“I’m in amazing shape. I’ve got a six-pack. I sent a picture to my family and they all thought it was fake. They thought it was AI.”

Mark could never have foreseen that almost dropping a coffin at a funeral would bring his health into such sharp focus.

But that’s exactly what happened to the 39-year-old award-winning author and podcaster…

The motivation behind his staggering ‘dad-bod’ transformation all started in Fontainebleau, France.

Whilst carrying the coffin of his best friend’s father through the church, Mark’s strength began to fail him.

All he could think about was making sure his knees didn’t collapse beneath him.

In truth – this was just one of many ‘fitness wake-up calls’ for Mark.

In the past few months alone, he’d been unhappy with how he looked in a series of self-portrait images for his business, and his two young children had even commented on his weight gain.

So, after 30 years of trying (and failing) to get in shape, he handed the responsibility over to U.P.

Fast forward 21 weeks, Mark is 13kg lighter, has the six-pack look he’s wanted since he was a teenager, and feels immense pride taking his shirt off around the pool.

It’s the first time he can confidently say he’s honestly happy with his physique.

Not just that – but he’s thinking clearer and feels like he’s become a more disciplined leader at work.

And, incredibly, when he sent his U.P. photoshoot images to his family, they were convinced they were AI images!

Here, Mark reveals all, explaining what it took to get in this kind of shape just before 40.

 Markl M39 21wk Pt Cty - Very Good Front Ultimate Performance

What was your motivation to start your own personal training program?

The reason I decided to join U.P. is that late last year, around September, my best friend’s dad died. He was a public figure so it was a crowded funeral in a small church. My friend and his brothers were too distraught to carry the coffin and asked me if I could do it. Towards the end of his life, he had put on a bit of weight so he was quite heavy. I didn’t feel strong and all I could think when walking down the aisle was ‘don’t drop it’. I also wanted to get in shape so that when I die, my kids can carry me. I don’t want to be too heavy when I reach that point.

My book also came out in the UK in December and ahead of that we did a photoshoot to promote it. We were out in East London taking some shots in the street and at one point the photographer showed me the stills. I looked at them and asked him if he’d mind taking a picture from a different angle where I didn’t look like a fat hamster.

The accumulation of the funeral, the photoshoot and turning 40, made me think that this was my last chance.

When I moved to London in 2012, Joe Warner was on the cover of Men’s Fitness magazine after a 12-week body transformation. I read the article, and he had been trained by Nick Mitchell from Ultimate Performance. He looked incredible.

The seed had been planted. I made the commitment and decided that I was going to go all in because I hate wasting money. I wanted a world-class service. I kept on seeing U.P. being called the ‘Goldman Sachs’ of personal training. I knew I needed to partner with them.

What was your lifestyle like before you began training at Ultimate Performance?

My diet and lifestyle before joining U.P. was atrocious. The combination of Covid, having two young kids in lockdown, and writing a book for three-and-a-half years meant that I ballooned and I didn’t notice it.

My diet consisted of Deliveroo, ordering pizzas and burgers, but also convenient kind of salads. I didn’t exercise that much. I sat down a lot. I was quite stressed and I blamed a lot of other people for the way that I looked and felt. I think that was the biggest thing that held me back.


What did you make of the process itself and the impact that U.P.’s personal trainers had on your journey?

It felt like there was a clear structure and plan and my trainer looked the part. You want to train with somebody who’s been through it and done it.

I love the fact that I joined at the same time as all the trainers in U.P. (London) City were going through their own transformation for a photo shoot. I could see them suffer a bit, which was really helpful for me.

They know what it’s like to cut and diet and all that stuff. It was a no-brainer. As long as you show up, it will take care of itself.

The way that U.P. is set up, it’s much more functional. You don’t have to wait for machines and every minute counts. I felt like I was getting the most bang for my buck.

My trainer was always present as well. You need a trainer there with you in that moment, not looking on their phone, that is not obsessed with their own look in the mirror, that is not telling you how much they’re bench pressing or how much they know. It was always all about me.

It sounds almost narcissistic, but it’s such an important part of the process. There was no way I could’ve got in this shape without my trainer.

Any particular exercises that you found tough, or any tips from a particular exercise that you found helpful?

God I hate pull-ups! Even though I started off barely being able to do one or two and finished being able to do a full set of 8 reps with a 10kg plate attached to my waist, I still hate them with passion. It’s the one exercise that seems that no amount of mental grit or effort I try and put into it, the body just won’t follow or listen.

My tip for anyone else struggling with anything like pull-ups is to keep doing them and keep doing them. It’s also hugely psychological. As in, I would be defeated before even approaching the bar. Towards the end, I would pump myself up, a la Dwayne Johnson, just to dominate that bar and get through three sets of six to eight reps.

The exercises I ended up loving which I’m surprised about are deadlifts and triceps dips. There is something about those two compound movements that I loved and felt super primal!


Did you face any obstacles along the way and, if so, how did you overcome them?

I needed to take extreme ownership. The reason I looked the way I looked, and felt the way I felt, was because of me. It wasn’t because of my partner, it wasn’t because of my kids, it wasn’t because of my job, it wasn’t because of my travel, it was me. That was a hard pill to swallow, but it got me through the door.

Then there was this limiting belief. I had to constantly push back this inner voice that told me that I wasn’t going to make it. There was a barrier in my mind because of my genetic makeup, the way that my dad looks, the fact that I was skinny as a kid and a bit on the fat side as an adult.

You’ve also got to be so consistent on the short-term fundamentals and always keep your eye on the long-term goal. It’s the idea that metrics change. My fat loss graph goes up, it plateaus, it goes down, so it’s not linear.

Normally if I’d been dieting for a week and my weight wasn’t dropping, I would traditionally fall off the wagon. But with the help of your trainer, you focus and keep going. You understand that progress isn’t just what you see in the mirror. You have to focus on what you can control, get your steps in, get your hydration in, get your sleep in, get your protein, and then everything else falls into place.

The biggest challenge was having two young kids and waking up three, four times a night sometimes. My cortisol levels were always high and it was really hard to get enough sleep. Also, because I’m a speaker, I get the opportunity to travel to America and across Europe, so that was tough at the start.

Talk us through what a typical day of eating looked like for you.

Typically around 7am, I would have eggs for breakfast (2 egg whites and one whole egg) with some vegetables and lean protein (typically mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and peppers with smoked salmon or chicken).

After my 10am workout (at 11am) I would have a protein shake with water and 5g of creatine.

Around 12:30pm I would then have lunch which again was either turkey or chicken breast or chicken thighs (sometimes prawns or fish) and as many vegetables as I could get in me (cabbage, kale, green beans, broccoli, peas, etc). Sometimes I would add a small portion of carbs too. Either a whole fruit (e.g. apple) or some leftover from last night’s rice or potatoes.

Around 3pm, I would mix in either chocolate protein powder or a U.P. chocolate multivitamin with around 100g of Greek yogurt (or cottage cheese) for a snack with a handful of blueberries and cinnamon. It helped with my sweet tooth cravings!

Around 6pm, I would eat a little something at the same time as making dinner for the kids, typically another lean source of protein or tofu with vegetables as I would get hungry and it would help me stay away from eating the kids left over pasta.

My last meal typically was around 8pm or 8:30pm once the kids were in bed, where I would have fish, or chicken with vegetables and a complex carbs source like rice, sweet potatoes or potatoes.

I was aiming for roughly 150g of protein a day, 55g of fat and roughly 180g of carbs (but I rarely went above 110g of carb a day).


Has your 13kg weight loss heightened your confidence when you’re out and about in public places?

When I go to the community pool or to a gym outside of town, I’m in amazing shape. I’ve got a six pack. I had abs when I was 18 because I was so skinny, but these have been earned and I love my body.

I can look in the mirror now and I’m proud. I now understand why bodybuilders or fitness professionals are constantly obsessed at looking at themselves in mirrors because you’ve carved this piece of art.

What lessons will you take away with you from this program?

It has demystified a lot of things in life about success. If you have a plan, if you have a guide, and if you are committed to the program and you consistently show up and do the fundamentals, you will get results. I’m transferring what I’ve learned in the ‘Pain Cave’.

If I show up three times a week, if I get my reps in, if I get my nutrition, my sleep, I’ll get results. It’s the same thing in business. If I make X amount of call outreach to companies a day, if I follow up on X amount of emails, I will generate X, Y amount of revenue. It’s not rocket science.

This journey reminded me to ask myself – what is my next limiting belief in my business? How many people I can work with? How much revenue can I generate? What team I can build?

What advice would you give to somebody who was thinking about training with U.P.?

If you want the glory, you’ve got to put in the grind. How serious are you about transforming the way you look? I spent three decades consistently trying and failing. Whereas I did more the last six months than I did in the last two decades in terms of my transformation.

There’s 1% of people who could probably do this without the kind of support that you provided. It’s hard, but you’re supported, held accountable, championed, and you’ll be pushed in ways you never thought possible. You get out what you put in!


Hitting your 40s doesn’t spell the beginning of the end for your fitness. Give your health, confidence, and appearance the overhaul it needs today in as little as 12 weeks.   


  • We show you the best, we don't show you the worst.
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  • We show you those who inspire even us with their commitment to their results.
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  • Your results are a function of time spent following the plan; your genetic response to the right exercise and diet program; how hard you train; how consistently you come to the gym; how disciplined you are with your diet; & your starting point.
  • Oftentimes the lower your starting point (poor fitness, terrible body composition) the better your results.
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