David McMichael is a new face at VIDA Fitness — well, kinda sorta. He’s been a member for two years but started working at the company just four months ago. He’s a “SweatBoss” teaching SweatBox (fitness studio at the U Street location) four times per week.
“VIDA is unique in its commitment to creating a welcoming environment, which can be hard to do in the fitness industry,” the 32-year-old Philadelphia native says. “I remember when I first moved to D.C., I was a little intimidated by how fit everyone was at VIDA. It’s totally understandable to feel like a novice when everyone around you seems to know exactly what they’re doing. But I quickly realized that those were my own preconceptions, and that VIDA is full of people who want you to succeed and to get stronger. VIDA taught me that you don’t have to be a fitness professional to start your fitness adventure.”
McMichael’s fitness goals for 2020 are to continue getting stronger through SweatBox and to find “new ways to venture out of my fitness comfort zone,” he says. “Things that used to intimidate me no longer do, so it’s time to find the next challenge.”
McMichael came to Washington two-and-a-half years ago because of his husband’s job. He and David Lambert have been together for 10 years, married for seven. They live in Columbia Heights.
McMichael enjoys sofa time with his dog watching “bad TV” in his downtime.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I started coming out to friends in high school, but didn’t come out to family until late in college. The hardest person to tell was my Mom, which in retrospect is odd since she’s probably the most liberal and open-minded person I know. I told her while I was driving her somewhere. It was just the two of us, and she basically told me she already knew.
Who’s your LGBTQ hero?
This is tough, I’ve never really thought about it! I’m always impressed by people who are “firsts,” the first person to be publicly out in their particular line of work or segment of society. Even if it’s not a public figure, it’s heroic to leap with no guarantee of a safety net to catch you.
What LGBTQ stereotype most annoys you?
I genuinely try not to think about what other people think about us. Their assumptions are a reflection on them, not me.
What’s your proudest professional achievement?
Because of my husband’s job, we’ve moved around a lot in the last 10 years. When I look back at that decade, I’m incredibly proud at how many times I’ve successfully reinvented myself. I taught dance, I got a master’s degree, I worked in higher education administration, I had a full and successful professional dance career, I worked in arts administration and now I’ve found a home in the fitness industry.
What terrifies you?
Obvious, unobscurable public failure.
What’s something trashy or vapid you love?
Cartoons that are geared toward adults but are still, ya know, cartoons.
What’s your greatest domestic skill?
Knowing where everything is in the kitchen cabinets and storage closet. It helps when you’re the one who unpacked everything!
What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie or show?
“Queer As Folk” helped me come to terms with myself and to start coming out, so I owe a lot of my identity to that show. More recently, I was reminded of my coming out story by the movie (and book) “Love, Simon.” There’s a lot of work to be done in representation on film, but that movie (for me, at least) was about as mirror-image as I’ve ever seen of my own life on the screen.
What’s your social media pet peeve?
When people post something, then repost it on their story and say “new post!” Yes, I saw it the first time.
What would the end of the LGBTQ movement look like to you?
There is no end to the LGBTQ movement. We will always need protection, we will always need defense of our rights, and we will always need to maintain those rights in the face of people trying to take them away.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Not a custom per se, but I wish it were more socially acceptable to greet dogs directly instead of having to say hello to their people first.
What was your religion, if any, as a child and what is it today?
I was raised Jewish and still identify that way, although I’m not observant and don’t practice.
What’s D.C.’s best hidden gem?
So. Many. Amazing. Burgers! I have a top five list.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
For me, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the first time I saw Beyonce’s music video for “Single Ladies.” I was in college at the time, as a dance major, and it was amazing to see arguably the biggest star in the world putting dance squarely in the forefront with no embellishment.
What celebrity death hit you hardest?
I’ve never really felt a deep personal connection to a celebrity, but I’ll never forget people around me reacting to the death of Princess Diana. Even though I was young, I knew that that kind of emotional response was unique and something I hadn’t seen before (and haven’t since).
If you could redo one moment from your past, what would it be?
I would have jumped into the professional dance world sooner. I don’t know why, but I always thought I wasn’t good enough to turn what had been a life-long pursuit into an actual career. I loved every second of my dance career and I only wish I had started it sooner.
What are your obsessions?
Food. I always say I can talk myself out of buying anything, except food.
Finish this sentence — It’s about damn time:
… people stop assuming that people who do what they love for a living are just wasting time until they get a “real job.”
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I wish I’d known to trust my instincts without reservation. I’ve made lots of leap-of-faith decisions, and they’ve led me somewhere I never thought I’d be doing something I’d never thought I’d do (and that’s been true multiple times in the last 10 years).
We went to college here, our friends are here, our families are nearby. D.C. is the greatest city and it’s second-to-none with its LGBTQ community.