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April 8, 2010 Volume 31, No. 26

Mighty Mike McBride

Mike McBride

Mike McBride has been weightlifting since age 12 and won the U.S. All-Round Weightlifting Association championship in 2009. In recent years he has competed in strongman competitions. As a coordinator at the Wellness Resource Center, McBride helps educates students about health issues such as fitness, nutrition and sleep. Photo courtesy of Mike McBride


Mike McBride, a coordinator at MU’s Wellness Resource Center, is strong.

Real strong.

He dead-lifted 305 pounds using only his middle fingers to grip the bar. With all 10 fingers, he has dead-lifted 630 pounds.

McBride started lifting when he was 12 years old, but he didn’t start competing until he became involved with Clark’s Championship Gym while attending MU. He says it is a great gym full of old equipment. “You sort of feel like Rocky,” McBride says.

Originally a conventional weightlifter, his start in strongman competitions was a whirlwind. “Unlike most lift meets, strongman events have a crowd cheering,” McBride says. “It’s a lot of fun.”

In the world of competitive lifting, McBride is a lightweight at 230 pounds. He is occasionally asked at meets if he lifts weights. He says he used to wear baggy shirts to look even less intimidating to competition. But when the mild-mannered Berger, Mo., native starts lifting, people know he’s for real. McBride has multiple top-10 finishes under his belt and won the U.S. All-Round Weightlifting Association championship in 2009.

But the Mizzou alumnus is more than just brawn. He has bachelor’s degrees in psychology and statistics and a master’s degree in counseling. While in school, McBride worked as a graduate assistant with the Wellness Resource Center. He started working there after he graduated.  

The Wellness Resource Center does many things and McBride describes their actions as environmental management to promote public safety and awareness. He and his colleagues try to educate students about issues so they can make informed decisions regarding their health. That includes things such as fitness, nutrition and sleep. McBride says that most problems on a college campus are related to alcohol use, and he spends much of his time coordinating underage alcohol use reduction strategies, such as training for law enforcement.

McBride works closely with Joan Masters, the program director of Partners in Prevention. Implemented at 19 colleges across Missouri, the program is designed to reduce underage drinking. Partners in Prevention recently received the Coalition in Focus Award from Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America for, among other things, reducing binge drinking on Missouri college campuses by 33 percent since 2002.

The State of Missouri Alcohol Responsibility Training (SMART) program is a Web-based training for those who own or work for any Missouri business that sells or serves alcohol. McBride helped design the free program while he was a student and says research shows server training programs like SMART work.

He is unsure how many more strongman competitions he’ll participate in. He hit it hard just before he was married, but his wife doesn’t like all the injuries the sport entails. After his last round of competitions, McBride had problems with his ankles, hip, knees, bicep and shoulder. McBride says he hopes to compete in the U.S. All-Round Weightlifting Association championship again this year.  

The Wellness Resource Center is currently located on the second floor of Bingham Hall, but will move into the new Student Success Center once it is completed. McBride says he likes the space he works in now, but is excited for the move.

He has never had to lift 305 pounds with just his middle fingers in everyday life, but when he and his wife moved, McBride carried all their furniture by himself. He says carrying things like a washing machine or a couch can be awkward.  

But it is good practice. — Josh Chittum