Athlete Highlight – Michael Lear

Every once in awhile we are afforded the opportunity to witness individuals who are nothing short of exceptional. I wanted to take a moment and introduce Michael Lear, an Elite-level powerlifter with USA Powerlifting (USAPL) and US Powerlifting Association (USPA) in the 93 kilo and 82 kilo class, respectively. He’s garnered more than 16 thousand Instagram followers and is a Military Muscle and NiTOR Nutrition sponsored athlete. He represents the top 2.5 percent of powerlifters in both USAPL and USPA.

Mike’s first sanctioned powerlifting meet was in January 2014 and since then, his performance has been phenomenal. His 3.8x bodyweight deadlift has awarded him multiple Military, National, and World records spanning three different federations.

Quite often, you will see numerous highlights of athletes portrayed on every major sport publication, media outlet, or web blog. However, we rarely hear about the few unsung heroes that are fighting and grinding every day. Sure, outstanding feats of athleticism are fun to watch over-and-over. But what about the few who fall just shy of the highlight reel?

I had the honor of meeting Mike a few years ago as we shared the platform at the 2015 USAPL Military Nationals and Southeastern State Bench Competition in Atlanta, GA. Fortunately (for me), he registered in the 83 kilo class and “won a gold medal, broke two American Military records as well as three of four Illinois State Records.”

Since then, Mike has done nothing except amaze and motivate me. Just two years into his powerlifting career he broke, then extended the IPL World deadlift record when he crushed a 317.5kg (700 lbs.) deadlift at 81.6kg bodyweight.

But what stands out more to me is that he’s a father of two children, husband, graduate student, and senior non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. He’s also a true Garage Gym Rat; waking up to train in his garage gym at 4 a.m., which is proof of his level of determination. Balancing life with training is not easy for anyone. It requires a intricate amount of discipline to overcome lethargy and put in the work required to be great.

Mike showcases this excellence every day.

He doesn’t use contemporary training programs often popularized by “strong guys (and girls). He adapts his training cycles based on feel and the anticipated goal. Adjustments are made along the way, as needed, to get from Point A to Point B.

“In the past I [would] force myself to stick to the planned training day regardless of how my body felt” Mike said. “The problem with this is I wouldn’t always perform how I wanted to because I might had been [sic] sick or mentally checked out”. Mike mentioned how he tried a new approach which included increased rest days — sometimes up to 4 days — between workouts if he wasn’t feeling good. This is unusual and atypical to what we’re told is the “correct” way to conduct your training. But sometimes we have to have the courage to draw outsides the lines to be successful.

Follow Mike on Instagram, @ml_rawpower, to see training updates and sponsored events.

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Featured image from Instagram @ml_rawpower

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