Michael Fasci, a 42-year-old stay-at-home dad, organizes his workouts around his kids’ schedules and even incorporates the kids into his training—and vice versa. Most people call him Fasci (pronounced FAW-shi), because, he said, “Growing up in Laredo, there were always at least five Michaels around, so I just went by my last name.”
Fasci’s wife Siv is a pediatrician. They have two children—a 10-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy—and Fasci is the instructor for Fearless Leaders, the kids’ Krav Maga program at Fit and Fearless, a local training center for Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and CrossFit (Krav Maga is a system of self-defense used by the Israeli Defense Forces that has become a popular self-defense and conditioning program in the U.S.).
Fasci starts each weekday by jogging alongside his kids as they ride their scooters to school. Then he runs back home, a 1.5-mile round trip. Middays on Monday through Thursday, he heads to Fit and Fearless for either a Krav Maga or CrossFit class. Afterwards, he gets back home, runs to school to meet his kids, and then jogs back home with them.
On Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., Fasci teaches the kids’ Krav Maga classes at Fit and Fearless. The classes are for kids, ages 6 to 12, and his own children are students. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, he returns to the studio to assist other instructors in Krav classes as part of his own training. He spends his Saturday mornings at the studio as well, providing instructor training, assisting with Krav classes, and taking a Muay Thai class that incorporates sparring. Fridays and Sundays are much-needed rest days.
Fasci has always been fit, except for a brief period when he lived in Boston and experienced his first northeastern winter: “I was stuck in my house and couldn’t get out to do anything; I just ate all day.” He sees his fitness as a side effect of the activities he has always been attracted to.
“I had a rough childhood,” Fasci explained. “I got into martial arts when I was 19. It helped me go from being a victim to being a survivor.” And Fasci certainly has explored many martial arts. Along with Krav Maga, he has experience in San Shou, Japanese Judo, Taekwondo, and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.
Fasci says that he got into teaching Krav Maga because his kids took the classes. When the instructor for Fearless Leaders left, it looked like the program might be cancelled, so Fasci responded by taking instructor training and assuming the classes himself.
As a father, Fasci uses physical activities as one way to model character. It’s an important collection of concepts he has developed over the years, through his troubled early experiences and his embrace of martial arts: “It’s a hard lesson to teach our kids that we are flawed. It hurts. We do our best as parents, but we are constantly making mistakes. It’s our character that really makes us, no matter what our profession or lifestyles are.”
The morning and afternoon runs to and from school and the Krav classes in which he has enrolled his children are some of the ways Fasci makes sure his kids feel strong, confident, and safe. Fasci also makes Saturdays “Superhero Day” at his house. The family wears superhero t-shirts all day “to remind us that we can be more than who we are.”
As a teacher, Fasci loves being the instructor for the Fearless Leaders because the children who take the class love it. “They have a blast,” he laughed. “The kids don’t have the natural aggression or built-in anger that adults do, and they aren’t looking at it as self-defense training. We teach kids Krav differently. We focus on cooperation among classmates or competition with themselves to get them to learn the techniques and do them with vigor.”
For his own fitness, Fasci has always turned to some kind of martial arts. “It always feels new,” he explained. “I don’t get bored with it. It’s exciting. You’re learning how to defend yourself. It’s a personal skill you can take with you. And you’re working hard.”
But even with the regular activity, Fasci has started feeling a difference as he’s passed 40: “Oh, for sure, especially with the testosterone drop. My recovery times are two or three times longer than when I was a kid,” he explained. “I need longer breaks. I don’t have the stamina. I don’t have the aggression anymore that I did when I was younger. My wife is probably happy about that last part!”
He combats the natural slowdown by keeping his activity constant but measured; he doesn’t push too hard and he takes rest days. Fasci also occasionally supplements his diet with protein and creatine drinks. And he pays close attention to his nutrition: “Fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean proteins, avoid extra sugars.” He shook his head and smiled. “The hardest part is diet. You can do all the workouts in the world, but it’s diet that keeps you healthy.”
Health, both mental and physical, is ultimately the point with Fasci—for himself and his whole family. “Being fit is a way of life,” he stated. “I don’t like when people go by the weight scale. ‘I want to get to 160 pounds, and, yay; I’m there, so I’m done.’ Forget about the scale. It’s about how you feel, and working toward feeling better. The hard part is not comparing yourself to anyone else, to compete with yourself and not with other people.”