Howdy partners. I did this sweet interview with former swat commander and executive bodyguard Mike Gillette who is the creator of an extremely kick-ass program called the Savage Strength Training System. Are you prepared to be entercated? That’s right you get entertained and educated at the same time…..boom! I said it. Enjoy.
Me: In your experience are strength and size of a muscle correlated?
MG: Research suggests that a larger cross-section of muscle tissue will yield greater contractile potential than a smaller cross-section of muscle tissue. But if this was all there was to the strength equation, then bodybuilders would also dominate the realm of strength sports. But they don’t. The chief strength variable that almost everyone overlooks is the Central Nervous System. Often-times a smaller but more neurologically-efficient athlete can outlift a larger one.
Me: Why do you feel it’s more important to train for strength than it is for looks?
MG: Because I need a body that PERFORMS. After having had so many big, impressively-muscled guys come up to me and say “What you do is amazing…” , it becomes apparent that deep down, what everyone really respects is CAPABILITY. Meaning what you can DO rather than just how you LOOK. I am 49 years old and I am still out on the road. And whether it’s for bodyguard work or a presentation of mind-body feats, my body has to be able to do WHAT I want it to WHEN I want it to.
Me: What would you say to someone that is intimidated by the Savage Strength program and claims to be too old, or has a bad back or just isn’t ready for something like this yet?
MG: I would say “Just try it out…” While it’s true that there are some very tough exercises taught in the program, I specifically included some easier ones too. And that’s because (as long as you pay attention to the detailed instruction) this program can be for ANYBODY. You just have to work within your present level of capabilities. You have to be smart about it. The program is self-calibrating. No matter how strong you are, you can adjust the intensity level by manipulating various training parameters which are explained in detail in the program manual.
Me: What are the advantages of becoming stronger and more functional?
MG: Simple… in a physical context you can do what you want You learn how to become the master of your body and not the other way around. Get strong and gain the strength to live the life you want… the life you’ve always wanted.
Me: Briefly differentiate between muscular endurance vs. muscular strength.
MG: Endurance refers to output capacity sustained over a period of time. The longer the time-frame, the lower the intensity level. Strength refers to MAXIMUM output capacity. In my world, endurance is a quality I associate with “wellness” or “health”, strength is a quality I associate with “taking action” or “saving lives”. Strength give you on-demand usefulness to the world around you.
Me: Mike, as former SWAT Commander was there ever a time that your strength training proved to be an asset?
MG: Too many to possibly count. For every meth-lab door kicked, every street thug I ever fought with, every suicidal person I wrestled a weapon away from and for every frightened child who took my hand and needed to know that everything was going to be okay… each one of those people needed to feel all my strength… for different reasons. And for all of them, it was my DUTY to become as strong as I could be.
Me: On page 28 of the Savage Strength manifesto you said that when you were in your early 40s, your body felt like it was training all the time, even when you weren’t. What did you mean by that?
MG: Primarily it was the time I had left law enforcement and I was working in the private sector running some very large training projects. Lots of deadlines and lots of travel. My training had unfortunately become routine. So routine in fact, I was sometimes losing track as to whether or not I was even doing it. I had lost some of the imperative to train, I had lost that edge. This was also around the time that certain overuse-related injuries had started to crop up.
Me: Do mentally tough people get stronger than those who aren’t?
MG: They absolutely do. Strength training is hard work. And strength training performed at the ragged edge of your own capabilities is even harder. It is the ability to develop mental toughness that separates the STRONG from the merely “fit”. You have to be able to break barriers to achieve something meaningful. And if you aggressively seek opportunities to REALLY break through to whatever your own “next level” is, you will likely get a glimpse of your best self.
Me: Tell us something most people don’t know about Mike Gillette.
MG: Between the scary resume, the bending and the breaking and the mind-power feats I do, some people have a hard time approaching me. It’s interesting that kids have no problem coming up and asking me for pictures or an autograph or just to talk. But a lot of adults seem uncomfortable making that same overture. So, while I understand that a lot of what I do strikes most people as “unusual”, it’s not unusual to me. This is simply who I am and what I do. And it is vitally important to me to share what I do and the things I have been so fortunate to learn… all these unconventional techniques, methods and teachings with others.
Me: In closing, why does the world need more strong men?
MG: Strong men, by their very presence, make their little corner of the world “better”. What I mean by that is they make things safer, more stable, more sensible, more… BETTER. Discipline of BODY, Discipline of MIND, Self-Control… the world is always a better place when more men possess these qualities.
Me: Thanks for your time.
MG: My pleasure. Check out the article below to get 4-keys to savage strength.