Welcome! Who is this ‘MikedUp’ guy?
Hi, Team! My name is Mike Monfredi, creator of MikedUp Blog, and I am truly grateful and excited that you have found your way to this site! The content you’ll find here is aimed at adding some aspect of value to your life, whether that be through some new piece of information to you or hopefully some entertaining moments.
My family and closest friends have referred to me as an interesting character, to say the least. They’ve called me everything from a caring best friend, a thoughtful and understanding confidant, a great husband and parent, to incredibly incessant, exhausting, overly competitive, and complicated… Really running the gamut here. It’s their qualifications (slightly) and past and present life experiences I will call on to cover the topics of Fitness, Finance, and Family.
Let’s start with Fitness –
I have been an athlete since an early age and played multiple sports throughout my life. Baseball, football, and basketball were the three that occupied my time in high school, and I was fortunate enough to play football for a couple of years at Kent State University – A Division I school in the MAC conference. This career ended abruptly, though, due to a back injury that found me in an orthopedic surgeon’s office with him telling me “the wrong hit could paralyze you permanently.” That was all I needed to hear – more to life than football.
Up to this point, I had been training for one sport or another my entire life and when football was over I didn’t have a strength coach telling me to get my butt in gear. I didn’t have conditioning drills to show up for at 5:30 a.m. in the off-season, hallelujah! No required lifting or practice with the team… You get the idea. Even if I wanted to, with the injury I wasn’t able to do the lifts and conditioning drills I had been doing previously. Additional stress on the back would lead to aching pain and in some cases immobilization.
I ended up gaining ‘some’ weight.
At my heaviest, I was just over 265lbs, about 25 pounds over my playing weight and much heavier than I needed to be. I was both burnt out from exercise and not able to do so in the traditional sense I’d been used to. I was lost.
This persisted for a year or so after football until one day I just got sick of looking at myself in the mirror. My whole life I’d been the athlete, always in great shape and ready to battle, but now I wasn’t that at all… The inflammation in my back was manageable at this point such that I could take a run or a basketball game maybe once or twice a week. With my newfound motivation, though, that wouldn’t cut it. I started swimming and biking between runs and hoop games. I was active again, it felt great! But the weight didn’t change much.
I ended up trying a majority of the workout programs you’ve heard of. The muscle tone would increase while my capacity for conditioning also went up, but the weight would yo-yo between 250-265lbs. I had heard about dieting to reduce my weight but I wasn’t ready for that. No doubt that busting it out with some cardio and a good dude sweat would do the trick, right? Wrong. I had exhausted my knowledge base for a couple of years trying everything I knew about to cut some weight. This wasn’t working, I had to go with the nuclear option – some form of dieting.
Once I got my diet in order I ended up dropping ~65 lbs and at my lowest was just under 205 lbs. The how will no doubt be a topic of many posts in the future but to this point I have maintained in the 205-210 range for the last three years. This was a total game changer. I’m in the best shape of my life with more energy now than ever (hence the incessant moniker). I love it, my wife loves it (a majority of the time), and at the age of 30, I feel that my best physical years are ahead of me.
The Neighborhood Lawncare Co. was the company I ‘formed’ at the ripe age of 14. My advertising consisted of flyers that listed services and my phone number, and they were distributed in mailboxes throughout the neighborhood. Back then we didn’t all have cell phones though so I listed the house phone. My parent’s house phone. If my mom answered a call for the ‘business’ she’d say “please hold for Mike,” or “let me take a message and have him get back to you.”
The flyers must have looked somewhat professionally done, at least to the elderly, because I got a few phone calls. The meetings were always interesting when I, and one of my hired buddies, would show up to do a job. The client was looking around for our truck or an adult when we’d roll up with wheelbarrows full of shovels, rakes, and whatever else the job required. I loved it. This was a chance to work hard, earn an income, and create something you could step back and be proud of yourself for doing. We made sure that every job was done well too, after all, it was company policy to not leave until the client was satisfied.
This was by no means a huge money maker but I had definitely caught the bug.
I had developed a drive to earn an income at an early age and I loved the concept of working for a reward.
I built upon this concept throughout high school, into college, and in beginning my early career after school. I had amassed titles such as dock laborer, concession vendor, men’s fragrance specialist, caddy, host, server, assistant kitchen manager, teaching assistant, laboratory coordinator, and quality assurance manager… I currently work in the sciences for a state agency.
It was in part this drive (and mostly some financial help from my parents) that helped me to escape undergraduate and graduate school without a student loan. I didn’t know what they were or how they worked, student loans were dead to me. Yet, I was unable to completely escape the student loan bug altogether.
Monica (my wife), who was my fiancé at this stage of the story, was equally driven and excelled scholastically and athletically. She had the good fortune of determining her desired career at an early age. She wanted to be a dentist, hence she would go to dental school. We became intent on making that happen. She researched schools, submitted applications, and attended interviews. Monica was accepted to her first choice (The Ohio State University), and so we made Columbus our home base to begin staring a six-figure sum of debt right in the eye.
Monica and I budgeted, scratched, clawed, worked multiple jobs, and fought hard to reduce the overall amount of debt we’d need to withdraw for her degree. No matter the method we still had to take out over $220,000 in student loans. This process forced me to take action. I learned how to manage debt, maximize savings, and cut costs. We eliminated so many expenses early in our life together that I think all food was at one point considered for the guillotine.
Monica was a couple of years out of school at this point and we were currently in the process of paying down this debt. We have a plan do so within the next few years.
It is information gained through these experiences, in addition to similar experiences by some of my close friends and family, that I will use for content in this section. The stories of limiting and eliminating debt and maximizing savings are what I hope will inspire you to take similar action. I think it was a Mel Gibson character who said something like – ‘they may take our lives… but they will never take our financial freedom!!!’
I am an only child and when growing up big family gatherings consisted of about 7 or 8 of us. We’d have a great time and those are moments I’d never change, but there’s only so many games of volleyball I can play 1-on-1 where I’m the player for both sides. My cardio was good… It wasn’t that good.
That’s not exactly what I was indoctrinated into when Monica and I got together. Her dad is one of eight, mom is one of nine, and Monica herself has three siblings. Let’s just concede the point that I have more than enough material for posts here, deal?
Primarily, though, posts in this section will begin covering the two true joys in my life: Monica and our 1-year-old daughter Clara. Specifically, experiences and moments that husbands and new dads are faced with in daily life. Based on drafts I have in progress now, I expect some humorous and educational content to come out of this section.
It is my hope that from this blog you will learn something, hopefully, laugh a few times, and maybe get motivated to find a better version of yourself. Please stay tuned and if you like what you see on MikedUp Blog, please subscribe. Thanks for reading, talk with you soon!