A MOTHER who took up bodybuilding a year ago is taking part in a national competition.

Claire Rayson, from Stanley, County Durham, has qualified for the toned figure category of the National Amateur Body-Builders’ Association Miss Universe event in Southport in October.

The 35-year-old, who has two children, Kaitlin, ten, and, Brandon, seven, works as a fitness instructor at Stevie’s Gym in Stanley.

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As well as taking classes, she trains 12 hours a week and has to stick to a gruelling low carb, high protein, alcohol free diet.

Ms Rayson, of West Kyo, who is 5ft 3ins and weighs nine stones, said: “The diets are the worst. They are horrendous, pure torture at times, especially having the kids, when I have to feed them knowing I cannot have it.

“I do have to train really hard and have to be totally focused and dedicated. I have not done anything at all socially recently.

“I have not been to meet my friends or anything since before Christmas.”

Ms Rayson won the Miss Tyneside Toned Figure section of the competition before coming second in the North Britain heat and sixth in the national finals.

She added: “I just enjoy doing it and I like the look. I like to be different.

“The children love it. They think it is great.”