Carb Nite: How Mark Bell Lost 50 Pounds of Fat

People are much fatter than they have to be. Look around your local Starbucks, Jamba Juice, or Panera bread, and you’ll soon realize that everyone you see is fatter than is necessary—and that’s a conclusion I came to for myself, too. That’s why I started this whole process of dropping weight by using Carb Nite™, and I want to share some of that experience, and some information I’ve learned along the way, with you guys.

See, I’m not a big fan of “definites.” In anything. I know there are too many variables in life. Take my product, the Slingshot, for example. Our slogan is, “Bench heavy with no pain,” but I realize that “no pain” isn’t going to apply to everybody. Some people are still going to experience pain whether they’re using a Slingshot or not. That’s the truth, and the whole point of Dangerously Hardcore and my Power Project is to spit out the truth for you guys. You won’t see anything here except the truth—things that have been tried and tested, and stuff that’s actually been done before.

I also want to make sure it’s perfectly clear to all of you that there are going to be some roadblocks and hurdles. That’s life, every day. I’m not just talking about dieting and training. The beauty of training, however, is that it allows you to continue to push forward in many different ways. You may not have had the best day, but going to the gym and having a great workout will change your mood and the way you think. All of this builds character for you.


My Experience

I’ve lost 50 pounds using Carb Nite. There may have been some muscle loss in there, and some of it was clearly water, because my face isn’t as big as it was. Still, my energy levels feel like they’re through the roof, and so does my motivation. I feel like I can take on anything, like I can do a workout, rest for a few minutes, and then do another one. It’s awesome to be able to feel that kind of energy doing what I enjoy.

My clothes don’t fit anymore. My body structure is completely different. In Jesse Burdick’s article for DH, he said you become a completely different person. That’s the truth. I’ve become a different person in a lot of ways. Even the way I walk has changed quite a bit.

I started this whole process because I’m coming off a severe injury—a near career-ender at the hands of 1085 pounds falling off my back during a meet. I’d squatted that much before, but this time, in a freak accident, my leg shifted inward and I went down like a ton of bricks. Not a pretty sight. I didn’t go to any doctors, though. I fixed things in my own way, which isn’t the smartest thing to do, but that’s the way I deal with problems. I know what my body’s capable of, and I believe in the people around me—guys like John Kiefer, Jesse Burdick, and Kelly Starrett. I leaned on these guys to help me mend.

How You’re Going To Feel

You hear things all the time about how miserable people feel on low-carb diets. If this applies to you, there are a couple of things you’re going to have to do. First, you’ve got to suck it up and realize that being uncomfortable is going to be a large piece of the puzzle. You have to make yourself comfortable with being uncomfortable. The more used to this you can get, the better off you’re going to be, so understand this right off the top.

Next, you have to make sure you’re hydrating yourself. Make sure you’re drinking a lot of water. When athletes tell me they’ve got a headache, I tell them to drink a lot of water, then BAM, it’s gone. When you’re doing Carb Nite, you’re not really allowed to have sugar, so sports drinks are out of the question and you’re going to have to rough it out a little bit, but staying hydrated is one of the most important things you should be doing. Eat salty products, too—they can help you hold water for this purpose.


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Performance On Carb Nite®

The big question, however, pertains to whether you’ll get stronger. Let’s say you’re a guy who weighs over 250 pounds. I know that’s probably pretty big for a lot of you, but in powerlifting terms, that’s a fairly normal—even small—size. If you’re 250, and you lose ten pounds, that’s no big deal. It’ll take you 10-14 days, and you likely won’t notice any loss in strength. The same thing happens with the next ten pounds, too. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re the same strength when you’re lighter, you’re actually getting stronger. If you have less overall body mass behind you and beneath you, and you’re still able to lift the same weights, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Now, if you go higher than that and get into the 50 pound range like I’ve done, there’s going to be hell to pay. Your belt is going to fit differently and your powerlifting gear is going to fit differently. I’m saying this because I’m a geared powerlifter, but for most of you, we’re talking about raw lifting and raw strength. From that standpoint, I want to make it perfectly clear that I’ve taken a hit in my strength levels after losing 50 pounds.

A few weeks ago, I did a 475 pound bench press with 80 pounds of chain on each side. This is a good lift for me, but it was pretty strenuous after my weight loss. When I was at my strongest, I probably could have hit this for a set of five, at least. This time, I did a pretty good single with it, and it was slowing down, for sure. When I was up around 300 pounds, I did a 555 pound raw bench press, full-range, for a set of three reps, and I probably had a little bit left in the tank. This is just to illustrate that I understand the concept of wanting to have some raw strength behind you.


The Changes

In Jesse’s article, he addressed the idea of becoming a different person with regard to lifting. If you lift heavy, you’ll know what I mean when I refer to “pressure.” Even with something as simple as a seated row, when you’re in that bottom position with your arms extended, will feel much more powerful when you’re bigger, your gut is resting on your thighs, and you have a lot of pressure built up. When you’re thinner, it’s much more difficult. Your waist is thinner, your stomach isn’t underneath you anymore, and you don’t have all that fat and pressure.

Now, you can regain some of these leverages by building more muscle mass. Take Stan Efferding, for example—probably the greatest raw lifter of all time. Stan has built up his leverages just by being jacked. The same can be said for Ronnie Coleman, and many other top bodybuilders who have a lot of strength. Not every bodybuilder is super strong, but most of them are very strong for this reason.

Mark’s not the only one who’s having trouble with their clothes fitting.

Many of you train at commercial gyms, and you’ll have a main body part focus for the day. You might not have the bench, squat and deadlift as your primary concentration. When I’m saying I’m taking a hit in my strength levels, I know I am because I’m testing it. That’s what powerlifters do. We lift heavy—for singles, doubles and triples—with the big three: bench, squat and deadlift. For some of you, you might be doing exercises like lat pulldowns, bent rows, Hammer Strength stuff, and smaller movements like that. I haven’t noticed a loss of strength with any of that stuff, and my work capacity has actually improved. I can do more reps, I can do more sets, and I can handle more overall volume.

My goal now, and I’ll just come out right now and say it, is to go after the all-time record in the 242 pound class in powerlifting. I want to accomplish a 2700 pound total at 242. I know this isn’t going to be easy, and that the odds are against me, but I’m working my ass off every single day, harder than ever. I want to kick things into high gear, then close the chapter on my powerlifting career. I figure I have about three years left to compete the way I’m competing now before I start moving into single-lift meets. After that, I want to just keep coaching my team to be the strongest powerlifters in the world.

Those are my goals, and that’s the mission. If you know my work, you may think of me as a cocky, pompous SOB, but I’m neither as cocky nor as pompous as you might think. I’ve just always had really high goals, and I’ve always tried my best to achieve them. If I fall short, I fall short, but I know I’m going to give it everything I have.


Parting Words

Some of you are powerlifters who know me, so this is going to sound ridiculous, but there were times, when doing Carb Nite, when I’d step on the scale and get really pissed off—as mad as I’d be if I missed an 800 pound shirted bench. I’d say, “Man, this really sucks. I’m doing everything I can, and I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do,” and I’d blame the diet. You’ll do that. You’ll want to blame everything when you run into obstacles.

Don’t. Don’t get yourself into that mode. Hang tight, and hang in there. Losing body fat isn’t easy. If it was, Kiefer wouldn’t be writing all these manuals. He wouldn’t have an entire website, and now an entire staff, dedicated to helping you do it. You’re going to have setbacks, but you have to hang tight. Believe in your program, but also ask yourself whether you’re working hard enough. I’ve seen cases where people do too much and work too hard, but most of the time, the problem starts with you. You’re eating like a fatass, you’re being lazy, and you’re being selfish.

Confront yourself, be honest and up front with yourself, and every goal and dream that you set out to achieve, you can accomplish.


Read more about Mark at and

 Listen to the Mark below. He’s  currently shifting into Carb Back-Loading (as he mentions in the audio below).