Body Transformation: Mark Irwin Body Transformation

Categories: Articles Motivation
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Before Stats
  • Weight
    336 lbs
  • Height
  • Date
After Stats
  • Weight
    182 lbs
  • Height
  • Date
    October, 2009
Editor's Note: Everyone is different and these results may not be typical for the average person. To achieve these results you need to be willing to put in the work both in the gym and in the kitchen. Use this transformation for motivation for you to make the changes you want!
Mark Irwin found himself at 336 pounds and morbidly obese. 2 years later Mark is a shredded competitive bodybuilder, and competes at 182 pounds.

Lifestyle Prior To Change

Before I signed up with Dr. Joe Klemczewski, I was on a train to nowhere. I would have been classified under morbidly obese for close to fifteen years (since I was 22). The funny thing was that I have always been into bodybuilding since I was about 15 or so and in pretty good shape until I was in my early 20's due to playing a lot of sports. I have always trained (although a little inconsistently though my late 20's to mid 30's).

In university, I started to go through a bit of a depression and found I was eating quite a bit more food but could not really stop. I had formed a strong attachment to food as a healing tool even though it was slowly killing me. By the time I hit my 30's it was a full blown addiction.

What Was Your Turning Point?

In late 2007, I started feeling unwell on a regular basis. I knew I was really overweight but up until then I didn't feel bad all the time like I was feeling now. An acquaintance of mine who was also overweight (I would guess over 300 and 5'9") died of a heart attack at the age of 39. I was just turning 35 and thought "well that's going to be me soon enough."

Mark Irwin Ripped

What Was Your Exercise Plan?

I grew up being a fan of Mike Mentzer Heavy Duty Training and this is what I did the whole time I was overweight (pretty low volume and frequency). When I was losing the weight, I upped the volume slightly but not much. I train 2-3 times a week for about 30-45 min. I do a lot of partial zone training (working each part of the rep in mini sets). I find this a very high intensity way of training. Low volume of sets with lots of contractions. I also make sure I regularly perform some full range compound exercises as barometer exercises and try to aggressively up the weight as often as I can.

Right now in the off season I perform one high intensity 20 min interval cardio and one 40 min moderate cardio per week. This past pre-contest I performed 2 moderate and one high intensity cardio a week. Dr. Joe handles my cardio prescription. The first year when I was coming down for my first show I did about 4 cardios a week for the first 6 months and 12 a week for the last four months. We didn't have to go with as much this year due to me being pretty lean the whole year.

What Was Your Diet Plan?

Mark Irwin BodybuilderI hired Dr. Joe in December 2007 and it was the best decision I ever made. Besides getting world class knowledge and support on how to get ready for a contest it was important for 2 main reasons.

  1. It made me accountable to someone. It was harder to cheat if I had to report back to Joe why my weight jumped. Too many times I rationalized in the past that I could just have one more cheat meal and it always blew up in my face. I had been so out of shape and tried so many diets I am amazed it took so long for me to ask for someone's help.
  2. Pacing. I have read a lot of fitness and nutrition books over the years so I had some knowledge (certainly enough to get started on weight loss) but I was always too hard on myself. If I lost 2 pounds in a week, I would automatically cut my food to keep the weight loss going. You can not do this if you have over 100 pounds to lose in 10 months. I knew Joe could keep my metabolism as high as possible coming down because he had this experience.

If I was doing it alone, I would have cut my calories too low too fast and had nowhere to go. With Joe, I stayed on the same macros pretty well the whole ten months. With slight manipulations in my food and cardio and I just kept losing. After my first show, we rebuilt my metabolism to the point where I was eating 3500 calories a day doing 2 cardios a week and still not putting too much weight on. This meant this past pre-contest was much easier. My levels of food were quite high. I have a pretty quick metabolism but I didn't know it because I was eating incorrectly.

Right now in this off-season, I am eating 300g protein, 350 g carbs, and 60 g fat with one cheat meal a week. In this past pre-contest I was eating 300g protein/250g carbs/50g fat and one higher carb day of 500g. I was not starving!

What Supplements Did You Use?

Not many. A lot of protein powder since I do not like cooking too much. A pre-workout Labrada Supercharge as well. I will eat a protein bar sometimes but not really everyday. I take a multivitamin. I am toying with the idea of creatine this off-season.

What Is Your Life Like Now?

Great. I sometimes forget what it was like to be so overweight just like when I was overweight I forgot what it was like to be lean. I have found a passion for natural bodybuilding and really plan on competing for many years to come. I have yearned to be an athlete again for so long, it is hard to believe that I am in the process of doing just that. I love having more energy now and I just don't want to collapse on the couch 24/7.

Right now I am in the off-season and my next show will be the INBF Mid-America in 2011 Novice Class. I want to win so I want to give myself plenty of time to get ready.

I am also currently studying for my personal training certification with the IART (International Association of Resistance Trainers). I would love to help people reach their fitness goals, whatever they may be.

Advice For Others

Have a goal and do not be afraid to ask for help. I knew I wanted to be a bodybuilder so I did the research and found the best qualified person I thought could help me. So many people are afraid to ask for help. The way I think of it if I really want to get serious about this sport then I should have a coach. Team K has some of the best professionals in the natural bodybuilding world and it is an honor to be part of this team. What a support group!

I also set a very challenging goal to compete in a competition in 10 months NO MATTER WHAT I LOOKED LIKE. This gave me the motivation to get to the gym and do that cardio and not eat that pizza. I knew those posing trunks were unforgiving.

Not everybody wants to be a bodybuilder which I understand; maybe it is looking good on the beach or running a marathon. The goal has to be big enough to motivate you consistently though.

Dino Ducci
Posted on: Fri, 09/19/2014 - 10:34

You have inspired me to take up bodybuilding same age as you and have had the worst year medically. Lost 35 pounds so far this year

Gabriel John
Posted on: Mon, 11/19/2012 - 21:28

hi mark, you look much better in lean body.. hihi
hoping you doing well in 2012..

Posted on: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 22:37

Thanks Andrew,
I still have the loose skin but it definitely gets tighter the leaner you get. My fist show I competed around 190 and 10% and the skin was noticeable in many poses. For my third show a year later I was 178 and about 6% and it was a lot tighter but not totally gone. As soon as I gain a bit of weight for the offseason (not much, about 10-15 pounds) the loose skin comes back. So it is tough to maintain that tightness but it does seem to be possible if you keep getting leaner. Some people have ab outlines at 10% but due to my history of obesity, I am not one of them.
Oh well, you can only do what you can do.
Congrats on your weight loss!!!

Posted on: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 22:11

Thanks family! I haven't talked to all of you in so long. I hope this is the year we can all get together and hang out. It would be great to see you guys.

Cousin Amanda
Posted on: Sat, 01/09/2010 - 00:26

Wow! Mark this is fantastic! I am so grateful to hear how well you are feeling and how passionate you are about continuing your training. Kudos to you, brother!

Chantal (cousin...
Posted on: Thu, 01/07/2010 - 23:15

Congratulations Mark! You are setting a wonderful example of mind over matter. I applaud your courage for following your dreams. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

Cousin Paul
Posted on: Thu, 01/07/2010 - 10:36

Wow Mark, great work! The transformation is one of the most spectacular I've seen -- and all in less than 2 years. Look forward to seeing you in person soon!

Posted on: Thu, 01/07/2010 - 03:24

Congrats you've done well! I too have lost heaps of wieght i am finding it hard to shift the excess skin. How did you do it? got any tips?

Aunt Carolyn
Posted on: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 23:45

You look awesome Mark! Loved the article. All the best in your upcoming competitions. Wished you lived closer so I could hire you.

Posted on: Mon, 01/04/2010 - 16:21

OMG this is spectacular!! I'll bet that Mark wins his next contest!

Posted on: Sun, 01/03/2010 - 11:35

Thanks Damien, I appreciate the compliment!