Congratulations to Michael O’Riordan, our member of the month for January!
Michael has been a member of Momentum for nearly two years and has become fully emerged in our community.
Michael moved to Hamilton six years ago, and his adventurous spirit led him to pick a neighbourhood at random. After conveniently landing in the Locke Street neighbourhood, he eventually became involved in a running group that runs out of Democracy on Locke. Of course, Michael quickly fell in love with the trails in Hamilton, and soon felt at home in his new city. “I was amazed at how green the city was! The impressions of the steel factories that everyone gets of Hamilton couldn’t be further from the truth.”
A Runner’s Tale
Since the age of 20, Michael has been an avid runner, blazing through the trails and competing in races. Michael first met Coach Cole through the running community and knew him as the go-to trainer for running in Hamilton. For this reason, Michael recently joined our Run Club as he trains for the Around the Bay Marathon in March, followed by a fast race in the fall. With Michael’s involvement in multiple run groups, he hopes to eventually merge these communities together. That mission is a true testament to Michael’s personality. He loves community collaboration and fostering new relationships. If you know him, you can attest to the fact that he truly is one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
As a journalist for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, he sees hundreds of studies and he often covers heart-related stories. That alone would be enough to motivate someone to stay physically active, and it’s certainly one of the many reasons that Michael chooses to exercise. However, his primary motivation to come to the gym is to improve his strength and prevent injury. But of course, this runner finds extra bonuses from his workouts. “There are a lot of people who are big believers in getting stronger to run faster, so that’s the goal.”
“I’ve always belonged to a gym, but never really got anywhere with it. I always assumed I knew what I was doing. I joined a big-box gym when I moved to Hamilton, but I wasn’t really getting much out of it. Over the last couple years when I was getting injured running, I figured that I had to get stronger. I joined Momentum with the intention of working with someone and actually getting physically stronger. I’ve always been a runner, but I didn’t have any strength, so I needed help in that regard. I wanted to learn how to squat and to deadlift, and I wanted to learn how to do things properly.”
Barriers to Exercise
Like so many runners, Michael has become prone to injury, over the years. He’s been dealing with stress fractures, calf tightness, and ankle mobility, just to name a few. In order to prevent injury, he trains at least twice a week with Coach Cole. This provides him with accountability that he wouldn’t otherwise have on his own. “I didn’t sleep well on Wednesday, so I wanted to blow off my workout – and I would have. I would have just turned the alarm clock off if I didn’t have to meet someone here. But I can’t leave Cole hanging. If he came, I have to come.” Of course, that kind of accountability is huge.
Big Gains – Literally!
Michael was in sheer awe as he reflected on the ‘numbers’ of it all. He’s now squatting 140 lbs and deadlifting 190 lbs. “It’s amazing! We started at nothing, with just barbells and movements. We started by saying, ‘Okay, what’s 90 degrees when I squat?’ I had to learn all those things from the beginning.”
Currently, Michael is working towards a goal of running his next marathon in less than three hours. He’d also like to run a half marathon in under an hour and twenty minutes, and ultimately, he’d like to be injury-free in 2018.
When we asked Michael if he had any advice for new members or for someone who has never joined a gym before, he said, “join a smaller community-minded Gyms in Hamilton like Momentum. At the big-box gym, you can get lost in the crowd. There’s no accountability there, and it’s hard to get to know people. In small gyms, you can become a part of a community, you’ll get to know the trainers, they’ll all know you, and they’ll put back into their community. I like businesses that are putting back into Hamilton.”
Rarely do people come to the gym expecting the empowerment they find through increased strength, but that’s exactly what Michael found. He’s committed, motivated, and has set himself up for success by hiring a Coach who can educate him and keep him accountable. Through his extremely hard work, Michael is showing major improvements in both his strength training and running. We couldn’t congratulate him enough!
Thank you, Michael, for sharing your story with us, and congratulations again on being named our member of the month!