Meeting Mike Gotuaco, Chiropractor and conditioning specialist

Dr. Mike Gotuaco tells us about Collingwood, snowboarding, training for the Olympics and learning to surf…

We met up with Mike at Discovery Coffee on Oak Bay Ave, near our clinic, to talk about two planking, sea lions and becoming a doctor. 


Are you from Vancouver Island?

Originally, I’m from Collingwood Ontario. It’s the best place in Ontario, ever. That’s where you want to be if you’re in Ontario. In the summer you have hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, golfing and lakes. In the winter, you have cross country skiing, snow shoeing, downhill skiing and snowboarding. There’s always hockey.

Do you play hockey?

Yeah, I played goaltender. I’m not a great hockey player. I was more of a volleyball and rugby kind of guy in high school and University. And Snowboarding.

Are you a “one-planker?”

Does that mean snowboarder? [laughs] Yes, I’m a snowboarder. There’s a ski hill in Collingwood, Blue Mountain. It’s well known in Ontario. It’s not quite a mountain. More of a foothill really.

Are you competitive?

I was! I did the Canadian Series there for a while and I went to World Championships. I travelled the Grand Prix circuit in Canada and the US. I narrowly missed out on the 2006 Olympics.

Was that crushing?

A little. Not really. I was working toward the 2010 Olympics and I wasn’t quite ready as an athlete. I felt really good about my performance in 2006. I was happy to be on the shortlist. But, unfortunately, it was one of those things, after 2006, where I experienced a lot of injuries and concussions. The injuries lead me away from competitive snowboarding and toward University and Chiropractic studies. I didn’t know I was going to be a Chiropractor but I was interested in anatomy and physiology and exercise science. That was the beginning of my career.

So you’re a body nerd?

Yes, among other things. [laughs]

People have to call you doctor now, right?

[Laughs] I prefer if they don’t! I’m not really into self-aggrandizement. I don’t like it. Well, maybe a little. Just kidding. [Laughs again]

Have you been to Mount Washington?

I went with friends last winter! But only once. I’ll get out more this year. The terrain there is fantastic. Well, the terrain park could use a little more oomph. I go to Whistler for my terrain park fix.

But I also surf so it’s kind of a “water or snow” decision every weekend in the winter here; Jordan River or Mount Washington. Which is amazing to be so privileged here on the Island. My desire to chase surf is stronger than my desire to chase snow right now. It’s new and different.

I’ve only been surfing for a year and I love it. I love learning. I get the thrill of progression. But also I would say that surfing is better for me. To really push myself at snowboarding, I have to accept more risk, because of where my skills are at with snowboarding. At surfing, because I’m new, I can push myself very hard and I can find it very exhilarating.

Being in the water is really beautiful. And humbling. You are literally immersed in nature and the forces of nature. It takes me out of my everyday problems and I become profoundly focussed on where I am.

Also, there’s often seals and sea lions. Eagles, whales. It’s fun. And I have a new board. It’s a 6’4″ Hypto Krypto.

It sounds like a Pokemon?

Yeah, it might be. [Laughs] There’s some volume and flotation, which is good for beginners, but it’s shortish so it maneuvers very well. It’s a good island board. It’s a good balance. I’m beginner to intermediate so it’s nice to have some float.

What other sports do you do?

Out here, these days, I do a lot of Crossfit. It’s definitely a passion.

What is Crossfit?

Well, it’s a sport. Technically, it’s constantly varied, high intensity, functional fitness. It’s a combination of strength training, aerobic training, and gymnastics trainings. You know, rings, bars, handstands, kettle bells, weightlifting, snatch for example. It’s purposefully all over the place. The variability is so good for the body. It’s a staple. There’s competition. It’s the sport of fitness. The training methodologies you would use for other sports, become competition measures for Crossfit.

You’re certified in sports things, right? You’re not just a chiropractor.

Yeah, I’m a strength and conditioning specialist. I’m certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). So I know stuff about strength and conditioning. So people who have fitness goals, or sports goals, come to me to find out how to get the most out of their training hours. So, basically, science.

I’ve worked with few hockey players with hip problems and weight lifters with shoulder problems. They have very intense training schedules and are also balancing family time and even work. So their energy and time is carefully scheduled.

Speaking of family, you have a dog, right?

I have a dog, Harley, and a cat, Mogley! They’re the best. And my partner, Emily! She’s also the best. She’s from Peterborough. She works in health promotion at Sport for life. Emily Rand. She just had a feature in Vital Signs by the Victoria Foundation (PDF) – I should give a shout out to the important work she’s doing helping vulnerable people have more access to sports programming. It’s very cool.

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Posted by Arbutus Health Team

The Arbutus Physiotherapy & Health Centre is a health and wellness clinic that provides physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic care. We provide assessments and treatments to people with acute injury, chronic pain, and sports related injuries. We can help you recover and return to an active, healthy lifestyle, and peak performance.

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