The Yorkshire ‘Arnie’ is back

18th May 2011'FORMER MR UK BODYBUILDER STEVE JOHNSON WITH HIS TROPHY. HE WON AT NORTH EAST COMP AT THE WEEKEND AND HAS QUALIFIED FOR THE NATIONALS.'' PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
18th May 2011'FORMER MR UK BODYBUILDER STEVE JOHNSON WITH HIS TROPHY. HE WON AT NORTH EAST COMP AT THE WEEKEND AND HAS QUALIFIED FOR THE NATIONALS.'' PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
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A BODYBUILDER known as the ‘Yorkshire Schwarzenegger’ is vying for a national title tomorrow - 19 years after he retired from competition.

Former Mr UK Steve Johnson, 46, qualified for the muscle-bound event by winning the Northeast final thanks to his dreary diet of boiled cabbage, steamed fish fillet and plenty of workouts.

His victory in the Masters 40 category in Batley earlier this month also earned him a statue in the shape of his body building hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And the gym boss, who co-owns Tops on Cobham Parade, Outwood, needed every ounce of his strength to hoist the 15kg Conan the Barbarian trophy.

Mr Johnson said: “I didn’t want to show them that I was struggling with this trophy as I went off stage.”

He was supported by 100 people from Tops. Some wore T-shirts saying ‘Steve Johnson – the Yorkshire Schwarzenegger,’ which made him laugh.

But his innermost thoughts were with his number one fan – his mum Margaret - who died three years ago. He blew her a kiss before he started his heat.

Mr Johnson said: “She was very supportive, both my parents were. But if I was competing at a show, I could hear her from wherever I was. She didn’t hold back.”

He said his mum had provided true inspiration for his first win since retiring from competitions in 1992. And his dad Barry flew in from Spain to watch his comeback.

He also enjoyed a celebratory curry with his family and “did a little speech for mum”.

But now he’s back on his champion diet and Mr Johnson is pumped up for the National Amateur Bodybuilding Association final in Southport tomorrow. A victory would take him to the world championships in Brazil.

He wished to thank friends, colleagues and family for their support. He added: “So let’s have a crack at the British title and put Outwood back on the map.”