City bodybuilder Shaun Joseph-Tavernier has lifted his biggest trophy to date after winning a national title.
The 41-year-old, who lives in Grindon, beat off competition from across the country to be named overall winner at the PCA Bodypower Expo contest in Birmingham.
It marked the biggest title win of his professional career to date, but the hard work doesn’t stop there.
Shaun is now preparing for a whirlwind year of bodybuilding contests, which will see him compete in South Korea, Kuwait, China and Australia where prize money can reach as much as £300,000.
The sportsman said he’s proud to fly the flag for Sunderland on the international stage after moving here from London after meeting his wife.
He said: “I won my category in the 212lbs class at the PCA and then went on to win the overall title. I would say it’s my biggest win to date since I came fifth place in the 202 category in Mr Olympia in 2011, which is the biggest bodybuilding competition in the world.
“I call Sunderland home now and I feel proud to represent not only the city, but the whole of the North East, at these events. It felt absolutely amazing to win, especially over people like a ten times world champion.”
Shaun hones his physique with training sessions at Fitness 2000 in Roker where, in the lead up to contest, he’ll do two hours of cardio training a day and an hour of weight lifting, while also adopting a strict diet.
Though he admits to having a sweet tooth, Shaun has to cut out cake in the weeks leading up to a contest.
“It’s a very clean-eating diet,” he said. “So a lot of rice and steamed chicken and fish, nothing fried. I do love cake and will have it once a week normally, but in the three months before a competition all that has to be eliminated. It’s an extreme sport and a glamour sport, so you have to look your best.”
Although Shaun has been interested in fitness from an early age, he only began competing professionally ten years ago.
He won the first ever show he competed in in May 2007 and hasn’t looked back since.
This year will be his busiest to date in the industry and, as well as travelling to international shows, he’s received a special invite to compete at Mr Universe in Birmingham.