Posts Tagged ‘training’

As many of you possibly already know, I am also a personal trainer in addition to being a rock musician, pro wrestler, voice-over speaker and artist.  A jack of many trades, indeed!  The Good Lord blessed me with several talents, and thereby I am able to parlay my knowledge and aptitude across many waters, so to speak.

For 12-years now, I have been a personal trainer.  My oldest client has been 85-years of age and my youngest client has been 14-years old.  All across the proverbial board, I have trained folks from all walks of life, from beauty queens competing in Miss-What-Have-You pageants to athletes to ordinary folks both male and female.  Interestingly enough, the majority of my clients have been women, as I guess the ladies feel more at home with a man in charge!  But alas, that is A-OK with me!


Miss Estonia Kristina Karjalainen is one of the known celebrities that I have trained.

Nonetheless, now, here in 2016, I decided to take my personal training aptitude and expertise to the next level.  I wanted to up the proverbial ante and really immerse myself in the field, in order to offer a more comprehensive whole to my clientele, especially in light of the total deluge of personal training services these days, many of which should not even exist if the truth be told.  There is a definitive difference in understanding physiology and muscular function vs. taking a said course on the matter and just going by what theory has taught you.

I have lived through a 22-year pro wrestling career full of all kinds of injuries and physical setbacks.  I have learned to navigate through the murky waters of limitations and pain, due to the realities suffered in my chosen sport.  In so saying, I understand the body better than most.  It’s an intuitive kind of knowledge that comes through personal experience and application of varied training and reparation principles, when working through and around injuries.  Thereby, I have a more comprehensive understanding of human physiology that I can use to my benefit, and for the benefit of others.


(Left to right) Yours Truly, Harri Kokkonen, Ivo Gonzalez

This past weekend, I ventured out to Hamina, Finland, along with my personal training comrade Ivo Gonzalez, to get my PhD in personal training with a man that is known all around the Baltics as a guru for strength training, powerlifting, weightlifting and bodybuilding.  This man is named Harri Kokkonen.  He is the owner of SKIP Nutrition Finland (SKIP is the oldest sports supplement manufacturer in all of Europe, a pharmaceutical grade line of the highest market quality available today, which I am proud to be sponsored by), Gorilla Wear Finland (since 1982, straight out of the USA, my personal gym gear of choice and also my sponsor) and Voimapuoti Gym in Helsinki and Hamina, Finland.

Michael Majalahti personal trainer

I am a Gorilla Wear sponsored athlete, baby!  The best training gear on the market. (photo: Jarmo Katila –

Ivo and I went to Harri to fine-tune our knowledge of the nitty-gritty details that make all of the difference in the world, when it comes to targeting each specific muscle to the maximum, taking into consideration the nuances and idiosyncrasies that either make or break any given lifting technique.  I am two days removed from that merciless immersion into personal training, and let me tell you, my nervous system has yet to recover from the muscular overload that Harri put us through!  These are 100% guaranteed techniques, when performed stringently and properly, that will absolutely develop the body beyond prior limitations either imagined or real!

The angle of one’s wrists… the line of movement in relation to the targeted muscle… the implications of the supported core muscles in all movements… time under tension… all of these bullet points and more were covered by Harri, as he passed on his vast array of knowledge and expertise to us.

personal trainers

Men’s Physique Competitor (left) and 3-time European pro wrestling champion (right) at your service, ladies and gentlemen!

I feel that this past weekend was a major boon personally to my applied knowledge of physiology and the human body, as they pertain to muscular development and total fitness and conditioning.  I can honestly say, that I am a better personal trainer, having already applied my learned knowledge with a client yesterday, than I was prior to this weekend.

I will be starting my own personal training business this month, which will be launched shortly, where I will apply the lessons learned in my time in pro wrestling, integrated with traditional weight training, bodyweight conditioning and cross-training.  Keep your peepers peeled for that!

Ivo Gonzalez, who has a vast amount of experience in competitive athletics and is a men’s fitness physique competitor, and myself, being a 22-year pro wrestling veteran with coaching experience worldwide, have begun working as the official personal training duo for Voimapuoti Gym in Helsinki, as of this month.  Voimapuoti is a traditional weight training gym, not a health club.  Voimapuoti’s fundamental offering is found in free weights, a variety of different barbells, powerlifting apparatus, and traditional back-to-basics weight training equipment, because let’s face it… a real, strong, powerful body is made by application of fundamental truths that are based on free weights and body control.  We sell results, not pipe dreams.

Voimapuoti Gym personal training Helsinki

I once heard a tremendous quote that I have often recalled throughout my life, that says “There are no such things as excuses, only reasons why things don’t get done.”

As some of you might or then might not know, in addition to being a professional wrestler, I am also a rock vocalist in three separate bands: Overnight Sensation (hard rock), Angel of Sodom (thrash metal) and Crossfyre (southern blues rock).

I just came home a few days ago, back to Finland, after spending the last two weeks on the road, through the Baltics, down to Poland and Germany, for a set of gigs with Crossfyre. Before I left for this recent tour jaunt, I got word that I’d be having a match against Russia’s premiere wrestler, Ivan Markov, on July 23 in Helsinki. I knew that I would have to train on the road, utilizing every possible opportunity to get some body work and conditioning in.

After all, this is going to be a very important match. I loaded up one 16kg kettlebell, two 5kg plates equipped with handles and three different resistance power bands. This, plus my own bodyweight and a plethora of training knowledge, were all I had to train with for two weeks, while on tour.

My tour training equipment, sans the smallest resistance power band...

My tour training equipment, sans the smallest resistance power band…

I recall doing the same kind of training five years ago, when I played across Europe with Crossfyre, which was just before my pro wrestling debut in Japan.  That definitive time period was a breakthrough opportunity for me, when I was to make my first foray in the Land of the Rising Sun, in my first match there against Hajime Ohara back on July 24, 2010 in Tokyo.  After that initial match, and the subsequent second match I had, later that same night, against former WWE superstar “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri, my career was made in Japan.  I became a superstar there, literally overnight.  That was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the finest moments of my professional athletic career.

Now, five years later, I am on the edge of another critically important moment in my wrestling epoch.  On July 23, I will be defending the honor of the country I represent, Finland, against the imposing threat of big Russia in the first-ever wrestling war between our countries.  I absolutely must be in shape for this coming battle, and my entire training approach changed considerably when I heard the news that Ivan Markov had called me out and challenged me to a match on Finnish soil.  Especially, considering the history between our countries, and the fact that Finland used to be under Russian rule in years past by the Czar, this is a huge, milestone moment upcoming in athletic history in the Nordics.  Plus, Ivan Markov is bigger, younger and stronger than me, so I have to up my ante to face this coming challenge.

Take a look at the bodyweight and hybrid training montage that I compiled from the tour we were on.  I hope it inspires you also!  It just goes to show, that when there isn’t an actual gym nearby, there is still no excuse to get in an effective training routine, regardless of the circumstances.

“The Rebel” StarBuck vs. “Locomotive” Ivan Markov is upcoming on Thursday, July 23 at SNACKY SLAM in the Pukinmäki suburb or Helsinki, as a free media event, open to the public, at 13:00 in the afternoon, located at Snacky fast food restaurant, Malminkaari 2a, 00720 Helsinki.  The event is open to all ages, free of charge.

KYLMÄSOTA Snacky Slam 2015

There are days that just feel haggard when you get older.  The body starts to show the signs of wear and tear and you realize there ain’t no way in hell you’re getting your former self back.  Today was one of those days for Yours Truly.

Just like everyone else out there, I’ve seen all the bodybuilding and fitness magazines promising “constant development” and shit like that, but let me assure you, that’s a crock.  Unless you’re on the gas (steroids) or other performance-enhancers, the body just begins to turn against you at a certain point after you’ve outlived your youth, and believe me when I tell you, then you are just trying to stem the tide anymore.

After wrestling for on top of two decades, one tends to build up a specific list of nagging injuries and physical setbacks.  The joints hurt, the body becomes increasingly stiff.  Certain ranges of motion induce pain.  Then you must push through the pain barrier (unless it serves to inflammate your current state of being) and clear your personal aging hurdles.  Because, seriously, what other choices do you have?

That’s not to say that it’s game over when the tipping point arrives, no sir, not at all!  Of course, the relevance of a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits become all the more pronounced as the years wear on.  But there’s more.  There comes the pivotal moment, when you have to change your game.  You have to dig deeper and play smarter.  There is no surcease.  There is no cease-fire.  I mean, let’s be honest, if you choose to give up when the pain starts to come and the body starts to rebel against its owner, then all you’ll have left to look forward to is a painful and slow death.  You absolutely MUST stay in the fight.  Quitting is NOT an option.

Choose your hard

Believe me, there have been countless times when I just couldn’t have cared less about hitting the track or banging it out another day in the gym.  It’s a lot like a long marriage, I guess.  There are days that you are sick and tired of it all, and then there are days that make it all worth the while.  And at the days end you still know deep down, that if you chose to give up on this chosen path, there would be more negatives that positives waiting for you.  Therefore, you choose to persist.

I remember watching the Rocky Balboa movie back in 2008 and feeling inspired even back then at the following motivational clip, which I am really starting to relate to after spending two decades plus in the pro wrestling game…

Let me assure you, life doesn’t feel like the movies.  Romance and love do not work in real life like they do in the movies.  Fights do not look or feel anything like they are portrayed in the movies.  No one has a backing soundtrack in this life.  All we have is that little voice deep within our heads and something called heart, or lack thereof.  At the end of the day, it’s just sheer willpower and persistence that makes the difference in anyone’s life.  Forget talk of motivation.  Do not wait for someone or something to motivate you.  YOU have to go out there and make it happen!  Remember, there are no such things as excuses, only reasons why things don’t get done.

out of gas

People are always looking for the quick fix, the fountain of youth, the magic formula.  Allow me to let you in on something: THEY DON’T EXIST.  The commercial powers that be have duped you.  They’ve lied to you for years.  Some of you still believe the sales pitches.  Like a good politician herding the sheep in every four years, some folks still want to believe in what may as well be termed “something for nothing.”

The cold, hard truth is: there are no free rides, no easy money, no shortcuts to the goal.  There is only hard work, sweat, struggle and persistence.


I’ve recently been engaged in some very demanding, specialized gym training programs engineered for online personal training clients of Fit Forever Finland.  In the process of filming these training programs, I’ve been pushed to the limit, as the online trainer and demo guy for these aforementioned programs.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been huffing, puffing, straining, pushing, pulling, in all kinds of discomfort and duress.

One thing that I’ve really surmised to myself in the past few weeks has been the fact that saying you train hard and feeling like you are in shape are completely relative thoughts in and of themselves.  The reality of the situation might well be completely adverse to your train of thought.  What I mean by this, is that if you are a hard trainer at the gym, per se: you feel that you push yourself to move some pretty good amounts of weight, that doesn’t specifically mean that you are actually as “in shape” as you’d like to think.

Yours Truly in a feature article in Bodaus magazine from Finland a few years ago

Yours Truly in a feature article in Bodaus magazine from Finland a few years ago

Let’s say you have to lose a bit of belly fat, the old love handles, but you argue that you lift hard and eat well.  Guess what?  I have news for you: if you are struggling to reach a certain goal, you still have to up the ante, no matter how much you argue that even now you are training seriously.  What you consider to be hard training is not actually hard at all: it’s status quo FOR YOU.  Your body is USED to the kind of training that you’ve been subjecting it to.  Where you actually are is on a plateau, simply maintaining what already IS.  You are not growing, not developing, nor are you training as hard as you should be.  Sucks, doesn’t it?

Really, the truth is unforgiving and it’s brutal.  I have to admit: I hate having to face up to the truth sometimes.  Trying hard?  Try harder!  Go faster!  Exceed yourself!  It can be damned exhausting, especially when viewing the price you will have to honestly pay to achieve your personal goal.  The truth really is a bitch.

Getting gassed during training is a good sign, it means you are training hard (photo Marko Simonen)

Getting gassed during training is a good sign, it means you are training hard (photo Marko Simonen)

People are all too susceptible to fall into their own, personal comfort zone.  Hey, we all have one!  We all like to feel comfy and just snazzy, just the way we are.  But guess what?  Staying in your comfort zone won’t make you look good on the beach.  It won’t make you feel confident naked.  You can go to the hairdresser all you want, buy as many fitting clothes as you want, take as many carefully-angled selfies of yourself as you want … but none of that is going to mask the truth.  And the truth is something that hits you flush in your self-esteem bullseye every time you look in the mirror.

So, not confident with how you look naked or how you strut your stuff on the beach?  Then start busting your ass harder than you’ve ever tried before.  Get uncomfortable.  Get mad, get motivated, get rid of the excuses that you tell yourself time and time again, as to why you aren’t where you want to be.

There ain't no hiding at the beach

There ain’t no hiding at the beach

Unless you have a serious physical illness or hormonal imbalance, your physical health is not like the wavering stock market: you can actually completely commandeer your body into a lean, mean, healthy & muscled machine.  It’s been proven multiple times, that even the elderly can build muscle and greatly improve their physical fitness and vitality by training regularly.  What you need to get “there” is a map (crystalized vision), the right kind of fuel (a healthy diet), the tools (a proper, tailored training program), heart (complete resolution and determination) and sacrifice (make time for what really counts to you, forget the excuses).

I thought I had been training fairly hard for the past several years.  I was wrong.  Thank God it’s not too late to wake up — there’s still a lifetime to go!

Those who know me know that StarBuck is a big proponent of the old school.  From life philosophy to my way of living to the way that I train, I hold high the banner of old school spirit and philosophy.  You’ve heard the old adage that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it?  That is exactly what I believe in.

The one thing that strikes me as absurd is the fact that the physical training culture of our modern age has all but done away with real training GYMS.  Instead, we are offered a plethora of “health clubs”, where it is more appropriate to dress for show and mingle, while idly doing a few sets  in between on the various apparatus’, in order to be able to tell others that those guilty of said charade actually “work out”.  With TV sets in every corner of the said health clubs, members can watch MTV or the soaps while hitting the bikes, or flip through the pages of Cosmopolitan while on the treadmill.  The workout machinery of these so-called health clubs offer a maximally comfortable range of motion, so as to not have to strain things.  Trust me, I have been to enough of these places to know how things operate and how the ball bounces.

To me, this anomaly is befuddling.  The gym is NOT supposed to be a comfortable place.   You are supposed to sweat, to feel as much discomfort as possible, as you punish your body into its new mold and aspired physical appearance.  The old school says “no pain, no gain!” and this adage is as old as training culture itself.  Every single world-class athlete knows this.  Every single person who has gotten real, profound, life-changing results from physical training knows this.

Unfortunately, the commercial powers that be have seen that there is lots of green to me made in “accommodating” people by offering an illusion of physical fitness, while delivering pipe dreams.  How many women go to aerobic classes year after year, unable to shake the extra pounds and kilos, while stubbornly following to the tune of whatever sales pitch?  How many people really push themselves hard in their training, so that others around them even look on at the struggle next to them?  How many health clubs discourage grunts, groans and yelling when the bar is loaded, should such trainers be on hand at their posh palaces?

I recall in Canada over 15 years ago, I used to go to a local health club, which was not really a gym anymore.  On heavy squats, I would have to psyche myself out and yes, there was some audible noise when I struggled with the weight.  The club personel came up to me and asked that I keep it down, so as to not annoy the other clients?  What the fuck, were we in a library?!?  Soon thereafter, I was specifically asked by the brass to move on to another training facility.  I have heard of similar incidents with other serious trainers here in Finland, where I now live.

For me, the antidote and answer is simple.  I choose to train at hardcore, old school gyms.  I specifically search out such places when I travel, where the smell of testosterone, pain and sweat can be readily noticed in the air and feel of the place.  It is becoming harder and harder to find such training facilities in our modern world, but here in Helsinki there are still a few of them around.  One such haven is Voimapuoti Gym in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki.

Voimapuoti Gym used to be owned by Finland’s strongest man, Ano Turtiainen, who sold his then-Metal Gym in 2006 to Harri Kokkonen and the establishment was renamed.  I have been a long-time member of Voimapuoti Gym since 2003, when Stratovarius band frontman Timo Kotipelto introduced me to the place.  Today, it still stands as one of, if not the predominant, powerlifting gyms in Finland.  Gym owner Kokkonen’s powerlifting expertise reaches into the Baltic countries of Northern Europe, as Harri coaches several top lifters of varying nationalities.  Kokkonen also brings Swedish top sports supplement line, SKIP, into Finland.  I have to say that of all the various manufacturers out there – and I have tested a slew of them over my 23 years of training experience – SKIP is hands-down one of the best, WORKING supplement lines out there.  I have no problem shamelessly plugging their TopFuel post-workout drink, which you can feel actually revitalize your beaten frame withing 15 minutes of ingestion, aided by the digestive enzymes it contains.  I can say the same for SKIP’s Tränings Aktivator, two scoops of which will have you ready within 20-30 minutes to kick King Kong-sized ass in the weight room.

Voimapuoti Gym is a place that I recommend highly to anyone who wants a training environment that is REAL.  Considering free weight-training is twice as effective as the use of machines (hey, even Arnold promoted using free weights as much as possible), Voimapuoti is stock-full of various specialty barbell bars, loads of free weights, supported lifting benches and power squat racks.  And YES, you can yell, scream and make your muscles feel the strain of body sculpting pain without any morons coming over to tell you to keep it down.  Plus, the music is choice at Voimapuoti is always HEAVY, from hard rock to heavy metal, so that your adrenaline will keep up with the demands you place on your mortal frame to become the best that you can be.  With like-minded people training around you who actually want results and are willing to pay the price to achieve them, your struggle will not be a solitary one.

Whenever top professional wrestlers from around the world come to Finland, I always bring them to Voimapuoti as part of their Finland experience.  They thank me every time.  Consider that.