Michael Dietrich, a personal fitness trainer from Alberta, Canada, appeared on the latest episode of Naked and Afraid. Discovery threw him a curveball, surprisingly him and the other survivalists by putting them in a group of three instead of two, creating the first female, two male threesome.
For 21 days, Michael was left to build shelter and find food and water with his team. One of the biggest things for Michael was battling boredom, though he enjoyed the time he had to spend being introspective.
Heavy.com reached out to Michael for an exclusive interview. To find out more about Michael and his time in Colombia, continue reading below for five fast facts:
1. Michael Thought Alexandra and David Were A Couple At First
When Michael saw David and Alexandra at first, he assumed they were together. “Your mind is going a million miles a minute just logically trying to piece everything together—and just judging a book by its cover—they totally looked like they were a couple,” he said.
Michael was instantly worried about the group dynamic. “I was like, ‘Oh man this is so weird. I’m definitely going to be the third wheel. They looked like two peas in a pod and like they were meant to be,” he said. “I’m here with a couple and I’m the extra.
It turns out Alexandra and David were also strangers. That was both a relief and stressor, mainly because Michael was expecting to survive with one other person—not two. “Another person brings another skillset, but it’s also another person to managed,” he said.
2. Michael Felt Like The Third Wheel ‘The Whole Time’
It’s not that he didn’t get along with David and Alexandra, but they had a “different” connection. “I realized I’m very, very different than these two. It’s interesting. I felt like the third wheel the whole time because my values are so different from theirs,” he explained. “Their personalities align a lot more.”
Michael’s approach to survival was also different. Whereas it was David’s main goal to not only survive, but thrive on the journey, Michael viewed it as a new challenge to take on and didn’t put as much pressure on himself.
“Every day was a new chapter. Daniel was trying really hard. His whole nature and whole being and goal in life is to be a survivalist,” he said. “I was there to take on a new challenge, so when he would fail at something it would absolutely crush him. To me it was just another day to get through.”
When it was just he and Alexandra though, they were able to click, but David’s energy through the shift of their connection. “When it was the group dynamic—it was never that we didn’t get along—but they would start talking about energy and things that were a little over my head.”
3. Michael Enjoyed The Time He Spent Alone
Even though he didn’t have the easiest time forging bonds with his teammates, he enjoyed the time he spent by himself. It’s not that the challenge was easy, he admitted that “the whole thing can kinda suck,” but he enjoyed disconnecting from everyday life.
“One of the best things was being able to disconnect and spend time alone,” he said. I’m so used to being stimulated and doing stuff all the time.”
That came with its hardships, of course. The introspection was great and he loves being outside and alone, but it was difficult when your body isn’t operating and its best and you’re at the point of starvation.
“You can’t really do a whole lot so you’re kind of stuck in this vehicle that’s not running so well—called your body—so you’re just stuck with your mind. It was a huge challenge but it was enjoyable to get to look at myself introspectively—something I thought I would have done a lot more of given my nature and what I do at home.”
4. Michael Hates Being Naked
One of the main aspects of Naked and Afraid is not only surviving for three weeks with few resources, but also giving up the comfort and modestly clothing provides. It’s something that Michael did not enjoy.
“I hate being naked so much as it is even in my own home,” he said. “If I have my underwear on we’re cool but the second that’s off it’s a little weird.”
On the show, since there were so many other things to worry about, it took Michael a few hours to get used to being naked. It was much easier for his team members. “Daniel and Alexandra were all into being naked I think it was one of their favorite parts,” he said. “They would say twenty times a day, ‘This is so liberating’ and I was like just get me some Calvin Kleins or something.”
Daniel has fallen off the map a little bit. Alexandra and I, we chat, especially with the episode coming up and stuff. It’s really funny, the keyboard warriors making judgments about how things should have went. I think we’re both polite but we take a giggle but knowing our experience and other people’s perception of it. We’ve been making inside jokes back and forth and it’s kinda cute and funny.
5. Michael Didn’t Apply To Be On The Show
A producer found Michael on social media after he posted a picturesque photo of himself in the nude with his dog, BearBear, covering his manhood. They posed in front of a snowy backdrop.
“It was my dog’s birthday and I just wanted a picture of us in our birthday suits in the mountains,” he said. “So I stripped down and picked him up and held him in front of me so he was covering my parts. It was a cool photo with a sunset in the background.”
One of his followers added the Naked and Afraid hashtag and soon after a producer was contacting him. “I didn’t think it was real and before I knew it I was flying to California and getting my vaccines,” he said. “For me, I just wanted to take on a new challenge and do something a little different and see if I could do it.”
In fact, Michael’s never seen a full episode of Naked and Afraid. “My first full episode will be when I see mine,” he said.
Don’t miss Naked and Afraid when it airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery Channel.