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An eight-year-old boy who was once dubbed the “world’s strongest boy” looks very different as a 16-year-old lad.
Brandon Blake, from Kildare, Ireland, had the physique of a professional athlete at the age of just eight, earning him the nickname “Arnold Schwarz-nipper” after the iconic actor and strongman Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The teenager has managed to stay in impeccable shape and is now pursuing a career in martial arts.
According to his Instagram, Brandon is a two-time European champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the 2021 Irish mixed martial arts champion, as well as an Irish wrestling champion.
The 16-year-old's account is filled with posts of medals and trophies from his many martial arts wins, alongside pictures of him taking part in intense training regimes.
He became an online phenomenon after fitness star Frank Medrano shared a picture of the then-eight-year-old on Facebook.
Medrano wrote: "Ran into this lil guy's Instagram and put a big smile in my face.
"Feels great to influence such a young generation and I hope he's living a happy and healthy life."
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At the time, Brandon said his favourite sport was gymnastics and he hoped to one day win a gold medal at the Olympics.
He said: "I want to be able to do all the things which Frank can do and I also want to be really strong as well."
Brandon’s father Mark, 32, a former semi-pro footballer, said: "Brandon was just delighted he was noticed by his hero. Not that he needed it, but it's motivated him even more.
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"He's a very active little boy and he doesn't do any weights. He is into gymnastics and that is where his physique comes from.
"He's developed it over the past year – it is crazy looking at him. Brandon is happy and healthy and his core strength is amazing, he is an inspiration.
"I put on a lot of weight and Brandon actually motivated me to lose it. He has been my son and my mentor.
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"But he is just an ordinary little boy who loves playing with his friends. There is a small element of people who are saying it is bad, but it is not – I think it sends a positive message."
His dad insisted that Brandon had a healthy diet consisting of cereal in the morning, fruit throughout the day and meat and two veg in the evening.
He added: "There is nothing excessive about what Brandon does and hopefully he will inspire others. It is completely natural and great that he has taken to it. It is to be celebrated.”
- Body Building
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