The Story of My Friend Mike


Just between you and me – I’m Dave, by the way, we’ll get to know each other a lot better in the coming days and weeks – a part of me was honestly happy to see less of Mike Chang in recent months. For those of you haven’t watched his video about leaving SPS, or read his launch post, or even heard of Mike Chang besides the character in Glee, dude has been less-than-faithful to his long-time love, YouTube.

Mike has spent the time away learning about himself and how to improve personally and physically, while also improving my opinion of him, because I no longer had to see 10,000 Google ads each day of my half-naked friend.

The first time I heard the name “Mike Chang” was when his former company contracted a brother of mine for some website work. I never spoke with Mike. Did the job. Contract ended. No more Mike Chang. At least I thought.

Somehow, he kept appearing from nowhere like your cousin who takes Halloween a little too seriously and is still in full slasher-flick mode in the wee hours of November 1st. Lost a good pair of pants in 2010 because of her.

In all actuality, I felt almost predisposed to disliking MC Abman because he was putting in the effort to achieve a level of fitness and discipline that I was not willing to match. “Match” is a strong word. Since I’m trying to cut down on carbs and lies, substitute salad for pasta and “start” for “match” in the previous sentence.

Despite the Mike Chang success stories, there were scores of folks like me who despised him – we labeled him a “fraud,” “juicer” and “scam artist.” Much like my unwillingness to put forth some effort and improve my circumstances, there was even less focus devoted to actually getting to know Mike, or most people for that matter. Heck, why not try some of his ideas in my *@%*^$ life?

At a very low point in my personal story, I began watching Mike Chang’s YouTube channel. Really watching his stuff. No more critiques. You probably guessed what happened next – yep, I got ripped, just like Mike; I’m in peak physical shape, and I’m competing in my first bodybuilding competition next month …

Actually, these are words I might say in the future, but probably not. I’m a regular person. Bad food tastes good, and some good foods taste awful. I exercise when I can, but it’s far easier to justify not exercising than actually breaking a sweat. And I’ll spare you the details on my severe anxiety and body image issues. I don’t want you to swipe left on me yet. We’ll get there together, if you’ll let me.

Without going into crazy detail, somehow, after my come to Chang meeting, Mike and I have become genuine friends. It’s crazy. Fortunately for me, and not so much for you, he even asked me to help him with this new EmLife thing.

(By the way, I told him of my old opinions of him, and he hit me hard. It was painful. In the wanted-to-get-a-rise-out-of-you-but-you-understood-my-feelings-proverbial-punch-in-the-gut sort of way.)

Want to know something even more frustrating – for as long as I’ve known Mike, and for the person I created in my head, he’s been unrelentingly, obnoxiously and irritatingly kind. He goes overboard by checking on my kids, offering needed advice and asking if he can help when others tiptoe backwards out of the room.
This is the guy you ask to help you move, and he shows up early with doughnuts and coffee just for you (maybe the two cups and dozen doughnuts were meant for both of us, but somebody had to move the couch, and I was carbing up for the busy day)!

He’s a pretty cool person, I guess.

Here’s the Point

As you can tell, I am equal parts cynical and sarcastic, and the dryness of my humor is easily interpreted as seriousness. Mike was talking about this new site, and I hilariously (to myself only) said, “And be sure someone interprets your videos for normal people, because your and my visions of the perfect six pack are considerably different.”
Score for me. Burn. In your face dude who had just been kind enough to let me join the team … I’m not funny.

Surprise – Mike liked the idea of adding another set of eyes to his YouTube posts, and since he is covering some deeper and more expansive topics for EmLife, he wanted to add a skeptical, uninitiated voice to the fray.

By the way, I’m not as bad a friend as I appear in this post. As I genuinely learned from Mike recently, I use bad jokes and sarcasm, as well as create enemies in my head, to shield myself against rejection. The number of people who do this is surprisingly high, and it’s one of the many areas we will explore as the EmLife community.

Every week, Behind the Abs will offer a sometimes humorous, but always sincere look at the latest video on Mike Chang’s YouTube channel. I’ll offer a brief summary, my thoughts – or the musings of other members of the community – and maybe provide some behind the scenes insights into the world of EmLife.

Each post will be your chance to see someone who probably needs far more work than you trying to figure out how to make empowerment a part of my life and the lives of others. I volunteer to be the person you compare yourself to because you know at least you have me beat.