Michael Wittig transitioned from the life of a touring musician to that of a family man who wanted to set an example to his children. This is how he found a new career, passion and physique.
• Age: 32
• Height: 6’2”
• Weight: 175lb
• Body fat: 15%
• Age: 42
• Weight: 180lb
• Body fat: 4%
I have loved fitness since I was 15. I originally started because I was over 6 foot tall and weighed only 135lbs making me a very self-conscious and embarrassed youth. As I got older and my music career started to take off, I would cycle through periods of exercising and then letting work consume me. During the times I immersed myself in my career I would only sleep a few hours and eat maybe twice a day. When I did work out I didn’t have a clear understanding of nutrition and would solely focus on eating a lot just to build muscle which always resulted in a higher body fat percentage often times up to 20% pushing my weight up to 230lbs.
About nine years ago I hit a very low point in my life. My mother passed away and I was having problems with family, work, and my health. You can say I hit rock bottom. With the support from my family and close friends I realized there is always hope even when it felt hopeless. Part of rebuilding my life was getting my health under control. Control the things you can, like your health, and allow the situations you cannot control be learning experiences to grow. I stopped touring around this time for good, got my first ‘normal’ day job since college, and started hitting the gym in my down time. The old fire from my younger years was lit and I realized how much I enjoyed fitness and working out. I also wanted to feel better and be better for my family. What we do now as parents can affect generations of our families.
When you work all day and then come home tired it can be hard to find the energy and motivation to work out. Also, being away from your family all day it’s easy to feel guilty about spending more time away from them. Back when I was starting to get control of my health again I solved this problem by working out during my lunch break. At the time I delivered auto parts so instead of eating I’d swing by a gym close to my route for an hour and hit the weights. I know when I make a time for self-improvement it helps me be a better husband and father because I have more energy, mental clarity, and less stress.
Learning To Succeed
I decided to start a new career in fitness in my mid-30’s which is simply a scary situation when you have a family and bills to pay. Up until this point I had been a professional musician with the Christian rock band, Pillar (million records sold, toured the world, Grammy-nominated) followed by a transition job getting me off the road and home with family. I went through ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) to get certified as a personal trainer. This allowed me to find a job immediately with Elite Training Tulsa whom I am still with six years later as head trainer and manager. I have since received multiple certifications with ISSA and was awarded the ‘2018 DEAC/ISSA Honor Grad” out of 300,000 ISSA trainers worldwide. I aim to learn more about health and fitness to not only improve myself, but to help others.
Advice to Others
Work hard for the future, but allow yourself to enjoy the now. I was always so career focused that instead of really enjoying accomplishments I would always immediately be working on the next project. I feel I missed out a lot in life doing so. Don’t let work take priority over your personal health. Our health should be more important than dollars. We won’t be making any money laying in a hospital bed or dead. Really think about having ‘balance’ in your life.
Stop drinking calories
I’ve known people who lost a good amount of weight just by cutting pop completely. Staying fully hydrated helps you function better, feel fuller when in a calorie deficit, and assists the muscle-building and fat-loss processes.
Do today what will help you tomorrow
I try to do everything I can the night before to help make my tomorrow easier. This includes having my meal management and gym bags ready, supplements packed, lunch prepared and loaded in tupperware, but also setting out things like my clothes for the next day (work and gym).
I highly recommend tracking your weight and measurements as well as keeping a training journal. I feel it’s important to have an overall vision and specific goals. It’s impossible to do that not knowing where you stand and how you are progressing.
Include planned ‘de-load’ weeks into your schedule.
‘De-loading’ is a short period of exercise where you don’t go all out, but allow the body to fully recover. Despite what you sometimes read, our bodies cannot maintain high-intensity workouts all the time.
4:30am: Glass of water followed by 1 scoop of chocolate whey isolate in water.
6:00am Breakfast 1: Oatmeal (quick oats) ¾ cup, cinnamon, and ½ cup berries.
7:00am Breakfast 2: One whole egg and 5 egg whites.
9:30am: One scoop of pre-workout in 16oz of water.
10:00am Workout: One scoop of whey isolate at the start and one during the first 15 minutes.
12:00am Post-workout: One scoop of post workout and 20g of unflavored dextrose
1:00pm Lunch: 2 cups raw vegetables with ½ cup berries, 8oz of lean protein (grilled chicken, lean steak)
4:00pm Snack: One cup non-fat Greek yogurt with a small honey drizzle, ¼ cup walnuts
6:00pm Dinner: 2 cups raw vegetables with ½ cup berries, 8oz of lean protein (grilled chicken, lean steak, lean ground turkey patties) 1 cup of rice or a variety of potatoes
9:30pm Snack: One scoop of casein protein
Day 1: Chest
1. Incline Barbell Press: Warm-up, then 5 sets of 5 reps.
2. Machine Press (Hammer Strength): 5 sets of 10 reps.
3. High Cable Flyes: 5 sets of 15 reps.
4. Flat DB Flye: 5 sets of 15, 10, 10, 5, 5 reps.
Day 2: Back
1. Barbell Rows: Warm-up, then 5 sets of 5 reps.
2. Wide Grip Pull-downs: 5 sets of 10 reps
3. Straight Arm Pull-downs: 5 sets of 15 reps.
4. T-Bar Rows: 5 sets of 15, 10, 10, 5, 5 reps.
Day 3: Legs
1. Leg Extensions: 5 sets of 15 reps.
2. Squats: 5 sets of 10 reps.
3. Leg Press: 5 sets of 5 reps.
Superset 4a. Lying Leg Curl: 5 sets of 15, 10, 10, 5, 5 reps.
Superset 4b. Walking Lunges: 5 set of 15, 10, 10, 5, 5 reps.
5. Standing Calf Raises: 5 set of 15, 10, 10, 5, 5 reps.
6. Seated Calf Raises: 5 set of 15, 10, 10, 5, 5 reps.
Day 4: Shoulders/Traps
1. Push Press: Warm up, then 5 sets of 5 reps.
2. Wide Upright Row: 5 sets of 10 reps.
3. Bent Over Lateral Raises: 5 sets of 15 reps.
4. Side Lateral Raises: 5 sets of 15, 10, 10, 5, 5 reps.
5. Barbell Shrugs: 5 set of 15, 10, 10, 5, 5 reps.
Day 5: Arms (Biceps/Triceps)
1. Barbell Curl: Warm up, then 5 sets of 5 reps.
2. Hammer Curls: 5 sets of 10 reps.
3. Incline DB Curls: 5 sets of 15 reps.
4. Close Grip Machine Press: Warm up, then 5 sets of 5 reps.
5. Overhead Cable Extensions: 5 sets of 10 reps.
6. Lying DB Extensions: 5 sets of 15 reps.
7. V Handle Push-downs: 5 sets of 15, 10, 10, 5, 5 reps.
Day 6: Optional auxiliary & conditioning work
Superset 1a. Power Cleans and Press: 5 sets of 15 reps.
Superset 1b. Box Jumps: 5 sets of 15 reps.
Superset 2a. Jump Squats: 5 sets of 15 reps.
Superset 2b. Walking Lunges: 5 sets of 20 reps each leg.
Day 7: Active rest.
Enjoy time with the family.