We’re happy to highlight our June Member of the Month, Mike!

How long have you been a member at Active? I have been a member since approximately 2013. I took a brief 2-year hiatus during the pandemic. During that time, I went to another gym where reservations were not required. Then, in 2022, I was involved in a motor vehicle pedestrian accident where I was the pedestrian in a wheelchair. I broke 11 bones. After the recovery period, I decided I must return to Active for the following reasons: (i) the wide variety of well-kept equipment and a well maintained lap pool; (ii) the staff that I had come to know well, and who were always willing to help me with my form or with equipment questions (provided they were not in a training session); (iii) the community of people who are members and whose names and stories I knew well (there was no sense of community at the other gym); (iv) the sense of feeling at home there.

What is your favorite thing to do at the club? When I arrive at the club, I take inventory of how my body is feeling and note where it feels like it needs attention. Based on this inventory, I adapt my workout to my needs. The very wide variety of equipment allows me to tailor my workouts on any given day. My favorites include the new exercise bikes (where I can take a journey to another city or wilderness and learn fun facts about it on my way), the erg rowing machines, the free motion machines, and the fantastic, clean, well-maintained pool.

What motivates you to keep working out? I have learned that if I don’t take care of my body by challenging it to exercise and strength training, and if I don’t take care of my social needs (and the club is a piece), then I get steadily weaker and more isolated, neither of which is good for my overall health. Going to Active helps keep my mind and body strong. When I keep myself strong, I have fewer accidents and injuries.  As an aging 63-year-old man, taking care of my physical and mental wellbeing is increasingly important.  Plus, I have a lot of good fun at Active, and I always feel great after a workout!  This feeling is a strong motivator for me.

Have you overcome any obstacles as a result of your consistent exercise? Absolutely. In 2015 I developed MRSA bacteremia. I fell into a depression during my recovery. Getting back to Active helped me ‘dig out of the hole’. It also helped me get back to myself faster.  And by continuing my exercise program ever since, I have lost over 150 pounds! At my high weight I was 357 pounds. Now I am 205 pounds. I am no longer morbidly obese, and I no longer take high blood pressure medicine.

What is your favorite exercise? My favorite exercise was swimming before the car accident. However, that accident resulted in some shoulder problems. I have learned to get the aerobic portion of my workout in new ways on the gym floor with the exercise bike, the erg, the Stairmaster and, one of my favorites, the hand-crank bike. You would be surprised how quickly the hand crank bike raises your heart rate while at the same time strengthens your shoulders, biceps, core muscles and more. In my opinion, it is an underutilized piece of equipment.

What are some of your hobbies that you do outside of the gym? Drumming, mentoring, hospice volunteering, reading, white water kayaking.

What is one unique thing you would like the club to know about you? When I have a setback, orthopedic problem, or major change in my life, I accept it and ask myself: “How can I positively adapt to or change in response to this problem?”  

Is there anything else you would like to add? I love our club and our members. The club is a center point in my life around which I organize the other demands on my time. I am a friendly person who enjoys people and I welcome interruptions if I have my headphones on! I also very much appreciate all of the team members working at Active, from the maintenance staff to the trainers to the admin people. I sense they really care about members’ experiences at the club.