Joining us today is Mark Hartman. Congratulations. What made you want to compete?
Training has played a significant role in my life for a while now. I knew that the Men’s Physique Division would drive me to achieve my highest level of fitness to date. I just decided to do my first show and started training and dieting the next day.
Tell us a little bit about the show in which you most recently competed.
I just recently competed in the Mid States Natural Muscle Classic in Rockford, Illinois. I was shocked by how tall the other physique competitors were. At 5’10’’ I was shorter than the average height and ended up stepping on stage with the short class. At check in on Friday night it was obvious to me that the top 3 most conditioned guys were in that short class, so I knew I had to be on for prejudging the next morning.
How did you feel after prejudging?
I felt great. I had a game plan for that day. It started with having fun! I know the judges saw that and I never got asked to step off the center spot on stage that morning. With that I felt confident that I would place well and better be ready to perform at the night show.
How did you feel after the results of the show?
I was happy to win my class, but something more than thrilled to take overall. I have a lot of respect for these other guys because they all worked so hard to be there that day. Against that level of competition it was a very satisfying accomplishment for me.
What are your thought on the Men’s Physique Division and what it can do for your career?
I think the division represents the modern day athlete in a way that is obtainable through hard work, healthy living and eating, and positive lifestyle changes. The division attracts a certain range of physiques within different height classes that calls for some stiff and interesting competition. Since my first 2 shows, I have had clients up their dedication level to accomplishing goals both in the gym and in their personal life. As a trainer I’m lucky to have a client base that is loyal to me and committed to improving the health of our community. Accomplishing my initial personal goal to win a show has built more value for everything we do to better ourselves with exercise and positive living as our means to get there.
My schedule revolves around my leg and back days. I put 2 days between the 2 so I have maximum recovery time and therefore get more out of those most important days in the gym. Here is an example of what a week looks like:
Mon- Legs/Tue- Chest, Bi, calf/Wed- Shoulders, abs, calf/Thur-Back, tri, calf/Fri- Chest,abs,cardio/Sat- Legs/Sun- Shoulders, arms, calf/Mon-Rest
Typical daily eating plan:
5:15am- 7-9 egg whites, ½ c oatmeal, 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter, 1 c black coffee (2 cla’s, 2 fish oils, animal pak multi vitamin, 1,000 mg vitamin c, 4 HMB)
8:00am-6oz ground turkey, ½ c brown rice, 3 oz. spinach (2 cla’s, 2 fish oils)
11:00am- 6oz sirloin steak, 6oz white potato, 3 oz. spinach, (2 cla’s, 2 fish oils)
2:00pm-6oz chicken breast, ½ c brown rice, 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter, 3 oz. spinach (2 cla’s, 2 fish oils, 1,000 mg vitamin c, 4 HMB)
5:00pm- 6oz ground turkey, 3oz spinach
8:00pm-6oz chicken breast, 3oz spinach
9:45pm- 7-9 egg whites or Egg white protein pancakes (mix in 2 scoops whey based chocolate protein with 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter) (3 ZMA)
Up until 4 weeks out from my first show I had a whey based chocolate protein shake before bed. It tasted like chocolate cake compared to the clean foods I ate every day.
What peaked your interest in training?
When I committed to personal training I took my workouts more seriously. It’s important to me to be a leader to my friends, family, coworkers, employers, and obviously my clients. I work hard to set a positive example by doing, not just saying. Since I have become part of the competitive circuit my interest in training has certainly reached a new level. I’ll train to win and that means hard work-bottom line!
Who influenced your training?My coach, Pedro Yanga. He taught me some new techniques to help me achieve the symmetry that the judges are looking for. Most importantly he never let me lose sight of my goal. He made it clear from the beginning that we wouldn’t work well together if I would be content with 2nd or 3rd. Pedro made me work hard and got me right outside my comfort zone with my training, dieting, and my posing. He was honest with me every step of the way and prepared me for some of the sharp turns that the road to the stage may take you on. Pedro had a careful attention to detail with me that kept my physique not just on track, but ahead of schedule most of the time.
Special Interests: Playing the drums, Training my dog, human movement science, functional kinesiology
Physique Competition History:
2012 Chicago Iron Man Classic- 4th place Men’s tall (Nov 3rd)
2012 Rockford Mid States Natural Muscle Classic- 1st place Men’s short and overall win (Nov 17th)
Hometown: Lisle, IL
Current city: Chicago, IL
Years training: 18 years
Education: NESTA certified, ACE certified
Favorite type of training: High volume by repetition and set strength training. Each muscle group is approached with super sets every other lift.
Favorite body part to train: Back and posterior delts!
Wide back and shoulders was a huge focus for my competitions. I’m going to have to say wide grip pull downs. Super set that with rope cable pullovers from a full kneeling position and your wings are wider after the first set.
Rep range: 12-15
Number of sets:
7 sets for all major muscle groups. If I’m doing super sets, then sometimes I only do 5.
Typical workout duration:
I usually spend just under 2 hours in the gym. I have a high volume approach that just takes time. Closer to my shows I did cardio for 40 minutes before breakfast at a relatively low intensity.
Awards or accomplishments:
My service in the United States Marine Corps paved the way to my fit lifestyle. I worked my way through the enlisted ranks to E-5 being promoted meritoriously every time but once. I was awarded many times for my service in Iraq in 2003. Also I was a 4th award expert rifleman and scored a perfect 300 on the Marine Corps physical fitness test every year.
Next planned competition:
I’m getting ready for the national stage in 2013. I have bigger goals in mind and will decide on the exact show very soon!
What keeps you on track towards your goal?
When you make the decision to compete you should do it to win. My coach kept me on track and reminded me how rewarding the experience is in the end. I kept my mind and body strong along the way and believed my competition was working hard, so I had better work harder!
Interesting fact you want readers to know about you...
I took an integrative approach to my 14 week prep. I received a regular weekly chiropractic adjustment as well as full body massage. I was able to keep my stress healthy and manageable so I got the most out of my recovery time as well as my time in the gym.
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