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Train For Your Specific Needs

I was also going to title this post “Every Athlete’s Needs are Different”.

In this post I am going to talk about:

– there is no one-size-fits-all program out there. (Don’t trust anyone who tries to sell you on it.)
– analyze yourself and see what you are lacking
– focus on improving and getting closer to your goal
– adjust the training to fit your lifestyle

There is no one size fits all approach to training

Every person is different. Every body is different. For example some people are naturally strong but slow, some are flexible and not very strong.

You need to analyze where you are at and where you want to go. What’s your goal? Ok and where are you now?

From there you can work on the specific things that will improve you and get you closer to your goal.

Personal Example

This picture is from 2014 or 2015 and it was taken by my gf at the time. I was preparing for a tournament and saw Jesus during my run.

This picture is from 2014 or 2015 and it was taken by my gf at the time. I was preparing for a tournament and saw Jesus during my run.

From age 18 to age 25 I used to lift heavy weights for low reps (ex. squats, bench, deadlift, press, 3 sets of 5 reps or 3 reps).

After all those years I became a pretty strong kid. My goals now are to excel at my sport (brazilian jiu jitsu). Being stronger is not the most productive thing for me anymore.

I actually noticed a big improvement in my performance when I focused more on high repitition bodyweight exercises. It improved my endurance and I was able to perform better in live drills and competitions.

I knew where I wanted to go (win bjj competitions) and knew what I had to do to get there (strength is already fine, improve cardio and technique).

Once you start focusing on the RIGHT THINGS you will improve at a much faster rate.

Adjust Your Training to Fit Your Lifestyle

Most of us are not professional athletes who can train all day and not have other jobs. We have full time work. So we have to train whenever we have time.

This is another reason why cookie cutter approaches don’t work because we all have different schedules and goals. We will workout differently. You just have to make it work for you.

This is one of the things that I feel makes me a good trainer is being fluid and adapting to each client. I look at what the client needs, what he or she likes doing and try to incorporate that as much as possible into the training.

I also look at their lifestyle and daily routine so that we can make little tweaks to the diet and exercise times to get to our goal a little faster.

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Something happened to me a couple of days ago and I felt “inspired” to write this post (aka I got angry at something and I’m trying to use it in a good way).


The video has about the same info as the post. I use personal examples.

Most of us have been taught to not be selfish. Especially while we were kids, but even in adulthood too. In the big picture this advice makes sense. “Don’t be a complete selfish asshole, we need to work together to get stuff done.”

A lot of times that advice is taken too far. We end up doing stuff we don’t like just to please people or to “not be selfish/rude/an asshole/a bitch. We often suppress our own desires and not do what we want. Then we get super pissed and regret it later. I think that’s wrong.

I grew up being a little bit too nice to people. That was my issue. It took me a while to get over it and I’m better now. But every once in a while I fall into old habits.

Personal Example:

This past weekend it was my friend’s birthday. I was invited to dinner and karaoke after.

I was already tired as fuck due to lack of sleep from the past few days. I also had work in the morning and brazilian jiu-jitsu competition training right after. But I decided to go. I thought “this is my friend, so I’ll stay for the whole thing”.

Long story short, the dinner was ok but Karoake sucked! It was all my fault. I was already low on sleep, I didn’t give a shit about staying out late.

And here I am at 12am with some crazy dude singing way too loud. I thought “what am I doing here? I should be home sleeping.”

This made me realize that you have to be selfish sometimes. If you don’t feel like going to a party because you are low on sleep and have to wake up early, just don’t go.

I chose to go to be nice and it sucked for me. It also sucked for other people because I was probably acting like a pissed of jerk. I was pissed I disrespected myself by putting my needs aside.

Fitness Example:

I compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I train at a gym called Lin Martial Arts. There is a group of guys who compete regularly and are serious about competing from the gym. All of them are selfish when it comes to their training.

Don’t get me wrong. They are all nice guys and will help you if you ask them for help. Buuttttt, they would not let you get in the way of their primary training. They literally won’t let ANYTHING get in the way of their primary goal.

mikebakbjj1

I’m in the white. Absolute blue belt division of the 2015 Toronto Open. I won all of my matches that day. Probably my favorite tournament so far.

How being selfish relates to fitness:

If you have ANY goal that goal is only important to you. Nobody else cares that much about your goal. Your mother might love you but she doesn’t really care if you are a world champion at bjj or whatever.

It’s UP TO YOU to stay on track to your goal. Make sure you are on target with wherever you are going. That might mean not eating shit with your friends. Not hanging out with certain people if they take you further away from your goal.

It’s hard to be cold and cut people out who don’t get you closer to your goals. But at the end of the day, if you don’t achieve your goals, it won’t be their fault. It’s your fault. It’s up to you to decide how important your goals are and what you’re willing to do to get them.

Trying to “not be selfish” and pleasing people will not get you closer to your goal and will usually leave you frustrated if you didn’t do what you wanted to do.

In Conclusion

Do what you want! MAKE SURE YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST. Because if you don’t, you won’t be any good to anyone anyways. You’ll be all pissed and moody because you were a bitch and didn’t do what was necessary to achieve your goals.

Be selfish. Take care of yourself first. Then, if you want you can take care of other people.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. Take care!

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How To Get A Thick Neck

Hey I’m Mike! Your friendly neighbourhood personal trainer.

In this post I’m going to talk about how to get a thick neck. I can talk from personal experience because I used to be a tall skinny kid with a skinny neck.

The video covers the topics in the post and a bit more.

Me at age 19. In shape but no neck training

Me at age 19. In shape but no neck training

thickneck1

Me at age 25. Neck is significantly thicker.

thickneck4
I went from having a skinny neck to a thick neck. Here’s how I did it:

Train Your Neck At The End of Each Workout

At the end of each workout take 10 minutes and train your neck. I’ll show you the exercises below. But don’t get too caught up in the exercise right now.

BUILDING A THICK NECK TAKES TIME. And you have to be consistent. So make it part of your routine to spend 10 minutes at the end of your workout training your neck.

Neck Strengthening/Building Exercises:

Fortunately there are a lot of neck exercises you can do. They all work. The main thing is to remain consistent with your efforts.

1. No Equipment – Neck Bridges. Guys and girls please be careful with this. Go slow and start with the easy versions first.

2. Towel Pulls – Work all the sides

3. Neck Harness – You can probably find one under $20.

How Many Sets and Reps To Train the Neck

When you are trying to build size I (and because it’s your neck) I would recommend doing light-to-medium resistance and go for 10-30 reps depending on the exercise. Do 2-3 sets.

You might only be able to do 1 set of 10 reps at the beginning. Especially if you are working with the neck harness, don’t go too heavy right away. You need to build up those muscles and get them used to working out.

Remember to Eat More

In general if you want to get bigger you must eat more, if you want to get smaller you must eat less. If you are operating on a caloric deficit or on some crazy diet and you are trying to get a bigger neck… it will be hard.

Make sure you are eating enough to recover and grow after your workouts, but not too much. This is where most athletes stumble. They think “bulking” means eating anything and everything. Experiment with how much you are eating and reduce the food if your body fat is increasing.

How Long Does it Take To Build a Thick Neck?

It takes as long as it takes. Who cares how long it takes? You want a thick neck tomorrow?

If you want a thick neck you can get a thick neck. Or at least thicker than before. All it takes is consistent effort over a few months. Do a few sets of neck exercises at the end of each workout.

After 1-3 months you will begin to notice the effects. After 6 months your neck will be significantly bigger. Imagine if you keep up this little habit for a year or more.

If you have any questions please let me know by commenting below or contacting me. 🙂

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How Many People Actually Achieve Their Fitness Goals

For some reason this topic popped into my head so I decided to write about it. In this blog post I’ll talk about:

– How many people actually achieve their fitness goals (and go beyond them)
– Why people usually fail
– How success looks like
– What’s the personal trainer’s role

The video covers what I discuss in the post and a little bit more.

How Many People Actually Achieve Their Fitness Goals

I’ve been doing personal/group training for 7 years and have trained hundreds of clients. Based on my experience I would say 1 out of every 30 people will achieve their fitness goal or go beyond it.

I don’t mean the other 29 will “fail”. They may lose some of the weight or get part way to their goal. So that’s still a smaller success. But we’re talking about 1/30 people will achieve exactly what their goal was at the start or go beyond it.

Why Most People Do Not Achieve Their Fitness Goals

Every person is different and there isn’t one answer to this. From my experience I have seen a few common reasons. Here’s the main one:

Want vs Need
Everyone WANTS to get in shape. Everyone. But “wanting” isn’t enough to achieve success. Exercising and eating somewhat healthy have to become a regular LONG TERM habit.

In my experience the people who succeed and achieve their goals made a decision from the start that their fitness goal was a high priority and no matter how long it takes they will achieve their goal.

If you don’t quit, and keep trying to adjusting your approach every time you hit an obstacle, you will eventually succeed.

Getting in shape is purely a persistence based goal. You don’t have to be smart, or have some talent.

How Fitness Success Looks Like

1. Person makes a DECISION that they want something (a goal) and they will do what’s necessary (for as long as it takes) to get it. They make a long-term commitment.

2. Gets a trainer (optional). The point is if you are new to working out you should make friends with some people who know how to workout. If you don’t have any friends or want fast personal attention you can hire a personal trainer.

3. Personal trainer reviews goals with you and you set a reasonable deadline. Create short term goals along the way. (ex. workout 3x this week)

4. Take action and achieve short term goals. This will give you a feeling of success (even a small success) and it’s critical for staying motivated on a day-to-day basis.

5. You will encounter obstacles and fall on your ass. Examples include: injuries, vacations, family issues, heavy amount of work, etc…

The people who succeed, get up, dust themselves off (aka take a break if needed) and continue to their goals. They adjust their approach (oh, that exercise injured me, maybe I should not do that one) and keep going until they succeed.

The Personal Trainer’s Role

Honestly I think the people who succeeded with me were going to succeed anyway. I think I made their journey a bit shorter and more fun hopefully.

The trainer’s main role is to keep you on track and keep reminding you about your goals. It doesn’t really matter what type of workout you do or what diet plan you follow.

What’s most important is that you know what your goals are, and you check every 1-4 weeks if you are getting closer. If you are not getting closer you must adjust the training or diet plan. Then check again after 1-4 weeks.

Main Point

In conclusion, everyone CAN achieve their fitness goals but not everyone WILL. It mainly comes down to making a firm decision, taking a bit of action every day towards your goal, and adjusting your approach if you aren’t getting what you want.

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How to Choose the Right Personal Trainer

Hey What’s up I’m Mike. I have been working as personal and group trainer for the past 7 years. This post is for people who are looking for a personal trainer or coach. Here are some tips on how to choose the right personal trainer for you.

1. Do a test-run meeting/workout

Most trainers offer the first session/consultation for free. This gives you a chance to try the training out and see if you like it.

I do the first session for free with all new clients. This gives them a chance to try the training, and gives me a chance to evaluate the client.

2. When you meet your trainer, listen to your gut instinct.

Right away as a personal trainer and client you guys have to connect a bit. It doesn’t mean you have to be buddies but you have to be able to communicate with each other and be on the same page.

Personal Example
This one dude wanted me to train his 2 sons (age 10 and 12) as a supplement to their tennis training. He was working the kids really hard in tennis and wanted me to “push them further”. He kept saying he really wanted me to “put pressure on them” and that he couldn’t be mean enough to them because he was their dad.

Not my favorite motivational style. I don't think being aggressive towards your client is necessary.

Not my favorite motivational style. I don’t think being aggressive towards your client is necessary.

I trained them for a bit but it didn’t really work out. I don’t have the “military style” or “screaming trainer” style in me.

I try to motivate my clients in a positive way. But anyway, the kids would basically be screaming and crying during the training sessions because they didn’t want to be there. It didn’t feel like the right fit for me so the relationship ended after a few weeks.

3. Is the trainer attentive while working out with you? Does he/she seem like he/she cares?

Even if you have an in-experienced new trainer but he/she cares about you and works their butt off to help you then that’s good. That inexperienced trainer will learn and improve.

If you have a super good trainer with a super duper reputation but he doesn’t pay attention to you or doesn’t seem to care that much, you may get poor results.

Personal Example:
There was a trainer who worked at my gym in Richmond Hill. He would literally eat a sandwhich (sitting down) while training somebody. Dude…what?

He also made people go to the cardio machine for 15 minutes in the middle of their session while he sat in the office. That is really shitty service and a bad example.

Mainly the trainer has to be looking at you while you exercise to make sure your form is good and you don’t get injured.

Phone checking should be minimum too. I do it sometimes but usually just when the client is in the washroom. In my experience checking your texts in front of a client will really piss them off.

4. Do your schedules match?
Training works best when it is consistent. Try to pick 1-3 days per week that you will see the trainer, every week.

When you have to go by the seat of your pants each week and kind of try to fit the workout in you will often miss workouts.

The best way to get results is by being consistent. Pick 1-3 days per week that you’ll be seeing your trainer and stick to those times. See if your schedules match. This is important.

Personal Example:
This summer I am pretty busy with clients and my schedule is almost full. I took a new client on because a current client of mine referred them.

We had trouble setting up the first session because our schedules didn’t match. Finally we barely found a time that worked for both of us.

The training went well and the client enjoyed it but for the next few weeks we struggled to find a time to train consistently. It was a strain on me and a strain on them. The relationship didn’t work out.

Lesson: Even if you enjoy the training, make sure you can find 1-3x per week that you two can stick to consistently.

5. I would try more than 1 trainer before deciding. Especially if you’ve never done personal training before.

This may not be doable if you signed up for training at a gym. If you are getting private personal training you can try a few trainers out. It will help you compare and show you what’s out there and for how much.

Personal Example:

The shitty trainer I was telling you about earlier, his clients probably thought that was the norm and accepted his behavior. IF they had worked with other trainers they would know that eating in front of clients or sending them off on their own for 15 minutes during an hour which they paid for is ridiculous.

Hope that helps you find a trainer that’s right for you! If you have any questions please post it in the comments below and I’ll answer them.

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You Can Get In Shape Doing Anything

I was thinking about this topic because this is one of the first things I tell a new client I am working with. Especially if they are new to exercising.

What You Do Doesn’t Really Matter

I have seen people get in shape: boxing, running, swimming, doing zumba classes, doing fitness classes at the gym, lifting weights, bodyweight exercises, yoga etc…

It’s not that important what activity you choose to perform.
Hint: Pick something you enjoy doing. You’ll be more likely to stick to it and put the work in. If you are not sure what you like then be open to trying a bunch of different stuff.

How You Do It Will Largely Determine Your Results

“How” means:
– How often do you workout? Are you doing it consistently?
– How hard are you pushing yourself during the workouts?

You should definitely go at your own pace but each workout you should try to improve a little bit. For example: if you took less breaks you improved, if you lifted more weight, went for longer, etc…

Try to Make Small Progress Each Workout

After a year of consistently working out and trying to improve you will be amazed by the results.

Personal Example:
I started working out when I was 6. My dad would lock me in the basement (where our home gym was). At first I played gameboy for the whole time. After a while I jsut started doing random exercises.

Then I did boxing for a few years. Now I do brazilian jiu jitsu. I like combat sports so it’s fun for me. I train about 4x per week consistently. Each workout I try to push myself a bit.

I have been doing this simple routine since I was 6. I never remember being out of shape. If anything I was skinny but I was always lean/athletic.

Imagine doing it for 5 years, 10 years. If you workout 3-4x per week consistently and each time you try to push yourself in 1-5 years you will be in better shape then 90%-99% of humans.

Main Points:
– You can get in shape doing anything. What you do doesn’t matter
– Try to pick an activity that you like. If you’re not sure then try a bunch first.
– How you do the activity is what matters (be consistent and try improve a bit each time)
– Do this for 1-5 years and you will be in better shape than most people that you meet (not an exaggeration at all. 100% fact).

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Consistency More Important Than Any One Workout

consistencybrucelee

I was working out today and it gave me an idea for this blog post.

I happened to be on lower than average sleep and the workout was literally feeling like torture. It was a fast paced conditioning workout from Never Gymless).

I still pushed through the workout and got it done but it felt really uncomfortable. I felt like I “survived” the workout. I didn’t feel like I “destroyed” the workout.

If you are constantly challenging yourself to improve eventually you will run into workouts/days when you don’t feel good and you just literally have to “survive” the workout.

The most important thing is the consistency. Working out regularly over a long period of time. What happens in any one workout (or any 10 workouts) isn’t that important.

Some of the clients I currently train are already in very good shape. And I notice that they are super consistent. They will show up even when there are a ton of things going on in their lives.

Main Point: You won’t be able to dominate every single workout. That’s fine. Some workouts you will literally just have to “survive” and get through.

Just stay consistent and stay on track. Don’t take too many breaks from training. Always try to improve a little in each workout. After 6-12 months you will notice a big difference.

If you have any questions please leave it in the comments section below and I’ll answer it. Thank you!

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Abner Mares Overcomes Adversity

Abner’s story is truly inspirational. If you think you are going through hard times, I suggest reading this post.

Abner Mares is now 25 years old, married, and a proud father of a little girl. He is undefeated and a world champion at 122 pounds.

Abner’s life was anything but easy. At six years old his mother had split from his father and took him and 6 of his siblings to Tijuana and eventually into the U.S. They had illegally crossed the border and ended up in Hawaiian Gardens, California.

Abner and all of his siblings lived in a one room apartment where they all slept on the floor. There were a lot of days when he and his siblings did not eat. They had no money and would often resort to eating out of dumpsters (until one of his brothers got sick from drinking bad milk).

Abner started boxing when he was 11 and it was clear that he was a natural. He began winning tournaments and rising through the amateur ranks. Outside of boxing he was getting deeply involved in the gang culture.

Fortunately Abner managed to stay on course and even went to the Olympics representing Mexico (because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen). Now Abner is obviously doing a lot better. He’s getting paid a lot more money for his fights now that he’s a world champion and he is able to provide for his mother and siblings.

However he doesn’t forget where he came from:

“I guess you can say I have a lot bottled up inside. People that know me say that I’m two totally different people: one inside the ring and another outside the ring. Its in the ring that I remember everything I went through. Believe me, some of that stuff never goes away. When I’m fighting, I go back to everything, what my family and I lived through and what I hat to do to live. I suppose it’s why it looks like I’m fighting to the death when I fight. I’m fighting for my family’s meal ticket. I mean that literally. I know what it’s like to be hungry.”

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Carry On

Here is a video from a recent (ESPN) Outside The Lines episode. Words cannot do justice to the power and significance of the story. I will not even try.

Stories such as this really put our own daily dilemmas into perspective. It is safe to say that we can all learn from the courage and perseverance displayed by these two young men.

“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the nonpharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”

-John Gardner

“Self-pity will parch your attitudes, it will paralyze your abilities, and it will put off your achievements. It prohibits excellence and prevents expansion.”

Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton have both found excellence and continue to expand.

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Zach Krych Comeback Story

Below is a video featuring the return of Zach Krych after a devastating training injury. The video shows the injury and the steps that were taken to change the initial prognosis provided by his surgeon. The video is just under six minutes and well worth your time. Incredible is an understatement.

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