Within the realm of professional athletics, many talented individuals find themselves training countless hours, developing pertinent skills, and perfecting their chosen disciplines. Often, their athletic careers begin at a young age, throughout various developmental stages, and these careers are fostered by entire communities of supporters, coaches, teammates, and other individuals conducive to the betterment of the fledgling athlete. During collegiate years, many future professional athletes compete on the collegiate level, with professional and Olympic dreams on the distant horizon. Throughout this time, many disciplined athletes also excel within their schooling, earning undergraduate degrees in varying fields. With the promise of “going pro” dangled like a shiny carrot on a stick, always just around the corner, young athletes often parlay their dedication to a chosen sport in an almost micro-level thought process, with a one-track dedication to success within their chosen sport.
For those talented enough to compete within a chosen sport on a professional level, athletes are vastly engrossed in their domains of expertise. While all career trajectories vary greatly, and each sport is known for having a unique pace, even the most prominent professional athlete must step down at a certain point. Whether the athlete suffered an irreversible injury, has received other promising opportunities, has been released by a team, or has experienced an event rendering their professional career terminated, every professional athlete retires at a certain point in their individual life cycle.
Upon retirement, professional athletes maintain the unique advantage of being able to potentially parlay their previous experiences into new long-term occupations. For example, basketball players well-versed in the nuances of the game can leverage their on-court skills to teach young players the various skills needed to achieve professional status, via a camp setting. Similarly, the same former basketball player can spend their post-retirement time coaching another team. Finally, with an entrepreneurial spirit, the same retired basketball player can combine pertinent experience competing on a professional level, along with a knowledge of business practices, and open their own basketball training center. Often, by the time of retirement, the professional athlete has amassed name recognition, which can be further leveraged throughout future business endeavors.
There are many varying opportunities available for retired athletes, in a myriad of different avenues, allowing their time spent as professional athletes to be a huge asset toward future career development. Culminating in successful entrepreneurial efforts, many athletes have found rewarding ongoing opportunities post-retirement, often stemming from previously undeveloped interests in other disciplines. For now-retired Olympic gymnast Mark Holyoake, his career trajectory post-athletics has allowed him to combine previously perfected skills, an interest in fitness, the desire to help others achieve their goals, and a personal fitness-related interest.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand on March 1, 1983, Holyoake’s interest in the sport of gymnastics blossomed from a very early age. At the vastly developmental age of 9, while the majority of his classmates were playing casual courtyard games, young Holyoake was beginning to compete in regional gymnastics competitions. Considered an “all rounder”, young Holyoake competed in a myriad of gymnastics disciplines, including pommel horse, floor exercise, ring, vault, and the parallel bars. By the time Holyoake was merely 10 years old, he was regularly invited to take part in national development teams, intended to create professional athletes out of promising young talents.
Attending Auckland University to obtain his Bachelor of Science degree in Sport and Exercise Science, Holyoake expertly divided his time between academics, and his continuously developing gymnastics career. Like many athletes of his caliber, even at a young age, Holyoake recognized the importance of garnering a proper education, for the sake of being an impressive candidate within the overall job market. During this formative time, Holyoake also worked part-time as a personal trainer, and was a member of the Tri Star Gymnastics Club in the Auckland Regional Gymsport Centre, where he inspired many younger gymnasts.
Throughout his collegiate years and beyond, Holyoake’s professional gymnastics career soared, and he accomplished many feats individually, and as part of the New Zealand team. Initially placing 25th at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 2005, Holyoake returned the following year, and triumphantly ranked 11th overall. He participated in numerous national, and international competitions, and further perfected numerous skill-sets. As part of New Zealand’s team at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, Holyoake independently placed 3rd on the parallel bars, while the entire team placed 4th overall within the competition.
Notably, in 2010, at the age of 27, Holyoake also broke the Guinness World Record for the most double leg rotations on a Pommel Horse in 60 seconds, completing the task with a grand total of 65 rotations. This amazing record solidified Holyoake’s talent in the world of gymnastics, and further propelled his already-recognized name, an important factor in the professional athlete’s journey to future entrepreneurial endeavors. Throughout the same year, Holyoake retired from professionally competing in gymnastics, and began the journey toward blending his previously well-planned education, unique set of experiences, and name recognition, into a positive career transition.
In his first role following his retirement from professional gymnastics, Holyoake worked as a personal trainer at the famed Les Mills International, helping others achieve their personal fitness goals. With a pertinent degree in Exercise Science, and the unique experiences garnered as a professional athlete, Holyoake was positioned for success within any endeavor related to physical wellness, nutrition, and fitness. Holyoake excelled within this role, and garnered a following within the personal training circuit, training hopeful gymnasts, and other athletes.
Regaining the structure that comes with living a stable lifestyle, Holyoake’s motivation for training athletes spearheaded his next venture, a collaboration with professional Olympic Weightlifter Andy Rodgers. Much like Holyoake, Rodgers developed Olympic dreams at a young age, and began his competition cycle via representing New Zealand at the Oceania Championships. Much like Holyoake, Rodgers maintained a macro-level thought process regarding the life cycle of his athletic career, and garnered a degree in Sports Coaching. As his love of coaching athletes continued to be a driving force professionally, Rodgers leveraged this motivation to develop the Rx Clinic with Holyoake.
Together, the two retired professional athletes formed the collective known as The Rx Clinic, which focused on parlaying their unique skill sets in the realm of gymnastics, and weightlifting, and developing customized training plans for athletes. Within this specialized workshop, the duo implemented steps from their own routines, and developed plans that could be translated for non-professional athletes. Successful by all accounts, the Rx Clinic focused on teaching proper movement, form, and building fundamentals for superior athletes.
In addition to providing comprehensive training sessions within this capacity, Holyoake also developed “Mark Holyoake Gymnastics”, a traveling takeover of local area gyms, where he taught specific workshops to participants. This allowed Holyoake to visit various locations, growing his brand organically via reaching a wider audience. By hosting “takeover” events at local gyms, Holyoake gained loyal followers, and his passion for the gym setting began to grow. Through his exposure to the sport of CrossFit via his Mark Holyoake Gymnastics takeover, Holyoake’s personal interest in the sport flourished, and he became an avid competitor. Recognizing the ways in which CrossFit is a beautiful and seamless counterpart to his gymnastics-heavy programming, and the ways in which the two disciplines provide a well-rounded regimen, Holyoake set out to develop a new educational program that focused on merging the two disciplines.
As competition is not foreign to Holyoake, his interest in CrossFit eventually sparked a competitive spirit, and he went on to compete in various national, and international CrossFit events. Jumping into the CrossFit lifestyle, Holyoake began to excel within the discipline, and excelled within multiple competitions. Upon perfecting the basic platforms of CrossFit, including technique, form, and safety, Holyoake began competing in the international CrossFit Games in 2014. Competing annually, Holyoake’s own improvement via worldwide ranking was a testament to the dedication, continued practice, and implementation of learned skills over a long-term timeline. During his annual CrossFit Games experience, Holyoake finished 2114th worldwide, and his ranking soared to an impressive 279th on a worldwide scale in 2019.
During his own CrossFit journey, Holyoake recognized ways in which he could leverage his previous experiences, his desire to provide a stable homebase for his coaching endeavors, and his love of the extensive workout by partnering with other professionals, and opening a unique gym of their own. From there, the concept for Carbon Method Fitness was born. Certain of his upcoming destiny, and understanding of the need to master a particular discipline prior to teaching said discipline to the masses, Holyoake completed the rigorous steps needed to become a Licensed CrossFit Instructor. By obtaining this certification, and continuing his ongoing education within specific areas of personal training, Holyoake positioned himself as a leader amongst personal trainers, and a highly reputable member of the fitness community. This ongoing trustworthy relationship has proven to be pivotal for Holyoake’s continued successful branding, and within his entrepreneurial efforts.
Along with fellow Licensed CrossFit Instructor Tila Hamad, the two athletes joined forces to open Auckland’s Carbon Method Fitness, a specialized CrossFit studio that integrates gymnastics, whole body wellness, and a holistic approach to long-term health and wellness. The studio focuses heavily on developing proper form, technique, and empowering athletes to remain educated in their journey toward maintaining overall wellness. Holyoake’s co-founder, Tila Hamad, has amassed vast experience in the fitness industry throughout her 7 year tenure. As a CrossFit Instructor for the last 4 years, Hamad has recognized the benefits of ongoing education, and is currently attending South Pacific College of Natural Medicine, pursuing studies in the realm of Naturopathy. Like Holyoake, Hamad’s personal interest in CrossFit, along with a competitive spirit, has allowed her to succeed within various competitions. In 2014, Hamad was part of a team that competed at the Crossfit Pacific regionals. Throughout the same year, Hamad was also the New Zealand National Champion in weightlifting for her weight class.
At Carbon Method Fitness, the leadership team is rounded out via the addition of multiple highly-qualified trainers, with backgrounds and degrees in the fields of Physiotherapy, Chiropractics, and Massage Therapy. With multi-disciplinary leaders at the helm of training at Carbon Method, the company’s mission statement of educating athletes to unlock their fitness potential via proper form is exemplified through the leadership of staff. Based on the platform that every movement counts, and training with purpose yields more positive results, the team at Carbon Method focuses their specialized training skills to instill confidence in all clients, allowing them to train at peak performance. This level of commitment to form, and the ways in which A impacts B, is seldom seen in personal training, and a direct reflection on the unique benefits of professional athletes who engage in fitness training post-retirement.
With classes capped at 15 participants per session, Carbon Method focuses on each participant, and coaches provide specialized attention for each participant. This limited class size, in conjunction with extensive personal training sessions, adds to their mission statement of building the backbone for successful training. Gymnastics, CrossFit, weightlifting, and mobility-based classes leverage the Trainers’ varying athletic backgrounds, and allow them to utilize previously perfected skills. Through a rotating schedule of available courses, and constantly increasing offerings, Carbon Method has become a go-to for members, and a staple within the fitness community.
For Holyoake, ownership of this thriving business has been a cornerstone of success within the cycle of his career. Naturally progressing in the fitness realm post-retirement from his professional gymnastics career, each carefully selected move has allowed Holyoake to build upon already existing expertise. Gaining leadership skills, and business savvy, through initial gym takeovers, and private camps, Holyoake was able to gauge interest in his particular coaching style, and establish a cult following prior to opening up shop. Confident in his branding, teaching style, credentials, and unique experiences within the realm of professional gymnastics, Holyoake was able to combine these factors into a successful entrepreneurial venture. His continued dedication to the various aspects of physical fitness has amounted to a trustworthy reputation as a leader within the industry, and a shining example of professional success after the culmination of an impressive athletic career.
For Holyoake, like many other professional athletes, this successful transition did not manifest itself magically. Instead, it was the culmination of intense focus, continued motivation, dedication to physical fitness, and the continued utilization of skills perfected throughout the professional athletic career. For a man who discovered his passion before his age took on two digits, he is undeniably personally fulfilled by his professional endeavors thus far, and his life after professional athletics looks continuously successful, providing a positive example to other professional athletes worldwide.