When I was 16 I signed up to a local gym with a friend. Unfortunately, due to not having a car back at this time and with the gym being approximately 5 miles away it made it very easy to avoid going there! After a few months of practically no gym visits I decided it was time to look at other alternatives. I would often browse catalogues to see what kind of equipment they had to offer and after quitting the gym and saving some money I went out and bought a set of free weights.
The free weights cost me about £50 and it provided me with the basics: a barbell and two dumbells. A lot of people laughed at me when they saw the equipment I was using but I thought it was great... I could workout any time of day that I wanted, not having to worry about opening times at the gym and more importantly not having to wait around for other people to finish using equipment. I started to use the free weights nearly every day trying out different workout routines. A lot of my friends were commenting that they could tell I had been lifting weights but due to the equipment only being around 50kg that I was never going to make good gains.
This bugged me endlessly, as it was almost a back handed compliment, and I knew that I could blow these guys out the water once I had my routine sorted! My initial workout was 50 x barbell curls, 50 x chest press & 50 x vertical rows. I had good results but It just seemed to be so long winded...
THEN I CRACKED IT.
I realised that the reason my workout was taking so long was because of the rest time. Hitting 50 barbell curls straight out would cause anybody's muscle to fatigue very quickly! no matter who you are! and therefore it was no good... So I split my workout up into supersets, it then became 10 x barbell curls, 10 x chest press, 10 x vertical rows for 5 supersets.
This workout was like magic as I could hit the 150 rep total in about 10 minutes! People were saying I was on steroids the pump was that good!
Then this made me realise... the guys that were actually taking the steroids didn't look that much different to me and this proved that not only do I not need them but that It's so much more about technique and how you train than what so many people out there realise.
I thrived off this through my 12 years in natural body building, and my 150 rep workout has become a 600 rep workout that uses that same free weights to train 8 areas of the upper body in one session! This gives insane muscle pump, even looking physique and great cardio exercise to burn fat whilst you build muscle. It really is something special slightsmile emoticon
As my years as a natural body builder progressed I was also doing my second favourite sport, Jujutsu. I'm a brown belt at the moment and I hope to go for my black belt grading in december this year. One thing I love about jujutsu is the dedication needed to be successful at it. It's a complex martial art that covers all areas; striking, grappling, throwing, ground fighting, self protection, weapon defense. It's a military art, but above all, it is the mother of mixed martial arts.
With my superset workout and jujutsu increasing my fitness levels, I then started looking into high intensity interval training. After including as much of it as I could into my weekly exercise, it gave me enough cardio to keep my body fat levels low.
In 2015 I decided I wanted to give it a shot at competing. In April that year I had a casting for fit factor in front of Nick Orton and Olly Upton. It was only myself and another two people at the castings. I was nervous and shaking... I still to remember what nick said to me
"you're a good looking guy Josh, but can you go out and there and perform in front of 700 people?"- this hit me like a punch to the face... but it was the next comment to me and the other guy at the casting that finished me off... He was like 6' 4", well built and nick said:
"There's going to be guys there bigger and with lower body fat than both of you... ok well I wish you all luck" and then he quickly scarpered from the bodypower HQ!
On the grounds of my body fat levels not being low enough, I bottled appearing on stage at body power that year despite making it through!
It came to november 2015 when I changed my life style completely, not only for body power but for all the health benefits that it gives me. I put in more than 6 months solid training and good nutrition, determined to get out on that stage and give it my all at Fit Factor 2016. The feeling was electric. I loved performing in front of that many people at such a huge event because I wanted to show what I had achieved naturally with honest nutrition and training.
It doesn't bother me how big other guys are that I'm competing against, or how low they're body fat levels are. As long as I give it my all I know that I can compete against them no matter what drugs they are on... I'm proud to be natural.
What clean sport means to me:
I'm a clean athlete because I think you cheat yourself and others when you take drugs to win. Anybody that is passionate for they do should be able to achieve their goals without the need to cheat. I think a lot of people are using the drugs because they have to match/beat the performance of the guys they are competing against and unfortunately there's little proof that anyone is 100% clean in the fitness industry.
I do feel there are strong signs that a person is taking performance enhancing drugs and this is unfair to any genuine athlete that has put the time and effort in to be where they are. There will be times when I am beaten by people who have taken drugs but until drug tests become less tainted I just have to accept my loss and let it make me more determined.
It would make me proud to be followed in the fitness industry by people who expect realistic, natural gains and I would be very happy to give that to them.