My home country is Poland. Although I’ve been interested in bodybuilding as long as I can remember, the bodybuilding bug really bit me while attending the Academy of Physical Education in Cracow. Unfortunately, bodybuilding was not one of the subjects taught there. Sure, I applied myself to my studies, but the highlight of each month was the arrival of the latest Muscle and Fitness magazine, almost the sole source of my bodybuilding education.
Physical therapy degree
I graduated from the Academy with my physical therapy degree on June 6, 1995. One month later I moved to the United States with my wife Monika. It’s the best thing I ever did. The USA is a land of great opportunity. When I first came to this country I had to put my bodybuilding aspirations on the back burner. I had to concentrate on passing a number of board exams and getting the certifications I would need to pursue my P.T. degree. It was well worth it. My first P.T. job was working in a hospital setting. I’ve also worked in outpatient clinics, but my current job is my favorite. It’s called Home Health.
I see patients in their homes. It’s long hours (about 60 per week) and I’m on the road all day, but I am my own boss.
I was able to start working out again in 1998. It was so different from back in Poland. I almost couldn’t take it all in. Now I had access to an overabundance of bodybuilding magazines, information, workout equipment and supplements. I was taking it in like a sponge. I wanted to try everything at once.
Finally I decided to compete. Remember, I’d read everything. I knew all the best diet, supplement and training tricks. At least I thought I did. So I picked a contest and started dieting. Reality set in 6 weeks out. I was stuck. My cardio consists of intervals, and running sprints and hills. I was killing myself with cardio, starving to death and my progress had come to a dead stop.
Lack of progress
One day I was discussing my lack of progress with my friend Dave. He said, "You should try Beverly International (BI). They have the best supplements and information out there." I was skeptical because I had come to the conclusion that all the supplement companies were pretty much the same. Dave had given me one of BI’s No Nonsense Magazine and later that day I went on the internet and checked them out. Since I had nothing to lose, I sent them an e-mail with my contest goal and concerns. Roger answered my email the very next day. He told me to stop what I was doing wrong and put me on the right diet right away. OK! Maybe BI was different than the rest. That day I ran around the whole city looking for the prescribed BI supplements. Finally, I got them. The rest is history. Six weeks later I won my very first. I could not believe it.
At this point I knew I was on to something. I kept on training and six months later with a big help from my man Roger I won the best poser award, heavyweight class, and overall title at the NGA Can/Am in Buffalo. Along with the title I earned the distinction of becoming a natural pro in the NGA organization.
(from an interview with Sandy Riedinger) SR: What kind of diet were you on when you hit that plateau before you called BI?
Mark: Before my first BI diet I thought my nutritional program was the "perfect" bodybuilder diet (good protein and carbs, low fat, lots of supplements from MetRx, Pro Lab, Cytodyne, you name it and I tried it). The problem was my fat loss had come to a screeching halt (and I still had about fifteen pounds of fat left to lose). Even worse, my blood sugar had peaks and valleys. I’d fall asleep at 2:00 in the afternoon; the problem was I was supposed to be working until at least 5:00. After I started BI everything changed. I had energy that lasted the whole day. I’d get up at 4:15 a.m., workout at 5:00, then go to work until at least 5:00 p.m.
Here’s my favorite off season diet to stay lean and gain quality muscle.
Meal 1: 1 whole egg plus 3 egg whites ½ cup of oats 8 oz. lean beef 3 flax caps Meal 2: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein + 2 TBS heavy cream + 5 strawberries Meal 3: 8 oz. chicken 6 oz. sweet potato or ½ cup brown rice or ½ cup oats Meal 4: Same as # 2 Meal 5: 8 oz. beef, fish, chicken ½ cup of oats 3 flax tabs Meal 6: 5 egg whites plus 5 oz. turkey ½ cup veggies
SR: How did you know that you had reached a plateau?
Mark: You just know. My weight was at 225 lbs. I still was way too fat and nothing was happening. You workout like a maniac and nothing, you follow the "right" diet and nothing. At that point you know that something is wrong, and most likely if you are honest with yourself, it is the diet part. Thank God for BI because it did change my life. Now I see how everything is supposed to be done. You guys told me what to do; I just had to follow the program.
SR: What type of training did you do?
Mark: I usually train 5-6 days a week, one or two body parts per session. I keep my workouts intense and focused. I usually rest no longer then 2 minutes between sets. I often do super sets, drop sets, or triple sets, any type of technique that will give me a good pump. Sometimes I take sets to failure, especially legs. I also evaluate my weaknesses and I prioritize my training around them. For example I train my calves 3 times a week. Each workout lasts an hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes then I have to run, shower, breakfast and off to work I go.
Images of progress
SR: Do you do any cardio?
Mark: Roger instructed me to do intervals, as well as run hills and sprints. It has done wonders for my leg separation. You can accomplish a lot more in a shorter period of time.
SR: What are some of the other things that will help other natural bodybuilders like you?
Mark: You have to stay focused on your goals. You have to work on the small ones first but keep your eye on the big prize and gradually you will get there. "Rome was not built in a day."
You can take every supplement in the world but if your diet is off you will get nowhere. They design a supplement plan that works with your nutrition program. That is what makes BI different then any other companies. BI really cares about their clients and treats you like one of their own, always ready to give you the right advice.
If you are planning on competing, STAY LEAN OFF SEASON. I am not blessed with great genetics. I have to work very hard to make improvements. If I have to shed a lot of excess weight getting ready for a show, it’s almost impossible to improve certain bodyparts at the same time.
Ultimate Muscle Protein is one of my favorites. You can make all kinds of great stuff with it like muffins, pancakes, puddings, cookies you name it, and I love it all. Muscle Provider is the best post workout protein shake. It helped me gain a lot of muscle.
I always take my Ultra 40 and Mass with each meal.Muscle Synergy helped me increase my strength, improved recovery, and it also helped me maintain my lean muscle mass when I was on a strict diet.
I won the best poser, heavyweight class, overall title and my drug-free pro card at the Can/Am.
My Supplement Strategy
Ultra 40 – 6 tabs with each meal
Mass Aminos – 4 tabs with meal
ZMA – 3 capsules before bed
8 Muscle Synergy before training and later in the afternoon on an empty stomach.
Proper nutrition is 80%
In my opinion proper nutrition is 80% of successful bodybuilding. I love to eat. But BI helped me realize how important it is to stay focused on your nutrition. You can lift a lot of weight and spend hours in the gym but if you do not eat right you will have very little, if any, progress. Remember that everything you put in your body is going to affect your results – either positively or negatively.
I allow myself one cheat meal a week so that I don’t feel I’m missing out on something life has to offer. But, I go back on my diet the very next meal and sometimes even do some extra cardio just to be safe.
Bodybuilding and working with BI helped me change my life. I’ve become goal oriented, organized and self-disciplined. The last thing you need when you get ready for a contest is chaos. Everything has to be in place at the right time. Thanks to Beverly I don’t have to worry about the diet and supplement part of the equation. I know I can count on them at any given time and all I have to do is train and follow the plan.
I would like to also thank my wife Monika who probably suffers the most during my contest preparation. I want her to know that she is the most important person in my life and because of her unconditional love and support I can do what I do, knowing that she is behind me 100%. To contact me please send an e-mail to Mdal[at]twcny.rr.com .