Author: Adam MacDougall   Date Posted:4 April 2017 

HE was a hard man on the footy field and now he’s a hard task master in the gym.

Former NRL player Mark “Spud” Carroll has a simple motto at his Woolloomooloo gym Spudds: give it everything you’ve got and don’t complain.

The ex-Rabbitoh and Sea Eagle’s journey from league star to celebrity trainer began soon after his retirement, when Hollywood came calling.

“I really have to thank Russell Crowe. I worked with him for about seven years and helped him to train for the movie Cinderella Man,” Carroll said.

“He told me that getting people fit was what I was great at and passionate about. So without his ­vision there’d be no Spudds.

“In fact Russell even hand-drew the logo for Spudds gym that hangs on the door of my gym still today.”

Spudds has not lost any of its showbiz glitter despite being an old-school gym with old-school ­requirements. NRL, AFL and rugby union players and teams often visit, trying to obtain that extra hard edge that Carroll was famous for in his playing days.

“I’m training with the Burgess brothers at the moment and I’ve had the Wests Tigers come in. I bashed the hell out of those guys — that was good fun,” he said.

“Spudds is all about having fun. The music’s blaring and my personality comes into most sessions. I’m really competitive so I make sure everyone else is too.

“I’m passionate about encouraging guys to aim up and achieve their best.”


Carroll turned 50 this year and with a body that has been badly battered and bruised on the footy field there’s not a day goes by that he doesn’t roll out of bed with an ache or pain somewhere — but he doesn’t let that prevent him staying in top shape.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, you can find a way to get fit and stay fit,” he said.

“Do it step by step and don’t go too crazy first up and then wake up the next day too sore to move, ­because you’ll only go backwards. Start with something simple like going for a walk or doing a few weights to get the heart rate going.

“And see if you can find a mate to train with. I need a mate to go to the gym with. You have a bit of a chat and the next thing you know the training session’s over and you’re done.”

Carroll’s favourite exercise for looking fit and strong at any age is the bicep curl — because, as he says, curls still get the girls!


Like most Aussie blokes who used to play a bit of sport, Carroll has realised over the years that you can’t out-train a bad diet no matter how much you exercise. That means he has had to overhaul his diet considerably — and in particular his appetite for spuds.

“Looking back, I was an idiot with my diet, hence my nickname Spud,” he said.

“I read this muscle magazine that said for fitness and for energy, eat potatoes. So I gave that a crack and had a really great game and I thought ‘OK, I’ll keep eating them every week’. I used to eat 16 massive potatoes before every game!

“Nowadays I know better. I’ve cut out the spuds and dropped my bread intake in favour of protein, good fats and plenty of vegies. I promise you if you can do this for just six weeks you’ll see a huge difference in your body.”

Spudds Fast Fives -