FIT FOR THE CHALLENGE: Personal trainer Mike Cooper has a knack for arm wrestling but would rather help others achieve their health and fitness goals than chase titles himself.
FIT FOR THE CHALLENGE: Personal trainer Mike Cooper has a knack for arm wrestling but would rather help others achieve their health and fitness goals than chase titles himself. Patrick Woods

Humans of the Sunshine Coast: Hands down, the best trainer

MIKE Cooper is a man you do not challenge to an arm wrestle.

It was only a month or so ago that he beat the Australian 80kg champion, Sam Saffuri, in a super match.

Mike came back from two down to take the best-of-five challenge.

His talent for arm wrestling came to the fore by accident.

"I think I might have encouraged it every now and then to get a free drink but I went to a fitness expo and they had an arm-wrestling competition there," he said.

Mike went into the draw to compete, found himself up against a lightweight champion, and won.

His win against Saffuri does not make him the Australian champion because it was not a title match.

Although he could be a contender, do not expect to see him lining up for a crack at the title yet.

"I couldn't say, 'No, I don't want to go after it', but it's not a priority at the moment," he said.

"I'd rather be coaching someone else to go there."

The 30-year-old is a personal trainer based at F4Bs training studio at Maroochydore.

Helping a co-worker inspired him to turn an interest in health and fitness into a career.

"I had a guy that started working for me, he was 120kg and he wanted me to help him lose weight, so while we were working, I was making him work out," Mike said.

"He got down to 80kg at the end."

Mike said changing careers was a big step.

"I saved up as much money as I could, paid for my course, made sure I had enough money in my bank account to keep everything else going.

"Luckily, my partner is supportive of me."

Besides working as a personal trainer, he is also a board member of the Adaptive Armwrestling Federation of Australia which aims to establish a competition for disabled athletes.

Mike hopes to put his arm-wrestling knowledge and training skills to by passing some tips on to some of them.

Where does the teacher and nurturer in him come from?

"It probably sounds corny," he said. "But I'd say it's my mum."



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