This is Mark: In addition that winning smile, he's got a huge heart and a giant brain. He's my coach and trainer. And now he...Read More
Strong is Beautiful: Mikaela Mayer
I know I’m kind of preaching to the choir here, but in case you needed a reminder that there is nothing more beautiful than a strong, confident woman, I’d like to introduce you to Mikaela Mayer. Unlike my other “You Really Gotta Meet…” posts, I don’t personally know Mikaela (more’s the pity!), but when I was contacted with an opportunity to do a Q&A, I couldn’t resist.
Let’s talk facts and stats!
Mikaela Mayer is 22 years old, stands 5’9″ and is…
- U.S. National Champion, 2012
- Continental Games gold medalist, 2012
- World Championships bronze medalist, 2012
- National Golden Glove Champion, 2011, 2009
She’s also currently the #1 ranked Olympic style boxer in the world and in training for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. She was also the Olympic Alternate in her weight class for the London 2012 Games. And oh, yeah… she’s a former model. BAM! Plus, this is her Twitter bio: “USA Boxing National Team member. #1 @ 141lbs and 2016 Olympic hopeful. I also live in bubble gum pop world where everything is pink.”
Longtime readers of my blog know that I grew up within spitting distance of Muhammad Ali’s training camp, and although it’s been decades since I shook that great athlete’s hand, I still feel the pull of his amazing athleticism and undeniable charm. It’s pretty badass to be introduced to a young woman staking her own claim in the ring.
Meet Mikaela Mayer
photo: Frances Iacuzzi Photography
You were a model and now you’re a badass athlete. Has your perception of yourself changed? What about your relationships with other people?
I’ve gone through so many phases! My dad jokes around and says that when I’m over boxing, maybe we try out Nascar. Ha! Not implying that boxing is a phase because it definitely isn’t! Boxing has not only changed my perception about myself, it has changed my perception about life. I wake up every day with a dream and purpose. I’m confident in who I am and proud of my skill, and it has made me such a strong, ambitious person. I like to think of myself as a very enjoyable person to be around. Negativity and pity parties aren’t allowed around me! I encourage everyone to chase their dreams and believe anything is possible.
“It sounds terrible, but it’s a good feeling when you land a solid, clean punch on somebody.”
What’s your fitness/athletic background? Were you always sporty?
I had grown up trying out plenty of sports; soccer, gymnastics, ballet, track, motocross, surfing, snowboarding. It seems like a lot, but I was just dabbling. By high school, I had stopped it all and realized that I missed sports. When I fell in love with boxing, I realized that I’ve always been pretty good at everything I put my heart into. I thought that if I put all my energy into this… I could be GREAT, so I did.
Do you use music when you’re training? What’s your favorite workout song and why? What’s the song you love for working out but are embarrassed to admit?
I actually don’t listen to a whole lot of music when I’m training. Some think I’m weird, but I believe boxing takes a lot of mental focus. It’s the sweet science! I like to stay completely conscience and think about the movements I’m doing and why I’m doing them. Keeps me from going on auto-pilot. However, I swear I’ll still turn on Spice Girls and N’Sync every once in a while, just for the flashback. They were awesome in their day — I don’t care what anyone says.
“I can be feminine and girly and I can still go in there and be aggressive and successful in a sport that maybe most people don’t find very orthodox for a female.”
Many of my blog readers do CrossFit, lift heavy barbells, and practice yoga. Can you tell us a little bit about your training? Do you work on strength? Intervals? How do you balance sport-specific training with general conditioning?
About a year ago I discovered CrossFit. Although I do not practice all Crossfit movements, I’ve become obsessed with heavy strength training and Olympic style lifting. It has made me so much stronger, not to mention an all around better athlete. I think the functional type movements that CrossFit focuses on are super effective and important. I also enjoy substituting some of my weekly runs for short, high intensity, strength incorporated workouts. It’s better on your body and is perfect for a sport like Olympic-style boxing where the pace is required to be fast and explosive. When I run it’s in intervals! Nothing gets your cardio up like sprints and interval running. Whatever type of conditioning I do, I like it to relate to my sport. Workouts need to focus on speed and explosiveness, which are much-needed traits for success boxing.
What’s your favorite healthy meal/snack?
I’ve recently become obsessed with avocados. I’ve been trying to cut out the simple carbs and eat a lot of meat. The avocado make the meat not so boring. Not to mention it’s a great fat.
What’s your favorite food indulgence?
I love love love ice cream and as hard as I work, I don’t feel bad eating it. Also, a morning latte is a necessity.
photo: Frances Iacuzzi Photography
If you could workout with anyone – living or dead, fictional or real – who would it be?
Hmmm… Probably my 17-year-old sister because actually getting her in the gym would be exciting… a miracle. I still ask her every day if she wants to come work out with me and all I get is a “Does it look like I wanna go work out?” and an eye roll.
What’s your trick for getting motivated when you’re just not feelin’ it?
Everyone has those days! There are definitely times where I am too sore or too tired or just not into it… BUT… those are the most important days to go! I have a motto: Look good, feel good, do good. Putting on a cute new workout outfit will literally put me in a better mood.
Do you have any advice/tricks for people who are thinking about working out but need a kick-in-the-pants to start?
YES! The first week is the hardest, but once you start a routine, it will get easier! Help keep yourself motivated by buying yourself some cute workout clothes, getting a workout buddy, and setting goals! Also, one bad decision leads to another, so eat right as well!
Got a favorite quote?
Luck: When preparation meets opportunity.
What do you like to do that doesn’t require working up a sweat?
I like to paint. If I can get myself to relax and sit still —since I’m like the energizer bunny — I choose to paint. I’m not very good at it, but I enjoy it.
See more of Mikaela in action:
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Whoa! If that’s not inspiration, I dunno what is! Now I wanna go punch someone in the face, too! Well, maybe not… I guess I’m still more lover than fighter. But this girl gives the confidence to think that maybe one day I could do it, too. Thanks for the article/interview! Loved it – perfect for a Friday AM… especially for those of us living in the insanity that is Boston this week. GO BOSTON COPS/NAT’L GUARD/FBI/ETC.!!! Get those bad guys & show ’em you don’t mess with Massholes! 🙂
This amazing girl HAS given inspiration to everyone around her. I cannot tell you how many times I have had people that I don’t even know come up to me and tell me to tell Mikaela how proud they are of her and that she gives them inspiration every time they think about how far she has come since high school. We are all just awed by her strength, beauty and positivity.
Very well put, I didn’t know abt Mikaela untill the Dr. Pepper 1 commercial. Throw in reading abt her, I am hooked….USA 2016, looking forward to seeing you Mikaela!!
Wow, what a great inspiration! Tough girls are my heroes!