I boxed amateur as a teen, 16-18, that’s where I first started getting serious with fitness and some experiences as a trainer, helping coach the beginners class once I gained experience fighting.
In my 20s, I fell into a very bad lifestyle of crime and addiction and became gang-affiliated. That lifestyle ended with a jail sentence which was completed at 30. That last term was when I started training every day and came up with the game plan to box again upon my release. I also had a newborn and a 4-year old that needed me on the outside.
I started boxing amateur again and finished my career off as a professional and reached a childhood goal. My last two fights were against Tim Cronin and Ryan Young who are both current Canadian champions in two different weight classes, so I got punched out by the best at least.
I also got certified as a personal trainer and a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from the Health & Sciences academy so I could work in a gym. My boxing coach Kerry Hendren helped me to get a job at Gold’s gym, which was bought by GoodLife Fitness a few months later where I continued to work for 8 years, winning trainer or coach of the year every year and set several regional revenue records. The highlight of my career there was developing a boxing program for Parkinson’s patients which Trent University had ethics approval to do three medical research studies which all came back positive, well the first two did, covid shut the third study down, unfortunately.
I now run a successful personal training business from my home which my clients have dubbed “HoodLife” so I trademarked the word and have a clothing line as well which also promotes and advertises for Mark Cleary Fitness.
After my last boxing match in 2014, I decided to start bodybuilding to keep me focused and to help with my personal training career. I have competed in 6 CPA shows now and fell in love with the bodybuilder lifestyle! I also just celebrated 6 years without alcohol or illegal drugs as well July 31st, the anniversary of when I started to prep for my first bodybuilding building show in 2015, the Toronto Gala. My struggles with addiction were pretty under control once I was released, I was too busy training to fight every day. After boxing matches, though I always celebrated a win or lose, just getting into the ring and doing something positive with my life was a win even when I got punched out lol. Choosing to compete in bodybuilding was what let me really take control of my demons. If it wasn’t for boxing, bodybuilding, and the fitness lifestyle I’m certain I wouldn’t be here today.
Personal Trainer & Nutritional Therapist, HoodLife Clothing Brand Owner.
Is weight loss more of a fitness issue or a health issue in your opinion and why?
Being obese can cause many physical and mental health issues, but they can be resolved through a fitness lifestyle.
If you have 100 tokens in total and you could apply them to the following categories, how many would you apply to each?
- Fitness level: 50
- Health level: 50
I believe they are equally important, incredible fitness levels aren’t great if your health is suffering. My mental health would suffer if my fitness level wasn’t great as well, they go hand in hand with me.
Thoughts on HIIT, Powerlifting, TRX, Yoga, bodybuilding, etc?
HIIT is great cardio especially if you are short on time and very effective.
Powerlifting is great with proper form and hitting a PR is an easy way to measure progress.
TRX and suspension trainers are great pieces of equipment and very functional, I always recommend stretching or yoga to clients and love yoga myself but should do it more.
Bodybuilding and the dedication to the lifestyle are just awesome. Nothing beats being sedentary!!!
Share your unique training/coaching methods?
I love incorporating boxing into my clients’ workouts for the cardio aspect to keep it fun and teach them a new skill and self-defence. I build confidence. I love pushing clients past a point that they didn’t think they were capable of reaching, teaching mind over matter, leaving every session completely drained, but feeling like a million bucks excited to come back to see me for their next session!
Stay humble, don’t teach something you aren’t knowledgeable in, always be ready to learn something new.
Train weights 6 days a week, each body part twice a week, hypertrophy style, cardio almost daily on the stairs or punching bag.
“Lifestyle Plan”, includes all macronutrients, depending on the goal the calories and macros change, but always eating the same healthy types of foods.
Pre-workout, EAA, protein powder and multivitamins are daily things for me.
Do you prefer to take and recommend all-natural (no sugar, no artificial colours/flavours/sweeteners) supplements or supplements with artificial flavours and sweeteners? And Why?
The supplements I use have sweeteners in them, which I will always choose over refined sugar, I use stevia as well over refined sugar to avoid unneeded calories. Personally, I would choose aspartame over refined sugar any day, both will cause health problems, but one makes you obese as well.
What separates Status from other fitness magazines:
It’s well established in North America and is known as the world’s best fitness & bodybuilding magazine by reputation.
Describe your coaches and the impact they have on you?
Kerry Hendren was my coach in boxing as a teen, and again in my 30s after my last stint in jail. He never gave up on me like everyone else, he built my confidence. Kent Leckie my first bodybuilding prep coach was also a huge help for me, I was clueless about what I was getting myself in to lol, he taught me the poses, and without his encouragement, I wouldn’t have made it on stage for my first show, which was the show that got me hooked after my boxing career ended.
If you could ask Status Fitness Magazine Editor in Chief Rodney Jang any industry question, what would that be?
What do you think is a more appealing and impressive look, bodybuilders or the classic physique look?
Status Fitness Magazine runs model searches across North America including the largest one at the Arnold Classic for the Status cover. As part of the Status family, you will receive a special participation invite. How excited are you for this opportunity?
Do you have a sponsor? List them and what they mean to you?
Popeyes Supplements Canada. They have had my back since my first contest, I’m very proud to be a fully sponsored athlete by our countries #1 supplement company.
Future fitness goals and plans?
Been prepping for a photoshoot for the end of this summer. Would like to make the jump from bodybuilding to classic physique in the master’s division next year for my 7th competition.
Being successful and a positive role model for my children or anyone watching.
5 things people don’t know about you?
- 6 years without alcohol or illegal drugs.
- I have two sons Mason and Kaydyn.
- I lived in Peterborough my entire life.
- My favourite movies are comedies.
- I love to travel.
5 lessons you have learned?
Choose your circle of influence wisely, learn from your mistakes, take responsibility for your actions, stay humble, always think positive.
5 most important attributes you see in a person?
Kindness, Loyalty, Integrity, Patience, Honesty.
If you could inspire one person, who would that be? And why?
Someone who has lost hope in life, I was there at one point, it’s far from over.
Who inspires you? And why?
Anyone who has overcome addiction or tough times in life to become successful. Self-made people inspire and impress me.
Connect with Mark Cleary: IG
Photos By: Phil Cheevers