In the spring of 2012, after being diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease, Big Bald Mike, who then weighed 575 pounds, went vegan and immediately started to heal. By the summer, he had lost 80 pounds, and his disease—as a direct result of switching to a plant-based diet—had completely reversed.

Renewed with an abundance of energy, and wanting to do something to help others who struggle with addiction, he started a gym in his 350 square-foot garage, where he trained to achieve a world record in "grip" strength—to be the first human to lift the "impossible" 300 pound Mark Henry Dumbbell—after an eight year hiatus from Strongman competitions due to being physically sick from drug, alcohol, and junk food addiction following a career-damaging injury.

Over the next four years, Mike, who named his gym “Bonebreaker Barbell,” also did one-on-one and group session training sessions in his tiny garage space, empowering his clients to be the best version of themselves. As word spread (in part through a few high-profile television appearances), Bonebreaker quickly evolved to a 5,000 square-foot facility in South Austin that now combines old-school and heavy-duty powerlifting and strongman/strongwoman equipment with a powerfully motivating community that encourages people to build metaphorical biceps that can carry the burdens of others through tough times.

Bonebreaker Barbell is a Sanctuary for Forging Life's Pain into Strength.

Our community seeking redemption through the IRON come from all walks of life, including those who are:

  • Shy or sensitive types that struggle with social anxiety
  • Victims of abuse wanting a safe environment to become invincible
  • War veterans with PTSD
  • Sufferers of depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Obese or overweight people who need a non-judgmental space to workout
  • Teenagers in a drug treatment program
  • Awesome kick-ass folks trying to be better at life inside and outside of the gym
  • Teachers, engineers, police, firefighters, social workers, athletes, and everyday heroes


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