Many of you know of Michael Lovato as this witty, funny, super-fast, pro triathlete. However, he hasn’t always been that way. Before claiming 3 ironman wins, 3 top-ten finishes in Kona, 3 national championships and too many 70.3 wins to count, ML had kept himself busy in his early years dabbling in many sports and activities claiming to be a Jack of All Trades but a Master of None.
Michael, husband to Amanda and father to Valentine is now 41 years old. He was born in the 70’s and raised in the 80’s. He was brought up during the Atari era but never gave in to the gamer lifestyle. ML was always outside playing, whether it was pedaling dirt bikes, running or swimming, but he was always staying active. Michael rode his bike everywhere and even tried to become a competitive mountain biker for some time. His first love in sports was soccer at age 5 and he continued to play until 18. During those years, ML played in many other sports including water polo, gymnastics, basketball and baseball; however, his main focus was on soccer, swimming and track and field.
After Michael’s high school years, he decided to go a different route than team sports and start working on ways to impress the girls. He began a rigorous weight training routine his freshman year of college in hopes that, that would do the trick. During that year of body sculpting, he had discovered triathlon and from that point on he had found his next challenge. Michael said that he ditched the dumbbells and squat racks for a speedo and aero-bars.
Michael Lovato was a really successful triathlete. Not only did he have talent, but also he put in many hours of hard work throughout his15 years as a professional triathlete. What he learned from his upbringing, especially with sports, is that hard work would trump anything. Aside from hard work, he said that commitment to the task at hand and some camaraderie to stay motivated were also key components that he had learned from his involvement in team and individual sports. ML had two major inspirations that taught him valuable lessons. He believes these two people helped him make a living through the sport of triathlon. A special shout out to these motivators of his sporting past are his water polo coach from when he was 12 years old and his high school soccer coaches. All in all, it was his very well rounded development that helped make him the successful triathlete that we all know.
Michael has been a part of the innovation that we all take advantage of today in triathlon. First Endurance has actively sponsored him for 11 years. During those years, he has helped formulate their products into one of the highest quality sports nutrition brands on the market. Even though ML is not currently racing, he made relationships with many amazing companies, which were established 10-12 years ago, and hose relationships are still in place today. Michael said he performed best in races that were hot, humid, windy, and island races. These types of races included Hawaii Ironman, St. Croix triathlon and Ironman Cozumel. He said that he didn’t always fare well at those races but the challenge of them kept him going year after year, not to mention that they are all great islands to visit!
I want all the beginner triathletes reading this, to know that you don’t need to come from a swim, bike or run background. Although many professionals have been raised with that type of history, Michael has proven that the focus is on hard work and a well-rounded development. Michael said that you should enjoy the process of advancing in triathlon; focusing too much on the external woes and drawbacks to the sport will really detract from building a long and successful career. ML, in his demeanor that we all enjoy, said he doesn’t want to sound like the old guy dispensing unsolicited advice from his front porch. With that said ML believes that you should be working hard yet still having fun, always remembering that the friendships, the relationships, and the memories that you encounter, are what will help you endure that test of time. The trophies and race wins drift away, but the experiences last a lifetime.