But these tutoring sessions at St. Margaret’s in Aigburth got him up to speed, and with his dad Paul, his mom Avril and his uncle Barry, all former bodybuilders, it didn’t take long for 24-year-old Marcel to be on his way to much bigger things.
When Marcel Vormawah Jonas started going to the school gym at noon, he had no more ambition than to improve the physique of an average teenager.
Marcel Vormawah Jonas from Wavertree continued a family tradition and won the Mr. Britain Bodybuilding title
He has just received the trophy in the beginner’s class, a reward for almost six months of careful, strict diet and exercise, during which he ate seven strictly controlled meals and six liters of bottled water a day and spent up to three hours a day in the gym.
Now, almost a decade later, Marcel is twice the man he once was – and the proud bearer of the NABBA (National Amateur Body Building Association) Mr. Britain title.
It was a sacrifice, but it paid off, and for Marcel, it was his first UK title since his rise from the junior classes.
By the day of the competition he had lost his muscles and his body fat had dropped below 5%.
“It hasn’t been pleasant these last few weeks,” he admits. “I woke up three or four times a night, it was so hard to sleep, and I pretty much locked myself in my room when I wasn’t in the gym. I would just sit there and pass the time between meals.
His career as a serious bodybuilder began at the age of 15 when, inspired by the fitness of his family, he decided to start training regularly.
“I’ve always been quite athletic and keen on sports, but back then I only had an average physique,” he recalls. “I started going to the school gym with a group of friends because that was something you could do over lunch. St. Margaret’s Sports Center wasn’t a big, fancy gym with lots of machines, but there was enough and you could train every part of your body.
“At the time, he suggested attending NABBA for under-18s, and that gave me something to work towards.
“I did it four times a week and went to family gymnastics on the weekends – the training station in Wavertree – and I noticed quite a bit of improvement. But then I remember one day, when I was about 16 years old, I went to our gym and I got dizzy and my uncle sat me down and explained to me that I had to eat right and in the right amounts if I was going to exercise. I followed that advice and over the next year I put about one stone on the board.
Marcel did his first 10 week intensive competition diet when he was 17 years old, then he entered and won the North West and British under 18s classes. He was then invited to Greece where he won the Mr. Universe title.
The following year he finished second in the British finals, so he took a break to improve before returning to compete again and win in the under 21s class.
“But after about a year it was so far that I could imagine going backwards, so I knew I had to get back in because I hated looking like that.
Once he had reengaged himself, Marcel started to work on concentrated weights, cardio and diet from January 1st this year, targeting the trophies of the NABBA North West and the British Novice class.
At 20, he decided to take a year off because, as he admits, he felt that his competition regime meant that he was giving up parties with his friends….