My biggest shortcoming in the early years of competing was a lack of understanding of the importance of sound nutrition. I spent the off-season getting fat in the name of “bulking” up, only to diet away much of the gains in muscularity when preparing for the next competition.
My genetic strength is rooted in my symmetry and balance. I didn’t carry a ton of mass and have had to remain diligent and disciplined to attain the physique I now possess. It didn’t come over-night, but only through a lot of consistent hard work.
Being able to help others with the knowledge I’ve gained through the climb to the professional level is the best aspect for me personally.
A lack of consistency often comes from boredom. I advise people to continually change up their training program so that they do not stagnate and training remains fun. Additionally, it helps to set and focus on short-term goals. For a young guy starting out that only thinks about becoming Mr. Olympia, it can become discouraging knowing how far he must go to reach the desired destination.
I personally use a combination of both free weights and machines. I typically use free weights for my heavy lifting days and machines more so for my feel-type workouts. Nothing beats heavy squats, deadlifts and bench press, but there is a time and place for using machines to isolate various muscle groups.
I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve walked-my-talk outside the gym. I’ve stayed consistent in my faith in Jesus Christ, my faithfulness to my bride Christina, and my devotion to raising my three daughters well. It’s a challenge to balance the demands of competing at the highest level in bodybuilding with the responsibilities of being a good husband and father. I strive to put equal amounts of effort into the discipline of bodybuilding and that of leading my family well.
I try to limit actual weight training to 60 minutes; although pre-contest I will do 20-30 minutes of cardio after hitting the iron. I also begin training twice a day during my pre-contest period.
I’ve tried everything over the years – rowing machine, sprints, Stepmill, elliptical, jump rope, bike, etc. I think the method, form and intensity of your cardio must be tailored to your goals and the type of nutrition plan you are following. I found that the recumbent bike at a moderate pace works best when training with weights twice per day and utilizing a low carb diet.
I typically have both a heavy training day and lighter training day for each body part per week. On the heavy day I use a 6-8 rep range and on the lighter day I will use a bit more volume and keep the reps at 10-12.
While preparing for my past contest this was my training routine:
Monday – AM abs and calves w/20 minutes cardio, PM back w/20 minutes cardio.
Tuesday – AM biceps and triceps w/20 minutes cardio, PM quads and hamstrings w/20 minutes cardio.
Wednesday – AM shoulders w/20 minutes cardio.
Thursday – AM abs and calves w/20 minutes cardio, PM chest and back w/20 minutes cardio.
Friday – AM biceps and triceps w/20 minutes of cardio.
Saturday – AM quads and hamstrings w/20 minutes of cardio.
Sunday – AM shoulders w/20 minutes of cardio.
When my diet is the most strict I consume about 320 grams of protein, 100 grams of fat and 45 grams of carbs per day. Protein is mostly bison, chicken and ProGram protein shakes by Nutrex. Fats come from almonds, olive oil, coconut oil and animal fat. Carbs are primarily green vegetables and sauerkraut.
Yes, I will boil several days worth of chicken and will use my slow cooker to
prepare a 5lb bison roast.
I’m not a huge fan of junk food or sweets and I salt my food with sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. I don’t limit my sodium intake while dieting. Eating frequent meals while dieting can help limit cravings as well. ProGram by Nutrex is so good it’s almost like having a dessert!
I think two things…that my family has sacrificed for me to compete and I owe it to them to hold nothing back, and second that God gifted me the ability to compete in professional bodybuilding and I better not waste the opportunity.
To win a pro contest.
As mentioned earlier ProGram by Nutrex for my protein needs. I also like Hemo Rage Ultra Concentrate pre-workout and Lipo-6X when dieting. Everything else is health supportive stuff…krill oil, greens drink, zinc, vitamin D, etc.
1. Stay consistent with your training and nutrition.
2. Set short-term goals that feed your long-term dreams.
3. Only compare yourself to yourself…strive to beat the guy in the mirror rather than fret about the other guy onstage.
Stats: 5”6” 235lbs off-season, 215lbs competitive weight
Facebook Page: facebook.com/Mark-Dugdale