Why Should You Even Exercise?

I think one question that precedes all questions is one that I’ve been asking ever since I was able to talk as a child: Why?

Placing myself in the fitness, strength and conditioning, and surrounding myself with rehabilitation professionals is merely an extension of who I am, and it is also takes great amounts of self-awareness on what makes me tick, and what kinds of things I am willing to sacrifice in order to have an outcome.

Dancing is also an extension who I am. Lifting is an extension of who I am.

Even more relevant to how I view life, satisfaction, and happiness involves understanding the question: why should I do (the thing) that takes introspection, work, and maybe even sometimes blood, sweat, and tears?

Now, let’s go full circle and let me ask again:

Why should you even exercise?

Self-Love: Point A to Point A

Some look towards exercise as a self-fulfilling act, in which the only outcome and end goal is their own ego approval. This is totally fine, and loving yourself is something that not many do.

Ask any of my close friends and family members, and you’ll find that I am probably the hardest person on myself, and placing myself first is something that I have to actively do (others do this instinctively).

In order to progress past “Point A” and onto the further points described below, you’ll actually have to accept that you need to pass Point A (loving yourself) in order to do so.

Filling Up Time: Point A to Point D

Others perform the action of exercise as a way to fill up spare time in their lives.

It is just as a filling up time as it is watching Netflix, or going surfing. These are things that do not add productivity to ones life, they merely provide an enjoyable time that can be spent with others, by yourself, or whatever else it may be.

It is just a way to fill in the gaps between Point A and Point D, and they are wandering into exercise perhaps as a form of entertainment.

Again, nothing wrong with this reasoning, and you’ll find that many people do this until some extrinsic motivation turns into intrinsic motivation.

The End Goal – Point A to Point Z

And on the other hand, others look towards exercise in order to survive, in order to improve upon others lives, and even improve another skillset.

For survival purposes, you might need to exhibit greater degrees of fitness than the person you are trying to help save, i.e. military, fire fighters, police, nurses, and down the list you go.

Others develop exercise as a way to improve a skillset, such as an athletic endeavor, or other mental task. For example:

  • The skill of baseball can be improved upon with more force production and coordination through exercise.
  • I have to wonder why NASCAR drivers exercise when in fact they are just sitting down all day turning left.
  • Read this and this to be convinced that sitting down is tough on the body.
  • Aerobic exercise can improve upon motoric learning, such as playing chess, learning the guiter, or other motoric skills (not usually associated with exercise).
  • So if you play a musical instrument, are you in fact being efficient by not exercising? Or should you exercise to increase your amplitude of learning? Some food for thought.

There is a resiliency that you are trying to improve upon that has a long, long, long, long term plan that including a simple act of exercising every other day (or whatever timeline of exercise is available to you) can help you to help others.

What am I trying to say?

At the end of the day, you don’t need to exercise at all.

In fact, you can do whatever the f*ck you want to do.

When I talk to my accountant, I have no idea what the details and intricacies of all the different forms I have to fill out, I’m simply viewing my accountant as a utilitarian. In other words, I view the pieces of the puzzle as a method towards improving towards the end goal, or my Point Z.

Some people, I don’t know who you are, might enjoy understanding the intricacies of tax forms, and signing on the dotted line, and engaging with your accountant, or maybe even doing your own taxes. I’m not one of those people, and I’m keenly aware of this fact.

Let’s translate this into exercise lingo now.

When I come into the gym, I have one purpose and one purpose only – to improve upon a fitness level, improve my ability to learn a new motoric pattern (learning how to flare, do lunges, or do backflips), or recover from a previous bout of exercise, competition, or whatever else it may be (due to lack of recovery – so I’m aiming to recover).

Doing this provides me the immediate relief that even if I have a “bad day” of exercise, that the next day will be better, the next phase will be improved upon, and my psychological ego will be quelled because I know I have been building a habit for exercise over and over.

Also, I am thinking about what happens when I turn 45, 50, 55, and 60. I have had multiple family members pass around that age due to lack of execution on knowledge that is readily available.

The thought of my mortality is in my head daily.

In fact, I know that the average lifespan of a male Filipino (in the Philippines) is 68. The average lifespan of a male in the US is 78. Combine those two items, and you come up with the number 73 (2016). I can tell you last year that the average lifespan of a male Filipino was 65, and male in the US was 78, with an averaged out age of 71.5 (in 2015).

Waving Filipino Flag

Call it paranoia. I call it awareness of how many days on average my male Filipino peers (and elders) have left in the world (barring any accidents, catastrophes, etc).

My Point Z is what happens when I am no longer here, and then even beyond.

What will my family remember me as? I hope not as a meathead, but as someone who used exercise as a means towards improving the lives of others, especially my loved ones.

So, let’s ask this question again:

Why should you even exercise?

As always,

Keep it funky.


Awareness & Culture – Two Things That Make Me Different Than Everyone Else

Having the ability to think in different languages is a humongous thing. This is something that I’ve naturally done since I was born. My mom grew up in the Philippines, and worked in Japan. These random facts bring to light the fact that my mom was speaking Japanese, Filipino, English, and Spanish (because it is already relatively close to Filipino due to culture).

My mom was probably yelling at me in all of these languages combined, and it was naturally for me to understand one sentence in different contexts as a baby and kid. Whenever I’m home, my grandma still speaks to me in Tagalog, and I understand what is being said, especially when I’m hungry, when food is on the table, when she needs something, when things matter.

[Side Note: There has been some interesting research talking about how understanding multiple languages as a baby keeps certain windows open during their developmental years.]

I remember in the first grade, I helped my mom during a “Cultures Around the World” program, where we spoke for about 5 to 6 minutes in straight Japanese (keep in mind I’m 100% Filipino). Granted it was relatively conversational in nature, because I was about 6/7 years old, but the story should serve a purpose – having the ability to speak multiple languages is the one skill set that I know I have that makes me different than everyone else.

Now, translating this to my adult and professional life, there is thought process that involves learning how to speak “multiple languages” to different populations of people. I’m not talking about speaking Khmer to my Cambodians, or Spanish to my fellow Spanish-speaking brethren (I can if I need to), but I have the ability to blend in with different friends and populations.

Working as a personal trainer, to youth athletes in multiple populations (hockey, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, dancing, basketball, bboys, etc) all the way to a slightly more older and professional athletic population is merely an extension of my ability to speak multiple languages. It’s a survival mechanism at its least, and my natural intuition at its best.

The way I’m going to communicate a specific drill to someone who plays basketball to make them buy-in is going to be much different than someone who has never played anything other than baseball, for example.

Multiple Skills That Make All The Difference

Another interesting aspect is other people continuously pointing out to me that I am a “certain person” when it comes to a niche, skillset, or any other professionally minded skill.

While I appreciate the notion that I have developed an expertise, it is interesting to hear these observations from my peers:

  • I’ve been clumped together with being a “breathing guy” because I’ve been to multiple continuing education courses.

Read: Posts Tagged “Postural Restoration Institute”

  • I’ve been classified as a “dance movement guy” only because my background is in dancing.

  • I’ve been classified as an “energy systems guy” because I’ve done a few presentations on aerobic energy systems.

Read: 5 Thoughts on Conditioning for Dancers

  • I haven’t been classified as a “powerlifting guy” despite being only 55lbs away from an elite total at the 148lb weight class. Despite having a deadlift over 3.5 times bodyweight.

  • I’ve been classified as a research driven guy (despite me not having a Master’s, or any other graduate level education).
  • I’ve been classified as a stats guys (despite me only collecting basic level information on athletes and questionnaires from online clients).
  • I haven’t been classified as a baseball strength and conditioning guy, despite doing a 4 month internship, and collecting over 1.5 years of capital at Cressey Sports Performance, a sports performance facility in Hudson, MA (and now Jupiter, FL).
  • Among many other things that are probably not as nice.

The truth of the matter is that I enjoy diving deep into many different social circles, groups, and creating multiple friends in many different ways.

My purpose is to not “show off” what people have said about me. Rather, I grew up in a world where the word “labels” had a negative connotation, so I chose to diversify my energy into not having any one label!

This is to display that people’s observations of what people think of who you are, and where they fit you in their head should not deter you from what your goals are and what they should be.

Navigating multiple social circles, sub-cultures (I’ve danced, talked about basketball, talked anime, and then talked about getting strong on the front side with athletes in less than about 10 minutes – it happens pretty regularly), along with learning to speak to multiple people and how they view things from their world is a skill set that is difficult to convey in a succinct message.

What Can You Take From This?

One thing that I try to encourage co-workers, friends, and interns to do is to get out of their comfort zone. With that said, if you’re reading this, I highly recommend challenging yourself in this way:

I challenge you, the reader, the thinker, the coach, the trainer, to envelope yourself in another culture, or to discover something about another culture that you would not have known about.

This doesn’t take 20 years to do, but rather small pieces of conversation that truly allow you to become immersed in another person’s life.

You don’t need to, and you can always do whatever the f*ck you want to do, but when you begin to expose yourself to multiple multiple cultures, whether it is hanging out with acquaintances, or members of a rival team, or someone you initially don’t get along with, you’ll find out more about yourself and how you process information, and how your emotions are regulated.

Now, if this doesn’t speak to you, that’s cool. I’m always attempting to push my comfort levels, whether it is in the context of continuing education, powerlifting, or learning what makes a youth athlete tick (it is Snapchat and Instagram at the moment). I challenge you to do the same thing.

As always,

Keep it funky.


4 Things A Hyper-Neurotic Personal Trainer (Like Me) Can Do for a Better Life (Instead of Making Excuses or Complaining)

Going off of my relatively popular blog post, Things the Hyper-Neurotic (Like Me) Can Do for 30 min for a Better Life (Instead of Making Excuses or Complaining), I decided to make a list of things that a personal trainer or coach can do to make his or her life a little easier.

The life of a personal trainer is relatively straight-forward. It is not a normal 9 to 5 job, where you can drop your paperwork off and any thought of work as soon as you step out of your workplace.

Screw This

If you’re strictly a commercial gym trainer, you are constantly emailing potential clients to set up their next training session, on top of maintaining a relatively healthy outlook while you juggle commuting, traveling, and the occasional exercise session.

You bring paperwork with you. You have workouts written on your phone. You have a Facebook feed with all sorts of mixed messages. Your after work conversations involve any and all conversations that involve, “I’m trying to lose fat right here (as your significant other’s brother’s girlfriend points to her obliques that don’t need any extra fat to be shed there).”


In fact, the life of a personal trainer, and subsequently any strength coach that works in either the public or private sector, is anything but straight forward.

You work early mornings, sometimes with 5am clients, which means you wake up at 4am, which means you slept at 9 or 10pm the night before, and then continue to work until 11 or 12 noon, then pick it back up with clients by 3 or 4pm until 7 or 8pm at night, and you get home by 9pm.

… which means you haven’t seen any semblance of a normal night out in God knows how long.

No big deal, right? It’s living the dream, because you get to workout and look good doing it. #Sarcasm as all the cool kids would say nowadays.

Well, to put all of that in your proverbial pipe and smoke it, here are 4 ways I’ve discovered to help make life a little less hectic, and improve your work-life balance.



1. Prepare food for the week.

Cook all of your food for the week in one day. And I mean all of your food – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks.

Here are all of your steps in a nutshell:

  1. Buy chicken (or insert meat), veggies, spices, at the supermarket & travel home (10 to 15min)
  2. Spices, chicken, and throw veggies into microwave or bake/fry/cook/eat raw. (30 sec)
  3. Bake chicken / cook food. (25 to 30 minutes)
  4. Throw food into multiple pieces of tupperware. (30 seconds).
  5. Clean/wash/eat because you’re hungry looking at the chicken. (20 min)

Total Time: Approximately 60 min

And I don’t mean just one pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Go for 6 to 8 pounds at a time.

The old adage of “failing to plan is planning to fail” holds true here. This is because instead of preparing the foods you love for the whole week in one hour or less, you are cooking every night for approximately the same amount of time but everyday instead (so 7 hours used instead of one).

And that is no bueno, mi amigo.

2. Sleep better, if not more.

If you work a lot of gigs to pay the bills, then you’ll need to micro-manage the quality of sleep you’ll get in order to min-max what you can handle.

Get these items in order to min-max your sleep:

1. White Noise App

A couple of things – this is a free app, I don’t use it, but the idea makes sense. If you live in a busy, noisy area – noise happens. Block it out by getting a white noise, sort of like leaving your TV on back in the day when that black and white channel would come on after a certain amount of time.

I personally use a fan to block out everything. Definitely helps me sleep! I used to have a similar app on my iPad to help me sleep – I liked the crackling fire since, you know, I love sleeping to the sound of a potential fire near me.

Get this App for your iPhone or iPad here.

2. ZMA

ZMA contains three things: Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6. The magnesium part of this trifecta helps with sleep, but if it is already a part of a trio, might as well get some added benefits.

Also it is non-addicting. So, crush this for better sleep.

Read more on ZMA.

3. Melatonin

According to examine.com, “Melatonin is a hormone secreted in the brain that regulates sleep. Oral ingestion of melatonin may be used as a sleep aid. It is non-addictive.”

These guys are a lot smarter than me when it comes to nutrition, so I might blindly listen to them when it comes to helping me sleep better in less time.

Read more on Melatonin.

4. Sleep Mask

Sleep masks are crucial for blocking out light, especially if you don’t have a blackout curtain (see below). The idea of blocking out light is that your eyes can still sense light through your eyelids.

Don’t believe me? Shine the flashlight of your phone in front of your closed eyes and tell me that doesn’t get annoying after 0.2 seconds.

Now try to sleep with the lights on, and I guarantee that your sleep quality will be significantly reduced.

If you have claustrophobia, this is probably not a good idea for you on the other hand. Unless you like facing your fears, quite literally.

Get your own sleep mask here.

5. Blackout Curtain

If you live in a room with windows (hopefully you do – otherwise you should be expecting your letter from Hogwarts relatively soon after your 13th birthday), you may have the pleasure of having the sun enter your room when during the day.


However, at night, you have this thing you need to pay attention to called your circadian rhythm that is regulated by temperature, light availability, along with other biological mechanisms.

Get your own blackout curtains here.

6. Plan for one day to catch up on sleep.

This is key, because crushing 4 hours of sleep everyday, while do-able, can lead to lack of thinking, lack of creativity, lack of remembering where you left your tupperware, forgetting where you placed your keys, and for the love of everything Holy where is my caffeine?

Dunkin Rules Everything Around Me
Dunkin Rules Everything Around Me

Did I say lack of sleep leads to general crankiness?

This is, of course, assuming you are not always packing a back pocket of sunshine and rainbows no matter how little sleep you get.


3. Get Your Education in the Form of Books/Podcasts/and Calls with Your Peers

If you’re unable to attend the newest and fanciest seminars across the nation, who is to say you can’t call your friend that went to that seminar and ask them to discuss with them what happened and what went down?

Further, if you’re traveling for 15 to 30 minutes at at time, who is to say you can’t crush some podcasts or audio books?

I recently bought an Audible account – and I am an idiot for waiting this long to do so. I’ve listened to three more books that I wouldn’t have digested otherwise. Sure, I can’t take notes when I’m driving, but I can make “Notes” with the help of a voice-to-text option.

If you’re looking to be the top in your field, you need to find some way to be on the cutting edge, and this is just another method towards doing so.

4. Skip a Warm-Up

If you’re truly working to get ahead in some capacity, it may be difficult for you to get a full on foam rolling session (10 minutes), dynamic warm-up (5 to 10 minutes), warm-up sets (if training for strength) then the actual work sets, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours (seriously, I’ve done it before). Now add in some accessory exercises (30 minutes), and the fact that you now need to hobble on out of the gym you just used every weight and barbell in, and you have a grand total of 150 minutes, or 2 hours and change of working out.

Well, if you skip the overall general warm-up (lunges, skipping, jumps, sprinting) and all you are really trying to do is look good, maintain appearances, and slightly improve upon your strength levels, who says you need to do a full on warm-up?

Do this super simple warm-up such as this.

  • Foam Roll Your Back, Legs (~30 sec) – for everything, that’s it.
  • Spiderman Lunge with Hip Lift & Rotation – 4/side (~20 sec)
  • High Knee Skip or Jump Rope – 4x or 20 reps


Barbell is in your hands for your first warm-up set in less then 2 to 4 minutes. Now continue to use an empty barbell, then load up 25lbs on each side, or 45lbs if lower body, and go from there. You should be in your working sets in less than 10 minutes, which effectively cuts about 25% of your time working out on the optimal portion of working out on some of the more ancillary items.

This is to not de-value or not place a priority on movement quality, tissue extensibility, or even improvements in motoric learning as you go from Point A to Point B, but rather it is to place an emphasis on your time – something that we all theoretically don’t have much of!


I’d recommend giving one of these items a shot because they help restore some balance in a world that demands more time, energy, and attention than ever before. The indecision making process is what kills some people, so hopefully by providing these solutions, you can conserve some energy in your everyday endeavors.

At the end of the day, save some time for yourself and condense your work when possible. Cook at the same time your laundry is going. Take a cat nap in between clients.

If you’re at a time in your life when you need to quite literally hustle, well then own it and don’t worry what everyone and their mother thinks about you and your “hustle” – this shit is real and you want to get better, so let’s do it together, and be smart about it.

As always,

Keep it funky.