Raising the bar on what it means to be a hungry athlete, Mike Lugo shares the story behind his first muscle-up and motivation to fuel the fire for those around him.

What is your story?

Originally I grew up in New Jersey and spent the better portion of my childhood with my two brothers playing ice hockey up and down the East Coast. My folks decided to transition to the south and settled in Myrtle Beach. 

Without any ice and yearning for a passion to fill that void, I stumbled upon medicine. The intellectual puzzle coupled with the ability to influence countless people’s lives continues to fuel me. 

My journey took me to the University of Texas to study Neuroscience and Biology then to St. Louis where I did clinical research in brain connectivity and Williams Syndrome. These different stops provided foundational influence on my life including re-connecting with my now wife (and elementary and middle school classmate), Meredith, and figuring the type of physician I intend to become. 

I moved back to Charleton, SC with Mere to start medical school at MUSC. This past May I graduated medical school, in June we got married in front of all our friends and family at Middleton Place, and in July I started my Pediatrics residency at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). 

Michael Lugo at Rhapsody CrossFit in Charleston, SC.

What brought you to Rhapsody CrossFit?

I was hooked on CrossFit after a “trial run” when I went back to Myrtle Beach for a month-long rotation. When I came back home to Charleston and tried to workout at MUSC, which I was doing previously, it just wasn’t the same. 

I missed the camaraderie, the intensity, the variety and just that feeling of embracing and enduring a WOD together. A simple “CrossFit Charleston” Google search brought Rhapsody CrossFit into my life. 

I will NEVER forget the first workout. Paired up with the one and only, Alan Shaw, we carried (slogged?) a 35 lbs. plate for three rounds of an 800m partner run. The July Charleston heat beat us down but getting through it TOGETHER (with Alan’s fantastic commentary) filled that void. 

I remember leaving the gym with Meredith and telling her how I didn’t want it to end and wanted to do something else. Once I knew I was sticking around Charleston for my residency training, I responded to one of Alan’s many check-in texts and came back to Rhapsody – now I don’t have any plans on leaving. 

What have you gotten out of your experience with Rhapsody?

Rhapsody provided a family I never anticipated. The community, support and overall hell-of-a-great time is why I keep coming back. 

There are two truly definitive moments of this experience for me – 20.3 and 20.5. In 20.3, for 9.5 minutes I failed to do a single HSPU. As I failed rep after rep, I had Alan, Liz, Stan, Jenn and Keith all standing right next to me continuing to encourage and trying to help me just kept me going.

Fast forward two weeks later to 20.5 and its inevitable muscle-ups. I had never done a muscle up and failed every attempt for MONTHS including the first two minutes of the muscle-up portion of the workout. Then, just like they showed up for me in 20.3, the Rhapsody squad was behind me – Gina, Eileen, Liz, Zak, Caitlin, Joey, Owen and more cheering me on. 

Then, out of nowhere, I did it – my first muscle-up! The eruption in the gym was electric. I’ll never forget it. Motivated by the reaction, I managed to get six more muscle-ups with each rep got more cheers and applause than the previous one. 

When I think of my Rhapsody experience, I think of the family around me that’s there for me in failure, success and for all the incredible moments in between.

To the Rhapsody community, you are a prime example of what it means to be hungry – tell me about that drive to be better and what motivates you?

I believe that there is always another level to what we are capable of whether that be in CrossFit, our professional lives or our relationships/friendships. While that potential to be better provides ample motivation, the idea that the work I do could motivate or influence others to push themselves to a “new level” is truly what excites and fuels me. 

Having that hungry, hardest worker in the room mentality sets the tone and opens the door for others to do the same. If I can spark that change for the better in everyone I come in contact with, including my family, friends or patients, then I know I have made a difference in this world.

Fuel your fire! Join Mike and the rest of the Rhapsody community for a free class today!

“When I think of my Rhapsody experience, I think of the family around me that’s there for me in failure, success and for all the incredible moments in between.”