Commitment the key for our new Mr Northern Ireland

Michal Ihnat

Michal Ihnat with his winners trophy.

THIS YEAR Fermanagh is not only home to three finalists of the Miss Northern Ireland competition, but can also lay claim to Mr Northern Ireland.

Michal Ihnat, originally from Slovakia, but living in Enniskillen since 2005 and married to Brookeborough woman Mechelle, won the Mr Northern Ireland title at the NABBANI (National Amateur body-builders association Northern Ireland) championships at the weekend. Unlike the natural beauty of our young ladies though, Michal’s success is built upon a strict diet regime,hard work and dedication.


“You have to love it,” he explained, “bodybuilding is not just a sport, it is a lifestyle 24/7, because there has to be meal after meal, day after day. It’s a sport where you sort of cut yourself away from a social life, it’s dedication and those 16 weeks before competition are very strict.

“The last week is very difficult; you have the drop the salt from your body completely four days before competition and then 24 hours before the competition you completely stop drinking water. “Three days before the competition the water you drink has to be completely purified and the carbohydrates and the protein you consume can’t have any salt.
“At times it is difficult, especially around times like Easter, Mother’s day or Valentine’s day as you can’t go anywhere. You can’t go out to  a restaurant, you can’t have a drink. We were invited to a wedding, but we didn’t go because you go there to enjoy yourself, to eat and drink and I couldn’t do that.”

Michal Ihnat bodybuilder

Michal in competition mode

Michal takes seven meals a day, all weighed and measured to contain the optimum healthy amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats appropriate to his weight. Additionally vitamins and minerals must be taken to ensure his body is in perfect shape. He rarely has a free moment as not only does Michal have three young children under the age of five and a full-time job as a postman, but he also teaches fitness classes at Castle Island in addition to putting himself through gruelling workouts every day.

“When people say they don’t have the time that’s not true. A day has 24 hours and if you work eight or nine hours there is still plenty of time for gym, for pleasure and for rest.”

“It all comes down to commitment. If you commit to something and if you decide ‘I can do it’ you can do it. If you start work at six o’clock you can wake up at five and go on the bicycle or walk to burn those calories, it’s just up to the individual.”

In only his second competition Michal won the Mr Northern Ireland Mr Class One title and now is preparing for the Mr World competition in the Waterfront Hotel on June 7. As for the future he has no plans on slowing down.


“I’m going to keep going, there are a lot of improvements to be made. I’m just a beginner and next year my aim will be to win Mr Britain and then go for Mr Universe.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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