A BODYBUILDER who left the Navy in order to pursue his dream of being a strongman has lifted his way into The UK's Strongest Man finals.

Ben Williams, 28, originally from Darlington but now living in Stockton, finished fourth in a recent England's Strongest Man contest, and will now go into the televised finals which will be shown over Christmas on Channel 5.

The England competition was held at Northern Strength and Performance in Hartlepool by Mark Lawson of North East Strongman Promotions, the competition was part of the UK's Strongest Man Qualifying stages under the Franchise "Ultimate Strongman".

Mr Williams achieved fourth Place which qualified him for the UK's Strongest Man held in Belfast on October 1, 2 and 3.

Mr Williams said: "This is my fourth year of competing but the first time I have made it so far through the stages.

"The competition is split into different categories, with lifting or moving various weights or objects.

"It's all about going against the other competitors because they are all as strong - it's just who can do the best on the day. It can take around three days to recover after a competition because it takes so much out of you, and I need to consume seven to eight thousand calories a day when I'm competing.

"I train for two to three hours a day, five days a week, so it is a lot of work. One of the reasons I left the Navy was because I was starting to get good at bodybuilding but I didn't have the time to put the work in.

"Now, I work at the Hitachi factory in Newton Aycliffe, which is a busy job, but the gym is almost like therapy.

"I go to Dale Mcpherson's 3D Strength Gym in Darlington, which is fantastic. Everyone is very supportive and we help each other.

"I'm excited about the UK's Strongest Man competition in October, it will be nerve-wracking because I'll be in a group with some of my idols, including Terry Hollands, who has been competing for 20 years and is a ten-time winner - but I have to believe I can beat him on the day."

Mr Williams will be documenting some of his training and behind the scenes footage during the competition on @ben_strongman on Instagram.