Egyptian-born Mahmoud Elmawardy is the Mo Salah of bodybuilding: a formerly little-known athlete who is making it big in 2018.

Mahmoud actually holds the unique distinction of being the only British physique competitor to win the first event staged in two different classes.

He won the first muscular men's physique class in 2016 but his solid, six-packed 200 lbs physique really caught the eye this year when he became the first classic physique champion at the English Grand Prix.

Even more impressively, he won the grand prix while observing Ramadan.

Now Mahmoud has his sights set on representing the UK at the Diamond Cup Luxembourg from June 15 to 17 where victory would catapult him into the ranks of the IFBB Elite Pro division and earn points in the IFBB Elite Ranking for 2018.

Mahmoud Elmawardy

AGE: 29
HEIGHT: 176 cm / 5 ft 9
CONTEST WEIGHT: 90.5 kg / 200 lbs
BEST CONTEST RESULT: Getting first place at the first show in two new categories (muscular men's physique in 2016 and classic physique in 2018)
AMBITION: To be one of the top Elite Pro bodybuilders in the world.

How difficult was it to diet during Ramadan?

To be honest. I didn’t find it too difficult to do the fasting. The challenging part was fitting my training in because of my work pattern and not being able to eat until after 9pm.

IFBB Elite Pro Connie Slyziut awards the top three places in classic physique to (from left) Miz Rahman, Mahmoud Elmawardy and Michal Uliwiak. PHOTO: by Christopher Bailey

IFBB Elite Pro Connie Slyziut awards the top three places in classic physique to (from left) Miz Rahman, Mahmoud Elmawardy and Michal Uliwiak. PHOTO: by Christopher Bailey

When did you eat your meals and what did you have?

I had to fit three meals in between 9pm and 3am, plus my training during this time.

Meal 1 Chicken, brown rice and greens

Meal 2 Fish, brown rice and greens

Meal 3 Chicken, brown rice and greens

I also had watermelon and other fruit after my last meal before I started the next fast

What do you think of new classic physique class?

It is another great opportunity for me and the others who competed in the muscular men's physique class. It has opened up more opportunities and is great for the federation and athletes.

How is your vacuum pose coming along?

It was suggested to me on the day of the English Grand Prix to enter the classic physique class, so I didn’t have much experience of the pose but it is something I will be working on and improving for the future

Which class will you do at the Diamond Cup and what is your goal?

I am looking at entering the muscular men's physique class and possibly classic physique also. My goals are to come first, represent the UK at international competitions and be the best in the world.

What is your training split?

Monday Chest and cardio

Tuesday Legs and cardio

Wednesday Shoulders and abs

Thursday Legs and cardio

Friday Arms and abs

Saturday Legs and cardio

Sunday Rest day

What is your favourite body part to train ?

I enjoy training all parts of my body because they all equally have some pain after.

What do you do for abs?

A combination of leg raises, some twisting, crunches, hanging leg raises, oblique exercises on the floor or with the cable crossover.

What do you do for cardio?

A combination of crosstrainer, treadmill and stepper for 30 minutes after my main training session.

Favourite cheat food

There is never a cheat day without my favourite lamb kofta in naan with a salad. My other favourites are prawn curry with spaghetti and kidney and liver curry with chapatti.