Mark Felix is a well known name on the strongman circuit, both here and internationally. Mark was born in Grenada and moved to England in his early twenties. Originally a bodybuilder, he then changed direction to strongman competitions in 2003.
Hazel Adames: Hi Mark, thank you for taking time to take part in this interview for us.
How old were you when you started training in a gym and what success did you have as a bodybuilder?
Mark Felix: I was 27 when I started training, this was in the U.S.A whilst working on cruise ships, in any gym that I could. Bodybuilding was pretty much the only option. I did ok, I represented Grenada a couple of times in '97. I competed in the UK a couple of times in '98 and '99, came 3rd in MuscleMania.
HA: What made you decide to move from bodybuilding to strongman?
MF: In 2002 I made up numbers in a strongman comp for a friend; I came 3rd after Mick Gosling and Adam Townsend, having never even touched any strongman equipment before I realized this was a big achievement.
HA: At what point did you realise you had a good chance of competing at the World's Strongest Man?
MF: In 2004 I competed in my first Worlds Strongest Man, I think I came 7th, I hadn't really taken it seriously till then. Beating some of the top guys events I hadn't even practised I realized with experience and training I could get up there with the best.
HA: Where do you train currently?
MF: I train at my friend's gym for body and circuits close to where I live. I have an outdoor yard with my own strongman equipment. I also get down to Adlington barbell club when I can. This is where I have seen the most improvement, hard core training old school coach.
HA: We all know you're huge but just how tall and heavy are you?!
MF: I'm not that huge in comparison to some of the guys, 6 4" and 21½stone.
HA: You are married to the lovely Denny and have 3 children, how difficult is it fitting in training and travelling with family life?
MF: It is difficult; I wouldn't be able to do it without the support of my wife and family. On top of training and competing I work. I'm also sponsored by Met-Rx & Gold's gym fitness, so I get to do personal appearances and exhibitions for them. My wife books everything, I don't know what day it is most of the time!
HA: When not competing and training, what is your day job and what do you do to relax?
MF: I can't remember the last time I was able to relax (like any parent). I'm a self employed plasterer so I can adjust my jobs to fit around competing. I also have an agent that I get other work from such as extras and modelling.
HA: Do you follow a specific diet for strength? What is your typical diet like?
MF: My typical diet involves a lot of fish, fruit and veg, not your usual eggs and chicken. It doesn't change much; I have Met-Rx protein shakes a couple of times a day to make up the extra calories that I burn through work.
HA: How often do you train and do you have a training schedule?
MF: I train six days, with a rest day when I feel like it, I try to have a schedule but with travelling etc it's not really possible. I split my body and train each section once a week like most people. On top of this I have specific event training up to four times a week depending on the competition.
HA: You tore your right bicep not so long ago, how long has it taken you to recover from this and do you have any problems with it now?
MF: I tore my bicep at WSM in September last year; I was able to have surgery within 48 hours and took my time recovering. Eight weeks in a brace followed by four weeks of no use. I gradually built up the weight and I think I was back at 100% at 8months post op. It feels amazing it doesn't even ache, whilst the rest of my body does!
HA: What are your current PBs?
MF: I don't really have any pb's , as I don't tend to push it, and in any event there are so many variations, weights bars, reps etc, that I don't know if any would count. I've joined the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) and I'm hoping to compete when I can fit it in, then my pb's will actually count.
HA: Please can you give us a rundown of your competition history?
MF: Something like over 40competitions since I started, as well as the Worlds strongest man, Britain's Strongest man, over the years there has also been, IFSA,UFSA, World Strongman Cup, Super Series, United Strongman, also televised. I have been fortunate enough to travel to many places, U.S.A, Canada, Brazil, Caribbean, China, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, Siberia, Moscow, and many more.
HA: How would you like to see the future of strongman going?
MF: I would just like to see it getting more recognized, which it definitely is, I don't think it will ever be a 'sport' as such as there are so many events and variations, along with the organizers. But its a great hobby and many people enjoy the entertainment of it.
HA: Do you have any useful tips to share with MuscleTalk members which you can draw from your experience?
MF: Stay true to yourself and listen to your body, what works for another might not work for you. Don't believe the stereo type. I'm 43 and still getting stronger!
HA: Many thanks for taking the time to be interviewed and on behalf of all the MuscleTalk members, I'd like to wish you all the best in your future career. See you on MT!!