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You Are Not Normal (and it’s a good thing)

In this blog post I am going to talk about friends and family calling you “not normal” and generally not understanding your mission.

I can talk about this subject because my parents didn’t (and still don’t) support my goals and would often say this to me. I thought about this topic because a client of mine who lost 40 lbs was encountering resistance from some people close to her.

It’s not a big deal

It’s normal for people to get freaked out whenever there is some big change. Humans like it when everything stays the same and we fear disrupting the norm.

So when someone starts working out like crazy or changes their diet people close to them will resist the change. They will literally try say and do things to hold you back.

The Solution

Keep being honest with yourself and don’t compromise yourself. If you are pretty sure you would like to go ahead and obsess over a goal until it is accomplished then go do it.

Keep working towards your goal even if other people don’t understand your mission.

Most People Won’t Understand Your Mission/Goal

It is super common and actually not a bad thing if other people don’t understand your mission and find you “weird” or “not acting like yourself”. No shit! We are trying to change ourselves here and improve!

If you had a vision and EVERYBODY agreed with it, that would actually be pretty weird.

Also you shouldn’t be talking about your mission with everybody. Be selective with who you talk to because most people won’t understand you and might try saying something to discourage you.

There are always a few people who are on your team

Most people won’t understand your mission and will try to fuck you up in a passive-aggressive way. But if you stay true to yourself and keep going towards what you want, you will find people who are like you.

If you are real and remain real in the face of bullshit two things will happen:

1) People will like or just accept you and stay in your life.
2) People will not like you and they will fuck off.

The people that do like you when you are yourself are the right people to have around anyway. You don’t want to be pretending to be someone else just so somebody (who you don’t even like) likes you.

Main Points

This post is already too long. In conclusion: most people will not understand your goal or mission, ignore them and continue with what you want, if you remain real – you will find people who like the real you.

If you have any questions or comments, or stories I would LOVE to hear them. Please post it in the comments section or through the contact me page.

Thank you!


I tore my ACL in a BJJ Competition

On September 24, 2016 I tore my ACL in a bjj competition (IBJJF Toronto Open)

The video and the blog post cover the same thing. There is some stuff in the video I don’t mention in the post and vice versa.

In this blog post I’ll talk about:

How exactly I got injured (and how you can learn from my mistake)
How did it feel when it happened? How does my knee feel now?
What medical steps have I taken so far
How it has impacted my training

This is right before I tore my ACL.

This is right before I tore my ACL.

How I Tore My ACL:

Ok so I trained my ass off for the Toronto Open. It’s a grappling competition. I was competing as a purple belt. I won my division and absolute last year as a blue belt.

I won the blue belt heavy and open class in 2015.

I won the blue belt heavy and open class in 2015.

First match is up and I submit the guy with an arm-bar in 2 minutes.

Second match is up and right as the match starts my opponent (who usually pulls guard) catches me by surprise and shoots a low double leg attack on my legs. He basically ended up running into my knee with his body weight and bending it in a way it should not bend.

This is right after I got double legged and my ACL tore.

This is right after I got double legged and my ACL tore.

I immediately fall to the floor and start swearing and the match is over. I try to stand up and have to sit back down.

For some reason there were NO FUCKING MEDICS. Usually there are but this time only the tournament workers and my team mates were helping me.

My knee didn’t swell up that much. Just a bit. The super intense pain only lasted 30 seconds at the moment of impact. After that my leg would feel ok as long as I didn’t put too much weight on it.

3 Weeks Later

Now it’s Oct 18. 3 weeks later. It doesn’t hurt most of the time. But if I try running, jumping, or changing directions quickly it FUCKING HURTS! and Occasionally my knee feels loose and unstable for a second.

Did You See a Doctor?

Yes, the day after my injury (Sept 25) I went into the emergency room. The doctor said it looked like a torn meniscus. He referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. He did a bad job because he did not do the proper test for ACL tears.

2 Weeks later I go see the orthopedic surgeon and he immediately tests my leg and says it’s an 80% chance it’s an ACL tear. He said my knee feels very loose.

Next Step

The next step is I go get an MRI next Friday October 28. Then I see the surgeon again to examine the MRI results.

After this I will take my MRI results and go see another sports doctor and ask him what he thinks I should do to fix it. That way I get two medical opinions before cutting my knee open and trying to fix some shit together.

Mind Set (How am I taking it mentally?)

At first it sucked but I didn’t know how fucked up my leg was. I have strong legs so even though the acl is torn my knee doesn’t feel THAT unstable. I can still walk and squat with it. But occasionally it buckles and that is worrisome.

When the emergency room doctor told me it’s just a meniscus tear I was so happy! But when I found out it was an ACL tear I felt worse.

During the day I was with my girlfriend and we were joking around about it. But then at night (you know when you are falling asleep thinking about shit) I got really upset. Doing BJJ and competing is the funnest thing in my life. It’s the thing I like doing most. Now I’m not able to do it.

I still lift weights like 3 times per week and do cardio (light boxing) 2x per week.

I’m typing this up and I just finished a lifting workout this morning. I am squatting like 90lbs 3 sets of 5 and deadlifting 135lbs. I feel like I could do a lot more but I want to take it really easy on my knee.

Now I just gotta wait until I get the MRI (Oct 28) and see the doc (Nov 8).

Are You Still Working?

I am still working as a personal trainer every day. I also have a fitness boot camp in Richmond Hill. I went back to work the day after I tore my ACL. It doesn’t really hurt unless I try doing athletic movements.

I assume it will take my like a year to get back to full training after getting the surgery and going through rehab. I’m cool with it. Meanwhile I am trying to work and improve my financial situation.

I’ll keep updating this post as my recovery comes along.


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.


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.


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!


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


Me at age 25. Neck is significantly thicker.

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. 🙂