We recently had a chat with Josh Bridgman. An Online coach and Fitness YouTuber. Josh has recently made it his goal to get his IFBB Pro card this year. He is documented it his journey to this process using Instagram and Youtube. We sat down and had a chat with him about his past, present and future plans. As well as his journey to pro.
It was great to sit down and chat with Josh Bridgman as it gave us to chance to get a look inside a very competitive bodybuilder who’s aim is to go pro and do it full time. So why don’t we dive straight into the interview itself?
Q: What made Josh Bridgman go to the gym in the first place? What started you in Fitness?
A lot of it was pretty much sport based. I played a lot of football then moved to rugby. Part of progressing in Rugby is that gym is just implemented. Played in a few academies and actually didn’t like going to the gym to be fair. The truth of it is I didn’t like it. I use to wonder how these guys were so strong putting two plates on a bench, and I could only do one.
I then got kicked out of that academy for not progressing, physically. So I didn’t really pick up the gym properly until I went to university. I just started going as it was the only thing I knew to do, other than playing Rugby, and I couldn’t play rugby as I had an injury. I then fell in love with it a little bit. So 18 years old, I am 28 years old now, so about 10 years ago. I just started going to the gym casually, just trying to get your basic progressions, Certain numbers that you wanted to hit. No goal to be a bodybuilder or anything like that.
Q: Just going and it being a hobby kind of thing?
Yeah, literally just to look a little it better, feel a little bit better. Feel stronger. No real agenda to it just to progress.
Q: So would you say Rugby would of been something you would of progressed? Gone further in if you didn’t get Kicked out?
Yeah definitely! I miss some sports like that! Where you are competitive every single week. Granted I feel like I am competitive every day but I don’t get to be a part of that competitiveness until game day. Which is like a couple of times a year. So I could have seen myself progressing, I don’t regret where I am right now because I love where I am right now but if I had progressed more physical during rugby that would have been my goal in life to be fair!
Q: And when was the switch to bodybuilding? When did you know that was what you were going to do?
It was probably the third year at uni! So 20-21. I started learning about the YouTubers, watching certain Fitness influencers and I didn’t know what bodybuilding was until I was about 21. Those guys sorted motivated me around 7 years ago.
Q: This is a big year for you going for a pro Card! What is your biggest change in this off season?
To be fair, not much! Because bodybuilding is that game of actually doing the same thing for a very long time. So actually more often than not you just need more time under the bar, more time eating so probably fo the last 5 years, when I first said I wanted to be on that Olympia Stage I haven’t changed much. I have trained just as hard, I have eaten just as much. I have stopped eating when I need to, had rests when I need to. So there isn’t anything groundbreaking about this year, It’s just another year of being a little bit bigger. That’s the main thing!
Q: Do you think that is something that people fall on? Not sticking with it? Chop and change to quickly?
Definitely! We are in that industry that likes to feed customers trigger words. like “Get lean in 6 weeks” or “Get big in 8 weeks” or whatever it is! When really, none of that Sh** works! It’s just time! Sometimes chopping and changing can hinder your progress more than anything. There are some benefits of sticking to the same training routine for a little bit, rather than trying to keep the body guessing. Sometimes the body doesn’t want to guess! It wants to have a bit of time to adapt and progress!
Q: So when does prep start? Do you have it all planned out? Are you with Callum?
4 Day. Prep will start in 4 days and yes, it’s with Callum. To be fair, nothing needs to be scheduled because it’s a react sort of scenario. There isn’t going to be a “Week 4 this happens” or “Week 8 this happens”. We very much got to see how the body adapts and how the body changes and just adjusting as we go really.
It was like, I am going to jump into it and see how it gets on. I am going to document my progress for those that are kind of intrigued and want and understanding of what it is like. From there it kind of snowballed into using that as my kind of unique selling point for being a YouTuber really.
“So I am going to focus on creating an environment for me that’s perfect. I am going to sleep eat and breath bodybuilding for 5-6 months.”
Q: So what is your training split going into it?
I am lucky I can train at a gym, Luckily. So I am going in with a Push, Pull, Rest, Push, Legs, Pull, Rest. So we have got Upper body twice a week and arms will be hit on both push days and pull days. Legs just once a week, My legs grow well from once a week but also I wear shorts so if they don’t improve loads it’s not a huge deal right now. It gives me more to direct towards my upper body.
Q: Is there anything you are doing differently in this prep because you are going for the Pro Card?
I think that every time you go through a prep or even just bulking you are going to have more information, more knowledge under your belt so you can come at things maybe a little more sophisticated, a little bit more accurate. So I am going to focus on creating an environment for me that’s perfect. I am going to sleep eat and breath bodybuilding for 5-6 months. Other than that I am pretty much just going to be in one place, last time I was too and from my mums and my girlfriends.
Q: You mentioned environment, do people over look the effect on friends and family when doing this sport?
Yeah, I think it is a very selfish sport, especially at the top level. I mean, you evening meal that you have with your family or girlfriend is “your” meal, it’s weighed out and you don’t eat together and you don’t go out together. There is going to be a sacrifice with whoever you live with at the time and your circle around you.
I am lucky that I have understanding people around me, They just deal with it. There is that impact if you like it or not because there are no miss days, no time to slip up, you know? When I have to go out and do my steps and they are sat in a nice cosy room watching a film, I am getting up to walk out in the rain. There is an impact if you like it or not.
Q: You have been Training TMCycles and also Brightman. Will you be continuing training with them through prep?
Well, unfortunately, due to the virus we can’t train together as we aren’t all in a support bubble. It’s a nightmare because we have made more progress than ever. Joe is where I want to be! Joe is a pro! Training with a Pro, who is very similar in strength (if not a tiny bit better) it’s very handy to chase him down. it’s extremely beneficial for all of us. Tom isn’t as strong as us, he knows that but he loves catching up to us.
Q: He love playing catch up and chasing you?
Exactly! He loves narrowing that gap and we love trying to keep that gap there. So it really does have a huge benefit training with people on the same level.
Q: What shows do you have lined up (To go for pro)
So the 6th of June is my first one, it is a regional qualifier in London (if it still goes ahead). Then we got Ukraine the week after, then there is Portugal amateur Olympia in July and finally the British finals in August. Each of the last three (Ukraine, Portugal and The British Finals) are pro qualifiers, where you can win a pro card.
So if it wins a pro card in the first one I won’t do the next two, if I don’t win it in the first one I do the second one and if I don’t win it in the second one I do the third one. If I don’t win the third one means I am not good enough and come back next year!
Q: I am sure you will! Looking at your progress this year you have made huge progress on your Chest, Shoulders and Arms!
That was the main goal this year, just to try to fill that gap in. However, you never know who is going to show up! So, we will find out when we get there!
“My goal isn’t just to be a pro, My goal is to be a Pro, one of the good pro’s then onto the Olympia stage.”
Q: Do you think it is a tactical sport? Which shows you pick to compete? Looks at who’s going to show up to them? Compete in shows with less competitors?
Yes, you can play that game! You can go to obscure places and find that fewer people will travel there. Granted we are in a pandemic this year so how many people can train, who are going to be competing early, probably less! So you can play the tactical game. I don’t play that game necessarily, I just do what’s best for me and bring the best package. My goal isn’t just to be a pro, My goal is to be a Pro, one of the good pro’s then onto the Olympia stage.
So I have got to beat all these people anyway! So if I can’t beat them on any given day at any given show then I shouldn’t be standing up there. So I am less worried about what shows and more worried about what fits in logistically. I don’t want to pick shows where this big-name might show up or whatever, I got to beat him anyway.
Q: Going back to Diet, Are you someone that will tend to eat the same meals everyday? Or do you mix and match within your calories?
I definitely keep it very, very similar! I think consistency is key! Knowing every single macro that comes into your body. It kind of leads you towards a meal plan anyway. However I don’t limit myself if I think “I can’t eat this f****ng chicken anymore” it’s ok, I can swap it out no problem. I won’t limit myself like that. But I would say that 90% is a “meal plan” and 10% if I fancy something. I find it really helps with the psychological aspect.
Q: What’s something (As a coach) you see your Clients overlooking?
I think a lot of people expect results very quickly! So they want to sign up for, let’s say an 8-week minimum! As an example. They think at the end of that 8 weeks there is going to be a huge, huge difference. If you are pretty fat and want to lose a lot of weight, then you will lose a lot of weight in 8 weeks and people will see it. But people that come to me and want to gain, and want to build muscle, 8 weeks is nothing! It is a spec of sand in the desert! The most successful clients that I have are the ones that have been with me for a year or more! It’s no secret.
Quite often you can do 3 months of coaching and you have got stronger and maybe your weight has gone up a little bit, but, especially when you are natural, the visual progress is extremely hard to see sometimes. I think patience is the biggest thing! Knowing that “8 Week minimum” is just a business thing and has got nothing to do with the results. It’s not an 8-week minimum result, it’s an 8 week minimum of coaching and then the results will come when they come!
I have hyper responders, I have sub-par responders, I have people that get fat really quickly and I have people that get lean really quickly. So every single person’s result isn’t going to be reflected by time, it is going to be reflected by when it happens. Working out what works for each person.
“So when you see their amazing physique changes in 8 weeks, it’s not realistic for the beginner lifter or the intermediate lifter. it’s not as achievable. And definitely, social media will play into that part!”
Q: Do you think social Media Cookie cutter plans put that in peoples mind?
I think occasionally yeah! I think also think, like, I am 115kg and I have been on Steroids for 2 years and been training for 10 years, when you see me in 8 weeks you will be like “Oh my God that is a big change!” But I have been training for 10 years, I have done all these things, taken Steroids, and a lot of influencers are. So when you see their amazing physique changes in 8 weeks, it’s not realistic for the beginner lifter or the intermediate lifter. it’s not as achievable. And definitely, social media will play into that part!
The challenges, I will never slate them. Sometimes doing a challenge, for someone, is that commitment that they need. So if they can benefit from that commitment and that spurs something else then that is fantastic. They are never long term solutions, short term diets and that are not a solution but they can be a kick starter.
Q:You mentioned Steroids, How do you feel about Natty or Not videos?
That is a difficult one! I am not a confrontational person, that’s just me as a person! I don’t like calling people, don’t get me wrong if someone crosses the line I will back myself. But I don’t like calling people out like that. However, there is a real problem with people saying they are natural when they are not! Which is fine, I don’t care. It’s when they start to say “This product got me there” or “this training program got me there”. X got me to here! When it was hard work, time and steroids! I don’t care if people say they are natural and they are not, it doesn’t make a difference to anyone. it’s when it becomes about selling a product, then there is an issue.
Q: Do you think more people should come out as “users”?
I think it’s a very dangerous line! It’s a line I have found hard to navigate because the more you talk about it, the more you educate people about it, Which is great! I would like to think I have saved people from doing stupid doses, by starting lower and taking blood work and being the healthiest you can be (Because you aren’t going to be healthy). Also, the more open you are about it, the less stigma it gets, the fewer people think “Oh this is a bad thing” because everyone is talking about it.
So that is also difficult to navigate! This is why I am open that I am on steroids, but I am not talking about the exact compound. On a format which is like “What steroids I take!” “This drug and This amount”. People will think “Oh Josh does that, he does it safely, so I will do that because it must be safe”.
“You look at people thinking they are a symbol of health, No they are taking steroids!”
Q: I think it might surprise people what you just said! “You won’t be healthy”
As soon as you take yourself beyond a natural limit. You will start to have negative health implications. Whether you feel them or not! They will start to deteriorate. By what degree is depending on what you do. You will look at me in around 10 weeks. I will be fresh-faced, I am lean and have a great physique but not shredded. I feel good, I can walk, I can run. You might think “Oh, that guy is healthy!” Yeah, but I am also running shit loads of steroids! You can’t tell! That’s also a grey area. You look at people thinking they are a symbol of health, No they are taking steroids!
Q: Bodybuilding takes the brunt of steroids, but how do you feel about it in other sports? Do people turn a blind eye in other sports?
I don’t think they turn a blind eye to it, I just think they are too good at evading the tests! For example, Lance Armstrong. He never got caught! He came out. He was so good at avoiding it! I don’t think it’s overlooked, I just think they are too good at avoiding it! In sports where it is tested!
Q: Last thing, How is 1MR doing? What is the plans?
I have set myself a goal of 4 drops this year. We had 2 drops last year so I wanted to double the number of drops. Ever quarter would be perfect. I want to build it into this recognised brand, that mindset! Limiting it to bodybuilding would be exactly that, limiting! Bodybuilding is a very niche sport. People that follow me are bodybuilders rather than lifestyle or travel. But if I can open up that brand a little bit, keep it separate from me as the bodybuilder and have it about this mindset, this lifestyle. You can always progress in whatever you are doing. I feel like I can build it into a big brand! That is the goal and that is the motivation.
Josh Bridgman Update:
Since this article went live Josh Bridgman has gone on to get his IFBB Pro Card! We couldn’t be any happier for him! He has worked so hard and deserves the win. We can’t wait to see what he brings to his first Pro show and look forwards to seeing him on the Olympia Stage very soon! Mark our words, this guy is going far and is going to be a huge name in the game! Congratulations to Josh Bridgman! Should we bring him back for another interview to talk about his Pro card experience? Let us know!
Thanks to Josh Bridgman for spending his time to chat with us. It was informative and great to speak to someone with his goals. Good for any of you out there that have goals similar except to his. If you want to check out more of Josh Bridgman you can find him using the links below.
Josh Bridgman Links:
If you enjoyed this interview with Josh Bridgman, please feel free to check out our other interviews here. We are starting to build a catalogue of interviews with many more in the pipeline soon to be released! Is there anyone who you would like us to interview? Drop us a message on our Instagram or tag us in one of their posts! We want to build a collection of Interviews from everyone and anyone in the fitness and health Industry.
Written by Kieran Blacker
Kieran is the CEO and Founder of Sets & Reps. He decided to make an application that helped people get a gym workout when not at the gym. He designed, Coded and built the application himself.