Michael Habibi
How I Went from Skinny Fat to Vegan Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach


We talked with Michael Habibi in September, 2019. Follow Michael on Facebook
Country:
United States
Age:
27 years
Weight:
88 kg
(194 lbs)
Height:
178 cm
(5'10)


Instagram, @michael_habibi_

Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training

Hi! My name is Michael Habibi and I am 27 years old. I am from Los Angeles and currently living in Thousand Oaks, CA.

I am a part time personal trainer and part time online fitness coach (I run a 90 day program where I teach my clients how to master their body, health and mindset).

My 1RM for squats and deadlifts is 405! I’ve been training seriously for the last seven years and I got into to training because I wanted to become the best version of myself physically.

I’ve played soccer and american football when I was younger but was never too into sports besides bodybuilding.

In my spare time I like to produce EDM music on my computer!

The thing I love most about bodybuilding is that it teaches disciple and the feeling you get when you are working out! There’s nothing else like it!

Describe a typical day of training


After training I immediately eat some candy with my creatine

I’ve tried all different kinds of splits, and my favorite split is legs, back/chest, shoulders biceps triceps.

I used to have one strength day and one hypertrophy day but recently I switched to high volume training everyday.

I train 6 times a week so that I can hit each muscle twice in a week and usually my training sessions last for 1.5 hours.

I change my program every 4-6 weeks after my final de load week. There are always some slight variations through out the week such as exercise order, variations and sets/reps.

I train at Golds Gym and Fitness 19. Golds Gym is a great place to work out because of the equipment but Fitness 19 is more convenient because its closer to my house.

I only train alone, it is very hard for me to train with anyone else because of my program.

Before the gym I take a pre work out (Nitro Surge) drink and add in some soy lecithin. I always bring a gallon of water with me loaded with BCAA’s (MRM + G Reload BCAA).

Before the gym I always foam roll and use a lacrosse ball for myofascial release. If I am doing legs I will do some leg stretches and core activation.

After training I immediately eat some candy with my creatine (Naked Creatine). After this I start cooking my food which is always a tofu bowl with rice and veggies.

I eat candy to spike insulin post work out, I keep my candy hidden so its not in my sight every time I open the cabinet.

No cardio for me because cardio kills muscle gainz!


Instagram, @michael_habibi_

How do you keep going and push harder?

It is rare that I don’t feel like going to the gym but when I do feel like this, I always remind myself why I started lifting in the first place.

I also have bad OCD and I think I will lose all my gainz if I miss a day.

The only reason why I have continued to train for so long and so consistently is because I have a clear reason why.

I train to prove to people that you can build muscle on a vegan diet and also I want to inspire others to lift weight and show them how much muscle you can build naturally.

The best hacks are take short rest periods, use compound sets as much as possible, track overall volume and increase it every week, and always focus on the eccentric phases of each rep!

I have a clear goal everyday at the gym I know exactly what exercises I am going to do, how many sets and how many reps. Again with my OCD, if I don’t do what I plan to do I feel like I will have wasted time!

I always make time for training, I am working two jobs and get on average 5-6 hours of sleep a night. That’s not nearly enough! I wish I could sleep 8 hours a day at least, but my current schedule doesn’t permit it.

The key is to go whenever you have a couple of hours to spare. I usually go to the gym the first chance I get, whatever time that maybe!

In the past my biggest challenge was losing fat! I tried everything before figuring out what really worked for me.

Now the biggest challenge I face is keeping my size and strength while cutting fat.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

I am stronger and leaner than I’ve ever been, I am for once pretty satisfied with my physique.

My goal for the next five years is to add another 10 lbs of muscle and keep my body fat low. I just need to continue what I am doing by forcing myself to do more every week and allow the necessary recovery to make sure I don’t over train.

I plan to make my online fitness business my full time job by the end of the year, and in 5 years It will be a million dollar company with at least 20 employees.

If I could start my fitness journey over, I would focus on form and master the foundations of movement so that I could avoid the injuries I sustained in the past.


Instagram, @michael_habibi_

How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?

The key to avoiding injuries is making sure your body is functional and able to move properly. I do this by constantly stretching and foam rolling.

I stretch the muscles I trained immediately after, I also do some corrective exercises that I’ve learned over the years before I train legs.

When I get injured, I try to understand why this happened and take it as a learning experience.

If the injury is muscle related I spend hours foam rolling and hitting it with my lacrosse ball. After a couple of days I start lifting again with super light weight.

I don’t travel much at the moment, but when I do, I use it as a chance to give my body some rest.

My favorite supplement for recovery is ZMA, it helps me get a better quality of sleep for the little time that I have.

The best recovery tool that I recommend to everyone is a foam roller and lacrosse ball, I use them both evey day and I can’t imagine how things would be if I didn’t.

How is your diet and what supplements do you use?


I first went vegan for health reasons but now I am vegan for the animals!

Yes, I eat around the same thing everyday with slight variations. Protein shake, with dairy free milk, hemp seeds and frozen berries. Second meal is tofu rice, veggies, and some kind of asian sauce.

I first went vegan for health reasons but now I am vegan for the animals!

Recently I cut down to 2100 calories a day with 30 % protein, 35% fat, 35% carbs.

When I go out I try and compensate by eating less food that day or planning my work out so that I eat out immediately after.

I take a B12 supplement, creatine, pre work out, zma, digestive enzymes with probiotics, and vitamin D3 & k2. I don’t really care about brands, whatever has good reviews and isn’t too expensive.

I rarely have cheat days, only cheat meals which I somehow fit into my calorie plan.

I go through phases of bulking and cutting. I am not one of the fortunate people that can stay lean all year round.

I have to work very hard to lose weight, but luckily I can gain weight and muscle very easily.

Most of my time is spent in a caloric deficit, if I do bulk it’s only for 6-8 weeks.


Instagram, @michael_habibi_

What has inspired and motivated you?

To be honest I don’t read very much. Everything I’ve learned about training has come from my own experience from working as a trainer. Everything I’ve learned has come from trial and error in my own programming.

My injuries have also taught me a lot of what I know because I was forced to learn how to fix them on my own.

I usually listen to dubstep when I train because it is so intense it keeps me pumped the whole time!

Track your food intake! I’ve been using My Fitnesspal for years! Without it, I would still be skinny fat!

Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?


Most people’s form sucks!

When you first start lifting the most important thing to focus on is mobility! You need to make sure your body is functional before loading up with the weights.

After you’ve accomplished this make sure you master all the foundational movements. Squat, hinge, push pull.

If you can’t squat perfectly with your own body weight you shouldn’t even touch a barbell.

Focus on compound movements and how to do everything with proper form. Take your ego out of the equation and make sure you perform every rep with control.

For an experience bodybuilder make sure you plan and track your work outs, increase your volume over time. Stay away from drop sets, and incline sets.

EGO lifting really pisses me off! Somehow people believe that heavy weights builds muscle.

Also training for strength is different than training for size. Most people want to get bigger but train with weights that they can only lift 5 times or less.

Another thing that pisses me off is when people have been doing the exact same thing for years! I’ve memorized some people’s routines just because they do the exact same thing every time they train.

Most people’s form sucks! No one knows how to deadlift with a neutral spine. Most people don’t focus on eccentric loading.

Bodybuilding isn’t really beneficial if you’re an athlete. All that extra muscle mass would weigh one down and make them slower.

The best hacks I have for life are daily journaling. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do before I go to bed.


Instagram, @michael_habibi_

Are you taking on clients right now?

I am always looking to take on new clients! The reason why I think I am different is because I focus on functional movement first before body building.

I have a lot of experience with injury prevention and treatment. I have also studied the research and apply what science says to my training program.

The minimum a client can sign up with me for is 6 weeks but to see great results I always recommend at least 3 months.

I am only taking on online clients at the moment. To become a client, the first step is to fill out an application and schedule a call with me!

Where can we learn more about you?

I post all my content through my Facebooks personal page, I also run a private, free Facebook group for vegans into bodybuilding.


Ready to get really fit and inspired?

I’m Mads Phikamphon, founder of Bulk Hackers.

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