A roundup of his credentials would leave you calling him anything but basic. Michael Tiu, or Mitiu, 26, is a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu athlete and instructor, a sales guy for UFC Gym Philippines, a business owner (two franchises of Potato Corner, a small health food business called Incredibowl, and furniture company Perch), and a contributing editor for Shape Magazine. How he manages all these already sounds crazy to some, until you hear him go about being just ballsy when it comes to welcoming life's opportunities. Never mind if Mitiu doesn't always have it his way, it's the satisfaction he gets from putting on a YOLO face towards his dreams.
For example, to hone his ji-jitsu skills more, the former account manager at ad agency Publicis went ahead and flew to Brazil. He lived and trained there for two months. “I might not get an ROI (return of investment) ever, but I’m happy that I did. It’s a once in a lifetime experience," he recounts.
Below, Mitiu tells us more about breathing this philosophy despite some seeing it as something too stereotypical of millennials.
How millennial are you and why?
"I came from a corporate background, and there’s a lot of negative connotations when it comes with being a millennial. People expect you to be entitled, people expect you to have no sense of commitment, and to an extent, it is a fault of the society we grew up in. Not blaming anyone, there’s a reason why the attitudes are common, but I try my best to disprove it."
How do you counter the myth about millennials being too entitled?
“At this point in my life, I tend to be not sure what I will do in the future because obviously I am still trying to figure things out. I’m making my mistakes while I’m young so which is why I’m doing a lot of small things. My personality is fit to that kind of lifestyle, but then that’s not to say that I’m not doing any worse than anyone at my age 20 years ago. Someone of my age might have been earning X amount or doing this in a company. It’s not that I’m doing better or I’m doing worse; it’s just a different way of doing things. But then, if you are results-oriented, and you are earning the same amount of money, I like to think that I’m relatively fulfilled with what I am doing right now, especially that I am into Jiu-jitsu and finding ways to make little money off from Jiu-jitsu.”
How did you get started with using social IG in your projects/advocacies?
“I’m a regular guy (laughs) but I love to strategize on social media so luckily, kahit papaano, I’ve gotten sponsors for my Jiu-jitsu competitions that rely heavily on social media. So there, I mention them. I had to, to an extent, curate what I post to promote their brands, but I make sure these brands align to my advocacies. With my personality, we would agree on stuff, about how things should be used. The main way I promote them is through social media. Obviously, I make use of social media for businesses; it’s a huge aspect of marketing. I go to social media seminars to learn about social media.”
As a millennial, we’re feeling you still want to have more in life. What else do you dream of doing in the future despite juggling a lot of stuff now?
“It’s hard and I’m still trying to figure it out. A lot if it is getting the correct partners that work with each other’s strengths. Like for the two Potato Corner stalls, my role was basically finding the location, which was hard, but then once you find it, you set up a system where you are not needed in that system so that you can leave it alone. You are not needed there day-to-day, then you can move on to the next. You don’t have to be there every day. For Perch, it’s working with my sisters. I don’t interfere with the furniture design, I don’t interfere with the production, I don’t interfere with the finance; all I do is digital marketing, which can be done remotely, like wherever I am so I only spend a few hours a week doing digital marketing. Most of my time is spent at UFC Gym. There, I negotiated a flexible time setup, semi-part time setup, but then the owner is goal-oriented so if I deliver based on his checklist, then it’s okay. Still, I am able to train a lot of Jiu-jitsu students. For Jiu-jitsu, I spend a lot of time, which I don’t feel because it is doing what I love. In the future however, I recognize that this is not the way; I should also downsize, eliminate some stuff later on.”
How meticulous are you with your posts? Describe your process.
“I’m a writer by background so it’s just more of paying attention to what I post. I am not like one of those guys who are very OC with their social media feeds. I share what I think is interesting and I share aspects of my life that I think is interesting, and I package them in a way a writer would, as oppose to posting selfies all the time. I’m saying that posting selfies is wrong, but I also post some funny content that a people seem to respond to. It’s basically broadcasting my life, not fluffing it up towards being a 'fitness model'. I’m just sarcastic and funny as a person, hence the things I post.”
What was your greatest social media/ online moment like?
"There was one time I made a really funny post about a dream I had, where I had a fight with a Mexican Karate champion. It’s a dream, so it’s pretty random, but sobrang vivid nun dream so after I woke up, I just took a mental note of everything, and I made a long story about it. A lot of people found it funny."
What do you think is your most ‘exciting’ post? Which one receives the most likes?
“As a digital marketing person, you would categorize your content into content buckets, so what I find that gets the most traction are pictures of yourself. That conflicts again with how I want social media to be a reflection of my life, which is being fit, and not just posting nice pictures of yourself and pretending that your life is perfect. For me, social media is an extension of you and your thoughts so that’s what I would like to think about myself all of the time. Since I don’t get anything from it (meaning earning from posts), I just write what is interesting or funny, and once in a while post pictures of myself.”
If you were to create your own hashtag, what would that be and why?
“Whether I believe in them or not, they are real (laughs). I’d choose #BawalSupot because people are always scared at what to do. It’s the most straightforward way of saying it just like with anything in life.”
What are your mid-summer plans?
“UFC Gym is opening so I have to get back to work. I hope to hit up some beaches, and I’m going to compete at the Manila open. It is the biggest tournament in the Philippines ever. IBJJF, the biggest Jiu-jitsu organization in the world is now here, so everyone will be flying in, especially Southeast Asian countries. It will be fun, so I’m excited to go against people from different countries and see how I do against them. I also have an upcoming Superfight at Fightcon as well.”
Any dream destination and why?
“I’d still say Brazil. It’s the birthplace of Jiu-jitsu. Those were some of the best months of my life because I woke up immediately what I like to do. My life there was wake up, Jiu-jitsu, beach, Jiu-jitsu. That’s two months of that…and also cleaning the pool, which is part of my hostel duties. I also had to do their social media, pero dude who else can say that they lived like a professional athlete? It’s pretty cool; I’ve got to train with some of the biggest gyms in the world.”
Ideal summer escapade and why?
“At this point, it is something relaxing. It’s a break from the monotony of day-to-day. My ideal vacation would be doing what you want to do uninterrupted so it’s not just being lazy around. What I did in Brazil is a good example: uninterrupted, high-paced living. It does not have to be Jiu-jitsu; it can be any skill that you want to learn. If you, let’s say, want to be the best dancer, then take a vacation, take a month off and just dance. That would be perfect.”
Ideal summer date and why?
"Just the beach. Well if I have someone else that can do the uninterrupted time doing something new, someone who is as interested in doing as me, that would be cool because you share the same thing that you are passionate, and you take that along with your relationship."
How do you maintain your bod during the summer?
"I don’t really think about physique so much. I train for fitness, I train for performance, like I lift 5x5 (5 sets of 5 reps), it’s all high volume, low reps, all for power. I’m not for the super fit bod; I like the athletic bod rather. I go to the gym for the purpose of doing better for my sport, which is why I do squats."
“The little that I know that I apply would be the 5x5. It’s basic, and that’s what I do. If you have the same mentality as me, and your priority is not getting ripped but getting strong, the fastest way for me is compound exercises—those that use different muscle groups for you to lift a higher volume of weight. Main exercises would be squats, deadlifts, military press, bench press, and those. That’s all I do.”
Most recommended diet?
“Usually I’m not a weight cutter because in my sport, weight is a big thing, but luckily for me, I’m naturally at the weight I want to be so I just maintain my weight and maintain a fast metabolism. Also, I don’t find a lot of unhealthy food delicious. I’m not that super into chips or bacon. I do not eat them just because to cut weight, I just don’t crave for them. Swerte lang ako."
Your most effective gwapo trick?
“Humor. Just entertain the girl, be funny, sarcastic, and don’t be too serious. And being honest as well.”
Your most effective trick to get the girl?
“Just a good sense of humor.”
ALSO READ: In Focus: 20 Years Since It Became A World Wonder, The Grand Canyon Still Wows
Produced by The @ABSCBNLifestyle Team (Katrina Angco, Julia Arenas, Duey Guison, Angela Sy, Mels Timan, & Barry Viloria) | Cinematography Jana Jimenez with Gio Vibar | Photographs by Vyn Radovan | Grooming by Raf Bardon, Johnson Estrella, and Ryan Wong of MAC Cosmetics | Styling by JM Gumatay, Shaira Mariel Habon, and Carl Pabilona of @TheStylistCrewPH | Hairstyling: @VivereSalon
Shot on location at: I’M Hotel (7862 Makati Ave, Makati City)
Special Thanks to: Melissa Lim of @IMhotelPH | Gabs Azarcon and Vanessa Vergara of @MacCosmetics | Arvin Amaro of @VivereSalon