Loughborough president Laurence Holt shares words of encouragement for all 2017 MASS Championship hopefuls as we talk about what it was like to win the title.
Name: Laurence Holt
Course: International Business
Year of Study: second
Congratulations! How does it feel to be crowned the MASS Championship University Champions?
Unremarkable! How did we come from a team of just 12 members in 2008 to Mass University champions? I guess we have our competitors to thank.
After eyeing up our main rivals ( Cardiff ) we honestly thought all hope was lost, however over the series of the MASS Championship our members brought the fire and helped secure the title.
Amazing achievement by all the students who competed and we look forward to showing off the trophy.
Which competitions did the team compete in, and how did they get on in each of them?
Across the year MASS brought a series of events, ranging from Physique to powerlifting. Fortunately for Loughborough, our members competed in 4 out of 5 sports covering a diverse range of results. Both the Powerlifting and Weightlifting proved to be most successful with coupling PB’s and total Wilks/Sinclair scores.
Which is your favourite competition and why?
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Powerlifting as it was filled with new competitors and put a refreshing twist on competing in MASS championships.
Was it hard to get members interested in competing?
Luckily for us, Loughborough already attracts athletes looking to excel in a variety of sports. Therefore with a little advertising and word of mouth, word quickly spread.
Give us the low-down on what it’s like to run a society?
Brilliant! I have had the pleasure of meeting and inspiring new members to the fitness world and attend some pretty cool lectures. With the backing of an enthusiastic committee a simple idea can turn into a extraordinary event.
Although it’s been a roller-coaster of ups and downs, I will be sad to be stepping down.
Does the work-load vary between term-time and holidays?
Running a society is simply what you make of it and the effort you put in. Work- loads and deadlines will come and go but a 1 hour meeting a week can make all the difference.
What’s the team’s training like in preparation for a competition?
This is a hard question. Some members prefer to train alone and focus on personal goals whilst others prefer to meet up and carry out joint training sessions. Irrespective of training routines all members however are keen to motivate and provide a helping hand before the big day.
Do other committee members help out with the competitions?
Yes, all competitions are seen as a responsibility by committee members to ensure athletes attend events to deliver a ground breaking performance.
In the end, is it all worth it?
YES, what’s the worst that could happen? You loose all your gains and look like Jeff Seid
What advice would you give to 2017 MASS Championship hopefuls?
What have you got to loose. If you don’t know have a go.
What’s next for you?
Hit the gym and get bigger than Dave Bissell himself. It’s always good to aim high Laurence 😉
Where can our readers follow your society?
Easy. Simply type in Loughborough Fitness and Wellbeing society on Facebook and await approval.
Bristol played host to the UK’s annual bodybuilding competition for students. 85 Competitors from over 50 universities across England, Scotland and Wales flexed their muscles to compete in the annual MASS Student Physique Championships. After a gruelling 8 hours Jake Berney a 2nd Year Physical Education BA student at the University of East Anglia was crowned the overall Men’s Physique Champion and Sebastian Wolsoncroft-Dodds, a 3rd Year Chemical Engineering MEng from the University of Derby was crowned the Men’s Classic Bodybuilding Champion. The show also ran ladies categories at the competition with Phoebe Hagan who studies International Business at the University of Brighton taking the overall Women’s Bikini title and Mia Holmes, a 3rd Year Pharmacology student at Nottingham Trent University winning 1st in Women’s Figure. Our University team winners with 4 outstanding athletes were the University of Reading.
Hosted at the Bristol SU Anson Rooms, the show took place on Saturday 12th March, with celebrity fitness models sat on the judging panel, including Men’s Health cover model and international physique competitor, Matt Sallis. The show was a roaring success with the venue packed to the rafters and 500 people from around the UK turning up to watch the live show that was sponsored by Protein Dynamix.
To catapult their careers the lucky winners received a photo shoot with renowned fitness photographer Matt Marsh. They also received an array of prizes from the shows sponsors Protein Dynamix, and a career workshop with Matt Sallis at ESTR personal training studios
Humble in victory, Men’s Physique winner Jake summed up the show as “the perfect presentation of dedicated and ambitious students who all supported and encouraged each other” with Women’s Bikini winner Phoebe Hagan adding “maybe we can change the stereotype from lazy to lean!”.
The involvement of Protein Dynamix helped the MASS SPC to take its competition to new heights this year with increased promotions, bodybuilding figurine trophies, the large stage banner that you see in the pictures, competitor goodie bags and much more. The competition organisers and all of the competitors would like to express their sincere gratitude to Protein Dynamix for supporting the show. Ambassadors Deek, Mustafa and Alex represented the brand on the day where they manned a well presented Protein Dynamix stall, giving out free samples to spectators, awarded the winners their medals and supported competitors backstage. We have no doubt that Protein Dynamix is going to continue to become more and more popular in the student market after their involvement in the SPC.
Other notable mentions include the audience, who showed outstanding support by cheering on our competitors throughout the full 8 hours. All of our judging panel including Matt Sallis, Laura Baker, Stephen Box, Holly Welch, Josh Bridgman and Stephen Olagoke who had extremely tough task on their hands to separate winners from a very competitive line-up. Our guest posers Stephen and Feyi with a dazzling performance, ambassadors Deek, Alex and Mustafa from Protein Dynamix, Bristol SU, our tech staff, DJ Harry Raven, Photographer Sam Bondarenko, Management Omar Barakat and all of our volunteers who made the event run smoothly.
Last but not least a huge congratulations to every single competitors who stepped on stage at the 2016 MASS SPC. It takes a lot of courage and dedication to compete and every single one of them is a champion. We’re expecting big things to come from all of the MASS SPC 2016 graduates!
The naked truth about who rubbed oil on who… (Josh bares all for our readers)
Exclusive access to the macros and meal plans from the start of prep to the final grind
Exclusive workout routines that will get you pumped to take away try
Last week, we caught up with MASS athlete Josh Bridgman just days before he stepped on stage at the UKBFF Finals. (Click here to read about his journey). With the finals under his belt and a 2nd place trophy in hand, we decided to dig a bit deeper and find out everything you want to know about what it’s really like to be a top-level competitor…
6am: Wake up and check body (I was too bloated from overeating and very, very soft)
6:15am: Shower and scrub body one last time.
6:30am: Start drinking lots and lots of water to remove the bloating I had.
7am: Leave Loughborough to get to Nottingham for my tan at 8:30am.
7:45am: Arrive in Nottingham, Still drinking lots and lots of water.
8am: Registration for UKBFF Finals.
8:30am: Tanning appointment.
9am: Walk up and down stairs 10 times to keep heart rate up and try and flush the water and salt out of my body (still drinking lots of water)
10am: Show starts, still panicking about being bloated, still drinking water and haven’t eaten.
10:30am: Stop drinking and realise what’s done is done.
11am: Put my Shorts on I will be wearing on stage.
11:30am: Go down to the pump up area, plan through how I will pose one more time and my t-walk.
12am: Start pumping up.
12:15-12:20pm: On stage for the competitors to be cut down to the top 15. (call outs)
12:45pm: Final 15 Announced and back on stage for quarter turns and more call outs
1pm: Final 15 cut down to top 6.
1:30pm: Top 6 do T-walks and have comparisons
1:45pm: Top 6 are given the position they came.
2pm: Junior physique completed and all done!
How did you feel the day before the finals?
I was nervous, but very excited to eat my carbs and fill my muscles out the night before show day!!
What was your peak week strategy and how did it affect the package your brought to the stage?
I actually changed nothing, I felt I was lean enough already and only needed to fill out with a nice meal the night before, so no changes in water, food or salt anything like that!
Tell us a bit about your grooming and tanning routine…
Well 5 days out, I started scrubbing down, keeping my skin as smooth as possible to make sure the tan sticks well to me and it didn’t end up uneven. 2 Days out I completely shaved my body down (yes everything, haha) And then the night before just went over any bits of hair I missed or anything that had grown back. I woke up nice and early on game day and had my tan at 8:30am on the day of the competition!
Who came with you to the competition?
I was so so lucky to have a few people there, most importantly, my mum and girlfriend were there. I also had a lot of friends from University there! 2 people flying over from the middle east to watch and friends coming up from London and Stroud to come and watch! Couldn’t believe the support!
What was the atmosphere like backstage?
Tense, everyone was nervous and we could all feel it, everyone sizing each other up and pretending like we weren’t doing that!! But we all got on well and i definitely made some new friends.
How did it feel to be up on stage?
Incredible. The screaming crowd, Seeing my friends and family shouting my name and having all the hard work come to reality at that moment. Adrenaline was pumping, heart rate was flying. But what a feeling!!
Did your posing go to plan?
I feel my posing could of been better, but I nailed my T-walk in my opinion. Just need to sort my quarter turns out and overall presence on stage.
At what point did you realize you would be among the top placings?
When they called the top 6, I already could not believe it!! I went there for top 5, so when they called 6th out and it wasn’t me, my smile got bigger, and bigger, and bigger with each placing they announced. I really could not believe I got 2nd in the end! Especially with all the talent on show.
3 words to describe your feelings at coming 2nd in the finals:
Surprised, happy and overwhelmed, in that order.
What did you indulge in after the show?
I went to TGIS with my family and friends. It was more about the company than the food, but when the server asked if I was hungry when I ordered the biggest burger, he knew from the look I gave him that I was ready to put it down! Also my mum made a Nutella, Oreo and hazelnut cheesecake which went down very quickly that night!
Have the post-show blues hit in or are you still on an absolute high?
I am still flying high! Though a little bloated from the food, excited to bring a better package to the Amateur Olympia I qualified for on the 31st of October!
10 things we really want to know but have always been too polite to ask, about what really goes on backstage…
1. Most outrageous thing you saw someone eat backstage:
I saw people drinking honey, heaps of peanut butter and the smell of vodka was in the air!!
2. Amount of time spent thinking about the bikini girls:
Zero, because I have a girlfriend and she is the only girl I think about! hahaha
3. Percentage of guys who brought their Mums along:
Definitely over 90% – I saw a lot of guys running in their mums arms afterwards, then again so did I!
4. Biggest ego award goes to…
I wouldn’t want to point one person out, but I definitely got knocked out the way by a few big heads!
5. Average number of selfies per competitor:
At least 5 per competitor, check instagram!
6. Do people share their cheat food?
Yes!!! I couldn’t believe the amount of people that offered a lot of their own food!
7. Anyone shed a tear as they came off stage?
A few of the bikini girls who didn’t do well, and also some who did very well!
8. Is there a risk of smudging your tan with toilet paper? (You know what we’re getting at…)
Yes. That is all.
9. Who rubs oil onto who?
Tanning ladies onto everyone! Although a few guys made some new friendships through oiling each other haha…
10. How many more Facebook/Instagram/Twitter followers did you acquire?
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!
With a new wave of bro science and sub optimal gym advice being circulated throughout uni gyms I feel it is necessary to distinguish which pieces of advice are beneficial and which are pure fiction…
So below I’ve listed 8 of my least favourite myths and how to combat them.
Name: Daniel Olusina University: Kent Course: Actuarial Science Year: Graduated in 2015
1. “Monday should always be Chest day”
In actual fact you’ll find the squat rack is surprisingly empty on Mondays.
Avoid the 30minute queue for a bench and train another body part instead to avoid delays.
2. “Doing lots of cardio will make you toned”
My definition of being toned is for a person to have a physique that has a fair amount of muscle and a fairly low body fat (on average under 12% for guys 22% for girls),
This cannot be attained through cardio alone.
To achieve a more toned physique a person must be prepared to gain an adequate amount of lean muscle in a caloric surplus for an extended period of time (10 months – 1 year for example) before dieting for a period of time (around 6-8 weeks) in a caloric deficit.
This cycle also known as bulking and cutting will enable you to gradually become more “toned” over time.
It has also been known that doing multiple bulks and cuts over the years will improve the distribution of fat around the body and make your look even more toned during the bulk part of the training cycles.
3. “If you’re muscles aren’t completely sore the day after you haven’t worked hard enough”
A LOT OF PEOPLE use how sore their muscles are as an indicator of how well their previous session has gone.
This soreness is known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and is a result of your muscle adapting to a new exercise or routine.
As you continue to grow stronger, continue to do the routine more often and train that muscle group more frequently the DOMS will eventually decrease and you may end up receiving hardly any doms after your sessions.
Instead, a better measure of progress should be if progressive overload is being achieved each session (either in the form of slightly heavier weights, more reps or more sets).
4. “High volume single body splits are more optimal for muscle gains than more frequent upper lower body splits”
Studies have proven that our muscles are able to fully recover 72 hours after being trained
So after you’ve trained your chest for 16 sets on a Monday, it may have completed recovered by as early as Thursday.
As part of this process our muscles breaking down, repairing and growing back slightly stronger and/or bigger (muscle protein synthesis)
Therefore instead of training a body part to ‘death’ with high volume (16 sets for example) it may be more optimal to adjust your routine so your training that body part twice a week (more frequently) with lower volume (about 8 sets).
5. “The mandatory 30 minute anabolic window post workout shake”
It’s widely believed that you should consume a post workout meal/shake within 30 minutes of your session ending to reap optimal muscle gains.
However unless you’re an endurance runner doing multiple glycogen depleting events in a day then there is no rush to rapidly replenish glycogen levels post workout.
The average routine does not deplete glycogen levels to an extreme amount and therefore there is no need for urgent replenishment.
Studies have shown if you’ve had a meal prior to workout then depending on the size of the meal, the meal could still be being digested and amino acids being released throughout and after your workout.
So don’t be in a rush to neck that post workout shake!
6. “whey protein is a must to building muscle and strength”
Supplements are called supplements as they aid to us building muscle and strength but they are not mandatory.
Whey protein is an easier way of consuming protein in your diet if you are struggling to consume enough protein across your daily meals
It can get quite expensive on the student budget to hit your protein targets from ‘whole’ foods such as chicken, mince, tuna etc… Which is where Whey protein can come in!
It may be a cheaper option to have a shake that has 30g of impact whey protein instead which will has roughly the same amount of protein as 100 grams of diced chicken.
7. “If you’re not working up a sweat you’re not working hard enough”
Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of exertion.
Sweating is your body’s way of cooling down.
It is possible to burn a significant amount of calories without breaking a sweat.
8. “Constantly pyramiding up to a one rep max builds strength and muscle”
Pyramiding up to a heavy set allows you train at many rep ranges which may allow you to build strength and muscle in the short term
However, all that is happening is that you are merely testing your max reps at each chosen amount of weight… Which may not be optimal for reaching your goals!
A more optimal way of training would be to train at a certain percentage of your 1 rep max using given sets and reps and slightly increase either the weight, reps or sets each session (progressive overload)
This will allow more volume to be achieved each session and thus allow you to become stronger in the given exercise.
MASS stands for the Muscle & Athletic Sports Society and is a fore mostly a University society. MASS societies are ratified entities of their Students Union, they’re self-sufficient and have a committee of students overseeing each club who organise and run the events for all their members.
We’re MASS HQ, the central support system who administer and assist MASS societies nationally. We organise the MASS Games, organise visits from top athletes, get the societies their stash and produce StudyFit Magazine.
You can start MASS at your University! We offer full support and backing to any student that would like to start a club, and there’s no better time than right now! Become a leader and inspire others by setting up a club today. For the full information and to begin your journey go to the societies area and select Start MASS At Your Uni.
If you have a question that isn’t answered in
or the Games page, then our expert team at MASS HQ are on hand to help. You can contact us via email, phone or post and we will try our best to get back to you with an answer within one working day of receiving your enquiry.
Alternatively, you can contact us on social media via Twitter or Facebook - don’t be shy!
We appreciate all of the support received from our sponsors. We're open to working with companies who want to join us in educating and inspiring the next generation of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. For sponsorship and advertising enquiries please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.