Everyday Athlete member Mike Hickman was one of the founding members of our Everyday Athlete Coaching Program. We were so inspired by his story that we had to share it with you. World, meet Mike Hickman; Mike Hickman, meet World.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Welshman who is now based in sunny Singapore. I quit my corporate job in 2016 to set up Coyote-Fitness (Coyote-Fitness.com), a training and sports coaching business. It was a really tough decision to make, but I’m so I did.
I have been in Singapore for five years now and live with my partner Bee Bee who runs her own swim coaching business. She is also very active so our holidays are activity-based and she understands the mind of an endurance athlete!
I’m 46 years old and have been through numerous episodes of being fit, then fat, and fit again. I played rugby as a youngster and into my 20s at a reasonable level, but the combination of a knee injury and my career put a stop to my playing days. I then did the classic “join the gym for a few weeks and then find a dozen excuses not to keep going,” so my fitness and weight went up and down like a yo-yo.
In 2005, I was in Hong Kong and a tailor measured my waist at 42 inches and I couldn’t believe I had let myself go so much. I have always been a big guy, but my height and good tailoring allowed me to hide it. It was a moment that changed my life. I decided that enough was enough and when I got back to London I signed up for my first 10K run. I just started running with no real idea how to train, but I stuck with it and then discovered the world of triathlons.
For the last 12 years, I have been trying to find my physical and mental limits and keep discovering that they are further away than I believed. I have completed Ironmans, Ultra marathons, rowed around Singapore in a replica Cornish fishing rig and cycled to Everest Base Camp. All of these things tested me physically and mentally and made me a better person.
I have been involved with a special needs running group for more than four years called Runninghour, and a part of the management committee since we became a cooperative in 2014. It is an amazing group of people who all give their time freely to help integrate people with special needs into mainstream society through sports. We have members who are visually challenged, intellectually challenged, physically challenged, and recently we have had members of the deaf community join us, too.
I have met some amazing people through the group and made friendships that will last a lifetime.
What was your training/fitness routine like before you joined the Everyday Athlete Coaching Program?
My training has changed a lot over the last 18 months as I have moved away from doing lots of cardio to adding in a bit more strength training. I was inspired to start lifting by Josh and Seb and the Strength Matters podcast. So prior to joining the Everyday Athlete Coaching Program, I would do three strength sessions, two cardio (running or bike) sessions and a couple of bendy sessions (yoga and Pilates) each week.
My strength sessions are focussed on real world strength and not building aesthetic muscle. I’m more concerned about being fit in my 70s than having bulging biceps and a six pack in my 40s.I’m more concerned about being fit in my 70s than having bulging biceps and a six pack in my 40s.Click To Tweet
Why did you join the Everyday Athlete Coaching Program?
I’m very good at writing structured training plans for my clients, but my own training tended to be a bit less structured so I figured I could use some support. I had previously used a Triathlon coach and found that a useful experience.
What did you discover the Everyday Athlete Coaching Program?
I was having a coffee in Singapore with James Breese, chatting about the program and I loved the idea of getting a community of people together to move, get fitter and healthier. It really resonated with me so I wanted to be part of this movement. We did a quick assessment on a napkin in the coffee shop and identified the areas that I should focus on (we have done a more evidence-based assessment since).
What did you learn while researching the Everyday Athlete Coaching Program?
I was surprised by the number of people who don’t move enough each day and drink the minimum recommended amount of water.
Compared to other fitness programs, what stood out the most to you about our program?
I liked the simplicity of the program and the fact that it focuses on mobility as well as strength and conditioning. The community and the semi-competitive steps leaderboard adds a fun element. It is also useful to be able to share what you are going through and know that others are having the same experience.The community and the semi-competitive steps leaderboard adds a fun element. Click To Tweet
What made you feel at ease about choosing to work with us here at Strength Matters?
I have been a fan of the magazine and podcast for a while. I’ve also been fortunate enough to catch up with James a number of times and discuss the SM philosophy with him. I love the idea of the Everyday Athlete and being fit for life.
What was the one feature that sold you on joining the Everyday Athlete program?
For me having someone develop a specific program for me has been great especially the mobility work.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining The Everyday Athlete Program?
I would say stop thinking and do it. The sooner you start, the sooner you will start feeling better and seeing the benefits. Too often we put off making changes, and then when we finally do, we kick ourselves for not doing it sooner!The sooner you start, the sooner you will start feeling better and seeing the benefits.Click To Tweet
Who have you worked with on our team and what has that been like?
I have worked with both James and Phil so far and my experience has been great. The communication has been regular and on point. I’m looking forward to meeting Phil in person later this year. I have also had a few conversations with Dan Frantz who writes a great column for the magazine, he’s a really cool guy.
Describe what it’s like to be on the Everyday Athlete Coaching Program.
So far, I have found the experience to be fun and inclusive. In the early days, I found myself looking like an extra from 50 Shades of Grey as the jump rope got the better of me. I even managed to hit myself on the forehead in the first few days! I persevered and have now decided not to set fire to it. I have also included skipping into some of my clients’ sessions and all are much better than me at it.
I love the mobility work. It is something that I have known I should do more of, but never really got around to it. Having it as part of my program and being accountable to someone has given me the drive to do it. The daily steps challenge is a source of amusement in our house as my partner thinks I’m nuts when I asked a cab driver to drop me off a mile from home after dinner so I could get in enough steps that day to push me past 400,000 that month.
What has surprised you most about the Everyday Athlete Coaching Program?
I have been most surprised by the openness of the other athletes and their willingness to share experiences and knowledge. Also, I am happy that I do more steps in a month than James Breese 🙂
What has exceeded your expectations?
The bespoke nature of my program and the fact that I can have open and honest discussions with Phil and James about where I am and where I want to be.
What have you learned about your own fitness since joining the Everyday Athlete Coaching Program?
I have confirmed what I kind of already knew, and that is that I have a pretty good cardio endurance base, my strength, particularly overhead pressing, needs improving, and I am as stiff as a board in my T-spine and hips, even after years of yoga and Pilates.
What would you recommend about the Everyday Athlete Coaching Program?
I would recommend that anyone give the program a try. As a trainer, I have found it very useful as it gives some focus to my training. The coaches are great in taking the time to get to know you and are always available to answer any questions that you might have.
Inspired By Mike’s Story?
If you would like to learn even more about the Everyday Athlete Coaching Program, great!