Mooloolaba-based Swedish international student Christian Francis has showcased the results of his hard work and dedication to his studies on a global stage, competing in the iCompete Natural (ICN) 2018 World Championships at the Gold Coast on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October.
Despite not placing, the 22-year-old Diploma of Sport Development student did his cohort proud at the competition, attending as a state representative after taking out the Best Posing Award and first place for the Mr Physique division both in his weight class and the open weight class at the ICN 2018 Queensland State Championships.
The state titles, which were held in Brisbane on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October, were the first event he had entered and while the preparation was difficult, Christian said he was stoked with the outcome.
"I’m pretty happy with my efforts," Christian said.
"The last couple of weeks in particular have been pretty hard, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.
"You really need to be passionate about it (fitness) to be able to succeed, but I’ve loved every second of it. Of course there’s been ups and downs, but I’m going to continue doing it, even after the competition is over."
Christian is one of the first students to undertake the new Physique stream offered at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus as part of the Diploma of Sport Development. While he has been training since he was 14, it wasn’t until he started the course in January this year that he began to really work towards his dream.
"I always had in the back of my head that I wanted to compete but I didn’t have the right support or the confidence back then," he said.
"When I was growing up I was very skinny, and I as I got older I was really insecure with my body and how I looked. I started training innocently enough, just to try and improve my confidence.
"I had a completely different goal back then, but as I saw changes coming I fell in love with it and it really became a passion. Those external factors that had initially made me want to train no longer effect me and now it’s more for my internal benefit — I really want to be the best I can be."
Having achieved his goal of successfully competing, Christian hopes he can help inspire others to be the best they can be, just as the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger inspired him.
"I not only want to achieve things for myself, but help motivate other people and really reach out to people who truly want to make a change in their lives," he said.
"It (a career in fitness) is about more than just training people — you've got to be a mentor and an inspiration."
TAFE Queensland's Mooloolaba fitness teacher Paul Barr was also recognised at the state championships, receiving the Trainer Award in the Mr Physique division for his work coaching Mr Francis through his bodybuilding journey.
Flattered by the recognition, Mr Barr said it was a team effort, thanking local personal trainer and ICN pro competitor Jay Acharya for his help as posing coach and praising Christian for his dedication.
"We all really wanted to see Christian succeed, but at the end of the day it was his hard work and determination that got him there," Paul said.
Find out more about studying at TAFE Queensland as an international student.