Get Fit With The Unit

If you've followed The Big Unit, Bill Michaels, you know that he's not as "BIG" anymore.
On November 12th, 2002 Bill Michaels weighed an astounding 412 pounds.  His waist was at 52" and he was wearing a 5X shirt. 
Today, Bill weighs 264 (11 pounds below his orignal goal of 275), has a 36" waist and wears a XXL Shirt.

Bill continues to work out 5 to 6 times a week, at the WISCONSIN ATHLETIC CLUB in WAUKESHA, and has started adding heavier weights to his workout regiment.  While he's slimmed down, he's starting to bulk up to get that toned, muscular body that he's always wanted. 

Below, Bill shares his tips for diet and his exercise routine.  Hopefully, if you need to make a change, you'll take a look at Bill's before and after pictures below and gain some inspiration.

Bill Michaels, The Big Unit, works out at the Wisconsin Athletci Club.
Bill writes, "Without the Wisconsin Athletic Club and the great people that work there, I could never have reached my weight and fitness goals.  I, literally, owe my life to the WAC."



First and foremost...SET A GOAL!!

Here's a few guidelines:

  • Do not eat after 8 p.m.
  • Drink at least 48 oz. of water a day. (Bottled water tastes best to me)
  • Allow yourself the foods that you enjoy, just remember....moderation.
  • I allow myself 1 day a week as sort of a "cheat day"...but again....moderation.
  • If you do drink soda, stay away from "DIET" soda. The chemical Aspertane can actually increase your appetite.
  • If you have the opportunity, take a 10 - 15 minute walk after dinner (or some other type of aerobic activity). 
  • This will increase your metabolism while your body is at rest in the evening.
  • Try to stay well rested. Try to get to bed early at least 2 - 3 nights a week. 
  • This way your body will feel rejuvenated and you will notice an increase in energy.



Here are some items that you SHOULD TRY TO AVOID:

* Margarine  * Whole milk  * Shortening  * Mayo / Salad Dressing

* American Cheese  * Ground Beef  * Low Fat Milk  * Eggs

* Vanilla Ice Cream  * Shell Fish  * Diet Soda


Here's some suggestions that you SHOULD FOLLOW throughout the day:

  • Fuel your muscles early in the day to increase your metabolism. (I find that I get maximum weight loss when I eat small meals, frequently, throughout the day)
  • Consume most of your calories early in the day.
  • Eat higher caloric foods early in the day.
  • Treat yourself, at times, to small portions of your favorite forbidden foods.
  • Craving sugar may mean you are not eating enough protein and carbs throughout the day.
  • Special order "low fat" at restaurants (watch out, Low Fat sometimes means High Carbs and that's not good either) Use tomato broth and wine based sauces instead of high fat gravy, cream and cheese sauces.
  • Use fruits and veggies as munchies. (I eat a lot of oranges, carrots, celery and apples)
  • Do NOT eat FEWER than 1000 calories a day. Your body will slip into starvation mode and will not release the fat cells that you need to burn to lose weight.


Make CHANGES in your food intake:


  • Skim Milk vs. Low Fat Milk (2% or 1%)
  • Low Fat Jelly vs. Butter
  • Mustard vs. Mayo
  • Non Fat Frozen Yogurt vs. Ice Cream
  • Skinless Turkey or Chicken (Grilled vs. Fried…that's obvious)
  • Water vs. Soda


This is the tough part………Try to stay away from foods that are high in carbohydrates and starches but don't deprive yourself totally. (Breads, Pastas, Rice, Cakes, Cookies, Chips, Crackers, Tortillas, potatoes, ect.)



The following are complex carbs, proteins and fibrous veggies that will help you get started on your road to healthier eating:


* Potatoes * Egg Whites * Asparagus * Chicken * Lima Beans * Ground Turkey          

* Black Eyed Peas * Green Beans * Turkey * Corn * Broccoli * Lean Ground Beef * Lentils 

* Brussel Sprouts * Tuna * Oatmeal * Cabbage * Salmon * Peas 

* Carrots * Scallops * Cauliflower * Brown Rice * Cucumbers * Egg Plant 

* Fish (Cold Water) * Sweet Potatoes * Yams * Lettuce * Yogurt (Low Fat) * Tomatoes 

* Red Peppers * Skim Milk * Shredded Wheat * Green Peppers * Spinach * Black Beans 

* Zucchini * Squash


A Typical Day In My "Dieting Life":


  • Scrambled eggs made with Egg Beaters
  • 1 8oz. glass of orange juice
  • 1 8oz. glass of water
  • ½ of a navel orange or grapefruit

Early Snack:

  • A few baby carrots or celery with a little peanut butter
  • 1 8oz. glass of water or skim milk


  • Low fat tuna salad with some apple slices
  • 1 8oz. glass of water or orange juice


  • Baked or grilled chicken (The George Foreman Grill works great for this)
  • ½ a baked potato
  • green beans or corn
  • 1 8oz. glass of skim milk or water



On a "Cheat Day" I would have some chili (no cheese), ½ rack of ribs, brat with no bun, a couple of hot dogs, steak, soups, tortilla club wrap with sliced turkey (coleslaw instead of fries), anything off of a deli tray with whole grain bread and mustard.

You see, it's not that difficult…..just remember, YOU'RE the one that has to be motivated to stick to this. Once you reach your ideal weight, you can resume your life with some moderation and physical fitness to maintain your ideal weight.

Also, a VERY helpful hint, keep a diary of everything you eat. You won't believe that amount of food you intake in one day. It will really make you think.

Good luck and believe me…..IF I CAN DO IT…..YOU CAN DO IT!


Here are a few links that I find helpful for fitness and dietary info:


The Big Unit's Workout


* With each set, increse the weight to a tolerable level unless otherwise specified
* With each cardio session requires 25-35 minutes with a heart rate of 135 or higher unless otherwise specified



  • Bench Press (4 sets / 1st set = 12-14 reps / Ther rest of the sets = 8-12 reps)
  • Incline Bench Press (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Decline Bench Press (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Dumbell Bench Flys (3 sets / 10-12 reps) *Concentrate on form*
  • Incline Bench Cable Flys (3 sets / 12 reps with one, tolerable weight)
  • Roman Chair (14 reps minimum)
  • Swiss Ball Side To Side Crunches (14 reps per. minimum)

Cardio - Spin Bike, Stair Climber, Eliptical Trainers


ARMS (Biceps & Triceps)

  • Curl Bar Free Weight (4 sets / 10-14 reps)
  • Dumbell Hammer Curls (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • One Arm Cable Curls *Alternating* (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Preacher Curls (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Iso. Dumbell Curls *Alternating* (3 sets / 1st two sets / 10-12 reps / 3rd set until burnout)
  • Tricep Rope Extension (4 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Overhead Tricep Rope Extension (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Dumbell Kick Back *Alternating* (3 sets / 10-12 reps) *Concentrate on form*
  • Dumbell Skull Crushers (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Dips (Weighted or free) (3 sets / 1st two sets / 10-12 reps / 3rd set until burnout)


  • 25 minutes tredmill (4.0 mph minimum)
  • 20 minutes eliptical




Cardio First - 35 minutes minimum

  • Leg Extension (4 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Hamstring Curl (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Squats or Leg Press Sled (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Dumbell Step Ups (3 sets / 12 steps each leg)
  • Weighted Calf Raises (4 sets / 12-14 reps)
  • **Hamstring Deadlift If Able** (3 sets with max weight and reps)
  • Incline Crunches (3 sets / 14 reps)
  • Inclince or Swiss Ball Side Raises (2 sets per side / 14 reps)




  • Weighted or Free Pull Ups (4 sets / 10-14 reps)
  • Lat Pull Down (4 sets / 8-12 reps)
  • Cable Row (3 sets / 8-12 reps)
  • Bent Over Dumbell Rows (3 sets per arm / 10-12 reps)
  • Incline Back Raises (4 sets / 14 reps per)
  • Rigid Planks (4 times / 30 seconds per)

Cardio - 45 Minutes minimum



  • Machine Shoulder Press (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Dumbell Forward Raise *Alternating* (3 sets / 8-12 reps)
  • Cable Side Raises (4 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Dumbell Shoulder Press (3 sets / 10-12 reps)
  • Dumbell Side Raise (3 sets / 10-12 reps)

Cardio - Mix it up for a total of 40 minutes or more



Cardio - 1 hour minimum

  • Hanging Leg Raises
  • Rigid Planks (4 times / 30 seconds per)
  • Incline Crunches ( 4 sets / 1st three sets = 14 reps / last set until burnout)





Cardio ONLY


**Remember, if you're too tired or fatigued, listen to your body and take the day off. Rest is as important and a good workout !!