Debts and Gratitude

Marcus Aurelius begins his Meditations by thanking everyone he’s ever learned something from or is indebted to in some way or another.

It’s a humbling and heart-warming chapter, to see the Emperor of Rome show respect to the people who lent to him becoming the man he was.

And the truth is, as sexy as the Lone Wolf; self-made stories sound– that’s all they are: stories. Because in the real world this is seldom, if ever, true.

No one succeeds on their own.

As Ida Engle said:

“Always, always, recognise your mentors (if you claim you had none, you’re an ungrateful liar), I had a lot of breaks in my life, but three people recognised my talent and led me to do what I do today. 

I speak about them often in my lectures and in my books. 

Years from now, when you become a hot-shot, speak passionately about your mentors. 

May you be as blessed as I have been” 

This page is that. A dedication to everyone and anyone who has ever taught me anything (directly or indirectly), helped me in any way, believed in me, or who’s work inspired and influenced my own.

Everything I am and become is because of all these people in some way or another.

Marcus Aurelius ends book one by saying, “all things for which ‘we need the help of fortune and the gods'”. I’d like to think, “all things for which ‘we need the help of fortune, good friends, and mentors'”.

These are them.

My Dad – who still has no clue what I’m doing and probably still believes his son is a dropout flunky. I might tell him one day. Maybe. But without him, I would never have learnt the value of hard work and discipline, two things he instilled in me and my brother from a very young age. I never understood then, but I do now and I will forever be grateful.

Hussain Ali,  Saqib Munir, and Mike Saad – The internet is an awesome place and I’ve made some amazing friends because of it. But, the importance of having friends who know you better than anybody else in the real world is paramount. They keep me honest, tell me when I’m being a dick, and just generally help keep me grounded and working hard.

Milan Amin – There’re two types of friends. The first are the ones you see and speak to all the time, and then you have the other kind, who you might not speak to for weeks, months or even years but when you catch-up there isn’t any awkwardness or resentment; you just pick up where you left off: well, Milan is that sort of friend. Thanks for having my back, and this puts us at, what, almost 15 years of friendship now?

Luke Johnson – Luke has been like a father figure to me in the industry, and I will forever be grateful and indebted to everything he’s done –  to list everything would need a page on its own. If you’re an aspiring PT, or already a PT and wanting to step your game up: I couldn’t recommend signing up to the SBS Academy enough.

Chris Burgess –  The head honcho of Lift The Bar. It’s rare to find someone as successful as Chris who also genuinely gives a fuck about helping other people. Chris has always been a massive support and believed in me. Thank you.

Lawrence Judd –  Lawrence is second in command at SBS and the host of SBS Radio who has become a very close friend over the past year and a half. I can always reach out to him for his opinion on a new article and he always gives it to me straight. Thank you for all the help and support, bru.

Alina Cooper – My first mentor. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me, but most importantly thank you for having the patience with my arrogant ass and believing in me when I didn’t. 

My Uncle*, Kane Sumabat aka. Timbahwolf – I’ve been following Kane since 2012 and it was because of Kane I stumbled across IIFYM (flexible dieting). I kept leaving comments on his Instagram and somehow I guess he noticed me, or he took pity on me, who knows. We began talking about our philosophies around training and nutrition and realised we held very similar views. Kane was gracious enough to let me Interview him – the first and only podcast interview with the man, I should add – and we’ve been good friends since. A genuinely humble, funny, and kind person, who has years of experience under his proverbial training belt and is someone I have and will continue to have the utmost respect for.

*What do you mean he’s not my Uncle? Listen random person on the internet, that kind of negativity is not welcome around here: ask him yourself. 

Alan Aragon – I can’t remember how I stumbled across Alan, but I’m glad I did. Alan has been a huge force in bringing solid, evidence-based information to the public. His monthly AARR is my go to research review to stay on top of the latest research in the field. And if you’re a nutrition geek, I would highly recommend signing up to it. It’s worth every penny.

Lyle McDonald – Well, because Lyle. You should buy all his books and read them over and over again. They’ll save you years of spinning your wheels. Start with A Guide To Flexible Dieting. 

Mike Samuels –  Mike was one of the first ‘big’ fitness bloggers who gave me a platform to guest post on. If it wasn’t for Mike, Physiqonomics wouldn’t have grown as fast as it did and I wouldn’t have gotten the exposure I have. While I won’t ever be able to repay him, I hope this thank you will suffice.

Greg Nuckols –  The second big name in the fitness space who graciously allowed me a platform to guest post on and in turn giving me the exposure. Greg is always at hand if I want his opinion on an article or suggestion. He’s one of the nicest and humblest people you will meet – He’s also just as intelligent as he is damn strong.

Tanner BazeNick Sorrell, and Robbie Farlow – Just like you have friends in the real world keeping you in check, you also need friends who are on the same journey as you. They provide support, understand what you’re going through more than anyone else, and also hold you accountable. Well that’s what these three do for me. Ryan Holiday, in his book, “Ego Is The Enemy” said: we are all striving, and it is the strivers who should be our peers – not the proud and accomplished”. These are my fellow strivers.

Sol Orwell – Sol is not only the co-founder of – the resource for unbiased information on nutrition and Supplements – but also writes on marketing and entrepreneurship on his personal site, I used the advice he offered here and here and have been better for it.

Bryan Krahn – Has been in the game for years and has written for some of the biggest fitness publication in the game. His writing contains a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Mike Vacanti –  Mike embodies hard work and hustle. I was fortunate enough to spend a day with him when he was in London earlier this year and he’s the real deal. Thank you for the advice and encouragement.

Gary Vaynerchuk  When I dropped out of uni, the first business book I read was Gary’s “Crush It!”. At the end of the book, Gary asked everyone to email him with a question or simply to let him know what they thought.

I emailed, what can only be described as, a dissertation level response of how I’d dropped out of uni and didn’t know what to do with my life. Gary responded to the email offering advice and encouragement.

That one email from GV gave this Uni drop out the courage to go and do what he wanted to do. But, It was also a reminder that Encouragement is massive

Dragan Lokki Veljkovic – Dragan has become a close friend who is both an intelligent and fantastic coach. I always learn something new from him and he’s always happy to discuss ideas. 

Jack Vivian – who kept nagging me for almost a year and a half to start writing publicly.

Claudio Espinoza – Another person I’ve become good friends with through the internet. I thoroughly enjoy his articles and our love of rap music.

Jose Rosas – one of the best coaches in the game and an equally excellent human.

John Hollywood – My first coach who set the foundations for everything I know today.

Dan John – Dan’s book, “Never Let Go” is compulsory reading for anyone who’s into fitness – whether that be in the capacity of a trainer or an enthusiast. It was also a great reminder of the importance of focusing on the essentials:

“If it is important, do it every day. If it’s not important, don’t do it at all.” 

and to shut up, listen, and continue learning:

“I never stopped reading. I never stopped listening. I never stopped learning.”

Jonathon Mummert –  JM is  not only my go-to for everything female health and fitness, but is also the Female Physiology guy for Lift The bar – so, yeah, dude knows his stuff. A really good guy who’s advice is always respected. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me, and we’ll ignore the fact I know way more than any twenty-something should about the female reproductive system.

Alex Viada –  For enlightening not only me but pretty much the rest of the fitness world that cardio won’t kill them. I also thoroughly enjoy Alex’s FB posts.

Martin MacDonald –  For all the knowledge he provides for free, and through MNU. And for always answering any questions I had. If you’re someone who has ever asked me about the best nutrition course, Martin’s Mac-Nutrition University has my full approval.

Bojan Kostevski –  His blog is full of excellent content, though, Bojan’s magnum opus is this bad boy on Intermittent Fasting. 

Mark Manson – One of my favourite bloggers and writers. Mark proves how powerful personality is in writing, and has been a major influence on my own writing style. I thoroughly enjoyed his book, too.

Tim Urban of Wait But Why – In a time when videos are becoming more and more popular, and people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter; Tim proved that people still want to read long, entertaining, good quality content if you give them  a reason to.

Martin Berkhan –  For bringing intermittent fasting to the masses with intelligent research and logic.

Brad Pilon – Another guy who brought Intermittent fasting to the public with thorough research in his book, Eat Stop Eat. 

Nicholas Nassim Taleb –  who’s idea of anti-fragility has made me more resilient.

Andy Morgan – Andy’s Rippedbody took over the LeanGains mantel when Berkhan disappeared. Andy has since then branched out to create an excellent site packed with information and resources for the physique-focused trainee.

Eric Helms –  For his ever pragmatic approach to training and nutrition. Understanding that ‘evidence-based’ means experience + science. And for never shying away from offering advice and helping us all become a little smarter.

Rog Law – One of the people who influenced my own writing. His article, Life and Training Lessons From Dragonball Z, is still one of my favourite pieces of writing and inspired me to write this. Rog is a genuinely cool, positive, and awesome human.

Cal Newport –  There aren’t many books you’ll read that will positively affect your life; Cal’s “Deep Work” is one of those rarities.

Ryan Holiday – No other article has had more of an impact on me than this one. So much so, that I write this quote in every new notebook:

“Most importantly, remember that you are not special. There were a million other kids on this path before you and there will be another million after. Most of them either went nowhere or turned out to be nothing. Even the successful ones might still flame out or be assholes. What does this mean? It means don’t get high on yourself. Don’t tell yourself a story. Be quiet, work hard, and stay healthy. It’s not ambition or skill that is going to set you apart—notice I didn’t mention those things a single time. It’s safe to assume you’ve already got them covered. What will set you apart, what is rare, is humility, diligence and self-awareness.” 

Steven Pressfield – As someone who struggles with what Pressfield calls “The Resistance” in the form of perfectionism; I find myself returning to his book, “The War of Art”, whenever I’m feeling ambivalent, or, more often than not: a fraud.

“If you find yourself  asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”  (Pressfield, War of Art)

Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Stoicism – Nietzche proclaimed that God is Dead. Prophesying that as religion disappeared people would start to become more nihilistic. And it’s no secret that religious people tend to be happier and more content than those who aren’t. It’s not about religion, though, not religion as being part of X or Y; rather, as a set of guiding principles. Life is chaotic and doesn’t come with an instruction manual – Stoic philosophy has been that guide for me. As someone who has a short temper and can be brash at times, it’s taught me to, well, calm the fuck down. Aurelius’ “Meditations” and Seneca’s “Letters From A Stoic” have been, and continue to be, that guide for me.

Austin Kleon –  “is a writer who draws”, and his books – Show Your Work! and Steal Like An Artist have not only influenced me a ton but are also books I highly recommend to everyone.

Neil Gaiman – Gaiman is one of my favourite fiction authors and both Sandman and American Gods remain two of my favourite pieces of literature to date. If you haven’t already, watch his commencement speech at the University of the Arts.

In that speech, Gaiman talks about seeing your end goal as a mountain and every choice you make should take you one step closer to the mountain. I’ve found this to be a much better way to look at goal setting – to not be rigid, but rather, having a list of things you’d like to accomplish.

Ryan Doris – for reminding me of the virtue of patience and respecting the process.

“You will be good at something for years before anyone gives a shit. TRUST ME. Respect the process” – Ryan Doris

Luis Villasenor – THE guy for everything Ketogenic. He’s helped and taught me a lot and was my go to guy during my ketogenic diet experiment. An amicable person who’s both highly knowledgeable in all aspects of training and nutrition but also one of the few pragmatic, evidence-based Keto’ers.  His FB group KetoGains is one of the friendliest communities I’ve come across.

 Jordan Peterson –  His lectures have, and I say this with no exaggeration, been a life changing discovery for me. If you haven’t already, you owe it to yourself to watch them. Also, read this.

‘If you follow the thing that manifests itself to you as interesting, it will lead you through adversity – to do things that are difficult but not beyond your capacity. 
As you hit yourself against the world, pursuing what you’re interested in, you’ll tap yourself into alignment — making you hard and durable and able to bear the terrible conditions of existence without becoming corrupt’
‘… follow what you’re interested in, it’ll take you to adversity and then through it and transform you from a citizen to an individual and the doors will open again and at that point you’re strong enough to have your life. At that point you’re strong enough to not fall prey to pathological belief systems and work towards the destruction of things’

Danny Lennon, Sigma Nutrition – I don’t listen to many podcasts, but I always make time for Danny’s Sigma Nutrition podcast. He’s a great interviewer and always brings a diverse range of guests to his show.

Once again, thank you to everyone.

“I wish for you all a hundred years of success” 

– Jay Z

If I left anyone out, I apologise. This list will be updated every year as I continue to learn, grow and meet more people.

*I stole the idea for this thank you page from James Clear.