Mind and muscles

Micah Hankins

Courtesy Of Micah Hankins

Former Air Force officer Micah Hankins has taken what he learned about physical fitness from his eight years in the military and made it accessible to civilians. His club, Alpha Company Fitness in Chico, offers boot camps and personal training for people at all fitness levels, ages 5 and up. More information about classes can be found at www.alphacofitness.com, but here are the basics of his training.

How much of your fitness program stems from building mental strength as well as physical?

It equally stresses character development and mental discipline as well as the body. It’s not just about getting strong, per se, or losing body fat. It’s a complete look at fitness. We look at it as a whole package. Changing the body is easy. Changing the person is the hard part. My goal is to get people to push past that quitting point.

Are there any people you have trained who amazed you because of what they were able to accomplish?

Every day. One guy took the class on a dare for his 60th birthday. At the start he could barely do 12 push-ups. He was really out of shape, but now he averages 90 push-ups and runs a 7:30 mile. He’s 61 now. I take a wide variety of age groups, but it seems like the people in their 50s and 60s work harder than people half their age. These are the people I look at and go, “That’s who I want to be like when I’m in my 60s.”

Are there any physical challenges you have worked through?

I’ve had knee surgery. I had a few broken ankles from sports when I was a kid. I grew up as an overweight kid, and that was something I really had to work past mentally more than physically. Even when I was in the military with a six-pack and chest, I still had insecurities. I grew up being called “fat boy” and “tub-a-lard” from my brothers. It took me a little while to grow as a man to having actual confidence and not just cockiness.

Your gym is unlike most in that there are no mirrors, no scales and no big machines. Why did you want your gym to be different?

Other gyms have what I call a “Globo Gym” philosophy. Mirrors everywhere. You walk in and it’s like a nightclub with weights in it. People are in there more to be seen than to work out. It’s the whole vibe of walking into those places that drives me nuts. At my gym, it’s almost a Cheers kind of feel. Everyone knows your name. This community is tight. People here really care about each other and support each other. It’s about getting fit here. We’re not a resort.