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Fitness Inspiration: Do Not Fear What You Can Become- Mickel’s story

Mickel is a fellow Spartan who continues to inspire me and many others.  He not only inspires with his words, he inspires with his actions. He strives to push his limits to see what he can achieve, and this is exactly what being a Beast is all about. Here is his story:

So I made a challenge for myself on July 7, 2011 to get into the form I wanted and needed to drop into before Oct 29th.  For the first time, I signed myself up for a course-filled race called the Men’s Health Urbanathlon.  It’s an obstacle course within a 11.5 mile run.  It was brought to my attention by a friend two years ago and although it was his wish to join it, I jumped in any ways.  He was always adamant about joining it, even flying to Chicago to join.  Last year it happened to be in NYC.  So it was either do or do not.  So he told me and although I hesitated, I said “Why not?”  I overcame back to back injuries that year, and doing the race was just a testing ground of what I can push my body to do.  We live such a congested life that any breathing space seems unorthodox.  Well I created room.  I was always in fear of obstacles and any competitive sports because I lack the confidence and drive.  Well not anymore.  I am going at this like a wolf in search of his cub.  Although with a chaotic schedule during July due to my job as well as training GTfit members and my husband and fatherly duties, I managed to awaken the beast within and started reformatting myself.  Having two jobs truly takes a lot of work and makes for an easy excuse.  When I first dropped from 275 lbs to 165-170 lbs in 2008 it was quick and I used a lot of supplements and pills (see photos of before and after).

I was a size 44 pants, 275lbs, size xl-xxl shirt.

It took me nine months to drop all the weight.  I got my first set of a 4-pack then or what I thought was a flatter stomach.  This time around I decided to do it the normal way.  Cut out processed meat, steak and pork, and stick with natural and healthy foods (ie. veggies, fruits, legumes) with more vitamins and minerals.  The result was a juggernaut weight drop and lean muscle build up.  Utilizing all my knowledge in mixed martial arts training, Crossfit, bio mechanics, and nutrition I put together a simple regimen that had complex results.  I dropped from a size 35 waist to a 32 waist and I dropped from 205 lbs to now up to date 176 lbs.  Never did I think I could achieve this physique or even see my abs forming.  I hardly did any sit-ups but mainly concentrated on my nutrition, calisthenics, and running.  The nutrition was the key factor.  I revised my eating plan completely.  I use to do small portions and eat throughout the day.  I found that inefficient because who has the time to pack small foods? When I have hunger pains it’s already too late.  My body is already performing catabolism and burning my muscles.  I started eating cleaner food with higher contents of omega-3 and fiber.  These were the main factors of my quick weight drop.  I feel lighter, faster, and stronger.  So during the Open the same friend throws out a mud run challenge coming up before Oct 29th.  I saw the hunger in his eyes and without hesitation this time I say why not?  It was my birthday gift for myself.  Let’s get down and dirty!

We live in a society that believes in what they see.  They think if it can happen to someone it can happen to them.  But wait? It’s not a miracle.  You don’t lose the pounds or gain my energy by standing next to me.  You must move with me and challenge yourself.  I train smart and efficiently.  Working smart is the key to having a nicely fit body and eating healthy is what’s going to maintain this physique.  Be realistic with yourself and take on a baby step challenge.  During the US Open this year I put out two challenges.  The first one consisted of 5,000 push-ups in seven days. The second consisted of 16,000 movements and one hour of plank.  For those that did it, kudos.  For those who stopped or did not finish, ask yourself why didn’t I “just finish?” You didn’t have to do it within the time frame.  All you had to do was just finish.  When I train I set out to do what I say I will do.  Regardless of the pain and fatigue.  I am who I say I am.  I go big or I go home, simple as that.  A lot of people are always sticklers when it comes to deadlines and if they know they can’t make it they sabotage themselves and not even try.  Why put yourself in a cage with open doors and be afraid to explore or enjoy what’s outside? Find motivation within so you will never have to rely on others for strength.  In the moment of truth we all need a source of energy and push, why can’t it be you? We are our worst enemy but did you ever think, “why can’t I be my best push?”.  Do not fear what you can become.  Your true potential lies within you.  It’s dormant, you need to awaken what you hide and shelter.  Sometimes it’s okay to go beyond and past your comfort zone.  This will unleash a part of you that you thought did not exist.  I have done this multiple times and as I get older, embracing these challenges becomes easier.  I might not be getting younger but at least in my heart I know I am embracing what I can while I still can move.  If you need motivation, look at people you know who are always positive and get insight on how they do it.  We all need someone but try to find it in yourself as well.  People in your life will come and go.  Those who inspire you, keep them close and try to understand why they are who they are.  They embraced the notion that lines were meant to be crossed, limits were meant to be broken, norms were meant to be defied.  We all live in a society that just makes us slow and lazy.  We are easy targets.  So to simplify my life I decided to go faster, move more, and LIFT!

So today or tomorrow find a challenge.  Find something that will take you out of your comfort zone and just embrace it.  Also, for all those people who want to stay fit remember, “Eat to Train, not Train to eat”, abs are not made in the gym they are carved in the kitchen.  Be mindful of what you eat.  It tastes good but is it good for you? Think about that next time you have a midnight snack of chips or cookies – is it worth it?  There is no “I’ll burn it off tomorrow” because tomorrow you already stored it as fat.  Tomorrow your metabolism slows down.  I am not saying to be strict but if you want the body then you respect it and you live the lifestyle.  Don’t be a part time athlete or bodybuilder, or fitness junkie.  Live it! The choices we make today affects our tomorrow – so eating bacon for breakfast is not bad as long as you know your doing a heavy duty WOD.  Eating a nice juice shake is also as good, but eating pancakes with bacon and some milk chocolate and expecting to get ripped is unrealistic.  Fuel your body right and your body will show you what it can really do.

“Fear Not Of Growing Slowly; But of Standing Still” – LIFT (live inspire fight Triumph).  Are you ready to take on a challenge? Why not join GT and see what animal you were meant to unleash!

Check out GTfit here for more info on what Mickel does to stay beastly!


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