Private Andy Fernandes of Kellyville does not need much of a reason to smile – but he has extra reason now.
The gregarious Army reservist from won the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) open men’s bodybuilding title in Darwin recently.
“The show was a blast,” he said.
Judging from the photos that go with the story, he had a ball on stage too.
“That’s just me. I like to be happy up there.”
And he certainly had reason to smile in Darwin. Aside from winning the ADF title, he also finished second in the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) Northern Territory men’s open division.
He said it was a tough competition. He came up against other challenging bodybuilders – and “they were big guys”.
Not that Pte Fernandes is small.
He weighs in at 75kg right now.
But he returned home in February from an eight-and-a-half month posting in East Timor, and while he was in Dili topped the scales at 92.5kg.
He did some gym work in East Timor but his training began in earnest when he arrived home.
He puts much of his weight loss down to walking for two hours each day with his chocolate Labrador Milo in the hills near his home in Kellyville.
Diet helped the weight cause too.
“No alcohol or chocolate for four months now.”
In the lead-up to Darwin, Pte Fernandes entered Australasian Natural Bodybuilding (ANB) competitions in Newcastle, the Central Coast and the INBA Lifestyle Classic in Bankstown, finishing first, second and third respectively.
He ended his season at the ANB National event on October 14, finishing fourth in the men’s novice tall division.
All in all, it was not a bad debut year.
He’s 30 now, so he knows he is making up for lost time.
Pte Fernandes’ twin brother Angelo had some success in the sport 11 years ago.
“He was my inspiration – and how I knew it was genetically possible.”
Fittingly, Angelo was one of Pte Fernandes’ fans in the crowd in Darwin, alongside training mate Jay Horden.