About

The Outlive team

We're three silly Canucks (Canadians, eh?) who get cabin fever during the winter
Marco Walker-Ng

Marco Walker-Ng
Marco leads the training department at Outlive, and reviews the articles for accuracy.

Michelle Polowick, Illustrator

Michelle Polowick
Michelle is the overseer on course and program design for optimal course success, and also does all the illustrations.

  • Bachelor of Design (B. Des) from York University
  • Bachelor of Education (B. Ed) from OISE University of Toronto

 

Jared Polowick

Jared Polowick
Jared leads the Outlive project and uses design to translate academic research reviews into an easy-to-read format that anyone can understand.

  • Bachelor of Design (B. Des) from York University

Why should you trust us?

We're properly qualified

Marco has a Honours Bachelors in Health Sciences (B. HSc), he's a certified personal trainer specialist (PTS), and he's interned with elite athletic training legends Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson. He continues to hone his craft with numerous certifications including:

  • Nutrition L1 from Precision Nutrition
  • Postural Respiration, Myokinematic Restoration, and Pelvis Restoration from the Postural Restitution Institute
  • Olympic Lifting with John Broz

Jared and Michelle both have a Specialized Honours Bachelor in Design (B. Des.), an interdisciplinary degree to apply design in the fields of research and health (among others) to improve communication, clarity, and understanding.

We've trained Olympic, college, and professional-level athletes

Marco has worked on the floor as a strength and conditioning coach for many elite-level athletes. He knows what it takes to get the best performance out of your body, how to get leaner, and how to become bigger and stronger.

We've already helped 7,500+ people like you

Marco and Jared were co-founders of Bony to Beastly and Bony to Bombshell, a muscle-building system for that has already helped over 7,500 men and women. Those programs were designed for regular people trying to radically transform their body while balancing their life and responsibilities.

We've been where you are

We aren't the genetically gifted. We haven't taken steroids. We weren't raised as children by professional athletes or bodybuilders. We had to work diligently to transform while working and studying.

We wouldn't change it though. Our lifechanging experience has made us passionate to help pass it on, and the trials have made us even better coaches.

Marco is 6'4 and worked to rehab his injuries and gained 63 pounds of muscle. Jared is 6'0 and weighed 130 pounds at 23 years old, and gained 45 pounds of muscle while overcoming his chronic tendonitis. Michelle leaned out her waist, and built up her hips.

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    Why we even bother

    This is our origin story. It's why we love showing up to work every day, excited to help people transform their lives. –Jared

    Tall, dangerously underweight, and shy

    When Marco was in high school, he was 6'4 tall and only weighed 150 pounds (193cm / 68kg). His BMI put him in the underweight category, meaning that he was dangerously underweight, putting his health at risk.

    Being this thin, lanky, and skinny and under-muscled is often known as the "ectomorph" body type.

    Aside from being underweight, Marco was desperately trying to become more confident, especially around girls. And so he bought Arnold Schwarzenegger's The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. He spent all of his free time training and trying to learn how to build the masculine body he wanted.

    But instead of getting a bigger, stronger and more energetic body... his efforts were rewarded with chronic pain in his knees and shoulders, poor hunchbacked posture, and feeling beat down.

    Marco when he was 150 pounds heavy.
    Marco after gaining over 60 pounds.

    Then Marco gained 63 pounds while earning an honours degree in Health Sciences (B. HSc)

    However, these setbacks only sparked Marco's passion to figure it out. Marco pursued an Honours Bachelor degree in Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa. He was taking courses like cell biology, chemistry, human anatomy, nutrition and health, and posture-movement-injuries.

    It was at this time that Marco radically bulked up, adding 63 pounds of lean mass to his long, lean, ectomorph frame.

    During his studies, he was also helping to train college-athletes on the OttawaU's Gee-Gee's football team. And he began training regular men and women and a variety of body types (ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs.)

    After he earned his degree, that's when Marco began taking personal clients at a sports and athletic training centre, many of them professional and Olympic athletes.

    Marco loved helping his clients rehab their injuries, restoring their posture for better movement and mobility, and getting them more power through building muscle.

    It was during this time that Marco and I (Jared) met through a joint friend—Shane Duquette. But first, let's back up and take a look at why we got in touch with Marco.

    "The worst case of tendonitis I've ever seen."– my physiotherapist

    I was an avid athlete as a child, but as I continued to grow, I wasn't getting bigger, stronger and faster like my peers. I just got longer and skinnier. In high school, I was now 6'0 tall—taller than most of the guys guys. But I only weighed 130 pounds which put me in the same dangerously underweight category as Marco. I was 30 pounds lighter than the average guy for my height and age.

    One day my tall and skinny friend, suggested that he and I hit the gym to bulk up. In 30 days, I lost 10 pounds and now weighed 120 pounds.

    Frustrated by moving even further in the wrong direction, I quit going to the gym believing I was genetically at odds with having a strong and fit body.

    Feeling defeated, I went back to my hobby of running a game review website. I began to sit for nearly all waking hours. I would sit at school, then play hours of video games, then work hard with my team on the game website. All this while consuming a steady stream of the Three-C's: Coke, cookies, and chips.

    Eventually, my poor diet, lack of exercise, and an extreme amount of time working hard on the computer culminated to make my body reach a breaking point.

    Before I turned 18, I had been diagnosed with chronic tendonitis in my right arm by my doctor. My forearm was incredibly weak, and there was a constant burning pain that never went away. The doctor prescribed me nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (naproxen), and physiotherapy.

    After many months of traditional types of therapy not working, I was open to trying anything to fix it. Ultrasound therapy, electrotherapy, and even acupuncture (hey, I was truly desperate.) Nothing gave me any relief, so I wore a wrist brace that helped to numb the pain.

    Eventually, it was too painful to use my right arm anymore, so I became ambidextrous and started using my left-hand for mousework. It wasn't long until my left-arm got tendonitis.

    The physiotherapist said that she had never seen anyone with tendonitis in both arms, let alone someone who was only 18 years old.

    Jared when he was 23 years old.
    Jared and Shane before beginning their Muscle May experiment.

    The "experiment" that flipped my life upside-down

    In September, I joined the design program at York University. It was there that I met my future wife (Michelle) and my future business partner, Shane Duquette.

    Shane and I became good friends and roommates. And after four years of studying, as we graduated, we decided to launch a design business.

    My secret fear was not if I could compete in our industry, I was hardworking and had the skills. But I was afraid of if I'd be able to physically do the work.

    I needing to take numerous breaks because of my chronic tendinitis. And the drugs I had been taking for over 4 years now was periodically giving me nosebleeds.

    As we were planning out what our work day would look like, Shane suggested an experiment to do after work.

    Shane was fairly skinny, 6'2 and 150 pounds. Just like Marco and I, he used to be dangerously underweight, just like I still was. But unlike me, Shane had already successfully gained 20 pounds himself working out in his parent's basement during the summer breaks.

    He proposed that we both try and gain weight. He'd do the research into the workouts and what we should eat. All I had to do was do the work.

    Honestly, I was already wary of working out since I had lost 10 pounds with my first experience. But I admitted that it was possible that eating better could help me with my tendonitis.

    The plan was fairly simple. For one month, starting on the first day of May, we'd begin to lift weights three times a week and eat 3,200 calories daily.

    Even though it was simple, we knew it'd be hard to stick to the plan. Neither of us was already working out, and it was an obscene amount of calories for two skinny guys with skinny stomachs. So, Shane and I used the Ulysses contract, something we read about from behavioural economics professor Dan Ariely. Basically, when you're full of energy, you pre-commit yourself to what you want to do and set consequences for not following through. We decided that each missed workout would cost us $10, each meal with even a bite left a food cost $5—paid to a communal jar.

    I gained 22 pounds in one month

    Shockingly, our experiment worked. Even though we were working start-up hours, that month I gained 22 pounds, and Shane gained 12 pounds. Both of us needed to go buy new clothes a size larger.

    I had way more energy, and I felt the strongest I've ever felt in my life. And my body no longer looked like it belonged to a 65-year-old.

    We didn't even need the Ulysses contract anymore. The payoff was more than enough for us to freely choose to keep working out. (We both became hooked for life.)

    We decided to keep doing what we were doing for June, July, and August. As we continued, Shane began to blog about the results and lessons we'd learned, while sharing our progress on some forums.

    While the insults were hurled about Shane's jean shorts, along with false accusations of us taking steroids, we started getting messages from other skinny guys identifying with our pain and asking us to help them with their own transformation.

    Now, back in the day, Shane had gone to the same high-school as Marco, but didn't know him well. A joint friend who had seen our results told Shane he should reach out to Marco because he knew he could help us get to the next level.

    Shane was confused because the last time Shane had seen Marco, he was incredibly skinny. Shane was shocked to learn that Marco had completely changed his physique and had gained 63 pounds.

    After getting in touch, Marco gave Shane many tips to improve the workouts he and I were doing, along with a few ways to make our nutrition goals way more manageable.

    I gained 4.75 inches on my shoulders, too.
    Shane added 4.75" inches to his shoulders
    Jared and Shane and their final Lean to Mean Results

    Putting to death the five-year hell

    Shane and I continued to get stronger, bigger, and fitter. Marco filled our role as the strength and fitness mentor. So naturally, when I first got to meet Marco in person, I asked him if he could help with my tendonitis.

    Marco told me that my problem was really easy to fix. All you had to do was use a technique that was familiar to athlete's who needed to get back to top performance fast.

    He then took my forearms, and using a smooth metal tool he began to scrape my forearms to break up the scar tissue and bring blood flow to the area (called Graston.)

    Within a few weeks of doing the Graston technique, my forearms were pain-free. My five-year hell, crippled with chronic pain, fears of being unreliable, and the reliance on prescription drugs to allow me to work—was over.

    It is hard for me to state how much solving this pain changed my life. Aside from the daily pain, and how it kept me up at night, I thought it was going to rule my life and affect my ability to be a good business partner, and my ability to provide for my family.

    This whole process was life-changing for me. After four months of training and eating properly, I had gained over 30 pounds, added almost 5 inches to my shoulder circumference (38.75″ to 43.5″), and over 3 inches to my thighs. Plus, I was now pain-free and was able to focus on work.

    Shane gained over 20 pounds, and his shoulder circumference went from 43.5″ to 48.25″.

    To this day I am beyond grateful that Shane reached into my digital world and pulled me out into the real world. I have no idea what compelled him, but I couldn't have felt happier with what we'd achieved.

    This felt amazing—and we wanted to help others who felt stuck to feel great too

    All three of us have felt how becoming strong, eating properly, and becoming healthier had radically improved our lives. Becoming confident instead of feeling insecure. Being strong instead of being weak. Having mental clarity and decisiveness instead of always procrastinating and feeling foggy. Standing tall like an athlete, rather than being rounded-over like an old man.

    We wanted to help as many other people as we could and give them a shortcut we never had. They wouldn't need to invest of tens of thousands of dollars into degree's, get certified, or do internships. They could stop with the late-night Googling, they could kill the doubt of wondering if they were cursed genetically, and they wouldn't need to just give up out of feeling overwhelmed, while staying in the status-quo in which they were suffering.

    That's when Marco, Shane and I co-founded Bony to Beastly. A complete system for skinny guys, ectomorphs, and hardgainers to rapidly gain weight. It was one of the first of it's kind. Michelle (my wife) and Shane drew all of the illustrations, helping to make sense of the complexities of building muscle.

    It was such a massive success, and the guys were getting incredible results. It wasn't long before we started getting dozens of emails asking where the female version was. There was literally no other skinny woman weight-gain program that existed (as far as we could find), so we knew we had to help out.

    After researching and testing our female weight-gain program from the ground up, we launched Bony to Bombshell, a program relentlessly focused on helping women gain weight. It was so weird and unheard of that people's mouths would drop when we told them what we do work. "Wait, you help people gain weight?"

    At the time of writing this, our programs have helped over 7,500 members and over 3 million readers through our free content.

    Bony to Beastly Transformation
    Bony to Bombshell Transformation
    Jared and his dad

    A new perspective on exercise and nutrition

    One day, my family realized that my dad was having memory problems. At the hospital, a brain scan revealed he had the most aggressive form of brain cancer. It was devastating to me to watch my dad face death—even in faith. Amd while it doesn't seem like personal health is related to this type of brain cancer (seems to be environment related), my dad wasn't in a healthy enough position to do any radio- or chemotherapy treatment. The steroids he was prescribed that reduced brain swelling so he could think more clearly in his final days with us simultaneously caused muscle-wasting.

    Going through this difficult chapter in my life changed me. It gave me a bigger view of life. It made me strive to become more present with my relationships while I'm here.

    But it also motivated me to become healthier and work on my fitness (while I continued to build even more muscle.)

    While I know that we'll all die, no matter what we eat or how much we exercise, it impacts how we're able to live our life.

    Our strength and health doesn't give our lives meaning, but it can give us the means to live our lives more fully.

    Looking for: a research-backed system for non-skinny friends and family to feel and look great

    Over the years, we've been asked questions by our closest friends and family about health, nutrition and exercise. Usually it was how to lose weight, after they saw our own transformations, and succcess in helping so many others.

    Honestly, it was challenging to find something solid to share with them. Sometimes we'd recommend books written by our favourite researchers. We knew we could trust them not to teach bogus, unscientific information that wouldn't work.

    But in hindsight, those books probably weren't easy or fun to read (like the top-selling, but often misleading books and programs.)

    Other times we'd write them up a mini-guide with a short how-to and share it with them on Google docs. While we were happy to help how we could, we knew that they'd do much better to have a system with the same level of research, testing, refinement, and polish like we had with Bony to Beastly and Bony to Bombshell.

    On top of that, we continued to field emails from the skinny brothers and sisters we helped, thanking us and then asking if we could help their non-skinny wife/husband/sister/mom/dad, etc. with their own strength and health-related problems. Shane and I decided that Shane would take lead on the Bony to Beastly and Bombshell programs, and the Outlive mission was created.

    The Outlive mission

    The Outlive mission is to help those who want to become bigger, stronger, leaner, fitter, and healthier—all while looking great.

    The system is built on getting rapid results while making the next step forward as clear, fun, and doable as possible.

    But we won't just be tracking how rapidly and how impressive our members' transformations are. That's important, no doubt. But we'll also be tracking how many people follow-through.

    There's no shortcut to a great body but there is a simple step-by-step system

    The reality is that you can't just take a pill, get surgery, use an app, or buy a gadget to get leaner, bigger, or healthier. A body that would allow you to thrive and enjoy life.

    To get that body, you'll need to undergo a transformation of how you eat, exercise, think, and sleep.

    But there's a critical problem with transformative programs. The completion rates are pretty discouraging. One source says only 6% of people complete a professionally designed online course (TechCrunch).

    That means when 100 people buy a program and trust it to help them fix whatever it is they're dealing with, 94 of those people won't actually get what they they wanted. Instead, they might even feel more broken, more stuck, and more hopeless than ever (while being out a few bucks.)

    But there's some good news. There's evidence that you can radically improve the sucess rates of these programs, possibly to the point where almost every single person succeeds.

    You can improve the program by adjusting the structure of the content to match how our brains learn. You can tweak someone's behaviour through small changes in their environment.

    You can teach mental models to improve problem solving when they arrive (and they always do.)

    And you can pour gasoline on the fire of motivation with rapid, short-term, and visible wins.

    I know for a fact that Shane and I kept working out because had many wins, so quickly, and with such a big payoff. After all, it's hard to stay motivated to keep doing something hard if you can't see if it's working or not.

    Being strong, lean, fit, and healthy has huge benefits that will spill over into your work, marriage, children, and relationships

    Aside from the obvious benefits of getting stronger, fitter, and healthier, our physical health ties into our allowing us to execute our personal missions in life.

    Working out can give you a clear mind, make you a better leader that makes better decisions, and help to develop a sacrificial spirit by learning discipline, grit, and patience. You'll be more likely to do what you know is right, and less likely to be annoying yourself by doing things you don't want to do.

    The exciting part isn't just a better body. It's who you'll become as you develop that body.

    Why do we bother?

    We want to encourage those who are ready to change, to thrive in their new stronger, fitter, and healthier bodies while striving to live with integrity and sacrificially. To use their strength to help and inspire those around them, for the goodwill of the people in their life and their community.

    If you believe in this mission too, please share this website with someone who you think would like it.

    What you could do now...

    1. If you'd like to learn how to build an incredible body, be sure to sign up for our newsletter down below so that we can stay in touch.
    2. If you love the idea of the Outlive mission, your friends might too. You could share your favourite article with a couple friends.