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The Life of a Natural Bodybuilder

By on August 15, 2016

How does one decide to become a bodybuilder?

Talking to 21-year-old Josh Gilliam, a professional natural bodybuilder, student at Winston Salem State University, and personal trainer; He says he was inspired by Phil Heath and Doug Miller.

“When I was younger, I wrestled and played football and after that I needed something to do. I always liked muscular physiques and the science behind getting it, so I just started researching it and took it from there.”

It was actually other patrons at a gym who encouraged him to compete in an upcoming natural bodybuilding show. Natural bodybuilding was appealing because natural bodybuilders don’t take any performance enhancement drugs at all.

“I was 19 and took 2nd place in the men’s open – Natural Atlantic Coast and that got me going.” 

Ambition sent Gilliam to take the state title in the teen division the following year. He was even featured on the front cover of Natural Gainz magazine as well as received media coverage for his accomplishments.


“I am now in my senior year of college and I am in the process of opening up my new business Ascension Athletics. Being in college while doing all of this isn’t the easiest, but I want to hit the iron while it’s hot!”

Working to achieve new things is common for the oldest of two children. It might be a first-born thing. And getting a good body in top shape to be a great body, takes lots of discipline and dedication. Joshua says in the off season, he’s in the gym about 8 hours a week and during show competition season, training is like a part-time job.

“Some people don’t understand. They don’t get the art of it. Sculpting the muscles, the science that goes behind it,” he says. But he credits his girlfriend for supporting him and others close to him who do understand.


“Someday I want to be a world champion. I’d like to reach out to young black males as well to pull more of them into the sport. I hope to inspire others to explore the sport like I did; My passion is to help people workout.”




The next big thing for Joshua is to launch online coaching services. He says he’ll be graduating with a degree in exercise science and eventually opening up gyms. He likes to travel and speak to young people about fitness, exercise, nutrition and stuff like that.



Walker Tisdale is the Executive Editor of Healthyblackmen.org and he resides in metro Atlanta, GA.