Nelson body builder Mark Anderson says he will return to defend his mr Universe age-group title next year after his victory in the UK last week, Photo Jacob Page.

Mark Anderson wins Mr Universe

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Nelson bodybuilder Mark Anderson achieved his dream of a NABBA Mr Universe over-40s title at his third attempt, in Birmingham last week.

Mark is the first New Zealander to win a title at the famed bodybuilding competition, which was made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger

“In 2013 got second, 2015 I got second and finally won this year.

“The competition is so tough and I travelled 26 hours – four planes, a train and a taxi just to get there.

“It was a big trip, but you have to keep training and to come so close it was a case of having to keep going.

“To stand there as a winner in Birmingham was great, I was very proud.”

Mark beat 20 other bodybuilders from all over the world to take the crown.

“You try to stare everyone down backstage and figure out who is looking good, but you just don’t know until you get out there.”

Mark says the diet is hard as he searches for a sub- two per cent body fat ratio.

“For the last month I ate fish, chicken, oatmeal and a lot of vegetables.

“I’ve been competing for 21 years, so you get to know your body.”

It’s been an ambition since his dad would make him go to the gym three times a week since he was 14.

In 40 shows since 1996, Mark has not finished any lower than second.

Mark took all his food on the plane in carry-on. “On the flights over I would have had 20 litres of water over the 26 hours.

“It all helps your body flush everything.”

“I carried on my meals and my headphones.”

Mark says he gets some looks for his muscular physique.

“Kids think I’m a wrestler but people overseas are more willing to come up and have their photo taken.”

Mark says he now eases off his diet slightly for the next couple of weeks before preparations begin again to defend the title he worked so hard to capture.