BATLEY Bulldogs’ strength and conditioning coach John Heaton is making a return to his bodybuilding roots at the Natural Physique Association Yorkshire Championships.
John, who is also a personal trainer, will be returning as a ‘guest poser’ when the natural bodybuilding show takes place at Unity Works, Wakefield, on May 27.
The 45-year-old was crowned International Natural Bodybuilder World Champion in his last outing in 2011, and also won the world light-heavyweight title in Barcelona the year before.
But since then, John has had his fair share of injuries to contend with.
From 2013-2016 he had four major operations: an anterior cruciate ligament injury that meant his knee had to be fully reconstructed, a shoulder reconstruction, a snapped bicep and an arthritic foot.
But said John: “I’ve had two years without an operation so when they told me the show was going to be in Wakefield, I was very interested.”
John, who teaches personal training at Doncaster College, decided to take up bodybuilding in 2004.
“I was a personal trainer and I had a female client who wanted to do a competition. I said I would train her for it and while she was preparing, I would do the preparations with her and I would enter the same competition for the bodybuilding category,” he said. “In the two federations in the UK, I came third and first in my first year.”
It takes John up to 16 weeks to prepare for a competition and he aims to lose a stone to a stone and a half in the process.
Talking about the main differences between bodybuilding and rugby, he said: “The diet is the main difference. I restrict my carbohydrates a lot, whereas when you’re playing rugby you need those for energy.
“But even though I bodybuild, I still like to look athletic. I still like to be able to get out there and run with the players if I have to.”
The show starts at 1pm on Saturday, May 27 and tickets are £16.
Visit www.npabodybuilding.com for more information.