1. Mike thank for your time. Could you give my readers your background, and how you came to be a strength and conditioning coach?
Growing up I was always active but always hurt. Because of this, I spent a lot of time in physical therapy and the chiropractor. Once I started using both of them, obviously I started noticing a difference. And to top it off, I was ALWAYS a HUGEEE Sly and Arnold fan growing up. Always being the smallest kid in class made me admire the biggest dudes there were haha.
I like lifting and training so why the f*ck not? I now have a BS in Exercise Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology, I’ve been with Joe DeFranco for about 7 years and been working for him for about a year and a half. I’ve also studied under James “The Thinker” Smith and Buddy “The Legend” Morris out of Pittsburgh.
2. What, in your opinion, is the biggest problem you see in the strength and conditioning industry?
I’m not one to really bitch about the problems with “society” and shit like that. But I guess my biggest problem would be how any dick can be a “trainer” and claim to know more than the next one just because they’ve read a few books and maybe even have their CSCS. This is a bullshit cert FYI. Some people actually need to dumb themselves down in order to get it.
3. You recently release a quality nutrition bar, FOCUS FOOD for training. Could you give my readers some insight into why you felt the need to produce your very own bar?
4. Apart from Joe D, who has had the biggest influence on you as a coach?
I’d honestly have to say “The Thinker” is. During my time at Pitt, he really worked with me and took me “under his wing” or as we jokingly say, “gave me the red pill.” He exposed all the problems with my way of thinking without telling me how stupid I really was haha.
Don’t get me wrong, I f*ckin’ LOVEEE Buddy Morris. In fact, I got VERY close with him. He’s like my twin, only older, bigger, and he might be a bigger asshole than I am. But I think James really influenced me to change my mind set about things more than anyone.
5. What are you all-time favourite books in the following areas:
- Strength Training: Supertraining (Still working on getting through ALL of it haha…I think we all are!)
- Physical Therapy Rehabilitation: You know, I can’t say that I’ve read entire books with PT, I kind of take what I need out of them and continue to reference back to them.
-Nutrition: Metabolic Typing Diet and Eat Right 4 Your Type have some pretty interesting stuff in it. They’ve got their ups and downs.
-Business: I don’t worry about business stuff. That’s not my gig.
-Random: When I was younger I read the book Jonathon Livingston Segal. And at that time I was battling injuries. Much like anything else, my situation twisted it to be about things that I needed. It made me feel like I could accomplish anything if I just put my mind to it. In a way, it helped give me the work ethic I have now.
6. What would be the single most important advice on nutrition that you could give someone?
Just because something works(ed) for someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. Everyone is different; everyone has their own way of responding and evolving to virtually every single stimulus. This is what makes us individuals.
7. You are a fairly high level baseball player also. How much do you feel strength training has contributed to your baseball performance? Also what areas are the most important for a baseball player to work on in terms of strength training in your opinion?
Without my training, I wouldn’t have done half the things I did. It definitely was a reason I had such a good collegiate career. Speed, power and velocity all went up due to my strength training regimen.
Since baseball players are orthopaedic f*ucking messes it’s necessary that they’re properly maintained from a prehab/rehab standpoint, before, during and after training. Otherwise, there’s no point in training at all.
8. Could you give my readers a basic summary of what your methodology on strength training is (eg. how do you assess, design, and periodize programs)?
Haha there’s no short way to answer this question without being vague.
I assess by analysing general movement patterns for any biomechanical issues. And the design of the program is determined through that.
Assuming there are none, then time frame, availability, dedication and money (unfortunately) must be discussed.
I will write programs accordingly. Like I said earlier, every athlete/person is different. For me to give different people the same blue print would be completely irresponsible. Each person requires different needs. Sorry for completely dodging that question but I wasn’t about to give you a 10page f*cking answer haha.
9. If you could choose one exercise and on exercise only, what would it be and why?
Squats. Wanna get someone strong? Put some heavy sh*t on their back and squat it. Wanna get someone tough? Make em squat it for high f*cking reps!
10. Last question, what advice would you give to young coaches getting into the field?
As Thinker says, “Be a sceptic.” Form your own opinion. Cuz as you know, there are wayyyy more sh*tty people out there than there are good.
RB: Mike, thank you so much for your time. Where can my readers find out more about you and any projects you may have coming up in the near future?
MG: I’m actually starting my own website: