Middlesbrough schoolboy turned bodybuilder lifts national title

The teenage strongman trains for 90 minutes, six or seven days a week. Credit: Regional Syndication

A 15-year-old schoolboy lifts title at a prestigious bodybuilding competition - despite only taking up the sport seven months ago.

Despite only starting bodybuilding training earlier this year, Leon Hawkins, from Middlesbrough, has came out top of his age group in the International Bodybuilding & Fitness Association (IBFA) British finals.

The Year 11 at Unity City Academy has been an avid gym-goer since he was nine.

Leon has aspirations to open his own gym. Credit: Regional Syndication

Last month, Leon entered the IBFA Mr & Miss Teesside event in Billingham, where he came second in the under-24 category.

From this win, he was invited to take part in the IBFA British Finals in Gateshead on 22 October - where he won the under-18 section.

The teenage strongman, who trains for 90 minutes six or seven days a week, said everyone was "amazed" when they found out his age.

Leon said: "I've been training since I was nine years old, so I've been going to the gym for seven years now.

"About seven or eight months ago I started training at Steel City Gym in Middlesbrough. I started training and then someone from the gym said there was a local competition - so I did that.

"The IBFA runs it, which does competitions all around England. Everyone from around the country gets picked for it. In Billingham, I was doing the under-24s and this was against quite big lads. I came second and I was up against three.

"I trained with my mates and a few others. I go to the competition with my family, my brother and my girlfriend. There were also a few people from the gym who competed so they were there to watch."

The 15-year-old came first in his age group despite only training in the sport for seven months. Credit: Regional Syndication

The competition involves an onstage routine, which Leon researched and planned himself alongside his "high intensity" training.

On the process for developing his routine, Leon said: "I made my own routine by watching some inspiring bodybuilders and then made my own. It was about 60 seconds."

While the he hopes to start a career in a skilled craft like welding, the teen also has aspirations to open own gym one day.

Leon, who is look forward to competing more in the future, added: "I have always thought of bodybuilding but I didn't think it was possible. When they knew I was just 15 years old everyone was quite amazed."

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