Mr Universe 2014 Maurice Felstead was born and bred in Hemsworth, Pontefract, a proud Yorkshire man. Named after his father who served in the RAF regiment, a proud man who would never scoff at the physical prowess of the few bodybuilders in the media at the time.Recognizing the endurance of one sport in another as he was a cyclist in his spare time. Mozz as we all know him would begin his journey into fitness by following in his fathers footsteps. He would spend many an hour as a cyclist himself and his well known calf development area is testament to this. His time spent at school and his early years in all things physical was a time best described as a period of athletic achievement where he would set records in athletics that still stand today. Castleford and Wakefield Trinity rugby league scouts were interested in the young natural athlete and trials were offered, although he turned this opportunity down to seek a career in mechanical and electrical engineering, embarking on a career lasting 22 years with British Rail, something that would stand in him good stead for the rest of his working life. The promising young athlete spent most of his free time playing football, where he had trails for Doncaster Rover. He also participated in cycling, competing in triathlons and marathons.Brought up in an area that could be described as less than affluent, Hemsworth a small town in West Yorkshire, endured the mining strikes of the era. Family life was indeed tested financially and at times like these family units either break or form stronger bonds. The Felsteads became strong and with Mozz’s mother working several jobs to keep the family afloat, a good work ethic was instilled in the man who would one day stand proud as Mr Universe! The MOZZSTER was born.
From little acorns mighty oaks do grow.
When Mozz was first bitten by the muscle bug he began training with his oldest friend, “Belly”. The changes these young men made to their physiques was at first very small, but driven by a passion ignited watching Pumping Iron and Dolph Lungren training DVDs, Mozz and his brothers in iron continued on their quest to grow. Like many young men he made several mistakes in his attempts to get BIG in the shortest time possible. ” I remember training twice a day because i thought that that was what you had to do to be big, ” Mozz recalls.It wasn’t long before a local bodybuilding competitor Glen Senior and Tony Miller took Mozz under their wing and suggested he moved from the garage to the gym . The gym in question was Joe Ropers Gym, a small cramped hardcore area situated above a shop in a village close to Mozz’s home. This hardcore gym was responsible for producing some good bodybuilders such as Glen Senior and Andy Appleton. Mozz now embarked on little journeys traveling to various gyms and meeting the likes of Andrew “stumpy” Raynes, the strongest man he had ever seen in a gym. With a new found knowledge base surrounded by competitive athletes Mozz’s usual past times, football/rugby had to be pushed to one side to concentrate on his new found love of all things heavy!
” you cant let anyone down with bodybuilding, train on your own and let no one down. It is all you”.
And heavy really was the name of the game back then with all compound lifts being the bread and butter of Mozz’s early lifting.
This is where i first heard the stories of the Mozzster. Rumors began to circulate, the man was benching 200kg for easy high reps and squatting 300kg. Mozz will state that these lifts were pale in comparison to some of the achievements of the real strong guys in the gym at the time such as Andrew ” stumpy” Raynes . Despite Mozz’s modesty i have personally witnessed some incredible feats of strength very recently in the gym proving the Mozzster still holds some real power in his physique even at very low body-fat levels pre comp. Mozz has always been a big believer in the big compound movements for size and strength, but moving iron around at this level may cause some injuries and after years of training, the passage of time can be cruel on what was once considered minor niggles in joints. Due to back problems etc barbell squats, deadlifts are now incredibly difficult to include in his training protocol . A smarter method of training he been employed with the help of the legendary Gary Lister and Mozz’s wing man Shane Copley. Recent routine methods were adapted to enable him to achieve the mass he has always been known for with a condition that was to prove to take the Universe title. Competition career began at the tender age of 21 yrs old.
Central Britain 1st place, North East 1st place, competing in the same show as the legend that is Gary Lister and Andrew ” stumpy” Raynes was what Mozz recalls as the real epiphany moment, where he first forged a friendship with Gary Lister that would stand the test of time to this day. A friendship that helped transform everything bodybuilding as Gary took Mozz under his wing.
NABBA UK 1st place, Fast forward to 1998 Mozz met his future wife Andrea who he states was one of the best things that has ever happened to him and they are still very much in love to this day. The couple have a beautiful daughter Paige and the years between competing were spent ensuring family life was priority amongst everything else. Andrea herself has quite an impressive bodybuilding career behind her with Miss Yorkshire, Miss North East and competed at a very high standard in several other shows including NABBA Brits where she placed 2nd.
2005 North East qualified for the NABBA Brits where he didn’t place in his class. This was a wake up call for the Mozzster where he realized just how far bodybuilding evolution had come. Mozz decided to take a back seat and concentrate on Andreas career that progressed until 2008.
2011 Whilst on holiday in Las Vegas, Mozz chose to throw himself back into the arena once more. Times had changed, bodybuilding had moved on and the standard of NABBA competitors were exceptional. At 18 stone 3, as far out from competition standard as Mozz had ever been ,something needed to be done.
2012, Mozz was asked by his good friend Jason Matthews, who runs one of best independent shows in the UK- the Open Yorkshire Classic where Mozz took the 90 kg and overall. This was followed by the NABBA England where up against Carl Ruston, the bodybuilder whom Mozz feared the most, Mozz placed first with a physique that was now changing dramatically from the man that stood on stage all those years ago when he first began his journey. Now suffering from ulcerated colitis, a debilitating illness that along with other various other problems, prevents vital nutrients from being digested by the body. Quite contrary to what was expected of the various health professionals around and those in the team Mozzster camp, Mozz’s appearance onstage was of a far harder, fuller condition. This would be achieved not from any new medication or miracle, but sheer hard work and consistency.
In 2012 the Mozzster qualified for the NABBA Universe a place that he would often attend as a spectator never missing one show in 15 yrs. He never ever thought that he would stand on stage as a competitor and this was to prove to be the highlight of his career. The class itself on the day had a massive line up of 28 incredible physiques. This was surely the most memorable event in Mozz’s bodybuilding career. To top it off he came a respectable 3rd missing out on 2nd place by one point to his old foe Steve Johnson. It has to be noted that Steve was partially responsible for Mozz’s comeback after seeing him in 2011 making his comeback. The hi-light of that day has to be standing in the top 3 with his mentor and most importantly good friend Gary Lister. He followed the Universe with a win at the UK qualifying for the Britain.
2013 Mozz smashed the Britain thus qualifying him for the Universe stage again. This time taking 4th to winner Paul Sutton, another good friend and bodybuilding warrior. I feel I need to mention here something Mozz himself rarely speaks of. This was the year that he lost the use of his right arm, due to spinal nerve damage that at first was treated as a suspected stroke. He was also suffering a decline in health as colitis took hold of every waking hour. After the Universe came a total rebuild of everything that had been achieved up to press. A new protocol was formed and “every machine has several cogs and i am an integral part ,but so is everyone else my wife my daughter my mother my friends, Gary Lister who helped me work through my injury its team work all way through. “( Maurice Felstead) 2014 Alea iacta est ( the die is cast )
This was the last role of the dice. The die truly had been cast . Mozz had been through hell and back, done all he could do and taken his physique beyond what he had ever achieved before and this was exactly what was needed to hold aloft the trophy of a Universe champion. With the injury almost completely out of the way, disaster happened. Mozz was admitted to Hospital with 3 weeks to go to the Universe. His colitis had flared, but luckily treated well with good meds his condition improved enough to compete. There was certainly no turning back! And as they say the rest is history. The Universe title was his. Mozz now owned his own little piece of history in the most famous bodybuilding competition in the world.
The law of marginal gains 1% advantage is still an advantage! 12 months of meticulous consistency, never missing a meal a workout, a rep or a set had finally come to a head when the Mozzster stepped up on stage and fought for the Universe title. A bodybuilding diet is extreme for want of a better word, but 12 months of dieting is something that is almost unheard of in the sport with most athletes choosing to adhere to a standard 3 month cut. To achieve a new level of condition and size , a new level of prep was vital. Mozz only ate 7 different foods chicken, potatoes, rice, oats, eggs oat meal, green beans throughout the twelve month diet !
The 2014 team Mozzster included Andrea (who has a keen eye) Paige (who is Mozz’s number one fan and apple of his eye) Gary Lister one of Mozz’s oldest friends in the sport who provided the much needed physio on the injury, as well giving Mozz his self belief back, Shane Copley (Mozz’s wing man) and John King from muscletricks.com ( a no bull opinion on progress) The team has shrunk over the years as Mozz feels that the industry as a whole, had become over scrutinized with social media coverage etc in 2014. Vini vidi vicci
“The win was achieved by standing on the shoulder of giants, i would like to dedicate the win to Gary Lister” ( Maurice Felstead)
After years of striving for the top- Maurice Felstead modest Yorkshire man finally reached the pinnacle of his bodybuilding, but what’s next? Watch this space. Mozz plans to continue to support the many friends he has made over the years in NABBA and will always be part of the industry in one way shape or form.
Mozz would also like to thank the following, Andrea and Paige, Beryl his mum, Big Rob Suckley, Paul Jeffries, Shane Copley, Gary Lister, Tony Mount, Stevie Flynn, Jase Matthews, Lance and Kelly and many, many others who have all played their part over the years.
Written by John King muscletricks.com