A gym owner has been crowned one of the fittest men in Europe on his way to the finals of an international competition in California.

Scott Jenkins, 45, came first in his age category in the European leg of the CrossFit Games and is the only person from the UK to qualify for the finals so far.

CrossFit is a mix between gymnastics, weight lifting and running designed to test physical strength, agility and cardiovascular ability.

Timed workouts combine different exercises such rowing, pull-up and then squats.

The exercises are released by the CrossFit organisation in the United States and then completed under strict conditions in CrossFit gyms.

Mr Jenkins said some of the toughest workouts were handstand push-ups followed by dead lifts and olympic weight-lifting tasks.

The magazine designer, who owns the Crossfit Blackwater Gym in Crittal Road, Witham, said: “Only one other person from Europe has qualified. Everyone else was from the USA and a couple of Australians got in.

“Overall, I came 9th out of 10,000 in the world in my age category.

“I have been trying to get there for seven years and I’m just pleased I’ve finally done it. I can’t tell you I’m going to win it but my goal is to get on the podium.

“I hate second place so I’m going to put everything I’ve got into it.”

Competition in younger age categories is still ongoing.

The finals will take place in Los Angeles between July 21-23.

The winner of the 45-49 age range will win £15,000. The overall winner gets £250,000.