Rob has already networked with the top in the industry, working with Clark Bartram, who has graced over 130 fitness cover magazine (www.clarkbartram.com) and has met and posed with the great Frank Zane (Mr Olympia '77, '78, '79) who is best considered the most aesthetic bodybuilder of all time। "Frank was always an inspiration to me. He won the greatest body building competition show on Earth (Mr. Olympia) at less than 200lbs. (Most of the Mr. Olympia's tend to be over 230+ lbs. He won it not of sheer muscle mass and feakiness of size, but on a well balanced, aesthetically beautiful body. He showed me that weight training didn't have to be intended for mass alone." Rob made a big impact in 2006 on the natural bodybuilding scene, winning many UK competitions, including the BNBF Central, NPA Heart of England, and Musclemania Fitness Britain. 2007 was a quiet year in terms of competing, but Rob certainly wasn't slacking. "I entered a lot of shows in 2006. 10 in total, although not all were bodybuiding, but it took a lot out of me. I wanted to rest from competing for a year, and focus on training hard and building up an even better body for 2008." Rob recently entered the Fittest Couple contest at the Ironman Expo in LA (Sunday 17th Feb), with his training partner friend, Alicia Naesmith, who is also a WNSO Pro, and to no surprise (certainly to all the LA Muscle team), was once again the best on stage. "I had heard about the contest only a week before, and as I felt I was in good condition, wanted to see how I'd compare with other 'fitness models' on stage. I told my friend Alicia who had also moved to LA from Canada to follow her dreams in the World of Fitness, and she jumped at the chance to compete too" (We wonder why she wanted to compete? To be on stage with our Golden Boy, Rob Riches, or to win another title :-) -LA Muscle). "We had a week to prepare a routine and if that wasn't enough, we still had to qualify for the competition. Couples who wished to compete had to show up the day before the competition at the expo, and have a photo taken, from which the judges would select the top 10 couples to compete the following day. I was at dinner that night when I got the call to say we were through to the finals. Although I thought we had a very good chance of qualifying, it was still a relief to get the call!"
"Show day was no different than when I had competed in bodybuilding shows। The nerves mixed with excitement were all very present, in fact, the past week hadn't been to different from what I would do during the run up to a competition। Once you know something works, there's no reason to change it, and I've used the same techniques to get me ready for photo shoots as well. There were 10 couple back stage getting ready, one of which were Andy Ashton and his girlfriend, Mirella. Andy is a good friend of mine, and I felt privileged to be competing on the same stage as him, especially as though he has won some pretty big model competitions. But I knew Alicia and I worked hard for this, even before we knew of the competition, and we had everything that we felt the judges would be looking for." "The competition involved 2 main stages, not to dissimilar than a body building show minus the compulsories, and consisted of relaxed quarter turns together, a posing round together. There were over a thousand spectators, as we were in the main hall on the main stage. It was the biggest crowd I had ever competed in front of, but this just pumped me up even more. It felt so good to be back on stage competing. Especially in front of such a large crowd."
"Alicia and I had put together a flirty little routine, that consisted of model-like poses. The crowd seemed to really enjoy it. After all, it was fun and flirty, and entertaining. Something that both of out competitive backgrounds certainly helped with. We made it look effortless!"