Although Coach Miguel has been part of the Rush Fitness team for some time now, perhaps it is time to give him a proper introduction. In his own words. Read a little bit about Coach Miguel and get to know another wonderful addition to the Rush Fitness Family.
Just in time before he competes this upcoming Saturday at the Atomic Throwdown 2016 with teammate "Motor" Marli!
1. Tell us a little bit about your athletic background.
I did not grow up a natural athlete. As a kid, my brother was the more talented one in sports. My size definitely hurt me in trying to play football. I didn’t pursue that road going into high school. I took my own path and started wrestling. Initially I joined just to lose weight and ended up really liking it. It shines a new light and brings new meaning to the words dedication and commitment to yourself and your team. I wrestled for three years and finished with a couple of District wins and invitation to regionals, but never made it very far. After graduation I enlisted in the Air Force. I joined Rugby. My first game came around and I fell in love with the sport, not just the game, but the whole brotherhood, similar to that of the fire department. There is something about two teams going to battle for eighty minutes and literally trying to break the man on the opposing team. No matter what the outcome, win or lose, you shake the other teams hand and share a pint of beer. “A Game for Hooligans Played by Gentlemen.”
2. How did you become involve in CF?
The word CrossFit was gibberish until about five years ago. Although I did not become consistent or committed to this workout lifestyle until about 2013. In 2011 I took a job contracting in Afghanistan with the Bagram Fire Department. With the Fire Department, it is all about crew integrity; my crew was doing CF and therefore, so was I.
Initially, I had no idea what this sport was and never really cared to know. I was set in my ways, staying in bulking season and getting as big as possible. There was no functionality to my movements. Monday was chest and triceps, Tuesday, arms, Wednesday, legs, Thursday, chest and triceps, and Friday was arms. On and on. Then I got exposed to this madness and I come to realize really quickly that I am not as in shape as I thought. Working out with the guys in my crew, I’m looking at them and thinking, “What the HELL!!!” What in the hell is a burpee and why does it hurt so much? I didn’t have much to go off of to learn the movements and lifts, but I tried. You tube was my best friend. Slowly, I started picking it up. It became my new addiction: a completely different outlook on what fitness was. I wanted to learn more.
I’m addicted to the feeling. Everyone knows that feeling: mid workout, when you start questioning if you can finish and whether you can keep going. Then if you can push yourself past that point, what we call ‘the dark place.’ It amazes me the obstacles people surpass.
I think I’m also drawn to CF because it relates so much to my everyday life as a firefighter. At a moment’s notice you have to be ready to go from zero to 100. There is not warm up period before you get the call to a fire. This sport mimics the movements and motions you go through at a fire so well. That’s the reason why they have implemented this training style into Fire Departments around the nation. From pulling a charged hose line through a burning structure to carrying equipment up and down ladders, to dragging a victim out of a smoky environment, all under the most stressful conditions. People call us in their time of need and expect us to resolve their situations. I’d be letting them down if I couldn’t perform my job. I feel this type of training is the best way for me to do that as far as my physical fitness goes.
3. How is your experience coaching so far?
I love coaching. There is a lot more to coaching than just standing around drinking coffee and saying, “There It Is!!!” after a good lift. You never really stop learning. Every client is different and has different limitations. You have to study your client and study different ways to get them over that hump. Watching the clients push themselves to their limits to achieve their personal goals, is why I love coaching. I get to see the flower grow, all I am doing is watering it. As far as my own performance: I feel I have to push myself harder every time I walk into the gym, not only because I have my own goals, but because I have to hold myself to a higher standard and lead by example.
One of the most challenging things is coaching a client with no background in physical activity. You want to push them, but you don’t want to push them too hard. It’s about baby steps at this point and motivation. You are applying for a job. You hope that you left a good first impression as a coach and that they will continue to come. I think that is the most challenging part.
4. You have a few competitions under your belt. Why do you like competing?
Well for the longest time I never competed. I would train, go ‘balls to the wall’ day in and day out, putting myself through torture. I would just do this to stay fit and healthy and capable of doing my job. Then one day I realized: what is the point of training so hard if I don’t test myself? That is what I feel competing is about. A test. In competition you get to go up against some really great athletes and what better way to test yourself than to lay it all out on the battlefield? There is no feeling like it. The calm before the storm. That feeling in your gut, anxiety building up, hearts beating through your chest. This all happens because you hope you perform well. You hope you can keep up and hopefully rise to the top of that podium. Then all of a sudden the clock counts down 3-2-1 and that feeling disappears. Nothing else matters. You are in the zone. You are focused and determined to finish the grueling WOD.
5. A favorite lift or movement?
I would say the Snatch. It’s one of the hardest movements in Olympic lifting to master, but once you get it, it’s a beautiful thing. This is clear when watching the Olympic athletes perform the movement broken down in slow motion, frame by frame. The path of the bar is so swift and smooth, it leaves one awestruck.