A CHAMPION bodybuilder from Helensburgh was so worried at the training implications of gyms closing during the coronavirus lockdown that he built his own.

Michael Rybarczyk has trained for over 12 years and credits regular gym sessions and his healthy lifestyle for improving his mental health so was concerned when the government closed all gyms and leisure centres.

The 32-year-old was so concerned that his years of training might go to waste, with gyms forced to close to control the spread of coronavirus, that he opted to rent a run-down lock-up garage and turn it into his own training facility, buying second-hand gym equipment and building the facility himself.

Due to social distancing measures, he has not been able to share the gym with anyone other than his girlfriend, Chanel, but has been able to allow his brother-in-law, professional boxer Martin Harkin, to train in it.

READ MORE: Gyms 'handcuffed by lockdown rules', says Helensburgh instructor

Helensburgh Advertiser:

He said: “When lockdown was first announced, I didn’t think it would last too long.

“At first, I built a wee wooden shelter in my garden to train in. I soon realised I wouldn’t be back in the gym for a long time, so I rented the garage and started locating mirrors and flooring that people were getting rid of.

“Whenever someone advertised gym equipment or weights I would buy them, but I had to dismantle them and reassemble them all myself.

“It was hard work and pretty expensive because gym equipment prices shot through the roof, but using second hand stuff meant I was able to kit the whole garage out.”

READ MORE: When could LiveArgyll's facilities in Helensburgh reopen to the public?

Michael has competed in several bodybuilding competitions and won numerous prizes – but says he believes the mental health benefits far outweigh his trophy collection.

He said: “The lockdown hasn’t been easy on anyone and I feel like the best way to deal with it is to keep busy.

“Creating the gym was the perfect task and something I don’t think I will ever give up.

“Having trained for 12 years, I know the mental and physical benefits it has on me and there was no way I was allowing the pandemic to take that away from me.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

READ MORE: Helensburgh man gets round lockdown pub closures – by building his own bar in his spare room

“A lot of people have been messaging me to say how lucky I am to have somewhere to train, but if I can do it then anyone can.

“People have started following me on Instagram and can’t believe its just a garage.

"But it's the same as anything in life – if you want it bad enough you will make it happen. You just need to be passionate about it, put hard work in and dedicate yourself.”

READ MORE: Check out all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines by clicking here