The Irish Hulk

“The Irish Hulk”, Mark Getty, will join Mercy Russell today on The Remarkable Relationships Show on overcoming fear and developing the mental strength to succeed.

When Mark was 16 his mum was diagnosed with cancer and given very little time to live. It was one of the worst times of his young life and was filled with a deep sense of frustration and injustice at the world. Being 16, he didn’t know what to do with this anger and ended up getting into all sorts of trouble as my hormones and inability to make sense of the world, raged inside of me. His mum, being the wise woman that she was, asked his cousin to take me to the gym to train, perhaps realizing that all this frustration he was holding inside, needed release.

When he stepped into the gym, it was like entering another world. Over twenty years ago, gyms were not filled with pretty boys brandishing smart phones. They were filled with guys and gals that were there to work and train, and train they did. He used to sit in the reception area/cafe pouring over the Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazines that lived there, staring in admiration at the mega physiques of Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman and wondering how on earth they got so big and muscular. He knew then that he wanted to look like that, and even though there were some excellent physiques in the gym where he trained in my little hometown of Draperstown, there was no one who even came close to these guys.

A few years later, Mark moved to Belfast and went to train in a gym in a little town called Greenisland. Here he met bodybuilder Graeme McConky, who was a living, breathing, Northern Irish version of my heroes, Yates and Coleman. The first time he saw him, he was wearing a pair of flared bottoms and a muscle top, standing in the corner of the gym chatting to a friend. Eyes on stilts, Mark gathered up my courage, swallowed my pride and marched over to him. “How’d you get so big?” Mark said. Graeme smiled. He was the most softly spoken guy Mark had ever met. He could see how hungry Mark was to succeed and for the next year he mentored and trained him in everything he knew about bodybuilding.

This training just added fuel to the fire that was already burning up inside of me, and he knew that he was destined to stand on stage. Mark was as prepared as he possibly could be without a coach to guide me and decided that he would simply look to the boys to my right and left to see what they were doing, if he got lost along the way. But it turns out Mark didn’t need to look at anyone else because it seemed Mark had something that the judges were looking for. Mark walked away from his first ever competition with a first place trophy. He went on to win every single major title in his federation and category and seemed to be unbeatable. No one could match him in size, thickness and muscularity. Yet despite his success, he still held Graeme in my mind’s eye as the best of the best.

“If you have a fire inside you that refuses to be put out, or a secret ambition to look like one of your own idols, then I am here to help you make it happen. Each of us gets into this sport for a different reason. For some it’s a positive reason such as recovering from an illness or overcoming a disability. For others, it’s a negative reason such as a loved one being diagnosed with cancer or being bullied in school. Whatever your reason it doesn’t matter. What does
matter is that you have taken the first step. You have decided to make a commitment to show up, do the work and do whatever it takes to succeed. Will you fail? Yes. Will you feel like giving up? Often. Will you wonder why on earth you’re doing this, as you’re under the bar on your final set? I don’t doubt it.

Yet, overcoming that fear and building the mental strength to succeed will not only help you sculpt and build the physique that you crave, it will transcend into many other areas…