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In honor of the launch of Vital Proteins new Collagen Water™, we’re kicking off a weekly series on Lively called “How I Uncap My Potential,” where we feature amazing people doing incredible things in their field. Today, we’re spotlighting Variant Fit owner and trainer Mike Michalski. 

When Michalski isn’t busy chasing after his two kids, the trainer works on his business, a holistic fitness company that offers dynamic small-group classes and private training sessions. Get to know the Vital Proteins ambassador in our Q&A below, from his own fitness journey to the advice he’d share to those starting out in their wellness journey.

Lively: When did you first become interested in fitness?  

Mike Michalski: It’s amazing to love what you do for a living and never imagine yourself doing anything else. But it wasn’t exactly a direct path to this point. I’ve been a lifelong athlete and even began working as a personal trainer during my college years. I took a bit of a detour as I headed into a career in politics and international affairs right after I graduated. I was fortunate to have a great career and some amazing experiences. But I knew I wanted something different, to forge a new path, start my own business, and share with others my holistic approach to health and wellness.  

RELATED: 10 Easy Ways to Start Being Healthier

L: We know your kids are still young but how do you hope to teach them about living a healthier lifestyle?

MM: They are both very young. My wife and I have made it a point to keep our kids as active as possible and encourage their exploration and creativity. While we’re not a “digital-free” household, we do limit the amount of time they can watch television and use the iPad. When it comes to nutrition, limiting their sugar intake is at the top of the list.  It’s not easy though, as all kids are picky. We’re often slipping veggies into their meals without them really noticing. Like adding puréed cauliflower into their mac and cheese. We’re trying to develop their palates where they get used to different flavors and realize that snacks and sweets are treats, and things to enjoy in moderation. As they grow older, I hope they continue to build upon that foundation to get outside, move/be active, and understand that what they put into their bodies directly impacts how well they feel.

L: What has been the most rewarding experience in your career so far?

MM: My business, Variant Fit, is a one-man show, and although I have a passion for what I do, it’s not always easy. When I first got into this, I had hoped that my clients would learn from me, appreciate my guidance, and continue to grow and improve. Yet, once you experience that first-hand, it’s a powerful thing. The most rewarding experience is one I go through on a weekly basis when I see my clients continue to come back and want to be a part of the culture and community I’ve created. It keeps me motivated and focused on delivering the best experience I can give to them each time.

RELATED: You Asked, We Answered: Can Fat Turn into Muscle?

mike michalski

L: Do you have any advice for someone who's just starting out their fitness journey? 

MM: We all know it takes time to build a routine. The foundation of a routine is consistency. So, no matter what goals you set for yourself, you have to stay consistent as you build those healthy habits into not only a routine, but a lifestyle. If you’re struggling to get going, start with some small tasks that will grow in time. For example, if you want to start eating healthier, begin by cooking all your meals at home and preparing your lunch/snacks for work each day. If you haven’t exercised regularly in quite some time, start scheduling just 1-2 days each week that you’re going to be active. It could be a walk around the block, a hike, a bike ride, or a game of tennis. Anything to get you moving and active. Start there and those 1-2 days will quickly become 3, 4, or 5 days a week.

L: How do you "Uncap Your Potential"?

MM: Self-belief. I’ve always been a believer that you can outwork people. I may not always succeed, and there might be plenty of times I fall. But I can’t ever let that deter me from getting up and getting right back after it. I never look back or look too far ahead. Just stay in the moment and focus on the task at hand.

L: Do you have a favorite Vital Proteins product?

MM: The Coconut Collagen Creamer has become an absolute must for me on a daily basis. I’m a bit of a java junkie, so to have a product as delicious as this, that also gives me the benefits of healthy fats (MCTs) and 10g of collagen peptides in each serving is a no-brainer go-to for me. Once I started to make collagen a part of my daily diet, I could see and feel the difference in hair, skin, and joints. These are all areas of particular importance to me as I’m getting older!