Mike is quickly becoming the world's largest strength athelete with his goal currently set on the bench press. He has a website at: www.nazarethbarbell.com. Find out more about him below and you'll see what I mean. Enjoy!!
Curtis Dennis: Thanks for a chance to interview you, Mike. Please give the readers a description of yourself?
Mike Miller: Thanks for asking. On the physical side, I'm 6' 4", 413 pounds. My chest is about 62", my thighs are 35" and my bi's about 22". I live in Tatamy, PA where I run Nazareth Barbell with my partner, Deb. We have five children between the ages of 14 and 5.
CD: How long have you been into power lifting?
MM: I went into my first meet in December 1999 in McEwinsville, PA after about two months of weight training. Back then my bench was at 425, my deadlift was at 500, it was only a two lift meet. I competed at the York Barbell Strength Spectacular in June of 2000, it was my first full meet. I totaled 1680 and won the Police and Fire division for my weight class.
CD: Have you always been strong?
MM: I've always been big, but wouldn't categorize myslef as real strong early on. Then, when I was 12 I lifted my grandfather's Troybilt rototiller out of the back of his pickup by myself, that got some attention.
CD: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into power lifting??
MM: I spent most of my childhood working on a farm. There were a lot of big strong men around. They didn't look like bodybuilders, but they were brutally strong. I remember a good friend of mine, Luke Schoenenberger, who was about 45 when I was 16, picked up a Chevy 350 motor-heads and all-and moved it out of our way. I've always admired people with brute strength. I remember watching Bill Kazmier and Vasili Alexia and I knew that I wanted that power. Arnold was another idol, because of his will. As far as powerlifting goes, when I saw Mike Ruggiera hold 1000 pounds on his back in York, 200, I looked at Deb and said- That's what I want to be like in a couple of years!
CD: How did it feel to be training with fellas at Metal Militia? What is it like?
MM: It's different than anything that I've ever been a part of. The training itself is intense, but it's the mindset of the men and women that make it what it is. We are all a bunch of extremeists.
CD: Name some of your other feats of strength?
MM: Well just recently I totaled 2405 in a full meet and came close to squatting 1115, I sub totaled 1765. When I was in junior high school I used to go to the carnival every summer. They had this thing, I'm sure you've seen it, where you whack a block with a huge mallet and it rings a bell, one year I rang it 126 times. I won it four years in a row. I went back this summer with the family and took a few swings at it. Talk about developing your GPP!
I've squatted 1000 pounds off of a box in the gym, during my last training cycle I benched 700 plus pounds over 65 times, then I stopped counting. I've done 700+ eight times in competition last year.
CD: How do you think you stack up against other power lifters?
MM: I don't like to compare myself to fellow lifters. What is important is improving on my last numbers. I'm friends with every SHW that I compete with and prefer to keep things positive.
CD: Do you believe with the arrival of professional power lifting, that power lifting is moving in the right direction?
MM: Without a doubt. I would like to see a few less sanctioning bodies, but I think the sport as a whole is moving in the right direction.
In any sport an athlete has to make sacrifices to make gains. Power lifting is no different. I sacrifice time with family, material things, my body, all to achieve goals that I am driven to. We live in a capitalist society, we can't survive without money, it's something that has to be kept in perspective and taken one step at a time. I believe that it should be a professional, paid sport and I would like to see that happen. I think the turmoil between all of the different federations and closed minded lifters is inhibitive. Keiran Kidder and the WPO are moving in the right direction. Paying athletes for their time and sacrifice and unifying the sport under one federation is what needs to be done to get taken seriously.
CD: I've always preached about having training partners. Do you have any training partners?
MM: We have a team and we work out regularly together. Usually during the week it's Joe Mazza and on weekends Brian Ulrich, Bobby Fields and Stan Martin are there. When Bill C. (Crawford) is in the area he trains with us too. No bullshit training partners are essential to keeping on track. You can't have someone there blowing sunshine up your ass when you are sucking the dog. You need honest feed back and people who will force you to do your best.
CD: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a power lifter?
MM: Bill Kazmier, Paul Anderson, Bill Crawford, Mike Ruggiera, Louie Simmons.
CD: What was one of the challenges of coming up as a power lifter?
MM: Getting past the attitudes of negative people, and realizing that my only limits were in my mind.
CD: Tell us about your training/workouts and how you prepare for competitions?
MM: I train hard and I try to make sure the intensity is always high. I have recently really started to watch my diet, complex carbs, no sugar and lots of protein, this has made a huge difference in my condition. Brian Ulrich designed my diet and has been a great training partner.
CD: Does your training differ from in-season to off-season?
MM: Yes. In the off season I have taken 2-3 months off from benching and incorporate more of a bodybuilding style workout into my routine.
CD: Tell us about Nazareth Barbell and its lifters?
MM: Nazareth barbell has become my home. It is filled up with people who are not just lifters on my team, but family. We eat at each others homes, we celebrate birthdays, and we enjoy each others victories, mourn each others losses and feel the pain of each others defeats. It's a place where we can be ourselves and let our own freak out.
CD: What other things are you into other than power lifting?
MM: Spending time with Deb and my family, things Celtic; Highland Games, bagpipes and this year I'm going to take up an old past time and do some hunting.
CD: What supplements do you take?
MM: Maximum Human Performance/MHP has a great line of supplements. I'm on Up Your Mass, which I take three times a day and Trac with NADH. I also take vitamin C, B12, magnesium, ALA, Bodyquick and milk thistle.
CD: What do you think of powerlifters today? Any that sticks out in your mind?
MM: They are some of the hardest working, dedicated athletes around. They do what they do for nothing but the feeling of doing their best. I really admire the ones that work a full time job, have families and get to the gym 3-4 times a week to maintain an elite level of performance. Guys today are benching three times their bodyweight and squatting over 1000 pounds, records are constantly being broken. The maximum level of human performance is unknown. Equipment is better, supplements are better, mind focus and training techniques are better. Who knoes where it will lead?
John Werner is 15 years old, goes to high school, wrestles and benches 500 pounds. Joe Mazza is a full time cop, has three kids and is the strongest 165 in the country. Stan Martin works full time, coaches little league football and benches 735. I really admire the guys that are under 300 pounds and are lifting ridiculous amounts of weight.
CD: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter whose just starting out in power lifting?
MM: Keep your mind open, work hard, focus on your goal and have fun! Don't be afraid to seek out advice from elite athletes and work out with someone who is stronger than you.
CD: What do you think of the sport of power lifting and its lifters in general?
MM: I'm not sure I like what I've been seeing on message boards. We run meets and the feeling of comraderie and energy is great! But you get on the internet and it's a bunch of guys bashing each other and federations. There is no room for that. We should be working together to transform the sport to the next level.
CD: Does physical strength run in your family?
MM: No one in my family was ever a competitive athlete or lifter of any kind. My uncles were very big men and worked farms and ranches for a living. To me they seemed very strong, so I guess it does.
CD: What would you suggest to someone on how to getting stronger or a bigger bench?
MM: Do not do the same thing year in and out and expect to get stronger. Be open to changing your program regularly and realize that what got you to one level may not take you to the next.
CD: What's next for you?
MM: The Arnold Classic.
CD: Is there anything else you like to mention to our readers here at Bodybuilding.com?
MM: I would like to thank Bill Crawford for always being there to help. My friends and family at Naz Barbell Ulrich, Stan, Steve, Louie, Hal, Tina, Sue, Zane, Sandi, Buster, The Seekers. Joe, Gene, and everyone who has had faith in me. Mostly Deb for standing by my side and my mom and dad for all their constant love and support.
CD: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview; you're truly an ambassador of the sport!!
MM: Thank you my man, it was my pleasure.
Check out my website @ http://zap.to/maxfusion