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Making His Mark

Making His Mark
Mark Wahlberg
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So you think you have what it takes to be a movie star? Do you take pride in a bodybuilding regimen that you believe is rugged beyond belief? Then a day in the life of Mark Wahlberg might prove to be an eye-opening experience for you.

Mark has always been famed for his rock-hard abs and muscular physique, but sometimes a day on the set of the next blockbuster action movie requires more than a sturdy six-pack and a lean silhouette. Take Wahlberg's recent film work for example. In the space of several months, he worked on Broken City, a crime drama with Russell Crowe, then Pain & Gain, a Michael Bay dark comedy with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and finally 2 Guns, a Navy SEAL action picture with Denzel Washington.

That's a lot of work for anybody, but in terms of sheer physical alteration, it posed an enormous challenge for Wahlberg. For Broken City, he had to play the part of an ex-cop and investigator, lean to the point of being very thin at 165 pounds. Several weeks later, he was on the set of Pain & Gain, acting a comedic part as an amateur bodybuilder ensnared in a screwball extortion plot. Wahlberg had to put on almost fifty pounds (tipping the scales at 212), and, most dauntingly, it had to be all muscle. He was playing a bodybuilder, not some fat guy. That's a transformation that takes many experienced athletes a year or more to make (if they make it at all).

And then in 2 Guns, Mark had to strip all that weight off again, while retaining muscle mass, to embody the role of an elite Navy SEAL. Of course, while he was succeeding at all of this, he was also wearing the hat of executive producer (HBO's Boardwalk Empire) and entrepreneur (he has a new line of health and wellness supplements out, bearing his own Marked Nutrition brand).

Clearly, Mark Wahlberg is a man on the go. He took some time off recently, however, to sit down with us at ProSource to talk about Pain & Gain, his new supplement line, his plans for the future, and to offer some advice to athletes and actors who look to follow in his footsteps.

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ProSource: Hey, Mark. Thanks for joining us. There's a lot of interest in your new movie Pain & Gain among our customers here at ProSource! What was it like working with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson?

Mark Wahlberg:
Working with The Rock was just incredible. I worked with him in The Other Guys in 2010, but we didn't have a lot of scenes together. This time, with Pain & Gain, we were in the whole movie together.  He's a talented guy. In fact, we're trying to get together on another project right now. I can't say anything about it. Not until we close it up.

ProSource: How much heavy lifting did you have to do for the movie?

Mark Wahlberg: Oh gosh, a lot! So much that I haven't been able to touch a weight since I finished that film. I've done four films this year and all of them have required that I look extremely different. I had to get as thin and ripped as possible for Broken City. I was 165 pounds for that. Then for Pain & Gain, I had to get up to 212 pounds. And then I had to lose all that weight for 2 Guns, a movie I'm doing with Denzel Washington.

ProSource: When people think of the Mark Wahlberg physique--going back to your Calvin Klein days--they think of you as very lean and hard. To play a hardcore bodybuilder in Pain & Gain, how did you add all that weight and muscle mass in such a short time?

Mark Wahlberg: For Pain & Gain, I was lifting constantly, and eating ten to twelve meals a day. It was fun for the first couple of weeks, but then it started getting a little hectic. You're tired from working all day, and then you have to wake up in the middle of the night and eat another meal. Big breakfast, pre-workout drink, hit the weights every day for 40 minutes to an hour, and then it was all about eating. Eating, where I'd have a huge meal and a mass gainer shake on top of that. I had to gain a lot of weight, and I wasn't necessarily ripped either, because of the way the storyline in Pain & Gain progresses, with the characters training rigorously in the beginning and then not so much as their lives start to unravel. So the characters were these bulked-up guys who maybe didn't do the cutting up phase that would have come next, you know?

When I moved to LA, I spent a lot of time at Gold's Gym in Venice. So I was around a lot of bodybuilders and seeing how they would train. About six weeks before a show, they'd start leaning down and getting ripped, changing their workout and their diet. So Rock and I were in the kind of head space where we were just trying to get as big as possible.

ProSource: That's going to be a startling experience for the viewers of Pain & Gain, seeing you that big. 212 pounds. And now that weight's all gone. How'd you do that?

Mark Wahlberg: After the shoot was over, I immediately started playing basketball every day to lose the weight for my next film, 2 Guns. I play a Navy SEAL in that one, so I had to get back down to my typical weight without stripping off muscle mass. I played a lot of basketball.

ProSource: And clearly your diet changed. Can you briefly describe your approach to diet? Are there foods you emphasize over others? Foods you try to avoid?

Mark Wahlberg: I usually eat pretty clean. Although right now, for whatever reason, I'm having a chocolate chip cookie craving every day right after lunch. Usually though, it's a high-protein, low-carb thing I do. At my age now, my metabolism isn't as fast as it once was. I usually eat six meals a day, three regular meals and three snacks. If I'm at home, I have this prepared-meal program which is oriented around your physique goals, losing weight, adding muscle. So basically, I'm eating every three hours.

ProSource: What's your workout strategy for maintaining such a high degree of fat-loss? Do you do a lot of cardio? What's your workout regimen like?

Mark Wahlberg: I don't like to run. Running, treadmills, that stuff, I don't do much if I can avoid it. I play a lot of basketball, I do some boxing, rope skipping. That's how I stay lean. That's what works for me. As for weight training, I do three days on, one day off. I do pretty much a full-body workout, but I'll rotate one body part where I'll go really heavy, bench really heavy, squat, whatever. Really maxing out. When I was training in Miami for Pain & Gain, I was literally doing the entire circuit every day. Especially in Miami, the emphasis was on heavier weights and fewer reps, although I would still try to get in as many reps as possible. On the bench, for example, I'd do one rep at 185, go up to 225 for one rep, then go right to 315, then go to 335 for one rep. Then I'd move down to 285, do five reps or so, then 15 reps at 225, then finally back to 185, doing as many reps as possible. And then lunges and squatting and on from there. At the very end, I'd do pull-ups and try to get as many as I possibly could.

ProSource: Wow. How many?

Mark Wahlberg: Thirty pull-ups or so.

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ProSource: That's great. Our readers definitely would want to know what you can bench press, and now we know. You're launching your own line of supplements, Marked Nutrition. How involved were you with the fundamentals of the line? Can you sum up your philosophy about nutritional supplements and achieving athletic and physique goals? How is this philosophy put into practice in your Marked Nutrition line?

Mark Wahlberg: I was involved a lot. People have asked me to endorse particular products and I don't do that sort of thing. I always wanted to be in the health and wellness business and Marked Nutrition seemed like a great way to start. Hopefully, one day I'll be opening gyms, especially in the inner cities. There are so many people that don't have access to gyms or can't afford it, so opening gyms in the inner cities is my ultimate goal. Having places where people can learn about nutrition and exercise is crucial. Once you start exercising, you start feeling better and you can just do so much more in life. I want to create spaces where everybody will be able to do that.

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ProSource: Can we ask, in terms of your product line, Marked Nutrition, why did you choose ProSource to help launch your supplements on-line?

Mark Wahlberg: I've been using protein bars and powder from you guys for quite awhile now and that's worked out really well. ProSource is a stand-up group of guys who have the athlete's best interest in mind and that means a lot to me, so the decision to work with you was an easy one.

ProSource: Our customers are looking forward to trying the new Marked Nutrition products, I know. And Pain & Gain is tailor-made for the ProSource customer. Hollywood should make more bodybuilder action drama/comedies!

Mark Wahlberg: I'm really excited for it to come out. I've seen Pain & Gain and it's a great film. Everyone who's involved with it is expecting good things.

ProSource: Our readers are also big fans of Entourage, a show that is said to be based largely on your early experiences in Hollywood. Can I ask, how much of Vincent Chase is in Mark Wahlberg?

Mark Wahlberg: When we first cast Entourage, we were looking for guys like me, guys who were very physical, and it just wasn't working. When we sat back and thought about it, we realized we needed a guy who was believable as a movie star, whether he was a good-looking guy or rugged or whatever. Usually, though, when you're looking for that guy, a Leonardo DiCaprio kind of guy, he's already a movie star. We got that guy finally, a guy who people would buy as a star. To the extent that there are any similarities, the essence of it is present in who my guys were, my group, and how it was for us being in and around Hollywood at that time.

ProSource: Your life story is a narrative of achieving very high goals from very humble beginnings. Our readers come to because they've set goals for themselves that they're trying to achieve. If you could share one piece of advice with our readers about overcoming obstacles on the way to success, what would it be?

Mark Wahlberg: I would say that if you want something the only way you're going to get it is by going out and making it happen. And by doing that the honest way, by putting in the work. Here's a story. Two older, famous movie-star guys saw a picture of me when I was in the middle of training for Pain & Gain. So they said, 'Oh, he's definitely on the 'roids, right?' And I got very, very upset by that, because I put so much effort and time into getting in shape like this, and I would never take a short cut like that, you know? I wouldn't risk the side effects, either. And I said to them, I won't say any names here, but I said to them, 'I will pee in a cup right now, but once that test comes back negative, you will have to drink it.' But anyway, that's how I feel. You have to go out there and work hard at the things you want. Start eating and exercising and you're going to start feeling good about yourself. The physical things you thought you couldn't do, you're going to realize you can do them. It's an amazing thing.

ProSource: One more question. Our customers want to know! Who's in better shape: you or Rock?

Mark Wahlberg: Dude, The Rock is gigantic. Just gigantic. He doesn't fluctuate, though. He can't go out and play a guy who's, you know, a buck-fifty-five. So I've got that versatility, but The Rock is unbeatable. Just huge.

ProSource: Mark, thanks for sharing with our readers. We'll be looking forward to seeing you in Pain & Gain and featuring your new Marked Nutrition line.

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