A big month is about to begin for Britain's top physique competitors.

In a few days our best amateurs will fly to Santa Susanna in Spain for the IFBB European Championships. Some 1,000 athletes from 40 countries will take part in this major five-day event.

The weeks ahead will also see more opportunities for our Elite Pros to win prize money. Forthcoming shows include this weekend's $24,000 Asian Elite Pro, the $80,000 Arnold Classic Africa from May 18-20 and the $34,500 Elite Pro Madrid, which some Brits have already registered to enter, on May 26-27.

But for now all eyes are on the European Championships. The UKBFF has paid the cost of flights and hotels for those who earned their places.

Ricky, who won the first British masters men's physique title and is undefeated domestically, has already enjoyed success internationally, with four bronze medals. Now he's aiming to go higher.


Ricky Beckford

AGE: 44

HEIGHT: 175 cm / 5 ft 9

CONTEST WEIGHT: 73 kg / 161 lbs

BEST CONTEST RESULT: Winning the UKBFF British championship for a third time last year.

AMBITION: To be IFBB European champion.


How do you feel about representing the UK at the European Championships?

It makes me so proud to have the opportunity to represent the UK. It's my dream to win and have our national anthem played on my behalf – it would be the proudest moment of my life.

How many times have you competed internationally?

I have competed internationally seven times and finished third on four occasions.

What is your goal this time?

Men's physique posing should look relaxed and effortless. PHOTO by Christopher Bailey.

Men's physique posing should look relaxed and effortless. PHOTO by Christopher Bailey.

To go higher than third place, but ultimately to enjoy the experience and competing alongside fellow athletes.

How does a typical training week break down?

Day 1: Chest and abs

Day 2: Back and calves

Day 3: Shoulders

Day 4: Arms and abs

Day 5: Legs

Day 6: Extras (anything I feel needs extra work on)

Which body parts do you most and least enjoy training?

It depends on whether it's off-season or competition season but my favourites are abs and shoulders. I love training legs and back off-season but not so much when dieting.

Has your approach to getting lean changed as you've got older?

Yes, most importantly regarding cardio. Low intensity steady state, although more time consuming, seems much more beneficial and makes me less prone to injuries than high intensity interval training.

How much weight do you put on off-season?

I put on at the most 8 kg during off-season but prefer to stay only 6 kg over stage weight.

What do men's physique competitors have to think about besides their physique?

Haha, hair, teeth and board shorts! Men's physique is about promoting a clean, healthy, achievable look so living a healthy lifestyle with as little stress as possible will help to give you that sparkle and stage presence.

What's the most common posing mistake?

Trying too much and creating a hardened look. Just pretend you're walking onto the beach, you see a group of people looking, you stop, strike that relaxed pose and smile!

What food are you looking forward to enjoying after the competition?

As I'll be in Spain, it's definitely a large paella and maybe a sip of sangria.