This week on Barbell Shrugged we have the pleasure of chatting with Whitney Miller, “Miss United States” beauty pageant contestant turned MMA Fighter.
That’s quite a transition, but then again it’s pretty obvious that Whitney is a highly motivated individual. She decided to give Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing a try simply because it was, “The hardest thing I could do.” That’s an extraordinary, uncommon attitude for sure.
If nothing else, Whitney understands better than most that progress comes for those who are willing to push past their current limits and perceived boundaries. You have to get well outside of your comfort zone in order to really improve, even if that means training and sparring against men. You can check out this pic of her applying a rear-naked choke to Joe Rogan. She also tossed an arm triangle on Michael Bledsoe during the filming of this episode, which might have been the first time he’s been choked since his BJJ blue belt ceremony back in 2008. No, this is not a lady you want to mess with. She will make you go unconscious!
Whitney does a lot of training in order to pick up all of these new grappling skills, but she also spends plenty of time in the gym. Barbells have always been in the rotation, even during her pageant days. She preferred feeling powerful and strong. In her words, “I’m never going to be tiny and skinny with big boob’s. So, I’m just going to go out there and be completely who I am.” It’s hard to argue with that strategy for any competition. Whitney also has fun with alternative, functional training methods such asIndian Clubs and steel maces, mostly because these implements are incredibly effective at training the grip. All aspiring fighters should take note. The stronger the grip, the more likely you are to win a fight, any fight. Raise heavy barbells, and swing big clubs. You’ll be very glad you did.
“I’m never going to be tiny and skinny with big boob’s. So, I’m just going to go out there and be completely who I am.”
Whitney is doing exactly what she wants to do, which is awesome. That’s a message that sounds familiar.Travis Mash would be proud. But that said, living a life where you do what you want…what you value…is tough. When Whitney told her friends and family that she’d rather fight than compete in pageants, she received a surprisingly large amount of resistance in return. Her Mom couldn’t stop crying, and she said her Father would hardly speak to her. For them the proper, sensible thing to do would be to get a routine 9 to 5 job, or maybe take advantage of the good looks and land a gig in front of a camera at the local news station. Anything but getting punched in the face, right?
For most that’s enough, but for Whitney being happy and feeling fulfilled means going out and doing the unexpected, painful, scary, awkward thing, the most difficult thing. As she says, “This is where you feel most alive. Far, far outside of your comfort zone.” I guess we can all do a better job of challenging ourselves, eh? Maybe we could stand to be uncomfortable a little more often.
You can check out more from Whitney on YouTube, including an awesome little feature on her transition from pageants to fighting. Also, make sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Whitney, best of luck with your training. We look forward to seeing you make your debut in the ring soon.