April 7, 2012
Built Tough: Mike Ford
By Christine Ford

"People would always stop and ask me what I was training for and my answer was, 'Life.'"

Growing up the third of four brothers in the inner city of Boston, Mike Ford had no choice but to become tough.

At the age of 12, Ford turned to Martial Arts in order to survive the streets. “I found an outlet for negative experiences in the city and was able to focus my energy into positive outcomes.”  

This was just the beginning. Thirteen years later, Ford moved from Boston to Arizona where he earned his black belt by enduring a weeklong test in the Grand Canyon. Ford’s training didn’t stop there; this is when he started taking his training to extreme levels.

This included training camp sessions lasting 30 to 35 hours with no sleep, only breaking for food and water, running local 10K races with a 50-pound log on his back, climbing Camelback Mountain with a weight vest, dumbbells or whatever he could get ahold of. “People would always stop and ask me what I was training for and my answer was, ‘life,’” he says. “I always liked taking things to the most extreme level and to show people that anything is possible. This one time, there was chit chat around town that someone had run the Sun Angel Stadium bleachers 50 times, so I ran it 100 … and then I carried my 285-pound friend up one more time to make it 101.”

Ford met his soon to be wife, Christine, while teaching Martial Arts in Arizona. The two of them moved to Portland, Ore., and got into endurance athletics. His training focused on running marathons, ultras, off-road duathlons and triathlons. Both Ford and Christine were looking for a change and an avenue to transfer their love of fitness to others.  

Knowing that he wanted to own a fitness business, Ford stumbled upon the CrossFit home page and immediately signed them up for their CrossFit Level 1 Seminar. He never looked at the website after registering for the course and had no idea what a CrossFit workout would involve.

A new definition of fitness was thrust upon him and he loved it. This introduction to CrossFit might have been the only time since he was 12 that Ford didn’t feel so tough.  

“Coming off of years of endurance training, the idea of a 15-minute workout – Fight Gone Bad – seemed like a joke or at least just a warm up. Our plan was to do the workout and then do a 5K run during lunch so we could get a better workout. Needless to say, we started our run after the WOD and within 400 meters turned around and walked back. I was blown away and there my CrossFit journey began.”  

After being humbled by the intensity of the workouts, Ford immediately went home and started a gym in their garage.

That was in October of 2008 and they haven’t looked back since. They moved into a bigger facility in August of 2009 and continue to grow and share their love of fitness with their Beaverton CrossFit family.   

Prior to the start of the Open, Ford come down with a bad chest cold and sinus infection, which kept him out of the gym for a record 10 days. Due to this untimely illness, he began the Open with what he calls a sub-par performance. His performance in 12.1 was not what he had hoped.  

“I’ve never missed 10 days of training in my life,” he says. “I was concerned going into 12.1 and 12.2 because I wasn’t 100 percent and I had been training hard all year to excel at the Games. I hired coach CJ Martin for programming and was excited to compete in the Open.”

However, Ford persevered and made his move onto the Leaderboard in the 45-49 Masters Division. He had a great performance (258 reps) in 12.4 and moved from 11th to 7thand ended the Open in a solid 10th position. Ford has been a judge for the Games in previous years and is ready and eager to participate at the Home Depot Center this year.  

Ford now runs Beaverton CrossFit full time and is fueled by his passion to help others achieve their various goals.

Built Ford tough? You better believe it.