Michael Bailey, Personal Trainer and Certified Yoga Instructor, shares his wisdom and experience integrating yoga practice and resistance training
Interview by Brent Hruska
Brent: Where are you from and when did you get into personal training?
Michael: I’m from Lake City, Michigan. I got into personal training when I was 28 yrs old.
Brent: What is your story with becoming a personal trainer? How long have you been a trainer?
Michael: When I was younger I partied and drank a lot. One day, I woke up and had had enough. It was November 26th, 2004. I told myself that day I had enough and wasn’t going to drink anymore. I dove into working out and golf. I was reading everything and trying to figure out how to increase my gains as I lifted. After months of reading, trying multiple magazine recommendations and tons of sups, I needed help. Feeling that I was working and doing so much more then I needed I decided to seek the advice of a personal trainer. Caroline Richards was not only the owner but one of the trainers at Pine Grove Athletics in Cadillac, Michigan. I told her my wants, needs and what I was doing and she blatantly said, “that’s all wrong.” I asked her to help me and she said, “meet me here this Sunday at 10,” and I was like, “Ok.” She transformed me into something I’d never experienced and I LOVED IT!
I trained with her for a year and it was amazing. After two months, she asked if I would be interested in becoming a personal trainer because of my dedication. That intrigued me and thus my thinking continued. After thinking about this for a few years and seeing that I was a dead end job being a machinist and just being miserable, I decided to move to Seattle, Washington due to my sister and wanting a complete change. I quit my job of ten years and decided to chase my dream. My sister flew home and we traveled from Michigan to Washington in 34 hours with all of my belongings in the back of my Hemi. The first thing I did was find a gym to lift at… Federal Way LA Fitness. I eventually got a job there as a manager selling training but knew I needed more. After a few months, I met a female member and she introduced me to the District Manager of 24 Hour Fitness. A week later, I was working there. At that time, they put you through a certification program to work for them. I met one of my favorite coaches to this day there. His name is Amir Mofidi.
He was and still is an amazing person and trainer/coach. I cannot explain his intelligence. After I passed my certification, I moved onto helping others achieve the goals that my trainer Caroline Richards helped me attain. From there, I moved onto different 24’s, small studios and finally my own personal fitness/coaching business. It has its ups and downs, but I ABSOLUTELY TO THE CORE OF MY SOUL LOVE MY JOB. I hate to call it that because I don’t feel that it is. Yes, I have to know multiple complications and/or facts about peoples’ bodies but it’s so amazing what the body can do in just a few sessions. I’m by no means a great or the best trainer or coach out there but I TRULY care about everyone that I come in contact with. I want everyone I meet to feel my passion and know that I want to help make them the best individual that they can be.
Brent: Tell us about your journey into yoga. What made you decide to try yoga?
Michael: Yoga was never anything that I thought about or thought I’d do until I met the smartest man alive, Dr. Stephen Chan. From years of lifting heavy, my body was feeling the effects. After multiple visits he told me that if I didn’t do yoga or some mobility training that I’d need back surgery in my 50s. After finding a studio and deciding to try it out. My first class was with Mary Klug and she was absolutely amazing. I was hooked and wanted to do more and learn more about this yoga practice. I started doing only yoga and stopped lifting. My body, mind and self felt very solid but I was still wondering if I should still keep lifting. I’d say I didn’t lift weights for 6-10 months and kind of felt like I hit a plateau so I started lifting weights to compliment my yoga practice.
Brent: How has yoga benefited you lifting weights?
Michael: After getting my handstand in two months I was super stoked about getting better at any inversion that I could. I did okay without lifting for awhile but felt my body needed something more so I started programming my lifts for yoga. Once I started lifting to increase my inversion strength It was pretty amazing to see the actual change in my practice. It’s just tricky to make sure you don’t lift too much to create the tightness/inflexibility you’re trying to not encounter.
Brent: How has lifting weights benefited your yoga practice?
Michael: I hit a plateau in my inversions after awhile and decided to see if I could use weights to break the cycle. I thought about the postures and built a program with moves to help increase my inversion strength not knowing the outcome. After a couple of weeks I noticed a significant difference and continued to utilize it.
Brent: Should ALL yogis lift weights?
Michael: Honestly, I can’t say yes or no. In my personal experience and from the multiple yoga instructors that I have coached, I’d say that it is very beneficial but the workout program has to be applicable to them and what they are wanting to accomplish. For me, It’s a definite yes to get me to my best self.
Brent: What advice do you have for yogis who desire to begin lifting weights? What should they focus on? What should they be aware of?
Brent: What is your vision with personal training? What do you see yourself doing with this long term?
Michael: My vision with my personal training and coaching is that I make people happier and feel better about themselves. I don’t believe you have to be extremely lean and look like a model like the media says we should be or look like to be happy. Numbers don’t make us feel better our mindset and happiness does. “Movement is life, stagnation is death.” -Lenny Parracino
Brent: Is there anything else you’d like to share with all the yogis of the world?
Michael: Just be who you are. Don’t be told who you should be or what you should be. Anything and everything you have to offer will be received as long as you believe in it or practice it. Create your own way of teaching. Be open and create a great community of friends and family.
Brent: For yogis that want help with a lifting program how can they best contact you?