BALLYMONEY bodybuilder Stephen Graham sets off for the British Championships this weekend confident of adding the title to the European crown he lifted earlier this year.

Graham (pictured right at Complete Gyms) will rub shoulders with the cream of the sport from across the UK at the glittering event in Nottingham's Royal Concert Theatre.

And the 40-year-old will be going all out to come top of the pile in the UKBFF showpiece having taken third place last year.

"I'd like to think I can go there with the intention of winning this time around," he told Times Sport.

"I feel I'm much better prepared all-round this time than I have been in the past but you never can tell how you are going to do until you're up on that stage."

Stephen's preparations for the event have been meticulous.

A fortnight ago when we spoke to him he was weighing in at 81.2kg - 1.2kg above the 80kg limit for his category.

On Monday he was down to 77kg prior to loading up on carbohydrates in the coming days as counts down to the two day event.

Ideally he aims to be standing on the scales 0.1kg to 0.3kg under the 80kg limit to ensure he is in optimum condition.

The gruelling dietary requirements required are part and parcel of the sport at that level and Stephen says watching what he eats has become part of everyday life.

"I don't mind the diet," he said.

"To be honest I really enjoy most of the good food I have to eat so it's not a problem.

"You can also have the odd cheat day here and there which helps too if you're sensible."

With the British Championships coming just fourth months after his phenomenal showing at the Europeans, Stephen continued with the diet he had been on beforehand.

"Seven weeks of the time between the two I was dieting six days and taking one day off but then I took that out so the diet has been spot-on since.

"The hard work will be well worth it if I could win the title.

"To be European and British champion would be a dream come true for me."

Should he complete the magical double he will then be on for an incredible hat-trick when he heads to the Worlds in Turkey in December.

The omens are good for a clean sweep - Stephen is due to travel to the competition on Friday 10 December - his 41st birthday.

Stephen wished to thank all those who have supported him to date including his sponsors Complete Gyms.

"I've been working with them as last while and they are excellent," he said.

"I've never had a sponsor like them before.

"They put me in touch with a nutrition specialist in America who works with NFL and baseball stars and he has everything down to a fine art.

"They have been a great support."