Athlete Profile #8 - No Black Sheep

By Kristin Steinmetz

When Mike Sagues first walked into CrossFit TreeHouse, he was so excited to be here! He had been doing some CrossFit workouts on his own,so he knew what he was in for. But those first couple of weeks kicked his butt - he had trouble running, he couldn't climb the rope and, like most beginners, he struggled with the Olympic lifts.  Not to mention the fact that he suffers from a painful, chronic case of arthritis. But we could see that he was motivated and determined.  He came in, day after day, with a smile on his face and a fire in his gut, ready to attack each workout.

Fast forward to a couple months later - he enters his first competition: a friendly throwdown with our neighbors at CrossFit Veracity.  He pushes right past new movements and winds up in the top 3 after 2 WODs.  He ended up taking 3rd place RX in his first competition after considering signing up for scaled. I can't wait to see how he performs in his first Open this year!

"I'm a father of two beautiful kids and a husband in the making. My 8 year old son Jayden and my 5 year old daughter Jayda is what keeps me going. I'm the middle child of 3 boys, and I also have three older sisters. It's like the Spanish Brady Bunch, except from the hood. I never played sports as a child, but I was always physically active and strong for my size growing up. I started working out at local gyms about nine years ago. All I ever wanted to do is get out of my weight class, which was 170lbs. After a few years of working out I finally hit the 215 mark that I was looking for. I never did back squats or deadlifts because I was afraid I would hurt myself . I had to stop working out because I hurt my shoulder hitting a bench press PR of 345lbs. After that I gave up the gym for two years. 

I'm 32 years old with the body aches of a 60-year-old - well, at least I think so. I've always suffered with lower back pains that would keep me from working out. I spent more time going to the doctor and taking a lot of pain medication. About 1 1/2 years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare case of arthritis. I had it since my early teens, but no one could figure out what my problem was for so many years. My doctor told me to start exercising, move around and be more mobile so the scar tissue wouldn't fuse my joints together. So after months of physical therapy and tons of medication, I slowly began to feel more flexible. I was told to join yoga class but I thought that was a joke and would never have the patience for that. So months went by and a good friend of mine told me he was at a CrossFit gym. I started to do some research on it. I figured if he can do it so can I. 

I decided to contact Jason one day and went in for the "Free Trial" class. When that workout was over I knew my stamina was down the drain and that this was exactly what I was looking for to build up strength that I didn't have and the endurance I needed. When I tried to sign up, I was told that the classes were full and that I would have to wait four weeks for another roots class to start. I was a little disappointed so I went to another local gym - I didn't just want to sit on my ass. But I had no plan, no program. Then after 3 days I got a call saying a spot became available. The next day, I started my first beginner's class and I knew I was at the right place with the one-on-one attention and all the other athletes greeting you with open arms. Everyone tries to help and support you, always pushing you on your last sets and reps. After that first week I knew I would be doing CrossFit for a very long time. I love the fact you can come in and have a good conversation with anyone because you're all in there for the same reason. You push and motivate each other and even though you're dead at the end of your WOD, you're still smiling. We're learning the correct way to stretch and the importance of right form and technique. 

I've been consistently attending six days a week, leaving Saturday as my rest day. I've been coming on open gym Sundays just to work on technique and building better relationships with my new friends that I don't get to see in the evening classes. I've noticed slowly I've gotten stronger and my stamina has improved. I did a Throwdown with another box in the beginning of January. It was funny because I didn't think I was ready for RX so I wanted to enter as scaled. I was told by my coach to do the RX and give it a try. I was surprised to finish in 3rd place in the men's RX! After that I knew I was hooked to CrossFit. You have to watch out - CrossFit is addictive. My wife joined as well, which I'm very happy she finally got off the couch. I guess she got tired of hearing all my stories at night. I'm trying to build a beast family with the kids. 

Thanks again CrossFit TreeHouse for everything you've showed me and my family. The CrossFit community is my second family. I will continue to do CrossFit and try to do more throwdowns and competitions. CFTH is my stomping ground."

He is an inspiration to me personally, and I'm sure to many other athletes, including his wife, Diana, who is quickly becoming a beast in her own right.  He sets goals, works hard, is definitely seeing results after a short couple of months. And, just as important in our community, he does so while motiviating and supporting those around him. 

He once described himself to me as a "black sheep" - but there are few CFTH athletes that fit in better to our family tree.

 Mike competing in a 3 rep max back squat at his first competition.

Mike competing in a 3 rep max back squat at his first competition.