Hey There! My name is Mike Stare, and I want to tell you how my training system has taken hundreds of folks, including myself, from weak and in pain to strong and pain free.
Before I get into that, there are a few important things to know about me. I’m a family guy, I absolutely love what I do, and I consider research journals like Physical Therapy, JSCR, JOSPT, Spine, and many others to be leisure reading (I have a bit of a geek streak) . Now that you have that crucial info, I want to tell you my story.
My story, and why it’s important for you to know
I think you should know my story because it reveals one vital thing about me and my approach to fitness that will best help you get to your goals: when it comes to getting knocked down and coming back stronger each time, I’ve been around that block before.
And that’s really the big issue about getting healthy, fit, and strong.
It’s not about having the “perfect plan”. It’s more about a plan that solves our problems with an approach that works around our imperfect lives filled with unique needs, challenges, and life situations.
That’s the truth about proper training that I’ve based my Spectrum Method on.
This type of training changed my life and the lives of many others. Here’s how.
As a kid, I was always the smallest in my grade, physically a couple years behind my peers. Sports, whether on a team or in the backyard, defined who I was. My esteem was tied to my physicality.
But in the span a couple short months of football my senior year, that aspect of my life was taken away.
In that time I suffered a severe neck injury, fractured elbow, concussion, a torn retina, and crushed toe that required 4 surgeries and a partial amputation. Competitive sports for me was over.
These injuries landed me in rehab for a few months. After wallowing in self pity for a couple weeks, my experience as a patient in physical therapy forced me to do a 180. Sure, I was hurt and wouldn’t be able to play football or track again, but I was surrounded by other injured people that were battling through much more…and winning! I watched a man progress from a wheel chair to being able to lift his baby boy again. I saw a lady who was overjoyed because she could now independently go up and down stairs, which meant she was able to return home.
Witnessing these events made me see the human body as an amazing, adaptable gift.
The Physical Therapists I observed were both artists and scientists in teaching you how to care for your body and make it perform optimally. I could see that is wasn’t just knowing the physics of the exercise and biology of the body…just as important was adapting the treatment to the motivations, learning style, and psychology of the patient. That was a craft I wanted to learn.
Then and there I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I was lucky to know that at only 17 years old. And I knew that it order to help rehab others, I needed to start with myself.
I eventually regained most of my function, aside from some nasty scars (my deranged reconstructed toe gets some interesting looks at the beach), some motion loss in my neck, and some nerve damage in my elbow. My focus went from bruising bodies in football to studying how to put them back together in college. One of my favorite experiences was working with the spinal cord injury athletes at the University of Illinois, and then at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta.
These were men and women who lost the use of their legs, yet kept up their drive to compete, adapt, and make the best of their bodies. To this day I have never seen athletes train harder. I learned a lot about perspective and perseverance from them.
While attaining my degrees I worked as a personal trainer and helped develop personal training curriculums at U of I, and then with Town Sport International while studying at Boston University. This would serve as a foreshadowing to my future career.
Fast forward several years later, I had now racked up degrees culminating in a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, fellowship in orthopaedic manual physical therapy, board certification as a nutritionist (CNS), and the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification. I gained several years of experience as both a clinician and personal trainer. I had seen a vast array of conditions, from patients with strokes to strains, amputations to ACL repairs, spinal cord injuries to low back pain.
I was working with a great physical therapy clinic (Orthopaedics Plus, which I now own). I loved what I was doing. But there was one, critical thing that was wrong.
I was fixing people who fell of the cliff, rather than putting up fences to keep them from falling in the first place. I was reacting to problems rather than preventing them.
The disconnect between fitness and Physical Therapy.
Patients were coming to me in the clinic with injuries they sustained while exercising to get healthy! Others had issues like knee pain, but were 50 lbs overweight and had several cardiac risk factors, and insurance gave us 6 weeks to “fix” their knee. These folks knew they needed to lose weight and get healthy, but they didn’t know how. And many of the fitness services available to them were provide by those who weren’t interested in dealing with them or equipped to work with such folks.
In both cases, a better option was needed: True professionals, with backgrounds in fitness, rehabilitation, and nutrition in one setting. This is more convenient, efficient, and effective. This helps build trust. It’s what people really needed to get healthy.
Taking the leap
This epiphany ate away at me with each day that went along until finally an opportunity presented itself, and I took a leap. The PT clinic was moving to a new office space, and there was just enough space next door for a fitness studio. That was going to be where we could combine the expertise of physical therapy and fitness to provide wellness services beyond the constraints of the physical therapy insurance reimbursement model.
That was in 2006. Soon, I added more and more clients, and I loved being able to work as a Physical Therapist while being able to offer comprehensive fitness services right next door. Patients loved being able to continue the journey to improve their health beyond the initial phases of rehab with professionals they knew and could trust.
By the following year, clients were coming directly to Spectrum not just AFTER having rehabilitation, but BEFORE being injured, looking to lose weight, improve performance, and simply feel and look better.
I loved what I was doing, but I was quickly getting overwhelmed. In a span of a few months, I turned 30, bought my first house, finished by post-doctoral fellowship, and my wife can gave birth to our first baby girl. And sometime before that I had broken each ankle (thankfully not at the same time) adding a few notches to the rehab belt. Times were a bit busy, indeed!
Bring in the reinforcements!
I learned what it took to survive serious, and sometimes permanent disability. Not just through my experiences, but watching others overcome and thrive. They did 3 simple (not easy) things: 1. They stopped feeling sorry for themselves, 2. They asked for help 3. And they worked hard. So I did just that, not because I’m special. It’s because I saw it work. A lot!
So I hired a business coach, hired an assistant, and was blessed to have a colleague I met in my fellowship program come join me at Spectrum and Orthopaedics Plus, Rob Herron.
Fast forward several years later, a few more employees, a nutrition board certification for me, and hundreds of happy clients later to 2012, where we were awarded Beverly’s first Small Business of the Year award. I was also runner up as national fitness business of the year.
The lessons I learned from honing my unique method of fitness training was paying off with one success story after another.
Our process was well established and getting results:
- Assess, don’t guess. This means listen a lot, test, and retest
- Fit programs to people, not people into programs.
- Empower people with knowledge.
- Inspire people with examples of success
- Provide support and solutions, never shame
- Teach people how to adapt and persevere when obstacles present
- Always keep listening and learning, and know these are both and art and science.
Teaching, learning, and obstacles
As you will come to learn, there is rarely a story I tell that doesn’t mention my biggest accomplishment: my family. Danielle and I are now three girls strong, which has added more happiness and purpose than I could ever imagine. As those of you with kids know, that also means major time constraints. Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling knives while balancing on a ball. You know the drill. But I love it.
Remember how I alluded to my early experience in designing curriculums and teaching? 20 years later, that has lead to me having traveled to more than 120 cities from Portland Maine to Kona Hawaii teaching courses for Physical Therapists, hundreds of lectures for organizations and companies locally, and even starting our own residency program to teach fitness and rehabilitation professionals my SpectrumFit Method. As a result, at Spectrum I have surrounded myself with amazingly talented professionals who genuinely care and constantly strive to learn, all with one main focus: to ensure you achieve your optimal health.
My story would not be complete without sharing some more obstacles I’ve faced. First was a spine injury I sustained while awkwardly reaching to prevent a spinal cord injury patient from falling. After few months of rehab, I was back to lifting whatever I wanted (and a decade later dead lifted 500lbs pain free). Next was tearing and successfully rehabilitating a torn rotator cuff without surgery (I can still throw a mean fastball!). But several years ago, I suffered another debilitating, and freak injury. I sustained a complete mid-substance patella tendon and retinaculum rupture. My patella had shot up to my thigh like a window shade being released. Immediate surgery and prolonged immobilization ensued, including a stint in a wheel chair.
Couple with the fact that my wife was 3 months pregnant with 2 toddlers to chase around, and I had just started my national speaking tour, it was tough timing.
Luckily, I had a supportive family. My employees were well trained to care for our clients. My trusted friends and colleagues worked with me to rehabilitate and support me. And I had a well documented system for how to regain the muscle and mobility I had lost.
I could only imagine if I didn’t have this support, knowledge, and perspective.
Then something clicked, which changed the Spectrum Method.
This type of support, coaching, and accountability is absolutely vital, even for a knowledgeable professional like myself. Yet many people don’t have these things. And this is the real reason why people struggle to get, and sustain, results.
This explains why gyms, bootcamps, informational campaigns, one-dimensional approaches claiming it all about one villain (wheat, sugar, toxins, weakness, tightness) or one component (it’s just your mindset, it’s all about exercise, you just have to do cardio) and other fads miss the boat. If we paid as much time to changing habits, mindsets, and individualizing their nutrition and exercise programs as we do to the exercise equipment used, sets performed, where it’s done, or calories burned we might really see meaningful results that happen fast AND last.
People don’t fail because they are ignorant and lazy. At least not the type of person reading this far into my story looking to see if I offer a viable solution.
Will is not an inherent trait. Rather, will is a skill.
People struggling with the ability to achieve results are simply lacking strategies.
Strategies to deal with the 4 main obstacles to fitness results, no matter if you are life-long fitness fanatic or sedentary older adult who has struggled to exercise for a lifetime.
I call these the MIKE obstacles:
Motivation isn’t like eye color. Rather, it’s like a mood. It comes and goes, but eventually it can be stabilized with the right strategies. And when you do, results are guaranteed.
Injuries and pain will derail even the best of intentions, unless you know how to prevent them from happening, or manage them when they do happen. Few get this right. The ones that do, are the healthy ones.
Knowledge is more than knowing that you should exercise. It’s knowing what and how based on your unique situation. Most importantly, it’s knowing that it is possible for you.
Efficiency is the most commonly cited reason for not sticking to a program. Time is our most precious asset. No matter your abilities or background, we all have a finite amount. Learning how to best use it, not waste it, in efforts to maximize how you feel and perform is probably the most important thing I can teach you.
Armed with a better appreciation for what motivates us to start and sustain an effective program, plus a clearer awareness for how to solve the 4 obstacles that we all confront on our journey to feel and perform better, The Spectrum Method became more effective than ever.
I won’t spend any more of your time telling you about how great our system is. My clients and there results can do a better job of that, which you can see here.
When I’m not with my family, I’m devoted to building and supporting my team, making connections in the community to spread our message about health and fitness, teaching other clinicians our system throughout the country (I go to about 40 cities a year), and of course treat patients and clients in both the studio and clinic.
Besides the above, I spend a lot of time researching and creating content, often for free, to share with you and others just like you videos, articles, tips, motivation, inspiration, case studies, and techniques to help you take control of your health and fitness.
I appreciate you taking the time to get to know a little more about me and Spectrum Fitness Consulting. Hopefully this gives you a better insight into why I do what I do.
I want to wrap this up by asking you one simple favor.
I hope that you will sign up for my newsletter below so I can connect with you by sharing with you my best ideas to feel and perform your best. Fill out the form below. For more than a decade, I found this is really the best way, besides meeting with me in person, to establish some trust and get the stuff that you need to get results.