After months of strict dieting, constant hard work in the gym balanced with studying for their degrees, 40 students from across the UK amassed in Bristol on the 16th March for the MASS Student Physique Championships 2019.
With several returning competitors, many newcomers and equal amounts of resilience and talent from both camps, the competition was fierce as all fought for the huge selection of prizes, including Maximuscle supplements and the coveted Men’s Overall, Women’s Overall and University team trophies. The show wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the volunteers running things backstage and front of house, Bristol SU providing a stunning venue, the judges carefully selecting worthy winners, the sponsors Maximuscle and Only the Fierce, Get Bronzed tanning, Matt Marsh’s photography and the audience for traveling to support Britain’s student-athletes athletes.
With competitors arriving at 8 am for the second layer of tan, it was the start of what proved to be a challenging day for all. Focused and in the zone, they followed the numerous different stage day diet plans as they waited for their turn on stage. Yet despite the competitiveness of all the athletes involved, the atmosphere was relaxed pre-show – numerous Instagram exchanges were made as students from different universities with a shared passion were brought together.
With doors opening for the public at 12, the host and founder of MASS David Bissell introduced the show and the judging panel; which featured several celebrity fitness models and bodybuilders, including WBFF Pro World Champion Williams Falade & PCA Competitor Laura Baker.
After the all the athletes went on stage for the group photo the competition kicked off with a round of pre-judging for all categories, with Women’s Bikini and Bikini Fitness the first in the list. For each category the students perform an I-walk with a pre-made posing routine, followed by completing a series of quarter-turns as a group.
After all the categories had performed in the pre-judging there was a short interval offering a chance for the competitors to see their families and supporters from the crowd before the final round of judging commenced. For the second round, the I-walk, a series of quarter turns and then a posedown between all competitors in their respective categories was performed before the top 3 winners were announced.
On a personal note: The show offered a great opportunity to both excel in the sport and the fitness industry – I’ve been weight training for several years without a real goal in mind. This show offered a chance to focus on achieving a healthier lifestyle whilst allowing me to see if I was comfortable performing on stage – a dream of mine since I was fifteen and first picked up a dumbbell (and watched Pumping Iron!). Mass SPC is a great introduction to a physique competition, which maintains a friendly and constructive attitude that appreciates the difficulty in balancing studies with sport and resisting the stereotypical aspects of student life. I’d strongly recommend everyone, no matter the fitness level to consider competing in the 2020 show!
Winner: Natasha Palmer (left)
Runner Up: Charlie Warwick (right)
Women’s Bikini Fitness
Winner: Amy Clark (left)
Runner Up: Hattie Pearsey (right)
Men’s Physique Transformation
1st Place: Charles Tran (centre)
2nd Place: Rob Angel (right)
3rd Place: Sam Chen (left)
Men’s Physique Fresher
Winner: Jack Booker (right)
Runner up: Matt Mooney (left)
Men’s Physique Short
1st Place: Tom Teixeira (centre)
2nd Place: Kyle Colin (right)
3rd Place: Steven Qi (left)
Men’s Physique Tall
Winner: Jordan Canepari (centre)
2nd Place: Austen Hills (right)
3rd Place: Jack Booker (left)
Men’s Classic Physique
Winner: Tom Baddeley (right)
Runner up: Makhosi Makhetho (left)
Men’s Open Bodybuilding
Winner: Ismael Onilearan (right)
Runner up: Daniel Thorne (left)
Winner: Amy Clark
Winner: Jordan Canepari
Winners: MASS UWE
Winner: Kyle Colin
By Charlie Thompson SPC Competitor and Journalism Student MASS Leicester
Apart from one other very special event (my birthday, just in case you’re interested!) Saturday 17th March was also the fifth MASS SPC held in the Anson rooms of Bristol Student Union.
Nearly 40 competitors spent weeks training hard and fine tuning their diets to ensure they were in the best condition. If you’re interested in how to prep for such a competition, check out our article here with pro tips from Paul Rimmer, MASS Head of Fitness Education.
We wanted to start by saying a huge thank you to the entire MASS team, who pulled off what might have been the most well run SPC to date. The show went smoothly, the atmosphere was electric, we got some great video and photo content and our Instagram story was on point! If you missed the action then head over to Instagram and watch the highlights @massspc.
This year we saw a very high standard in the women’s bikini classes. So, competition was strong between the ladies competing. Honourable mention to Zoe Panaretou, the only Fresher competitor, who was entered into the Women’s Short competition.
Aston, Anna and Helen
All eyes were on Aston Worsfold in the Bikini Short category who impressed all of the judges. Aston won first place, with Anna Kukkola in second and Helen Winpenny placing third.
Greta, Sophie and Hattie
Greta Supinaite won the Bikini Tall category, with Sophie Keeble a very close second. Sophie’s posing was especially impressive, her t-walk blew the audience away and put her in contention to win the medal. Hattie Pearsey placed third.
Overall bikini winner: Aston Worsfold
The overall female winner was Aston but Greta definitely gave her a run for her money! In the end Aston’s evident experience, confidence and stage presence pushed her to the top.
Hattie and Liza
The judges had a tough time with the Figure category as both competitors had very different strengths. In the end Hattie Pearsey took first place, with Liza Druce a very close second. The judges felt that Hattie had superior condition (and great shoulders!), though Liza with her posing and size has fantastic potential.
Let’s not forget the men, and there were definitely some strong physiques in all of the male categories. The general consensus was that the Freshers were especially good, considering their age. Sadly, there were no Men’s Short competitors this competition.
Physique – Fresher
Ahmed Radi in first place, with Marwan Atwya in second and Marc-Sebastian McGovern in third
Physique – Medium
Serag, Will and Jack
We were very pleased for Will Wheelton who was back for his second year competing. With lots of support in the audience he won 2nd place. The abs and condition on Serag Buhaweia meant that he won a deserved 1st place in the Physique Medium category.
Physique – Tall
Allen, Dominic and Lloyd
For the Men’s Tall, close behind Allen Imegwu was Dom O’Connor. Dom had a great look, posing and proportions but was lacking on fullness going into the second half of the show.Lloyd Phillips came an honourable third. Allen winning male overall was a unanimous decision by the judges. He had an amazing physique; we can see great things for him in the future!
Alex, Robert and Jack
Men’s Classic Bodybuilding saw some beautiful classic physiques and equally beautiful posing routines. Alex Kent won this category with a fabulous physique and Robert Kelly came a close second. We also wanted to give a notable mention to Jack Brown who competed in both classic and physique, winning two 3rd place medals. Arguably, Jack brought the best condition of the day with perfect symmetry but lacked a little in size.
Men’s overall physique was won by Allen Imegwu
Abdul striking a pose
Abdul Rehman of Brighton University won the public vote with over 500 Likes! He’s bagged himself a professional photoshoot alongside the overall category winners. Thanks to everyone who voted for their favourites on our Facebook page.
Uni team winners
The Leeds Beckett team claiming their trophy from Mike Tennant
The three main players for the University Team awards were University of East Anglia with 4 competitors, Coventry University with 5 competitors and Leeds Beckett Uni with 3 competitors. Coventry and UEA both brought great teams with some good athletes. Coventry were the biggest team of the day with 5 competitors, but Leeds Beckett played it smart and had two of their three competitors entering 2 categories which equated to them having 5 competitors in the points system. And so, on that basis, their 5 competitors won more points than Coventry’s overall – pipping them to the title. Jack Brown of Leeds Beckett definitely had a part to play in this by winning 3rd place in the two categories he took part in.
What a day!! Thank you to the competitors who put in the hard work, this was evident in the way you presented yourselves on the day.
Our sponsors, Maximuscle, were awesome and made a huge impact on the day! All spectators received a T-Shirt and protein bar; all competitors got a full goodie bag and winners took home products proportionate to their placings. Maximuscle ambassador Wole sat on the judging panel and served, not only as an excellent spokesman for Maximuscle, but also as an inspiration for all of our competitors. Ambassador Jenner mingled with the spectators where she passed on advice and answered questions on Maximuscle products.
Team Box awarded two sponsorships to competitors who they a) thought they could work well with and b) saw as having the potential for future success. These lucky people were… Aston and Greta. The sponsorships are for 6 months of online contest prep coaching, worth £1250 each. Well done ladies!
Greta and Aston with Team Box
Last but not least, we wanted to express our appreciation to all judges who did an excellent job and awarded some worthy champions. They were ambassadors for the sport and role models of career success in the fitness industry. Thank you, we couldn’t have done it without you!
David Bissell, MASS President, was the ever enigmatic MC for the event has a few final words to share…
“The quality of the SPC competitors was really high this year. The energy in the room was high and I think this was our best event yet. As always, we learn a lot from putting the show together and we’re looking forward to putting together an even better event next year!”
All photographs courtesy of Matt Marsh Photography
If you weren’t able to join us for the contest prep webinar last week… shame on you!! Only kidding, we know lives are busy and commitments sneak up and consume all of our time. Hopefully, you were just hitting the gym instead… those weights won’t lift themselves, will they?
The recording of the 120 minutes of wisdom imparted by Paul Rimmer, with his delightful assistant David, can be found here.
We also wanted to summarise some of the key points and advice shared right here, right now (cue FatBoy Slim)…
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’; this was a theme of the webinar! Keep up the volume of training, but evidently, these next few weeks are not going to be when you’re achieving your PBs on the biggest weights. Keep the reps and volume high (6 days a week), as well as including MISS cardio sessions to maximize energy expenditure. Also, don’t forget to keep up your ‘NEAT’ (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) in other words, how many steps you walk in a day. As you start cutting and really dipping into your calorie deficit your body will naturally start moving less to conserve energy, so try to keep the daily step counts above 5000 to burn those additional calories.
As we’re now 7 weeks out from SPC, everyone should already be in pretty good shape. In the next 7 weeks, guys (if needed) can lose up to 19-20 lbs before the competition, girls up to 9lbs. So, if there’s still a bit of ‘fluff’ to be shifted, now is the time to do it. Knuckle down, fill up on ‘bro’ foods and keep your energy levels as high as possible so you can make the most out of your workouts.
Take measurements regularly, consistently and accurately. Also, remember that your weight will fluctuate so the more data you have, the more accurate your progress tracking will become. Try to find someone with competition experience to be an honest ‘eye’ get them to take a look at your physique and critique (honestly) what areas need to be worked on, if that’s not an option, then an honest and frank friend/workout buddy will do! Make adjustments (increase cardio/decrease calories) based on the data you have been recording.
Sometimes it’s necessary to refill the tank, but ask yourself whether you’re 100% on track with your goals. If you’re going to be pushed to get to where you want to be, or haven’t been hitting your weekly goals then question whether a refeed is needed. Differentiate refeeds (planned increase in carb intake) and ‘cheat’ meals (a ‘free’ meal with no specific nutrient focus- usually high fat/carb). If you’re not able to get off the sofa because you’re physically and mentally exhausted to the point of a meltdown, this is when you should be consuming high amounts of carbohydrates to restore your glycogen levels. Think of it as recharging a spent battery. Don’t worry about gaining fat since the carbohydrates will go directly to refueling the depleted glycogen stores. These carb refeed days should also give you a good idea of how ‘full’ your muscles will look on competition day.
Keep it simple! Paul’s preferred method is ‘Fill and Spill’. This approach will need tweaking depending on how you’re looking and feeling in the last few days before the contest. Check out the webinar recording for details on this approach.
The webinar packs in a lot of top-notch info (a massive thank you goes out to Paul Rimmer for sharing his knowledge, experience and time with MASS) so do take your time to go through it all. If you have any questions or comments about the webinar content feel free to drop us a message. And why not post a question to the SPC group?
If you’re still debating whether to sign up for SPC, hopefully, this post will fill you with the confidence you need to register! There is still time to sign up before registrations close on 9th March. You can find all the details on our website, and you can follow this link to register.
Often, when people think of strength training and nutrition, your mind wanders to one word in particular – protein. And what’s typically known as the most effective way to get your protein in? meat. But there’s a growing lifestyle choice which is growing in popularity by the day, vegan bodybuilding.
We live in a world that is more health conscious and ethically correct than ever before, so it’s no surprise that more and more people are becoming vegan and loving it. But, for people that strength train, like bodybuilders and powerlifters, there’s a common misconception that you won’t get bigger or stronger without consuming animal products. Despite the fact meat may be the easiest way to hit your protein, it’s possible to get enough protein on a plant based diet, and therefore make some seriously successful gains.
Philip Lorimer, the president of MASS for the University of Kent, has been vegan for nearly two years and doesn’t regret his lifestyle change at all, “I’ve been lifting for about 5 years now but only became vegan in April 2015. I wish I turned vegan far sooner though. I watched a few documentaries regarding animal agriculture, and decided I didn’t want to contribute anymore. I then did more research into the health side of it and realised it was just the better option for me.”
There’s a lot of information on the animal product industry now thanks to documentaries on Netflix spreading awareness and people can agree that they don’t want to contribute to animal suffering. But one of the reasons people are reluctant to give veganism a go is the idea that the diet will be difficult to stick to and restricting. Philip admits that he didn’t find it difficult to begin with and he got used to it after the first week or so, “In the beginning it wasn’t as hard as I originally has anticipated it to be, it’s a challenge like any change is, like choosing to change from being inactive to regularly is. I approached it with open arms and tried to ditch the preconceptions. Dietary wise, there’s far more to choose from than I originally thought.”
But the main question on any lifters mind is, ‘if you’re not eating animal products, how do you get your protein?’ Philip is confident that animal products are in no way essential to having a high protein diet, “The whole ‘you can’t get enough protein on a plant based diet’ is often thrown out by people that haven’t tried it. There’s protein in everything, I get it from potatoes, beans, legumes, greens, the lot. I collectively get 110-160g a day with ease, and this is with a calorically restricted diet whilst prepping for the SPC. If you get enough calories in you’ll hit your protein RDA (recommended daily allowance) easy.”
Philip competes in the fitness model category usually, having competed twice before, but is hoping to compete in the men’s physique category in the future. He’s currently prepping for the MASS SPC in April and shared with us some of his favourite vegan meals while on prep, “I just keep it simple when eating while on prep. But, I do make the best vegan chocolate pumpkin brownies, it’s easy, quick and tastes good – macro friendly too! I think I’m going to make chocolate chip cookies tomorrow as a refeed day is due. I’ve also had cravings for jacket potatoes so I might make sweet potato jacket potatoes with beans, lentils and sautéed veggies.”
From an outsider’s point of view, it’s clear to see why people overthink the process of turning vegan, especially in the fitness industry when getting enough protein is the golden rule to making progress. But, it’s clear that animal products aren’t necessary to have a great, balanced diet and lift weights. Philip hopes more people give veganism a try in future, particularly people that lift that are too scared to in case they stop making progress in the gym, “Put the misconceptions aside and approach it with open arms, do research as you go along and ask people who are vegan for advice regarding recipes etc. It’s a changed after 2 years I certainly don’t regret, it’s better for your health, the environment and the animals. You’ll never know until you give it an honest try.”
We wish Philip the best of luck in the upcoming MASS SPC in April.
The MASS Team caught up with University of Wales Trinity St David student and male athlete of the year Jake Doan to find out what it’s like, and what it takes, to be the national champ!
Name: Jake Doan
University: University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Course: BSc Personal Training- Health & Exercise
Year of Study: 3rd
Congratulations! How does it feel to be crowned the MASS Male athlete of the year?
I am very grateful to be able to receive this award. A lot of training and time went into being able to compete in each event and it has been extremely rewarding year. Just having the ability to compete against the calibre of athletes and in an organization like MASS alone has been gratifying but to receive such a prestigious reward at the end of the year is just incredible and I never would have thought I would be in this situation at this time in my life.
Which competitions did you compete in, and how did you get on in each of them?
National Strongman Championship University Team Award
SPC Men’s Physique Tall 2nd Place Award
Battle of the Student 3rd Place Award
What was your favourite competition and why?
This is a tough question because all the events were extremely enjoyable. I’d have to say the SPC was my favourite because it was the most rewarding event. Although I didn’t place as high as I did in some of my other events I wasn’t concerned at all because of my feelings toward the other athletes and the how great of a final product all the guys in my category brought to the competition that day. The majority of my training and year revolved around this event and I was very pleased with the final result and how I represented myself on stage. The preparation that went into competing was extremely rewarding I learned a lot about myself and how my body reacts to specific types of training methods. To be honest by the end of it I would have been happy just having the courage to step on stage but to go home with a medal that day was amazing. I do have to say that the most fun day overall was the Strongman Championships because both times I competed with fellow team-mates from my university making that event even more enjoyable and rewarding because I got to share those moments with friends.
Did you have a lot of support from your family and peers?
As an international student this was a bit difficult at times as a majority of my friends and family are 5500 km away in Sault Ste Marie Ontario. (Shout out to the Hometown crowd) I am extremely fortunate to have the support system I do back home because you couldn’t ask for more supportive influences than I have; my parents, brother, cousins, old teachers, work friends, my social groups all were there for me along the way and I always knew they had my back. Here in the UK I have the best flat mates, I hit the lotto with this bunch and they know that I appreciate them for all their support.
Give us the low-down on a typical training week for you?
Typically I train every day of the week, the gym is one of the only places I truly feel in my comfort zone. Right now I am a bit worn down so I have implemented one rest day a week at the end of my split(see below) As a strength and conditioning coach I am a huge fan of periodization and having a set template of my week but will adjust it accordingly to weakness time to time. So it does vary with importance of developing specific muscle groups such as my lacking traps, upper chest, and calves. A huge part of my week is recovery, and I include nutrition and meal preparation in this category as I only eat to replenish and grow. I don’t eat just for the sake of eating, I believe food is fuel that’s it. Nutrition is the largest part of the whole recovery spectrum. I think that people focus more on the foam roller and lacrosse ball side of recovery but don’t meet many of the basic nutritional needs that their bodies and their specific training methods require. That being said I focus on recovery in many of those same manners; I always have my tiger tail with me and spend a lot of my down time rolling out while I watch my favourite TV shows; Suits, and basically anything Marvel or DC. The key thing with me is I listen to my body. I am very focused on recovery and ensuring I don’t get injured. I use what I call the therapies of my training; naps, nutrition, massage, and sleep. As for training I have always been a multi-sport athlete and therefore I like a variety of training methods from Crossfit (don’t hate) to Strongman and obviously bodybuilding methods. I train daily at 5:30 in the evening so that I have the day to fuel up for my lift and currently I am doing fasted cardio at 7:30 in the morning in anticipation for a photoshoot at the end of May. I will provide a training template of what I am currently doing below that way if you want to follow my plan for a week you can.
Does your training vary between term time and holidays?
This is very dependent on my goals at the time of the holiday. For example this Christmas I was weeks into my cut for the SPC so I couldn’t and didn’t miss a single day of training or adjust my meal plan. I had a number of scheduled refeeds over that “break” one of which was Christmas morning when I smashed some Nutella French Toast, it’s my favourite refeed meal. I’ll include a link to the instruction on how to make it below so you can indulge too. The only training variations that occurred over this time period was the time of day I would train. As I said before I like to train at 5:30 pm daily but over the holidays our school gym hours were changed to 10am to 1 pm slightly limiting me to training during that time period, but the gym was kind enough to open up over the holidays that they had the building closed because they understood the importance of me getting each workout in. The staff at the Sports Centre in Carmarthen have been amazing with helping me in that area, letting me stay late on some evenings even. I was extremely fortunate in that area.
How drastically did you have to alter the way you train between prepping for the different competitions?
This may take a while… The first event I trained for was the Southern powerlifting event, although my training typically consists of all three of the lifts in powerlifting I only had 4 weeks to specifically train for the MASS Southern Regional event. This consisted of ensuring technique met the requirements for the competition of a lift in all three lifts. For example when I barbell bench press I tended to lower the bar to my chest level but never would I touch and pause at the bottom of the lift because I never wanted to lose momentum throughout the lift. So I started to train with pause reps in my training for the bench press to ensure I was going to be able to press the same amount of weight I traditionally lift with the new standard for bench. That was my main change in training for that event, looking back I wish I had more time to work on my sumo deadlift instead of my tradition deadlift because I can pull much more now with my sumo but that’s hind sight for you. Next up was the Southern Regional Strongman, and I changed up my training big time for this event. I actually travelled to Bridge End and was instructed in all the traditional strongman movements by Wales Strongest Man Mark Jeanes. Which I was extremely fortunate for because Mark and his fellow strongmen were extremely helpful throughout my preparation for this event as I had never lifted an atlas stone or even a yoke before training with them. By the end of the day I had lifted a 135kg atlas stone and 190kg yoke walk with ease so I owe them a huge thanks for that day of training. Learning from the best put me on a path to success in these events. Not to be forgotten my strongman Captain Evan Stanton worked me through log press form and methods of a number of other movements such as the keg toss, farmers walks and circus dumbbells, movements that I had never would have even considered implementing in my training before. The SPC was a huge shift in training and is very similar to the way I am training right now again because I have a photoshoot at the end of May. So you will get to see a bit of that training method in the program I will provide. After the SPC I decided to compete in the Battle of the Students. I have always enjoyed a good Crossfit style workout every once and a while I would perform one of the girls to reassure my progress. I am CF-L1 certified so I started to implement a lot of the standard movements of Crossfit, with Crossfit you have to be so well rounded to perform with the elites of the sport. In reality I trained for Crossfit all year, strongman, powerlifting, even some bodybuilding movement are incorporated in Crossfit but most people aren’t thinking that the three would be related but Crossfit literally is the best of it all. I did incorporate higher rep ranges and more callisthenic movements to my workouts throughout that training period because I tend to not do a lot of that during my typical training.
What’s your current training split?
Day 1- Back and Biceps
Single Arm Bench Row
Bodyweight Inverted Row
Back Extension on Swiss ball Superset with Oblique Crunch
Incline Biceps Curl
Day 2 – Chest and Triceps
Dumbbell Bench Press
Incline Cable Fly
4 Spot Pushup Superset with Triceps Dip
Cable Single Arm Extension
Swiss ball Jackknife
Day 3- leg day
Assisted Pistol Squat
Dumbbell Walking Lunge
Dumbbell Step up (24 inch)
Day 4 – Arms and shoulders
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Cable Lateral Raise
Standing Dumbbell Curl
Triceps Cable Extension
Cable Lateral Raise
Barbell Shoulder Press/ Plate Front Raise
Barbell Wrist Extension/Flex
Cable Rear Deltoid
Rest – If needed.
How do you structure your nutrition?
Typically I am a Fitness Pal fanatic but since my SPC show I have just been slowly increasing my caloric intake back to a normal range. When I am not cutting or trying to get lean I would eat around 600 calories with a macronutrient break down of 30/30/40 (30 % fat, 30% protein, 40%carbs) I have tried a number of other ranges lowering and higher each macro to see what is best for me dependent on my goals, this range seems best for me and muscle gains without gaining any additional fat in the process. Keep in mind everyone is different, I am 6’2 almost 6’3 and weigh 112 kg normally so no one will ever be the same as me or you likewise. Currently I have simplified my diet to the basics food to conserve money and time as well, food prep for the contest wore me down.
I scale all my food and eat this meal plan below it’s not the most efficient meal plan for me even, its I just financially what I can bare right now as a student studying aboard. (Canadian dollar isn’t looking so good right now)
Is it hard to maintain such a training and nutrition regime as a student, and on a student budget?
I don’t think it was hard at all, obviously there was times of struggle with both training and nutrition but overall I would say it is much more manageable than most student’s diets, eating habits and the training just kept me focused throughout the year. I feel that budgeting myself to specific foods and supplements was simplified by companies like Musclefood <3 which we don’t have in Canada, you don’t know how fortunate you are.
In the end, is it all worth it?
Absolutely every second of the year was worth it. I have had such a great experience with MASS and everyone I met along the way. To be able to come all the way from Canada to have an experience like this with so many people involved is positively overwhelming. I am extremely grateful for the memories made and experience I have gained.
What advice would you give to 2017 MASS Championship hopefuls?
Set yourself small goals that will lead to big achievements and don’t be afraid to fail at anything it’s not about winning it’s about learning and growing as a person.
What’s next for you?
I return to Canada at the end of May and will hopefully be continuing my education as a master’s student at the University of Guelph studying Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism in September. I believe I may step on stage again someday soon but I am not 100% sure when that will happen.
Where can our readers follow you?
My website will be going live at the end of June which is: showmusclegomuscle.com
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!
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!
Tans radiated, smiles glistened and bodies rocked: How our students battled it out in attempt to qualify for the Mass Student Physique finals in London this April.
This March saw an array of talent in both the Midlands and Southern SPC Regional qualifiers. More than 100 of the best student physiques flocked from across the country to each show, managing to sell out both Leicester’s O2 Academy and Southampton’s Student Union in celebration of the student athlete. Both heels and standards were set sky high, filling our stages with professionalism, sportsmanship, and a positive example for students everywhere to follow.
Posing was in full force, with Manchester’s medic Sam Parsons and Exeter’s Adam James impressing the judges enough to take home awards for best stage presence of the day. The talent displayed in the Women’s bikini categories proved particularly hard to judge; finalist Rosie Williams, Serife Ustuner and Liberty Pullen demonstrated incredible presentation skills in the Southern qualifiers, while Nikita Scholes, Holly Couzens and Sarah Baron shone for our Midlands judges.
Emily Wilson & Feyi Oyebode, Midlands regional overall champions
Bournemouth served to be the South’s hottest Uni, gaining overall best team of the day as well as celebrating Tom Vessey’s victory in the Men’s Athletic category. Other successes included George Morgan, Roehampton’s winner in the Men’s Fresher’s category and Nathan Etherington, Plymouth’s short physique victor. Daniel Olusina, former self-confessed “stick-thin” physique, was announced proud winner of both the Men’s Tall and overall Men’s Physique of the day. All praises for the healthy lifestyle, Olusina urges anyone to get involved,
“With hard work, dedication and consistency you can build the body you want!”
Other athletes, who are living proof of the latter, included Midlands overall Men’s champ of the day, Feyi Oyebode and both Women’s bikini winners, Hattie Moran of Westminster and 20 year old Emily Wilson of Coventry.
Each student has undergone an incredible individual journey throughout the SPC process, proving the mental discipline required to compete at this high level. Best friends and gym buddies, Duncan Barry and Jake Sales, demonstrated that physique competitions delve far deeper than surface looks
“It’s changed our mentality towards all aspects of life, and it’s great that we can do it side by side”
Daniel Olusina & Hattie Moran, Southern regional overall champions
Unlike professionals in the industry, the students have had to juggle their rigorous training and nutrition with the hardships of student life. First time competitor, Megan Coldicott, who studies adult nursing at De Montfort University, told us,
“I train twice a day; I start with fasted cardio followed by a weights session later. It’s been hell but so worth it-I’ve never seen my body like this!”
Coventry’s 23 year old Josh Sainsbury-Bow, who gained 2nd place in the Men’s Athletic Category, believes the healthy lifestyle is well worth the time and money
“It can definitely be expensive, but I’ve saved a lot on alcohol!”
When asked to advise other students wanting to compete, Josh Bridgman, winner of the Men’s Physique, insisted,
“Just get out and do it! It’s the best thing you’ll ever do!”
Congratulations to all our inspirational competitors, who proved being a student doesn’t have to mean sleeping all day and drinking all night: we can’t wait to see what you can bring to the championship next year!
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 Competitions, organise visits from top athletes, get the societies their stash and produce Education materials.
At MASS, we aim to provide a community and platform for students to achieve their ultimate fitness goals through education and training.
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 Competitions 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.
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.