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Driven: A Look In The Life Of IFBB Pro Mark Dugdale!

Coming to the plate with 198 pounds of chiseled, well-proportioned muscle on his 5'6 frame, Dugdale said bye-bye NPC, hello IFBB. Find out more about this IFBB pro, father, husband and business owner...

It's Friday evening, July 16, and one of the Lightheavyweight contenders slips quietly into the pump up room at the Artemus Ham Auditorium on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Before he begins his warm up, I take a closer look at the front of his T-shirt, which reads, "I do it for the girls." Hey, this sounds exciting.

But, this dude's no swinger. Not by a long shot. The back of the shirt features pictures of the girls he was referring to-daughters Madison "Maddie", 5, Lauren, 3 and Julia, 2. He might have added another young lady to the shirt while he was at it - his lovely wife Christina, who looks like anything but a mother of three.

Before the weekend would end, Dugdale would make all four of his ladies very proud. He not only swept the Lightheavyweight class, but took the Overall crown as well. Coming to the plate with 198 pounds of chiseled, well-proportioned muscle on his 5'6" frame, Dugdale said bye-bye NPC, hello IFBB.

So, Who Is This Man?

For starters, he was born in Seattle, Washington on Christmas, 1974 (making him 29, for those who can't count). He currently lives in Woodinville, WA. He's Vice-President and Co-Owner of Garden Fresh Foods, Inc. Say what - he's not a personal trainer? Go ahead, Mark, you've just made my day.

He won the Overall at the 2003 NPC Los Angeles Championships, then finished third behind only Richard Jones and Kris Dim in the LH class at the USA a week earlier. You know, the two guys who qualified for the Mr. Olympia in their very first crack at a pro contest.

Mark's wife, Christina.
For more info, go to

He went on two group dates with Christina before even kissing her. Oh, he tried, Mark assures, but she didn't relent. Either did he. Dugdale convinced anyone who would listen that he wanted to make Christina his wife. And, six weeks later, they were planning the wedding. Guess love at first sight does exist.

They are celebrating their seven-year wedding anniversary this month and Mark is still gushing over his bride like he did when they first dated. "I can honestly say she is my sunshine by day and my solace at night," Dugdale says. Just like fine wine, she just keeps getting better with age. We will be the old, gray-haired couple holding hands and walking along a beach in Hawaii in another 50 years." Damn, even I'm chocked up over this!

He's a 50/50 owner of Garden Fresh Foods with Steve McFarland and, with 50,000 square feet of office, production and refrigeration space, and over 100 employees, Dugdale says there's never a dull moment. I can imagine.

"Fresh-cut produce is a very fast paced business, so you have to stay on your toes," Dugdale says. Thirty percent of the corporate shares are held in an ESOP Trust as a retirement plan for active employees, so technically everyone at Garden Fresh Foods has a vested interest in the success of the company."

And, Dugdale also owns, with Steve, Christina and Sandy Enterprises, LLC (named after their wives), which deals with commercial real estate. Sounds like a perfect choice for the next edition of "Driven" on VH1.

Training & Nutrition

He trains at the Gold's Gym in Kirkland, WA, starting there about seven months before the '03 USA and he says he loves the place. "The staff is very supportive and there isn't any ego's, thanks to Kirk, bill, Schon and Jeremy, Mark says." I haven't the faintest who these guys are, but if Dugdale says you're okay, you're all right with me. No egos in a hard-core gym? About as likely as Jennifer Lopez going a month without being in a relationship.

Mark says he hopes to compete for another decade. "I love to train and eat healthy, so it is not work for me," Dugdale says. "As long as I am progressing, Christina is content with supporting my career and I continue to make a positive impact on the sport, I will compete. In terms of time frames, I am hoping to go 10 years."

At this point, he's not sure where he'll make his pro debut, although the Ironman in February seems like a good bet. Dugdale did a training seminar at the Fit Expo in Pasadena, California, last year, held in conjunction with the Ironman, and he's been contacted about speaking again. So, since he'll be in town, he's strongly considering jumping on the Pasadena Civic Auditorium stage and becoming a part of the 2005 IFBB opener.

Mark at the 2004 Nationals.
Click here for over 70 pictures from the show.

Some say he's fanatical about the sport; he admits "demented" may be a better term. Hell, after all the sacrifice he made leading up to the USA, he didn't even enjoy an evening of pizza, ice cream or cheesecake as a reward. When he returned home late Monday night, Dugdale immediately loaded up the broil pan with 14 chicken tenderloins and weighed out 100 grams of brown rice for the stovetop. "I went straight back into my diet because I knew I wanted to look my best for the photo shoots I had scheduled in California," he pointed out.

Oh, then you pigged out after the shoots? Not really. He ate from the same menu, but took in 300 grams of brown rice rather than 100. "I even woke up at 5 am and did 30 minutes of cardio before sitting down to my cup-and-a-half of oatmeal and a protein shake... I am extremely driven to make an impact in the sport and enjoy eating clean and training hard. It's how I live my life, and life is good!"

It would be even better after a piece of cheesecake, right?

Learn more about Mark on his website at