The Camden personal trainer who built Mr Universe

A Camden personal trainer is quickly making a name for himself after building up one of his clients to become Mr Universe.

Dan Parker, who lives on Parkway, started training Tyrone Ogedegbe two years ago at Fitness First in Tottenham Court Road, and noticed that his enthusiastic friend had “amazing genetics” that were perfect for bodybuilding.

By April 2011, Ogedegbe was competing in his first regional show.

A year and-a-half later, he was picking up his title as Mr Universe at Miami’s Musclemania competition.

As Parker, 34, explains, there are several competitions which boast bigger bodies, but Musclemania is the biggest event that carries out drug tests.

The success of Ogedegbe, who is now being sponsored to make a career out of bodybuilding, was down to hard work and a strict diet.

“He was just a typical guy who came in here wanting to look better,” Parker says.

“But I thought he had potential, so told him he should try working towards something that he’d get rewarded for.”

So how did Parker and Ogedegbe take on the world?

Parker says his philosophy is to keep training as natural and healthy as possible for all his clients.

However, he admits that with Ogedegbe, they did have to push this ethos to its limit.

“To look un-normal, you’ve got to do un-normal things. If you imagine muscles are like balloons, carbohydrates are the air. We starved him a week before the competition so that means when he did eat, his muscles would take in what they needed and then even more.

“Then two days before he competed, Ty ate two kilos of rice and potatoes in a day.

“We would also do things like dehydrate him for 36 hours, then make him drink 10 litres of water a week before.”

If these methods sound daunting, at least Ogedegbe knows he is in good hands.

Parker has been a personal trainer for 15 years and worked at Fitness First since he was 16 years old.

‘Battle’

As well as the new Mr Universe, Parker has trained a Miss Fitness world champion and helps competitors in athletic and bikini competitions.

The trainer and bodybuilder are still working together to reach new heights, and Ogedegbe is currently training to defend his title later this year.

“It’s been a growing passion in my life for some time and it got to a stage where I realised I could be rewarded for it,” Ogedegbe says.

“Dan has kept me in check, monitoring my body fat and giving me advice. It’s a constant battle and he’s helped me take it to the next level.”

While years of work are put into building a perfectly symmetrical and toned physique, the final itself is out of the competitor’s hands as it’s all down to the judges.

Did Ogedegbe, as a relative newcomer to the sport, really believe he could win the biggest prize of them all?

“As a matter of fact, yes,” he says, with the assuredness of a boxer.

“To do anything like this for so long, you have to have total belief in yourself and that’s what we had.

“If that wasn’t there, we wouldn’t be talking today.”

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