Have you ever had a friend who always seemed to have a knack for being both hilarious and insightful in the same breath?
Around GMB’s Alpha Posse, that friend is Mikey.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we always imagine Mikey’s forum posts being spoken in his awesome Scottish accent (watch the videos below for a taste).
According to some reports I’ll be 40 in December. Personally, I don’t believe it, and I am pleased to say that my wife doesn’t either.
He has two adorable sons, and a lovely wife. He and his wife have shared their lives for 14 years, and recently celebrated their wedding.
Lucas (age 3) and Eli (age 1) are a big driver behind Mikey’s fitness goals.
I want to be able to keep up with them when they are older. But, maybe it would be easier if I got the same 12 hours of sleep per night that they do!
Even between family responsibilities and a non-standard work situation, Mikey still manages to fit plenty of GMB-flavored movement practice into his schedule to keep healthy.
See how he does it in the (hilarious and insightful) interview below:
1. What’s your fitness background (currently, and prior to GMB)?
Up until about 12 years ago I didn’t really have any fitness background to speak of.
I had gym memberships, and Men’s Health subscriptions, and the odd stupid piece of equipment from late night TV shopping.
But they were all really because I felt I should be doing something, and not because I wanted to do something. I didn’t enjoy P.E. when I was at school, and certainly didn’t enjoy being forced to play rugby, and I never did any martial arts or yoga.
I first became seriously interested in fitness when I studied anatomy and physiology at my university. (Or maybe I studied anatomy and physiology because my interest was increasing). I then started to take more of an interest in going to the gym, but still never really found it enjoyable.
After a while I started questioning the efficacy of isolation exercises, like bicep curls. I couldn’t see how they were doing anything other than training me to do more bicep curls.
I started looking for something that seemed more real to me, which led me to bodyweight exercises.
They appealed to me because using most of your muscles at once made more sense.
After finding GMB (and using their programs for a while), by late last Autumn I was stronger than I have ever been.
I lost some of that strength over Winter/Spring due to illness, but I am properly back into my training now. My strength is coming back quickly, and I am almost at the point where I was last Autumn.
2. Tell us about a day in your life. What’s it like to be you?
I work on a seabed survey boat for a month at a time, and spend 12 hours each day sitting in front of a computer.
On the plus side it is very easy for me to get into a routine for working out there, as every day has the exact same schedule.
Because my rings are light, I can easily pack them for traveling with me, and have done the same with my P-Barz too.
When I am home I can workout at anytime as I am essentially on holiday for a month – to make up for a month at work.
Doing GMB programs means I don’t need to go to a gym at all – I can do my workouts in my house, my garage, or in the garden if the weather is in a good mood. (I feel the need to mention here that it doesn’t rain in Scotland nearly as much as some people think. But it’s bloody freezing in winter).
3. So, how did you find GMB?
My interest in finding something that seemed more real to me led to me coming across CST. I liked the idea of it, but – to me at least – it seemed overly complicated and structured for somebody just interested in general fitness and strength.
Luckily though, through CST I came across the Prasara Primer course, which introduced me to Ryan. He seemed like a pretty cool dude, so I signed up for the GMB newsletter, and I haven’t looked back since.
[Note: CST - Circular Strength Training - is a training system that Ryan, Jarlo, and Andy used to teach before leaving it behind to start GMB.]
4. What were some of the challenges you faced on your journey to fitness and better health?
At work, depending on the boat I am on, sometimes my workout options are quite restricted, mainly due to space constraints or risk of death (I’m being melodramatic there, much like my employers).
There is usually a gym on board, but even the thought of treadmills or stationary bikes makes me almost slip into a coma. Even when I don’t have the option to use my rings or P-Barz though, I can usually manage some bodyweight exercises.
At home things are much easier, but I still have to fit my workouts around the demands of my 2 kids and wife. I won’t say who is more demanding of me though!
One challenge I’ve had to deal with is an old injury – I have a dicky rib.
It popped out about about 8 years ago when it had a coming together with the rafters in my garage. Everything would have been fine if gravity hadn’t joined the party, but, hey. It used to bother me a lot more, mainly because when I first got into bodyweight exercises I bought a couple of iffy courses.
They were quite popular, but that wasn’t a reflection on their quality at all.
The instruction was poor and there was no mention of warm up/cool down or recovery at all. As I became wiser I realised this was a bad thing, and even realised some of the exercises weren’t even doing me any good.
It doesn’t bother me as much now, partly because I am much more aware of it, and partly because GMB has made me realise how important form is with their “Make it Pretty” mantra.
5. What are you working on right now?
Rings, baby, rings.
But now I am working back through R1, and I love it. Going through it a second time is completely different from the first time. I remember the movements from first time round – so I don’t have to learn them again, my strength is building quicker this time, and I am so much more aware of my form which is definitely helping my progress.
The redux video instruction is definitely making a difference too. I thought the instruction in the original version of R1 was great anyway, but I think it says a lot about what GMB does that they felt it could be improved upon, so they went ahead and re-shot the whole course, then gave the updates to R1 clients for free.
I am also trying to fit in some Focused Flexibility to my daily routine as I know the extra flexibility will help me with my progress too. This hasn’t happened as easily as I hoped it would, but that’s because right now I am also working through a non-GMB program called “Moving House.”
6. Ok, let’s talk about us again (we never tire of hearing our own name). Why do you like us? I mean, really like us?!
Where do I start? The short answer is everything.
Since finding GMB my quest to find something better has ended. For the first time ever – fitness wise – I am completely happy with what I have, and that is for a number of reasons.
I wish I had realised years ago how important it was for me to do something I enjoy. I have never had as much fun working out as I have had following GMB programs. I love the progressions of the exercises. Adding extra skills is way more satisfying (and interesting) than just adding more weight to the same exercise.
The quality of the teaching is amazing. I have had face to face training that doesn’t come up to the standard of GMB video instruction. And I love the teaching they devote to recovery too – like I already said, I think it is missing from some other similar programs.
Being in Alpha Posse is great too.
The level of support you get, the genuine sense of community, the camaraderie is… I don’t know. Just saying it is great is doesn’t do it justice!
Despite the fact I have never met any of the Posse members in person, I feel like we have become friends.
It’s the same with the GMB crew as well, they all seem so genuine. To me, it is like everything they do as a company is primarily about helping people hit their fitness goals, rather than primarily being about making a buck.
In simple terms, they make me feel special.
And the cool skills I have learned from them make me feel special too. I love the fact that the gymnastics training isn’t geared towards ultimate performance and competing. It changes your whole approach, and removes any pressure. Progress happens at whatever pace is right for you, and with maximum fun.
GMB really is the complete package. I even like Andy’s sense of humor.
[Editor's note: Oh no, don't inflate his ego even more!]
7. And what’s your favorite GMB program?
Rings, baby, rings.
I spent quite a few years wishing I had done gymnastics when I was younger, but thinking it was too late, I was too old, there was nothing I could do about it. Then along comes this American dude living in Japan who tells me he can teach me ring skills.
I have gone from thinking I could never do rings at all, to seeing the iron cross as a realistic possibility for me.
How cool is that?!
8. Ok, back to you – how do you like to have fun? What do you do on your down time?
I have loved motorbikes forever, particularly sports bikes.
I don’t have as much time to ride as I used too, but it’s not something I can ever see myself giving up.
I don’t mind not having as much time to ride though, as that time is taken up by my three favourite people in the world – my wife and two boys.
There are never more than a couple of minutes go by in our house without somebody getting a laugh, and I love that.
Having young kids is some of the best comedy ever.
I love playing with them, I love their sense of wonder, and I love their energy.
As well as learning new GMB skills, I also love learning new things in general. I find the human brain fascinating, and get irked by people who think you can’t learn new things as you get older. From my experience, some things are much easier to learn as you get older.
I love doing mechanical things for myself too. I recently spent 3 days replacing the brakes on my car, which started to feel like a pretty bad idea half way through. But the satisfaction I got, the money I saved (after all, I am Scottish), and the fact I knew it had been done properly made it all worthwhile in the end.
I am currently doing the same with my wife’s car and it isn’t taking nearly as long, so it’s all good.
9. Any words of wisdom you’d like us to pass on? Remember, the internet is forever.
Three things that I think could improve anyone’s life: Get more sleep, have more fun, don’t take anything too seriously.
And most of them are pretty cool.