Quick Fixes Don’t Last – Fireside with Mark Felix
1966 was a good year to be born. Just ask Mark Felix. At 193cm tall and 319lbs (143kg), we aren’t arguing with him.
Mark Felix knows what old man strength is all about. He turned 49 two days before qualifying for the 2015 World’s Strongest Man, proud of being the oldest athlete currently competing at this level but also in the knowledge he had never being beaten in the deadlift at Worlds Strongest Man in 7 years of competing. It had been a fair run-up, having turned pro as a strongman within a year when the IFSA Strongman Federation was launched in 2004, and then returning a third place in England’s Strongest Man that same year. A year later, he came second to Eddy Elwood at the same event, winning three of the five events (deadlift, farmer’s Walk and Atlas Stones).
His records since then are nothing short of inspiring. He won the Rolling Thunder World Championships in 2008 and 2009, the Vice Grip Viking Challenge in 2011 and 2012, and has held the Rolling Thunder world record since 2008 and the Captains of Crush “COC” Silver Bullet world record. He is widely regarded as having the strongest grip in the world.
Relaxing on an English afternoon, we asked Mark what keeps his motivation so high as he gets older. You can already see him struggling to understand the premise of the question – that perhaps age might weary him. Not likely. “Age is just a number, it honestly is” he says. “I really don’t spend time thinking, oh, I’m getting older, or anything like that. I think about improving, pushing harder. I know keeping active is a good thing so it’s easy to stay motivated”.
Felix, who continues to work as a self-employed plasterer out of season, is a family man with a wife and three children who balances all of the demands on him, and his rigorous fitness schedule, with a genuine drive akin to an internal combustion. We ask him how life has matured him, and what advice he would offer himself at a much younger age, before he turned his attention to the goals that have taken him from an unknown to a household name in the strongman game. “The same I would offer to anyone of any age “, he says, “look after your body, train sensibly & eat healthily. That’s what I’ve always believed even when I was 25. Quick fixes don’t last, respect your body and take your time”.
Easy for a man who has deadlifted 405kg (891lb) to say. He disagrees. “Its all about mental strength. Its so important, and without it you won’t achieve anything”.
He is, after all, having a big day. Later, he will be having surgery to re-attach his bicep, an injury that occurred once before in 2008 and from which he recovered to win the World Masters Strongman and a struggle he has chronicled in video diaries throughout. He is matter of fact about it “My surgery later today to reattach my bicep and have some work on my rotator cuff is another step in the journey. The bottom line is I can only be positive and stay focused mentally for the next couple of months while I work through it”.
As a reader of our journals and a regular visitor to our community, Mark is a huge proponent of the spirit and the community of Old Man Strength. “I think its great. It’s a challenge for everyone to stay active, but you just have to keep active as you get older. My choice just happens to be strength, but I think anyone is capable of getting stronger at any age and staying strong with the correct training”. Well said, and our thanks and congratulations to Mark on his success and all the best for the recovery period.
Old man strength in action.