Congratulations to MIKE SHARPE, our October 2021 Athlete of the Month!
In 2019 Mike lost his amazing wife, Shannon to cancer. CrossFit became an unexpected source of healing for him. It gave him an hour a day to shut off his brain and just find some rest and peace amidst his grief.
Mike has been a family friend of ours for years now and we’re 100% willing to bet that he never thought he’d be a CrossFitter! He already had a rigorous fitness routine that he kept up with at the firehouse. So he didn’t necessarily come to Blackbird to get in shape or build strength. We invited Mike and his oldest son Nathan to give them a healthy outlet, a break from the daily grief they were sitting in. Over the past 8 years, we have seen many members use the gym as a means to heal, process, and move past difficult times in their life. And here we are almost two years later and Mike is still going strong at Blackbird.
The cool thing about “Sharpie” is that he remains incredibly coachable. He quickly translates feedback into results. He enjoys the process of learning new gymnastics skills and Olympic Lifting. He’s nailing bar muscle ups in long workouts, throwing up heavy weights in his clean and snatch, and just loving the grind.
He’s a dedicated and loving dad, a helluva firefighter and leader, and an incredible athlete. We are proud to call Sharpie a Blackbird! Check out his story…
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
Mike Sharpe, I am 42 years old. I have three boys. My oldest son Nathan is 16 and I have twins, Landon and Lucas, who are 11 years old. I am a Captain in the Howard County Fire Department and have worked there for 23 years. My boys and I enjoy camping, boating, hunting, fishing and pretty much everything outdoors.
WHAT MADE YOU START CROSSFIT? WHAT HAS KEPT YOU DOING IT?
I started CrossFit in 2019 shortly after my wife Shannon passed away from Melanoma. I was urged by Matt and Rebekah to give it try and I instantly found it to be a healthy distraction from all the stress I was feeling at the time. The gym has become a place for me to forget about everything else that is going on and focus on me for at least one solid hour each day. It has since become not just part of my “routine” but something I look forward to doing.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SINCE JOINING BLACKBIRD CROSSFIT?
Olympic lifting was new to me when I joined Blackbird. Each of the coaches have helped me in one way or another learn the correct form for different lifts which for me has translated to improved numbers and preventing injury. I often find myself using some of these “form” tips when doing my job, as well as everyday chores. Things like taking heavy tools and equipment off the firetruck, dragging fire hoses, carrying ladders or just carrying stuff up and down the steps at home.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BLACKBIRD?
Blackbird is truly a community. I have met plenty of new people and made some new friends. I have never felt intimidated or scared to try something I might fail at here. Everyone, coaches and members, has been supportive and encouraging.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST CROSSFIT MOMENT?
I can’t think of one specific “proudest moment” but I have had plenty of small successes over the last couple of years that I am proud of. Being able to string together larger numbers of double unders, toes 2 bar, pull ups and hitting PR’s on lifts like squat cleans or snatches are definitely proud moments.
WHAT IMPACT HAS CROSSFIT HAD ON YOUR LIFE IN AND OUT OF THE GYM?
CrossFit has provided a healthy form of stress relief for me during the hardest time of my life. I feel and sleep better since I started CrossFit. I’ve had a lot less aches and pains since I started CrossFit….though there is no shortage of sore muscles.
WHAT CROSSFIT GOALS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING TOWARDS?
My goal with CrossFit is improving my efficiency. Being able to complete longer WOD’s without rest breaks. Finding the right pace for me and then working to improve that pace. This is of course a long-term goal.
FAVORITE LIFT, MOVEMENT, OR WOD? LEAST FAVORITE?
My favorite lift is the Snatch because of its difficulty and technicality. It’s rewarding when you can get all the parts of this lift to sync and it feels smooth. My least favorite is anything involving running.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT CROSSFITTING WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO?
By far my favorite thing to do is watch my kids compete in sports. My sons Nathan and Lucas play lacrosse and Landon plays soccer. Watching them play, helping them learn and seeing them have fun and succeed is extremely fulfilling.
WHAT IS ONE TIP YOU WOULD GIVE SOMEONE CONSIDERING CROSSFIT OR NEW TO CROSSFIT?
Don’t expect improvements every day. You’ll have good days and bad days in the gym. And you’ll probably have some days that really make you mad. Stick with it, truly push yourself and be satisfied with the fact that you showed up and did it.
WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HAS IT CHANGED SINCE STARTING CROSSFIT?
That’s certainly an area for improvement. I like food. I like beer. One of my goals is to be able to modify my diet so that I can reach peak performance.
RESULTS? TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESULTS!
I haven’t kept track of metrics like body weight, muscle mass or body fat. Those weren’t part of my goals when starting CrossFit. Physically I feel better than I ever have. My numbers on all lifts have trended upwards since I started, and my times have gone down on the WOD’s I have done more than once. That’s enough for me.