Name: Josh Bridgman
University: Loughborough University
Degree programme and year: Masters: International Business. Just Graduated.
In brief, walk us through journey from SPC to UKBFF National Finals?
From the SPC, I decided to try my luck at a UKBFF Qualifier in Cumbria in June! Fortunately I came second and gained qualification into the British Finals this coming Saturday (3rd October). Between June and October I went travelling around America, but still trained twice a day and added some size! Now its the final week after cutting down my body fat again for the last 8-9 weeks.
Tell us a bit about the UKBFF National Finals – what’s it all about?
UKBFF National finals are an accumulation of the UK’s best physique/bodybuilding and Bikini athletes. The top 2 or 3 who have competed in one of the many qualifiers around the country then qualify for the final.
What was your motivation for entering the UKBFF scene?
It was natural progression, coming to an end at University, the next competition for me to do was UKBFF. It is the most recognised federation in the country so I thought I would try it out!
How did MASS SPC prepare you for the world of professional bodybuilding?
MASS SPC is a fantastic stepping stone for professional bodybuilding. It gives you Vital experience and the classes David puts on have helped me so much with my stage presence and confidence. Moreover, the friends gained in the process are for life and that’s something I will value forever!
What is it about stepping on stage that keeps you coming back for more?
The adrenaline rush, the fans shouting and screaming, the fact that all the people on stage with you have worked months if not years just for 5-10mins on stage. It’s every ounce of effort you have that has been put into this moment all coming true. Relishing in it is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had! It’s a bug!
What was the main thing you took away from your experience at the SPC?
The SPC was the start of my journey. I will never be so thankful for David to pushing me into doing this event! It has really kickstarted my passion for fitness and bodybuilding and now my career.
How has your prep evolved throughout this journey?
Prep has changed so much each time! I now take a more calculated approach which allows me to relax a lot more and not stress about getting lean enough, because when the plan is in motion, nothing will stop you! I’m using lower carbs this time around, as well as lower fats and higher protein has really helped me keep my size and continually lose bodyfat. It’s all a learning curve and I will most likely change things the next time around as that’s the best way to learn!
How would you summarize your approach to training?
Pretty Brutal if I’m honest. I like to warm up very well, get blood into the muscle I’m working, and then go for an all out assault on that muscle. Taking to failure through the positive part of the motion and then failure through the negative part of the motion. Complete failure to force the muscle to grow!
How does your training leading up to a show vary from the off-season?
Leading up to a show volume will go up, training intensity will go up, rest time will go down. Generally aiming to burn more calories and fully fatigue the muscle! Also introduce cardio when I need to. Anywhere from 10-30 mins 2-5 times a week.!
How do you personally determine what constitutes a ‘good workout’?
A good workout to me is when you can’t give anymore, because if you come out the workout and you could of given that extra rep or set, then why not? Someone else is probably doing that so why shouldn’t you?
How has your strength been affected by cutting?
Strength always takes a big hit, but for me it’s no problem as I leave my ego at the door. Bodybuilding is not about moving the most amount of weight possible, it’s about sculpting and perfecting your physique – sometimes it needs a more calculated approach rather than blunt force trauma!
What will you be doing back stage to pump up on Saturday?
Back stage I will have some dumbbells and just go through an all out circuit for upper body, getting blood into my muscles and generally getting my heart rate bit higher. I won’t over do it though; you don’t want to get fatigued before you go on and have to pose – keeping your abs tight while breathing heavy is not fun!!
Do you think that training or nutrition plays the greater role in achieving a stage-ready physique?
Both. People say its 70/30 or 60/40 or honestly for me its 50/50 If you don’t put everything into both then there’s no point in the other. 100% diet and 100% training. If you don’t train well, your diet becomes useless, other than making you a healthier person etc. And vice versa.
Do you subscribe to a certain way of eating?
I do IIFYM, but I remain lactose and dairy free (personal choice) Generally my diet is based around whole grains and lean meats – I don’t have pizza, burgers and other foods which are considered unhealthy (unless it’s a cheat day!). I do this for wealth of life and making my self as healthy internally as externally. So lots of vegetables bit of fruit and a balanced diet.
Does this approach vary in the off-season?
Not really no – I will just increase the amount of food I eat compared to on season. Maybe a few more cheat days and if I want something I will generally have it.
How have you tried to counteract hunger whilst cutting?
Taking my mind off it! Going for a walk or generally remaining busy takes my mind away from food. If you’re bored, or if I’m bored at least, I head straight to the fridge!
Have you had any slip-ups along the way where you have deviated from your diet?
Nope. I have implemented days where I can be more relaxed on my diet; this allows me to focus on keeping to the plan during the days where they are scheduled. Generally my cravings and hunger problems are contained by these relaxed days! Though I’ve been close to caving in!
How have you handled social eating or meals out during your competition journey?
I have my scheduled days where I can go out with friends for food and generally relax more. This keeps my sanity level stable! But throughout the week I do not eat out.
How have your primed your nutrition during peak week?
I have done absolutely nothing! I calculated it perfectly this time around, allowing me to cruise into the final week, not having to change anything as I feel I am lean enough and ready for action!
Have you planned a post-show indulgence?
Cheesecake. I am a fiend for cheesecake. I cannot wait!!
What is your post-show nutritional strategy going to look like?
I’m going to have to reverse diet, and slowly taper off my cardio. Ended up on relatively low calories this time around with quite a lot of cardio. If I just stop and start eating with no cardio… Ill definitely gain a lot of unwanted fat. I’m thinking it will take around 4 weeks for this to end and for me to get into a full bulk, which I intend to stay in for a long time! Time to put on some muscle as I’ve been dieting most of the year.
An inside on what it’s really like to be a bodybuilding competitor
What are some of the sacrifices you have had to make to reach your goals?
I don’t see my friends too much as they go out and eat a lot. I train twice a day most days so I have had to put people on hold for a long time. Generally putting myself before others, it’s a selfish sport at the end of the day. But I am excited for catching up with everyone and getting my relationships back with some people! hahaha
What has been the hardest part of prepping for the finals?
Honestly, this is my 5th prep this year, my body is telling me no more! The diet is really getting to my head, I get mood swings and if I’m hungry, I’m generally Hangry (hungry and angry).
Who has motivated or inspired you through the tough days of contest prep?
My Mum has done so, so much for me this prep. She tells me to keep going everyday, positive motivation from someone like your mum is so valuable when putting your body and mind through contest prep!
Can you share with us some of your top ‘hacks’ for surviving contest prep?
Drink lots of water… Eat wholegrains to stay fuller for longer. But essentially there are no quick-fixes or hacks, ultimately, you either want it or you don’t.
Can you confess to trying out any whacky strategies in pursuit of the dream physique?
Haha! Let me think… I have tried stupid workouts… lots of food… Old school techniques. But nothing works better than hard work and putting the basics into action!
Tell us a bit more about your Youtube channel:
Originally, I started my Youtube channel just to document my movement through the fitness industry. Now, it’s more of a passion. I want to make my channel everyone’s channel. If I post a video on, let’s, say ‘carbohydrates’, then I want anyone who can add to what I’ve said to comment so that when people arrive at my channel, theu will get more than just my personal perspective (I’m so far from knowing everything. Also I just love editing and making videos!
What are some of the stereotypes about bodybuilding you want to shake off?
We are not all meatheads. We are more approachable than your average human. We love what we do so don’t challenge us as to why we do it; it’s the same reason you play golf or football or anything like that. We do not (well, I do not!) eat chicken rice and broccoli everyday haha! It can be fun.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
I want to grow my YouTube channel, along with my physique and hope to compete in the USA eventually and the Olympia if possible. But until then I will just keep grinding!
If you had one piece of advice for a student thinking of competing in bodybuilding, what would it be?
Do it. Just Do it. If you don’t like it then you don’t need to do it again. But I guarantee if you’re interested in bodybuilding, you will love it!
MASS SPC 2015 Champion
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Interview by Emma Pudge
Currently editing a food shopping video for you guys to see! Will be released tomorrow. Hopefully it will give an insight into how I eat and prepare for competitions! #shopping #foodporn #food #gains #cutting #diet #dieting #ukbff #youtube #video #vlog #blog #beef #veg #workout #healthylifestyle #healthy #health #healthychoices
Refeed got me nice and full.. Now to shave off the last bit of fat over the next 2 weeks. Then peak week is here!! #healthy #picoftheday #aesthetic #fitfam #bodybuilding #aesthetics #physique #picoftheday #instafit #abs #fitness #muscle #workout #exercise #getfit #cutting #active #leangains #determination #diet #lifestyle #strong #cardio #training #tflers #fitnessaddict #instagood #fitnessmodel #train #shredz
A photo posted by Josh Bridgman (@joshbridgman) on
Proud to say I was in the biggest fitness magazine in the world @muscle_and_fitness labelled as ‘britains best built student’ onto bigger and better now. @muscle_and_fitness #motivation #fitnessmodel #fitspo #workout #getfit #instahealth #cleaneating #active #healthychoices #determination #diet #bodybuilding #lifestyle #strong #cardio #training #tflers #fit #healthy #fitnessaddict #instagood #tagsforlikes #train #health #eatclean #fitness #gym #exercise #photooftheday #welovegym