Our Male Athlete of the Month for July is Michael Pugsley! Mike is hitting his 300th class as we speak, which is pretty darn good in only 14 months. What started as a BeachFit 15 Membership in June of last year, went to BeachFit Unlimited by October, and switched over to CrossFit this March. Now it’s hard to find a day Mike isn’t at CrossFit or BeachFit. He’s also gotten his wife Carrie and brother Jason into BeachFit, and his nephew is currently doing CrossFit kids. It was hard for his family to not join after seeing the results Mike had. He lost 30 pounds and cut over 7% off his body fat %. Mike has a great attitude in every class he’s in and shares some great perspective and advice in his answers below. Thank you Mike for truly creating a great experience for all who take class with you. We are grateful to have you in our CFPB fam!
What do you like to do outside the gym?
Outside the gym we spend as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors. Whether it is sitting by the pool, dog beach, on the boat, or fishing. I grew up in south Florida and moved during college to Wisconsin and ended up there 20 years so I learned a great appreciation for being able to be outside the house as much as possible. 45 below zero is no joke!
You seemed like a man on a mission even from the first day you started BeachFit…did you have specific goals in mind when you started?
In September 2015, I completely ruptured my achilles tendon playing soccer with my son’s high school team requiring surgery and a very long recovery including a non-weight bearing period of 8 weeks. Up to that point I was 166 lbs and in ok shape by doing video programs like T25, running, and haphazardly getting “swole” in front of the mirror at the local globo gym. My surgical rehab went very well and I was able to run a 4 mile race about ten months postoperative but never really got back into a consistent rhythm. Things got worse when we moved back to Tequesta and I started working from home and became stagnant ultimately tipping the scale at 199.9 lbs the morning of my first BeachFit class.
When I walked into BeachFit for the try it free session I really did not have a specific goal other than to just do something to improve my health and lose a few pounds. Day one I was convinced that Coach Melissa enjoyed watching people in pain as much as she enjoys coaching the class. As it turned out I was just in denial of how poor my health had degraded. There were several trips to the water fountain, crouching in the corner, long stares at the slam ball, and high stake negotiations with “pukie” the clown, My mind said yes but my body told me to get out of here! I think Melissa recognized some spark of potential, convinced me to sign up for a 15-class membership, and proceeded to push me harder each class after that. I really appreciate her for doing that.
Your progression has been one of the fastest we have ever seen at CFPB. Were you always an athlete or have an athletic background or some sort?
Growing up with two brothers our mother would literally lock us out of the house and away from video games and TV. We were always playing some sort of pickup game, swinging in the trees, jumping bikes, typical 80’s kids stuff. Some kids growing up lock into one organized sport and stick with it. That was not my style which is probably why CrossFit is a good fit for me. I played youth soccer, swam competitively, and wrestled in high school.
You convinced your brother and your wife to join our BeachFit program. Can you talk about what it is like to workout with your family? Do you have any advice for people who might be trying to talk family members into joining them?
Well Carrie had signed up for Orange Theory about a month before I joined CFPB. The idea was that since it was a chain it would be better for her visits to other cities. She quickly realized that they only had a limited amount of movements and lacked variety. I tried to convince her to move to BeachFit to solve this problem. During the OPEN in March, she started coming to the Friday Night Bar Fights and realized there was a really cool community vibe and a place for people at all levels, and decided to give it a go. I am really proud of how much improvement Carrie has made on movements she would have never attempted before. I often do BeachFit with her after CrossFit if it is a partner workout because we really love the opportunity to tackle the challenge together!
I am fairly certain my brother only signed up because he got sick of hearing about, “Uncle Mike’s six-pack” from his boys at our weekly pool parties. All joking aside, we are cut a bit from the same cloth so I knew he would really enjoy the programming and variety of exercise. I never really pushed him hard on joining but did share how much fun it was and the health improvements I was seeing. We spend a lot of time together because he lives across the street so I am really happy to see him start to take better care of himself. He is without a doubt the best athlete in our family so I am glad I got a head start in CrossFit as I am sure he will make it there before the year is over. This past Sunday we did a partner workout which included some great teamwork and many laughs.
What are some of your future fitness goals?
I think setting goals are important and should be varied. CrossFit has so many movements to master and something new is always being cooked up. Lately, I have been trying to set a monthly goal to tackle. For example, I had “Muscle-up May” where I wanted to get my first muscle-up. It took me within the last three days of May, but with some perseverance and some impromptu help from Coach Austin it was successful. For June I had a goal of “Jump Rope June” with the goal to improve and be able to execute 20 dubs unbroken. I did not succeed despite work at home trying to improve so it is now “Jump Rope July”. Good thing there are two “J” months in a row!
My yearly goal is to get outside of my comfort zone and enter a scaled competition somewhere outside of CFPB. I really had fun doing the Wahine Warriors team event and look forward to the Deadly Duo this month but competing in an unfamiliar environment and against people from other boxes should amplify the challenge.
What has been your most memorable workout or moment at CFPB?
My very first CrossFit workout ever was 19.3 Rx so that will always be memorable. But one that really sticks out in my mind was the BeachFit “Austin” workout. It was a 16 minute EMOM of 20- 20# wall Balls, 12 burpees to target, Max Row calories, and rest. It looked easy on the surface but turned legs to jelly and lit lungs on fire!! I remember Austin personally apologizing to many people the next day. (Side note: This just happens to be tomorrow’s 7-19-19 BeachFit workout.)
What is the most worthwhile investment you have made since starting at our gym?
Participating in the January nutritional challenge proved to be a good investment. I was skeptical that Coach Danielle’s macro voodoo would really work. She got me eating far more carbs and more calories than I had been in the past, and I was convinced that I would come out of the challenge looking more BeachBall than BeachFit but the opposite occurred. The biggest impact beyond a body fat reduction was the boost in performance that showed up in my workouts where I was consistently hitting a wall at the 3/4 point in my workouts.
What do you love most about CrossFit Palm Beach?
What is not to love? Great Coaches, the People, the Facility! I have been making it a habit to drop in at affiliates when traveling and have yet to find this trifecta elsewhere. It really makes you appreciate how lucky we are to have this perfect mix.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out today?
1. The days you see a WOD with movements you HATE are the most important classes to attend. Never miss these days!
2. Focus on the fundamentals, not the weight! Check the ego and stay in your lane. Ain’t no shame in the scaled game!
3. Learn to Pace. Learn to Pace. Learn to Pace. And when you figure that out…Learn to Pace. It will make you faster over the entire workout.
4. Use SugarWOD to track YOUR progress. Never cheat reps, movements, or weight! If you selected “Fitness” weight or scaled some movement always enter it as scaled with notes. No one likes to watch someone else finish the workout only to see some bogus entry in SugarWOD. Just don’t be “that” person and your peers will respect you more for your honest hard work. 🙂
Pictured below: Mike giving a high five to our other July Athlete of the Month Sam Kirby after a fun 530am MURPH Hero WOD.