02b – Dr. Michael Canales on my Achilles injury and pursuing excellence


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.

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. In Part 1 of this episode, we sat down to talk about his background, mentorship, and his impressions of Achilles injuries in CrossFit and sport. Here in Part 2 we dive into my specific injury in more detail and our experience as well has his pursuit of excellence and virtuosity in all areas of his life.

With Dr. Canales and my fiancé Dani before my Achilles repair surgery.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Mike’s reaction to my Achilles tendon injury and performance at the 2015 CrossFit Games Central Regional
  • How he balanced his roles as my coach, mentor, friend, and surgeon in the time surrounding my injury
  • What motivates Mike to strive for excellence and virtuosity in every area of his life
  • Three things he does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on his health
  • What a healthy life looks like to him

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!

3 Responses to “02b – Dr. Michael Canales on my Achilles injury and pursuing excellence”

  1. sigi

    Hey Julie. You asked for a feedback, so here is mine. I am a crossfit athlete as well and I’m currently going through rehab after a serious injury as well. Before I was injured things where going great. I worked out for a couple of hours every day and I was asked to join a successful competition team. I planed to do my level 1 and train the whole summer to compete in September, but life had different plans for me. During a snatch complex it happened. I felt a sharp pain in my knee, my lower leg lost all stability and dislocated, I fell and dropped the barbell on my chest. My ACL and meniscus tore… The first few days after the injury I felt like my life was over. All I worked for was gone in seconds.

    A few days after my injury, you injured yourself. I’ve always been a fan of you and as bad as it may sound, your injury is a huge source of inspiration for me. It really inspires me to see how you handle this setback, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    This podcast really helped me and to hear or read of your rehab and motivates and helps me in mine. Keep inspiring injured athletes and keep using your injury to serve as a role model for other injured athletes! We are not the only ones in this situation and there are many more to come, and I’m sure they will also benefit of your situation!

    Keep going and best regards from Switzerland!

  2. Matt Hailey

    It was great to hear your story from your Dr’s perspective. I couldn’t see him very well because of the positioning of the camera though. Also, the music is a lot louder than the audio and I find myself turning it down during transitions. I love the content Julie. You’re motivate me to stop letting excuses hold me back from training and I realize just how quick it could end. I need to take full advantage of my physically abilities and make it a priority to train. Going to check out the other episodes now.

  3. Kate

    Thanks for these podcasts, Julie, I’m really enjoying them. I particularly paid enjoyed what Mike said about growing through adversity, and also what you and Mike were saying about how to handle criticism – it’s hard to ignore those single instances where someone criticizes you, even if it’s done in a way that’s constructive. When we hear the same criticism from multiple people it’s easier to take it on board and make a change, but it’s still very humbling. Thanks again for the podcasts, please keep them going. Regards, Kate (Australia)


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