IFBB Pro Marcus Haley Discusses Return And Upcoming Pro Fight Supplements Iron Man Competition!

In the following interview Marcus discusses his return to professional bodybuilding, the importance of staying positive, his Iron Man Pro predictions, and why he decided on a more natural, non-chemical approach to bodybuilding. Learn more!

With just under two weeks to go before the season-opening Pro Fight Supplements Iron Man Pro show, Marcus Haley is one man especially determined to take the title.

Having sustained a serious quadriceps tendon injury one year ago, he questioned whether he would find the determination to again take his rightful place among pro bodybuilding's elite. He found it and is well and truly back with a physique he describes as being more muscular and better conditioned than ever.

Marcus' return to pro bodybuilding can only be described as remarkable given he was to overcome a notoriously painful and debilitating injury involving the large quad tendon which, having exploded inside his knee and ripped at both ends, was thought to take one and a half years to recover from. He did it in less than a year.

Marcus Haley Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley At The 2007 Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley At The 2007 Iron Man Pro.

With formidable courage and ultimately a positive mindset crucial to intense bodybuilding training despite such odds, Marcus sees himself at a do or die point in his career.

He believes his physique, improved with ten pounds' ripped muscle and striations not previously seen, will "shock the bodybuilding community" come January 24. For that we will have to wait and see, but I for one have a feeling he will be as good as his word.

In the following interview Marcus discusses his return to professional bodybuilding, the importance of staying positive, his Iron Man Pro predictions, and why he decided on a more natural, non-chemical approach to bodybuilding.

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[ Q ] It is just under two weeks out from the Ironman Pro. How are you feeling going into this show?
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    For the most part I feel pretty good. Of course the last ten days is where you really start getting it all together and putting the final touches on your physique.

RELATED VIDEO: MARCUS HALEY POSING ROUTINE


2007 Iron Man Pro:
Marcus Haley Posing Routine!

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[ 2007 Iron Man Pro Videos Main Page ]

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[ Q ] What progress have you made since you last competed?
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    Well since the injury it has been a year. The (2007) Olympia was my last show. Basically, after the injury I was able to rest. I have been on the grind competing non-stop all way back to my amateur days.

    I really didn't take too much time off so this (the injury) enabled me to take some time away. I think my body was able to respond from the recovery time that I had and I was able to put on some good muscle.

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[ Q ] So you are now at a point in your career where you feel you are at your very best in spite of having sustained a major injury?
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    My body has really been responding. I think with all of the work I have put in I'm really starting to see the fruits of my labor.

    With this whole year of training I have put on some quality muscle - probably a good ten pounds while keeping my condition.

Marcus Haley Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley At The 2007 Sacramento Pro.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley At The 2007 Sacramento Pro.

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[ Q ] What specific areas did you plan to work on after your last show?
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    One of the things Tim (Gardener: Marcus' trainer) and I had noticed was at all the shows I competed in (prior to the injury) I was really flat in the upper chest and across the shoulders.

    As you know in bodybuilding you can't hide this weakness in the last pose (the most muscular). So we really concentrated on the upper chest using the front deltoids and incorporating a lot of incline movements. We have been hitting the chest twice a week and it has been responding really well.

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[ Q ] Your leg development has always been a strong area for you, right?
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    Yes they have always responded well and I naturally have really thin skin on my legs so there is a greater ability to get really lean. With the injury I knew that genetics-wise I would be able to recuperate better.

    You will still be able to see a bit of a difference on the outer sweep of the left leg, but given the circumstances I think we are right on par to where by the time the Olympia rolls around you won't even be able to tell which leg it is.

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[ Q ] For the record, what were the exact circumstances of your injury?
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    On January the 8th a year from today was the date I had surgery. I was down visiting some in-laws in Nebraska and was trying to get a quick workout in.

    We were doing leg extensions and I tried to re-adjust myself mid-rep and I kind of shifted and the left leg was holding most of the weight. All you could hear was this ripping sound.

    It sounded like a telephone book ripping. I just flew off the machine and it felt like someone had put a blowtorch to my knee. I actually watched the tendon retract up the side of my leg.

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[ Q ] What was the specific injury?
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    It was a ruptured quadriceps tendon.

RELATED VIDEO: MARCUS HALEY OLYMPIA PREP


2007 Olympia:
Marcus Haley Olympia Prep!

Watch as Bob visits with IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Marcus Haley as he prepares for the 2007 Olympia. Listen in and watch as they talk about his preparation for the 2007 Olympia, and call out Marvelous Melvin Anthony!

Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
[ 2007 Olympia Video Series Main Page ]

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[ Q ] And what specific changes have you had to make in your program to obviate the difficulties such an injury would present?
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    The doctors told me that the way my leg muscles were so well developed the power they put on my tendon caused the tendon to explode inside my knee, and then it ripped.

    It was frayed from both ends. So what they had to do was cut away the old fayed edges of the tendon and fix them back together with Teflon string, and anchor them down to the knee.

    I really can't do any open-chain movements and full range leg extensions are out of the question. This injury normally takes a about a year and a half to recover from but I'm a pretty fast healer - this is my second major leg injury - but we were only able to do a lot of modified leg press movements, lunges and step-ups.

    Through small movements like that we were able to get the leg back. I was in a full leg cast up to my hip and during this time the leg atrophied down to about 24 inches. We now have it up to 29 inches.

Marcus Haley Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley At The 2007 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley At The 2007 Olympia.

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[ Q ] So to work around the injury you have been focusing on more short range and isolation movements rather than the usual full on compound movements.
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    Yes, isolation and bilateral (one limb at a time) movements. A lot of squeezing and slow controlled reps - and we have had to get creative in trying to find ways to get the blood into the muscle. We did a lot of unorthodox training.

    There is a place here in Palm Harbor Florida, where I live, a big hill on an Indian Reservation. I was actually lunging dumbbells up that hill and my leg really responded well to that; I think a lot of it had to do with the fact my legs genetically respond well anyway.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley 2 Weeks Out
From The 2009 Iron Man.

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[ Q ] The lunges were done short range to avoid excessive pressure on the quad tendon?
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    Yes they were short range. When I first did it, it was about four months into my therapy regime where I was able to bend my leg a little bit further than normal at that point. I could then keep stretching the tendon to keep it nice and loose.

    With each leg workout I was able to get a little bit more bend in the knee, which allowed me to get a greater stretch in this area. This enabled me to go deeper on the lunges.

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    Over the course of a few months what we would do is increase the reps and increase the poundages by five to the point where I was able to lunge up the hill with a 55-pound dumbbell on each side. That really got my legs going.

    After that I, of course, felt a bit stronger and more secure. Then we began doing a lot of leg presses for 50 rep sets and drop sets. So I really had to get creative. I don't go extremely heavy anymore; I just go more for feel and to get blood into the muscle.

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[ Q ] Getting to where you are now is an amazing feat given the doctors told you it would be a year and a half before you would make full recovery. You did it in a relatively short period. What mental obstacles did you face along the way?
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    I tell you man, being my second injury I felt that this was truly the end. I said to my wife, "This is it, I have nothing left." I felt there was no way I was going to be able to come back.

    When I got back from surgery on January 8, I remember just sitting there staring at myself in the mirror and asking myself where to from here. There is a point in everyone's life where there comes a defining moment. This is where you find out what you are really made of.

    In many respects I think that this (the injury comeback) confirmed what I had inside me all my life. I'm a survivor. Being a foster kid and overcoming obstacles I always had to be mentally prepared. With the injury I had to be mentally prepared also.

Marcus Haley Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley At The 2007 Arnold Classic.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley At The 2007 Arnold Classic.

    I told myself that it was just another obstacle and was something that I was used to. I had to reprogram myself to think that way. I took every day one day at a time and tried not to look ahead.

    The minute I did that (look ahead) I began to look to far ahead and from there it was easy to place myself under extreme pressure, which would have been counterproductive. It would have put me into a tailspin.

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[ Q ] For most people such an injury would have proven almost impossible to overcome fully. Yet you pushed on and have achieved your best ever shape. That is very inspirational.
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    Yes, you know there were ups and downs and times where I really just wanted to stop. I really didn't think that I could continue. I just thought to myself at one point what do I have to prove?

    But I felt to myself that if I had any kind of chance of pursuing my dream and being at the Mr. Olympia then I would have to push on and just go with this. The support system of my wife, and my trainer Tim Gardner, has rallied behind me and this has helped.

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[ Q ] Was there a particular stage in the process that was hardest?
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    The first two months psychologically was the hardest two months of my life. I was constantly on pain meds and these had a psychological effect on me. I had to take myself off those because I knew what they were doing to my body.

    Being a bodybuilder they were counterproductive to what I was trying to achieve. Then being able to go to the gym and start from scratch; but I kept telling myself that this was a work in progress. And I think what got me through was repetition, and having a strong faith.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley 2 Weeks Out
From The 2009 Iron Man.

    I kept looking at past pictures of where I was and pictures of Dexter and where I wanted to get to, and used these as motivation.

    There were times where I would spend the whole day watching bodybuilding shows, watching the Mr. Olympia from 1990 all the way to 2007; I would watch them over and over until it was ingrained in my mind, that this was something that I was destined and wanted to do.

    It was at that point that a light just went off. I think a lot of it too has to do with the fact that I'm afraid to fail. I don't want to be statistic.

    I saw what my mom went through and my brothers by not giving it there all in life. And I don't want to fall back into that category. So I think this was a driving force, so I would not relent to that.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley Winning The Best
Posing Award At The 2007 Arnold Classic.

View More Pics Of Marcus Haley At The 2007 Arnold Classic.

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[ Q ] You became stronger instead and went in a completely different direction.
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    Yes, and in overcoming the injury also I found a huge strength inside myself. There is a newfound confidence, colors seem brighter to me. I'm enjoying bodybuilding for the first time in my life.

    I enjoy going to the gym every day and putting my best foot forward. I'm not leaving anything to chance. Early in my career I would come up against certain things and I would always save something to fall back on in case I didn't succeed.

    I wouldn't give it my all so I would have an excuse. Now it is put up or shut up. I just figured I would put everything I've got into this so if I don't make it I can walk away with a clear conscious and say I gave it everything I had.

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Author:
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[ Q ] What did you do to bring up your upper chest and shoulder area?
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    I got back to the basics. A lot of the time when I trained shoulders my rep style was fast paced and there were a lot of pumping movements with dumbbells and this is what put the size on my shoulders and chest in the first place. So I went back to that.

    And I started to do full reps again. I also eat cleaner in the off-season. I was notorious for McDonalds three or four times a day. I was eating so much Popeye's chicken and McDonalds and this became so bad that I would pull up to the drive-through and order and they would know my name.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley 2 Weeks Out
From The 2009 Iron Man.

    So I put that away and started eating cleaner back in March (2008) in the off-season. I began by giving myself a regime of eating clean five days on, then one day I would have a cheat day where I would go where I wanted to eat.

    I tell you my body responded like you wouldn't believe. The quality of the muscle and the entire look to my body changed. I wasn't on the gear as much and really got down to the basics and let my body do it on its own.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley At The 2007 Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley At The 2007 Iron Man Pro.

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[ Q ] So you came off steroids because of your injury?
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    Yes I came off. Before I got injured there would be show after show and to put it all out on the table right here in this interview, I would just not cycle off it. I would go from show to show and not give my body a chance to rest.

    My trainer would fight with me about this and say to me that my body responded a lot better with rest. But I had this mentality where I had to be bigger and do it (take excessive steroids) to get bigger to compete with these guys.

    But it blew out my waist and ironically I was not able to get the size I needed. This injury forced me to step back and put things into perspective, which I did.

    If I told you what I was taking now you probably wouldn't believe me. I really got down to the basics and we simplified things.

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[ Q ] So a better approach for you was to rest more, eat well and train more intelligently rather than taking a whole bunch of chemicals 24/7?
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    Yes, I became more of a cerebral bodybuilder, a more professional athlete. I took it more seriously. I really thought things out and was more methodical with my approach on each workout and everything I put into my month.

    I began using a diary where I would chart what I was to be doing and exactly what the response was to be. It was like I was teaching myself all over again.

    I tell you, I am so thankful that the injury happened and I wouldn't change it for anything. It happened for a reason and it has made me a better bodybuilder, athlete and person.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley At The 2007 Sacramento Pro.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley At The 2007 Sacramento Pro.

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[ Q ] It does sound like you are just starting bodybuilding and experiencing for the first time the joys of training and eating well.
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    I do feel like a light switch came on. All of a sudden I got it, it was like, "okay, this is how you do it". Now I am in great shape. My trainer told me that maybe I can back off the cardio.

    I'm up at the butt-crack of dawn and on the treadmill and I don't even want to get off it! At the end of my workouts I have this pop in my step.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley 2 Weeks Out
From The 2009 Iron Man.

    I'm joking with people and laughing and just enjoying life. I'm not taking anything for granted. Each rep I'm going to enjoy because there are no guarantees in life. This could all be gone tomorrow.

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[ Q ] All things considered and in light of what you have told me in this interview, what are your predictions for the Ironman Pro? Where will you land?
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    My predictions for the show? I'm going to shock the bodybuilding community. They are going to see some of the sickest conditioning in this show and it is going to be a close call between Silvio and me, and I'm going to get him by one point.

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[ Q ] Good prediction. Silvio is obviously the frontrunner, on paper at least, for the win at this show. Who else do you see as your main competition?
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    I think Moe is going to be right there along with Mark Dugdale and Ahmad Haidar. I really put it down to trying to study them and determine their weaknesses.

    The thing with Silvio: great conditioning, unbelievably round muscle bellies, crazy mid-section, but where he falls short is when he turns around. He does not have a complete developed back and there are holes in his back. You can see this in pictures.

    Now my back is very complete and detailed. We will go toe to toe in the front poses and he will have me a little bit in the roundness, but size-wise he will give away about 15 pounds to me.

    And with my shoulders and chest being brought up, this will make me more complete and everything will flow nicely. So I will hang with him on the side chest shot. With the abdominal and thighs I will give him credit because I am still coming back from my injury.

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    But my abs have come up a lot, so I will be able to hold my own there. When we turn around is where I will expose him; up until there I will be within two points of him but when we turn around (for the back poses) that is where I will close the gap.

    Moe has great body parts, but I don't think he flows together nicely. He is a combination of parts, but they don't all tie in. An extremely conditioned athlete and that is the thing that will keep him in the race because I don't think he has that 'wow' factor.

    Another that will be extremely well conditioned but smaller is Mark Dugdale, but once we turn around I will be able to expose him too, plus he is giving away a lot of size.

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[ Q ] You will be the largest competitor in the top order it seems.
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    Yes, right now I'm weighting 240 to 250 pounds dry first thing in the morning. Now my body has hit a plateau weight-wise, but I will still be onstage at about 235 to 240 pounds.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley At The 2007 Sacramento Pro.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley At The 2007 Sacramento Pro.

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[ Q ] Ripped to the bone.
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    Yes I will be ripped to the bone and I'm very grainy. Right now my arms have come up tremendously. I have never had striated triceps but now they are. I noticed one of my flaws at the (2007) Olympia was my lower back.

    Dexter Jackson suggested I bring it up. I have been doing pull ups and rowing myself to death. That lower insertion has given me a wider appearance and my greater back width combined with the added detail is really going to be a showstopper.

    All things considered, plus being out for a year, it will be a definite 'wow' factor to see those changes in my physique.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley 2 Weeks Out
From The 2009 Iron Man.

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[ Q ] All the best Marcus. I'm sure you will bring the house down.
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    Thank you David.