When Carly Simon sang "It’s the Stuff that Dreams are Made of," Mike Flynt could have easily been the subject of her ballad. At the age of 59, he returned to his collegiate gridiron to bring closure to an incident that had haunted him for many years. Mike’s quest for athletic excellence began at a very early age at the hands of his father. Mike’s dad began instructing him in boxing at the age of six. He also instilled in him a winning spirit and to accept nothing less than victory. Though Mike excelled at many sports including baseball and track, it was football that was his passion. As a junior high school student in Odessa, Texas, he rarely had an opportunity to play, though he excelled during practices. It was not until years later that he was to understand why he wasn’t given a chance to perform. As he moved into his high school years, he began to grow in strength and size, and by his senior year in 1965 he was on the first state championship team at Odessa Permian High School. This is the high school featured in the television series "Friday Night Lights." His outstanding performance on the football field gave him the opportunity to attend many major universities on a scholarship, including the University of Arkansas. In spite of these many offers, Mike elected to attend Ranger Junior College so that he could be close to his high school sweetheart. Months later when the relationship ended he elected to attend Sul Ross State, a Division III program. Once again he proved his athletic prowess and by his senior year was the captain of the team. Unfortunately, his position as captain and unwavering willingness to back down led to a fight with a freshman football player. The incident was escalated to the point where the university asked Mike to leave. Not only did this crush him but the worst part was his having to call his father to take him home. When he told him he was kicked out of school, Mike’s retort was "I am exactly what you made me, Daddy." You see though Mike’s dad was an outstanding influence in some respects, Mike also openly admits that his father’s military background led to Mike being hyper-vigilant to be a winner in any aggressive situations. Therefore he would always be contemplating the physical actions he would take against anyone who would cross his path in a negative manner. He would not start fights but he would always finish them and was the victor. But this aggressive thinking also had a negative impact, such as the incident at Sul Ross that led to the end of his football career. It was in his thirties that Mike found Christ and from that day forward has been on a different path. He graduated from Sul Ross with a degree in physical education and became the strength and conditioning coach for the Universities of Nebraska, Oregon, and Texas A&M. He also trained and sold Powerbase Training Systems, which he invented. The one thing that continued to haunt Mike’s dreams was a football comeback. In the dream he would be back on the field again playing, finishing what had ended his senior year. In 2007, Mike returned to the university that he had left 37 years earlier at the age of 59. The first miracle and obstacle that he had to overcome was playing eligibility. To his amazement he was eligible and given the opportunity to try out for the team. All those years Mike not only had been a strength and conditioning coach but he practiced what he preached and his body and strength were at a level to allow him to successfully make the squad. He was shown no favoritism. In fact, the coach did not stigmatize Mike by making an issue of his return. He was just one of the guys trying out for the squad. When he was getting equipment one day a fellow player looked at him and said, "So are you going to be coaching?" in an inquisitive manner. And Mike responded, "No, I’m going to be playing." It wasn’t long until he was accepted by his teammates and was an inspiration to not only them but family and friends alike. During the season he had two discs in his neck bulge, C6 and C7, after making a hard tackle one day in practice as part of two-a-days. As Mike points out by the grace of God he was able to heal from the injury and continue to play the last games of the season. He also credits his strength training on the Powerbase to his ability to regain his strength and mobility. His greatest moment on the field was when an opposing team was going to try to block a field goal right over him which could have caused a loss for Sul Ross. Instead, Mike successfully blocked his opponents and showed that age is only a state of mind. These days Mike is motivated by his children, grandchildren, and wife, but he also points out that his initial quest was to please his father.
When asked why he would continue to practice athletic training when so many of his peers have quit? He responds, "There is a proverb (22:6) in the Bible that states: If you train up a child in the way he should go even when he is old he will not depart from it. I started at such a young age and I was so committed that it became a way of life for me and will be as long as I live."
Do you feel you have improved physically and mentally as you have aged chronologically? "I do feel that I’ve improved in both areas as I’ve aged. I’ve learned to better listen to my body and this has enabled me to maximize my workouts without putting myself under stress of what were unrealistic expectations when I was younger."
What is your weekly exercise and training regimen? "I focus on short intense workouts, most interval type of training that enables me to accomplish a great deal in a short 15 minute period of time. I train daily, running sprints on most days and then training with my Powerbase equipment almost daily. There are some traditional exercises that I still do that for me are just ‘feel good’ exercises: chin-ups, dips, push-ups."
Mike has changed his training regimen somewhat since he has gotten older. He insures that his body has time to recover from previous workouts. He loves doing chin-ups and push-ups, noting that these full range of motion exercises provide a fantastic workout for very large muscle groups. As he states, "Being able to handle your body weight with efficiency is a tremendously satisfying feeling." To maintain youthful appearance he dresses in a way that is keeping with styles for people in their early thirties or younger in outfits that show his physique in a tasteful way. He lives by the adage "How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?" He states, "If you physically feel like you are in your thirties then allow that spring in your step to also affect your mental attitude." He notes that mental attitude is key. The battlefield is in the mind. Attitude is everything. For the last five years Mike Flynt has taken Juice Plus to supplement his diet. It has made a significant difference in his joints and is what sold him on the product. "There is nothing on the market that can compare and it is amazing the benefits we receive from just getting plenty of good old fruits and vegetables." His best advice for those wishing to maintain longevity is to "start now!" He recommends setting short term goals and to continue persevering. When asked if he believes in the concept of aging as we define it in the West, he responds "People in our society are conditions to be normal and not to do things that will attract attention to themselves, to not look foolish and not to fail. Look at our children; when they are young they believe in themselves and their abilities. As they get older (late teens), less and less of them have that same degree of confidence because society has placed limitations on them. That painting just doesn’t look good; you’re too young, fat, short, skinny, and slow to compete. You might as well give up. These same children grow into adults that feel by the time they have reached 50 years of age that their lives for the most part are over as far as physically achieving anything. This is just not true. They may think it’s true because of how they have been brainwashed, but there is no truth in that philosophy." His response to fitness and competitive retirement is simple, "God willing, they will bury me with a Powerbase in my hand and a smile on my face." His future goals range from discussing movie rights to his life story and promotion of the Powerbase that he invented. His advice to longevity is simple: "You are in control. You are the only one that will live with you every second of every day and night for the rest of your life. You cannot lie to yourself. You have the ability to do more harm to yourself than anyone else by what you choose to believe about yourself. Decide today and you will make some changes no matter how small and then get it done."
Mike’s story is amazing for many reasons. It’s not only his gridiron comeback, but it’s his long standing vision to maintain health and fitness levels that would allow him to perform this amazing feat. There is no doubt that he will continue to excel. One of his future goals may be to become one of the fastest sprinters in his age category and as he points out, "If I keep training maybe I will be the fastest."