We talked with Maik Wiedenbach in October, 2019.
Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Maik Wiedenbach, 43 years old. I’m originally from Germany and now living in New York City.
I run a personal training gym in the city and teach at NYU (I teach exercise science).
I started training people in 2006, myself I picked up weights in 1990 after watching Terminator.
Originally, I swam competitively which is how I came to the United States. The transition from swimming to fitness was an easy one as we lifted every day at swimming.
As for hobbies I love everything history related, hanging out with kids and watching a proper football (soccer) game.
Describe a typical day of training
I train anywhere from 5 to 8 times a week, following a push pull legs scheme. Training twice a day is not that hard, considering I work in a gym 🙂
Due to my erratic schedule I train alone at my own gym, it is simply the most convenient way to go about it.
As I get older I focus much less on the weight moved but on execution and tension. Interestingly this has yielded much better gains in shorter time than all the 5×5 nonsense before.
As for cardio, I ride the bike to work as long as the weather permits, otherwise its the dreaded treadmill.
If I had to write down my favorite exercises, I would pick anything back related.
As for supplements, I pretty much use none aside from caffeine, Prima Force theanine and Optimum Nutrition whey.
How do you keep going and push harder?
I guess I am rather fortunate as I generally like training as such. And at this point, I just want to be a fit dad.
That said, the whole pushing harder thing is completely moronic. We have gyms full of people with joint problems and awful physiques, due to exactly that mentality.
Learn anatomy, cover the strength curve, create tension and build a great body without ripping yourself apart.
Instead being so effort focused, try to be execution focused. It makes all the difference.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
As of now I train for maintenance which is what is realistic in your mid forties.
Going forward I would like to open more gyms and teach an intelligent style of training to millions of people. This will be done mainly via my videos and the blog. I also plan on developing an app.
More importantly I want my kids to grow the best way I can provide.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I have been very lucky not to have sustained any major injuries, but I also never lifted heavy for singles or doubles.
As for setbacks, that is simply part of life. During my swimming career there were many lost races so you get quickly learn to deal with it.
My sleep is awful especially in NYC. I never get 8 hours uninterrupted. I usually get only 6 hours… you simply make do.
For recovery and sleep I take ZMA but I could not tell you if there is a huge benefit.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
Right now I am at maintenance which means 250 grams of protein, 120 grams of fats and 400 grams of carbs a day.
I do track my food albeit not religiously. I have been doing it for 10 years so I have a pretty good grasp on my intake.
As for social occasions, people make it too complicated. Simply eat a bit less the day off and enjoy your night out.
I do not have cheat days since that is an idiotic concept. For one, people put away 5000+ calories and destroy their entire week of dieting and secondly, it means your life is deprived of something therefore you must cheat. If that is the case, your diet will fail.
As for supplements, I greatly reduced them since most of them are uselss. These days I use none aside from caffeine, theanine and whey.
Due to what I do, I stay lean all year round since it is too complicated to diet hard while running a business and having kids.
What has inspired and motivated you?
I think Arnolds Encyclopedia is a fun read. Yes, it is outdated but the pure joy of these days must have been fun.
Brad Schoenfeld’s work in terms of hypertrophy is worth reading. Also, Ben Pakulski is worth following.
Best advice ever: Forget anything you think you know about fitness.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
If I could start over here is what I would do:
- Assume I know nothing about anything.
- Learn about movement patterns instead of exercises.
- Master nutrition in the sense that you know your macros and stick to them.
- Switch from a viewing training success as effort based to execution based.
- Understand that control and stability govern muscle growth.
Dumbest thing I have seen: Doing decline push ups with plates on your back while wearing a sweaty shirt. The plates slipped, chopped a finger off.
People are too pigeonholed in the sense that they believe they must do this exercise or that when it really comes down to shortening a muscle.
Best life hack: Do not take yourself too seriously.
Are you taking on clients right now?
Right now I am fully booked which is something I am grateful for.
As for hiring me, simply google me, my resume and results speak louder than a lame sales pitch.
People should absolutely see results, that is the sole reason of coming in.
Sometimes you run into a situation where the eating goes unchecked and results are slow to non existent. Behavioral change is difficult to accomplish. but we shall try.
Where can we learn more about you?
My website is maikwiedenbach.com.
2 thoughts on “How I Became a Top Personal Trainer in New York City and Got My Own Gym”
Hi Maik…I am a 75 year old female who retired 10 years ago. I used to be active but now I have more weigh and fat. Is it too late to change my body at this age? Is there a program for using my body weight to get in shape at home? Please write a book for females.
Hi Maik, I am a 57 year old female certified personal trainer and I competed in fitness modeling in 2005 in Montréal.
I am in pretty good shape but would like to gain a little more muscle mass all over and lean down about 5 pounds. Once there I would like to sustain it.
I have an excellent trainer already but due to circumstances ( his) training with him is limited …
Do you take on new clients ? Thank you, Karin, West-Bolton, Canada