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Inspiration Story: Mike Lee
The motivation to hit the gym and live a healthy lifestyle comes in various forms, with none more moving than mortality.
This was the situation Mike Lee found himself in eight years ago. He had just lost his 52-year-old father due to complications from Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Lee was dealing with asthma and recovering from a knee injury, and at 5-foot-10, 232 pounds, he was stunned when a health check-up determined that he was pre-diabetic.
“I was the out-of-shape, overweight guy with a 40-inch waist sitting on the couch playing PlayStation,” Lee said. “I came to realize that I was heading down the same path as my father.”
The Army veteran decided he needed to take action to reverse the course he found himself on. A job opportunity took him to Denver, and for the first time in his life he joined a gym. Soon after, Lee discovered that the combination of weight training, daily cardio work, and a healthy diet would be the key to turn his life around.
Lee took to running while serving his four years in the Army. He was a lean 180 pounds at that time, so he knew he wanted to incorporate running into his workouts. He went on to lose 40 pounds over a 10-month period, but when it comes to transforming his body, Lee was only beginning.
Today, he’s a champion bodybuilder with titles that include the 2017 Musclemania Model Universe Championship. And while he continues to work as a video engineer for Charter Communications, Lee also is an ISSA certified strength and conditioning coach who operates his own online fitness business, Iron Fit Life.
It’s all due to Lee’s decision to put his health and fitness above everything else. “Working out for me is like waking up and eating breakfast,” he said. “It’s part of my daily life.”
While fitness trainers have long used before-and-after photos to promote their business, Lee does so with an eye-opening twist — the photos are of himself. The comparison is nothing short of stunning. Lee put together a YouTube video chronicling the transformation, and it has over 500,000 views.
He is now a fitness model assigned to an agency, which led to him landing a small role in the 2016 Lifetime movie “Heaven Sent,” which was directed by Michael Landon Jr.
Lee opened Iron Fit Life in 2015. He decided to turn his advice on how lose weight and add muscle into a business offering weight loss coaching programs, physique contest prep, and more. Lee also has an e-book titled “Five Fit Rules” and offers a free workout book called “G.Y.M. (Grow Your Muscles)”.
Lee obtained an ISSA certification in Strength and Fitness in March. “I believe that if you are in the fitness industry you should be certified,” Lee said. “You are changing people's lives in a special way, so why not have some credentials behind it? ISSA has been more than helpful in giving me the fundamentals of what it takes to be a successful strength and conditioning coach.”
Musclemania holds its world championships every November in Las Vegas at an event called Fitness America. Lee has begun the process of manipulating his diet and workouts as he gets ready to try to defend his title. Along with continuing to compete, Lee has set a goal of becoming one of the country’s top online fitness consultants. He’d also like to appear in more movies while becoming a “trainer to the stars.”
“I want to be an inspiration for millions of people around the world,” Lee said.
As indicated by his YouTube video, Lee is well on his way.