From bronze to bronzed: Sutton Olympian Andy Turner transforms from hurdler to champion bodybuilder

From bronze at the World Championships in 2011 to bronzing himself to go on stage in 2015, Sutton’s Andy Turner has made the unlikely transformation from a hurdler to a champion bodybuilder. 

Many athletes often complain of a void once they finish competing and Turner was no different, the athlete missed having a goal after spending most of his career preparing for his next big competition.

Turner had a successful athletics career including taking home gold at both the European Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2010.

Turner said: “When I was running I was always very lean and didn’t have much muscle, I always tried to be as lean but as strong as possible but I always wanted to be more muscly, although that would not have been beneficial to hurdles.

“I got bored of doing it for vanity, I have always had goals to my training, getting in peak condition to go to championships every summer.

“I missed having a target to my training but I did not want to compete on the track anymore so it wasn’t athletics that I was missing it was having something to work towards that I missed.”

Andy Turner Instagram 2THIGHS OF STEEL: We think Turner has achieved his goal of being more muscly 

The 35-year-old made his transformation to bulky bodybuilder when he picked up top prize at the Miami Pro Fitness over-35 competition last October, with victory earning him a spot at the professional competition this year.

Almost immediately after retiring in 2014 Turner paired up with his sponsors PHD Nutrition to see if they could complete the transformation from Olympic athlete to bodybuilder.

He said: “I have been sponsored by PHD nutrition since 2010 and I approached them and said shall we do this transformation thing where we try and take an Olympic athlete and get him ready to compete on stage at this Miami Pro competition last year.

“So they put me in contact with one of their guys, Chris Spearman, who was going to do all my nutrition so he set me out with a pretty strict regime and I hit the gym hard and the two things together worked really well.”

Transforming from a perfectly conditioned hurdler to a 85 kilo giant without an inch of fat is no easy feat.

Turner immersed himself in his fitness regime, training on a daily basis, often completing double sessions, while cramming 6,500 calories into his diet before cutting his intake to a bare minimum in order to sculpt his body.

Andy Turner Instagram 3SHOW OFF: Turner has a very dramatic diet to remain in peak shape for competitions

“To be honest I then got a little bit fat, I was a mass, and then it was a case of cutting it down and getting in shape. It was a case of dropping as much body fat as possible and getting in peak shape to go on stage and be as lean as possible,” he said.

“As you cut fat you do lose a little muscle as well but you take 12 weeks to cut and get into shape, and all the time up to those 12 weeks is bulking.”

Initially Turner’s only aim was to make it to the competition and compete on par with people who had been training for this all their lives.

The former Olympian looked at his progress in the run up to the tournament and it suddenly dawned on him that he may stand a chance but first he had to perfect his on stage poses.

He said: “As I carried on with the process I started to feel and see that I was in really good shape and that I could be competitive.

“My only problem was that I had never done it before and all these other guys had, I had to do these certain poses on stage that these coaches were looking for to emphasise your good bits, but I had never done any of that before and had no clue about it.

“I had to go and see a posing coach, who obviously seemed to pick the right poses for me and it worked and I won that competition.”

If pulling strange poses came as a shock to Turner, he was in no way prepared for the fake tan sessions the day before the competition.

“The whole process is absolutely crazy, you stand in this room, and you actually stand there with a sock on your knob, in a room full of blokes, all standing there naked apart from their sock.

“A bunch of girls come round and spray you everywhere, I didn’t know what was happening, and it took me by surprise, it is a little bit surreal.”

Andy Turner Instagram 4TAKEN BY SURPRISE: We’re glad he’s wearing more than just a sock here

Although Turner only planned to compete once when he embarked on his bodybuilding journey, the winning buzz has encouraged him to continue.

But he knows that his bodybuilding achievements will never come close to the heights he reached in athletics.

He said: “When I first started, I only ever planned to do it once but winning it spurred me on to keep going, I just like having a focus and having a goal really, it is never going to compete with my passion which is athletics.

“This is just a hobby now really, athletics was my job and what I enjoyed doing and what I did through my whole career, this is just something on the side and I am enjoying it as I am doing it but it will never match up.

“It is quite funny really because you will see all these big guys waiting to go on stage behind the scenes and they are really really nervous and to me it is nothing.

“I stepped out in front of 8,000 people at the London Olympics, compared to competing on the world stage this is nothing to me really, it doesn’t give me the same buzz, I just enjoy it because it is a new challenge.”

A lot of professional sportsmen will be able to relate to the emptiness that Turner felt once he retired, although he was lucky that he quit on his own terms after failing to defend his commonwealth title at Glasgow 2014.

He said: “I think a lot of athletes will have some kind of void once they retire and I imagine it is very frustrating for a lot of them. I think it depends on how you retire.

“I left on my own terms, I had had enough and didn’t want to compete anymore, I had done everything I could ever imagine in athletics and I wasn’t going to get any better, so I chose to stop.

“I could have continued and been hammered by everybody, but I didn’t want to go out that way. It’s different for everyone, especially if you get injured, I think those guys would have struggled a lot more than me.”

Images courtesy of Andy Turner, with thanks

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