Mark Omezi, known in fitness and bodybuilding circles as Omayzee, makes lifting weights and body sculpting look easy and exciting.
But Mark knows his journey has been anything but easy after a car accident in December 2019 left him in constant pain.
The accident caused severe injuries to Mark’s left shoulder and bicep, and he sought help from Raj Shani, M.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston.
Mark has been a professional bodybuilder since October 2020. In spite of his accident, not to mention the pandemic challenges, he was determined to move up the amateur ranks to become a professional bodybuilder.
In the face of these setbacks, he achieved his goal that year, winning two International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB) Pro Cards in two separate men’s divisions. This distinction means he is part of an elite group.
After achieving this feat, he knew that to be more competitive in the professional league, he had to find a lasting solution to his nagging pains. “I was in pain most of the time I prepared for my last competition, and it was difficult to not have the mobility and strength I needed,” he says.
Mark wanted a surgeon who works with athletes. “I had confidence in Dr. Shani the moment I met him,” says Mark. Dr. Shani is a specialist in sports-related orthopedic surgery with a focus on shoulder, knee, and ankle surgery.
“Dr. Shani walked in the room, took one look at me, and said, ‘Oh, that’s a labrum tear.’ He immediately knew what was wrong,” explains Mark. “I couldn’t believe he pinpointed the problem so quickly.
Mark was relieved. “It was great to know why I had such pain and why my bicep was not working. I did not know I had a tear or why I couldn’t turn my arms.”
Following the surgery in June 2021, Mark worked hard at physical therapy for two months and was happy to be on the road to recovery.
Dr. Shani performed an arthroscopic procedure to repair the labrum tear in Mark’s shoulder, as well as a biceps tenodesis, a procedure to repair damaged bicep tendons.
“Dr. Shani told me it would take about 12 weeks to return to normal, and again, he was correct,” explains Mark. “No one thought I would return to the gym so quickly.”
Mark admits there were tough days in physical therapy. “It was difficult to be optimistic all the time, but I knew I had to keep pursuing my goals.”
“Mark was very determined throughout the process, and he worked extremely hard on his rehabilitation,” explains Dr. Shani. “It was a pleasure to be his doctor.”
Believe in goals
Mark uses the word “resilient” to describe how his determination powered his recovery. He has set his sights on the international Mr. Olympia title, so he is familiar with determination.
“I have the opportunity of a lifetime to compete with the best of the best in the world,” he says. The international Mr. Olympia competition is in Las Vegas in December 2022.
Mr. Olympia is the premier competition for bodybuilders and a showcase for these sports’ legends whose sacrifice and dedication earned them this spotlight.
Mark praises the achievements of Arnold Schwarzenegger who won the title of Mr. Olympia seven times. “To compete on the iconic Olympia stage is the most sought-after achievement in the world of professional physique competition,” he says. “I was not going to accept ‘no’ as an answer to competing again. I know there is more I want to prove.”
Now, Mark works out in the gym a maximum of two hours a day, five days a week. He is committed to the correct amount of rest, as well as a balanced nutritional diet. He also is a coach and trainer for other bodybuilders.
Mark works with his coach, Chris Cormier, a renowned and retired IFBB Professional bodybuilder, to prepare for his upcoming competitions. “To be honest, I feel reborn,” says Mark. “I’m back to lifting properly, even better than before. My team and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. My body benefitted so much from the procedure and the recovery period, and I feel the best I’ve ever felt.”
“Mark was determined to be successful with his recovery,” adds Dr. Shani. “With his positive attitude and resolve to never quit, Mark makes an excellent role model for other patients.”
Mark learned what it takes to heal properly. “It’s important to follow the doctor’s advice and stick to the process,” he says. “It was tempting to speed up the process, but I didn’t want to put myself behind in my healing. I took my time and it paid off.”
Mark credits his support team for staying by his side and encouraging him on his journey. “I call them the Golden Iron Collective and they look out for me,” says Mark. “Everyone needs support and Dr. Shani is part of that team. I wouldn’t be back in competitions if it wasn’t for him.”