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Introducing fitness guru: Mike Stack

Mike Stack in his Ann Arbor facility.
Mike Stack in his Ann Arbor facility.
Photo by Sara Kandel

The old saying about not judging a book by its cover might be truer now than ever, but not making assumptions about people still isn’t easy. After all the way a person dresses and carries themselves reveals a lot about their personality and character.

For example, you spot a person with a bright green mohawk, lobe stretching piercing and an “anarchy for life” tee and they just might be listening to punk rock or alternative music on their ipod. Maybe not, but it’s still a safe bet to guess they just might be into the punk rock culture.

Enter: Mike Stack. In a series of encounters I have rarely seen Stack in anything other than tennis shoes, track pants and a tee shirt. His sculpted chest and arms pull the fabric tight and his butt looks like a shelf protruding from the small of his back. Spot him on the street and the average person’s assumptions about him would be something like, “Athlete, meat-head, body-builder.”

The average person would be right. Mike is an athlete and body builder, or use to be anyway, now he trains both. He’s also a meathead. He love’s working out and most of our conversations have been about working out, body building, fitness, muscles and … muscle physiology.

That’s where the assumptions people might make about Stack hit a brick wall. He’s a genius on the topic of muscle physiology and training. Not only does he have real life understanding of the physical aspect of it but the thing that gets him really “amped” up is the science behind the workout.

When I first met Mike I was a student in one of his classes. I had heard fitness classes were blow-offs and in my last year of college that’s exactly what I was looking for to fill in the gaps between my intense schedule. But I soon found out the person who recommended the class obviously never had Mike Stack as a teacher.

On the first day of class I was late. Stack gave me a hard time but let me in. I immediately sized him up and judged from his dress that I had found the perfect blow-off. Half way through class I realized I was dead wrong.

That class remains to be in the top-five hardest classes I’ve ever taken. I’d like to tell you that I aced it, but that would be a lie. Despite the difficulties, I’ve never regretted taking that class (even if my graduating GPA would have been better had I not). That class changed my life. Mike Stack opened my eyes and changed my perception on fitness.

Today, Mike Stack is doing that same thing for hundred of individuals around the Ann Arbor area. I visited his business,  Applied Fitness Solutions, last month and since my last visit less than a year before it had over double in size and clientele. More on Applied Fitness Solutions can be found here