I am The J: Michael Nissenbaum woke up one day determined to make changes 

Two men, one seated with very curly hair and one bearded and standing at right, pose in front of some exercise equipment and a window.

Michael Nissenbaum (at right in photo) moved to Birmingham from Chicago at age 13. After graduating from the University of Alabama he attended the University of Alabama Law School. He opened his law practice for criminal defense and family law in 2017, and this year was a sponsor of the Jewish Food and Culture Fest. He and his wife Jessica have two children: Isadore, who is 4 and a half years old, and 6-month-old Leo.

We caught up with Michael to ask him why he’s been hanging out at The J nearly every day, and what it’s like to train with Cody Bass (left)…

LJCC: What set you upon your current fitness journey?

MN: Before I started this fitness journey, I was at my heaviest weight and lowest energy level. There was always this thought that I would get myself in shape, but it seemed so daunting — even impossible. It felt so impossible that my next thought usually was just resignation that it would take an act of Congress for things to change.

But then one day I woke up and I just was sick of the status quo and felt motivated and determined to make changes. 

Membership Director (and trainer) Cody Bass spots for Michael during a recent training session. “Cody celebrates the small accomplishments,” says Michael. “He wants to help me reach my fitness goals.”

Since you started down this path, have you noticed a difference in your personal and professional lives?

I definitely have more energy and focus. With two small children, a law practice, and a mortgage, it’s become essential that I take some time for myself almost every day. Going to The J allows me to recharge my batteries for the benefit of the people who need me most.

How has training with Cody benefited you?

Cody has been fantastic! He keeps it fun and process-oriented. As much as I try and intellectually understand the importance of living one day at a time, I often need reminders. Cody celebrates the small accomplishments, even if I’ll never be as strong as he is. He wants to help me reach my fitness goals.

Yup — Cody’s strength is legendary.

What do you most enjoy about working out at The J?

I love the community. There are regulars and semi-regulars who are extremely nice and encouraging. As I write this, I realize that Cody is a catalyst for the community at The J. He greets everyone and everyone seems to know him. 

What do you least enjoy about working out at The J?

Some parts of the facility could definitely use a facelift. 

We’re working on it!

I hear you keep a workout log. How important has that been to your efforts?

I’ve been using my workout log for about six months. Although the intention was for me to actually see my progress, I tend to refer to it to begin that day’s workout. I suppose it’s become a microcosm for me to live in the moment.

Access to our personal training staff is a top fitness benefit of membership at The J. Learn more about the program here…