Building bronzed image

PAUL Pantel (pictured) is looking for the darkest fake tan he can find before the next Australian Bodybuilding Natural Physique Championships in October.

The Kellyville bodybuilder was one of the favourites to win the 2011 crown but was marked down by judges for having a weak bronze tan.

Pantel finished the championships in third place and says he's learnt a lot for his next bodybuilding tilt.

"I was told the light-coloured tan suppressed my muscle separation," he said.

"All of the top three were very closely ranked.

"Each judge looks for muscularity, proportion and definition — that's the category where I let myself down."

The 20-year-old has been "working overtime" to be in the right shape for this year's championships by eating the right foods, doing weights at the gym and targeting the weakest areas of his body.

Pantel said weights weren't the only secret for success to be a prized bodybuilder.

"You've got to lead a healthy lifestyle," he said. "It's no use working hard at the gym and getting in shape, if you're going to eat fast food and put bad nutrients into your body."

Being a finalist last year, Pantel qualified automatically for the open men's championship division.

He will make his second challenge for the title on October 14, when the country's bodybuilding elite meet at Club Marconi, Bossley Park.

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