Mark Wahlberg went from being the pretty boy who appeared in Calvin Klein underwear ads to that jacked guy appearing in epic films such as – The Fighter.
He also appeared alongside Dwayne Johnson in the bodybuilding film Pain and Gain, playing the role of a roided up gym rat.
Interestingly though, Mark said that “because of 12 hour days” on set, he and Dwayne didn’t train together (1). He said they both completed their workouts before arriving on set.
That moment when you star in a bodybuilding film with the Rock, and realise you didn’t even have a workout together…
Missing the chance to eyeball other gym rats, screaming “FOCUS!!!”.
It’s well known that Dwayne Johnson is on the juice, but the question is…
Has Mark also used steroids to bulk up, or has he resisted the temptation all this time?
Mark claims he gained 45lbs of muscle in 7 weeks prepping for Pain and Gain, going from 165lbs to 210lbs.
Mark Wahlberg’s stats for Pain and Gain:
Height: 5 ft 7
Body fat %: 13%
Here’s a before/after pic of Mark from Broken City to Pain and Gain:
7 Week Transformation
Natty bodybuilders will know that gaining 45lbs of muscle in 7 weeks is almost impossible for any experienced natty lifter.
However, looking at Mark’s body composition in Pain and Gain, he doesn’t look to have gained 45bs of lean, solid muscle.
Instead, here’s a more accurate dissection of his weight gain:
- 30lbs of muscle
- 10lbs of glycogen/water retention
- 5lbs of fat
But, how did Mark manage to gain roughly 30lbs of muscle in the space of 7 weeks?
It’s likely that Mark wasn’t lifting weights during the film Broken City, as he’s smaller in that film compared to when he was just 21 years old, modeling for Calvin Klein in 1992 (2).
Thus by going back to the gym, Mark’s muscle memory would’ve kicked in, restoring his muscles to their former size.
Similar to what happened to Christian Bale in his transformation from Machinist to Batman Begins.
So of the 30lbs of muscle Mark gained, most of this is not likely to be NEW muscle.
Add into the equation he was eating up to 12 meals a day, practically force-feeding himself in order to try and get as big as possible…this is the perfect recipe for growth.
Due to his excessively high calorie intake, some of his size can be attributed to fat gain, increased glycogen stores and water retention.
It’s clear that from a young age, Mark’s muscles responded exceptionally well to weight training. At the time of those Calvin Klein ads he was merely a newbie in the gym and already in awesome shape.
Throughout the years he’s bulked up and cut down several times, helping him add even more mass to his frame.
Although he has got bigger from his CK modeling days, he hasn’t experienced even half the growth of a typical steroid-user. If he’d used powerful bulking compounds like Dbol, Test or Tren he would be a lot bigger now compared to his teen years.
For example, look at muscle model Jaco De Bruyn’s transformation from natty to steroids:
Jaco De Bruyn’s Steroid Transformation
Jaco had HUGE gains.
Progress photos like these make it extremely obvious as to who’s juicing and who’s natty.
Mark Wahlberg’s Transformation:
Sure Marky Mark’s added some muscle, but there’s nothing unnatural looking about his gains.
It’s clear this extra mass is because he’s eaten a truck load of food and bulked up, otherwise he’d even more jacked.
No Steroid Symptoms
Mark doesn’t have any steroid symptoms such as:
- Flushed appearance to his skin
- Excessive vascularity
The only symptom Mark DOES have is – bloating.
If you’ve seen Mark in Pain and Gain or Daddy’s Home, you’ll see that he looks extremely bloated, despite not having a high body fat percentage.
How does that happen?
From reading about his prep for Pain and Gain, it’s clear this bloat is from a truck load of food, instead of anabolic steroids.
He would even set an alarm to wake up in the middle of the night to cram in more food, describing his bulking habits as “fucking brutal” and “food stopped having any real taste” (3).
I know that when I’ve bulked on 6,000+ calories a day, I wouldn’t gain much fat straight away, but my waist line would balloon 24 hours after binge-eating.
This is because when you eat in a huge calorie surplus, you’ll a retain a shit load of water and your face will become more bloated than Val Kilmer’s.
…That’s Val Kilmer now, not young Val Kilmer.
If Mark had gained 50lbs of muscle and blown up drastically from his teen years, then it’d be obvious he was on something.
But he’s only made modest gains since then, whilst gaining body fat in the process.
His weight has fluctuated up and down throughout the years because he’s been in roles that don”t require him to be in shape. Thus he’s stopped lifting weights and shrunk as a result.
Mark’s mass seems to be the result of good genetics, training hard and eating BIG.
Eat big to get big
Good bet, i would have said natural too, seeing how he was at young age and now, how he eats.