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Mark's Bio

As early as 13 yrs old, through high school, college and years after college into my professional career and now at the age of 40, I have been hooked on the weight room and fitness. Everything I did in a day’s time revolved around my lifting.  Some might say I was a little overboard on the weights, lifting consistently 6 days a week.  I was extremely competitive and hard on myself to stay consistent with my training. I had a drive to better myself each day and I knew fitness would play a role in my success wherever life would take me.

As a very young grade school boy I had a dream of playing Division 1 basketball, but knew I had an uphill battle to fight due to my height.  I knew I had to take advantage of anything I could to make myself a better basketball player and pursue my dream.  I played for hours and hours by myself, against the best players I could find, always traveling to find the best games.  Growing and maturing at the age of thirteen I was introduced to a small set of Weider weights in the basement of my house.  Little did I know this would be a gift that I would use the rest of my life.   I had many God given talents as a basketball player; quickness, court vision, a plus 40inch vertical leap, but I knew that the talent that God had given me needed to be matched with consistency in the weight room to get my maximum potential. In my opinion the weight room wasn’t about talent, it was about showing up, consistent work, desire, building character and having a vision of what is to come.   The weight room had become a very special place for me by the time I entered college.  I developed many positive character traits in sports as well as life from the daily lifting grind.  After high school I earned a full ride scholarship to a Division 1 University to play basketball.  At 5’7” tall the weight room played a major part in my success.  I was stronger and more physical than a lot of the other guards I played against.  Mentally and physically I felt I couldn’t be beat. Everything gained in the weight room gave me that “edge” and “carryover” onto the basketball court.

Fitness has lead me down many paths, but the most significant, is my wife and my career.  I would have never thought in a million years that I would be helping people lose weight; maybe training athletes, but not training people for weight loss.  What a privilege to have such a significant role in changing another person’s life.  It’s an awesome feeling to see a person lose 100 lbs? Or see a person go from 15 different medications to none?  WOW, what a rush!!

Oddly enough, somewhere in my late 30’s I slowly started to let poor behaviors and excuses run my life.  It was hard for me to see but slowly over time it hit me like a Mack truck.  I was 39 and had gained unnecessary weight.  I felt like I had failed myself and I was embarrassed, especially being in the profession of weight loss.

As I looked to my rapidly approaching 40th birthday at 183lbs, my weight was the highest it had ever been in my life and I started to examine myself.  One of the questions I asked myself as I looked into the mirror is,” How did I get here?”  My clothes were not fitting anymore. I had no energy, no drive, no confidence, no edge, and no competitive attitude. I used to have these traits, but felt they were lost.  Man, I could go on for days with all of the horrible feelings and emotions that gaining unnecessary weight had done to me.  I had become yourtypical 40 year old male with a busy lifestyle, work, dinners, lunches, wife, kids, parties to go to, friends to hang out with, excess alcohol,  BAD FOODS,  bad choices…the EXCUSES go on. I made no time for myself.  All of these poor behaviors and excuse making caused me to slowly gain weight. I think a lot of people justify this as, “its ok that’s how it’s supposed to be, right?  I’m getting older and it’s normal to gain a few pounds, right?”  In my mind I knew it did not have to be this way.   I also knew that I had the training and food knowledge, to lose what I wanted to lose.  The question became, “When I am going to stop talking about being unhappy with my weight and do something about it?”  So I did.

December 2011 I made the decision, to make the gym and my foods a high priority.  I put myself into a 3 month fitness challenge contest held at our own gym. As it became known that I had entered the contest numerous clients told me “You don’t have any weight to lose”, however I felt differently.   My name was on the board each week as to how much weight I had lost or gained.  I became vulnerable to our clients but at the same time I now had accountability.  I knew I would not win the contest because I didn’t have huge numbers to lose.  I lost 15 pounds rather quickly and began feeling good about myself. I also found my edge and competitiveness.   When the contest was over I felt mine had just begun. I knew I wanted to get lean but did not want to do a bodybuilding show, which I had done in the past.  It wasn’t until I was walking in Wal-Mart and picked up a few fitness magazines and looked at the guys on the cover and thought to myself, “I can do this”.

End result, on stand Nov. 27th 2012 I was featured in the letter to the editor for Muscle Mag. It's not the cover, but it is a positive start and I will try again.

In a nut shell that’s a short clip of my personal story to the age of 40. I’m not a perfect person in any way and I struggle with many things in life just like you do, but it’s not about being perfect, it’s about perseverance and winning small battles after small battles.

Along a more factual timeline, I graduated from East Peoria High School in 1991 and earned the honor of being inducted into East Peoria Hall of Fame for accomplishments in football and basketball. After high school I decide to attend Louisiana Tech on a full ride division one scholarship for basketball.  At LA Tech we were ranked as high as 36 in the nation. After 2 years I transferred to Valparaiso University to play basketball. At Valparaiso I played on the first team in the history of the school to ever make the NCCA tournament.  Between the two schools I walked away with 3 conference championship rings, an NCAA appearance, NIT appearance and a lot of great life experiences. In my five years of college I was also blessed to have two awesome strength coaches who taught me a great deal about lifting, foods and fitness.

I would be a liar if I said I had a lot of great personal “on the court” success in college. It was flat out tough for me and a war in practice every day to say the least. But I have a lot of positive “take a ways” from my hard fought battle.

After graduating from Valparaiso University in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management, I became an assistant basketball coach and head strength coach at Elmhurst College.

In 1998 I decided it was time to walk away from basketball and pursue a career in fitness. From 1998 to present I have been involved with fitness in some form or other.  In 1999 I stared Peak Athletic Conditioning, selling specialized fitness equipment nationwide.  I was also involved with personal training in various ways at various places.

In 2010 I married Marnie, Founder of Training Domain.   Marnie and I are both trainers and operators of Training Domain.