Natural Pro 9x Fitness Champion at 46 Overcomes Cancer to Win
The Style Researcher presents this month the natural Pro 9x Fitness Champion Michael Wittig. We had the chance to interview Michael and talked abut everything from fitness to fashion.
Hello Michael, welcome to The Style Researcher Magazine! Would you love to tell us about the beginning of your career?
I am currently a Master Trainer, fitness model, writer, and 9x Natural Pro Fitness Champion. My career in fitness and modeling started at the later age of 37. Before this I did music full-time in the Grammy nominated rock band Pillar. Once we got off the road I transitioned to my other passion, fitness. In the early days I trained clients one-on-one at a private facility, but at the same time started growing my social media presence which eventually lead to sponsorships and paid modeling opportunities for both print and video.
Tell us about your first work.
My early modeling work was for my first official sponsorships with apparel, supplement, and watch companies. While I would do my personal social media work for them, they would also hire me for official photoshoots which would be used for media and promotions. All these companies I still am partnered with today over 7 years later (Kaged supplements, Ryderwear apparel, and S-Force watches).
How did your work evolve in time?
As my social media platforms grew and my work became published more opportunities presented themselves. Not only did I obtain more sponsorships, but my core sponsorships relationships and contracts all excelled. I also started writing for fitness magazines which opened up many more doors for publication. I would get hired to write an article and then have my own set of photos for the articles. Over the last several years my modeling work has transitioned into acting for both film and commercials.
You were diagnosed with invasive melanoma (skin cancer) back in early 2020. How did this affect your modeling and fitness career?
Yes, back in February 2020 I had a mole checked out that came back cancerous. It was quite serious and required immediately surgery in two separate places (my left pec and left calf). I was already planning to compete in a Natural Pro fitness competition in four months time. Remember this was also around the time we all became aware of Covid world-wide. After the surgeries I was able to modify my training, without compromising may incisions. I went on to win four pro titles in 2020 including the Natural Olympia Master Men’s Physique title. So now in many of my photoshoots the scar on my left pec can be seen. Some publications choose to edit it out, while others let it remain because it tells a story.
Do you have any advice for other fitness competitors and models about skin care?
Firstly, if you have any moles or spots on your skin that cause you concern go see a dermatologist. Don’t delay doing this as it might save your life. Secondly, avoid using tanning beds and laying out in the sun without sunscreen. My doctor said this can increase chances of skin cancer by 30%. Nowadays I use Rossa self tanning lotion before photoshoots and spray tanning before my fitness competitions.
Have you ever been to Italy?
I have been to Italy. My wife and I visited Rome for a full week about 17 years ago. I can’t believe it’s been that long. We stayed right next to the Pantheon. We could see it right outside our window. The tour of Saint Peter’s was definitely a highlight of the trip as well as seeing the Colosseum. I was a big fan of the movie Gladiator so it was amazing to see it in real life. It was a great experience and we hope to return again one day.
A personal question, what is your favorite country/city?
My band Pillar and I toured New Zealand years ago and it was breathtakingly beautiful. It was also really cool to see locations where they filmed “Lord of the Rings”.
Love or fame?
Love always. I’ve been in the spotlight for most of my adulthood first in the band Pillar, and now as a fitness model and actor. That is all just work. What makes life worth living is the love of family and friends. Those are the moments I will remember at the end of my life, not work.
What is your relationship with fashion and what is your favorite style?
Most of the time I am wearing fitness clothes, tank tops and sweat pants. I’ve been sponsored by Ryderwear out of Australia for over 7 years. I have not had to buy fitness clothing and shoes for many years. Because I am in the gym so much this is what I mainly wear. But now that I’ve been acting the last two years I have stepped up my wardrobe and actually have some very nice suits, shirts, and shoes. I enjoy dressing up for church and events since I am typically shirtless or in a tank top.
Do you have any advice for those wanting to follow in your footsteps of being a fitness celebrity, model, and now actor?
Like most things in life it takes a lot of time, hard work, and patience to break into high level sponsorships, modeling, and acting. A lot of what I have accomplished was a result of taking the time to learn from others. Never stop learning! My best advice is to always be friendly to others, do more than is asked of you, and do your best work.
Published fitness and nutrition writer/Male Model:
Michael Wittig @Reel Talent Agency
Photographer: Justin Greiman
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