Michael Paas


I have had a love for sport and competition for as long as I can remember.  Growing up I was involved in sports year round. In high school I was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball, and baseball. I continued my athletic career into college, playing football for Hope College for four years. When spring of my fourth year came around and I no longer had football to train for, I decided to try track and field and enjoyed it enough that I competed again during my fifth year while finishing my degree. The challenge of learning and training for a number of events rather than just one kept every day interesting – sprints, jumps, pole vault, shot put, javelin.

In the years after completing my BA in exercise science and psychology at Hope, I continued to pursue several athletic endeavors. I played for the West Michigan Force semi-professional football team based out of Grand Rapids, winning our league in 2012 and earning a spot in a national championship bowl game in Florida. I threw javelin at occasional open meets and enjoyed running, having completed many 5K races, the 25K Riverbank run, and various obstacle races. I also played as much men’s league softball as I could fit in during the summer, whether it was slow or fast pitch. Participating in these activities at the same time at a competitive level required a dedicated and varied training program. I shied away from the typical general fitness protocol of machine weights and moderate cardio and was instead throwing several types of training in a blender and writing my own programming. Speed and agility drills, plyometrics, Olympic and powerlifting, body weight workouts, distance running, biking, and whatever else I came up with. In the fall of 2011, I stumbled across CrossFit and found that there was an entire community of people doing the same things and have been an advocate ever since.

In the spring of 2012, I joined the 8th Day community and was given the opportunity to begin assisting others in their fitness journeys as a coach, while continuing to progress in my own journey as an athlete. I managed to convince my girlfriend at the time, Heather, to give CrossFit a try that year (I also managed to convince her to marry me). In 2013 we were able to compete together at the CrossFit Games regional competition as members of the 8th Day team (and since then again in 2015). We became part of another CrossFit community from Spring of 2013 to Spring of 2014, as I worked as the Head CrossFit Coach at a northern Illinois CrossFit gym. Being in charge of coaching, class programming, and developing and implementing a competition program during this time continued my growth as a coach, and my passion for CrossFit grew as well.

I genuinely believe that 8th Day Gym is a special place, and I’m thankful for having the privilege of doing what I love to do everyday.