Coach Chat - Mizar Fuentes Ortega Discusses How Mindset Controls Your Fitness

24 Jul

Mizar Fuentes-Ortega (Mizar) was born in Mexico, moved to Rimouski Quebec, Canada at 7 years old - which is wholly French speaking - moved to Halifax where he went to University, and has landed in Montreal where he owns a gym and coaches for Big Dawgs. And, one thing that you’ll pick up from Mizar immediately is that he loves to understand the conscious and subconscious sides of his clients and his own fitness.

How Does Mizar Help His Clients?

When I asked Mizar “How do you help your clients,” he responded with “I learn to understand them, and I build a plan around them.” Throughout our entire 20 minutes conversation, Mizar made multiple references with different contexts that lead me/us right back to the “understanding foundation.” Watch the video to really gain insight on how Mizar’s brain really works. It is a calming presence 

Mizar spends a lot of time making sure that he is helping his clients align their lifestyle around the big goals they have. Without that alignment, it’s extremely difficult to stay inspired to reach your peak potential.

Mizar went on to explain that he works hard to understand his clients right when he first meets them. He knows that he has to help them define some big questions in their own terms:

  • How do you define fitness?
  • How do you define health?
  • How do you define wellbeing?
  • How do  you define longevity?
  • If you’re into fitness as a sport, how do you define success?
  • Where are you tangibly and truthfully in relation to the goals that you have set?

Its around those definitions that Mizar understands the realities for his athletes. He must begin the program and fitness experience exactly where the athlete realistically sits because that aligns his expectations to the program that he is laying out for his athlete, and it sets the bigger picture plan that his athlete will execute off of. If his athlete can’t do a muscle up but she/he wants to compete at the CrossFit Games, the reality is that it will take longer to get to the level needed to make the Games that it would somebody who has 20 unbroken muscle ups (all things equal). 

Mizar knows that he needs to work his athletes through a progression of success; that progression includes play, training, and a foundational build in all aspects of their fitness. Without a clear reality and expectation of where they are in the beginning isn’t fair to the athlete because they won’t enjoy a positive fitness experience for their time in the sport.

Where Did Mizar’s Mindset Come From

Early in his life, Mizar saw Bruce Lee’s movie, Game of Death, and it changed his entire outlook on how to approach the world. He learned philosophy and techniques of martial arts, but he took up gymnastics because his father didn’t allow him to compete in combat sports early in his life - perhaps some foreshadowing of what’s to come. It was through Mizar’s ongoing learning within the martial arts philosophy mixed with the body awareness experience of gymnastics that Mizar really honed his love for understanding human potential - which he believes we have vast amounts of potential inside of us.

I believe we have crazy potential as humans; when we blend mental, physical, and emotional potential together in specific moments, we can achieve unbelievable feats of success

Mizar went on to discuss that he’s seen this over and over in competitive environments. It’s those athletes who can hone in on those human potential areas, particularly mentally, who find the most success on the competition floor. 

How many times have you seen a gifted physical athlete come under pressure and fail?  It happens all too often

Naturally, I then asked him how an athlete could best prepare themselves to being most capable of putting together their human potential buckets on the competition floor?  Mizar mentioned a few key things:

  • Athletes must understand themselves
  • Athletes must go through periods of being exposed - they must be put into challenging, painful, and stressful situations so that they feel what it really feels like to put it on the line

Athlete must be courageous enough to put themselves into stressful situations. They can’t hide from it because if they make it onto any bigger stage (by the way this works for fitness competitions as well as it does in the boardroom, at home, or with family, friends, or colleagues).  The reason this is so important is because it teaches you who you are; it helps you understand yourself. It’s only those who truly understand themselves who will find peace and success in their entire fitness experience, beit competitive fitness or not.

What struck me profoundly through my and Mizar’s conversation was that he so elegantly continued to come back to helping his athletes understand themselves. It’s clear that Mizar sees that as his biggest role, but knowing the background on Mizar’s beliefs about athletes being courageous, it’s easy for us to put these puzzle pieces together to understand why.

What Is Mizar The Most Interested In Right Now In Fitness?

Mizar loves to study the source of people’s motivation. He wants to root out what motivates people initially, but more importantly he wants to see what keeps people inspired for a lifetime. Sure, many people are competitive in fitness right now, but what will they choose to do in 3 years, 6 years, 15 years?  It’s that source of motivation, in life, that helps people move through the stages of their life more successfully with a much deeper level of fulfillment.

Mizar went on to discuss how he recently broke his leg competing in Jiu Jitsu - this is where we come full circle on his father’s fears of putting him into combat sports early haha. Whereas Mizar has competed at high levels in gymnastics, CrossFit, rock climbing, and Jiu Jitsu, right now Mizar’s motivation is simply balance. He had to learn what it was like to struggle to care for himself on his broken leg; he didn’t want to be a burden. So, to move forward, Mizar has had to change his perceptions on progress in fitness. He is using all of his historic training, learning, and experiences to learn what motivated him and what will inspire him to live a long and fulfilling life because that is where he sits in his own fitness journey…..And, this is also what Mizar is helping his clients to understand so that they are perpetually moving forward, feeling inspired, and enjoying rich amounts of personal fulfillment.

Something really interesting that Mizar went on to say was that we are constantly building our foundation to take the next step. Whether you’re doing split squats at tempo like Mizar is right now to fix his leg, or whether you’re setting the stage to compete with the world’s best, you’re either strengthening your foundation or tearing it down. It’s something he works deeply on with his clients. It’s when his clients build a rock solid foundation that they believe in themselves deeply enough to fully express their optimal fitness potential. And just like that, we went back to Mizar’s first point again, it’s through a deep understanding in ourselves that we will build belief and peace which allows us to perform at our best.

Do I Have Somewhere Better To Be?

The last big point I want to discuss from Mizar was how he, in the heat of a competitive moment, makes his decision to push through the pain or challenge of a workout. Fairly simply, Mizar asks himself the question “Why am I doing I have somewhere else better to be.” 

If Mizar’s answer was that he didn’t have somewhere else to be, he would put his head down and push even harder. He’s taken this lesson to heart whether it be in fitness, business, or life. I think is a beautiful way of helping to initially sum up our conversations….

Mizar is the type of person who is so clear on who he is, what he’s capable of, and where he wants to go that he is truly at peace.

Until the next time my friends!

Mizar Fuentes Ortega with Kevin Don and Keegan Martin At A Seminar
Mizar (middle) With Kevin and Keegan

Mizar Fuentes-Ortega IG

Jim Crowell IG

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