37-year-old mother becomes world's best female bodybuilder after taking up the sport just three years ago to boost her confidence
Took up the sport after the breakdown of her marriage
Has already been voted 'Ms Shape' and 'Miss World'
19:26 GMT, 6 November 2012
A mother-of-two has become the world’s best female bodybuilder after only starting training three years ago.
Lesley Blanchard, 37, from Seaham, County Durham, is a relative newcomer to the sport but has lifted a string of titles and now has been crowned ‘Miss World’ at the International Bodybuilding and Fitness Championship where she flexed her newly honed muscles to beat 40 other contenders at the competition staged in Rome.
Lesley was also awarded first place in the ‘Ms Shape’ challenge out of 11 competitors in the over-35s category.
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Lesley Blanchard only took up body building just over three years ago but has gone from strength to strength since and earned herself the title of best female bodybuilder
Lesley was supported at the competition by fiance Bruce McCall, 46, the owner of the gym in Seaham where she trains.
She took up the sport three and a half years ago to boost her self confidence after her marriage ended.
At a chance meeting with old friend Bruce, he encouraged her to join the gym to take her mind off her problems, and their relationship blossomed into a romance two months later.
After winning the title, Lesley has qualified to enter the Miss Universe bodybuilding championship, which will be held next June.
Lesley has now been crowned Miss World at the International Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships in Rome
Lesley, who is mum to daughters Hope, 16, and Abbeyjo, 13, and will be a stepmother to Bruce’s sons Jake, 13, and Clay, 20 said: 'It was just one big whirlwind. I couldn’t take it all in.
'It was only when I spoke to my daughter on the phone that tears came into my eyes.
'It was just really overwhelming.
'I thought I was going to exceed my luggage allowance on the way back with the trophies.
'I took up body building because I thought that if I looked strong on the outside I’d feel strong inside.'
The wins follow months of training and following a strict diet of salad, fish, turkey, rice and nuts.
The win comes after months of physical training and a very strict health kick
Lesley added: 'My family were just buzzing, and the girls made me a cake and a card for when I got back.
'The competition was total different there to how it was back home.
'Here it can be quite bitchy, over there, people were asking for photos and wanting to know about you and that was really nice and friendly.'
Bruce said: 'I’m so proud of her, especially as she’s only been doing this for three-and-a-half-years. She just walked it.'
who works in the gym alongside Bruce as a personal trainer, also
recently won titles at the Central of Britain and Yorkshire Classics
Miss Figure contests.
added: 'I’m just going to keep on going and enter into others after
putting so much into it, and while I’m in a good condition and feel
Lesley got into the sport by chance as a way to distract herself from her first marriage breakdown
VIDEO: Bodybuilding mum! Watch Lesley win at an international competition in Rome