RDX Interview Excerpts
Q: Who is Mark Ingle?
Answer: I’m a visionary. I pursue dreams with a relentless fury - yet unwavering focus. I’m an artist. I build athletes using compound movements as tools and the human body as the canvas.
I’m fearless. I accepted a Stage-4 cancer experience and use it to benefit others not knowing if I will be successful. I’m the owner of dead, essentially hollow, bones that have a composition akin to ping pong balls. I view them as strong survivors of chemo, whereas doctors label them brittle.
I’m an individual. I embrace innovation and neither yield to society’s reliance on archaic training methods nor let outside forces compromise my passionate personality and demand for effort.
I’m educated. I possess three professional degrees. I’m limitless. I created my own training method to achieve goals that were defined “impossible.”
I’m seasoned by life. I help homemakers, the rich and poor, students, the retired, and those with “defective” bodies achieve goals because God gave me a unique journey that enables me to train anyone, for anything, at any time.
Q: When you were diagnosed with cancer what was your first thought?
Answer: Doctors broke the news in 2005 when I was 22. I had Stage-4 cancer. It started in my groin and exploded throughout my chest and lung like wildfire. My first thought was to pray to God for a fair fight. It was unreasonable to ask Him to cure me. Everyone asks Him for that. So, I asked God for a neutral opportunity to win or lose.
I got what I wanted – a chance. I had 4 months of 8-hour days of chemo, administered 252 bags of drugs, and underwent a surgery to remove every lymph node inside my chest cavity. I have a gnarly scar from my sternum down around my belly button as proof. That, plus the championship belt from beating Stage-4 cancer on February 1, 2006.
Q: What was your life like before becoming an Iron Man competitor?
Answer: Honestly, it was full of hip and knee pain. I remember when my dad had to carry me to the bathroom because of it. I couldn’t walk. Even as recently as 2014, I had to leave work because of the pain. It occurred without rhyme or reason. It mystified every doctor for the longest time.
This pain first started during chemo in 2005. It continued. The term “pain” fails to describe the excruciating nature of it. It was brutal. It felt like someone hit me in the knees with a metal bat. Doctors chalked it up to chemo side effects. It was said to be a fixed part of my life. The solution was bottles of pain meds to numb out my bad days.
Q: After the cancer treatment, how soon were you presented with yet another battle to fight – your bone condition? What was your reaction to that? What motivated you in life to push forward? Devastating news like this would otherwise have the opposite effect on people.
Answer: My reaction to the news that I had dead bones is probably the same as everyone reading this article. I bet people stopped and reread “bone death” three times because their reaction was “Did he just say ‘dead bones’?” I get it. It sounds like a diagnosis from a Marvel Comic or like I was in the Pirates of the Caribbean and chasing Captain Jack Sparrow for treasure. It seems absolutely ridiculous.
Like I said, I lived with pain. In 2014, my doctors discovered the cause was a bone condition called avascular necrosis, or "bone death." To explain, bone is living tissue that requires blood, an interruption to the blood supply causes bone to die. Each of my legs contain these dead bones: hip socket, femur head (ball), lower femur (thigh bone), and upper tibia (shin bone). My chemo regimen caused it. It cut off blood supply to these locations.
The news made me so angry. Cancer got one over on me from its grave. It mocked me. Like it had a giant smirk on its wretched face because it knew it wrecked my bones while I was basking in victory. Cancer’s last laugh was to set physical boundaries for me to operate within as an adult.
One day I flipped a switch. I became me. It was unacceptable to let my bones change my life. I decided to be the hunter instead of hobbled prey. My objective was clear. I wanted to seize what was mine - my pride over cancer. I was fueled by doubt and skepticism. The phrase, “you CAN’T, Mark” was gasoline on a pre-lit fire. I set out to achieve the hardest physical endeavor - Ironman.
I sought education. I learned running increases forces on femoral heads by five times body weight. Since mine are hollow, I knew I could NEVER once run in training. I decided to NEVER bike more than 7 times because of my hips. The question became how? The answer was – I had no idea.
I read. And, I read. And, I read. I read scholarly articles and studies. The subjects were threats of bone fractures, musculoskeletal responses to physical training, and risk factors associated with training. Then, I created my OWN training plan that I use to this day.
My mind and body were on a mission. I added eight pounds of lean muscle. I was strong. My hips rotated with ease. My body was flexible and moved freely. I unlocked athleticism that was said to be inaccessible. I was focused and poised.
On July 30, 2016, I unleashed my entire being. I completed the 2.5 mile swim, 113 mile bike ride, and RAN the 26.2 while breathing easy. I felt no pain either. My muscles were shock absorbs to my bones as I planned. Make no mistake, I RAN the marathon. I didn’t run in training but I ran that race. I hit the finish line, pounded my heart, hips and knees out of respect. I was really proud that day.
Q: Your training routines are quite intense, for your condition and the nature of the sport, what advice would you have for those affected by cancer and are looking to fight?
Answer: My advice: Tap into the bada** that you are. Cancer survivors have an advantage in LIFE. WE possess a mental edge that WE EARNED. The loser of a MMA or a boxing fight goes home to their families. He or she kisses their significant other after the bout. The next day they take their children, nieces, or nephews to school.
Cancer doesn’t have a bell to stop the fight. The fight is not timed. It doesn’t have a referee. Certain strikes or holds are not outlawed. Cancer doesn’t acknowledge weight classes, pedigree, or records. Cancer doesn’t care who you are. It prizefights in the darkness and battles unfairly.
Cancer survivors faced a demon that ripped through their body. That demon sought to take EVERYTHING. It wanted to kill. It wanted to leave families and friends behind in a pile of rubble. There’s no greater advantage in life than being a cancer survivor because the mind is the most powerful tool.
Overcoming cancer forges an unbreakable will. I say train with it. Fight with it. Embrace it. LIVE with it.
Q: What are your objectives and goals of the training program? Where do you see it in ten years?
Answer: I hope the LEAST amount of success for trainArizona Racing occurs in competitions. My team is a platform to build THE brightest beacon of hope and SUBSTANTIALLY impact youth to make my community a better place. I seek to serve others. Since we are on the topic I’d like to be a motivational speaker for RDX Sports at conventions, etc. My story is powerful and I’m electric. Ya’ll should take me up on that.
Anyway, I just completed paperwork to create my own nonprofit organization, called FITcity Freestyle by trainArizona Racing. It’s my end game. I’m stoked. What is FITcity Freestyle about?
FitCity Freestyle Project provides low income 7th-11th grade teen athletes with a free 12-week summer fitness program that demonstrates success is a product of hard work and self-discipline. It encourages the use of minimal training resources to build elite fitness. The underpinning ideology is anything is possible with resilience and a relentless attitude, including pull oneself out of poverty.
The Project’s vision is broader than the kids themselves. It extends back to the corporate donors because it serves as a live demonstration on what can be accomplished when one person precisely executes a clear vision.
I took my training, built a team, now I’m building a nonprofit. Money for training is seen as a boundary for athletic success. Poverty doesn’t allow for coaches, or gyms, or fancy equipment.
I want to rip these alleged boundaries down myself by making my style of training the preferred method. I will be able to do it too. I have the best – and safest – training that uses a nominal amount of equipment. Doubt me at your own risk.
Q: How does your program help groom youngsters (who are bound to financial instability).What does it offer the youth?
Answer: First, my program instills the pillar that success is not a right, but a product of hard work and self-discipline. Today’s U.S. kids are SOFT. In the U.S., everyone gets a participation trophy. Parents complain about equal playing time. Well maybe your kid just doesn’t work hard. If you don’t like it, do something about it. If you didn’t win, do a better job. That’s how I see it.
Second, my program teaches kids THE best way to train. My program is 7 days a week for 2+ hours a day. It isn’t easy. Kids are impressionable which makes it great. My program allows them to get exposed to what I know will be universally recognized as the best way to train in 8-10 years. Kids are the future. I’ll tell you what; adult athletes’ minds are too closed. They grew up training one way, reading about one way, and seeing one way. It’s sad really.
Q: Do you think the struggles in your life led you to where you needed to be? Would you have been this very same person without the illness too?
Answer: This makes me recall a quote I gave to a local newspaper when I graduated from Texas A&M University at 23. It ran a story on my fight against cancer. The quote goes:
"I don't know what it is I'm supposed to do here in life," Ingle said Friday, pondering his purpose as he explained that he never once thought he might lose his battle with cancer. "I think maybe it's the situation. Maybe I'm supposed to have had cancer, to overcome it and maybe help people in my shoes. I really feel like I was put here to do something special."
It gives me the chills. 23-year-old me would be proud of 35-year-old me.
The way I see it is that I’m the person God created me to be. He gave me cancer not only because I could handle it, but that I’m brave enough to share my story to reach others. He created me strong enough to handle judgments, mistakes, and failure that come with effort to make a difference.
That’s not to say others haven’t walloped me with hurtful comments and actions. I’m human. I’ve been knocked wobbly during my endeavors, but I’ve never dropped to the canvas. I never will either.
Q: Where did you learn of RDX Sports? And how did you get in touch?
Answer: The relationship formed on Instagram. My IG handle is @trainArizona. The bond that underpins this article was created out of mutual respect. I respect what RDX Sports is about, and it respects me as a man. Both are originations for the hardworking commoner who is handed nothing and earns everything.
My endeavor is about impact. I walk-the-walk; I don’t charge anyone for my coaching. This isn’t about money for me. I train 35+ people. Since training doesn’t generate revenue I pay for our equipment out of pocket. I’m blue collar so money matters. In my quest to find cross training equipment research revealed RDX Sports was not just the best product, but priced well. It lasts and has some swag to it. It’s a beautiful marriage.
Q: Has RDX Sports benefited your cause in any way?
Answer: RDX Sports stands at the heart of my cause. RDX Sports and trainArizona Racing work in unison. I use its products to build my athletes. I construct Ironman, OCR athletes (i.e., Spartan), trail racers, marathon runners, cyclists, and ultra-runners with RDX Sports’ products. Yes, I train ultra-runners and trail runners with boxing equipment. Sound odd? Well, we’re at home showering when you’re still on the race course.
To put RDX Sports’ role in perspective, I use a gymnastics facility to train all my athletes. It’s perfect because the surfaces have soft bounces so it’s easy on the joints (think dead bones). It’s just open space. I use open space and RDX Sports, that’s it. It’s all I need.
Q: If you had to make one great change in the existing training program, what would it be?
Answer: I’d change nothing. From the beginning I made the CHOICE for my program to be an accurate reflection of me. The rationale was simple: I wanted to succeed or fail based on who I am, what I care about, my intellect, and how I train.
My program contains my exercises, my movements, my effort, my intensity, and my spirit that takes place in a fun, safe, supportive, team-first environment that is appropriate to anyone of any age, gender, race, religion, and socioeconomic background. Every fiber of the team is me.