Training In Service Of

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21 Deadlifts (225/155)
400m Run
5 rounds of Cindy
15 Deadlifts
400m run
5 rounds of Cindy
9 Deadlifts
400m Run
5 rounds of Cindy


Cleans #135/95
Ring Dips
At the last Femme Royale competition, I discovered what kind of competitor I am. Kenny had a very technical term for it – I think it was “Mama Bear” Competitor. Anyone who knows me would say, “Well, duh” but what I experienced at Femme Royale was that this Mama Bear thing is not just an emotional reaction, but a physiological one as well.

My partner at Femme Royale was Maya, my 18 year old daughter, and during the first workout, when she got in a bit of trouble with the overhead squats, I stepped in to carry more of the load. It was instinctual. I snatched up the bar and repped out more overhead squats than I had ever done in practice. They felt weightless, honestly, and it wasn’t because I felt badly for Maya, because she can certainly handle some heavy weight. It just felt robotic, like I was on a pre-carved groove connected to something outside of myself.

I’m not going to have that same Femme Royale experience often – it was a unique situation that simply led to some self discovery. But how do I use this for the greater good of my training and for things outside of the gym? I am realizing, in general, that I train best when it’s in service of something bigger than myself.

I would imagine that a lot of you are the same. I know that some of my students in the All-Women’s class have not always felt worthy of next-level fitness or strength, but when I explain that their training is an amazing example to their children, or that greater fitness means a higher quality of life, which in turn means more quality time to do something worthwhile, then the consistency and hard work become more than manageable, but important.

I decided to put my new Mama Bear discovery to the test. I have never been a prolific runner. I don’t mind that my times are lackluster to say the least, but what bothers me is the anxiety I feel while running. Most every step is filled with self-talk and near hyperventilation. It’s nuts! And I don’t want to feel that way – I want to control that inner craziness because the few good experiences I’ve had running have tapped into deeper things creatively and almost spiritually. I want to experience that on a regular basis, which I won’t achieve without practice – which I don’t do because of the stupid anxiety thing. Anyway, I figured that if I ran for a greater cause, I could trick myself into the practice of it. I decided to train for a half marathon and for every mile logged I would match it with a dollar donated to the Covenant House. The instant the idea came to me, I sprung off the couch, laced up my shoes, and ran. Day one was easy. Day two, not so much, but since I had already chosen to dedicate the practice in service of something else, quitting wasn’t an option. Working through my stuff had much more drive and meaning. It wasn’t as easy as the weightless overhead squats, but every time I thought of those kids on the streets, alone and afraid and in need of the help that the Covenant House provides, I was able to put one foot in front of the other without freaking out.

Tapping into whatever kind of competitor you are can be a powerful thing. But no matter what you discover, acting in service of something else will always deepen the experience, not just for who you’re serving, but as equally, for you. Linking yourself to a greater cause can make anything feel just a little more effortless.

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Mike under the watchful eye of his dog Max.



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