Personal Trainer: Mark Ottobre aka Maximus Mark

Mark Ottobre is the author of three books and a trainer of several champion natural bodybuilders and figure models including a two-time Mr Australiatwo-time MsAustralia and Ms Olympia.

Mark is a Poliquin International Certified Program (PICP) Level 2-strength coach, certified in Canada with the renowned Poliquin Strength Institute. Additionally, Mark is a Bio-Signature CE Practitioner and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner.

Mark’s eBook book series, The Truth About Supplements is considered the new age manual to correct supplementation. The Truth About Health Supplements has been recognised by a world-leader in health and nutrition, Dr. Jonny Bowden. Dr. Bowden is an author of nine best-selling books and has a foreword featured in the book, The Truth About Supplements , Eat Your Way to AbsMark’s eBook on nutrition, has had over 1,500 downloads.

In addition to the eBooks, Mark has produced three courses: Eat Your Way To Abs(Seminar), The Ultimate Training Seminar (Seminar) and The Alpha Body (Complete training manual and online coaching program).

Mark is a charismatic speaker on health and human performance and has taught at the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) for 18 months.

Mark is a serious gym-goer, fitness enthusiast and a dedicated learner, seeking out and learning from many leading experts in health, fitness and nutrition. He believes that his down-to-earth, no-nonsense and no-secrets approach is the secret to his rapid success.

Today, Mark works exclusively with high achievers, business owners and people who are serious about transforming their health.

Describe yourself in 3 words: Hardworking, intense and passionate. 

What is your life motto? Take no credit; take no pain, just keep focused on chief aim!

When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? I started off when I finished design school. That’s when I realised I loved training and I loved being in the gym, so in 2005 and 2006 I decided to do my training course. Later I started working in a gym – personal training and went full-out learning as much as I could, as fast as I could. I made a lot of mistakes on the way getting advice through a lot of internet marketers. My internet presence is very good, but one thing I learnt later is that advice is very industry specific.

It took me a while, but I would say that it has been this year. I mean every year I have accomplished something that has been of great significance, whether it has been my ebook, or putting up a new blog or radio station – all my internet stuff has really helped my PT, but this year has been the first year where I have treated it as a personal training business.

How much time and effort did you dedicate? Every waking hour. What I’ve achieved having the website I have, having written the books I have, there’s not a lot of people that would put the effort in and work the kind of hours you need to in that short space of time. For me it was, if I’m not training someone I’m working on something…so it was social life out the window (and not that I really cared, I just got into a state that this is what had to be done, this is what I want to achieve and this is the way it’s going to be done).

Even if some days I don’t feel like working on PT, it is having the discipline to say, “Okay, you don’t feel like working on it, well you’re going to sit at your computer and work on it.”

I tell people the same thing at the gym. Okay, you might not be motivated to start your workout today, but physically there’s nothing stopping you from going down to the gym and starting your work out – even if you don’t actually feel like it. You have to train yourself to do what’s required regardless of what you feel.

There’s a few concepts I believe in – a lot of people think you’ve just got to do the best you can, but often the best you can is not enough; you have to do what’s required. Goals are there to stretch you and make you a better person and they are there to raise the standard of what the best you can do is. Excellence is the commitment to the completion of the goal.

What are the challenges in your line of work? One challenge I’m facing at the moment is moving away from me being the one who does all the man hours, all the PT and that kind of thing, to setting up trainers under me and having the trainers use the systems I’ve set up. So really establishing my brand around what I’m doing.

Persistence is to man, what carbon is to steal and I’m a very persistent person.

What feedback taught you an extremely valuable lesson? I went to a seminar and got taken away with having a membership site and all these other things that people were doing online, and I was sold with the whole marketing thing where you make money when you sleep – until I launched my ebook and realised that it wasn’t effective.  I broke even on what I spent and that’s not counting my time. Why would I focus on selling a small product once, when I can sell a big product once. That was the biggest feedback for me. You can spend the same amount of  time to make $47 or you can spend it to make $4000. It takes a bullet to kill an elephant; it takes a bullet to kill a rat. Hunt for elephants you’ll be fed for longer.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? Get advice from people who are in your industry and people who are successful in your industry.

In your mind, is formal training essential? Industry standard specification is the bare minimum and you have to be a people person and love training, and want to learn what’s needed to become a good trainer.

I used to work with the AIF – they give you the bare minimum to be a trainer. So for my business model that’s not enough. I train people who are very switched on and they want a premium service. The audio needs to match the visual – you need to play the part, and that’s just part of the job description. You need to be a healthy person, you need to inspire health into other people. If you don’t know a lot, you are very replaceable. At the end of the day this industry is about getting results and if you don’t get results, then you’re not a good trainer – simple as that.

Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? I would say it’s very important; extremely important and quite valuable. How would I go about getting one? My biggest mentor is Charles Poliquin – who is the world’s most successful strength coach. In saying that, he charges a fair bit and not everyone can afford his time. So find someone who doesn’t brag about their success, someone you can see is not boasting for the sake of boasting but gets the job done and is getting results  for the clients. If they resonate with you, then buy an hour of their time. Most people in this industry (and others too) are very open to that. Find someone who inspires you. There’s a lot of ego in this industry so they might not always be the nicest person, but if they are getting results, then they obviously know something you don’t. 

What are some steps those starting out can take to start/further their career? Remember that you are a representative of your business. You are your brand. So if the audio doesn’t match the visual you need to change that. Be a dedicated learner. Have a very good understanding of nutrient supplements and training.

The difference between the top earners and the bottom earners in any industry is they do 4 seminars a year. You need to enrol in seminars that teach you something about your trade. Otherwise you’ll get left behind and the more you know the better results you get with people; the better results you get the more repour you get and the more you can charge. I’d look into doing some Poliquin courses as well – that’s a good place to start. Keep learning and from people who get results.

What kept you going when you weren’t at your best? Probably pig-headed stupidity. There’s nothing else I’d rather do. For me it’s to inspire health and if I’m not doing that I’m not fulfilled. If you make mistakes, your still young so keep going. I think we all have the days where we want to go under our bed and cry and say it’s all too hard and I’m sick of this. I allow half an hour if it annoyed me, then I get over it.

Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? No I don’t think so. I think making it is about is having a clear intent and being true to your values. Everyone talks about being in the right place at the right time, to make the right deal; but the only way you get there is by having a clear intent. If you don’t have one then even when it shows up you won’t know because you’re not focused, your not clear on anything. Some of the best business leaders in the world have a very clear idea of who they are and  clarity of their business – ultimately that’s what you need.

Follow Mark on Facebook and be sure to let us know who you’d like to see confess on our Career Confessions Facebook page.

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