In our first Trainer's Corner, we feature Mike DeJesus who hales from Bronx, NY. Mike is a native Bronx resident, who holds a degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition. He is also an NASM certified Personal Trainer. I caught up with Mike to find out more about his fitness journey, how he has turned it into a career, and has influenced many along the way.
Mike continues to give to our community, and our veterans by playing a big role with Team RWB (Red, White, Blue), which you will find out more about below. If you would like to follow Mike DeJesus on social media, or seek his services,he can be found on Instagram: mr_amazing_mike
Mike is a graduate of Lehman College where he majored in Exercise Science and Nutrition. Out of all the options one may have to major in, why exercise science and nutrition? It all started when Mike was 19 years old, and was a student at BMCC. Mike shared that he was always a big kid, but kept pushing through life enjoying every moment. The life changing moment came when Mike's mother became ill and needed a transplant. Mike being the good son prepared to volunteer to be the one to provide his mom with what she needed get better. The doctor told Mike he was not healthy enough, and was on the path of becoming a diabetic. If a drastic change did not occur in his life, he would be face with being a diabetic his entire life, or possibly losing it.
The news hit Mike hard, he immediately became motivated to change his lifestyle, and become healthier. Mike followed all kinds of programs trying to find the right fit for him, and one that would give him results. Mike focused on cardio, picked up a few of the popular workout programs such as P90X, and worked on himself for about 6 months. While at BMCC, he would go to the school's gym where he met Michael Cullins who ran the fitness center. Mike refers to him as a "hard ass", from the sounds of it, the man was no joke when it came to fitness. He taught Mike the etiquette of training, and saw Mike's commitment and determination to get healthy. When Mike transferred to Lehman College, he saw there was a major for Exercise Science and Nutrition, and knew that would be the right fit for him, and the journey he was on.
As Mike continued on his journey, others took notice and wanted to make the same change for themselves. Friends joined in, and Mike would give them pointers on what exercises to do, how to perform them, taught them the importance of de-loading (resting), to allow the body to repair itself. As time went on these same friends that Mike influenced are now power lifters, long distance runners, and living a healthier lifestyle. Which brings up a good point, and one I have always kept in mind... Use what you have to help others, influence others in a positive way. Share the knowledge!
By encouraging and motivating others Mike soon realized that he had a talent for putting people on the right path to a more active life. That is when he decided upon getting to Lehman that the exercise science and nutrition program was suited for him.
Mike has done the same with our veterans who have returned home, as one of the members, and one of the trainers for Team RWB.
Team RWB is a nationwide organization that provides a positive and active environment for our men and women of the military that are adjusting to everyday life as a civilian. They also provide the same for active members of the military.
Working with veterans has also had a positive affect on Mike, the results he sees from his trainees encourages him to continue his work, and sustains a positive environment for his clients.
Mike on Training...
As you know there are one hundred and one ways to workout now-a-days, Mike's approach is different. He sees it as "what works for the client". For example, the person may not be big on back squats, but may be on front squats, and that's fine. If that is what works for the client, then he designs a program based on what the person feels comfortable with. That to me makes all the sense in the world, if I were new to the gym culture, I would want to start slow and with exercises that I can perform. I rather master the basic movements, than to go hard, and in the end get discouraged.
Mike's approach is a smart one, workout smart and not hard, until you feel ready to go hard. There are many workouts that have been designed by very advanced athletes, that won't necessarily bring about the same results for the person using it. What Mike says his approach is, is to tweak a workout someone might've downloaded from a site to that person's physical comforts. I agree with that as well, being you can hit the same muscle groups in different ways.
Nutrition... Feed Those Muscles
When it comes to diets Mike is more of a numbers person, he is also an avid reader of athletic, and sports nutrition studies. Regardless of the diets you're on, the most important part is the intake of protein. Mike stresses that the increase of protein is paramount. Whether its supplement wise or food wise. Mike recommends finding the protein you need via the food you consume first, then use supplements as a second source of protein. A person should take 1 gram of protein per body weight, if you’re an athlete, an extra bump in protein would be very helpful.
With regards to dropping weight, Mike recommends a person should look at a caloric deficit approach, than to following trendy diet plans. Decreasing calories, but maintaining a high protein intake.
An example of caloric deficit would be, if you’re at 2800 calories, don’t just dramatically start cutting off foods that provide a high caloric intake, instead cut off calories on a weekly basis, maybe 100 calories a week. This will avoid a shock to the system, and feeling drained.
I asked Mike about his involvement with Team RWB, and what role he plays with the organization. Mike’s role is that of a coach for Team Red, White and Blue, he is tasked with coaching our veterans that come home, and find it difficult to adjust to the everyday life of a civilian. The organization is a serves as beacon of light for those who have returned home from deployment overseas, and need to find a place where the camaraderie and activity meets the standard of what they had in the military.
There are also member's of Mike family that are in the military, as well as friends. This is one of the motivators for Mike to join Team RWB, in addition to being a very positive person who loves to help others.Team RWB provides a social environment where our veterans can remain engaged in social interactions with their peers, and new people.Mike is part of the Bronx chapter, there are 6 chapters in the NYC area. They all provide the same services, and multiple events throughout the year for our men and women of the military.
If you would like to be a part of Team RWB, and help out in your borough please click here
For our very first interview, this was a great experience. Getting to know about Mike DeJesus, and now knowing that such a great trainer is local and accessible is good to know. Mike definitely brings a new approach to fitness, and that is an attitude that is always welcomed when it comes time to GRIND!!!
If you would like to follow Mike DeJesus, you can find him on Instagram under mr_amazing_mike
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