To keep it short, I’m a YouTuber, entrepreneur, world traveler, avid reader, online physique coach, gamer, and a personal development enthusiast.
I’ve spent the last five years immersed in studying and teaching the cutting edge science-based principles of exercise, nutrition, behavior change and personal development.
Aside from an M.Sc. Degree in Computing, I’m a certified physique and behavior change coach.
Most of the content you see in the YouTube videos and articles is self-taught through textbooks, seminars, courses, scientific articles, mentors and over 2 years of experience as an online coach helping people becoming the best version of themselves.
Now, you might be wondering how I got to where I am now?
Me, an average guy with mediocre bodybuilding genetics, born in a tiny village in a poor country during the Yugoslavian war, with barely any social skills and without knowing how to speak English (My native language is Croatian).
How did I end up traveling to over 40 countries, running a successful online business and teaching thousands of people all around the world about how to reach their health and fitness goals and at the same time become the best human being they can be.
Since I get this question a lot, on this page, I decided to share a part of my life journey to inspire you to take action and change your life.
From Skinny Fat Beer Belly Gamer to a Ripped Lean Physique
A few years ago, if you told me that one day I would be walking around at 8% body fat, coaching thousands of people all around the world to get shredded and strong, I probably would have laughed in your face.
And if you told me that I’d be doing YouTube videos, sharing my thoughts with millions of people I would probably think you’re crazy.
You see, during college, I wasn’t exactly the best example of a healthy person.
A skinny fat World of Warcraft guy with long hair, swollen face, pale skin and at any moment looking like he’s about to pass-out.
My diet consisted of salty potato chips, chocolate, and cheap sandwiches.
I rarely had water, it was either soda or juice.
The only physical activity I had was going from the computer to the cafeteria, the vending machine outside of the dorm room or to the nearby bakery which was 2 minutes walking away.
The heaviest I had to lift was a sandwich and a large soda bottle.
The Day I Quit World of Warcraft (And How It Almost Turned Me Into an Alcoholic)
After a few years of hardcore gaming, I decided to “get a life” and quit.
It wasn’t the first time I had thought about quitting but it was the first time I actually uninstalled World of Warcraft from my computer and canceled my subscription.
A big reason for this decision was that a few friends also decided to stop and the game just wasn’t as interesting. Looking back I was lucky to be in that position.
I remember that first day after quitting WoW, it was insane.
My mind was going from very lethargic, borderline depressed, to thinking about installing the game again.
One part of me was concerned that if I go back to playing WoW my friends would think I’m weak.
And looking back, the feeling of pride was what gave me the initial accountability.
Strangely, even though I wasn’t into personal development at the time I always had the desire to maintain integrity, I guess it’s the way I was raised.
“The pull” to get back into playing was insane, I’m not sure how real addiction feels but the game was on my mind all the time. I was dreaming about getting new items and talking in-game with my clan about some new boss.
And that brings me to something I know is very common. People replace one addictive behavior with another and what better way to get things off your mind than to have a drink with your friends.
Basically what my friends and I did was replace the gaming addition with going out and drinking.
And the “extra” free time we had was invested into partying and drinking 4-6 times a week.
Our nutrition was a combination of beer, cheap wine, fried chips, convenience stores or cheap street food we could find after the clubs closed.
If you ever tried clubbing and drinking for 4-6 days in a row, you know how it feels.
The alcohol highs, loud music, and consistent hangovers consume your reality.
You become numb and quickly lose touch with reality.
This phase lasted for several months between exams, and luckily for us, we had to sober up for exams otherwise who knows what would have happened.
Now, you might think that being a party animal gets you into the best social circles, you meet a lot of new friends, get girls but that was far from the truth.
Being naturally introverted, and after years of gaming, the social anxiety was so intense that I remember even while under the influence of alcohol I would still be too afraid to approach a girl, express my opinion or talk to strangers.
Overall, this period was a dark time in my life.
And as you can imagine fitness and health weren’t even on the radar at the time, but luckily things soon changed.
The First Step Toward a Better Future
After I had graduated college, with a masters degree in computing, I moved back to my small 200 people village to live with my parents while searching for a job.
I had no savings or income.
There was a lot of pressure to find a job fast and get my life together.
Unfortunately, this is the exact time when the entire world had a financial crisis.
It took a whole year before getting my first job, it was depressing.
This period thought me a big lesson. It was the first time I realized how the world works, and that no one owes me anything.
I slowly had lost hope in the system my parents and everyone around me believed in and told me to trust.
Something isn’t right, and I knew it, despite having a masters degree in one of the most wanted professions in the world.
I felt horrible, many times I would think back to all the college partying that almost led my parents to bankruptcy.
They were sacrificing everything to finance me, and now I can’t even get a job to take care of myself or them or anyone.
These emotions were reaching a tipping point.
At the time one of my friends gave me the book Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins and told me it was the best book he has ever read in his life.
Knowing him and the fact that I didn’t think of him as someone who would even read a book I was intrigued.
Short after, I started reading Awaken the Giant Within. Every sentence made sense. It was mind-blowing.
The book came at the right time in my life, and it was the catalyst I needed to make the decision to change.
There was no more waiting, no more excuses. It was time to take action.
If I look at it now, it took half a decade to compound enough leverage to change my life.
I do regret not doing it sooner but better than never.
The First Three Steps Of Change
- Get your health in order
- Get any job, learn new skills and take control over the situation
- Find someone who can help you
Following step number 1, I signed up for a gym in the city 10 minutes car drive away.
Having no prior experience in fitness I asked one of my friends who was training for some time to recommend me a newbie program.
He made me a simple workout and a diet plan and told me about this Croatian bodybuilding online forum.
The exercise and the nutrition program were pure bro-science.
It was a combination of things he had heard from other big guys in the gym.
To me, at that point, I just wanted to get started. I didn’t necessarily care about trying to make it perfect.
For the first 3-4 months, I’ve followed and implement every single word of what he said.
To give you a bit of an idea of what the situation was back then.
When I started training, I couldn’t bench more than ten reps with the empty bar (45 lbs / 20 kg).
I started seeing some results very fast and in those seven I hadn’t missed a single workout or a single meal.
That first program was far from perfect. However, I did get some things right:
1 – I focused on getting stronger, training about 1 hour 5 times a week with one cardio session on day 6.
2 – The diet was putting me in a slight calorie deficit with a high protein intake.
3 – I slept 8 hours.
4 – 95% of the foods I was eating was healthy whole foods with only an occasional bite of chocolate. I ate out only 2-3 times per month. Everything was measured with a scale and I followed the diet plan to the gram.
5 – For liquids, I only had water and green tea (which was a huge issue in the past)
6 – No alcohol, no smoking, no processed junk food
What Changed In My Mind?
I started with a firm decision, didn’t wait for things to be perfect and went all-in.
It wasn’t an entirely different Mario than the one playing videos game. I knew that the key to success was practice and consistency, same as in video games.
But instead of leveling up a virtual character, I focused on leveling up myself.
And it all paid off, big time.
Of course today I know better, science-based methods to get you massive results faster.
But the main ideas such as practice, starting before you have the perfect plan, putting in the consistency and taking action are the keys to reaching any goal.
Life lesson: Start before you feel ready. The fact that you’re not ready for it is what will make you grow as a person. You can always make changes as you go along.
Social Support is Critical
In the first few months of training, I slowly started to get to know the most successful guys in the small town gym.
It’s easy to see who are the most successful guys in your gym.
It’s usually the ones who consistently show up.
It was funny to see how many guys just showed up a few weeks in January and a few weeks before summer.
The best-looking guys, those who had great results, were consistent regardless of the time of the year, the holidays, vacations and all other events.
Training was a priority for them, and that’s one of the main lessons I’ve learned from being in this gym.
Tese guys would see me train at 100% of intensity, giving it all I had every single day which earned me their respect fast.
I was the newbie who was eager to learn and soak up all the bro-tips.
Some of these guys were training over ten years by that point, and their advice such as focusing on strength and progressively adding weight was invaluable.
Another place I learned a lot was that Croatian bodybuilding forum that my friends recommended me.
Now, we have Facebook groups and YouTube channels, but back in those days forums were super popular and filled with great information.
I ended up soaking up a lot of great knowledge from respected members who had a lot of experience and wisdom.
Reaching out to people in real-life and online gave me new ideas, motivation and I felt like I became a part of a new world.
Now, looking at all the scientific research, it’s crystal clear that having mentors, coaches, and a support group is the fastest way to reach your goal.
My First Job & Discovering Self-Development
After a whole year, I finally landed a job about 1-hour car drive away.
This was the first step to my independence.
All this time I was eating whatever I could get my hands on, trying to get in as much protein as I could.
My parents were making a lot of sacrifices to provide for the entire family. And I’m forever grateful for having such amazing people to take care of me.
In a practical sense, I couldn’t demand that my entire family goes on my diet, so it was sometimes tough to get the right nutrition.
Now, that I had my first job I could finally move more toward getting food for myself.
The first job was a regular 9 – 5 position as a network computer administrator.
It paid well enough for me to continue training, improving my nutrition and getting my life sorted out.
I also started reading more.
After Tony Robbins, I’ve discovered more authors such as Brian Tracy.
I also started reading more on achieving financial independence and not relying on a 9-5 job.
Books like Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” The E-Myth Revisited and The 4-Hour Workweek made me realize that there were people out there living exciting lives doing what they loved to do.
These were very inspiring books.
I started visualizing every day how I would travel around the world, run my own business and not have to worry about money. Instead, I would do something to help people.
Having that vision helped a lot to stay motivated through hard times.
And today, 40+ countries later, the vision is the reality.
Videos are helping millions of people change their lives, and they’re hundreds of comments sharing success stories in the community every single day.
My First Airplane Flight (At The Age of 25)
Little over two years since I came back home from college and two years of working 9-5 I told myself it was time for a leap of faith.
During those two years of working 9-5, I’ve spent most of the second year on learning skills that will eventually allow me to work remotely.
I’ve invested all the free time I had during work hours and outside of work into freelance writing and marketing focused on social media.
I figured that if I learn how to do these skills, one day I will be able to use it to start my own business.
Also after the first year, the 9-5 job felt like a dead end.
Despite having a decent pay I felt like days were just passing by and I was not getting closer to the vision.
The emotional leverage started to build up again, and after the second year, I came to a painful decision to quit that stable government job.
Every person I knew told me I was crazy.
No one ever quits a government job in my country.
If you land a job like this, the consensus among the majority of the population (including my family and friends) is to stick with it for the rest of your life until you retire.
My family was shocked when I decided to quit. They couldn’t believe it.
After a whole year of unemployment, and being broke, relying only on my father’s small salary I decided to leave a job in the time where jobs like this were in massive scarcity.
As an introvert, I wasn’t in the habit of sharing my thoughts with anyone.
So my family and friends had no idea that I was visualizing and dreaming about this incredible lifestyle for a whole year.
It came as a big shocking surprise to everyone when I announced that I’ve quit my job and that there was no coming back.
For the next five months after leaving the 9-5, I worked for 16 hours every single day, passing out during work breaks and sometimes falling asleep on the toilet seat due to exhaustion.
It was the hardest working period of my entire life.
My primary source of income was 5$ Fiverr writing and web development gigs for which I was getting paid less than 4$ after all the fees.
The writing gig was 750-word articles, and the web development gig was anything you need to get done.
Some people would order ten articles, 750 words each on topics I didn’t even know what they were for which I had to research hours and hours until I could write an article about it.
And some would have me design a whole website for less than 5$. It was insane when I think about it now.
My English skills weren’t as good as today, and it was a huge struggle.
However, this helped me improve my English very fast. Within months I doubled my vocabulary.
These freelancing gigs had me working 14-16 hours a day for most days while still training and trying to get as much sleep as I can (usually 3-4 hours).
I took on several internships, one of them was with a well-respected dating coaching company for which I ended up working online full-time.
Overall, as my skills grew, I started to charge a tiny bit more for my services.
And step by step some of these simple orders into short-term and long-term projects.
Then, as soon as I stabilized my finances with a couple of online clients I decided it was time to start making my dream come true and buy my first ever airplane ticket at the age of 25.
It was after spending the Christmas of 2012 with my family that I sat on a plane for the first time in my life to fly to Netherlands which is the first of 45 countries I would visit in the next four years.
How Did Fitness and Health Improve My Life?
A lot of principles that make you successful in the gym are the things that will make you successful in general.
Things like discipline, consistency, practice, hard work, pushing your limits, progressing and trusting the process are just some examples of what bring success in any area of your life.
One big thing you get from training and eating healthy is that you see results which are proof that change is possible.
It’s proof that if you learn and dedicate yourself to a goal, you will achieve it.
I’ve applied the same principles to learning social skills, to became more confident, outgoing, passionate and purposeful.
All of these things are skills.
No man is cut from a different cloth. We all have the potential to cultivate these skills with enough practice.
And another critical point that is that getting fit and healthy has a massive ripple effect.
The focus you get, the discipline and self-trust make you better in anything you try to accomplish where that is to make more money, meeting new people, mastering your craft or whatever else it is.
Being healthy is a foundation for success and happiness.
And for that reason, I’ve decided to create the YouTube community which has thousands of members and millions of views.
It’s a place where great ideas flow and people who want to realize their full potential come together to share their thoughts.
So if you haven’t already joined us, go to YouTube.com/shockingfit and become a member of the movement and let’s make this world a healthier place.
Thank you for reading.
PS. If you are looking for a mentorship program to help you transform your own life through health and fitness check out http://shockingfit.com/coaching
PPS. Here’s the latest physique update: