Today’s interview is with the superstar fitness coach Marcus Bondi.
Marcus has over 45 years of fitness practice under his belt, setting three fitness world records and inspiring thousands in the process.
Marcus’s enthusiasm for health and strength is overflowing and he’s here to share some of it with us.
Talk to us about yourself and your fitness career
My parents were ‘health & fitness nuts’ back in the 70s; so I learned a lot from them! My dad was really into ‘old school’ body weight and callisthenics training and I trained with him when I was a kid, it ensured a respect for physical culture which I carry to this day. I always felt the intuitive need to do something (anything!) physical each day. In the last 20 years I have trained at Bondi Beach – with a crazy-intense bunch of ex-Special Forces Russians who really push everyone to extreme levels. I ran an advertising agency for 20 years also, which was fun, but all I yearned for was to train every day at the beach; so I sold the agency and became a trainer at Bondi Beach! The sun, the sand, the surf; sensational!
What’s your relationship to the horizontal bar, how did it become so prominent in your training?
Ever since I was a kid I would seek out and rock out on any elevated surface I could find – whether it was a pull up bar, tree branch or ceiling rafter! I played ice hockey for 30 years – and I would incorporate body weight training to strengthen my on-ice game, e.g.: making a ‘trapeze bar’ using an ice hockey stick as the bar and doing pull ups on the stick. And around the world, outdoor gyms are everywhere so when I would travel from work I would find the outdoor gyms and train with the locals.
How did “Bondi” get into your name?
I became ‘Marcus Bondi’ after I started my YouTube channel – I had to think of a name, and I was ‘Marcus’ from ‘Bondi’ – so my channel became ‘marcusbondi’ and YouTube took off, I became known as Marcus Bondi around the world, so it’s a name that’s kind of just stuck with me for life now…
You’ve broken a few fitness world records, what are they and what drives you to break these records?
I never set out to break any records, but after years of rope-climbing training with the extreme Russians, high above the jagged rock cliffs at Bondi Beach, with no safety harness, it just happened! Letting go is never an option – so you are forced to go 100% every single time…
Guinness World Records were doing a TV show and asked us if we would have a shot at breaking the rope climb World Record, I didn’t even know there was one (!) – but anyway, I went on the show and smashed the record held by an Olympic gymnast, which was nice. I still hold the record 5 years later… Since then I have gone on to break a few more, just for fun!
5 meter rope climb (60 sec time limit) – 27.8 meters
Weighted Chin Ups (60 sec time limit) 18kg/40lbs – 30 reps
15 Supinated Muscle Ups
6 x One Arm Pull Ups (Each arm)
2 x One Arm Pull Ups w/16kg Kettle Bell
4 x Chin Ups (Full rep) with 90kg weight belt
31 Chin Ups + Body weight (80kgs/176 lbs) in 60 mins
35 sec Front Lever Hold
15 x Front Lever Pull Ups
What records would you like to break next?
I am really enjoying the one-hour time limit pull up/chin up records lately – with 18kg/40lbs added weight – So I am planning to give them a shot soon! Yikes!
Even though you specialize in bodyweight training, you spend a fair share of your training time at the gym, what are some of your gym rules?
I love going to my gym, Fitness First at Bondi Junction – it’s great for leg training and late nights/rainy days and convenient to do some grocery shopping for the family afterwards!
Gym rules? Always be friendly and polite and positive to everyone; move around carefully. We are all in a confined space with tons of weight and a lot of stored potential energy; and the laws of physics and gravity are very strict, so we must all respect the precarious dynamics at play in the gym…
Personally, I just make sure to say a big, fat, happy ‘Hi!” to everyone. We are all in it together, we see each other often, we all have the same goals; so we may as well engender a positive attitude in the gym. It doesn’t mean accosting stingers with incessant conversation, just saying, “Hello.” It makes it much easier when moving around the gym or sharing equipment or whatever.
What are the most annoying things people do at the gym? – I appreciate that everyone has their little quirks that may be annoying to others. My aim in the gym is to be ‘invisible’ – like, so no one even knows I’m there, with view to making the experience as nice as possible for everyone else. So I try not to be noisy or conspicuous in any way that may impinge upon the gym experience for others. And, people curling in the squat rack – that’s annoying! 😉
You are insanely shredded, any diet tips for us?
Sure, here are my top six diet tips:
- Avoid alcohol – it kills all your wonderful training, dehydrating muscle & sapping strength progress.
- Eat lots of vegetables – all the time. Floyd Mayweather eats a huge bowl of steamed broccoli with every meal.
- Drink lots of water every day! Easy!
- Eat the cartilage/connective tissue from chicken; it’s great for your joint strength/health.
- Eat the flesh and skin of mangoes – so many excellent vitamins and enzymes.
- Avoid white bread, rice, sugar, etc
You’ve trained a 92 years old guy before, are there any limits to who can exercise?
Everybody on the planet, (no matter what their gender, age, body shape, emotional condition, ethnicity, etc) will be much happier, stronger and healthier if they exercise.
My 92 year-old training buddy was getting a bit frail at 89 years old, but then he began doing standing-bar pull-ups and incline (standing) bar push ups and squats with me as well as walking every day. In 3 years he has actually put on quality hard, dense muscle – I am amazed at his new, shapely deltoids and biceps; he has unequivocally built strong muscle!
What are your tips for longevity, how do you keep you body and especially your joints functioning well year after year?
In over 45 years of training I have never had an injury form body weight training. Listen to your body! Exercise often and back off immediately if you feel any sharp joint pain!
You have two daughters, are they as enthusiastic about exercise as you are?
Yes- both Jasmine (14) and Willow (10) are very athletic – and play a variety of sports – from gymnastics, to netball, swimming and even calisthenics!
If you could write one paragraph to convince someone to get into fitness, what would you say?
Every human being is awesome and filled with great potential. It is up to us as individuals to make the most of our life’s journey. Your most precious possession is your body; it is your only vehicle to take you through this world and you must use it to optimise all the life experiences that you are passionate about now and in the future. It doesn’t matter what your physical, intellectual, familial, financial, emotional or spiritual needs and wants are, maximising your body’s health and fitness will always make everything better. Respect your body, it’s the only one you have.
Finally, what are your top three favorite bodyweight exercises?
In no particular order:
- Rope Climb
- Chin Ups
- Push Ups – because you can do push ups anywhere anytime!!!
Just a last word, I’d like to give a big shout out to all the wonderful people I have met and trained with around the world; in LA, Chicago, New York, Moscow, Oslo, Paris, London, Dubai and Taipei! Stay strong, train hard, enjoy yourselves, always!
Thank you, Marcus. Your enthusiasm is infectious and I’m sure the SOA will tribe will get some of it in their system.
Life is all about continuously pushing forward while enjoying the process, and you’re doing that perfectly.
Looking forward to seeing you break more records and continue to inspire people.
– Bodyweight Todd