I really dislike the word "can’t". Even though I was small and under muscled growing up, I took advantage of every opportunity to prove that whatever the challenge "can’t" didn’t apply to me.
- When I was in high school I
completed a full marathon because a friend told me,
You can’t possibly run a marathon.
- While at Swarthmore College I completed two more marathons. One week after finishing one of them I ran a ½ marathon. Again, my motivation was someone telling me it was impossible.
- In medical school I completed both a marathon and a triathlon. I was told no one could do that on a full–time med school schedule.
- I competed and won two power lifting competitions. Another improbable goal for an up to that point long distance runner who used weight training as an adjunct to running.
- When I entered into private practice my next goal was to compete in a bodybuilding competition.
Weight training and biking had become my main focus by this time. I was thinking about entering my first bodybuilding contest when, in November, 2008, disaster struck. I went to the gym for my usual work out.
Ride a bike for 20 minutes, 40 minutes of abs, then 1 ½ hour of legs. I left the gym feeling good. Three hours later I felt something wrong in my left triceps. Ten minutes later my first, second and third fingers went numb. Being a Pain Management physician I knew this was serious. Half hour later I developed sudden, flaccid paralysis in my triceps and pectoralis major. I could not do one push up or bench 20 pounds with my left arm! An MRI revealed I had ruptured a disc in my neck, totally compressing the nerve. As a result the blood supply to the nerve was cut off, the nerve died and was unable to send information to the affected muscles. Over the next 2 weeks my left triceps and pectoralis major completely atrophied.
Thirty years of training gone in two weeks! I lost 4 inches off my left arm and my pec literally disappeared. I tried numerous treatments in my office but to no avail, I finally called my neurosurgeon, Steve Bailey who told me we had to do emergency surgery or risk forever losing the use of these muscle groups. I had an anterior cervical disc removal and a PEEK disc (synthetic) was placed between the 6th and 7th vertebrae. I was operated on at 8:00 a.m., completed at 10:00 a.m. and walked out of the hospital at 1:00 p.m. that day, went shopping with my wife since she’s a Gator and we were in Gainesville.
I never took a pain pill and started my comeback the very next day. I was frustrated and very depressed when I realized this was going to be a trying, treacherous course. My next door neighbor, another physician, told me that I would never completely recover, never. (Remember I can’t stand being told I can’t do something.) So, I started on what turned out to be a 220–day program to regenerate my damaged nerve and finally allow normal muscle contraction.
Every morning at 4:30 a.m., my very close friend Paul Hloska would come over to work out with me, encourage me, and perform therapies on my affected muscles as recommended to me by Jeff Everson, the publisher of Planet Muscle. It was his magazine and recommendation that got me started with Beverly International. I achieved a miraculous comeback. And I firmly believe that the Beverly International supplements were a significant part of the recovery process. I give special credit to the circulatory benefits of Quadracarn in this regard.
A year after my injury, I saw the NPC Northern Kentucky Bodybuilding Championships discussed in Beverly’s No Nonsense Magazine. I set a goal to compete for the first time and to win my class no matter what. In March, 2010 I achieved that goal with a 1st place finish in the novice lightweight class.
My approach to diet is strict and simple. I eat like a caveman – simple nutrients, no additives, nothing processed. At the grocery store, I do not walk the aisles; instead I stay on the perimeter, where the healthy foods are located. First stop is to get vegetables, sweet potatoes, broccoli leafy greens, bananas, and asparagus. Then to the meat section for lean meats such as skinless boneless chicken breasts, top sirloin or flank steak, and 93–95 percent lean ground beef. Grab some oatmeal, not the processed kind, cinnamon and lots of eggs.
Here’s my daily supplement and diet routine:
My day starts and ends supplements.
Creatine Select with Up-Lift for my pre work out vasodilatation.
GH Factor (6 capsules) to help elevate my endogenous growth hormone
Quadracarn (3 tablets) to assist with nerve regeneration and vascularity
Lean Out (2 capsules) and 7-Keto Musclean (3 capsules) to assist with fat metabolism
Density (5 tablets) for essential amino acids, and 8-16 Muscle Synergytablets to increase Nitric Oxide (NO) production
During my work out I have 2 scoops of Glutamine Select to prevent muscle break down and every 15 minutes I take 1 Mass Amino to provide a continual supply of protein for my muscles.
Meal One: 4:30 a.m. One serving Mass Maker, I find this is a great way to stop the catabolic process upon waking plus its easy on the stomach especially if your going to work out right away. I then go right to the gym.
Meal Two: Immediately after workout. One serving Muscle Provider (I like chocolate), ½ cup oatmeal with 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon. (I place this in a container the night before with enough water to cover; by a.m. it’s soft and can be eaten cold). I will eat 9 egg whites and one yolk either hard boiled or as an omelet cooked with olive oil and broccoli (steamed).
Meal Three: Two to three hours later. 6 oz. grilled chicken breast, 6 oz. sweet potato and 6 oz. broccoli
Meal 4: (same as Meal 3)
Meal Five: 1-2 serving UMP chocolate made with 8 oz. water so it tastes like a shake
Meal 6: 6 oz. 93 percent burger with 6 oz. broccoli (no condiments)
Meal 7: 6-8 oz. top sirloin or chicken or sea trout grilled on top of 2 cups greens drizzle with balsamic vinegar
One key component is fluids, I only drink water (caveman) and I drink one ounce per pound per day, not including work out water.
TIPS: I have all my meals prepared either the day before or cook everything on Sunday, grab 2 gallons of water and go to work. I always carry a fork and have one emergency meal available in case there is an unforeseen delay.
While at work I’ll eat between patient visits and make sure I drink plenty of water. Before I leave work I consume meal 5, by the time I’m home I eat meal 6, then I check and make sure my water is ready for the next day, make my a.m. oatmeal and prepare meal 7. I also make sure I go to bed early and try to get 8 hours of sleep.
Final Adjustments:I used the diet outline above until 2 weeks out. As I got closer to the show I increased my consumption of broccoli and asparagus. At two weeks out I cut my carbohydrates to 75 grams total and made sure to drink 1½ gallons of water. I took 8 Mass Aminos upon waking, 1 every 15 minutes during my workouts, and 8 between each meal. This kept me in positive nitrogen balance while I progressively cut my carbohydrates. At ten days out I decreased my carbohydrates to 45 grams, then went to 25 grams at nine days out, and 12 grams at 8 days out. I eliminated carbohydrates Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before the show. On Wednesday I started to add carbohydrates 300 grams divided over 6 meals and reduced protein to 200 grams. Thursday and Friday I progressively added carbohydrates while slowly decreasing protein and water.
I work out every day. I do not believe in rest days. I start every work out with 20 minutes on the versa climber then I go right into my weight training. I have 4 routines that I rotate.
Day 1: Chest, Biceps Triceps
Day 2: Abdominals, Legs
Day 3: Back, Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps
Day 4: Abdominals and Legs again, but with different exercises
Then I start all over with Day 1 again.
Here are a few of the special techniques that I use in my training:
- I usually do 3-4 sets per exercise and rest just 45 seconds between sets.
- A unique method I use on Day 1 for chest is incline dumbbell press for 10 reps at a 60 degree incline, 10 reps at 50 degrees, and 10 reps at 40 degrees (rest 10 seconds between each change, that counts as one set) repeat for 3 sets.
- I like to use the Ab Wheel for abdominals. I start Day 2 and Day 4 with 3 sets of 100 reps supersetted with overhead cable crunches to failure.
- On Day 3, my 2nd bicep/tricep workout of the cycle, I tri-set as follows: reverse grip EZ bar curls 5-7 reps immediately followed by seated hammer curls 10 – 12 reps, immediately followed by EZ bar wide grip curls on preacher bench as many as possible. Rest 2 minutes, repeat, rest 2 minutes, repeat. For triceps it’s lying extensions with straight bar to top of forehead 6-8 reps, immediately followed by extensions to chin 6-8 reps, immediately followed by close grip bench press as many reps as possible. Rest 2 minutes, repeat, rest 2 minutes, repeat.
- On Day 4, I have a pretty cool hamstring workout I do. Stiff legged dead lifts 12/12’s (perform 12, hang in the stretched position for 12 seconds, then repeat 12 for a total of 24) for 4 sets. Lying leg curls 12/12’s for 4 sets. Seated calves ten sets 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 times 2.
Hands down in my years of experience, there is nothing like a Versa Climber for a workout that challenges the entire body, but does not strain or load any joints. I am in better aerobic conditioning than when I used to run marathons. I’m always fascinated how little aerobics is mentioned in bodybuilding. If you don’t do hard aerobics on a daily basis you are cheating yourself. Remember the better you take care of yourself in your 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s, the better your health will be in your 50’s, 60’s and beyond. This is one habit I would not skip.
I begin 8 weeks out to take care of my skin. It is the largest organ in the body and needs close attention because it will go through major changes as you approach the show. Twice a day I apply lotion and sometimes three times a day.
As far as posing goes I recommend practice, practice and more practice. During the last 2 weeks you should pose at least 15 minutes a day. First practice in front of a mirror and then during the last week do not use mirrors. Remember there are no mirrors at a show. For your posing suit order several and remember a darker color is better.
One of my favorite mental tricks is to write your goal on your mirror so you can see it every day. I always think about tomorrow’s workout when I’m done with today’s workout. Remember as you start to decrease your carbohydrates it will naturally have a depressing effect on your mood. You can’t help it so warn those who are close to you that this will occur.
I have always strived for perfection and I feel totally confident that my lifestyle of hard training, dieting correctly, and taking the correct Beverly Supplements has afforded me the ability to be in the best shape of my life. The experience of preparation for a show will naturally create a very organized individual and prepare you for whatever life throws at you. If you elect to body build I hope you give it your best effort and are proud of your accomplishment, because you made incredible sacrifices for a few short moments on life’s stage. I wish all my fellow Beverly enthusiasts the best in their endeavors.
Mark N. Hashim, MD At A Glance
Occupation: Medical Doctor, Anesthesiologist, Pain Management Specialist Family: Married 12 years to my beautiful wife Christine, three children Spencer (7), Parker (5) and Sophia (3)
Current Residence: Port Richey, Florida
Years Training (total):32; for competition: 1
Height: 66 inches
Off Season Weight: 144 pounds; Contest Weight: 130 pounds
Favorite Cheat Food: My homemade TiramisuFavorite Bodybuilding Meal: UMP Chocolate 2 scoops mixed with 8 oz. water; it’s like chocolate cake dough
What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before?
Definitely try Muscle Provider after workouts and then add Creatine Select mixed with Up-Lift pre work out and Glutamine Select during workout. I also would definitely use Quadracarn 3 tablets 3 times per day.
Most Inspiring Bodybuilder: Arnold
In your I pod: loaded only with Soca music from Anguilla, Pantha Vibes, Exodus, Better Band, Infusion Band, Motion Band, Satisfaction Band, Jam Action Band
Most Inspiring Book: Into Thin Air
Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Any activities with my children, little league coach for soccer, baseball and basketball. I also love to windsurf.
Words to live by:
Live your dreams, always do your best, believe you can, never ever give up, never believe you can’t.