Meet Mark Bryant, Skimble‘s latest featured Trainer! If you check out Mark’s profile, you will immediately notice his wealth of coaching specialties. He has over 20 fitness certifications under his belt. If that wasn’t enough, Mark’s a World Class Powerlifter. An 11x World Champion Powerlifter and 2x Powerlifting Hall of Famer 😉 We got a chance to chat with Mark and learn about how he got his start and the challenges he had to overcome to get to where he is today.
Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from?
Mark: I was born and raised in New York City. It was a very bad area and my upbringing was hard, to say the least. Being premature and in a difficult environment, I was put in special education classes and was labeled retarded as a child. At home, there was abuse, which I endured for over 10 years. It was also very hard having to deal with gangs in the streets.
In my twenties I decided to move to Seattle, Washington. That’s when I really started to focus on fitness and personal growth, on my own terms. Years later I became a fitness professional. I believe through all the hardship I went through as a child I had a huge desire to help people, especially through fitness.
What inspired you to become a trainer?
Mark: I had a good friend back in New York. I heard him name all the bones of the body by heart and I thought that was so cool. I wanted to be able to do that, and he taught it all to me. One day I was able to name all the bones of the body as well. I just felt great after that and have always enjoyed exercising…push-ups, sit-ups, you name it. When I moved to Seattle I continued my fitness education and eventually got into powerlifting. That’s how it started, that’s my passion, and it’s not going to end 😉
We heard you can lift! When did you get into powerlifting and what do your training plans look like?
Mark: I started Powerlifting later in life, when I was living in Seattle and 33 years old. I got into Powerlifting after talking to a great coach about the sport of Powerlifting and decided to give it a try. Training is normally an 8 or 12-week cycle. If it’s a 12-week cycle the first 4 weeks is for conditioning and the other 8 weeks are for competition training. The last week of the training cycle I take off so my body could fully recover. Overall, my training normally takes me about an hour to finish and I train three days out of the week (every other day).
We train on the three major lifts: Squats, Bench Press, and Deadlift. Because our main focus is to train heavy we keep our reps low such as sets of five, three, and two. As the training cycle gets closer to the end our reps are even lower, two and sometimes one (single max rep).
In addition, I eat pretty healthy…proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and vegetables. Everyone is different when it comes to eating food for competition. I get plenty of rest each night and I also try to take a nap during the day if I can.
What’s your favorite Workout Trainer feature?
Mark: I like having the option to do online training with clients I also see in person. I have clients who are far away and some who have to travel a lot so to be able to stay in touch with them anywhere is very beneficial.
Do you have any recommended training gear?
Mark: I have clients who I train for national and world meets. So, the gear I use are thick powerlifting belts, wrist wraps, knee wraps, chalk. When training my general clients who are not into specifically powerlifting, I recommend regular barbells, dumbbells, and sometimes gear belts and gloves. It depends on the client, that’s how I roll.
What fitness tips do you have to share?
Mark: Train smart and take your time. Do it slowly and focus on form. Then, REST, lie down, go to sleep! When you churn your body hard, when you break down the muscle tissue, you have to have the nutrition and hydration to feed it…and then to recover. So the ‘secrets’ to being your best self are to eat healthy and to get enough rest. Nap if you can!
Mark, thanks again for taking the time to share with us, . If you hop over to his profile, you’ll see some of Mark’s latest training certs (such as Certified Personal Trainer, Elite Trainer, Master Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Senior Fitness, Sports Medicine, Biomechanics, Stretching & Flexibility, Functional Aging, Orthopedic, Barbell Rehab, Precision Nutrition, etc.) from many of the popular fitness training organizations.