The History of Venice Nutrition
There is a saying that some of the greatest things in life are created out of frustration. How do we eliminate the frustration when there are so many unanswered questions regarding nutrition and health? How do we separate fact from fiction? When Mark Macdonald created The Venice Nutrition Program, he never imagined that it would revolutionize the entire nutrition and fitness industry. His goal was simply to provide people with a solution.
Mark grew up tall and lanky, and like most kids, ate whatever he wanted. Adept in sports, his athletic abilities soon earned him a collegiate soccer scholarship, driving him to exercise and train for hours each day. It was during this time that he noticed his Mom struggle with her weight. He saw how she attempted diet after diet, always losing weight and then gaining back what she lost and more; her constant struggle never made sense to Mark. Why couldn’t she stay lean and healthy? Why couldn’t she eat well consistently? Was she exercising enough?
Mark thought that his college education would answer these burning questions regarding nutrition. He soon realized that the educational system did not provide the answers he was looking for. He distinctly remembers speaking to one of his professors, "I was an athlete and always lean and fit. I was talking to a Registered Dietician one day and asked her how could I be considered overweight on a BMI (Body Mass Index) chart if I have never been above 10% body fat? She said the chart was not for athletes, because it does not take my lean muscle mass into account. I then asked her what I should eat and she said she didn’t know. At that moment I realized how out of touch the entire nutritional education system was. It didn’t make sense to me that there was not a philosophy or system that worked for everyone, the moms out there as well as athletes like me".
Mark’s second big lesson in nutrition came when he finished college and stopped playing soccer. Despite the lack of activity, Mark continued to eat the food he was used to; fast food, pizza and ice cream. He realized that without constant exercise, his body became a fat storing machine and before he knew it, he had gained 60 pounds of body fat in a 6 month period. Mark remembers "I just thought I was putting on muscle. I remember saying to my wife Abbi, 'Can you believe I’m 250 pounds and I still have a six pack stomach?" Abbi replied, 'I love you baby but to be honest with you, I just don’t see your abs anymore!'" It was a true awakening for Mark.
Mark began researching and experimenting with every diet in the industry. He thought he found the answer in the Ketogenic Diet, a high fat, high protein and no carbohydrate plan. Mark followed the Ketogenic Diet diligently and went from 250LBS, 24% body fat to 180 LBS, 4% body fat in a 4 month period and thus began his fitness modeling career. For 4 years Mark read every fitness magazine, every nutrition book and tried every natural supplement on the market. Mark remembers, "It was an interesting time, I kept searching for answers. I looked great and felt horrible. I lived for my cheat days and was grumpy 6 days a week (the days without carbohydrates) and happy one day a week (the day I ate carbohydrates). It was not the life I wanted or the life Abbi wanted. Then Abbi once again sparked the next phase of my research. Abbi told me she couldn’t live like this anymore; my obsession over my body, food and the control it had over me was putting a dent in our relationship and wasn’t healthy. She said things had to change. Abbi was, is and will always be my sounding board and voice of reason. She was absolutely right."
Mark began to seriously study his medical books and research endocrinology, the nervous system and the digestive system. His research gave him a true understanding of the science of blood sugar stabilization. Mark recalls, "I was at a point in my life where I could not find the solution that would let me look great and feel great. I wanted lots of energy, I wanted to be lean, and I was sick and tired of the sugar cravings. I was truly frustrated. My college education provided me with a thorough understanding of human physiology & anatomy. The gap in this education was in the area of nutrition… I was taught very little about it. Most of the information I came to know relating to this was had to do with Body Mass Index and the food pyramid, neither of which made much sense. My years of fitness modeling taught me about starvation and deprivation – this wasn’t a healthy way to stay nutritionally sound. I decided that I should go back to the basics and study how the human body regulates and stabilizes blood sugar. I took out my medical dictionary and started reading. I realized that if the answer was going to be found, it was up to me. I took the knowledge I learned in school, my years in the fitness industry and my research on blood sugar stabilization and Venice Nutrition was born."
Venice Nutrition received its name because of its location next to Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach,California, known by many as the mecca of the nutrition and fitness industry. Mark thought that he had finally discovered the answer to optimal health and well being and used his findings to create a system to teach others on how to achieve permanent results at his nutrition center. Then a defining moment occurred in his wife’s life, Abbi sustained an impact injury to her neck. The injury seemed minor at first, and slowly and surely her body began to deteriorate. Mark remembers this painful time all too well: “It seemed initially Abbi would recover in a couple of weeks. But the weeks stretched into a year and Abbi was not getting better. We saw 10 orthopedists and 3 rheumatologists. No one had an answer. She was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She had trouble walking more than 5 minutes at a time, was in pain all of the time, and couldn’t sleep well throughout the night. The pain and frustration soon took over her life. "It was the hardest thing for me to deal with; I helped people everyday and could not help my own wife."
Mark hit the books once again in attempt to discover a solution for Abbi, studying the human body in relation to sleep, psychosomatic syndrome and stress. He realized that stabilizing the blood sugar is only one part of the equation. Mark learned that sleep, nutrition, exercise, supplements, water intake, and stress all must be maintained and balanced in order to achieve optimal health. Within six months, Venice Nutrition's Body Confidence Plan was born. Abbi began implementing the Body Confidence Plan and her condition started to improve. Her comfortable days grew more frequent and her pain lessened each week. Within 6 months she was completely off medication and had her life back.
Mark vividly remembers Abbi’s recovery: "I recall the tremendous relief when I realized that Abbi could live her life to the fullest again. We had thought she might never get better. Several years later she had a pain free pregnancy with our son Hunter, and we knew at this point that her body had made a full and permanent recovery. Today, she is Chief Operations Officer for Venice Nutrition, LLC. and a driving force behind our company. We are living a life now that neither of us ever thought would be possible. I thought at that moment how amazing it would be to teach everyone we could all about how to incorporate nutrition and the Body Confidence Plan into their lives. I finally found the answers I was looking for."
To date, Mark has personally coached over 25,000 clients. The diversity of his clientele is amazing to say the least. Mark’s clients are young and old, healthy and unhealthy, athletes and beginners, male and female, etc… His dream of creating a nutrition system that could improve anyone's quality of life has truly been achieved.
Mark knew that in order to reach the vast amount of people who needed help with nutrition to improve their quality of life, he would need to create a network of nutrition centers, a certification program to train and educate new coaches, and an online software system that could be used by anyone, anywhere in the world. This inspired Mark to create a Licensing Package which would achieve the goal of expansion, and provide the platform for Venice Nutrition's overall mission. Venice Nutrition launched its licensing system in 2003 and now has hundreds of Venice Nutrition Locations across the country.
Also in 2003, Mark founded the IBNFC (International Board of Nutrition and Fitness Coaching). He and his team of two doctors and a registered dietician combined their years of professional expertise and knowledge of the human body to create the most dynamic nutrition certification process in the industry today. Now anyone can learn about nutrition, fitness and the science of blood sugar stabilization and find the answers that took Mark so many years to uncover.
In May 2006, Mark's ultimate dream came true. He worked with the VN medical and management team to create a virtual replica of his one on one coaching system. The official launch of Venice Nutrition Online was a tremendous feat. Since then, anyone in the world has the opportunity to take a complimentary health assessment online and get immediate results, choose to enroll in the system and have a complete customized Body Confidence Plan created according to their personal nutrition and fitness goals.
In April of 2011, Mark Macdonald and the Harper Collins publishing team released Body Confidence, Mark’s highly anticipated book based upon his three step system to unlock the body’s full potential. Body Confidence quickly became a New York Times Bestseller and catapulted Mark and his message to the main stream through national media exposure. It seems everyone is looking for a better way to great health; since the release of Body Confidence, Mark has been featured on such shows as E Entertainment’s Chelsea Lately, Access Hollywood, Fox Atlanta and many more. He currently serves as Nutrition and Fitness Consultant for CNN and National Ambassador for the American Diabetic Association.
Mark’s passion has also paved the way towards several powerful partnerships. These partnerships have allowed countless people across the world to live the program and achieve their personal health goals.
Venice Nutrition continues its steady growth with new members and nutrition centers popping up everyday worldwide, corporate wellness programs and new media opportunities to reach as many people as possible. This tremendous growth is due to the goals and dreams of Mark Macdonald, his powerful team and you, our members. Together, Mark and the Venice Nutrition Community, who have become one million strong, will lead the change in our health industry and provide the answers to optimal health to the millions of people who search each day.
Want to watch Mark's weekly coaching videos, see him in media and read his weekly blog where he shares cutting edge information to take your body and health to the next level? It's all on MarkMacdonald.tv.