Today it is my privilege to bring you an interview with 4x World Record Holder and globally-renowned bodyweight fitness trainer Marcus Bondi.
Marcus has previously been featured in Men’s Health (USA & Australia), Men’s Fitness Magazine (Australia/USA), Daily Telegraph, ABC Mornings, Channel Seven News and much more. His reputation in the fitness industry and for helping others achieve their goals is first-class.
Through this interview we share with you some of the knowledge and expertise of Marcus’ training and approach to life that has brought with it so much success…
When did you starting training calisthenics and why?
Calisthenics training represents the original genesis of human/animal physical culture and fitness. For example, check out the musculature of lions and gorillas; their incredible physiques are derived from bodyweight training! All the classical ancient schools of physical culture and health were very successfully based on bodyweight training. The ineffable advent of industry, machinery, technology and consumerism brainwashed good people into thinking that since automation made life easier, that ‘fitness-machines’ would make health easier… Sure, modern technology plays a key role in health and fitness, but it’s crucial to remember that bodyweight training is the base, the foundation and the essential core of all physical exercise.
My parents were fitness fanatics in the 70s. They did the whole ‘hippie-health-food’ thing and performed old-school calisthenics exercises every day; like sit ups, push ups, star-jumps etc, so I would just join in with them. When I grew up and went to Uni I did party a little bit but would only allow myself a late night if I first did a calisthenics training session. In the 20-plus years since I have lived at Bondi Beach, I have really taken to daily bodyweight training session at the outdoor gym on the ocean front. I left my career in advertising and became a fitness instructor on the beach; which was always a life goal! I love doing pull ups, we always had a doorway pull up bar at home and my wife & kids would also do their gym-things to keep me company. I could do pull ups from about 5 years of age and just kept building from there; always adding and experimenting with different grip variations, reps ranges and rest times.
How often do you train and how do you split your training plan? Do you incorporate weight training as well as Calisthenics into your training?
I train every day and sometimes twice a day; outdoor calisthenics at the beach and indoor at the gym, which is great for traditional leg training and when it’s pouring rain! My two favourite gyms are the North Bondi Beach Outdoor Gym – ocean air and amazing natural environment & Fitness First Platinum Bondi Junction; great city skyline views and I can do the family shopping afterwards!
Are there any people, books, or experiences that you would be willing to share with us, that have really shaped your mentality?
I love to read autobiographies of people who have overcome seemingly insurmountable life circumstances or obstacles. I especially focussed on “My Left Foot” by Christy Brown and “Papillon” by Henry Charriere; no matter how harsh their circumstances, they persevered!
What are the priorities that you have towards the way you approach your life?
In order to optimise my life, I try to attack every single second of every day as though it’s my most precious resource. I enjoy the immediate moment, but I am very conscious of laying down strategic foundations for the future.
How important are other people to your progress? For example, who you train and surround yourself with?
Well, it’s crucial to have a positive training environment and positive people are crucial in order to maximise your results and enjoy yourself while you do so! Working out actually helps me live a full and happy family life; as staying fit and healthy gives me energy to do all the things that a busy family lifestyle requires. We all love going to the beach and having fun in the sun; so, it all works out well in the end. My two daughters are both very active physically, into gymnastics and many school sports and my wife, Emma, has been a fantastic training buddy for over 27 years!
What advice would you give to someone who is demotivated or doesn’t know where to start with getting into sport and fitness?
Start with a single step or a single push up and gradually increase the number each day! It’s simple physics. Your body has no choice but to follow and adapt to the treatment you give it. In this case, you will become happier and healthier. Good for you! It is totally possible, and it is purely up to you. You will succeed. Of all the things in our lives we have no control over, our bodies remain ours. Take control. Achieve your best ever body. No-one can stop you. You can, and you will do it. Celebrate your training ‘wins’ every day. Every step-up, every push up, every completed session is a genuine win for your mind and your body. Especially if you do one more rep or finish one second quicker. Punch the air after your session and yell “YES!” You are also entitled to think very loudly in your mind: “I am a freakin’ awesome Tough Bloke/Tough Girl!” You may also think this and even verbalise it in the shower every morning, so long as you stick to your plan!
How did you transform your passion for health and fitness into a successful business? What advice would you give to someone trying to do the same?
Every fitness trainer has a field or discipline that they are passionate about or in which they excel.
You must identify on your fitness passion and exploit it to the max! Take into account the needs and desires of your client market. Whether it’s strength, cross-training, running, boxing, nutrition, weight-loss, sports-specific or whatever; you must decide and lock in a specialty that is yours to fortify your own ‘brand’ as a fitness trainer.
You should also lock in your other abilities and strengths in order of importance. Imagine if you had to put it all on your business card, so it has to be sharp and tight.
What do you think are the most important characteristics to develop to pursue your ambitions?
Patience and information and action!
If you could go back in time and give some advice to yourself as a teenager/young-adult what would you say?
I would slap myself and yell at myself that thoughts and actions are two very different things and to start practising connecting thoughts and actions with a strategic mind-switch!
What are you goals and ambitions for the future?
To spend as much time with my family doing wonderful things and having fun!
About Marcus Bondi:
Lives: Bondi Beach Sydney Australia
Top strength/endurance records broken:
* Official Guinness World Record: 5m Rope Climb/60 seconds time limit (27.8m)
* Official Guinness World Record: Weighted Chin Ups 100lbs/60 sec time limit 16 reps. Full dead hang reps.
* Official Guinness World Record: Weighted Chin Ups 40lbs / 60 sec time limit 28 reps. Full dead hang reps.
* Official Guinness World Record: One Rep Max Weighted Chin Up 100.4kg.