For WTDC’s new Health & Wellness Program, we would like to showcase Mr. Miki Erez, Founder & CEO of Wheelchair Fitness Solution™, whose story inspired Ralph L. Gazitua, WTDC Chairman, who regularly encounters Mr. Erez in his routine Gym visits.

“Miki is a veteran of the Israeli Air Force, In 1973, while serving in a heavy-lift helicopter squadron Erez was injured which confined him to a wheelchair.” Despite his injuries, Mr. Erez has been very active in the community, being part of Miami Heat Wheels (Miami’s official NWBA non-profit wheelchair basketball program), of the Achilles Freedom Team of the US Army; and participated in the Palm Beach and Homestead marathon.

Mr. Erez is an active gym enthusiast and after realizing how many people with injuries like his were struggling to keep an active life, he founded Wheelchair Fitness Solution™.  His company is developing a prototype machine that will allow individuals with restrictions to exercise in the comfort of their homes with full professional efficiency. Please click the link to watch the video of the machine.    – Video or click here

We had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Erez and he answered some questions for us and gave his opinion on WTDC’s Health & Wellness Program.

Q&A with Miki Erez:

 Mr. Erez, why did you create your company Wheelchair Fitness Solution?
For many years when I speak with disables individuals, and I tell them what I do for my activities, I found that some people don’t have the ability to go to the gym or to go swimming or to do all kind of different activities, for many reasons.

When I share my experience with these individuals I find out that they have a problem with following the exercises without them having the correct tools or abilities for that. So, I came up with equipment that can help them do the most possible number of upper body exercises, as simple as possible, and that occupies the least amount of room conceivable.
How long have you been an active gym enthusiast?
I have been involved with sports all my life, not only the gym, but running, swimming, exercising and especially after I got injured, I got more into the fitness and the exercises because I wanted to be independent and have a quality life. I wanted to have a long term fitness.

I play basketball for the Miami Heat Wheels, and I participate in the Achilles Freedom Team of the US Army’s activities:  I race with them including the Miami marathon, Palm Beach marathon, Homestead race, and other activities. Most of the members of the Achilles Freedom Team are US Army Wounded Veterans.
What keeps you motivated to working out and living a healthier lifestyle?
    My biggest motivation is my frustration, I turn it into the fuel that keeps me going. When I come across physical challenges, that is hard for me to accomplish, I get frustrated and try to find a way for me to overcome it. I turn my obstacles into challenges instead of letting them get me down. Most of the training and motivation it comes from your mind, anybody can do anything they want if they set their mind to it. Sometimes when I have pains, I don’t want to do anything, but I focus myself harder and set my mind to it. My reward is to stay healthy fit and Independent.
Mr. Erez, I know you are originally from Israel, what led you to Miami?
The climate in Miami is very similar to Israel. I first visited the USA in 1976 when I came to the celebration of the United States Bicentennial year. I later visited the US again in 1979 when I came with the Israeli Disabled Veterans to honor the USA Disabled Veterans. One of the cities I visited was Miami and I enjoyed it very much. Now I live here with my family, my wife, children, and grandsons.

How long did you serve for the Israeli forces?

From 1968 to 1973, until I had my injury.

 Where did you meet Mr. Gazitua?

I met him at L.A. Fitness which is the gym that I go to train daily. I play basketball and lift weights there.
  Mr. Erez, WTDC has recently opened a Health & Wellness program free for all its employees and tenants to practice a better and healthier lifestyle. What would you think about this program? And would you be interested in participating as a guest speaker?

As you mentioned the subject, I also train people in hand to hand combat with the focus of getting fit with a purpose. I educate people about physical fitness and train them in something that may help them in their life. I learned the combat art while I was in the Israeli Military.

personally think that the Health & Wellness Program is a great idea for any company. First, it shows that management cares about their employees, introducing them to opportunities to live a healthier lifestyle by providing them with the correct tools and instructions that will allow them to do it. But it all comes down to the individual’s responsibilities and motivation to be fit.