The Birth Of - Behind The Scenes With Mark Bowering

The sports supplement industry is valued in excess of a Billion pounds today. With such
rich takings on offer it is no surprise that there are always new companies
popping up. However, is the brainchild of a very
passionate individual who has always lived bodybuilding and the health &
fitness lifestyle. is widely regarded as one of the largest online retailers within the sector
across the UK, and today you will have direct access to behind the scenes. What
inspired our MD, Mark Bowering to start the company, what is the company’s
mission amongst many other questions you may want to learn about.


Being a faceless e-commerce organisation isn’t in our DNA; is there to
serve our customers and is run by people with a bursting passion for the


Enough said; now it is time to speak to the brains behind himself and find
out about his journey.

Mark, could you please give us some background on your bodybuilding, when you started
and how you got involved?


I fell in love with bodybuilding after seeing a film called “Pumping
Iron.” I was already training on a Tuesday and Thursday at my local health
centre (Woodford Leisure Centre) with my friend (aged 14). It was then I realised
at a young age that I was naturally prone to gaining weight and felt chubby.
The only thing on my mind at that age was to impress the ladies!


Seeing the Pumping Iron film put the training into a different
perspective for me. I now had a goal in my mind, to get into my best possible
shape and compete naturally, in the ANB.

Back then, what were your aspirations as a bodybuilder? I recall a conversation we
had where you mentioned you are an extremist; did this have any bearing on your
choices as a bodybuilder?


Yes, I have been told I am an extremist – in hindsight
realising this definitely influenced my choices as a competitive bodybuilder
which I will touch on shortly.


It took me two years to get onto a stage and in that time
I gained two stone of good muscle and got into decent shape. At the tender age
of 16 I was stood on a stage with my Speedo trunks, bad tan and a copied Rich
Gaspari posing routine. I came 2nd (out of 4) it was the best
feeling ever, just being on stage.


Talk us through the show where you were crowned Mr Universe Jnr! What did it mean to
you back then?


I actually did quite a few shows before the Mr Universe
back in 1994. After watching Ian Harrison at the EFBB Mr Britain it became my
mission to compete in the Mr Universe show, and win.


Wining my Class (Düsseldorf, Germany) at this show
brought about a plethora of mixed emotions and feelings to be honest. Firstly I
saw my father cry, which was very humbling and then I was questioned by some of
the senior guys about my intentions of becoming a Professional one day.


That was definitely the happiest day of my life up until
that point. However, what dawned on me was that bodybuilding was riddled with
drug abuse far beyond what I had imagined. I decided right then that I would
quit competitive bodybuilding and start to think about opening a business. I
was heavily passionate about training techniques, sports Nutrition and Sport


It was another three years of working as an R&D Technician for a Pharmaceutical Company until my dream of owning a gymnasium was realised. The gym (Powerhouse) I had considered my “Church” was to become a
family business, and still is to this day. I worked 8.30 to 5pm during the day
and then worked the gym on the evenings, whilst squeezing in workouts before
bedtime. (I lived above the gym back then)


Clearly from a very young age your passion for this was shining through! What kind of
training philosophy did you adopt back then?


I followed a four day split in the off season. The repetition ranges were 8-10 for the upper body and 12-15 for the lower body.
Rest between sets was always less than 60 seconds - intensity was the Key…and
still is.


Monday:     Chest,

Tuesday:    Quads,
Hams and Calves

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Back,

Friday:       Biceps
and Triceps & Abs.


Squats were a big key to my success, Lot of guy’s neglected legs.  I studied different
bodybuilders who where achieving great results on a particular bodypart(s), I
tried their routines.

We always did 6 sets of very high intensity heavy squats and also included 20 rep squats at the end of the leg workout.


What kinds of supplements were available for you to use then?


Back then I used very few supplements:

MultiPower 90+ protein (calcium caseinate)

Cantamega 2000 Multi Vits

Solgar Vitamin C

MCT Oil. – 3 times per day.

I actually produced the UK’s first Flax oil supplement in
1995. It was distributed to all the Body Active and Weider Stores in the UK.
The packaging was laden with claims so I had to pull it, and never had the
funds to re-start.


After going through this setback what was your next move? Clearly you felt you had to
do something within the fitness industry.


OK next, I saw a diamond of an opportunity - Sport Supplements!!
It was an area that not only excited me and one I had been involved in since I
was very young, it was expandable.


I opened Peak Health in 1999. This was a tiny retail shop
below the Gymnasium. It was all mine, I ran it and was the captain of the ship.
I was already selling Peak Body Supplements from the gym so expanded on that
and brought in Pro-Lab and Reflex Nutrition. As I was away from the City centre
it meant my rent was low (£60 per week). I decided to give all of my customers
20% off. This discount worked very well and word spread fast. I was now in the
supplement business (as well as PT each night in the Gym).


What inspired you to start in 2002?


A Doctor Colleague (Syed Shar) randomly sent me a book
through the post named “e-commerce, tomorrow’s future!” I read it and was
instantly convinced that I needed to open an online Sports Supplements Store.


If ever there was a ‘’light bulb’’ moment!! What was it like for the first 2
years, did you always feel you could develop it into the phenomenon it is

STRESSFUL!! I never made any money for around the first
18 months, and that was very hard for me to swallow. Reading the text books
gave me lots of confidence that it was very normal and to look at the long term
five year plan.


My girlfriend, now wife left her job in a bank to help
with the day to day packing and admin as I was becoming more and more tired and
stressed from the growth of the new online business.


So what was your sole driving purpose behind Monster?


Truthfully, I wanted to make a good living and enjoy the nice
things but much deeper than that was to offer great supplements at fantastic
prices. I did and still do love giving sound honest advice that actually makes
a difference to peoples goals. We created this with the online store.


FitMag was the next step for us in regards to offering
advice to our customers. It was our way of saying ‘’thank you’’ and giving


Explain your passion for bodybuilding and the fitness industry today, compared to when
you were Mr Universe.


Well, I’m very good friends with a few ex Pro Bodybuilders such as Berry De Mey (he was always my idol bodybuilder) and I
still keep an eye on the bodybuilding scene. Back then I knew I could have
attained the type of Physique that the top EFBB and lower IFBB guys had. I had
all the passion in the world to achieve that back then!


I’m actually attending the Mr. Olympia this year and am looking forward to it very much.


I really do believe that since Dorian raised the bar back
in the early 90’s that too much emphasis is focussed on sheer mass, forgetting
the symmetry and definition. I much prefer the look of the 80’s and even 70’s
body builders. This look was actually achievable. The new Pro look is no longer
achievable and has lost its appeal, in my opinion.


Right now I train in the gym four times per week, very
intense with 30 seconds rest in between sets. It’s the usual 3 part split routine
with the forth day repeated.


Health is very important to me these days.


What is your main focus with to give to your customers today?


SERVICE! We are very precious about service. We ensure
our prices are monitored daily against our competitors and also to ensure all
orders are sent out the same day, each day. Getting the best deals for our
customers is also high on our priority list.


Service is what we talk about daily at Monster HQ.


I get it, service is the priority!! To wrap it up, moving forward what are the
main goals for Monster for 2012?


Well, that would be telling!! Maybe more Retail stores
…..And our own label Monster brand.


Fantastic! It has been a real eye opener for us all to learn where
grew from and the persistence that has been required to get it to where it is


Long may the great service, advice and offers continue.

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