Mark Friedman’s Savage Mentality Lands Him into the NHL

Clance: Savage! Mark Friedman.

Mark: How are you?

Clance: It’s been an honor training you all these years. So Dominate Discussions is basically what I want, reason why I picked you, and want to talk to you was because for me personally is you’re a unwavering. Correct me if I’m wrong, your unwavering focus, you’re on a waiver and commitment. You’re the type of athlete that I have to pull back. Not that I have to focus, just pull back and actually slow down just a little bit, but I love that I have to do that. For me as a coach, I work better with those athletes. But what I’m interested in is what’s your ultimate dream?

Mark: Well, obviously it’s to play in the NHL and make a name for myself, but just to get back on the point that you just made about me and that’s how I’ve been brought up. I’m just a guy who’s if I’m gonna do something, might as well put 150% into it and there’s never enough that I can’t do personally, especially when I’m in the gym. I always want to do more and more and more as much as I can. Sometimes that’s not good, but that’s just the kind of guy I am. I just want to.

I know there’s going to be someone working just as hard or even harder than I am and that kills me in my mind to know that someone’s working super hard. So I just want to do everything I can to match him or beat him up that next day.

Clance: Amen. Amen. Just to be clear, who are you and what sport you play and what’s your team?

Mark: My name is Mark Friedman and I play ice hockey. I play for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Clance: How long have you been training with LPS?

Mark: I think it’s gotta be close to 10 years. No, at least nine. All the way back to my favorite gym months. But those are the days.

Clance: You came in with a swag. That was just you. I can remember exactly the first day you walk into this gym and I love that about you. I had to rate it in a little bit. Right.

Mark: Young kid.

Clance: Yeah. I had to rate it a little bit. I love that. I just had the direct it. What do you like about the old year?

Mark: Well, you see so many guys, how we just got new guys, like Jozy Altidore, and the first thing he said was, Whoa. The atmosphere in this gym is unlike no other. That’s what drawn me to this place and you and Jeremy and the whole atmosphere and the athletes that are around, you can kind of get intimidated the first time you get into the gym, you know what the loud music.

Clance: You didn’t show it.

Mark: No, no. You can’t show intimidation, but when you walk in here, you hear the loud music. You see Maya’s hittin’ a 5,000 lbs Clean and Squat, whatever. Gordon and Fabian. It’s just, you see athletes who just love to come here and work and compete. That’s what it comes down to.

Clance: And for you, that worked with your mindset?

Mark: Well, I have a short switch. That’s the kind of guy I am. And like I said, it all goes back to me, always wanting to do more and more and more. There’s nothing that can get in my way for me to achieve my goal. That’s what I’ve been looked over so many times because of my size and hockey players aren’t necessarily, 5′ 10″ nowadays they’re a bit taller and that happier. Thank God, the game’s changed to where it’s more speed-oriented skill. Well, yeah, coming here definitely doesn’t hurt. You get stronger instantly. You make connections with people that last a lifetime and it almost turned into a whole family kind of thing for me.

Clance: And I’m proud of that. You said like the game has changed, but I always say you need that punch when you need it. I always tell people, Mark, you know, don’t let size fool you. He packs a punch. And I know people are gonna understand what I mean. You squat more than double bodyweight, you snatch more than your body weight, right? You clean 1.5 times your bodyweight. All that produces a tremendous first step power.

How do you feel the ice? Like, cause you know, you’ve been working here a long time, we communicate in season and so on and so forth, and you know what works for you? I guess my thing is like how have you felt it? Because at the end of the day, I don’t care about gym, so I don’t care how strong you are. Does it transfer? That’s all I care about.

Mark: Well, the first thing that people see or what they say about me is when they watch me play, well, this guy’s fast and explosive. That’s the one thing when I was younger, it was not necessarily the case. I wasn’t the biggest guy, like we said, and I wasn’t the fastest. That can’t be the case. You’re either not the biggest, but you’re the fastest or vice versa. For me, coming here, I’ve only gotten faster and more explosive and that’s definitely helped me just to sign my new contract, which I can’t thank you enough because that’s definitely what you guys have been doing and helped me.

Clance: Just going back to your contract, me as a coach, that’s why I do this. To me, you get the most respect in the world because you took time, obviously your parents are there from day one, but the fact that you took time and gave me a call.

Mark: You guys were the third call I made: mom, dad, girlfriend, then you guys, so third or fourth call, you guys were.

Clance: And that means a lot to me that shows, you don’t have to show him, but I show us how much we mean to you. That’s huge.

Mark: Absolutely.

Clance: Yes, I’m all about results, but when we can have that connection and that you’ve trust me, that everything I tell you is for the best. Cause I want to fleck. You know how I want you to play in it. I just want you to eat and you know, patients, but you’re gonna eat. I know everybody has their own. With your mentality, I can’t see you failing. I just can’t see it.

Mark: Can’t tell you all the time, I worked too damn hard to get rejected.

Clance: So you’re on your way. You know, you got a two-year contract one way, and super excited to watch you playing for Philadelphia. Have a question now. Your aggressive mentality, a lot of people don’t understand, that’s what really helps that explosive power because I have to harness that and put it into the bar, put it into the weight. When you have that, like energy, that comes from the inner is just, it’s easy for me to do that. Then you can see that production on the ice, on the track. You’re one of the most fastest guys here in the gym. Explosive. So I don’t want that to be overlooked. That is important. And I try to cultivate that environment in to the gym because energy is important. Mental focus is important. And I see that you do that well, but I want to go back to you, you know, in the GTHL coming up, playing at school, you went to the university route. Tell me about that.

Mark: Yeah. I was playing with the GTHL for the Don Mills Flyers. So Flyers for life, I guess. And then actually I was debating my whole junior career on going to the OHL or going to college. I felt that college was the best route for me. I actually played two years in Iowa for Waterloo USHL before college.

Clance: What was that like?

Mark: It was my first time living away from home so it was a bit nerve-wracking for the first year, but the second year was one of the best years of my life. But then yeah, college came around and I decided to go to Bowling Green. Yeah, it was good.

Clance: How many years were you at Bowling Green?

Mark: I was at Bowling Green for three years.

Clance: And I remember one year you stayed and trained.

Mark: Yes, which was definitely a mistake. College was good because you train and you play with guys who are bigger and older than guys would there be in junior hockey. You get to work out every day. You just get into a good program and you have your daily routine: you go to the gym, you go practice, you go through lunch, and you have your classes the rest of the day.

So that was all good. Obviously, I met my girlfriend there. We’ve been dating for five and a half years. I mean, it got me to play pro hockey after the three years in college. We can’t live with any regrets. Sometimes you look back at it saying, Oh, if I went to the OHL would probably me. But I don’t like living like that. So college was at the time, not the most popular decision because guys were going more the OHL road. I just felt that I wanted to be different. I don’t like doing the same things as many other guys. It helps you put your name out there, so I just wanted to try the school route and I loved it. And yeah, we heard that.

Clance: Wow. On your journey, whether on the ice, off the ice, what is the most difficult part of this journey so far? But not to say it’s most difficult, it’s helped you grow to where you are today or grown in terms of the in your path towards what you want to achieve?

Mark: Well, definitely growing as a person, you learn a lot on and off the ice and that’s where it takes a toll. You gotta be a pro on the ice and especially even more off the ice. So I mean your relationships, you form, you gotta stick to them, you gotta know the people you can trust. You got to do all the little things in order for people to trust you. So yeah, so important. And then when you get to the level, you can’t go down a lot, you gotta stay or just keep, keep building. Like there’s guys who just say, they’re okay with where they’re at and they’re satisfied, and to me, I tell you all the time, I’m never satisfied. You can never be satisfied in what you’re doing. I mean, you just gotta take every day.

When I was younger, I used to look so far ahead in the future and today now, or I feel like I’ve grown and matured as a person just taking every day one by one. You can’t look so far down the road and that’s where you create stress for yourself and that’s where bad things happen. I mean the whole being a pro on and off the ice is definitely something I’ve learned to live by.

Clance: It’s not easy to because trust is huge. My big proponent, one of my principles say what you mean-

Mark: Actions speak louder the words, you just gotta live by that too.

Clance: You gotta live by your actions. Your words don’t mean anything to me. What are your actions? And you’re a perfect example of that. That’s how you build trust. With me anyway, you don’t build trust by communicating. Communication is great, but what are your actions and you personify that. You’re a pro, man, so I’m happy.

So what’s the difference between the old gym and the gym now? Be honest, don’t hold anything back. Be savage. Don’t care about cameras. Let me have it.

Mark: Well, I mean, obviously the gym here is way bigger and you can have more people here and then you have more fight between everybody. Everyone wants to top each other. I mean, you can see when I’m training on the first platform over there, and I’m looking across all the way to the other one. I want to beat the crap out of that person and see what they’re lifting so I can lift 10 times more, you know? The old gym, there’s only two platforms. So I mean, you can’t really catch what everyone was doing because you’re either on the platform or you’re either doing something else. You can’t really watch it, right? I mean, besides that, this gym is top-notch and we just got everything you need. The other one obviously was a lot smaller. Great location. Best location ever.

Clance: What I really love about the old gym and how I harnessed and developed AAS.

Mark: Everyone was so close.

Clance: Everyone was so close to you. Could anybody who stand in your way and waste time? No, it’s not happening.

Mark: Yeah, that’s true.

Clance: Mark is down their throat with either a fish or you’re in their face. That’s just the type of gym we have. Obviously don’t get me wrong. No fighting is allowed in the gym, but you cannot.

Mark: Some testosterone.

Clance: You cannot get in the way of my animals. Them dogs you can’t. That’s the kind of thing I miss with this gym. It’s like, people move up to the slope, which annoys me. Because it’s not about what’s the biggest thing, I want work capacity. I want you to be a Tasmanian devil. I want you to come. I want you to keep repeating the same efforts at the same intensities over and over and over. That is sport. You cannot compete with somebody like that, right? If you apply a certain intensity, and the intensity drops off successively every repetition, what’s going on? You’re lacking that work capacity.

That’s what I’m missing here. Yes. It’s bigger and after this whole COVID thing, I really want to figure that out. You know, no sharing bars and all that kind of stuff, but that’s one, that’s one component. I’m not saying maybe I’m a little hard on myself, but am I right?

Mark: No, you’re for sure right. I mean, there’s also, you also made a bigger name for yourself now so I mean, more guys want to come into the gym. So it’s not as easy as it was before to bars and always move.

Clance: Remember if I heard the bar-

Mark: If it wasn’t moving, then you giving it to somebody. Like I said, your name is out there now so everyone knows who you are. Everyone wants to come train with us and just get so much stronger that you can’t really, people are like, there’s 10 platforms and there was two before. It was harder.

Clance: But you feel in the benefits of it.

Mark: Like I just read that thing on the wall. LPS. The AAS. Whatever system is.

Clance: Well, you didn’t know yet.

Mark: It’s just like, your whole mental side gets stronger and your body gets like, it’s crazy.

Clance: And that’s another thing that a lot of athletes telling me is that, Clance, yeah, I’m stronger again. I’m fast. But I’m just mentally tough. And I love that.

Mark: Well, that’s all it. If you’re not mentally tough, don’t train.

Clance: Don’t train.

Mark: It comes down to it. I fought on the Wednesdays, just strongman. Like if you’re not mentally tough, don’t bother.

Clance: And we’re not mean, and I’m not a mean person, but I’m trying to-

Mark: You want guys who don’t cut corners. And if you’re cutting corners, that means you’re mentally weak.

Clance: It bothers me. It bothers me cause I just wanted the best for you. If I’m wrong, communicate with me, let me know I’m wrong. Let me know, prove it to me. If you do the work, right? If you the work-

Mark: I think I’ve done that once, it didn’t end well for me. They tried to tell you you’re wrong.

Clance: No, I listened.

Mark: Yeah, you do.

Clance: I listened, but you gotta prove me wrong.

Mark: Yeah. For sure.

Clance: Give me the data, I’ll analyze the data only if you’re doing the work. Fuck excuse my language. Do not do the work and complain because I have no data to reference. It’s just that simple. So it’s not like I’m not a player’s coach. I listened to my athletes. I want to communicate. Everyone’s different. But I need that data. Don’t tell me. How many times you came in to the gym you don’t feel like training? You don’t feel like working out or it’s tough, you want to go easy. Like look at yesterday. You wanted to go.

Mark: But I didn’t.

Clance: But you didn’t and you PR. Like how many times does that happen? And you’re not the perfect example because you’re sad genuinely, but in this system-

Mark: You’re going to feel shitty more times than not.

Clance: It’s just the mental.

Mark: Once you warm-up, you’ll be fine.

Clance: You’ll be fine. It’s happened over and over and next week. That is one of the most toughest things I have to communicate with athletes. Just to get through that mental ’cause we’re in, or if I feel sore, let me take a day off.

Mark: Well, yeah. That’s what’s in your book. Go read his book by the way. No, I read your book. One of the things was, if you feel like, one morning, I don’t want to hear about it. Come in, train. Don’t go as heavy if you don’t, if you’re not with your, body’s not feeling up to it. But if you’re in the gym, you’re still gonna get better. That’s all it is

Clance: We acquainted as seeing by you one day. I’ll never forget. We were outside. We were just hammering farmer’s walk on the street. Remember like in the old gym? Even though the people in the condos used to be a show, they know what time we’re out doing the farmer’s walk.

Mark: We had quite the crew.

Clance: Quite a crew and yet, you guys do farmer’s walk, the strong man stuff. And I hear you guys’s point: hard work becomes easy work. Hard work, like I heard, like it was just like a mantra to get you through that workouts. I put that in the book: hard work becomes easy work and you’re so right.

One of the things I want to go back to the hard work becomes easy work, I was so, back in the day I was so, You only have to do this, I don’t want you to doing anything at the gym.

I learned from you. I watched. I’m always watching. People think I’m not watching, but I’m watching. You know I’m always watching. I listen. I pay attention. You use it to leave the gym, go skate, back in those days. I didn’t want you to do so much outside work. I’m watching you skate-

Mark: Sometimes before.

Clance: Before come to the gym and still PR. Like what the fuck is going on? But what I realized is that you adapted to the work. Your level is this while someone else’s level is this. So I’ve realized that, Clance, just let it go. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see if there’s a breaking point. There has never, there’s none.

Mark: Besides my surgery, but that was some freaking scary.

Clance: Freaking, freaking. But you know, in terms of your work capacity, cause at the end of the day, this is, we collect data. This system gives me data. So if you are PR-ing every week and not failing, I know you’re not pushing hard enough—number one. Number two, if you’re missing too frequently, you’re pushing too hard. Number three, if you’re progressing and I can see you putting some work, you’re doing the right. Cause it’s always pushing me, but just pushing you enough.

What I’ve noticed is your numbers always went up and you pretty much are going hard at all the time. Not pretty much you are. A lot of times I have to hold you back cause I can see a No, Mark. Not today. Let’s leave it to the next day. Mark. No.

But that’s how I really just learned to accept that, Okay. No, he can tolerate the work. And that’s how you helped me create other animals who can just keep doing the work. I’ll talk to these young athletes nowadays, Oh, should I skate before? No skate, come in, and lift. Can you skate after? Yes. Lift and both skate.

That keyword adaptation, is that you really helped me harness that the human organism, it has an amazing ability to adapt at the mind. That’s what you’ve taught me so I thank you.

Mark: Okay.

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