02a – Dr. Michael Canales on gymnastics, CrossFit, and mentorship

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Dr. Michael Canales was a gymnast at Ohio State University from 1996-1999 where he was a member of the 1996 NCAA championship team and several Big 10 Championship teams. He has since mentored and coached several Olympians and continues to provide mentorship to the Ohio State Men’s gymnastics program today. He is also a practicing foot and ankle surgeon at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, OH. I first met Mike and his wife Dominique Moceanu, member of the 1996 women’s Olympic gold-medal winning gymnastics team, over 2 years ago when I was searching for gymnastics coaches to supplement my CrossFit Games training. We have since worked together on a regular basis and developed a close friendship.

With Mike and Dominique at the 2014 CrossFit Games.
With Mike and Dominique at the 2014 CrossFit Games.
With my fiancé Dani, sister Elizabeth, Dominique and Mike after the 2014 CrossFit Games.
With my fiancé Dani, sister Elizabeth, Dominique and Mike after the 2014 CrossFit Games.

After my Achilles tendon injury at the Central Regional, Mike was one of the first people I turned to. He performed my Achilles repair surgery the week after my injury and has supported me throughout my recovery process. Here we sit down to talk about his loves for gymnastics, mentorship, and foot and ankle surgery. We also talk about his impressions of CrossFit and how it has increased the attention and appreciation  of gymnastics, as well as Achilles injuries in CrossFit. In Part 2 we will dive into my specific injury and our experience in detail, as well as talking about Mike’s pursuit of excellence and virtuosity.

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My handstand walk at the 2015 CrossFit Games Central Regional. Photo: CrossFit, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Mike’s fascination with gymnastics from a young age and why he continues to do it today at age 37
  • His transition from the role of an athlete to the role of a coach and mentor.
  • His motivation for and passion for mentoring in sports and medicine
  • Why he decided to become a foot and ankle surgeon
  • How CrossFit has increased the general public’s appreciation for gymnastics
  • His take on Achilles tendon injuries in CrossFit and sport
  • His reaction to my Achilles tendon injury at the CrossFit Games Central Regional

You can follow Dr. Michael Canales on Twitter and Instagram. To see more of our training together, check out the video profiles below:

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating! I’d love to hear all of your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #JFHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday!

  • Jeronimo Garcia

    Julie, as a 40 year-old surgeon and as a 2 and a half year crossfiter, I really enjoyed this podcast. What a character Dr. Canales is. In my opinion, being empathetic is one of the most important aspects any phisician should have.
    Congratultions for your work.
    My wife and I gave you a bussines card during the last CFG. I remind you that if you ever have the oportunity to come to Mexico City, please let us be your tour-guides.
    Keep pursuing excellency and, of course, health.

    Jeronimo