• Helen Harding

Michael Mills- Adaptive athlete

This is a story everyone should read. Sorry for the length but its all too humbling to leave any out!. Michael is a 43 year old masters adaptive athlete. He got hit head on by a drunk driver when he was 16 years old which left him a T12 Paraplegic. He went through a major open heart surgery (his aorta was severed), had a compound fracture of his left femur, a broken left shoulder and too many stitches for him to count.


Michael describes the day he became paralyzed as his ‘ALIVE DAY’. He doesn’t celebrate his actual birthday anymore - just the day he got the chance to live. He says that as bad as that day was it has moulded him into being a better human in the long run.

1) What happened after the accident and how long did it take to get you going again?

"After I woke up from my coma, 2 weeks later, my life started all over again. I was fortunate, I had youth on my side I was able to bounce back rather quickly. I was able to return to school that following 3-4 months later. Like I said, I had youth and a little stubbornness on my side"

2) When and why did you start CrossFit?

"I started CrossFit in May of 2015. My very first CrossFit workout was “MURPH!” Yeah, “MURPH!” Before, I was a competitive wheelchair track and road racer. I had traveled all over the world racing but had grown tired of the travel and constant training. It was too much to do with a family. CrossFit was something I could do and keep my fitness going. I had no plans on being competitive but as an athlete in other competitive sports, it was natural that I get back into it"

3) Did you do anything physical before Crosst?

"Prior to CrossFit, I was a competitive wheelchair track and road racer. I also was the first ever Paralyzed person to compete in Spartan Races (obstacle course racing) and helped build an adaptive community in the OCR world"

4) how often do you train?

"Typically 6 days a week with a minimum of one training session a day. Most days, I put in two to three sessions"

3) Did you do anything physical before CrossFit?

"For me, “TRAINING HARD” is when you leave it all out on the table for the world to see. Meaning: when you finish your workout, if you have trouble breathing, wanting to lose your lunch and or unable to pick yourself up off the floor when you are done… Well, then you have “Laid it All Out On The Table!” As you see, my name on INSTAGRAM is… “Chasing Michael Mills.” I feel like I have to be chasing some sort of goal on a daily basis. If I am not going after something, I feel EMPTY!"

6) What is a typical day for you? How does it look from when you get up to going to bed?

"I typically wake up around 5:30 AM to start my day. Of course, I make coffee before I wake up my little one (he is 6). Coffee helps me cope, lol!! I get him up and moving for school and then we are off to start our day. I drop him off at school, then I drive into my office for a normal 8 hour day. After work, I usually go home, pick up my son and wait for the better half to get home. I hit my first workout around 4:30pm. It is usually a little Rower or SkIErg Workout in the garage gym. Then, it is homework time. We finish homework, grab a FitAID and then it is off to CrossFit Ransom. I then hit a workout or two there and then head back home afterwards. Get home, help with dinner and then prep little man for bath and bed. Once he is back to bed, I hit one last workout on the SKiErg before bed. Right before bed, I load the program for the Mayhem Adaptive Program for the next day for the Adaptive Athletes following the program. I have been working with Rich Froning and the Mayhem crew since March with the Mayhem Adaptive Program"

7) what's your favourite workout?

"I love workouts that take you into dark places. I love long grinding workouts. My favorite would be a 5 Rounds for Time. 1000 Meter Ski and 500 Mute Sports Equipment Split Ropes (google these- hard work!)"

8) what are your goals and plans for the next 1-2 years with CrossFit and life?

"Hopefully back to Miami again for the 2020 Wodapalooza Adaptive Seated Division. I have started a fund that raises money for people that are newly into Adaptive CrossFit that cannot afford to purchase sports chairs on their own. This fund is something I am very passionate about and I want to be able to help people experience the joy of Adaptive CrossFit as I have. You can learn more about it through Instgram at @SportsChairInitiative"

9) Name 3 things people may not know about you?

"HHHMNNN!!!! Let’s see!!!"

1.) Chick Fila BBQ Sauce is my Favorite BBQ Sauce EVER!!! I would drink that stuff lol.. Oh and a Number 3 From Chick Fila, 12 count with Fries and a half/half sweet and unsweet tea.

2.) When I travel, I love dropping in at a CrossFit box, getting a workout in and also picking up a shirt. I love collecting t-shirts.

3.) My favorite brand of clothing is REEBOK. I will not mix match brands. For example: Reebok Shoes, Nike Sock. I hate that. I am a tried and true Reebok fan. I would love to own each colour of the new Nano 9. I cannot walk and would never wear them out! LOL!!!!