“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden
Long before he put on a pair of posing trunks, stepped on a bodybuilding stage, or earned his IFBB Pro card Josh Thompson was faced with a choice: continue on the path of self-destructive behavior, misery, and unhappiness, or venture off course into the land of change and uncertainty. Luckily for Josh he chose the latter. And in doing so not only did he transform his physique, but he also transformed his life and his fortunes as well.
Recently I had a chance to catch up with one of the IFBB’s newest pros, and you can catch all of the details right here, in this Iron Affinity exclusive interview.
Q.) Let’s start with life before the stage. You actually began weight training because your weight had made its way up to 235 pounds and you decided it was time for a change. What was it that finally made you decide to take a proactive approach to your health and begin training?
A.) There were a couple of reason why I decided to change my lifestyle, the first reason was because I was told by the doctors that I was borderline diabetic, and if I didn’t change my eating habits I was going to become diabetic. The second reason was because of a side by side picture of me and my older brothers, and I didn’t like what I saw, that’s when I decided it was time for a change
Q.) Did you begin your weight loss program with the goal of competing in mind? Or is that something you decided to do as your progression got further along?
A.) No, I had no plans at all of ever stepping on a bodybuilding stage until after 5 months of dieting and training. I saw amazing results, dropping from 235 pounds all the way down to 140.
Q.) Taking your first steps in the sport can be a daunting task alone. How crucial was it to have the support of family members who compete to be there to help you through the ups and downs?
Q.) What were some of the thoughts and feelings running through your mind just before you stepped onstage for the first time?
A.) Nervousness! At one point I almost forgot my mandatories, not to mention my posing routine. But also there were plenty of good vibes going on as well. Just knowing that I did everything in my power to get ready for this show, and also my mother Arlenda Thompson surprised me by flying down from Albuquerque, New Mexico to see me step on stage for the first time. After just seeing her in the crowd, I knew everything was going to be ok.
Q.) As some may already know, that first time onstage couldn’t have played out any better, as you went home with not only your class, but also the overall titles in hand. Did that feeling of satisfaction following the win make it all worth it?
A.) Yes. It made every single horrible situation I went through during my first prep all worth it, especially because of the fact that I didn’t come to the show expecting to take home the overall title let alone my class. I was just excited to be on the stage finally, and really just wanted to have fun, but me winning both call and overall was the icing on the cake.
Q.) Not too long after that initial contest you stepped onstage again at the Emerald Cup, and once again won your class. At this point did you begin considering stepping onto a National stage for a shot at a pro card?
A.) The emerald cup wasn’t in the plan for this year, but after winning the overall at the Vancouver Naturals the judges asked me if I was going to do the Emerald Cup to which I replied no, but that was because I couldn’t afford to do it. Little did I know that a day later I would be sent an email inviting me to do the show, and it was going to be paid for? At that moment Matt and I decided if I took first place we were going to do the USA Championships.
Q.) Take us back to the USA’s. You’re onstage. You hear your name announced as the winner and realize you’ve just won your pro card only a few months after stepping onstage for the first time. What’s going through your mind?
A.) Everything you could possibly think of. It was a very hard, very tough year for me off the stage with personal matters, but the great support system I had from my friends, family, and coach was completely overwhelming. Just the feeling of knowing everything you went through and did paid off was one of the best feelings in the world. But it also happened to be my parents wedding anniversary that weekend and they were in Vegas at the show. It was a very proud moment for my father Raymond Thompson.
Q.) You’ve been fortunate enough to work with one of the most popular coaches in the sport right now – Matt Porter. Tell us a bit about your relationship with Matt and why you feel you two have been so successful.
A.) I met Matt when I first moved to Oregon back in 2012. He saw me when I was 235 pounds and every day I would pick his brain at the gym when I saw him. He watched me lose the weight and keep it off for a year, and then he officially took me on as his client in December of 2013. Matt is one of the best coaches out there in my opinion. His knowledge of nutrition is out of this world, and he has helped me every single step of the way, especially considering that I competed this year as a natural competitor. He didn’t only help me bodybuilding, he helped me with anything and everything on and off the stage. He became a brother and good friend and still is to this day. But the reason why were worked so well together was because I never complained about my diet, workouts, or anything else. I followed the plan to the T, he saw my dedication, and saw something greater in me than I did in myself.
Q.) For you life isn’t all about bodybuilding. You’re also a loving father of two young girls as well. What’s it like playing both the role of Dad and competitor – both of which can be extremely difficult at times?
A.) It is amazing. I wouldn’t change it for the world. They are the reason why I push myself so hard every day, to show them that you can do anything you put your mind to as long as you give it 100% and put everything you have into it – nothing is impossible.
Q.) What’s next for Joshua Thompson?
A.) Matt and I haven’t decided on a show to do yet. Right now we’re just focusing on getting the size I need to be more of a contender in the 212 division, but the plan is to make my pro debut in 2017.
Q.) If someone would like to find out more about you, or contact you for potential sponsorship or guest posing inquiries, what’s the best way for them to reach you?
A.) They can always contact me by email or social media:
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Joshua Thompson IFBB Pro
Its been said that “The key to success is having the ability to adapt”. And that’s exactly what bodybuilding is – a sport of continuous change and adaptation. It presents us with challenges, and forces us to become chameleons of hypertrophy, blending in and adapting to the circumstances around us as we learn, grow, and continue our relentless pursuit of perfection.
Josh’s journey into bodybuilding is still in its infancy, but his early success shows that he’s already mastered one of the game’s most fundamental elements – change.
Interview Conducted By Corey Young