Dare To Dream: An Interview With Marcus Haley.

A former foster kid who has had more than his share of problems, Marcus says he has finally found peace... In the following interview he tells me how he has changed his focus and physique and what he has planned for the Arnold & Olympia.

With 5th place finishes at the recent Iron Man and Sacramento Pro shows, Marcus Haley has made some pretty big strides - physically, emotionally and professionally - since his pro debut at 2006 Colorado Pro.

A former foster kid who has had more than his share of problems, Marcus says he has finally found peace and that this improved mindset has allowed him to focus on being a total professional bodybuilder.

The improvements he has made since his last pro show - the Europa Pro, where he placed 8th - certainly reflect this fact, as does the overwhelming desire he has to be among the sport's elite. In his rookie year Marcus did not receive the highest of accolades from the fans or judges.

It was said he needed to improve in several areas before he would get noticed at major shows. After an off-season of consistent training and education on how to think, talk and look like a pro from none other than Mr. perfect, Dexter Jackson, Marcus did make the required changes and is now being more favourably looked upon by the judges.

With an added ten pound of solid muscle distributed evenly across his body, along his usual impressive leg development, Marcus is looking positively massive - a changed bodybuilder. Since grade school his dream has been to compete at the Mr. Olympia. Having qualified, he is now well positioned to inspire others to achieve their goals.

Given his main aims in life are to inspire others and compete at the highest level as a professional bodybuilder, Marcus should be feeling quite happy right now. In the following interview he tells me about his life as a pro, how he has changed his focus and physique and what he has planned for his bodybuilding fans.


[ Q ] It has been four days since you competed at the Iron Man, where you qualified for the Mr. Olympia with you fifth-place finish. Has it sunken in yet?

    Well, the next show is coming right up (the Sacramento Pro) so I have not really had time to let it sink in just yet. So it's back on the horse.


[ Q ] Are you happy with your Iron Man placing; given it was quite a competitive field?

    Yes I am very happy. I just wanted to be competitive. I wanted to make several improvements and this did happen so all in all it was a great success.


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Marcus Haley.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From Pre-Judging Here.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From Finals Here.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From The Press Conference Here.


[ Q ] How is your preparation for the Arnold Classic going?

    We are not really going to change many things. Just tighten up a little bit, training with lighter weights. And come in a little bit drier. Of course the Arnold Classic being one of the bigger shows, it will be hard, but I want to give a good showing, be at my best with a classy physique, and let the chips fall where they may.

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Marcus Haley.

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[ Q ] No predictions at this point?

    It is my first time on that stage and I will be among the best athletes in the world. That to me is an achievement in itself. So I am just going to be elated to be onstage.


[ Q ] Given the Arnold is such a big show and a good showing there will put you fresh in the judges minds come Olympia time, do you think you can use it as a way to improve you Olympia outing?

    I do think that it will leave a lasting impression on the judges at the Olympia. Of course I expect to make even more changes going into the Olympia. For the show coming up now - the Sacramento - I think I will be a little bit better and harder. My goal in bodybuilding is to always improve with each and every outing.

Haley
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Marcus Haley.


[ Q ] Speaking of improvements, you did seem to make a few for the Iron Man. What exactly did you set out to improve on for this show?

    I worked on overall size and I worked on my back. My legs have always been a strong point, but I had been told I have to bring up my back, and across the shoulders and upper chest. I think in my off-season I was really consistent in the gym. I started training for this show in the off-season, which translated into and carried over to pre-contest mode, which, of course, made my physique look a lot better.


[ Q ] And you trained with Dexter Jackson this time around. I imagine this paid off well for you.

    Oh yes. Dexter and I became really good friends and we are now quite close. Just training with him kept me motivated. Just feeding off each other. I am a fairly focused bodybuilder so I was able to push him too. And seeing the gains he made, of course fuelled me to push even harder.

    It taught me more about being consistent and being a constant professional. I learned a lot from him in that area. Once you are a professional bodybuilder you have to take it seriously as a career. I think that in itself' has made me better.


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Marcus Haley.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From Pre-Judging Here.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From Finals Here.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From The Press Conference Here.


[ Q ] In terms of being a professional you need to conduct yourself in certain ways in public?

    Back in the past, I always felt I had something to prove. I had a chip on my shoulder, a lot of personal problems that affected me. Things that happened to me earlier in my life really tested me, but I think I came to a point where I found peace with myself.

    Becoming a Christian also helped in this regard. It made me realise that I had been given a gift and not many people are given such a gift. There are very few of us that get to become pro bodybuilders and who get to make money out of a sport they love.

    I took those things into account and I stopped and realised, and said, "You know what? I need to look at it that way and enjoy it." What is greater than getting paid to work out, travel the world and meet lots of different people? I looked at it like that and started having fun. When that happened I think I became at peace with myself.

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[ Q ] And that made it easier for you?

    Yes. I made it easier in terms of the training. Not how hard it was, but the mental aspect in preparing for it. I was really able to put everything in retrospect and focus on training. It was not up-and-down like it used to be.

Marcus Haley Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley At The 2006 Colorado Pro.
View More Pics From The Colorado Pro Here.


[ Q ] You did have some personal problems recently that you overcame to compete in the Iron Man. How do you find the discipline and the motivation to push through when the going is really hard?

    Not to be corny or nothing, but when the going gets hard, being a Christian, I turn to God. I have a great supporting cast. My trainer Tim Gardner and, of course my fiancé Tiffany. Being a devout Christian, I just turned everything over to him (God).

    I just controlled what I could control. Doing that made it easier for me to push through when those times got hard. You have to step back and say, "You know what. This is what you have fought for your whole life." Since I was a child I wanted to be a bodybuilder.

    This is what I fought for. The time is now. The time is here. I realised I had to seize the moment because of bodybuilding. You only have a very small window. You have to take it to the limit and max out what God has given you.


[ Q ] Competing in this year's Olympia will give you the opportunity to do just that. But what else would you like to achieve in the sport long-term?

    Being a foster child and coming out of broken homes, I carry the torch for a lot of kids who dare to dream. I am not just going into these shows for me as a person. I am carrying the torch for every kid that has any kind of dream. That itself' helps and drives me, and puts me at peace.

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[ Q ] As far as carrying the torch for the disadvantaged people, is this something you have always wanted to do?

    Ever since I was grade school where I first saw Mike Ashley and looking at what people like Arnold have accomplished, I have had a dream and aspired to be like these guys. When I went to high school I just stopped and said one day that I would like to be in the Mr. Olympia.

    It seemed like such a dream, but in the back of my mind I still thought that I could do it one day. And by the grace of God here it is, I have qualified for the Olympia.

    So for me, going into this show I want to send a message to each and every one of those kids who are in foster care or who are struggling in some other way, but who still have that dream, that they can still do it. And I am living proof of that.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley.


[ Q ] Was there a particular point in your life where you knew you had the potential to turn pro?

    I always knew I had the potential to turn pro once I won the Southern States here in Florida and having Tim Gardner say I had this potential. It made me realise that maybe I can do this.

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    Then of course placing third in the USA's on my first attempt solidified that belief. At that point I knew that it was for real. Of course I still had trials and tribulations and hurdles that needed to be overcome, but in overcoming those I matured as a person, as man.


[ Q ] A lot of professional bodybuilders today are known for certain outstanding body parts. Do you feel you have any outstanding areas? What are your biggest strengths as a bodybuilder?

    My biggest strengths are my legs and skin. I can get good condition fast and my legs have always been a strong point, ever since I began in this sport. They are very detailed with a very nice sweep. I am just now starting to tap into my potential and am beginning to realise just what I can do. And that is exciting for me.

    For a while I just kind of rested on my laurels as I went from show to show, but now I am realising that there are just some great body parts that really stand out. Those include my legs. They would have to be the strongest part on my body.

Haley Haley
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Marcus Haley.


[ Q ] At your current age of 34 you might be considered several years away from peaking. Do you think you could go on to compete successfully into your 40s?

    Oh yes. I am right now just starting to hit my stride. I am starting to learn my body and finally have become a total professional. I am training in the off-season consistently and seeing these changes. When you see changes like that and they are so abrupt, it lets me know that there is a lot in the gas tank. There is a lot more to come from Marcus Haley and people will see these in the years to come.


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Marcus Haley.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From Pre-Judging Here.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From Finals Here.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From The Press Conference Here.


[ Q ] I wish you the best Marcus. Is there anything you would like to discuss before we finish?

    I would just like to, once again, touch on the fact that no matter how far fetched your dream is; it is okay to dream it. For any kid out there who is down on their luck it is okay to dream and hold onto your dreams. I am a living testament that if you really believe in yourself you dreams do come true.

    Visit Marcus Haley's website: www.marcushaley.com