By his own admission Maths graduate Stuart Macdonald was shy and with little idea of what the future had in store.
Fast forward a few short years and the Stornoway man has evolved into the Hebridean Hulk after ditching the figures for working on his own figure where his bodybuilding career has hit the heady heights of a gold medal at the European WBFF (World Beauty Fitness & Fashion Inc.) Championships.
His journey from a shy, maths graduate took him through university and with a detour to the prestigious Mensa tests where his IQ earned him an invitation to join.
But the universe had another path in mind for the 30-year-old former Point FC stopper who embarked on a journey as a personal trainer.
Then his interest in bodybuilding was piqued by South African fitness model, Jaco De Bruyn.
Reading and watching de Bruyn from afar inspired Macdonald to embark on a bodybuilding career of his own and now with a gold medal hung around his muscular neck – his gamble has proven to be a full house.
Reflecting on his win, he commented: “It feels great. To represent your country as the only one of your kind and then take that trophy back home – there’s no feeling like it. The recognition I’ve had since the show has been crazy too - I am now in a small elite group of champions.”
Stuart and Jaco have now become friends with his idol even inviting him across to South Africa for a safari trip.
Macdonald is now over 1500 days into his fitness journey though it hasn’t always been plain sailing for Stuart, who along the way endured a pretty horrific injury where he burst a vein in his leg that required the whole vein to be removed from groin down to ankle.
Re-focusing, he still remained as determined as ever, at the start of 2018 winning a nationwide competition to become the new face of leading sports nutrition brand USN as he chased a dream of success on the professional stage.
Achieving his professional card at the beginning of this year, he entered this month’s European Championships not knowing what to expect – in fact, he confessed he saw it almost as a ‘last hurrah’ – the result though, he explained was ‘better than he could have ever dreamt’.
Speaking of his preparations, he explained: “They went well and the leaner I got the more positive I became. It was a tough prep, but all I wanted to achieve was stepping on stage, one last time.”
“I can’t believe I’m now European champion. I’m over the moon. The standard was wild, so I couldn’t be happier.”
As he now reflects on a whirlwind experience, it now appears that he’s left wanting more as he looks towards glory on the World stage in 2019.
“The next stage for me is the World Championships. I’ve been given my feedback - now to take on the world.”
“I have my belief back - one minute I was quitting the sport, the next I’m preparing for the World Championships in the Bahamas. I don’t think anyone has ever held European and World titles at the same time, so that’s the goal.”
Stuart Macdonald is an ambassador for leading sports nutrition brand USN who have just launched their brand new USN Trust lifestyle range. To find out more visit www.usn.co.uk.