A young bodybuilder from Banbridge has taken a major step towards fulfilling his dream of becoming a sponsored athlete and winning the Mr Olympia Men’s Physique title.
Josh Coyle recently won his class and the overall Men’s Physique category at the International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Muscle Contest Ireland competition in Limerick, meaning he qualifies as an IFBB professional - the first in Ireland.
The 22-year-old personal trainer, who works at Iron Gym in Lisburn and as an online coach for international clients, will now go on to compete against the world’s bodybuilding elite in 2019.
Josh, who was a talented youth rugby player, was studying geography at Queen’s University when he decided to make major changes in his life and pursue his dream of a career in the fitness industry - a decision that’s already paid off.
“Whenever I decided to stop playing rugby at 20 and drop out of university it was such a scary thing to do as initially my family thought I was going down hill, but it was a turning point for me,” he explained.
“I stopped partying and drinking after rugby matches etc and devoted my life to eating a strict diet and going to the gym every day. I became obsessed with the sport, watching everything bodybuilding related on the internet for hours on end.”
The former Banbridge High school and Royal Belfast Academical Institution pupil says he “lives and breathes” health and fitness - for himself and his clients.
Putting his chiselled physique down to hard work in the gym, a very strict diet and the use of food supplements, Josh says he has “an open view” about the use of steroids, but insists he doesn’t use them personally.
“The success and transformation that comes with this sport is heavily down to the sheer determination, consistency and sacrifice of the athlete who is looking to step on stage - all of the bland, strict foods, early morning cardio sessions and two weight sessions a day six times a week for months and months.”
Since he started competing in 2016, Josh has won a number of amateur shows such as the Irish Open 2016 and the Saxon Classic 2017 in England. But his win in Limerick against top competitors from around the world was a step up in class.
He has to be extremely self-driven and disciplined in order to compete at such a high level, but Josh says he’s willing to make further sacrifices in order to take the next steps in the pursuit of his goal of securing sponsorship from a leading supplement company and one day winning the Mr Olympia Men’s Physique title.
“The IFBB is the world’s professional league of the sport. All the guys I watched on the internet and aspired to be are now going to be on stage beside me competing for the chance to get to the Olympia stage in Las Vegas, which is like the Superbowl of bodybuilding. It’s a very surreal and humbling feeling knowing this and just means I’ve to work even harder for my 2019 pro debut,” he continued.
“As taxing as it is, looking back and seeing how far I have progressed as an individual really makes me happy. I’ve shown to myself that no matter how hard anything gets in life, if you stay on track and keep consistent one day it pays off.”