PUB boss Craig Don is pumping iron as well as pints as he aims to be one of the country’s best bodybuilders.
The 32-year-old has qualified for the Mr Britain competition after triumphing in his class at the National Amateur Body-Builders Association (NABBA) North competition on Sunday.
He hopes to go on to compete in Mr Universe, whose previous title winners include Hollywood action hero-turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Craig, who is originally from Whitburn, runs The County in Sunderland Road, South Shields, where he now lives with partner and kitchen manager Robyn Johnson, 25.
The father-of-one has lifted weights for years, but only started taking it seriously two years ago.
He said: “I lifted weights when I was younger, but it was just recreationally.
“I’ve always been interested in the competitive side, and about three years ago I went to watch a show and thought ‘I can do that’.
“I started asking around for help and advice from other competitive bodybuilders and the more I have got into it, the more I have learned.”
Craig started his preparation for the NABBA North show on January 2 – just as work started on a new menu for the pub.
He said: “There was endless amounts of cooking and tasting going on while I was dieting. I had to stick with chicken, egg whites and rice.
“There’s a new pie I can’t wait to get at, and I can’t wait to have a drink with the punters.”
In the run-up to a competition, Craig eats seven or eight high-protein, low-carb meals a day, and works out two or three times a day.
He said: “From first thing in the morning until last thing at night it is bodybuilding, bodybuilding.
“With a full-time job to work around and being a dad as well, I haven’t had a moment to spare since January.”
The Mr Britain competition takes place in Southport on May 25.
Anyone interested in sponsoring Craig can contact him at the pub on 456 1583.