Q&A: Mike Dugger, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Functional Strength Coach

Mike Dugger is a Midland native, who became a personal trainer in 2015 after battling addiction. He works at Midland Chiropractic Sports Rehab. We sat down with Mike to talk fitness, common pitfalls and whether or not your New Year's resolution to hit the gym more is a good idea.
Q: What are the primary benefits of hiring a personal trainer?
A: My job as a personal trainer is to teach you safe execution of exercises first and foremost. Many people try the YouTube route and follow along online, but a personal trainer can watch you in real-time and correct your form if needed. A personal trainer also helps you organize your workouts, optimizing your time in the gym.
One of the biggest benefits is accountability and follow through! You set an appointment and paid for the session, so it’s a lot harder to skip out because your job has you feeling whooped today or you had a hard time sleeping last night. You can get in the gym, follow your trainer's instructions, and know if you did nothing else that day, at least you did something very productive for yourself.
Q: You had a rough road before becoming a personal trainer. How did fitness become your passion?
A: I had a long battle with drug and alcohol addiction and tried so many years to break away from that lifestyle. In 2013, I was sent to prison for 18 months, and that’s when I started lifting weights and running. With fitness, I finally found something that filled the hole I used to fill with drugs and alcohol. Fitness saved both my life and my mind. Now, it’s my ultimate goal and chosen mission in life to help others find freedom through fitness as well.
Q: What are some common pitfalls you see in people struggling to become healthier?
A: Inconsistency. Fitness is a long game, and you have to make training an intentional habit before you see lasting results. Another big pitfall is working out but ignoring your diet. Bottom line: you can’t just exercise and expect to see progress. For your workouts to be most effective, you also need to feed your body the right fuel.
Q: I'm your average middle-aged man/woman. I'm overweight, busy and constantly crash dieting. What advice do you have to help me get on track?
A: First and foremost: don’t ever quit trying. Find a way to create accountability. If you have a friend who would also like to get fit, make a plan with them to wake up early three days a week for a workout. Don’t try to do everything all at once, start small! Some people make the mistake of deciding they're going to eat a 100 percent whole food diet, weight train five days a week and run consistently, when none of those things are already a part of their life. You will get overwhelmed and when one of those things falls, the others are likely to go along with it. Pick one good habit and do that first. Then add to ritual as you go.
Q: How much should I focus on cardio versus resistance/strength training?
A: This depends on your goals and what you enjoy doing. My advice is different for someone trying to lose weight compared to someone trying to squat as much as they possibly can. Some of us want to run a marathon, some are regular Joe's looking to get fit and feel well. I do believe everyone should fit in both cardiovascular exercise and strength training on some level, not just one or the other. Talk to your trainer about your goals and find a plan that works for you and your lifestyle.
Q: The new year is coming up. What are your thoughts on the common New Year's resolution diet?
A: I’m guessing a New Years resolution fitness plan has worked for many people. If it helps motivate you, go for it. It all comes down to making a realistic plan and executing that plan!
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