2016 was a great year for me and Rokiskyfitness. I  graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science as a health fitness specialist. I passed the CSCS test and became a certified strength and conditioning coach. From there, I moved across the country to start my internship at Equinox in Downtown Los Angeles. The internship consisted of 12 unpaid weeks totalling 480 hours. It was a humbling experience and made me realize that there's still plenty of work to do. Fortunately, they brought me on as a personal trainer. The job has been filled with long days and 60 hour + weeks, but it has been an amazing learning experience and the staff feels like family. So don’t feel sorry for me, I love my job and look forward to more 60 hour + weeks.

If I looked at my life from the outside perspective, it would seem pretty successful, but that couldn't be further away from the truth. Even though 2016 was a great year and I accomplished a bunch of my goals. There were still plenty of failures and mistakes along the way. For example, halfway through my internship they interviewed me and didn't hire me. Luckily, I was given a second chance and got the job. However, I was lucky that I was given a second opportunity. The failure made me realize that my ego had won once again and this frustrated me. For the last year I focused on controlling my ego, I studied the ego as much as possible. I read books on it and listened to every podcast possible. My favorite book from this research was, "Ego Is The Enemy" by Ryan Holiday. I enjoyed it so much that I listened to it first, read it and then read it again turning it into a 20 page study guide (click here for it). Once I finished the book, I thought I knew everything there was on the ego. I applied the book to my lfie as much as possible. I increased my meditation even more and thought I was ready for any obstacle that was thrown my way. Unfortunately, I wasn't ready and I lied to myself. Yes, I understood the ego and could explain to someone else how to overcome it, but I, myself, didn't know how to apply it to my everyday life. I thought I was ready, but I wasn't. I rushed the process and let the pleasure of gratification win.

So with that, I decided to look through all my posts from this past year and find my favorites. Each one of these post taught me a valuable lesson that I plan on following in the new year. In addition, I have listed my favorite books from this past year, and all the posts that have been written in the last year. If you apply the lessons learned from these posts you will increase your productivity and overall well being. You will have the knowledge and the tools to live a healthier, happier life. You just have to be willing to take action. I hope you enjoyed everything that I learned from 2016. There is still plenty of learning to be had and plenty of blog posts to be written. Stay tuned in 2017, we are going to put out even more quality content.

My 10 Favorite Books Read In 2016

  1. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck 
  2. The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumphs
  3. Why Some Ideas Survive and Others DIe: Made To Stick 
  4. Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived 
  5. The One Thing
  6. Ego Is The Enemy
  7. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
  8. Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depends On It 
  9. Models: Attract Women Through Honesty 
  10. CEO Strength Coach 

My 10 Favorite Quotes Found In 2016


  1. "As to the methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” -  Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. “If someone has those four things — work ethic, taste, integrity, and curiosity — I believe that you can learn anything in the world.” – Matt Mullenweg

  3. "Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength."- Arnold Schwarzenegger

  4. Epictetus has said, “You can bind up my leg, but not even Zeus has the power to break my freedom of choice.”

  5. “Dig deep within yourself, for there is a fountain of goodness ever ready to flow if you will keep digging.” Marcus Aurelius

  6. “Let philosophy scrape off your own faults, rather than be a way to rail against the faults of others,” wrote Seneca

  7. “Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will—then your life will flow well, ” Epictetus said

  8. Seneca: “We should take wandering outdoor walks, so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.”

  9. Marcus Aurelius wrote to “Watch the stars in their courses and imagine yourself running alongside them.”

  10. “This is the mark of perfection of character—to spend each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, laziness, or any pretending.” Marcus Aurelius

  11. As Lord Chesterfield advised his son: “Surely it is of great use to a young man, before he sets out for that country, full of mazes, windings, and turnings, to have at least a general map of it, made by some experienced traveler.”

  12. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

  13. Heraclitus said, “Dogs bark at what they cannot understand.”

Still craving more knowledge? 

Check out all the articles written in 2016.

Burn Fat And Build Muscle Blog Posts (19)

Fitness Myths Blog Posts (9)

Explore The Mind And Body Blog Posts (15)

Workout Plans (5)

Interviews (6)

86 Tips That I Wrote Down In 2016

  1. Mtor determines anabolic or catabolic states
  2. Let the client do the exercises they love on there own
  3. Today is one in a million,  it will never happen again 
  4. Vo2 max is an important factor in longevity
  5. You need adversity to improve 
  6. Belief and adherence is the most important thing when it comes to training with a trainer
  7. Tally up the volume for each movement,  strength should be balanced with movements 
  8. Lower the weight slowly to strengthen the tendons ( 3 to 5 seconds )
  9. Low state cardio will use fat as a fuel source and interval training uses carbs
  10. The success of your life is in direct proportion of how uncomfortable you are going to be
  11. Sympathy is a weakness, empathy is what you want 
  12. Drinking is borrowing happiness from tomorrow 
  13. You aren't the only one who has bad days
  14. High intensity continuous training to increase endurance in fast twitch fibers 
  15. Let other people shine , let others get credit 
  16. Find what is essential and do that, focus on what you need to do , not what you always want to do
  17. Cardio benefits are easier to reverse than strength levels
  18. Fasting (48-72 hrs) has been shown to help repair multiple sclerosis and reduce your risk of cancer
  19. Discomfort equals progress
  20. Hypermobility is associated with higher levels of adrenaline due to venous blood pooling which can impair recovery due to the sympathetic nature
  21. Cancer cells rely on glucose,  a ketosis diet (high fat, low protein ) forces the cancer cell to create energy through the mitochondria which creates free radicals and signals cell death due to the poor living environment of the body 
  22. Tight hamstrings could be due to a weak anterior core i.e an anterior pelvic tilt over lengthens them
  23. Ketosis helps you lose weight by curbing your hunger i.e you eat less calories 
  24. Be the purple cow, stand out and get very good at one specific thing
  25. Get long, get strong and train hard. The 3 step process for training, mobility, stability and consistency develops strength. 
  26. A three step process to overcome suffering: It is what it is, harvest the good, and leave the rest
  27. Avoid working out the next morning of a night shift, workout before the shift begins
  28. We avoid extreme positive and extreme negative changes based on how much it threatens the self 
  29. Life is 20% what happens to you and 80 % how you react to it i.e the logical brain versus the emotional brain 
  30. Emotions are signals not reality
  31. Accepting a negative experience is a positive experience 
  32. The danger is in the dose, this principle applies to everything in life. Your goal is to find the golden mean
  33. Dogs and babies make decisions based on emotions and momentum.  You must be wise enough to think clearly. Weigh the emotions and see what is causing them
  34. Emotional intelligence: the ability to understand others is the most important thing in sales
  35. A luxury once enjoyed becomes a necessity 
  36. Remember, you might be wrong. Relish the misery 
  37. Motivation is fickle , count on discipline and do the work
  38. Be like an ice cube in hot tea, do not resist the change, learn to become one with it. Teach yourself how to become one with the change 
  39. If you can't teach the client the exercise in ten minutes then they aren't ready or you are teaching it wrong
  40. Three step approach to power: Do it right,  do it fast, do it heavy
  41. No man is born rich, so set days for poverty 
  42. Philosophy teaches us to act, not speak. Prove your words by your deeds
  43. True Wisdom : the ability to do what you say and be yourself 
  44. A weak anterior core/posterior chain can lead to anterior pelvic tilt which can lead to hip pain/impingement
  45. One cue per set, focus on the most important cue when training someone
  46. It is  your job as a coach to make the basics fun and get your client to master them 
  47. Use creative names for cuing that allow the client to remember them
  48. What is your definition of success? 
  49. Mtor activation is related to the load on the muscle 
  50. Fast movements= tendon stiffness
  51. Slow movements =tendon flexibility 
  52. Strengthening your tendons should be #1 priority to reduce your risk of injury.
  53. Use gelatin as a supplement to enhance recovery (1 hr pre workout) *15 grams: 200 mg 
  54. Tendons have no blood supply and rely on movement, thus move your joints daily
  55. Cross sectional area is not always related to strength. The ability to transfer the force is almost as important as the size of the fiber
  56. Don't be in such a rush, enjoy what you have 
  57. Your goal should be to see it from the other sides perspective 
  58. Is the juice worth the squeeze? 
  59. Signing a contract, regardless if there is money involved, will increase adherence to a goal
  60. Insulin is needed for antioxidant production, but too much insulin is detrimental (the danger is in the dose)  
  61. Nothing is more important than your health until you start losing it
  62. Too many calories lead to excess energy production which increases reactive oxygen species. This increase leads to fat storage because the excessive reactive oxygen species diminish the body's ability to make ATP 
  63. Perform your cardio and resistance training on separate days. Performing them in the same workout has been shown to reduce strength gains
  64. Avoid bitter almonds due to cyanide poisoning  
  65. Three Steps To Becoming Stronger: 1. Train your weaknesses 2. Calves, core,  and arms are endurance muscles, so train them that way 3. A bigger, denser muscle will produce more force
  66. It takes 6 to 8 months of mobility and stability training to reshape posture 
  67. People will lie until you get them to sign a code of ethics
  68. First rid your body of stress and master sleep for weight loss 
  69. Look at other successful businesses in order to run your own 
  70. Shoulder pain? Use the decline chest press to reduce pec minor activation
  71. General Workout Routine: 5 mins : general warm up (light cardio)                                     10-15 mins: Dynamic warm-up (target weaknesses)  35 mins : Strength and Conditioning (15 to 20 sets)    5 mins cool down: mobility /breathing 
  72. Stride frequency + stride length + horizontal push off - vertical impulse = speed 
  73. Strong Tendons = more speed /jump higher  
  74. Tendons  (attach muscle to bone)
  75. Ligaments  (attach bone to bone)
  76. How to write a plan: Training Program Design Variables 1. Needs Analysis (movement, physiological, injury ) 2. Exercise Selection 3. Training Frequency 4. Exercise Order 5. Volume 6. Rest
  77. Unlearning is more important than learning,  whip cream on dog shit (not to do list is more important)
  78. Find the deepest amount of pain and suffering in someone and fix it. This is the key to success. You do this by listening and reminding them what they have forgotten,  make them find the answer. 
  79. The quality of your life is based off your rituals 
  80. Lift the big toe up for psoas activation and push down for glute activation 
  81. Breathing through the chest versus the diaphragm can cause the psoas to shorten (psoas fascia is attached to the diaphragm )
  82. Are you motivated to achieve success or motivated to avoid failure? 
  83. You can always be productive , you just have to choose to do the work
  84. Take extreme ownership of your mistakes and successes 
  85. Athletes Programming: Preseason focus: strength /power                                                     In season: skill (maintain power)    Post season: recreational activities                Offseason: foundation/ 4 day a week resistance training 
  86. You should consume .24 to .5  grams of protein per kg of your body weight for each meal to maximize protein synthesis . 19 to 39 grams for 170 lb person.