HIDDEN away in a shed at his Holbeach Hurn home several nights of the week is John Lewis, practising his hobby.
This stocky, dedicated chap is a champion powerlifter who became a British gold medal holder in May.
He bench pressed 115kg (a little over 18st) to take top spot in the Masters 1 category. Pretty impressive for a man who stands at just 5ft 3in and weighs 74kg (11st 9lbs).
And it was more than he managed to lift last year when 110kg earned him the silver medal.
Now Lewis (48) is preparing for the defence of his All England title in September – and the great news is that he feels as good now as ever.
He said: “My training is a routine but I just enjoy it. In 31 years, I’ve never had a year off.
“I always wanted to win a British title, but I never thought I would.”
Lewis, who works as an operative for P&R Plant Hire, is so focused on his training, recently being joined by his son Phillip (20).
It’s often said that having training equipment at home rather than going to a gym can be counter-productive because it can be too easy to be sidetracked. Yet Lewis has never struggled with that and doesn’t even pay too much attention to a diet.
He’s only fairly recently returned to the competition stage after quite a few years off and is the North Midlands divisional title holder.
In his early 30s when he weighed 67.5kg (about 10st 8lbs), Lewis used to practise all three disciplines – squat (lifting around 200kg), bench press (130kg) and deadlift (222.5kg in competition but a huge 250kg (39st 5lbs) in training). Now he just concentrates on the bench press.
And the powerhouse who started out at Holbeach Weight Training Club says he is still picking up improvements and advice at powerlifting meets.
“I’ve learned a lot over the 31 years,” he said. “But you never learn it all.”
So next up is that All England battle in a couple of months’ time – supported as ever by his wife Helene, Phillip and other two children John (22) and Zara (18).
Beyond that the aim is to qualify for the British team competing at the Commonwealth powerlifting event in New Zealand next year.