Hi,I’m Michael Haskett
I’m 46 years old and I’m in the best shape of my life. But it wasn’t always like this . . . . .
I remember when I was in the 3rd grade and we were doing some kind of pledge-a-thon where we were asking people to donate money for every mile that we ran. I didn’t get very many people signed up and I had never really run anything before except just playing around with my friends, but mostly we rode our bikes.
This was in a big school in California so there were a lot of kids. We all took off from the start and started running. Most kids ran a lap or two and quit. Some ran for a while longer.
I don’t really remember how far or how long I ran that day – seems like it was the entire day…….
……but I ran until they told me I had to stop because it was over – and I had been the only kid running for a long, long time.
I remember feeling like I could have run forever – I don’t even remember feeling tired. Man, I wish I could do that now!
One thing that did was set an idea into my mind that I could run longer than anyone else – I established myself as an endurance athlete that day.
I didn’t run again until Jr. High School
I was a really scrawny little runt in Jr. High and I ran the mile and did the long jump. This was in a small school in Western Kansas – where I spent most of my youth. I was decent at the long jump but my place was in the 1 mile run. I wasn’t especially fast or anything but a 5:28 mile got me either a 1st or a 3rd place at every track meet in our district – I never got 2nd. My main competition was Ken Stuthman, a classmate of mine who was over 6′ tall compared to me at just over 5′. We always pushed each other pretty hard.
I started running cross country my freshman year in high school. That didn’t last long though, I’ve always been really hardheaded and independent, and when my coach told me I couldn’t run at a meet because I was recovering from a cold – I quit. That was really stupid – please don’t be like that. That’s the kind of attitude that held me back in life for quite a while. I didn’t run again until 2013 – 27 years later.
I weighed in at about 120 lbs. when I started my freshman year and started hitting the weights. Same coach, different sport. Coach Crable was an excellent coach and was definitely one of the biggest influences on my formative years. I instantly fell in love with the iron and made rapids gains under the guidance of Coach Crable. It was about this time that I also hit a growth spurt – I shot up to 155 lbs. and 5’6″. I was built – it was a serious transformation! I started the year bench pressing 120 lbs and finished the year by benching 300.
I was balanced strong as well – able to deadlift and squat heavy also.
I was seriously getting into weight training and wanted to start competing. Then my dad got a job in a new town and I ended up moving to a new school in my junior year. It was another small school – in the same district – and they had heard rumors about me. The principal and the football coach had high hopes for me to join the football team. They really put the pressure on me to play football. I told them I wasn’t interested.
Their reaction was to ban me from the weight room – they said it was only for athletes.
I had some great teachers and role models at the school I was at previously, and there were a few good ones here as well, but this burned a line deep into my psyche and kindled a fire and fueled a hatred of authority inside of me that lasted for literally decades. I was already a rebel, fiercely independent, and stubborn as they come and this, I believe, played a huge role into launching me into full rebellion – much of which didn’t manifest until after graduation.
I had begun playing the bass guitar in my sophomore year of high school and turned all of my energy into developing my skills as a musician – I studied and played almost every waking hour.
I decided I was going to be a rock star.
That was a not a very healthy decision for my life. I started playing in bar bands soon after graduating from high school and got heavily involved in the party scene.
No time to workout now – it was all sex, drugs, booze and rock ‘n’ roll. At times I was smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. This went on for about 12 years. Often times I would fantasize about living in the mountains and snowboarding and rock climbing.
I moved to Colorado in the fall of ’98 after finishing a road tour.
I fell in love with the mountains.
I learned how to snowboard and started backpacking and camping out at high mountain lakes. I was still smoking and drinking but the endurance athlete in me was beginning to come alive again. I dreamed of rock climbing every day but had no idea how to do it. I finally met a rock climber through a work connection as a carpenter in 2002.I also had taken up whitewater canoeing about the same time.
I was hooked from the first climb and it became a passion. I lived and worked to climb or go boating and everything I did was to fund the expansion of my gear and go rock climbing or running whitewater.
I was also into mountaineering, these all started at about the same time. I lived in Basalt, CO, in the Roaring Fork Valley just a few miles from Aspen. My first 14’ers were some of the most difficult in Colorado – Pyramid Peak and the North and South Maroon Bells. Must have been 2003 or 2004 that I helped a friend guide a small group of hikers to the summits of the most difficult 14’ers in CO. They were on a quest to summit all of the 14’ers in Colorado and felt they needed help on the more technical peaks. I was still smoking about a pack a day but I was always able to easily stay ahead of these advanced hikers and was always in the lead to get the best photo ops so I could sell them pictures of their climb as the photographer.
I eventually got in to ice climbing and alpinism was the natural evolution. I climbed in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming, the Northern Cascades in Washington, the Cordillera Blanca in Peru, and the Andes in Argentina.
Even though I was a smoker I was a complete beast in the mountains. I actually started feeling better at 13,000 feet – I called that my “Superman” elevation, as I always felt a surge of energy flow into me around 13,00 feet.
I learned how to fuel my body to sustain huge workloads over extended periods of time. I learned how to move fast and light and trained my body to do massive single push efforts in 14-20 hours.
I was starting to become a good rock climber as well – beginning to feel comfortable leading 5.11 trad routes at Indian Creek, Utah.
This all came to an abrupt halt in the fall of 2009. All my carpenter work ran out after the market crash of 2008 and I suddenly found myself completely broke and struggling just to get by. I went from making $45/hr to just surviving at $15/hr – which is nearly impossible in the Roaring Fork Valley. I was unable to continue to pursue the activities that I loved so much and my health started going downhill, too.
Before long, I was 25 lbs overweight with a pony keg instead of a 6 pack.
I looked and felt like crap.
August of 2012 I decided it was time to make some changes. I was tired of looking and feeling this way – even though I was a smoker I had always managed to stay in pretty good shape. I had been very active through snowboarding, rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, whitewater canoeing, working as a carpenter and other outdoor activities. I wanted to regain the energy, vitality, and looks I had just a couple years before. I couldn’t believe how far I had let myself go.
I ordered the Insanity home workout program off the internet and committed to sticking to the program – No Matter What.
I thought I was going to die on the first day – just in the warmup. I stuck it out, though, determined to follow through on my commitment to finish the program.
I was absolutely amazed when I saw results by the end of the first week!
I was already getting some muscle tone and my belly was getting smaller. That was enough motivation for me to dig deep and keep pushing through.
After finishing that program my confidence had increased dramatically and it was amazing to feel and look so good in such a short time. My life was changed.
My life was changed again just a few months later when I saw an ad for a Spartan Race.
I would have never been interested in a 5k or 10k running event, but this was different. I checked out the Spartan Race videos on YouTube and was drawn to the obstacles in the course like a moth to the flame. It wasn’t rock or ice climbing but the obstacles looked cool!
Initially, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle the running aspect of the race, it had been 27 years since I had run, and the race was less than two weeks away so I wouldn’t have much time to prepare myself by running. I was just finishing round two of Insanity, and I was more committed to it than I was to running so I actually only made it out for three short runs before the race.
Even though I wasn’t a runner I had the confidence to conquer any obstacles and I felt like my cardio was better than it had ever been so I set my goal to make it into the top 10%
I placed 4th in my age group 51st overall out of nearly 5,000 people. That put me in the top 1.5%!
I was completely blown away! I decided to get serious and start training with some bigger goals so I bought an Elite Pass and set my goal to be in the Spartan Elite 300. I immediately made the mental shift that I was an elite athlete. Elite athletes don’t smoke so I threw away a near full pack of American Spirits – I’ve never even had a craving for one since. It was just like flipping a switch in my head.
I have come a long way in my journey since my first race in May of 2013. I’ve made some mistakes in training that have set me back, but I’ve also learned a lot in the process. I’m not the fastest and I’m not the best – but I am definitely kickin’ some major butt for a mid-40’s year old that abused his body for over 20 years.
In the process of my new journey I became an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, a Certified Spartan SGX Coach, an Insanity PRO Team Instructor. I recently finished the
Underground Strength Certifiction and also became a Certified FitRanX Instructor.
I study my craft every day and apply and test what I learn in order to be the best that I can be and to help others become the best they can be.
I finished 2016 with a couple more certifications by becoming a Pursuit Coach, a Battling Ropes Coach, and a BioForce Certified Conditioning Coach. I am currently working on the ACE Functional Training Specialist Certification.
I will always be a student – I am always learning.
I coach beginner to elite Spartan athletes, through online coaching and at my Spartan Coaching Facility – Warrior Underground SGX.
It’s definitely not easy, but easy won’t get you the finish line at a Spartan Race at the highest level of success possible for you either.
The photo below was taken in June, 2014 – claiming the coveted Trifecta at the Salt Lake City Beast.
I placed 60th in Men’s Elite, 3rd in my age group. It’s not my best race, but it’s not my worst either. As you can see, I’ve come a long way in my fitness journey in the last couple of years.
My best finish was 6th Place, Men’s Elite at the 2013 Hawaii Spartan Sprint.
Only a handful of people in the world can claim a 6th place Elite finish at a Spartan Race.
It’s even a smaller group to claim a podium finish. One of my goals is to have a Top 3 finish, I don’t know if that is achievable or not, but I do know that I have not reached my fullest potential and I get stronger and faster every day.
(Update: Now there is an Elite Masters division I am confident that this year I will be on the podium!)
Spartan Race 2015 was not a good year for me – I injured my achilles while rock climbing and just limped through the year to get a trifecta.
Enter Spartan Race 2016
My goal this year is to help multiple athletes get to the podium in the Elite or Competitive heats as well as to help as many people as possible to get in the best shape of their life and finish their 1st Spartan Race.
One thing is for sure – there are many workouts that don’t deliver on their promises and leave you dazed and confused, stuck at a plateau going nowhere except frustrated and depressed and ready to throw in the towel or just plain confused about what you’re supposed to be doing.
If you’re willing to put in the effort I can help you transform your body and mind to get the results you are looking for to dominate on race day. You’ve gotta be all in, though. It’s a 10 or nothing – a 9 is really just a 1 in disguise. Without the commitment to see it through to the end you won’t make it.
That’s why you need a coach.
As your coach I will inspire and motivate you on your journey to attain the greatest holistic fitness you desire. I will empower you with the tools and encouragement to transform your body and your life through a comprehensive approach to health, fitness, and nutrition.
You are amazing and you have potential far beyond what you probably think or can even imagine.
Your inner warrior is waiting to be unleashed.
I’m here to show you the door to radical personal transformation. Are you ready to walk through it?
Make The Decision
The first step is making the decision to change your life and become the best version of yourself possible. We have the tools to help you reach your highest potential – but you’re the one who has to pick them up and use them.
Change is painful so you’re gonna have to be committed to the outcome or you’ll fall off the path quickly. You will be in a constant battle with your mind and your body telling you to give up, that it’s too hard, that you don’t have what it takes, and that it’s not worth it. The pain you’ll be feeling during these trying times is just weakness leaving your body, and knowing why you’re doing this will give you the focus and determination to see it through.