Every 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.

Mike 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 worth it!


CB: Mike, why don't you tell the readers about your personal training business?

MM: 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 coach.


CB: Mike, you truly meet the definition of an expert. How did you come into a strength and conditioning career?

MM: 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.


CB: It sounds like you are really helping a lot of people. What are your personal achievements as a strength coach?

MM: 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.


CB: Training hockey players can be an amazingly rewarding experience. Are there any anecdotes you would like to add from working with the Blades?

MM: Hockey players are just like any other athletes: Show them you can help them perform better and they'll listen to anything you say.


CB: 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?

MM: 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.


CB: That is an excellent philosophy. Since you are a serious bodybuilder, surely you must have some "insider" tips for building muscle?

MM: 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.


CB: And is that your general philosophy?

MM: 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.


CB: That's a super philosophy. What are your favorite exercises when it comes time to put philosophy into application?

MM: 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.


CB: When you train your clients, you must see a lot of people making a lot of mistakes around you. Is there anything that sticks out?

MM: 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.


CB: You make a great point. So what are your goals for 2002 and beyond?

MM: 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.


CB: 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 training experiences?


No one has all the answers and no one training style works forever.

The 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 white.

There are NO short cuts. Not only as it applies to strength and conditioning but to life in general.



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