He began his health and fitness journey four years ago, weighing in at 355 lbs., after a wakeup call on a family vacation at the beach made him realize just how limited and unhealthy he was. Due to his heavy weight, he was unable to keep up and do a lot of things with his daughter. He was also ashamed of his body and wore long t-shirts to cover it up, despite the hot temperatures on the beach. Looking back later at pictures from the trip, he was disgusted with his condition and the spark ignited inside of him to finally do something about it.
Heart disease and early death runs in his family, in part due to poor health choices. With a new awareness of how his weight limited him from being actively involved in his daughter’s life, he decided he wanted to change that dynamic and get healthy, so he would still be around to participate in her major milestones like graduating and getting married.
One of his work benefits included a gym membership, and his boss helped him join a local gym in August of 2013. He hired amazing trainers and talked to someone about a nutrition plan. He kept a strict diet and dedicated himself to exercise for the first time ever. According to Michael, he had been a sedentary couch potato for most of his life, so implementing these lifestyle changes was all new yet highly rewarding.
Five months later, he was already down 50 lbs. and still motivated to keep going, when was introduced to Eric Jones. When Eric invited him to try out CrossFit for the first time, Michael agreed and immediately fell in love with the sport. Some days his success in the box made him feel on top of the world, and some days discouragement and frustration would leave him lying on the floor in defeat, but Eric was there for him each step of the way. Every time, his inner confidence was boosted, his muscles were strengthened and his body fat was swiftly disappearing.
When Eric helped Fitness 4 Less open Hogwild CrossFit, Michael was there for the first workout (WOD).
“I remember initially thinking ‘this place is so small,’” he reminisced, “but it’s worked out and it’s better in a way because we have to work so closely together that we bond.”
Four years into his CrossFit tenure, he has lost over 100 lbs., and he thanks Eric for being there with him from the beginning. “He has been such a big help,” Michael said, “Such a big part of it.”
Hogwild CrossFit has been a huge part of my life. The results I have had are unbelievable, and it’s an amazing journey. My wife Stephanie started two years ago as well. It’s been a huge emotional and physical confidence boost for her. She has come a long way health-wise. The change in her has been remarkable. The confidence you gain in coming and being a part of this – the family that grows from it – has been a big boost to us. That’s the best part even more than the weight loss.”
“I have talked to people from other CrossFit boxes who have been envious of what we have here with the relationships and connections we’ve made. I do know that the CrossFit movement is about family and about friendships in general, but I just feel that this is probably a little more special than most of them. Maybe because I have been here since the first day.”
Michael shares that despite his love and passion for Hogwild, it hasn’t always been an easy journey. He’s faced injuries and struggles and personal family challenges, but the coaches and fellow athletes have helped walk him, Stephanie and their daughter Lizzie (who’s basically a Hogwild mascot) through it all.
“The people here are truly amazing,” said Michael. “There is so much positivity and support. They want to succeed, and they want those around them to succeed. People who are negative can’t handle being around this much positivity, so they either pick up on the positivity and become part of it, or they can’t handle it and leave.”
When asked what it’s like to workout alongside his wife, Michael shared, “It’s been very bonding for us and a huge growth experience. It’s drawn us closer together. Initially when I fell in love with it, she didn’t have any part of it, but she was always supportive. She saw the positive impact it was having on my life and how it made me a better person.
“Now that we do it together, she looks to me for knowledge and tips, but I have to be careful not to push her too far. I learned quickly that that’s the coach’s job, not mine” he smiled.
Michael shared that he would love to become a coach himself one day. He is already well-respected and admired for his knowledge and experience – he keeps up with guys much younger than he – but eventually he hopes to get his certification and make it official.
“I see myself doing some form of this for the rest of my life, and now that’s gonna be a longer life.”
If you’re inspired by Michael’s story and want to improve your lifestyle too, stop by Hogwild CrossFit today, and our coaches and athletes will start walking alongside you to help bring about the change you want to experience.