Interview with Strength Coach Mike Mahler By Ben Tatar
1) Can you tell us about yourself?
I am a strength coach based in Los Angeles, CA. I have been into strength
training for over ten years and starting training others close to three
years ago. I do kettlebell seminars around the US and overseas. I have done
over forty kettlebell workshops in the past two years across the US and
overseas in London, England. Some of the locations that Mike has been to
include: Washington DC, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, NYC, Portland, Oregon,
San Jose, and Phoenix. In addition to working with athletes around the
world, I am the author of a manual and DVD. I am working on another DVD on
how to get bigger and stronger with kettlebells that will be out next
month. I also have a monthly Column in "Industry Magazine" and I am a
regular contributor to "Hardcore Muscle Magazine", IronMan Magazine Japan",
and IronMan Magazine.
2) What made you become a lifter?
I was a skinny weak kid and could not even bench press 140lbs when I started
training when I was 18. Once I started making some progress, I got hooked
and read every book that I could find on training and test-drove hundreds of
programs over the next ten years.
3) What is it about Kettle Bells that fascinate you so much? Why do you find
them to be so important?
After years of doing standard workouts in the gym, I was looking for
something different. I decided to test drive kettlebell training and got
hooked right away. I like how kettlebells teach one how to work the body as
one unit and ballistic exercises such as swings are much more practical with
kettlebells. Swinging 2 88lb bells between your legs is more seamless than
two 90lb dumbbells. I also like the thick handles on kettlebells. The
handles turn just about every exercise into a grip exercise. In addition,
since the weight is off center, you really have to stabilize your body to
keep control of the bell.
4) With all of your accomplishments, which has been your favorite one to
Doing 42 workshops in two and half years has been a lot of fun. I enjoy
working with people face to face and helping them do things that they did
not think was possible. Everything that I do in this business is rewarding,
but the workshops are the best.
5) Can you give us some history and details about your journey as a writer
and some of your best projects and most interesting experiences to date?
I learned how to write well and fast in college and was excited to put those
skills into action. I knew that getting articles published was a great way
to get your name out there and it is like getting paid to advertise. There
was no magic to it. I just wrote a lot, sent a lot of articles to various
magazines and got quite a few articles published. I am in a great position
now as many magazines come to me for articles rather than the other way
around. I really enjoy doing my Column in "Industry Magazine" which is an
entertainment/fine living magazine based in Florida. Also, having a column
in IronMan Japan for 6 months was a lot of fun. I was on the front cover of
IronMan Japan a few months ago, which was very cool.
6) What is your philosophy on training and your words of wisdom for lifters
around the world?
Do the exercises that you do not enjoy doing and work on areas that are
weak. If you want a strong overhead press, then make sure that you have
strong legs and a strong lower back. More often than not training plateaus
come from imbalances and favoring certain lifts over others. Make sure to
change a few things in your regime every four weeks and to cycle intensity
7) Your a big believer in "mental toughness", what do you do to get in the
zone, stay mentally tough, and what keeps you motivated to train hardcore
There are many things that I do. I am a very goal oriented person. You need
to have goals that are meaningful to you. If you are not going after
anything, then you will not accomplish anything. You have to know exactly
what you want in life and find a way to get there. Training is not any
different. Doing things that are uncomfortable and overcoming challenges
have to be rewarding to you to put in the time and effort. A great way to
get jacked up before a workout is to watch a few scenes from a movie that
motivates you. Take that feeling into your workout every time.
8) What adversities did you have to overcome?
I have had to overcome personal adversities such as my face getting sun
burned severely while snowboarding several years ago. The sunburn destroyed
a log of pigmentation on the lower left side of my face and neck. It took a
while to get used to the change in my physical appearance but I learned to
deal with it. Really any problem that I have had or have is a joke compared
to most people in underdeveloped countries. I have always had food, shelter,
and people that care about and that is a lot more than many people can say.
Any time you feel sorry for yourself, you should go to any hospital and talk
to a few people. You will then realize how lucky you are.
9) Is there anything else you would like to tell Critical Bench Readers?
Go after what you want in life now. Procrastination built over many years
equals tons of missed opportunities and enjoyment of life. Life is not meant
to be dull and boring in which you just clock in hours. Decided what you
need to do to be happy and jump into action now. Don't waste your life away
watching 8 hours of TV daily and doing a job you hate.