My name is Michael McDuffie, and I’ve been on a journey to good health since 2009. After observing my relatives suffer with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and several other health-related issues, I was determined to end that cycle. I started by joining the gym at my job. I attended the boot-camp style classes, along with pilates, which helped to build my fitness foundation. Four years later, I would meet my now wife, who also had desire to end unhealthy habits. We enjoy taking walks, cycling, and hiking together. As we’ve grown in our understanding of a healthy lifestyle, we’ve experimented with different diets. We began with the Mediterranean diet, which we both loved!
Unfortunately, we were getting too much sodium, and my wife’s cholesterol began to climb (too much cheese and eggs). We then switched to a pescetarian plan, which is primarily seafood. Again, we encountered a high amount of sodium. My wife quickly learned that she was not interested in eating fish every day of the week. Finally, we were introduced to the vegan lifestyle through watching a documentary entitled: “What the Health,” on Netflix. That was in 2017…Labor Day weekend. I’m originally from Memphis, TN, and had recently made a 25 lb. beef brisket that weekend. So, needless to say, I almost shed a tear when we had to give the brisket (along with all of our other meats) away. But, I don’t regret it. After adopting the vegan lifestyle, my wife and I felt amazing! Our cholesterol dropped significantly, and after we learned what foods to eat, we were able to maintain clean, light energy.
With regards to physical activity, I was very inactive prior to 2009. I grew up with asthma, so I was unable to participate in sports. I would, however, ride my bike through the neighborhood. So, as I embraced this new “health nut” lifestyle, I purchased a bike. I was able to get back into enjoying God’s creation, while riding. To commemorate my transition to becoming a vegan, I completed my first century (100-mile) bike ride on Labor Day of last year. The ride was challenging, due to the hills and high temperatures, but it was well worth it! I think that’s when I got bit by “the endurance bug!” After the bike ride, I continued working with a physical trainer to build strength. Then, after I completed my training, I transitioned into preparing for the Reston Sprint Triathlon. I’m currently working with Endorphin Fitness, as I look forward to June 2nd!
My connection to the CORE Foundation is one of a “kindred spirit” and a passion for the homeless community. I’ve been blessed to serve this community for the past 29 years. As a twelve-year-old Boy Scout growing up in Memphis, I participated in a service project that would alter the trajectory of my life. The Scout Masters of Troop 520 coordinated this service project which gave us an opportunity to serve the homeless. We gathered our camping equipment, drove to downtown Memphis, and parked in an open, vacant parking lot. We unloaded our camping equipment and began to prepare breakfast. We saw homeless men lining up with their entire lives either on their backs or in shopping carts. These men were of various ethnicities, backgrounds, and religious positions. But what they had in common was that they were hungry. My fellow Boy Scouts and I served breakfast to these men and were rewarded with deep, warm smiles, along with extreme gratitude. Following the service project, I continued to seek to help those in the streets. I would save my allowance to give a few dollars to those in need. During many of my encounters with the homeless, they would share with me how they got to where they were. I soon learned that I had a gift for listening and empathizing with others. My passion and desire to help were only heightened by their stories.
As I got older and obtained a driver’s license, I would take Christmas dinner leftovers to these brothers and sisters in the streets. In addition, I was blessed to grow as a leader at my church, Mt. Zion Baptist Church. There, I served on the Evangelism team, then became the Assistant Director of Outreach, and the following year, the Director of Outreach. Currently, I lead the Friday Night Street Team at Metro Church (Alexandria, VA). We meet each month to prepare care packages, and then carpool into Washington, D.C. to serve the men and women in the streets. These experiences would prove invaluable towards the vision that God placed in my heart. The next season of my life, involves completing the RST, my MBA, and establishing a homeless transitional center.
Servant for Life,
Love…by any means necessary.
Many thanks from CORE Foundation to Michael McDuffie for sharing his truly inspirational, “Why I Tri” story, and for the wonderful way gives back to the community. Best of luck to Michael and all of our participants in the 13th Annual Reston Sprint Triathlon.