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113. Mike Witous | Fittest Dwarf on Earth

113. Mike Witous | Fittest Dwarf on Earth

On to days episode, Jason Ackerman chats with Mike Witous, the Fitness Dwarf on Earth. Even though that title is self pro-claimed, he is very fit dude. You may have seen him absolutely kill it at Wodapalooa. Mike works very closely with the adaptive community to ensure that a standard for RX males is being created that allows for fair competition, to allow for their own division to hopefully be created. Mike is also working on getting programming out there to help other little people do crossfit or even have the confidence to go into any global gym, he’s just waiting on being able to get his Level 1 before he put that out there. He’s a great, funny guy that you’ll hear that who genuinely wants to help raise awareness and make space for all to be comfortable to compete within the sport. – It’s a great interview. 

Timestamps: 

(6:59) How’d Mike started Crossfit

(19:09) Can you hook grip?

(22:16) Advantages 

(28:33) When you compete can the adaptation still be unfair? 

(32:59) Workout at games level box 

(36:08) Work out theme songs

Social Media:

@mikeyswoosh1

Recommend: 

No Excuses: The True Story of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion in Wrestling and in Life – Kyle Maynard 

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Mike Witous.mp4 transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

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Jason Ackerman:
All right, Mikey Witous, the world’s fittest Dwarf, welcome to the show.

Mike Witous:
Thanks for having me.

Jason Ackerman:
So there is no official world’s fittest Dwarf and a self-proclaimed.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. Very much self proclaimed uhhh. Not many dwarfs up there during Crossfit,. So not many people to go off in that sense.

Jason Ackerman:
However, I mean, that is something we could find out. Right. We could go be at the open or the adaptive open and find out who. Is qualified as a dwarf and let me before we get any further is that. P.X. I mean, it was written on your Instagram, so I figured it’s.

Mike Witous:
Yeah, to dwarf is the politically correct term for somebody with dwarfism. That or like a little person. People say they think that sounds bad, but it’s honestly what you are. So but yeah, that’s that’s what we go by

Jason Ackerman:
I’m. People call me a little person and I take offense to that personally. But so I mean, we could look that up. We could find out if in fact, you are the world’s finest work. But, you know, I like I’m going to get some questions out of the way. What? Is the difference. And again, I don’t want to offend anybody, dwarf and Midgard. Is there a difference there?

Mike Witous:
Technicality. No, no. Oh, because a midget is actually a derogatory term.

Jason Ackerman:
That’s that’s it. Yes. I’m sorry then for saying it.

Mike Witous:
No, no, no, no, not always. And very small population. Well, actually even knows that unless unless you actually know somebody with dwarfism or something. And it’s really only because of the word midget derives from basically like a fruit fly, which is called midg. And so and it’s like when little people were being sent off to the circus because their families didn’t want to take care of them, but they just refer to it as that because they and like they say, like insignificant flies.

Jason Ackerman:
So like back in the day, that was the thing, if the if , if you had a little person born to your family, it’s like, all right, we know your career, you’re going to the circus.

Mike Witous:
Yes. They say, like, if you had somebody with like a like a mental disability or something, like it’s like, oh, we have nothing. Nothing like they actually. The doctor is that my mom, which in the 90s when she was having me. Even said something like, oh, they like to be together. They like they like to form, cluster in and be around people like them. And that’s why I didn’t mean another little person until I was 18. And so I was like, my mom definitely didn’t take that to heart.

Jason Ackerman:
That’s so crazy. They got they like to congregate together. They did so stupid that such an ignorant thing to say.

Mike Witous:
Yeah, they they have to. They have to be together, otherwise they think they can’t. Socially. And then she changed doctors, which, you know, doctors. Yeah. They’re doctors. Lawyers. Whatever business people like, he’s like, yeah, that doesn’t take that.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. Turns out they’re just normal people.

Mike Witous:
Yeah, they’re just short.

Jason Ackerman:
So what what defines it? I know, because I. I was doing a little bit of research and what I did find is like under five foot. Is that accurate?

Mike Witous:
Yeah. So four-foot 11. Yeah. Five foot and shorter is. Technically, you’ll get a lot of average height women who are for eleven.

Jason Ackerman:
So I was gonna say my mom is four nine now.

Mike Witous:
Yeah, but they’ll they’ll be claiming it. no, you’re not really because you’re just short. There’s an actual genetic mutation that takes place to actually adapt characteristics of it. Like just like any other kind of random mutation like Down’s syndrome or anything else that you have to decide to just be short.

So you don’t want to get into it. So the whole reason I want to I mean, I did see you Wodpalooza. And as we were talking, we have a mutual friend. Your college roommate is the head coach. You’ll read the box that I trained at. Awesome, awesome dude. Dom, awesome programs for my wife. I mean, certainly look him up. Dominic D’Agostino, great programmer. And he worked for brute strength. But you guys were sitting near each other Wodpalooza? I was sitting there and then I had on Saudi Logan and staffing. We talked to a lot the adaptive community. Now is like, wait a second. I’m 5’3. Like, should I be competing against Mikey? I think there is a head to head battle. I saw you and Wodpalozza. I was like, this is a little unfair if I’m going to be honest. Like, I’m going against a big dude. I’m. I’m four inches away from qualifying.

Mike Witous:
Yeah, I know. You could definitely probably i don’t know if Saudi would let you, but. Yeah. There’s a little bit more with me than just meets the eye with my body. That won’t move. Exactly the same as somebody else’s. Like my arms or lockout that feel like that. The elbow joint like keeps it from going, bending all of a straight. So there’s that. And then our hips tend to not go full. They like fully open like if you were to see us standing straight up. You notice that there’s a little bit of a degree of that in there.

Jason Ackerman:
Actually, now that you mention that, I will say if I’ve seen a little person, I can almost looks like their pelvis is wrote a.. tilt in a little bit?

Mike Witous:
Yeah. Yeah. So. And just like the structures of our our shins and our forearms are like the bones are kind of. Just a little bit different in that it can affect some things. I had a leg straightening surgery as a kid. Two surgeries to make sure that my knees and hips didn’t completely fail. I’ll make us my they are basically bending in and so like. I can’t really explain it other than it is basic, my shin is like my head. Like if you’re a. See, with your hand is is a lot of pressure on my hips and knees. So.

Jason Ackerman:
How old are you, Mikey?

Mike Witous:
Twenty seven.

Jason Ackerman:
Twenty seven. You stumble. You see this Crossfit, thing? Makes you think to yourself, OK, this will be good for me to decide to check out.

Mike Witous:
I know Dom was doing it for a while, but I actually got involved it because my dad was actually doing it for like three years before me and he had been doing it and always talked about it. And I basically had the first Crossfit, reaction that most people have. It’s like, oh, what the hell is this? No, I’m not doing that. That looks weird. And then I actually tried it and realized that was a lot similar to what I had been doing basically with wrestling growing up. And I loved the how tired you felt after it and how you’re competing against other people, even though you’re in you’re in a gym community and you love everyone in your community that’s in your gym.

Mike Witous:
You’re still competing with them daily just to try to you could have a sixty year old woman next year doing double statues with a 10 pound weight and you’re doing it with a 50, but you still want to beat your.

Jason Ackerman:
Oh, yeah.

Mike Witous:
You know, she’s going to beat you because she’s got you’ve got the lighter weight, but you don’t want to let that happen. And that’s just the thing that I realized that I really loved about it. And it gave me that competition back in life that I had, which really drives me.

Jason Ackerman:
I know I have a funny story about that. I had an old older woman, Donna. She’s one of my first athletes. I was training, but she was at this point, probably seventy five. We’re in the middle of a workout with thrusters last round. She was going like an empty training bar. I think the work kind of 115. And I picked up that bar and I was like, don’t put it down. And the only reason was to beat Donna. You know, it was like I told her afterwards, like I want and she loved it because she was like this. I’m not young, but she was like, this guy’s going harder just to be me. He was really cool to see you grow wrestling. My guy did might one of our rival teams had a little person and I used to have to wrestling because I was 91 pounds in the latest weight class in New York and it was hard. The kid was strong. I got the better of them usually on the mats, but I was always scared to go against him because he was so strong. You know, if at 91 pounds he had so much more muscle than I did.

Mike Witous:
Yeah.

Jason Ackerman:
How did how did you do it Wrestling.

Mike Witous:
I did fairly well. I was actually going to be a preferred walk on at the university. Purdue, Purdue University,.

Jason Ackerman:
Boilermakers. Yeah,.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. But I actually had to retire from wrestling. Towards the end of my senior year in high school because a complication with dwarfism, a spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal column. And it basically was something that I had been hiding from my parents for about six years because I I kind of in the back of my head knew something was up and knew as probably that was gonna make me have to stop doing whatever I wanted to do.

Mike Witous:
And so. I basically hid it from. Seventh grade football on to my senior year. But I figured it’s time to tell them my legs weren’t. I had no feeling at them that I was like, that’s I’m able to walk. But I don’t feel that that’s probably ideal.

Jason Ackerman:
Ok. Let’s brush past the fact that you just told us you played football as well. You know, but which is impressive. But because I couldn’t. I mean, I wasn’t allowed to play football because I was too small. So Mom if you’re listening, you should let me play football. But. You hate having spineless. I mean, at 12, 13 years old. What kind of kid thinks I’m not going to tell my parents and I can’t feel my legs like you must be incredibly driven to think.

Mike Witous:
Superbly competitively driven person. The idea of having competition possibly take it out of my life was very difficult for me. So I was and like Crossfit, now back that and wrestling was my life. And so I was like taking that out was going to be like the end of the world to me. And so I was like, oh, well, I’ve found ways to like get this to not be as bad and to like, oh, if I just do this stretch, it kind of goes away and I can just sit down for a little bit and then I can go and keep wrestling or do whatever else.

Mike Witous:
And it just eventually caught up to me. And it’s. Fight me out now. I’m never used to squat, really. I never used to do any lifting like other than like basic for wrestling. But I never threw out the three hundred pounds on the barbell just to see how many times it would go with it. And now it’s like Crossfitters. Save my back almost. I don’t I don’t get a lot of people don’t understand that because I was like, how are you deadlifting and squatting? But you had back problems.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. I mean, that’s kind of what made me when you were saying all this, I was thinking, you know, what about Crossfit, allows you to do this when you couldn’t wrestle? It’s probably the impact, you know, Crossfit,. You know, while moving fast, you’re doing functional movements under control. We’re wrestling. You never know what position you’re gonna be put into. You’re gonna be cradled. And if something goes wrong in your spine there.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. Yeah. I think a lot a lot of. Yeah. That somebody puts the legs in on top and they’re. Put their hips down on you. Puts a lot of pressure there.

Jason Ackerman:
No one’s putting legs in on you.

Mike Witous:
People did. It was. It was very odd. And I never really expected it.

Jason Ackerman:
Did you just laugh a little bit? Come on, dude. I’m taking my right out again.

Mike Witous:
Yes, they would. I was. Yeah, I don’t know. It was really it was a really odd thing. You were able to get up. It was usually a guy who was really good at putting on legs. So Indiana’s a pretty decent spot for wrestling. Being in the Midwest and it’s. Yes. It was never fun to be put in legs

Jason Ackerman:
You know, for those listening, they don’t understand exactly what that is, but basically someone’s on top of you putting one of their legs between yours and wrapping it around. And the reason I was joking is because Mikey’s got smaller legs. So it’s it’s you know, you kind of have to make a grip almost with your shin on their calf. I just am thinking that’s silly. What was your right to do it right? What was your go to move? Well, for me, I always like to shoot it at a high crotch and do a double leg. What did you like to do?

Mike Witous:
I did a lot of throwing in front headlocks and stepped out. One of the things that I was known for, I was like a good Jap with an arm span that I’d catch. A lot of kids actually knocked out one of my best rivals in practice doing that one on this planet so deep in theroom. Later, right on his head, he stood up. Isaac Cross,. I caught him right for your side of the door, but it was I was slowed down on my through right after that.

Jason Ackerman:
So you have this athletic background and you realize all I can do anything you say your father found Crossfit,, I assume. You know, I don’t know what the proper term is. You’re being parents are just typical sized adults.

Mike Witous:
The other their average height and. My my three siblings are all average height, that it’s really only at the gene once it’s been. After two mutated, so that actually comes from the dad. So fathers will pass it. It’s not like a sex scene or anything, but it’s just like a gene that comes through them that mutates. And then once it does, it then becomes part of my genes so I can pass it on, like with my wife and I, that our son is a little FERC’s. And now it’s a twenty five percent chance that I send it on, 25 percent chance that she would. It’s basic the periodic table, I think. I think it’s what they call it. So I square. Punnett Square. That’s what is Punnett Square.

Jason Ackerman:
You’re you’re you’re married and you have a son.

Mike Witous:
Yes.

Jason Ackerman:
So is your is your wife a little person?

Mike Witous:
Yes.IS

Jason Ackerman:
Is she over there? You kind of looked over there?

Mike Witous:
Just outside the door. She stays on the down low with this with the Crossfit, and the Instagram page trying to stay out of the spotlight. But everyone’s asked to let me post about her.

Jason Ackerman:
So this is your question again. I come from a good place as a little person. Were you more attracted to other little people?

Mike Witous:
No, because.

Jason Ackerman:
Has anyone seen that before? Is it a first time question for you?

Mike Witous:
I don’t know if I’ve ever really thought of it.

Jason Ackerman:
That’s even better. I’m yeah.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. I’d say the emotional attraction is more because the fact that you have something in common like that. That’s something that. Obviously, my wife and I have more just because it’s like somebody who understands like me. Yeah, somebody who has gone through similar things as me. And I guess it’s kind of I say, yeah, I am proud more would be more attracted because of the fact that you’re also to eye to eye with somebody here. You’re not just like at their hip her. No. But that’s that’s just my other people. I have friends. There are a lot of people who have wives their average height or vice versa. And I think that’s just my opinion.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. I mean, having you know, I don’t want to refer to myself as a little person in this scenario, but being shorter stature, growing up, I don’t think I’ve ever dated anyone significantly, totally more than an inch taller. And my wife’s 5’1 and think it’s you know, you tend to be attracted to the type of person you’re attracted to. Now see if your father finds Crossfit,, you dive in. I assume you’re hooked. What were some of the immediate challenges that you had? Going forward with Crossfit,, like what is something that maybe we or some things that we don’t realize? I look at it in on it and I’m obviously joking being like I’m 5 3. But, you know, for me, rolling in wall balls are just clear challenges, right? Based on my height, what are some what are some other things that we might not consider?

Mike Witous:
The biggest thing is grip being a little personally, also a little hands, a little like little fingers and you. But you still do pull ups of the same size bar, you do, you clean the same size bar. And so that’s like one of the hardest things to have to develop is you grip strength as well as your grip endurance, because it’s like you do. I could strap myself on to the bar with like straps and do a million deadlifts at 225. But it’s not the same as if I just do two traditional deadlifts and.

Mike Witous:
Its tight grip is the biggest thing that people under don’t understand is just how much harder it is or when you can’t really hook grip anything.

Jason Ackerman:
I was going to say, can you hook grip?

Mike Witous:
I kind of like do an opposite grip. Most people do their farm on top of their fingers or under underneath. I do it all over. And I guess, yeah, I can’t do it under it because I don’t know what it is, but I can’t reach it.

Jason Ackerman:
Every weekend we’re at a level one coaching on a level one or level two seminar. And we know when we keep when we coach the snatch. There’s inevitably someone that’s like I have tiny hands and I’m like, look at mine. I hook grip you have to hook grip, you know, so I can empathize with that. Is there. You know, when I talk with Saudi and Logan, the challenge with the adaptive community and the adaptive workouts as there is is a limitless scaling options. It’s you know, it’s crazy, you know, for those listening to this episode of Go Back and listen to that. It’s like there are so many factors we don’t take into account. We you know, when you scale, it’s relatively easy. Drop the load, drop the reps, etc.. Adapting. I mean, Logan has one arm. He’s got one and he’s competing beside you. So has there ever been a talk of, hey, I could use a training bar or a female bar because of that?

Mike Witous:
It’s funny you brought that it up. My dad actually always tried to push my gym owner. Nick, you’re a.. He started to push him to have me use a woman or a trainer bar. And I’ve always I’ve always turned it down. I’ve also not seen like, I don’t know if it’s a comfort or not being used to it, but I haven’t seen any change in my lifts when I’ve tried it. I’ve tried deadlifting with a women’s bar before. And my one rap was no, but it may have actually been all worse because I was smaller. Like, I don’t know. Something to do with it being smaller was harder to hold out for me too. I think it’s just something to do with the like the grip and dereference even though it’s only like I was already doing a one. It’s just like to be able to hold it for for that time.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. Is that the open for years. Maybe I could use any bar and inevitably guys at the box. I’ll use the girl bar. It’s gonna be easier on me. And I’m like it doesn’t really. If you’re not used to training with it. And plus it’s kind of I give you the hand in your man card along with that.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. It’s like I had a little lady like.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, exactly.

Mike Witous:
Like you’re not doing the same thing as everyone else. You’re not. You should be comparing yourself to everyone else else’s here. And once again, I’m that competitive that I’m not somebody who would find a way to dumb it down for myself and do it even though it might be the martyr thing to do, or like it would benefit me to be able to go faster or. To me, it’s like in my head I’m like, Well. I am not doing the same as him, but I want a. I need to do it. Same way as they’re doing it.

Jason Ackerman:
So know these are some of the challenges. What do you what are some some of the advantages?

Mike Witous:
Oh, definitely squating. Anything like wallballs as much as they are difficult. I go to a different size, a different height and other people.

Jason Ackerman:
What height do you go to?

Mike Witous:
I go to the 7ft.

Jason Ackerman:
Do you think I should be going to 7ft at 5, 3?

Mike Witous:
The other differences. Since my arms are shorter pressing is not getting the same physics out of it.

Jason Ackerman:
Do you arms? Can you? How much higher? OK.

Mike Witous:
So when I when I when I do a one rep push presser, one rep jerk, the bar almost hits me in the head every time.

Jason Ackerman:
Because it’s barely clearing your head is what you’re saying.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. Bealry my arms when they have a bar and are barely going over my head.

Jason Ackerman:
So is that an advantage or disadvantage?

Mike Witous:
It’s a disadvantage in the fact that I have to think about it before I lift that I could knock myself out,.

Jason Ackerman:
But squatting in that range of motion is a bit shorter.

Mike Witous:
Oh yeah, it’s definitely it’s it’s shorter for that and it’s definitely a benefit. But it’s something that I. I have had to work out, too. I didn’t walk into Crossfit, with a 400 pound back squat. That’s what I think my one rep would. I mean, I do the first Crossfit, total the first. Then we did. It was like. Two eighty five or like that.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, that’s still a very strong first time squating.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. Yeah. It’s very strong. But have a lot of people think because of being shorter you can just walk it like up there.

Jason Ackerman:
I mean. For me, it’s always like whenever a workout that comes up, that’s it advantageous for a shorter person than I got squat, it’s deadlift, it’s Burprees so easy. I’m like, hey, dude, I still gotta go to tend to target. I sort of jump on his box, sets up to my chest. You know, there’s like this here. Yeah. That rowing wall workout was terrible. And, you know, I think with that being said, that’s true for all sizes. Right. If you’re if you’re too tall, you’re gonna have some disadvantages. And that’s why at the Games, the athletes all tend to look about the same, but all about the same height. So. How did you come up with seven feet for the Wall Ball target?

Mike Witous:
I actually asked Saudi for when the Wodapalooza online qualifier online challenge. We’ve been trying to figure out what the the standard for for the little people is because because of the fact that Like and my legs also are are are shorter. I don’t get as much momentum out of my arms or legs. The wind throwing a wallball. I have to go down to a high. It’s a. Ten or twelve pound ball to get up to ten feet. And I can get 14 up to eight or 9 and adaptive all typically always use 14. So they have me they have me go. Or was it a I don’t know.

Jason Ackerman:
What height it’s. Are you the tester, though? Basically firm for a little people?

Mike Witous:
Yeah. I know there’s been some women who have done it. But I believe they were doing a scaled scale women’s. And so they weren’t able to make real. To really put a. A true standard out there. And then now, since I’m like the first men’s RX adaptive this, that they had that there. OK, well, we need to go the standard. And part of the issue in getting other little people, guys to do it is they’re also competitive just like me. A little bit, though, that short man syndrome. We’re like, oh, we’re we’re all super competitive and want to be the best at everything. But. They the standards that are being we’re putting out there. They’re thinking about. It’s like something that I just like was good at. Naturally. And like I haven’t worked on. And so getting other little people that I go, I’d have to change my my training to even start doing Crossfit, as it then do it. Start doing that if you. If we want to try to get a division someday or get a competition somewhere someday, they have a little person division or something like that. You’d need to do it.

Jason Ackerman:
And here you’ve been you’re basically the ambassador for us, a division within the sport. Yeah. It means that your goal would you like to see that and want to bluesier the games I got? You know, there’s the thirty five to thirty nine year olds over there. And then there’s that, you know, little people over there not I mean and I’m not saying.

Mike Witous:
No, no, no, no, no, no. Yeah, yeah. Little people or even just the adaptive skills. Especially the way I like to me it makes sense. The way Crossfitters going across the games and how they’re trying to open up to everyone with the way in a format. It makes sense for them, adaptive division.

Jason Ackerman:
Oh, I think I think it’s it’s going to happen. Yeah. I mean, you know, I think Saudi and I talked about it’s kind of like the Paralympics, like maybe it’ll roll in the next week and, you know, be very similar to what went down at the games. I think that’s great. Who’s fitter? You are? Logan.

Mike Witous:
Logan.

Jason Ackerman:
Is that true? You think so? I just guy to catch you off guard.

Mike Witous:
Oh, yeah, he is. I’m still a work in progress as far as the fight against those guys. Those guys, I’ve been doing a little bit longer than I have and I’m still so good in the finer things. Polished.

Jason Ackerman:
And there are times when, you know, you compete and say at Wodpalooza or any given qualify word specifically adapted, not at your typical box. And you, based on what the adaptations were, you think to yourself that was unfair and not just against you. Maybe the other way as well.

Mike Witous:
Yeah, like. Like this open the WheelWod games and that’s how he puts on. They had like thruster workouts. That was the games for the open. We get the Crossfit, games open. I think this was a.

Jason Ackerman:
Thruster chest bar.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. For the depth of it. Its thrusters and Pull-Ups. I think my time ended up being two or three months faster than ever. Second place and I was like. I shouldn’t have been doing that weight, I should have been doing ninety five and like because they lowered they lowered us all to like seventy five or 80. I don’t remember what it was, but the way with the lower than what it was in the open and it went from just the bars to pull ups. Becuase we did chest to bar instead of muscle up the week before and. I was like I was like, I’m going to blow this one out of the water and rember Sandi Even ask me. Like a. on Instagram like, is your time right? As it is like, wow, you did really well in those, I guess. Thruster are kind of my thing.

Jason Ackerman:
Even though even though despite the overhead that we talked about.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. It thrusters. It’s more what I’m going to have heavier ever, they’re nice like that. Just the natural light, kind of like your shoulders going to go down a little lower than typical when you’re moving.

Jason Ackerman:
That makes sense. So in that scenario, does Logan did this Logan have to do a barbell or is he using a dumbbell?

Mike Witous:
I believe he uses a barbell because he’s got some.

Jason Ackerman:
That’s crazy. I don’t know Logan. He’s literally had like. Maybe we didn’t make his one arm like a.

Mike Witous:
It’s like one arm.

Jason Ackerman:
He’s the example where it’s like all. You’re feeling sorry for yourself today. OK, go look at Logan like the dude snatching 135 with one arm.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. And then there’s like the other way. It would be like the beach run for Wodapalooza.

Jason Ackerman:
Did you do that? You guys all did that as well?

Mike Witous:
We did it. We had to do the 5K and. Me running a 5k, I’m not going to be anyone whose legs are longer than mine.

Jason Ackerman:
So how did you come in last in that event?

Mike Witous:
Yes, I did.

Jason Ackerman:
Not to mention there are probably times where you were under the water because it wasn’t very deep.

Mike Witous:
Oh, yeah. I had to swim that part. Yeah. And I think the first time I went in the water, I swallowed. And so on my way back I found a palm tree. Yackee A little. That was a lovely experience for workout number one.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, that was I was not I think I wasn’t last, but I was pretty you low in the back of that workout D. Do you have muscle ups?

Mike Witous:
I do not have muscle ups yet It’s one of those things also that it’s just like like I always have to go for sit-ups also because of the type of dwarfism I have. My upper body. So from my waist up is the same size as somebody who’s advertize. So if I’m sitting next to you, I’ll be the same height as you do.

Jason Ackerman:
Your torso is like a typical height. Yeah. Typical lenght measured by your legs and arms. You’re smaller. Yeah. Same. Good. Topple. You would topple over.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. So trying to trying to do a muscle up and throwing your upper body up. It’s like you don’t get the leg momentum from it. So I’m getting there. It’s been a work in progress but it’s the same thing. Yeah. I guess I’d like sit-ups like I have to anchor for it is. My legs don’t have the weight on that end of my body to hold. My life is down, so I’ll like up against the rag and plant my feet up to the side that Rig or just grab a dumbbell.

Jason Ackerman:
So you you mentioned earlier, you go a nick, your anchors, Jim. Has that been beneficial in your programming for those that don’t know Nick? I mean, multi time. I think he qualified this year in the Masters.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. He’s got to thirty five thirty nine division this year. The format changes. Like I just want to figure out how this all works. I’ll just do a masters.

Jason Ackerman:
I think it’s a two time games athlete and then this year you made it as a masters. I think second place going into it. So he’s he’s getting ready to go. Are you going to be at the games as well?

Mike Witous:
I won’t because I actually just started a the job and I don’t have a whole lot to take that much time off. And so crude it.

Jason Ackerman:
Has nicks, you know, being in the next block puts the name in the box.

Mike Witous:
Yes. 2 0 6 1 and Crossfit, 5, 7, 4.

Jason Ackerman:
So does training under someone who is so fit in such a well respected athlete help you develop as an athlete?

Mike Witous:
Oh, definitely does. I’d say that’s definitely one of things that also motivated me early on and still does was having that to like having I look up to you and I go, I want to be like that. I want to be that shit like I am. Everyone wants to be fit. But then it’s also the putting in the work and realizing all the time he puts on and seeing all the time he puts. And it’s ridiculous. But yeah, it’s definitely it’s definitely pushed me. My motivation for sure.

Jason Ackerman:
Does your does your wife do Crossfit,?

Mike Witous:
She does she actually started back up doing the local gym 574, has a boot camp class for women. Crossfit, elements and stuff basically. And she does that with a bunch of other ladies there. And one of the Crossfit, instructors puts it on it. They say, just. Like for everyone, who scared of bar or nothing else, it’s more just like low weights. So she enjoys it and I miss having her in the classes with me because I was always fun but didn’t beat her. She beat me. Oh, my God. I was never live that down.

Jason Ackerman:
Are you? It seems to me like you’re very afraid of your wife. Every time I mention her, you look towards the door. Make sure she’s not nearby. And that’s something you’re going to say no.

Mike Witous:
Well, she’s a severable, a very little Italian woman, but you just have to be afraid of. She might have a wooden spoon.

Jason Ackerman:
She’s from New England

Mike Witous:
Yeah, she was born born in New York, but raised in Rhode Island.

Jason Ackerman:
Oh, cool. do you know what part of New York she’s from? Born i mean.

Mike Witous:
She was she was born on the Long Island power, but she’s actually adopted. So does her family adopter. Rhode Island.

Jason Ackerman:
That’s cool. So her parents. Obviously similar. The doctors were like, no, you gotta you gotta do something with her. Send her to the circus and you guys. And then she had smarter people come along and take care of her, which is awesome. I can ask you some questions. What if you had a song to introduce you coming into that? The next competition to do? What’s your theme song?

Mike Witous:
That is a good question. I. I don’t listen to the music, and after listening, well, I wouldn’t say one describes me. I listen to a lot of just like. Punk band or my genres are all over and they sound weird if I actually listen to country music and then I’ll go listen to like Tupac and Biggie. I don’t know. I always have this memorized for wrestling. What I would do if we had a walkout for wrestling.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, you got a walk out song. You are a big fan of Vision Quest.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. I always wanted to come out in a polo shirt like the coach and rock a singlet over it.

Jason Ackerman:
I got to. Wait, when you think about successful, who comes to mind?

Mike Witous:
Successful. Like traits or actual people.

Jason Ackerman:
Just in general. A person>

Mike Witous:
I think of my parents, I think of. Obviously, Michael Jordan and other athletes.

Jason Ackerman:
You to go to the basketball player, is that right?

Mike Witous:
Oh, my God, I loved basketball , I was a grew up in an outside outside of Chicago, South Bend, Indiana.

Jason Ackerman:
But you’re going to go to Jordan overburdened. Isn’t it good being an Indiana boy?

Mike Witous:
Oh, yeah. I grew up in that Jordan area. That’s where from Chicago. So I I told them was that I wanted to be in the NBA and they had the hard conversation. And they that people under the five foot typically have a really hard time, people under six that have a hard time as well.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, it was hard when they were like, look at Mikey, you can do anything but the NBA city and NBA is far. That was you know, when I was a kid, I loved basketball. Mugsy Bogues was like 5’3. And he can do it. I can do it. Muggsy Bogues can dunk. I can’t dunk.

Mike Witous:
Yeah, I suppose there’s an athletic freak, too.

Jason Ackerman:
Did your parents ever have to have that kind of sit down? Is it like, hey, you know, at what point is it when you’re growing up? We’re like, all right. I’m a little bit different than most of the kids in the class. You said you didn’t mean another little person till you were 18 years old.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. I’d say they started, haven’t they? The only time they really had a conversation, whether they truly told me that like I can’t do something was when I was trying to continue on playing football, going into high school. Yeah, I wanted to do that. I wanted to sign up.

Mike Witous:
And they said, no, we already had this argument and this promise when you did it and third, fifth grade and then you promised from sixth the 8th grade that you would be done after eighth grade. We’re not doing this again. Like the guys are seriously getting much bigger than you and you’re trying to play a defensive and offensive line like it’s not.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. Maybe if he’s in a maybe a running back by you. You got to get off that line. Where did you where did you meet your wife?

Mike Witous:
We actually met, actually. Friended her on Facebook. At first . We had mutual friends that were low people. And so we actually are out in the Los Angeles convention and convention.

Jason Ackerman:
There’s a convention for a little people>

Mike Witous:
Yeah, there’s a there’s a convention and they it’s just like basically like this. They’ll bring doctors and stuff there so that you can get like me with specialists every year. If you if you need to. You can also have another organization that has an event that’s called Dietrick Play. It’s Dward Athletic Association of America. And they do soccer, basketball, all these things. And kids will form teams like that. I was on a team when I when I. Played for six years and. We actually won the World Dward Games in soccer and basketball, and so I’ve always had even competing against the Dwarf was something that was new to me at one point, and that was the craziest thing ever because of like I’m taller than some of these, you know, what is going on.

Jason Ackerman:
All of a sudden it’s an even playing field. I would imagine if like a typical size person was in town not knowing there was this convention and you guys all walked out at the same time, they’d be like, what is happening? What is going on here?

Mike Witous:
You definitely get some looks like, yeah, you’ll get a group of ten to fifteen to twenty people walking down the street going get to go to dinner somewhere. And it’s like why are there fifteen little people walking know like this is I’m getting past like what’s going on. Whereas like. Yeah. Because you don’t see that. Like even if you, even if you see a family of Dwarfs like that. Now I have my own like the three of us would be like out of or out of the area. This is that’s shredding and think of that. Like any time the three of you bail out.

Jason Ackerman:
How old’s your son is a year and four months.

Jason Ackerman:
So, I mean, there’s probably like I know you guys know, say like, well, it you know, by the time he’s walking to three years old. Is that something you’re looking forward to? Or nervous about having conversations with him like your father did with you?

Mike Witous:
I’m excited for it because I don’t see having really any issues like my mom always used to say, she’s like, you’re growing up in the best time for her to be a little person. She’s like, literally, you can turn on the TV and there’s TV shows about it.

Jason Ackerman:
That’s true. I mean, there there’s all the shows on like Lifetime. And then and I’m not a Game of Thrones fan, but I know. There’s the guy on game with the don’t know his name.

Mike Witous:
Peter Dinklage,.

Jason Ackerman:
Did you know him because you like Game of Thrones or because he’s like the most famous little person?

Mike Witous:
Oh, I. I just know him as an actor who he is.

Jason Ackerman:
And he’s like, I go to a little person.

Mike Witous:
Yeah, that Tyrion plays. I actually really don’t even ever watch it. But I just I’ve never I haven’t even finished the first season.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, it’s one of those things where I was like, I can’t even get involved in this. He was on late. I used to like Seinfeld when I grew up and there was a little person I I don’t know if it was him or not, but I want to say, like he’s kind of good. You know, this, you know, we’re talking about.

Mike Witous:
Yeah, I know who he is. I can’t remember his name.

Jason Ackerman:
Micky was his name on the show?

Mike Witous:
Mickey Yeah, yeah, yeah. He would have stayed with us in real life.

Jason Ackerman:
So do you have your level one for Crossfit,?

Mike Witous:
I do not. I do not. I’ve been wanting to get it because I want to start programming for other little people to just start giving them at least introduced and acclimated to it. And just. If they’re too afraid to go into a box, which. I know people are afraid to go to a new gym, regardless of if it’s about them or if it’s a Crossfit, gym or if it’s a one planet fitness to the next Pan-Africanist, whatever it is that they go to. I like it. Just to give them like, here, try this workout. This is what Crossfit, is. This is how well adapted for a little people. These are this is the way I do this. This is a way you can do it also like ghc sit ups like me and Nick one day thought like, OK, well, there’s no real defined how far back should you go? So we just threw a box like a box the box down behind me and I say, OK, go back into your hands, hit it and then with your hands in it, then sit up. And so it’s like you have it you have a standard that and you’d know how far to go. And so it’s just like those things that I read. I really want to get into that so that I can just like please leave my mark for other little people to know that they can. They don’t have to be OK with being afraid of fitness or thinking fitness results, in fact. There is the fitness is the reason people have back injuries and because of because of the spinal issues with so many people are afraid that workout in a little community.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. And actually healed. You mean from going from not being able to wrestling to being able to compete on the biggest stage in the adaptive community. And what a great niche you can have him. All little people to get involved and to check that out should definitely be putting it out there. And I certainly recommend hitting your level one. And by the way, there is a standard for the GHC which you would learn at your level one, and that is you have to maintain your midline stabilization so you can go back as far as you can so long as you maintain that neutral spine, which means shoulder below the. People overdo it. I always tell people, look, I go for the ground because I have an ego. But really, it’s as far as you can go while maintaining your mid-line. So a little knowledge dropped on this episode.

Mike Witous:
That’s that’s good to know. I know that now.

Jason Ackerman:
I always like to ask every guest if you have a book that you recommend.

Mike Witous:
I’d say the books that I read the most growing up was actually a book called No Excuses by Kyle Maynard.

Jason Ackerman:
Kyle Maynard is a stud. Yeah. Talking about wrestling. Yeah.

Mike Witous:
Yeah. One of the biggest things that ever got me fired up about wrestling. I believe he’s actually from Indiana. But then I moved to Tennessee or somewhere in this family. So like I like related to that so much being like isn’t only Kid this family was that he played football and a wrestler and then a he and a family fight ending.

Jason Ackerman:
Kyle Maynard. For those that don’t know, not only I suppose I don’t is he classified as a little person? Because he really he has no he he has no limbs, but he’s missing parts of all of his legs.

Mike Witous:
He’s like a quadriplegic. He’s got limbs. But they’re I don’t know what their classification was.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. But he he’s he’s a big time Crossfitters.

Mike Witous:
Yeah, it definitely was a big motivator that I aspired to be like that. Definitely. I hated it as a kid and I think I read that book prize six or seven times then.

Jason Ackerman:
That’s really good. I mean, and what’s really cool to me is, you know, you you see someone like Kyle and you looked up to him. And now I think you will be the same for many people getting involved in Crossfit,. So that’s really awesome. It’s motivating for me. I mean, I remember when I saw a lot of please, I was like, I want to talk to that guy. And now I want to beat you in a workout with a seven foot wall ball target. And you have a wrestling match after that.

Mike Witous:
I’ll do it.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, it’s been really awesome, dog. Mike, is there anything I missed you wanted to share with with those listening?

Mike Witous:
Now, just if you ever have questions about myself or a dwarfism or anything, just I always feel free to reach out to me on my Instagram and a big flat out. I’m always open to. Educating or helping people learn more about dwarfism Crossfit,.

Jason Ackerman:
I think that’s important. As Crossfit, growing, you know, if you’re a boxer and are listening, you’re going to have a little person come into your box, you know, and and you need to be ready. So what a great resource to have. We appreciate that, Mikey. I’d love to have your wife pop on for a minute, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Mike Witous:
So she’s taking care of our son right now.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, I’ll let you about that. Well, it’s been a real pleasure talking to you. And I look forward to seeing you at the next competition.

Mike Witous:
Sounds good. See you then

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