May 8, 2012
Focused on Confidence and Strength: Mike McKenna
By Keka Schermerhorn
After 4th in 2011, McKenna aims for 3rd at the North East Regional.
After 4th in 2011, McKenna aims for 3rd at the North East Regional.

"That 4th place finish at last year's Regional was very disappointing ... I didn't think I was good enough. And thus, I was not."


After clawing his way back to a 4th place finish at last year’s North East Regional, Mike McKenna decided to forgo the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Open.

But with two days left to register, he was peer pressured into signing up “just for fun.”

A month later, he finished 1st in the region.

“I guess it’s a good thing I signed up because I did OK,” McKenna says. “I hadn’t competed all year and had no intention of doing the Open.”

During last year’s Regional, the CrossFit 914 owner didn’t perform well on the thruster ladder event.

“My thruster PR was 250 pounds and I failed at 225. That’s when I knew my chances were over. I battled back to that 4th place finish, so I guess you could say the weekend was bittersweet for me,” McKenna says. “But a lot more bitter than sweet.”

This year, he has focused on improving his strength to avoid another disappointment.

“I prefer to train light and fast, but I am a competitor,” McKenna says. “And if I am going to be competitive, I need to lift more.”

The 24-year-old also has been nursing an injured shoulder that has been plaguing him since before last year’s Regional.

“I have made mobility, stretching and rehab a daily routine,” he says. “I have realized that we are going to have injuries; that is just a part of the game. It is how you react to them that allows you to succeed.”

Training his mind also has been key.

“That 4th-place finish at last year’s Regional was very disappointing,” he says. “I was not confident. I pretended to be, but I didn’t think I was good enough. And thus, I was not.”

A former Golden Gloves boxer, he admires Mike Tyson, “not because of his ability, but his confidence.

“The difference between this year and last year is that I will not allow my injuries to impact my mind,” he says. If my body does not want to go then I will have to live with that, but until that happens I will keep giving it my all.”

As an affiliate owner, he says he feels like he is not only representing himself, but his gym community.

“I love knowing that I have given everything,” McKenna says. “If I hear the music during a workout, if I hear the crowd, I know I am not working hard enough. The pride that comes from knowing I gave it my best will get me through anything.”

He says he’s gunning for a podium spot and a trip in July to California.

“I just hope to represent my region … the best that I can and enjoy the experience.”