Laois man Conor Magee returned from Waterford a silver medal draped around his neck, after placing second in the junior section of the Irish Bodybuilding Spring Classic on Saturday.
Magee just missed out on gold, but could at least console himself with an improvement on his third place finish last year. With the junior category open to entrants under the age of 23, Magee will have one more year to claim gold in this competition, as he is still only 21.
It is only the start of a busy week for him too, as he will fly out to Spain on Thursday night to take part in the European Championships in Barcelona, where he is due on stage on Friday morning.
It has been a rapid rise through the ranks for him too, as he outlines. “I joined a gym around Christmas in 2010 and started training a bit and noticed an improvement so I kept going. I saw a poster for a competition and I did my first one last year and came third.”
The training regime he has put himself through over the last few months for this week has been exhausting and intense, as he mixes his workouts with his job at his father’s company, Allwood Architectural Joinery in Ballymacken. His days started at 5.30am, when he would get up to do an hour of cardio work on a bike, before then cooking his meals for the day and heading to work.
After work he would then do a couple of hours training in the gym before returning home to do another hour of cardio before finally getting to bed around 10.30pm, and repeating it all over again for six days of the week.
It is a huge commitment to make, but Magee admits that once he was bitten by the competitive bug, it made it all easier. “It does take a lot of time and dedication, but once you get hooked, you don’t mind it. You just have to get up in the morning and say you need to get it done so you can look your best on the day.”
After Barcelona, Magee will alter his training regime as the competitive season winds down, and he will again work towards next Spring, under the watchful gaze of his coach Gianni, in the Olympia Gym in Carlow. Right now though, it’s all eyes on Barcelona for the young Laois man.