Rachael Palmer with two of her three gold medals from the ICN world championships in Melbourne. Photo/Warren Buckland

A change of federation paid off big time for Hawke's Bay bodybuilder Rachael Palmer at the weekend's ICN world championships in Melbourne.

"I'm glad I made the switch as last time I wasn't in the right class," Palmer said referring to her eighth placing in the novice figure class in Spain in 2017.

One of five Hawke's Bay competitors in the 18-strong Kiwi team at the Melbourne champs which attracted more than 700 entrants, Palmer, returned home with three gold medals. She won the Open Classic Figure class, the Open Figure class and was first overall in the battle for the Miss World Figure class.

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"I was one of 23 entrants in my class. While I went over there aiming for a top five finish in my heart I wanted the No 1 spot,' Palmer recalled.

"I changed the way I trained and ate compared with what I did before Spain. I had plenty of self belief in what I knew about training and nutrition. I was 100 per cent focused and it was good to be part of a really friendly federation," Palmer explained.

A personal trainer at the Royston Health and Fitness Centre at the Mitre 10 Park in Hastings, Palmer, said she was thrilled to prove a 40-year-old mother of two children aged 11 and 8 could do so well.

"I want to be a positive role model for my children," Palmer said.

A former sprinter, gymnast and badminton player during her days at Havelock North High School, Palmer, took up bodybuilding six years ago when she had a desire to feel better about her body.

"I had been doing weights since I was 14 but I still wanted to feel better and stronger," Palmer recalled.

She will compete at next year's ICN world champs in Las Vegas with the aim of retaining all three titles.

"It was a fantastic feeling up there on top of the podium waving the New Zealand flag about particularly after the All Blacks lost their World Cup semifinal earlier in the night. Even the Aussies congratulated the Kiwis who did well ... it was so friendly."

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By winning the overall title Palmer earned her pro card which entitles her to compete in the pro class next year.

"That's where the big guns compete and it's also where the big prizemoney is."

Her next major show will be the New Zealand ICN championships in Palmerston North in April.

"I'll start my preparation for those champs in January and until then I'll still be working out in the gym," Palmer added.

Hawke's Bay's former world junior waterski racing champion Jaaron Fritz competed in his first world bodybuilding championships and finished third in the 72kg and above men's physique class and fifth in men's physique class C. This was his third bodybuilding show and his first was in 2017.

Fritz, 28, won the under-17 title at the 2007 world waterski racing championships in Rotorua. He was a Taradale premier club rugby player from 2012 to 2015.