Howard of Effingham teacher crowned Miss Physique in body-building contest 

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Jo Spires, head of business studies at the Howard of Effingham School, recently won her category at a body-building contest

  • Miss Spires poses with her Miss Physique award from the Mr Hampshire contest

Head of department Jo Spires has revealed that outside of school hours she is also pursuing a successful career as a body-builder.

The 45-year-old was crowned Miss Physique in the “muscular” category at the Mr Hampshire contest on May 17, after following a strict training regime at Leatherhead Leisure Centre and a gym in Aldershot.

“I’ve got two passions in life – teaching and weight-training,” said the Bookham resident.

“It wasn’t until Christmas 2013 that I decided to do something with it. I had always said I wanted to do a competition but had not done anything about it. After that I got some advice and I trained hard and just worked up to it. There’s definitely a difference between just training and knowing you have to stand on stage in a bikini.”

Miss Spires has been taking part in weight training for 17 years. In body-building contests, competitors must hold a series of mandatory poses for judges to rate their muscularity.

Following Miss Spires’ win in Aldershot, she has been invited to participate in the International Bodybuilding and Fitness Association UK finals on June 14.

Speaking about her regime, she said: “The weight-training side is not the difficult bit but you have to have a very strict diet. That is the thing that most people can’t stick to.

“In the run-up to a competition it’s very much about calorie-counting and lots of chicken, brown rice and broccoli.

“The good thing about teaching is you always get set breaks throughout the day so I can spread out my food and have six small meals. The school day is actually ideal for that.

“It is a bit like an alter ego for me. When I go into school and I’m in my teaching clothes you wouldn’t be able to tell about the body building at all.”