Testimonials

Testimonials

Kasper BjörkqvistKasper Björkqvist2016 U20 World Champion

"Achieved Personal and Team Success
I Could Only Dream About Before!"

"Yunus’ knowledge of improving hockey performance has helped me in ways I didn’t know existed when we first started working together.

In just one year of training with him, my strength and speed have improved dramatically!

As a direct result of this, I now have more time and space on the ice, which allow me to better showcase my hockey skills.

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Following Yunus' off-ice training programs, I achieved personal and team success I could only dream about before - I won gold at the World Junior Championships, earned Most Valuable Player honors in the Finnish U20 Elite League, and was drafted into the NHL by the 2016 Stanley Cup champions."

- Kasper Björkqvist

Providence College, NCAA D1

Pittsburgh Penguins #61 Pick, 2016 NHL Draft

2016 U20 World Champion

2015-2016 MVP, Best Forward & All-Star, Finnish U20 Elite League

Teemu VäyrynenTeemu VäyrynenPro Hockey Player, TPS Turku, Finnish Elite League

​Off-Season Gains Make
Pro Hockey Player Stronger and Faster

"I followed a 3-day per week, full-body training program Yunus designed for me this off-season.

​I really enjoyed all the variation in exercise selection and execution that he includes in his programs. It helps keep your training fresh and interesting over time.​

With other workout plans, you might end up doing the same three or four movements for months on end. That becomes boring real fast.

Another thing I noticed was how quickly my strength increased. Within just a few short weeks, I was lifting notably bigger weights compared to the beginning of the summer.

And at the end of the off-season I set multiple lifetime personal records, including new bests in 3RM front squats and power cleans.

Based on pre-season games and practices so far, I'm also feeling faster on the ice​.

So you could say I'm very happy with my results since gaining strength and speed is exactly what I wanted to achieve with my off-season training."​

- Teemu Väyrynen

TPS Turku, Finnish Elite League

Finland U20 ​National Team

Tuukka TotroTuukka TotroNCAA College Hockey Player

Gained Strength & Speed -
No Longer Outmatched Physically by Bigger and Heavier Players

"Before I started training with Yunus, I was focusing on too many things off the ice and had hit a plateau.

I was training too often and for too long at a time (up to 9x per week in the summer for 2-3 hours per session) but didn’t feel like I was making any noticeable progress.

I had built a solid aerobic base over the years, so playing big minutes was never the problem.

Strength and explosiveness were lacking, though, which limited my game.

After I started following Yunus’ training programs, progress came by quickly and I was hitting new personal records on power cleans, front squats, weighted chin-ups, and deadlifts week after week.

Most importantly, I saw improvements in the weight room carry over onto the ice.

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As a smaller player (5’7) playing against bigger and heavier guys in the juniors and now at the college level, I have no trouble holding my own in board battles.

I can protect the puck with my body a lot better and can even remove bigger opponents from the puck, which certainly wasn’t the case before.

In addition, I noticed that my balance on skates has improved a lot and I can now handle my body much better even in unstable positions.

I would highly recommend Yunus’ training methods to other hockey players. If you really want to push your physical limits and achieve results that you never expected to see, you should train under him.

Yunus has got an unparalleled passion for developing his athletes and he demands a lot from them. But his training is smart and progress happens very fast. It’s not mentally or physically easy but it’s totally worth it."

- Tuukka Totro

St. Olaf College, NCAA D3

Mikko TolvanenMikko TolvanenHead Strength and Conditioning Coach, Sport Vaasa, Finnish Elite League

"... one of the best hockey strength coaches in the business."

"I've known Yunus for a few years now, and what struck me from the beginning was his knowledge of and passion for hockey strength and conditioning.

I remember being a bit skeptical about him at first since he never had a career as a hockey player. But I quickly realized he knows what he's talking about when it comes to making players stronger, faster and healthier.

His dedication to developing his athletes, ability to explain any drill or exercise in a training program, and tremendous coaching skills all set him apart from others and make him one of the best hockey strength coaches in the business.

I've implemented things that he has taught me with my hockey players competing for championships, and I can't thank him enough for that.

To any athlete who wants to become stronger and faster than their competition - and remain injury-free while doing so - I highly recommend Yunus' training methods."

- Mikko Tolvanen

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Sport Vaasa, Finnish Elite League

Ex-Pro Hockey Goalie, Finnish Elite League

Victor RangerVictor RangerPro Hockey Player, Anglet Hormadi Élite, French Division 1

"In all my years of playing hockey,
Yunus is the best trainer I ever had."

"In the past, my training was very cardio-based. Yes, I was in pretty good shape, but had trouble gaining muscle or strength.

I also had underdeveloped muscles in my body - especially my lower back and obliques. Fixing these muscular imbalances helped me build a solid base and improve my overall strength.

I feel like every part of my body got better after I started working with Yunus.​

Most importantly, these gains translated to better performance on the ice. Here's how Yunus' off-ice training benefited my hockey skills:

​- I got more powerful, which is very important for a smaller player like me.

All the strength and muscle I gained off the ice helped with stability when battling for loose pucks in the corners. Even against bigger guys, I felt like I could physically compete head-to-head with them.​

- ​​My skating improved as well. Faster on the first few steps, my ability to push off and glide, on-ice stamina... Everything jumped up a notch or two.​

- Thanks to the upper body, lower back and core strength gained in the gym, I became more dangerous on the ice as a forward with more speed and a harder shot.​

​Another thing worth mentioning is that I finally had a completely injury-free season.

For example, in previous years, I used to feel minor groin pain as the hockey season drew on. When I followed Yunus' training programs, that pain vanished. I believe a big part of that are all the adductor and core strengthening exercises he had me perform.

​Not only are Yunus' training methods extremely effective, his attention to all the small but important details set him apart from other coaches.

In all my years of playing hockey, Yunus is the best trainer I ever had. Every day I spent with him at the gym, I learned something new.

Lifting weights, conditioning, speed, recovery - it's all there. Every single detail in Yunus' off-ice program is made to best serve hockey players. It truly is a complete training program for hockey.

​​​​- Victor Ranger

Anglet Hormadi Élite, French Division 1​

France U18 ​National Team

Filip LindbergFilip LindbergJunior Hockey Player

​From Back-Up Goalie to
Best Goaltender Award and All-Star in One Season​​

​​​"I used to believe that goalies don't need to lift weights.

In fact, some goalie coaches had told me gaining upper body strength and size would be detrimental for my game because it would slow me down when stopping the puck with my arms.

That's why I had focused mostly on goalie technique and speed drills when training on my own.

At the same time, I also realized that I wasn't physically strong enough to play the game at a high level.

That soon changed when I started following Yunus' programs!

My body has matured physically a lot during the time I've been training with him.

I've gained muscle all over my body, my shoulders got broader, I got leaner, and my strength levels went through the roof.​

As a result of all that, my on-ice performance improved tremendously.​

I'm now much more explosive on the ice.

More agile in the crease.

Faster and able to get into a better position on rebounds.

​​Moving laterally and squaring up to the shooter feels effortless now thanks to all the lower body and core strength gains I've made.​

Training under Yunus is intense and demanding. But at the same time, we have a fun, motivating atmosphere at the gym.​

​The best part is that he always comes up with new exercise variations that keep things fresh and interesting in addition to the tried and true heavy barbell lifts.​

I've learned so many movements I had never even seen before, yet I feel they've benefited my performance immensely.

​Here are a few key training lessons I've taken to heart:

- If you want progress, you MUST train hard. The competition isn’t resting on their laurels, so you've got to show up and put in the work every day to succeed.

​- Going to the gym and just lifting some weights isn’t enough. You need a solid, quality program to really experience big gains.

- Unlike what I used to believe in the past, strength training is extremely important for goalies.

You need 100% focus and effort off the ice if you want to get ahead on the ice. You have the greatest window for progress in the off-season, so don't miss it by being lazy or doing things that don't improve your performance.​

- Even when on-ice training takes priority during the season, you shouldn’t stop lifting heavy. It's the only way to improve all year long.​

To any hockey player reading this, I highly recommend Yunus and his training methods. Not only is he a great strength coach, he's a great person as well."

​​​- Filip Lindberg

TuTo Turku U20​

2016-2017 Best Goaltender & First Team All-Star, Finnish U18 Elite League

Oskar ThorsenOskar ThorsenStrength and Conditioning Coach, IHK Comet Halden

"His athletes... damn strong guys...
made a big impression on me."

"Through my own experiences, I know that off-ice training usually includes little more than bike + stretching and perhaps 3 x 8 reps of light squats during a hockey season here in Norway.

I’ve always wondered what attitudes other major hockey nations have regarding in-season training off the ice.

Are there any similarities?

Do they train harder than we do?

What are they doing differently?

Could this be part of the reason why Norway is a "little brother" in the sport of ice hockey?

To figure this out, I contacted the great Finnish club Espoo Blues and their strength coach Yunus Barisik and I got the opportunity to join them for training over 4 days. A wonderful experience that made a big impression on me.

Yunus has a philosophy that although it is hockey season, it is important to have progression in strength training and that one should not be afraid to lift big weights for low repetitions.

He justifies this by saying that if we are to stop the progression through the season, how then do we become stronger? And that it is not next week’s games that they train for, but the playoffs held in March.

During my time observing Yunus and his athletes, I witnessed 17-year-old Aarne Talvitie, captain of Finland U18 national team and 2017 NHL draft prospect, perform split squats with 140 kg (!).

You’re probably thinking now that he is one in a million, but the fascinating thing is that the rest of the team was approximately at 100-120 kg. Damn strong guys all of them with tremendous lifting form.

During one of the other sessions they deadlifted 3-5 reps with several players between 180-240 kg and this they did again with very good technique."

- Oskar Thorsen

Strength and Conditioning Coach, IHK Comet Halden

Ex-Pro Hockey Player, Norway

Kari-Matti EloKari-Matti EloSales & Marketing Director, Helsinki

Lost Over 12 Kilograms of Fat & Stronger Than Ever -
"Man, I Should Have Done This 10 Years Ago!"

"Have been going to the gym more or less regularly since I was 15.

Started from scratch (first bench press and biceps, quite obviously) and was learning by doing, but never took the time to research much about training and nutrition. Sounds a little ridiculous from someone having a Master's degree.

For some reason I thought I knew what I was doing, because most guys at the gym were lifting less than me.

Since 2009 started eating more protein and simply just more. In the summer 2009 weighed about 83kg.

By Christmas 2010 weight was about 93-95kg. Simultaneously had gotten stronger, but probably at least half of the weight was fat.

Once I started following your methods, I came to realize that my understanding of fitness and nutrition was at kindergarden level.

Found out that with a proper training program and correct nutrition you can get the desired results within a span of a couple of months. No need to hit your head against a concrete wall and wonder why the wall does not get a headache and break.

Thinking that “I have heavy bones” or “my metabolism is quite slow, so I’ll never have a 6-pack” just shows ignorance or an unwillingness to get out of your comfort zone.

The more results I saw, the more motivated I got. Over the 6-month training program, I lost over 12 kilograms and shed 22 cm off my waist while still getting stronger.

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Whatever you think you know about training and nutrition, forget it for a couple of months.

Follow Yunus’ training program and diet and you will get results that will boost your motivation and confidence.

Do not talk back, give excuses or try to be a smart ass, just do it! You can thank him and me later, once you realize the amount of eyes checking you out @ the beach has more than doubled."

Michael TawfikMichael TawfikStrongman Competitor, Arizona

Strongman Sheds 4" Off Waist In 8 Weeks
By Eating More Food

"Early on in life I knew nothing about eating right or staying in shape. As I grew up I noticed that I was out of shape, eating garbage food and needed to make some big lifestyle changes. I started going to the gym on and off and making the right eating choices one by one.

What I learned from doing your program is to make smaller goals that you know you can achieve and also have bigger goals that you may one day be able to acheive. Also that goals should be specific things having to do with concreate numbers and not vague ideas.

I learned that a calorie is truly not a calorie and that different foods/ eating habits will affect people differently. Also that some people that are trying to lose weight may be eating a lot less than they should.

I learned that they big lifts are key and form is so necessary so you don't get an injury and working the proper muscles. Also that well placed accessory work can really help in your program overall and that compound lifts should be the bread and butter of any routine.

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I REALLY enjoyed the form critiquing and feel that it has helped me tremendously.

Three other benefits of your service that I enjoyed:

• Keeping track of lifts and to see when you finally surpassed your previous max with proper form

• The help with getting macros straight

• Your openess and ability to adapt and make changes

I noticed that I was eating A LOT more than usual and I mean A LOT. Especially on workout days. It was harder to cram in most of the food after training on some nights but I got it done. At first I felt like I was eating way to much food but then as I saw the scale start to go down I figured it was ok and started to enjoy it.

I would recommend you to my closest friends, I think if they did your program they would find it easier to accomplish their goals and at the very least get great form and dieting tips.

Thank you again for your help and time."

Arto JääskeläinenArto JääskeläinenSoccer Player, Helsinki

Got Strong & Jacked - 
"Never Seen Gains Like This in My Entire Life!"

"My background in strength training before starting your program was nothing to write home about. I had been lifting weights more or less actively for 4 years. Most of my time was spent training smaller muscle groups with isolation exercises in the 12+ rep range, having rarely ventured below 6 reps per set on any exercise.

The biggest change is that my previous workouts dragging on for 1.5 hours at a time have been replaced by intense, effective training sessions lasting only 50 minutes, which makes going to the gym much more enjoyable and easier. As a consequence, my results have skyrocketed in comparison to what they used to be.

I recently bench pressed 115 kg for 4 reps at a solid body weight of 84 kg. My squat and deadlift have gone through the roof as well, and I've never experienced gains like this before in my life.

I've finally understood the importance of training large muscle groups, which is crucial for gaining muscle and strength.

A huge benefit is also that during soccer season my strength training sessions had no negative effect on my performance on the field because I never trained to failure. In stark contrast to my past way of training, when I trained legs for 1.5 hours straight (squats, deadlifts etc. on the same day), my legs used to be so sore for 2-3 days afterwards that I was unable to do anything at soccer practice. With your program I never had this problem!"

Sanna-Maria SeilamoSanna-Maria SeilamoStudent & Model, Helsinki

Gained 7 Kilograms While
Staying in Photo Shoot Shape

"The biggest difference is that nowadays my progress is on a completely different level than it was before. It's only now that I've noticed how ineffective my training used to be in the past.

I've witnessed the greatest gains in my legs and glutes. I even had to throw away all my old jeans because I no longer could fit into them after all the squatting and lower body training I've done over the past year.

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Regarding nutrition, I've learned how to eat properly and also how much food you really need to eat to build muscle.

Training has become a passion for me and I wouldn't be able to stop doing it even if I wanted to. Motivation has been high all the time."

Teemu LylyTeemu LylyStudent, Helsinki

Added 30 Kilograms
to His Squat and Deadlift

"I was aware that I had a lot of room for improvements in my training prior to starting the program. In principle I knew what I was supposed to be doing but I just didn't know how to put that information to practice.

All my lifts improved significantly following your training plan. I added 30 kilograms to my deadlift max, which went from 150 kg to 180 kg. My squat shot up from 120 kg to 150 kg. Bench press increased from 90 kg to 105 kg.

The biggest benefit I've received from our collaboration is motivation with a capital M. The training program encourages me to go to the gym even on days when I'm not feeling particularly excited; getting results and the support from you have got me looking forward to every training session with enthusiasm."

Tair AssimovTair AssimovSoftware Engineer, Helsinki

Gained 5 Kilograms of Muscle &
Doubled Strength in 13 Weeks

"I have been trying to keep going to the gym for many years now.

First, around 8 years ago when I was about 22 years old. I remember the longest time I went to the gym more or less regularily was around 10 months. Later on, I stopped as I had not seen any major results. I had unbalanced lifestyle and that is why I think it had negatively affected my fitness results.

I do not think I had any concerns to hire a professional. I remember I finally realized I am getting older and fattier than I used to be. Hence, I decided to find someone to help me train more efficiently with greater results.

Besides the knowledge I got about the fitness, I understood that getting stronger, loosing fat, and gaining muscles is all about self-discipline.

I also understood that it is not enough just going to the gym. It is more than that: It is your lifestyle, your diet, your sleep, your mindset and your priorities.

Three great benefits of your service are:

a) Quick results in a short time - Looks like you have gone through many training programs and absorbed lots of fitness information. I think you got the best training program by focusing on the core exercises.

I am extremely happy I started doing Squats, Deadlifts and Chin ups instead of hundreds of other machinery exercises I used to do in the past.

b) Attitude - I really liked your attitude towards clients. Initially it may appear a bit rude, but later on you find it motivating.

Still remember the "kick your ass" clause in the pre-agreement phase 🙂 Things like "fat bastards", "you are weak", "the truth about abs" etc. is an honest feedback, which really motivates. Keep going this way!

c) Site information - Your website is excellent. You are doing a great job publishing so much information on fitness, nutrition, lifestyle, etc.

That was one of the main reasons I used your services. I bet, whenever someone sees this much information and activity from the service provider, he starts to trust and believes the person behind it is an expert.

Other significant lessons I learned:

• Lesson 1 - Lifestyle - I learned that to look good and being strong it is not enough going to the gym regularly. I learned its everything, including what you eat, how you sleep and how you live. Practically, one needs to change his lifestyle to achieve greater results.

• Lesson 2 - Goals - I learned it is important to set the goals, which may look unrealistic in the beginning. Not having the goals in fitness is the same as in life. No goals, no achievement. Therefore, at every training it is important to aim bigger weights, longer distances, better results.

• Lesson 3 - Step back can be a step forward - I learned that sometimes it is important to take a step back so that later you can go even further. Hence, deloads, week off, etc. are a good thing :)"

Michelle McGhan WinsorWeb Designer, Arizona

"Providing a set program and accountability really helped keep me on target. There are always going to be days that I wake up and think - ugh, do I REALLY have to do this again? Knowing that I have a weigh-in coming or a video to submit forced me to push through the moments of weakness.

I quickly dropped inches from my waist and noticed a huge improvement in my overall cardio longevity. I loved seeing my lift numbers go up and hitting Personal Records kept me really motivated.

I loved getting feedback on form improvement and correction for the little mistakes. It's really difficult to progress without having a practiced eye to really look at the lift and make the necessary tweaks that, most of the time, I didn't even know I was doing.

I would absolutely recommend you to my closest friends. Anyone trying to get motivated and moving forward on their fitness goals would benefit from your services.

I learned that I'm capable of doing far more than I believe. I was able to go through workouts that seemed incredibly daunting and come out alive and feeling amazing. I found that I could push myself to reach high goals and still have some gas in the tank.

This program really helped me get on track with my fitness goals. I am pushing forward now and hoping to reach new heights with competitions and overall body composition. Thank you so much for everything, it really shows in my new body :D"

Maria H.Sales Representative, Helsinki

"Going to the gym had always been somewhat inconsistent and in no way progressive for me. I was used to pushing myself really hard, gauging the effectiveness of what I was doing by how much I was sweating, and training to failure without exception.

A huge benefit I got from your training program is guidance on how to set up a proper nutrition plan, because after I started paying more attention to what I was putting in my mouth, I quickly realized what was wrong.

During our collaboration I feel that I've found a balance between eating and training for optimal progress. What surprised me was that I was allowed to eat quite a lot of food without following any rules too strictly, even though the goal was to lose fat. I believe this increases the odds of people sticking to the diet and getting sustainable results because it's a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.

I would most definitely recommend your coaching to trainees/athletes. I know many gym-goers who are spinning their wheels and who'd benefit tremendously from this type of guidance to reach a new level in their training."

Jussi MäkiMedical Doctor, Kuopio

"Ever since I stopped playing ice hockey at 16, I've been lifting weights 2-4 times per week more or less inconsistently. My training had never been very goal-oriented before I started following your training program. I simply went to the gym and did whatever I felt like doing on a given day.

At first the program felt very light and I thought it would be impossible to get any results by performing 4x5 on the main barbell lifts. In hindsight this proved to be a wise decision, because I had suffered from knee pain and Medial epicondylitis (commonly known as golfer's elbow) in the past.

Starting light also allowed me to improve my technique. Previously I would take advantage of the stretch reflex at the bottom of a lift, so I'd lower the weights fast on the squat or bench, and then bounce them back up, which allowed me to lift more weight than with strict form. With your instructions I learned how to control the weight on the eccentric and lift explosively on the concentric portion of the movement. So not only did I clean up my form, I did so while getting significantly stronger, and haven't suffered from any joint pain while following your instructions and training plan. 

Here are my numbers after six months on the program:

• Squat 100 kg 5x5 -> 127,5 kg 5x5

• Bench press 77,5 kg 5x5 -> 85 kg 5x5

• Deadlift 120 kg 5x5 -> 157,5 kg 5x5"

Mikko LaapasStudent, Helsinki

"My background in strength training was consistently inconsistent, and I had never had a real training program before this one.The biggest benefit so far has been the inclusion of better and more effective exercises (squats etc.) than what I was used to doing in the past. With your program my results have shot up and I've made faster strength gains than when I was training casually on my own.

I've gone from barely being able to do bodyweight chin-ups and dips to doing them with added weight with ease. This was something I didn't expect to happen in just a couple of short months. Right now I'm up to 30 kg of extra weight for 12 reps on the dips.

Apparently, other people are starting to notice the physical changes taking place as well because last weekend I visited my folks after a long while, and they all kept asking me what the hell I'd been doing to look like the way I do now. Needless to say, I will definitely keep on doing this in the future!

Gaining knowledge of proper nutrition has been another huge benefit. For instance, I was totally surprised about how much I really needed to eat in order to fuel my training and build muscle.

Tracking progress, finding motivation and striving to get better all the time have been really important concepts for me in my training. I've understood now that I'm only competing against myself in everything I do. The ups and downs are all a part of the game, and even the pros don't always have a perfect training session. When you fail, you simply pick yourself up again and fight to have a greater performance tomorrow.

I would definitely recommend your programs for those looking to build muscle, lose fat and gain strength. I certainly am not the only one out there thinking about how to make training effective or where to even begin."

Lauri WahlroosDigitalist, Helsinki

"I had been training on my own for about two years before I had the chance to work with you. Everything I knew I had learned by trial and error or by watching what others were doing. I had made some progress, although I had not reached the goals I initially set for myself.

The biggest benefit I've received is learning which exercises I should be doing and most importantly, how to perform those movements correctly!

So far, I've lost about 5 kg of fat, gained strength and am now much more confident in my own training.

I highly recommend your program and have already told my friends about it."

Maria LindroosStudent, Helsinki

"My results so far: I’ve built muscle, gotten stronger and visibly leaner, and feel awesome.

I’ve managed to continuously add weight to the bar. The coolest thing is that I'm even able to do chin-ups now, which I couldn't a few months ago.

It's as if I’m a completely different person now and I’m glad I’m doing this! As flamboyant as the following might sound, I can honestly say that that one week last fall when I had the chance to train with you and you taught me how to perform the basic exercises, has changed my life."

Melina MagiStudent, Helsinki

"Your partner Teemu recommended you because you two have a similar training style. Your blog was interesting and the way you wrote was not typical for personal trainer. I am for real with my training and I knew that you would help me to get me toward my goals.

Before I started on your program, I had been excersicing for years but not TRAINING properly. I started lifting weights about 10 months ago. Before that I had been going to the gym but when I now think about my gym training it was more about pumping randomly.

Main thing was to learn that progression at the gym takes time but it is worth it. When I did my first chin-up I felt that my whole world changed. Now I can do 4 in a row and I learned how one has to set goals and when the goals are achieved those needs to be set higher when reached.

The main thing was that I learned how to TRAIN. When I focus to the results at the gym, I get results also outside the gym. I got my training on track and I feel that it is a big part of my life. If I am not training or doing progression, I feel that I am totally lost.

The training plan is what I would recomend to everybody that want to be strong and improve results. I would recomend you to my friends who are serious about training and lifting weights. Not to those who want to be just ”fit” or ”toned”."