& CONDITIONING PROFILE #2 - Mike Mejia
month CB ATHLETICS will be featuring a new strength coach
and an insight into their conditioning philosophies. There
are many great coaches out there that are unrecognized and
that may even live in the same city as you or an athlete
you know that is looking for advanced instruction.
Mejia, CSCS, is a regular contributor to Men's Health magazine
and is also a strength and conditioning specialist in Long
Island, NY. Getting time for an interview with this successful
fitness writer and bodybuilder was not easy, but it was
Mike, why don't you tell the readers about your personal
I'm currently doing private sessions in New York - lots
of personal training with executives, but this hasn't stopped
me from continuing with freelance writing assignments. I
write a column in Let's Live and I often write feature articles
for Physical magazine. And in addition to all of this, I've
been working with a youth hockey program as an off-ice conditioning
Mike, you truly meet the definition of an expert. How did
you come into a strength and conditioning career?
I received an undergraduate in Exercise Physiology from
Adelphi University and a Master's from Queens College (New
York) in the same subject. I am also a Certified Strength
and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. That is the
top certification for individuals in this field.
It sounds like you are really helping a lot of people. What
are your personal achievements as a strength coach?
I am most proud of my work with the Saskatoon Blades (a
Junior Hockey team in Canada) and currently with the Syosset
Bobcats Minor Hockey Team.
Training hockey players can be an amazingly rewarding experience.
Are there any anecdotes you would like to add from working
with the Blades?
Hockey players are just like any other athletes: Show them
you can help them perform better and they'll listen to anything
Mike, since your clients are often busy executives, do you
have any training tips to pass on that will enhance their
mental and physical health? Can you suggest any training
ideas that can actually help them perform better at work
and improve their bottom line?
I've always maintained that starting the day with an intense
workout makes everything else you do seem easy by comparison.
Hitting a new personal best on a deadlift or a squat, or
grinding out some high rep supersets first thing in the
morning makes the rest of the day a breeze.
That is an excellent philosophy. Since you are a serious
bodybuilder, surely you must have some "insider" tips for
It's easy. Feed the machine. Doesn't matter what kind of
program you're on, if the caloric (nutritional) support
isn't there you won't build a thing. Also, use every trick
in your arsenal. Don't buy into only one training style
or philosophy exclusively because no one has all the answers.
High reps, low reps, fast reps, slow reps (wasn't that a
Dr. Suess book?), they all have their place.
And is that your general philosophy?
My philosophy is that "The path of least resistance often
leads to nowhere." I love this quote and have adopted it
as a sort of a mantra because it applies so well to not
only my chosen field but to all aspects of life. You want
to get bigger and stronger? It's all about heavy weights
and lots of effort. Lean? Eating correctly and performing
tough interval work in combination with intensive weight
training. No gimmicks, no lying to yourself. It might take
a lot of effort to get where you're going, but you'll be
very satisfied when you get there.
That's a super philosophy. What are your favorite exercises
when it comes time to put philosophy into application?
For the upper body, particularly the upper back that most
people neglect, I really love the classic Pull-up. And for
the lower body, again an area that people neglect, I recommend
the Bent Leg Deadlift.
When you train your clients, you must see a lot of people
making a lot of mistakes around you. Is there anything that
Most people's programs suffer from lack of planning. Whether
it's diet or exercise, a "fly by the seat of your pants"
approach just doesn't work.
You make a great point. So what are your goals for 2002
I resolve to become a recognizable author of books on various
aspects of conditioning, as well as a champion natural bodybuilder.
However, both rank second and third respectively though
to being the best father I can possibly be to my two girls.
No doubt you are well on the way to all of those goals.
What are the 3 top things you have learned in all of your
one has all the answers and no one training style works
more you know in this field, the less you know. Education
opens your eyes and mind to the fact that in the strength
and conditioning field, nothing is as simple as black and
are NO short cuts. Not only as it applies to strength and
conditioning but to life in general.