Living a healthy life, one step at a time

Michael May on track in Alumni Arena with a smartphone showing a photo of his 80-pound-heavier self.

UB staff member Michael May, on the track inside Alumni Arena, shows off a cellphone photo of his 80-pounds-heavier self. Photo: Yiwen Gu


Published March 15, 2017 This content is archived.

“The Step Challenge provided a fun outlet and helped keep me motivated. I haven’t looked back. ”
Michael May, courier for UB Campus Mail and participant
UB Step Challenge

It’s a brisk March morning in Buffalo as Michael May makes his way across UB’s South Campus. From Kapoor Hall at the south end of campus to Clement Hall at the north, he makes a brief stop at all 36 buildings in between.

As a courier for UB Campus Mail, it’s all part of his daily routine.

“Let’s just say, I take a lot of steps,” May says with a grin. “It also helps me keep in shape for the Step Challenge.”

The Step Challenge is an annual event hosted by the School of Public Health and Health Professions that coincides with the school’s celebration of National Public Health Week. The challenge was created to help unite the university and greater community in a way that promotes healthy activity while increasing individual efforts toward living a healthy lifestyle.

Around this time last year, May registered for the inaugural Step Challenge with hopes of losing weight and becoming healthier.

At first, he recalls, he didn’t having specific weight-loss goals in mind because he had doubts about how much weight he could lose. 

“Everyone asks me if I had a goal. To be honest, I never thought I would lose the weight,” he says. “I kept trying to be more serious and really watch what I ate. It just snowballed from there.”

Michael May gets out of a campus mail truck.

Michael May takes a lot of steps as a Campus Mail courier working on the South Campus. Photo: Yiwen Gu

Since March 2016, May has lost more than 80 pounds and he credits the Step Challenge for playing a large role in getting him started on his weight-loss journey.

“I had always been overweight, so I was very motivated to make a change. The problem for me was finding something I could stick with. The Step Challenge provided a fun outlet and helped keep me motivated. I haven’t looked back.”

May has developed a personal routine that includes a combination of exercise, healthy eating habits and drinking plenty of water.

“You really have to stick with it,” he says. “It’s not just about physical fitness, but you also have to eat right and keep your water intake up. It truly is a lifestyle choice, but it’s one that I feel anyone can do.  You just have to find what works for you.”

A year later, May says one of his greatest rewards is not that he has lost weight, but that he has helped motivate and influence others to work toward their own personal goals.

“I’ve had people come up and thank me for motivating them,” he says with a smile. “I just think that is just so cool knowing that I can serve as a source of inspiration for others, especially knowing where I started to where I am today.”

When asked if he plans on participating in the 2017 Step Challenge, May’s response is an enthusiastic one.

“You better believe it,” he says. “Not only that, but I encourage everyone to participate. It’s fun, easy and free.”

Registration for the 2017 Step Challenge is open until March 31 for individuals and March 24 for teams.  A number of prizes will be awarded this year, including iPad Minis, Fitbits, fitness gear and more. Social media users are encouraged to post pictures related to the challenge using the hashtag #UBSteps17.

For more information and to register, visit the Step Challenge webpage.

Editor’s note

In 2019, the SUNY Board of Trustees revoked the naming of John and Editha Kapoor Hall as well as John Kapoor's honorary degree. More information is available in the university’s News Center.