mark whittington personal trainer sundried ambassador gym workout

Mark decided to become a personal trainer after becoming unsatisfied in the world of 9 to 5. He talks to Sundried about his passion for fitness.

Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start? 

I’ve always been a very active and fit person. Growing up, my parents had me participate in pretty much every sport despite the fact that I had severe asthma. In high school, I narrowed it down to football and basketball. However at university, I dropped athletics to pursue my degree and directed all of my focus to my education and career.

When it comes to my career in health and fitness, I began nearly a decade ago after working in public education and in logistics. I wasn’t happy working in those fields or having a typical 9-to-5 job where it was the same thing every day. So in between jobs I became certified as a personal trainer and ever since I’ve been in the field and I have to say, I have no regrets or plans to change that! I enjoy what I do and I really have discovered my true passion!

What are your training goals now? 

My training goals are always centred around building strength and maintaining an athletic body. My style of training is a mixture of powerlifting, Olympic lifting, bodybuilding and callisthenics.

Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

I played sports in school but I also played in the band. My instrument was the trumpet and I still have it today, over 20 years later.

What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out? 

The only thing I can say is that I wish someone had advised me to get certified sooner, maybe even at university, just so I could have learnt the business side of things at an earlier age.

Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat? 

I like to align my nutrition with my goals throughout the year. When I’m on a plan for “Hypertrophy/Muscle Mass”, I’ll add more protein and carbs to my meals. When I’m looking to “Lean Out” and focus on lowering my body fat and being more on the athletic side, I focus on protein, healthy fats and I focus on cycling carbs around my workouts.

What do you do to keep your clients motivated? 

I keep them motivated in two ways: by setting attainable goals and adding the element of surprise, meaning they don't always know what’s coming during a workout. I provide “shock value” to a workout by way of “finishers” at the end or different variations of exercises and formats to keep them engaged.

Do you have any top tips to keep motivated? 

You can be as creative and innovative as you want, just make sure everything you do has a “why” and is geared toward the client's goal(s).

Talk us through your training regime. 

My regime is pretty much 3-4 days of heavy lifting using the four big lifts: bench press, squat, deadlift, and overhead press. In between days of lifting I’ll either do sprint workouts at the local track or, if I need to, I’ll go through a mobility circuit to ‘reset’ my body after heavy lifting days. I always provide myself with at least one day per week of rest and recovery.

How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date? 

I’m always reading and studying this craft. I’m a self-proclaimed “nerd” when it comes to fitness and training. I buy books, I read and write blogs and articles and I’m always subscribed to great coaches and trainers in the industry, looking for what worked or works for them – not to emulate, but to gain a higher level of understanding and apply it to my clientele.

What are your top 3 trainer tips? 

  1. Always be professional
  2. Keep a ‘learner’s attitude’. Seek out a good mentor in the industry that is doing things you’d like to do for your business.
  3. Understand that everyone is not for everyone. Whether it be a specific setting – i.e. gym, fitness center, or potential client, or boss, everyone is not going to be a fit for you… and that’s O.K. Always seek the best candidates to work with and that you know you can help attain their goals. Don’t just collect people to drive up your business, you’ll burn out fast, and then you’ll lose the business in the process.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

I’m a big fan of wings and shrimp… so it would have to be one or the other!

Why work with Sundried? 

I love the fact that Sundried has developed a line of apparel for athletes and trainers alike. I feel they’ve really made an effort to separate themselves from the long list of sports apparel companies by providing a platform for people like myself that live the lifestyle of ‘fitness’ and have made a career out of being a personal trainer or strength coach and really have a passion for what they do. Giving an opportunity to people like myself to become an ambassador for this brand is really amazing!

Favourite fitness quote: 

“Make time for it. Just get it done. Nobody ever got strong or got in shape by thinking about it. They DID IT.” – Jim Wendler

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