Divorce or Mike Westerling ...

This is a little hard to explain, but I'll try.

People think it's easy to be strong. Some think that when you're strong you're there, and all you have to do is train once in a while and then you become stronger. The truth is that it's a struggle. Combating plateaus, struggle for motivation, struggle to find solutions to technical challenges, and you're not strong - at least not strong enough.

- Desperate times makes for desperate measures - solution is Mike Westerling

After having had a summer and autumn that only can be described as successful at training and competitions with another Norway's Strongest Woman title and a world record in atlas stones, I crashed into a wall when I started the preparations for Europe's Strongest Woman straight after NSW. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find the motivation to perform optimally at training, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find the joy in going to another competition. I complained to Egil, I'd spend hours on WhatsApp telling my sweet friend Donna how terrible it was to be me, with no training motivation at all, complaining about that I didn't want to compete.

It was quite strange, because I love to compete, I love to be in competition preparations. I really, really love it.

I quarrelled with Egil at training, for after all it was him who had set up the program I was so little motivated to train after. I cried at home because I didn't want to train or compete, and yet I kept pushing myself through hours of training. I was supposed to place among top three at ESW, after all.
Egil - my poor, patient husband - he endured with his grumbling wife. He did everything he could to motivate me, he assured me that I am strong, that I am awesome and that I would reach my goals, and still I was crying because I didn't want to compete. Three days before we went to England, I complained in the PF Powerteam-group on Facebook. They all encouraged me, and yet I sat here and cried because I really did not want to compete. If it hadn't been for the fact that we'd bought flights and hotel I would've pulled out of competition.

So we left ... and already in the first event it went wrong. No matter how hard I tried I wasn't able to pull 180 kg silverdollar deadlift. 180 kg who had been light training weights ...  all I accomplished was to get a darn bad backache, so painful that I was sure that I've got another prolapse. While the other women where competing, I laid on the bench to a highly skilled masseuse, and got tips and advices on how to handle this "injury" that she constantly told me wasn't a prolapse. Quite frankly it didn't help much with that consolation, because I was in pain - real pain - and I'm not easy to comfort when I'm in pain.
As I lay there on the bench I mentally yelled at myself for not have listened to my body who had been yelling at me for weeks. I scolded at myself because I had been so darn stubborn that I forced myself to do this competition. I scolded at myself because sometimes I'm totally lacking self-knowledge. You should look long to find a more stubborn old bat than me.

Luckily I'm created the way that I rarely keep focusing on difficulties and problems. I start looking for bright spots and opportunities to change the situation, As I lay there, cursing myself, I came to think of an e-book I've been reading a few weeks in advance. An American strength coach named Mike Westerling wrote this e-book, and the reason I read it was that he is the one who has trained world's strongest woman, Kristin D. Rhodes, the recent years. I've competed against Kristin a couple of times, and I know that she's (almost) unbeatable. I decided I would contact Mike when I got home. Maybe he actually would have capacity to train me ? and if he didn't, maybe he could give me some good advices.

I must admit that I dreaded terribly to tell Egil that I was planning on sacking him as a trainer. After all, he's the one who through all my years as a strength athlete has been there. He has put an enormous amount of energy into my training, and without him, I wouldn't be where I am today. However, I also knew that Egil has read the same e-book, and that he agreed with Mike's training principles, so I assumed that he would tolerate that I dumped him for this American.
Before we went home from England I told him about my plans, and as expected he agreed. Back home, I sent Mike a message on Facebook where I explained the situation and my wishes, and soon after I had a positive response.

Mike Westerling would train me!

December 21th I had my first training session after the Westerling principles, and already after the first training I could feel that this was good. Mike put exercises together in a different way than what's typical in a strongman/bodybuilder/powerlifter split. A typical Mike-training can for example consist of two events that I would never have put together in a the same workout, done in superset with one exercise each minute every minutes for ten minutes. The time I have left of the minute is the time I have to catch my breath and get ready for the next event. He calls this EMOM, and I have - in this program - both 5 and 10 minutes EMOM's. No weeks of training is identical, my body is always exposed to different loads, and no muscle group is getting "beaten" session after session. I find that training on a surplus is fantastic, and even though I am so tired after each workout that I most of all want to sleep, I'm rested and relaxed the next day.

His approach to training is probably more powerlifting like than anything else, with more intensive trainings and longer rest between training days than many other strongman trainings has. Still, this does not mean that he centers his training on powerlifting exercises. It's the way he composes the sessions and events, in addition to training with a surplus of strength and energy that resembles a smart powerlifting periodisation.

Now, after six weeks as a Westerling disciple, I'm convinced that it was right for me to ditch Egil in favor of this American. I've already, using his approach to training, accomplished small miracles, and there is no doubt in my soul that I will during the next year reach my somewhat hairy goals. I am hugely motivated, I'm looking forward to each training -  I'm even looking forward to push cars after leg day.

And best of all; Egil still wants to play with me, and he blabs to Mike if I by accident should flip a tyre when it's not in the program ? ;)

You can buy your copy of this excellent e-book here: Magical Mike




2 kommentarer


08.02.2016 kl.15:30

Du skriver så godt Kikki! Og du motiverer meg herfra og til månen med at du har fått til

Kikki Berli-Johnsen

08.02.2016 kl.16:12

sceneteppe: Tusen takk, søte Vaarin. :-*

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Kikki Berli-Johnsen

Kikki Berli-Johnsen

7, Stokke

Journalist og forfatterspire med en stor lidenskap for styrketrening og med stor kjennskap til dietter, lavkarbo, kosttilskudd, sportsernæring, næringskonsentrater og profiler innen de største kraftsportene i inn og utland. Lykkelig, gift, mamma til to, strongwoman, skrotløfter, aktiv, skravlesjuk, tenkende, skapende, kjærlig, egoistisk, navlebeskuende, kverulerende, nær, varm ... skrivende. Alltid skrivende.