I wasn’t sure what to include and what not to include in this section… So here are the most common questions people usually ask me. Before I get started, I made a list you can click on to skip through what you don’t find interesting:
- MY JOURNEY (FROM SKINNY-FAT TO RIPPED)
- WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR LEG BRO?
- MY LIFE PHILOSOPHY
- WHAT IS BODYWEIGHT MUSCLE
- PERSONAL COACHING
- CONTACT ME
That pale guy in the picture below? Yup that’s me! Weighing no more than 150 lbs and rocking what appears to be a bad version of a mullet haircut (not that there’s a good version of a mullet but anyhow).
When I first got started with Bodyweight exercise, I never thought I’d end up gaining 20 pounds of lean muscle without lifting anything else other than my own weight. Yet here I am a few years later… stronger, leaner and healthier than ever. Doing things like one-arm pull-ups and one-arm push-ups.
I consider this project and everything that led to it’s so far success as a lifetime of experimentation, learning, failing, experimenting some more, failing a lot more, and finally succeeding with not only my own fitness goals, but also some of my life goals. Hey, if I could make it after 13 surgeries, 5 bed-ridden years, a leg amputation and the rest of my trials – I think so could you. “Wait… what do you mean leg amputation?” Oh, you didn’t notice? Yeah, most people don’t. I’m indeed missing my left leg below the knee.
So, what happened to the leg? Well, I used to be a fearless pirate, plundering cruise ships, stealing from the rich and giving back to the poor until one day a shark… Oh wait, sorry that’s the story I use with the ladies. Ok, where was I? Right, missing leg. Well, believe it or not but I used to be a Jedi Knight and…
Ok, I wasn’t as Jedi (although I totally would be if Yoda trained me). I’m guessing my jokes are probably starting to bore you so here’s the true story and I’ll my best to keep it short (like my left leg?):
– had a big accident when I was 23
– left leg got pretty messed up and I had 13 reconstructive operations over the next 5 years
– couldn’t move that much during those years so I spent most of my time in bed
– got quite depressed and completely out of shape
– all surgeries failed
– lots of ups and downs, more drama and dark stuff, blah blah blah,
– I finally decided to have my leg amputated and move on with life
– got back in shape
– Started Bodyweight Muscle.com (actually it was HomemadeMuscle.com at first)
…And here I am
(if you want to learn more about my story you can check out my first best-selling book on amazon – All You Need is Pull-up Bar)
Nowadays I don’t regret my accident happening to me. It’s been a great lesson and an experience that lead me down a very different and more interesting path than the one I was supposed to be heading towards before. So far, I’ve narrowed my life’s philosophy down to three things:
1. The obstacle is the path
There’s a Zen proverb that says “The obstacle is the path”. My accident taught me to turn this proverb into a life-long attitude. Look, you’re always going to have obstacles on your path. Sometimes big ones and other times smaller ones. If you maintain the right mindset though, you’ll find that obstacles also hide opportunity. It’s not always easy to spot this opportunity and often it takes a lot of patience to figure it out. But keep your eyes open long enough and you’ll eventually spot it. For example, among with other things, my accident led me to creating an online business and allowed me to pursue my passion in life.
Great book on this topic: The Obstacle is the Way By Ryan Holiday
2. There is no one approach, theory, philosophy or spiritual practice
Another positive influence my accident had on me is that it added a spiritual side to my character (big change for a pragmatist). Spirituality for me simply offers a different angle to look at things. It can offer you purpose and keep you a bit more optimistic or detached when required. Spiritual is a difficult word to define and pinpoint. I guess it’s different for every person. My spiritual side for example consists of is a weird amalgam of:
- Asian philosophies such as Zen Buddhism – i.e. “Zen probably won’t solve a single one of our problems. What it might do is help us relate differently to what we consider problems.” Quote by Barry Graham
- Stoicism – i.e. “Receive wealth or prosperity without arrogance and be ready to let it go.” Quote by Marcus Aurelius
- Evolutionary psychology: i.e. “We’re apes on a big spinning rock!” Quote by… me, I guess. Even though E.P. is more of a science, it helps me stay humble and compassionate by reminding my how we’re all driven by the same biological hardwiring.
Most importantly, it’s the result of being able to forgive myself for my past mistakes and peel off a thin layer of ego every year as I grow older and gain a few more grey hairs.
Great books on this topic: Well, a tone of them I guess… but The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*Ck by Mark Manson is a good start.
3. When in doubt – be fair
The way we function in daily life is by creating our own stories about the world around us. Oftentimes, our story will conflict with the person’s next to us. Due to this we ow it to our fellow human beings to always remember that we are all biased to our own version of reality (to some extent at least) and by proximity to that we are often also quite wrong.
Therefore, it’s important to develop critical thinking skills to be able to observe and separate facts from stories. Facts are based on solid information and have no preferences. Facts are also verifiable – meaning they can be demonstrated to correspond to experience. Scientific facts for example are verified by repeatable careful observation or measurement (by experiments or other means). By putting facts in the center of our focus and using critical-thinking as a lense of observation we learn to let aside opinions, to be just and to act with integrity. It’s not always easy or to our advantage (actually it often sucks) but at least you’ll sleep a bit more calmly at night.
BM focuses on creating a fit lifestyle by narrowing down your workouts to the most essential bodyweight-exercises that create an impressive, strong and lean physique but also a functional body.
- Train Anywhere Any Time: Either you’re having a busy day working from home. Either it’s a nice sunny day and you feel like training outdoors. Or even if you have a short break during work and the gym is a convenient next-door location…
- Make Each Rep Count: Minimize injury and maximize results by learning how to focus on the right muscles and execute each exercise with perfect technique
- It’s not just about Muscle: Getting stronger and gaining control over your own body generates confidence and a sense of self-mastery that spreads into the rest of your life.
DO I NEED SPECIAL EQUIPMENT? There are a few simple pieces of equipment that I recommend. These are inexpensive and easy to carry with (i.e. you can easily throw them in your everyday backpack). I recommend starting with a pair of gymnastic rings and later on considering a pair of push-up grips and a jumping rope.
BODYWEIGHT MUSCLE & SCIENCE: Science is a major core value of BM since it was the candle that got me out of the dark online corridors of misinformation and gave me proper direction as a trainee and most importantly as a coach. It’s a powerful tool I’ve learned to use in order to scrutinize the huge amount of conflicting information there is out there in the fitness industry. Feel free to ask me for scientific studies and valid arguments any time I make any claim you feel is not right.
LEARNING FROM THE BEST: As with all tools, science has as well its own limitations. That is why a big of knowledge that influenced this project was knowledge that came by studying and advising dedicated practitioners and experts from all kinds of different fields including Strength training, weight lifting, power lifting, Martial arts, Nutrition, Psychology and Philosophy.
TESTED AND SWEATED: Everything I talk about and recommend through BM are things I practice daily or things I’ve incorporated in my lifestyle at some point of my fitness journey. My best insights usually come from experimenting with ideas in my own lab – my body. I never talk about something I haven’t tested extensively and as I like to say anything I haven’t “sweated” myself.
I have a degree in Sports Science & Physical Education (SSPE) from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. After my SSPE degree I tried to start a physiotherapy Bachelor and a Master on Human Movement at the VU University of Amsterdam but health issues got in the way so I never finished them. Honestly, I don’t think much of my SSPE degree since I started learning a lot more about exercise and nutrition after that. I’m always reading books, attending conventions, staying up to date with the latest research and taking courses. I think that anyone who takes his work seriously should consider himself an eternal student.
Ok, enough reading for now! If you haven’t gotten started with your Bodyweight Muscle routine it’s now or never! Here are two ways you can take action, get in shape and make things happen in your life!
1. Download my free beginner’s guide: By downloading my beginner’s guide and reading the newsletters that go along with it you’ll get in top shape before you can say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (yeah, that’s right – I just made a Marry Poppins reference to get you motivated to workout, how hardcore is that?)
2. Personal coaching: Get a custom-tailored plan and online personal coaching. I tried to make my Beginner’s guide as flexible as possible but there are some people who need more tailored plans and/or someone to hold them accountable (especially in the beginning). Besides tailored workout plans I can also help you optimize your current workout and diet plan. I’ll point out possible mistakes, things that can be improved and adjustments you can make to break through any plateau you might be facing.
I don’t consider coaching something you do “to” someone but something you do “with” someone. Make sure you’re and ready to invest time and effort before contacting me.