“Fitness freedom” doesn’t always mean working out at some far-off location like the beach or a hiking trail. Most of the time it’s a matter of pure practicality – having the ability to get in a great workout at home.
What makes Undersun a true lifestyle brand is that it accommodates all lifestyles. Take Undersun Tribe member Micheal Boyd. The 29-year-old’s lifestyle involves holding down a full-time job as a deputy sheriff in San Diego, while also having two young children at home (ages 1 and 6). In other words, he’s living a typical busy life like the rest of us.
You think there’s time in his schedule to bolt off to the gym for an hour or more, five days a week? No way. Micheal needs his gym to be in his living room and backyard, and a set of Undersun resistance bands makes that easy.
But this doesn’t mean he has to trade results for freedom. Micheal is living proof that even the loftiest mass-gaining goals can be achieved at home without a single dumbbell, barbell, or machine. In the past two years, he’s packed on nearly 40 pounds of lean muscle with Undersun bands as his only equipment. Yes, 40 pounds!
In this debut installment of Undersun’s Real Life Review Q&A series, Micheal tells Undersun founder James Grage how he manages to make career, family, and fitness all work in harmony. (Video embedded below, followed by a transcript of the interview, edited for brevity and clarity.)
More Undersun Tribe member interviews are coming soon – maybe you’ll be the next one!
James Grage: Micheal, you’ve physically transformed almost entirely with Undersun bands and doing the TA2 programs. I don’t think people can really appreciate where you’re at now until they understand where you’ve come from in this journey over the past couple years. So, give us a little backstory of who you are and what your life is like.
Micheal Boyd: A lot of people know me as bod.by.boyd on Instagram. I’ve been in fitness for, I would say, 10 years. I started back in high school. I ran track and cross country, so I did a lot of calisthenics work. And then, I moved into just doing strictly calisthenics after I finished running track. And then after that, I decided that I wanted something more. I wanted to build muscle, but to do so conveniently and effectively. And that’s how I ran into Undersun.
JG: You told me once before that you trained with dumbbells briefly at home but didn’t like it, so you started doing calisthenics training, and then you moved to bands. What was that transition like going from calisthenics to bands? Because I saw a massive transformation from the time you started with bands to now.
MB: You’re right. I did dumbbells for like six months… maybe seven years ago. And I just didn’t like it, because it limited me on how I could work out and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. And I did move into strictly calisthenics, which I love. I love body weight movements – push-ups, dips, pull-ups, all that good stuff. But for me, I wanted to get bigger. It was easy to get cut with calisthenics, but getting bigger was the hard part for me, because I’m a “slow gainer.” It was hard for me to gain muscle. So that’s when I started looking for different things… and I saw your YouTube videos on resistance bands.
This was before Undersun came out, and you were just throwing out the videos on how to use bands. I looked on Amazon and bought an off-brand set of resistance bands, and I started using them and seeing results. And then shortly after that, I started using Undersun bands. I liked the quality of the bands and the effectiveness of the workouts, especially TA2 Build… just mind-blowing. I started at like 145 pounds, and now I’m up to 180, so clearly a big difference.
JG: That’s impressive! People always ask me how bands stack up against free weights. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s gained almost 40 pounds of muscle in two years using weights. And you did it with bands!
MB: Yeah, it’s impressive. And that’s what got me really sold [on bands] – when I started gaining that muscle mass. Like I said, it’s hard for me to gain muscle. I look back at pictures of me from two, three, four years ago, and it’s mind-boggling to me how skinny I used to be and how I look now. The bands have really played a vital role in being able to get me to where I want to be and continue to propel me.
JG: What drew you to resistance band training at home? Why is it that you’ve never gone to a gym?
MB: I didn’t go to the gym because for me it was pretty inconvenient. The way my schedule works is, I work 12½-hour shifts, so it’s literally half the day. After working that long, you get off work, you really don’t feel like going to the gym. And I have a family – two young kids and a significant other. So it’s very hard to find that time to go to the gym. With the bands, it makes it a lot more convenient and it really eliminates the excuse. When you have the gym, there’s the time you have to take to drive to the gym, and then you have to work out, and then you have to drive back home. With bands, I just wake up a little bit earlier and work out before work. I usually do 30 to 45 minutes, tops. That’s all I need. It just comes down to the effectiveness and the convenience of it.
JG: So, you’ve gained 40 pounds of muscle. Tell me how that feels – the overall strength and conditioning, core strength and stability, functional strength that translates into sports, etc. Overall, how do you feel now?
MB: To be honest, I feel amazing. It’s hard to look back [at two years ago], because back then I felt scrawny and weak and not as confident. But now I feel really strong. I feel like I can accomplish a lot. My core has gotten really strong, because a lot of the movements, TA2 Build, and just using bands, period, requires you to use your core. And it requires you to stabilize yourself with your legs. You’re actively engaging more muscles than you normally would if you’re going to the gym.
Back when I was just doing calisthenics, I felt strong with certain movements, like push-ups, dips, and pull-ups. But overall strength doesn’t compare to how I feel now, because you have the variable resistance from the bands. You’re able to overload the muscles a lot better with bands. You’re able to get that pump a lot more. I just feel overall a lot stronger. And I feel more confident, too. Like I said, going from 145 to 180 just gives you that confidence boost and… you just feel good.
JG: What advice would you give someone who’s contemplating using bands? Maybe they’ve been struggling trying to reach their fitness goals. I mean, let’s face it… January rolls around and everyone starts into their fitness goals with New Year’s Resolutions. By February or March, everyone’s fallen off. Do you have any advice for these people?
MB: I would say consistency is the key when it comes to working out. With bands, it makes it easier to be consistent, because there’s really no excuse. You have the convenience of working out at home… or wherever you want. So for me, it’s just consistency.
This is what I tell people: If you take all the workouts you’ve done up until this point, and you take away one workout, you probably wouldn’t notice a difference. You take away two or three, you probably still wouldn’t notice a difference. But you take away 10, 12, 15 workouts, then you’ll probably start seeing a difference. Don’t skip workouts. Be consistent, give it your all. There’s no point of working out and giving it 50%. You might as well give it 110%. You’re only working out for 45 minutes to an hour. Just leave it all out there and you’ll see results for sure.
JG: Last question. What does “fitness freedom” mean to you?
MB: It just means having the ability to work out whenever you want, however you want, and not having any restrictions or limitations. I went to Florida a couple of years ago, and I had just gotten my Undersun bands. I don’t like missing workouts, and because I had my bands, I was able to pack them in my carry-on bag on the plane. I didn’t miss a workout. That’s really what it is for me: not having those restrictions or limitations and just being able to get that good quality workout wherever I go.
Join Micheal and be part of the Undersun Fitness Tribe. In our private (free) Facebook group, everyone encourages and supports each other along the journey of using Undersun resistance bands and TA2 training programs. In the Tribe, you’ll get advice on how to perform band exercises and workouts, but more importantly, you’ll have a support system of people just like you trying to get better and experiencing true fitness freedom.