but with so many talented bodybuilders from around the world competing, acknowledged it was always going to be tough.
"It seems unreal. I never thought I could achieve that. I just think of myself as a normal guy," he said.
Bodybuilders complete a 60-second individual posing routine, before competitors are then compared against each other. They are judged on their shape, symmetry, condition and size.
The Orton family have had a wonderful year with their bodybuilding with Kagan's older brother, Steve, claiming this year's NABBA world title in Italy.
Orton said bodybuilding required a huge sacrifice and was very much a lifestyle choice.
In preparation for major competitions he diets for four months, where he trims down from his usual 115kg weight to around 100kg.
"When I go out on stage I'm 100kg of muscle," he said.
Orton sticks to whole foods, including rice, chicken, fish, steak, eggs and green vegetables. He said he had to be careful about what kind of food he put into his body.
"You can't just help yourself to a biscuit when you feel like it. A lot of people think you just hop on the stage, but there's a lot of preparation."
Orton spends six days a week at the Fitness Canterbury gym carrying out resistance training and cardio work. He can bench press over 200kg, with his best squat and dead lifts both over 250kg. Fitness Canterbury personal trainer and former bodybuilder Kent Gibson had been an excellent mentor, he said.
Orton, who is a factory worker at Tegel Foods, took part in his first bodybuilding competition two years ago.
He said he loved the adrenaline when stepping onto the stage during a major competition, which made the countless hours of training all worth it.
"It's your time to shine. You've got the stage to yourself. You get a massive rush with the crowd cheering. "You can always improve yourself. You can always be better."
Next year, he will move up to the open class ranks, which will be a major challenge. He said competing against his brother would be a weird feeling, but was eager to prove himself against the best. His long-term goal is win open class world titles and eventually turn professional.
- Fairfax Media
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