Reprinted from the April online issue of IN THE ZONE, we drop in on IFBB Professional Bodybuilder, Mark Dugdale. In addition to being a bodybuilder, Mark is also a successful business owner (actually, he owns three), husband, father, and all around nice guy. Brought to you courtesy of Robert Kennedy Publications and Musclemag International.
Mark, Thank you for making some time with us.
ITZ: What led you to bodybuilding?
MD: Soccer was my true passion, but an ankle injury sustained in high school football ended both sports for me. I found myself in the weight room without any team sports to participate in and discovered how much I enjoyed training. Around this time, my cousin’s husband was competing in the Emerald Cup and we attended the show. Between watching him compete and seeing Dorian Yates guest pose I knew I wanted to step onstage someday. 6 months later I won the 1993 NW Natural Teenage Division and was hooked.
ITZ: You just competed in the Ironman Pro in January, 2009, where you placed eighth among strong field. How do you feel that you did?
MD: I think my placing sucked. I don’t train and diet for anything other than to win, so it was a disappointment for me personally. However, I cannot point the finger at anyone besides myself as I am capable of coming in with better conditioning. It’s an honor to simply be able to compete in the IFBB, but I’m still very competitive.
ITZ: In 2007 you placed second in the Ironman, earning a coveted spot on the Mr. Olympia stage later that year. What was that experience like?
MD: Once again, it was a huge honor and personal achievement to step on the Olympia stage with the best bodybuilders in the world, yet my competitive nature often leads to disappointment in not placing well. It was an experience I won’t soon forget and am thankful for the opportunity.
ITZ: To follow up your first DVD, “Driven”, you went all the way to England to train with six time Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates, to film “A Week in the Dungeon“. How was it to train with a legend like Dorian?
MD: Dorian was the first bodybuilder who played a major role in motivating me as a teenager. I enjoyed his no-BS approach and work ethic. He didn’t talk a bunch of rubbish about his competition, but let his physique do the talking
while onstage. Having the opportunity to travel to England and train in the infamous Temple Gym with Dorian yelling in my ear was pretty freaking cool. It’s like getting to revisit a legend on his own turf; you can’t have a bad workout at Temple Gym.
ITZ: Your third DVD “Beyond Driven” was released at the end of 2008. One of the things that struck me was the human side that you present to the sport of bodybuilding.
MD: BEYOND DRIVEN was filmed around the time of my prep for the 2007 Olympia debut, but the A Week in the Dungeon project caused us to shelve the release until later in 2008. We hoped to cap it off with a good showing in August 2008 at the PBW Tampa Pro show, but this didn’t come to fruition. Hindsight, I think it made for a much more authentic film as I had invested a lot of finances and time working with Joe McNeal (Dexter Jackson’s trainer) and had very high expectations going into the show. Getting completely over-looked by the judges caused me and Christina to do a lot of soul searching and the emotion spilled into the film. Let’s face it, as much as we all want to win, more people can relate to the struggles and let-downs of competitive bodybuilding than to standing in the winners circle.
ITZ: You and your wife, Christina, have been blessed with three daughters. What types of fitness activities do you enjoy with your family?
MD: Honestly we don’t have much time outside of weekends. My girls like to go to a local track and ride their bikes, or we go for walks as a family. They are huge fans of bowling and various sports on their Nintendo Wii.
ITZ: You not only have brawn, but also have brains. You are one of maybe a few that come into the sport with a successful business, Garden Fresh Foods. How did you get involved with that?
MD: Garden Fresh Foods was founded in 1987 by my dad and current business partner. My dad retired in 2000 and I bought in with his 50% interest and am partners with his former partner. The business entails bringing in truck loads of fresh vegetables, cutting, washing and packaging them for foodservice or further manufacturers as ingredients. Additionally, my partner and I own an LLC which deals in commercial real estate. These businesses account for where I spend 40+ hours a week, and my bodybuilding business 3G Enterprises, LLC encompasses the rest of my time…what little that is left!
ITZ: What is next for you?
MD: I tried pushing my body weight up to 220 when competing at the PBW Tampa Pro show in August 2008 and felt like I lost what were the hallmarks of my physique which enabled me to win the Overall USA title in 2004 – namely, conditioning and symmetry. I feel like I’ve kind of maxed out the amount of shear mass my frame can hold while maintaining my aesthetics. It’s a little disappointing knowing I am competing against guys who outweigh me by 30-60 pounds and there isn’t much I can do to combat their mass. Therefore, I am seriously considering dropping down to the new 202 pound weight class where I feel my physique
ITZ: Who are your influences?
MD: The biggest influence in my life is Jesus. While I hate religion because it’s man-made BS and is all about what we HAVE to do to make God love us, Jesus turns this thinking on it’s head. Having Jesus and the Bible as the foundation in which I build my marriage, my role as a father,businessman, bodybuilder, etc., is truly the driving force behind any success I’ve experienced. When you build your foundation on anything other than Jesus, it can and will crumble in time.
After Jesus, I would say my dad is the biggest influence. He instilled the values of hard work, honesty, integrity and godliness into my life and I really respect him as a husband, father and man.
ITZ: What advice should everyone follow?
MD: Life is short, so don’t waste it! Too many people fall into the trap of wanting too much, too fast and ruin their lives and relationships in the process. The discipline of bodybuilding can be a huge benefit in a person’s life, but it cannot be
the foundation. Always have a plan B and never give up what truly matters most in life for a trophy.
ITZ: What do you do to relax?
MD: I would say having sex with my wife is my favorite way to relax…it’s probably one of the benefits of being in a loving and faithful marriage.
ITZ: Favorite book/movie?
MD: I really enjoy reading books by Vince Flynn. They are better than any episode of “24”.
Mark, thank you very much for taking the time to share with our readers. Good luck in your business ventures, as well in your quest for bodybuilding glory. IN my opinion, the 202 lbs. weight class was made for you.
Be sure to check out Mark’s website, www.markdugdale.com, and pick up one of his DVD’s in his store. While they do not sell to the general public, check out Garden Fresh Foods at www.gardenfreshfoods.com.