Norwich dance instructor in final of body-building competition
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
A dancer who has worked with Michael Jackson has reached the finals of a national body-building competition.
Vicci Lee, 35, said she had wanted to achieve a muscle-bound physique since watching TV show Gladiators in the 1990s, but lacked the knowledge.
The dance instructor who works at 24/7 gym in Riverside, Norwich, has always exercised but when she reached her 30s she decided it was now or never for bodybuilding.
She started to put in more hours at the gym and stepped up her training after meeting Josie Keck, who won the UK's strongest woman competition in 2010, and is partner of Mr Universe winner Barny Du Plessis, who has a stall on Norwich Market.
Ms Keck gave Ms Lee training advice, and helped take her body-building to the next level.
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Ms Lee recently took second place in a regional competition hosted by the National Amateur Body-Builders' Association, qualifying for the prestigious national finals in Southport on May 28.
'I'm proud of what I've achieved so far,' said Ms Lee, who lives near Dereham. 'If I get top six it would be the perfect way to finish off the body-building year, as it's such a massive competition.'
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She has had a long career as a dancer, performing as a backing dancer for Michael Jackson and Chris Brown, and at clubs in Ibiza and in Norwich. While she is continuing this work, she has spent three-and-a-half years training as a bodybuilder, and wants women to know that with hard work it is possible to compete at the top level.
She puts in around 24 hours of gym work per week.
'I love it,' she said. 'I love heavy weightlifting, I love the changes in your body along the way and I love the sense of achievement.
'You have to be the person who wants something so badly, as it can be hard and boring.'
She said of her friends: 'I'm sure they miss me on nights out, but the nights out will always be there and this chance might not be.'
In the competition a judging panel will decide who has the most sculpted physique and she will compete in the Miss Athletic Figure category.
After the competion she is planning a holiday before re-grouping for more competitions next year.