Belfast Telegraph

Darren Clarke shrinks to fit

New slimline Clarke lays waist his old ways in favour or leaner, meaner physique

By Maureen Coleman

He's been known to mix cigars and cigarettes in the past and enjoy the odd pint of Guinness. But it seems Northern Ireland golf champ Darren Clarke has turned his back on his former bad habits and taken up a high intensity new health and fitness regime, combining weight training and dietary changes.

The 45-year-old, who married model boss and ex-beauty queen Alison Campbell in 2012, became the talk of Twitter after a photograph of his pumped-up new physique was unveiled on the social networking site.

Dressed in a tight grey vest and black shorts, the Dungannon man revealed a ripped, muscular body, prompting one bookmakers to post: "What a beefcake. Go on the Dazzler."

His lean, low-fat physique is a far cry from the Clarke of old, who once sported a much fuller figure, and fitness commentators have speculated that his beautiful, health-conscious wife may have been the incentive.

The 2011 Open Champion has lost over three stone since last September, after a chance meeting with trainer Jamie Myerscough, who runs the Educogym in Dublin.

The picture of 'Robocop' Clarke first appeared on Twitter when friend and fellow Portrush resident Alan Simpson posted it online as a teaser, stating: "In great shape, but who is it?"

While some fans got it wrong, one said: "That's a very toned Darren Clarke", while television presenter Eamonn Holmes joked: "Where did you get that picture of me, Mr Simpson."

Earlier this week Clarke himself tweeted: "Chest and back session done with @MyerscoughJamie this morning...he's tough. #educogym."

In an online interview with a golf website several months ago, Clarke revealed he had shed much of his wardrobe as the weight continued to drop off.

He said: "It all started when I hosted a golf day for the Duke of Abercorn at Rockmount Golf Club outside of Belfast and it was a fundraiser for the Royal Irish Rangers and the Royal Irish Guards. One of the Duke's guests was a guy called Jamie Myerscough, who owns the Educogym in Dublin.

"I got speaking to Jamie on the way around the course and he said: 'Right, I'll help you'.

"So I started with Jamie, and it's a pretty short programme, but using very heavy weights, and obviously, my food has changed, supplements, all that carry on which I haven't really done before.

"Now some five to six mornings a week at 7am I get onto FaceTime and talk with Jamie based in Dublin from my gym at home.

"In short time, I'm already twice as strong because most people who lose weight, they lose strength as well. So I've gone the other way. I've lost weight and gone twice as strong."

Belfast personal trainer Neil McTeggart, who is part of the IRONFIT crew behind a new performance play park coming soon to Titanic Quarter, said he would not be surprised if the golfer's new look had been spurred on by his glamorous wife.

He said: "Darren, like anyone who has achieved success with weight loss and strength gain, has probably stuck with the basics.

"The easiest way to drop bodyfat quickly is by improving the diet with more protein, veg and good fats while timing carbs for best effect. Combine this with solid strength training and it's difficult to fail.

"Golfers need to add strength and power without compromising mobility, which in turn can affect club path and range of movement.

"Alison's influence could have played a big part. When my wife is good I'm good, and vice versa."

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