West Coast Update with Eric Broser - Mark Durando
By Eric Broser
I have spent the better part of my life as a gym owner, bodybuilder, trainer and coach -and have lived in NY, Florida and now Southern California (since 2011). I have worked with, and trained with, some amazing athletes, but ever since I ventured west, everything has reached an entirely new level. And while I have had the honor (since making Marina del Rey my home – 10 minutes from Gold’s Venice) to coach many IFBB pro’s, I also have had the opportunity to assist so many awesome amateurs to progress through the “ranks.” Mark Durando is one such athlete.
Several years ago Mark came to me - big, but overweight, and without much shape – and asked if I could help him become a successful competitive bodybuilder. The potential I recognized in him was not necessarily “physical,” but shined most brightly via his passion, dedication, discipline and true “coach-ability.”
Just recently I had a back workout with Mark in his hometown, who is still training his rear off while under quarantine, as he continues to pursue the possibility of competing in 2020. After our session, I sat down with him and asked him a series of questions, so you can learn more about this rising classic physique competitor, who also is a long time GASP ambassador.
1. How old are you and where are you from? Where do you reside now?
I am 30 years old and born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. – where I still reside.
2. When did you get into bodybuilding?
I got into bodybuilding after I graduated from Personal Training School up in Dublin, Ca. in 2014.
3. When and what was your first show?
My first show took place 2014 here in Bakersfield. It was a local NGA show that was drug-tested. Because I already had a foundation of muscle from powerlifting and sports I was able to compete rather quickly.
4. When did you and I start working together and what made you contact me?
I started working with you (Merlin) in 2015 as I wanted to take my body to the next level with the guidance from a real professional coach. I had seen what you had done with other clients and read about your methods and knew I had to work with you.
5. How did I change your diet and training from what you were used to?
You had me do a 180 turn around to my whole way of working out, AND most of all my nutrition, which was a huge game changer, especially with my body type.
6. What is the biggest show you have done?
The biggest show I’ve ever done was the 2018 NPC USA - my first ever National level show. This was the best experience one could ever ask for as an athlete. While I did not make the top 6, I looked around and knew I belonged up there.
7. What show are your working towards now?
I am hoping to do the NPC West Coast Classic promoted by Center Podium. This would be my 3rd appearance at this show, which is one of my all-time favorites.
8. What made you choose classic bodybuilding?
I chose classic bodybuilding because I LOVE the look and the presentation of the athletes. Lee Labrada and Mohamed Makkawy are my main inspirations – both for the look of their physiques and their incredible posing routines.
9. What are your goals for this year and in the future?
My goals for this year are to place top 5 at the West Coast Classic and to once again compete at the NPC USA (if it is held) – hopefully improving my placing.
10. What advice do you have for others that want to get into competing?
The advice I feel is the most important are two simple things: TRUST IN THE PROCESS and YOUR COACH.