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Athlete of the Month: Michael Tranchina

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Our Male Athlete of the Month for September is Michael Tranchina! Michael is the symbol of the saying, “age is just a number”.  He’s a staple at our 7am class and often gives our best male athletes a run for their money. A U.S. NAVY Veteran, Michael  was active his whole life, and even hyper-active at times. But even still he was timid to start CrossFit. Says Michael, “Starting anything new is tough, but starting Crossfit at 50 years old and completely out of shape was a challenge. It was also intimidating to walk into a class when you know nothing.” If you know Michael, you know how that statement doesn’t quite line up with the incredibly fit individual you see today.  And if you don’t know Michael, he would love to meet you. If you can catch him, say hi.  Thank you Michael for being a member of our CFPB family and an inspiration to all of us to get better with age.

I was born and raised in a small town in Southern New Jersey. Fortunately, I grew up in a very close, Godly family. The role models I had growing up with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were the strong foundation that I was blessed to have.

Although they did not have the “ADHD” label when I was growing up, that is the label I would have been given had I been raised in the next generation (I personally don’t agree with the ADHD label). My outlet for my intensity and high energy level was physical activities and sports. I ran everywhere as a kid and I climbed everything in sight…Sports kept me out of trouble…Soccer was my primary sport, but I wrestled, played baseball and ran track as well.

It was during middle school that I transitioned from being a typical active boy who seemed to get into trouble at every turn, to becoming more focused and goal-oriented. I did this with my grades, sports, and my future career. I decided I wanted to become a pilot, so I researched how to become a pilot and learned that landing on an aircraft carrier made Navy Pilots the best. So I set a goal to become a Navy pilot and began to work towards getting a nomination and appointment to the US Naval Academy.

I received my appointment to the Naval Academy in the fall of my senior year and decided I wanted to get into the best shape possible, so instead of playing baseball in the spring, I decided to run track. I had an excellent coach and ended up placing 5th in the state for our group with my best mile time of 4:37.

It was during my teenage years that I learned the value of setting goals, staying focused on those goals, working hard.

I studied aerospace engineering at the Academy and graduated in 1985. That fall, I married my high school sweetheart, Veronica (also a CrossFitter…well BeachFitter), and we moved to California to begin my career in the Navy.

Since that time we’ve raised three amazing children. Our son Michael Jr, is 33, lives in California. Our daughter Jaclyn is 31, and our youngest daughter Erin is 29, live here in South Florida. We are very thankful and fortunate that all three of our children are in fantastic shape and are really into health and wellness. I am hoping and praying that our youngest daughter Erin will give CrossFit a try.

We’ve lived in California, Iowa, Virginia, New Jersey, and we moved to Florida in 2004 when I was 41 years old…

I have been an entrepreneur most of my life and have reinvented myself many times. For the past five years I have been a Chief Technology Officer for a national non-profit organization. I am between jobs right now and seeking a CIO/CTO position in south Florida.

I am very family-oriented, and try to spend as much time with the family as possible. As an engineer, I enjoy repairing things and I tend to do things myself rather than hire professionals.

My main hobby is researching and reading. We have a nice library at home and I read every day. Personal growth is a lifelong journey, and reading is essential for personal growth. My passion is health and wellness. The more I learn about wellness and avoiding chronic disease, the more I am in a position to help others.

I lifted weights in high school and on and off while I was in my 20’s and early 30’s, and I have always been a runner. Like many folks, when I hit my late 30’s and 40’s a let myself get completely out of shape. As I approached my 50th birthday I knew I was unhealthy. I had no energy and would struggle to stay awake after 6:00 pm every night. This was a sign of male menopause and insulin resistance!

My daughter Jaclyn had been doing high-intensity workouts for six or seven years. For some reason, I always believed that CrossFit was too intense and caused injuries. I liked the idea of working out with my daughter so I finally decided to give Crossfit a try the same month that I turned 50 years old.

Starting anything new is tough, but starting Crossfit at 50 years old and completely out of shape was a challenge. It was also intimidating to walk into a class when you know nothing. I remember being so stressed after one workout that I literally gave myself the flu. It took a few months before I began to feel comfortable. It soon became apparent that there were many skills that I needed to develop and it was going to take a lot of time.

In the first three years of CrossFit, I did not pay any attention to the CrossFit Open. 2017 was the first open that I took seriously. My goal now is to finish in the top 100 of my age group. In 2019, I was ranked 109 worldwide out of 4589 men in the 55-59 age group. I am one of the smallest competitors at 150lbs in my age group, there are very few men who are competitive in the open that weigh less than 155lbs.

There are many aspects of CrossFit that I really like. I enjoy both the variety of CrossFit movements and the “functional fitness” aspect of CrossFit. I love that Crossfit is a comprehensive “system” for getting and staying physically fit. There is community, there are measurable standards, there is competition, and there is accountability. All of these elements are essential for keeping people engaged and striving for improvement.

The people are what makes CrossFit so special. I have noticed over the years that Crossfit, and CFPB in particular, attracts awesome, high-quality people. I love that I get to work out with men and women of all ages, skills, and experience. I am inspired every day by the folks I work out with. Even though I am the oldest guy in the class, I forget my age when I am doing my workout.

As a 57-year-old, I have learned that CrossFit requires you to become very in-tune with your body. You need to learn your limits, learn how to pace, develop mental toughness, and learn how to avoid injury. You also really need to ensure that you are getting enough recovery time, which is much slower when you get into your 50s.

I am hoping that the CFPB CrossFitters in their 50s can connect more to help and encourage one another. We have unique challenges, so we need to stick together. I am more than happy to help anyone, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

For those of you who have not tried Crossfit, I would say this…Trust the system. It works. It’s very effective. All you need to do is show up, pay attention, and do your best. Don’t compare yourself to others. In fact, don’t even think about anyone else. Get into the zone. Concentrate on what you need to do. It’s hard work, but the results will come like magic.

I love the fact that CFPB is a family business. Andrew and Tony are outstanding leaders who attract high quality coaches who are also fantastic people!

I have been told that I am intense all of my life…My intensity is a double-edged sword…For me, my intensity is my “normal”. Unfortunately, it can be intimidating and off-putting to the people around me. When I am in the gym I get into my zone, and I am afraid folks might mis-interpret my intensity and focus as being unfriendly. The last thing I want is for people to think I am unfriendly, or worse, intimidating.  My hope is by being more open about who I am, the more comfortable people will be when they see me at the CFPB.

My wife Veronica and I are strong Christians. We believe we have been given this life for one purpose, to bring God glory in everything we do. My drive and motivation do not come from being insecure or drawing attention to myself. On the contrary, it’s about inspiring and helping others. I live by the motto, “you can’t give what you don’t have”…So the more educated, skilled, and experienced I am in everything I do, the better equipped I am to encourage and help others…

I am very thankful that my entire family puts a high priority in living a healthy lifestyle, and love having Veronica (pictured below), Jaclyn, Greg, (and hopefully my daughter Erin sometime soon) work out with me at Crossfit Palm Beach!