A 24-year-old man from Indian Brook, N.S., has overcome adversity to become a Canadian powerlifting champion.

On April 29, Alex Michael finished in first place in two categories in his weight class during an international competition in Amherst, N.S.  

“In IPA (International Powerlifting Association), so that would be bench press and deadlift,” says Michael. “I bench-lifted 473 (pounds) and deadlifted 622 (pounds)."

Michael says it’s taken him a long time to get to where he is today.

"Probably (when I was) about 16 to late 18 I was in a little dark place," Michael says.

But that's all behind the young father of two. He trains with other athletes, and they work hard to keep each other motivated.

“It makes us push each other harder a little bit,” says weightlifter Tyler LeBlanc. ‘We poke at each other while we're working out. Sometimes it makes us do better, and sometimes it makes us mad and makes us do worse.”

Michael is also a personal trainer. Right now, he's trying to get fitness weightlifting clubs going in the community.

"I see a bunch of youth actually come up to me and they're always asking how much I’m lifting, and I walk or drive down the street and I have kids flexing at me and I flex at them. I think it's awesome."

Michael says before every lift in competition, he thinks about the young people of his community and it motivates him to try even harder.

He’s looking forward to qualifying lifts in October for the world championships.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw.