I was in pretty good shape from all the big wave training which was needed for my tow surfing, so I thought I would enter the competition.
Tow-surfing (where you use a jet ski to tow you in on a surfboard onto waves of around 40 feet) was a major chapter in my life from 2005-2009. It required me to be in absolute peak physical fitness.
I actually managed to train for my tow-surfing with only a chin-up bar in my bedroom.
My evening exercise routine would consist of:
300 press-ups (3x sets of 100)
60 stomach crunches (3x sets of 20)
60 chin ups (3 x sets of 20).
I would do this every evening except Friday and Saturday where I would rest (and usually get boozed up).
I would also do a 3 mile run every other day.
With big wave surfing, it is really important to train your body to cope without oxygen - for those double wave hold-downs!
A simple but really effective technique was to hold my breath whilst running (try it - it's bloomin’ hard) and I would try to better my previous time each run. This exercise regime would be combined with a surf every day if possible, but 4 times a week without fail, regardless of whether the surf was any good or not.
The hours of training finally paid off on the day Tow partner (Sam Lamiroy) and I chased the swell from Hurricane Gordon over to the West coast of Ireland.
When we had arrived at the coast, the waves were HUGE - easily the biggest we'd ever surfed - about 40 feet high!
It was pretty scary but Sam and I gave it a good dig and we both caught some monsters.
The memories of that session will stay with me forever.
Not long after the Irish session, I heard about the annual Men's Health cover model competition so I spent a month on a pretty intense gym programme. I would do an hour in the gym 5 times a week.
I must admit, I neglected my legs and lower body because I didn't have much time to get the photo entry in so I basically just hammered my upper body – particularly my biceps, shoulders and pecs.
I used free weights and my workouts mainly involved bench presses, dumbell curls, chip ups and dips.
I was also really conscious about eating well throughout the whole month. I was never fanatical enough to weigh the food portions but I would go up to Tesco each week and stock up on a load of chicken and tuna and get that down ‘me’ neck.
I would have plenty of carbs, mostly pasta, potatoes, bread and porrige etc to give me the energy to train. I would also eat lots of fresh fruit and salad. I found that I could basically eat as much of this sort of food as I wanted as long as I was training. The first 3 weeks I was "bulking up" on the protein foods and the heavy weights, and the final week was about stripping the fat right back with lower weights and higher reps and more running.
After a month of this I got 'me top off', put on 'me best blue steel' look and flexed up for the camera and managed to scrape into the finals of the MH comp.
Nowadays, I am a primary school teacher and a dad of 2 so I don't have as much time to train. Thankfully though, I still manage to surf now and again and that's the main thing!