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Ruth Horrell: Food Diaries & Philosophies of an Elite CrossFit Athlete


The above video is 3:15 minutes long.

WATCH the full interview below or LISTEN to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy: Whether you are an elite athlete, weekend warrior or even a coach potato, there’s much wisdom to be had here when it comes to fuelling your body daily for optimum performance. With so much conflicting advice out there when it comes to nutrition, who better person to ask than someone who walks their talk. Elite CrossFit athlete, Ruth Anderson Horrell shares her insights around nutrition daily and also during competition time. No matter what your goals are, it’s certainly worth a few minutes of your time… Enjoy.

Ruth Anderson Horrell
 

“Never say, ‘can’t’… The word just makes me cringe and it is such a negative thought to ever think that you can’t do something. You may not be able to yet, or whatever it is, but if you decide you can’t, it’s like you’re already there.”― Ruth Anderson Horrell, Elite Crossfit Athlete

 
Ruth Anderson Horrell is a New Zealand representative CrossFit Athlete. She has represented the Australasia region at the World Reebok CrossFit Games in 2011, 2012 and 2013! Ruth competes for NZ as an Olympic Weightlifter. In 2012 she competed at the Oceania and Trans Tasman Champs. Ruth is a successful co-owner and coach at CrossFit Wild South and works as a Locum small animal veterinarian when she has time :)Currently she is training towards being Australia’s best female CrossFit athlete. She trains in Los Angeles under the instruction of Dusty Hyland for parts of the year.

Ruth Anderson Horrell Full Interview:

In This Episode:

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  • Itunes logoHow she walks the fine-line between optimum training and overtraining
  • Her recovery strategies
  • Her own exercise routines
  • What CrossFit Regional Games looked like 8 years ago!
  • The advice she would give her 20 year old self when starting CrossFit
  • Her supplement regime
  • The changes she’s made to become a better athlete
  • And much much more…

Get More Of Ruth Anderson Horrell:

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Full Transcript

Guy:Hey this Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to today’s health session. You’ll have to forgive me, it’s nearly 40 degrees Celsius in this room; it is hot. That’s okay, lets push on with the intro. Today’s guest is Ruth Anderson Horrel. She is an incredible athlete, as far as I’m concerned. She’s a Crossfit athlete, if you’re not familiar with her, and she’s been to the Crossfit world games three times. I can assure you now, that is a hell of an achievement. She has a wealth of experience when it comes to exercise, nutrition, and recovery, and I think the one intention was today, whether you’re into Crossfit or not, we really wanted to tap into Ruth’s experience, and wisdom, and hopefully get a few gems across to pick up for everyone, ’cause I think there’s certainly a theme that’s coming across in the podcast, and the way people approach their diet, whether they’re at the elite end of athleticism, or not. 

Whether you just move daily and just trying to drop a bit of weight, there’s always some fantastic lessons to be learned from some of the best people that we can get hold of, that’s for sure. The other thing I’d encourage to do as well, is actually follow Ruth on Instagram, and then you’ll start to see what I mean by what her athletic abilities are, and what she is capable of.

Now, I haven’t asked for a review for a while, but I will. We had a fantastic review on iTunes come in the other day. I always ask for them because they obviously help with the rankings, but other people read them as well, and it’ll encourage them to listen to the podcast, so if you’re getting great befits from listening to my podcast every week when we push them out, then it takes two minutes if you could leave a review. The one we had just the other day says, “my favorite podcast by far,” with 5 stars, that was very generous, by [chinlo 00:01:47]. “Thank you, Guy and Stu for hours of learning. My favorite thing to do is listen to your podcast while going for a nice, long walk. I’ve listened to most of them twice or more. I never tire of your fantastic hosting, A-grade guests, [00:02:00] and the wonderful insights your podcasts bring.” I thought that was absolutely wonderful, so thank you for that, and hence why I gave you a shout out.

We read them all. Tell us how you listen to our podcast. I’d be fascinated to hear because we’re in, I think over 50 countries now, getting downloaded anyway, which is really cool. All right. I’m going to stop blabbering. Let’s go over to Ruth Anderson Horrel. Enjoy.

Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart [Cooke 00:02:27]. Hi, Stu.

Stu:Hello, mate.

Guy:Good to see you. You’re looking well, mate.

Stu:As always.

Guy:Our lovely guest today is Ruth Anderson Horrel. Welcome, Ruth. 

Ruth:Hi, Guy.

Guy:I just realized, did I pronounce your last name correct?

Ruth:Yeah, that’s good. Yeah.

Guy:Okay. I always get confused slightly on that. You’re not the first guest, either. I have no doubt they’ll be two parties listening in on this podcast today. That’s going to be one that’s going to know [inaudible 00:02:55] is, and who you are and Crossfit fanatics, and then I think a big portion of our listeners, as well. They will have heard of Crossfit, but are not going to have any idea. I think hopefully we can, between us all, please both parties today. That’s our intention, anyway, and tap into some of your experience over the years, which we’re excited about.

Just to start and get the ball rolling, as always on our podcasts, can you just mind sharing a little bit about what you do, including Crossfit and outside of Crossfit as well? I know there’s a lot more to you than just going to Crossfit every day and training your heart out, really, isn’t it?

Ruth:Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s a big part of it. It’s a pretty big goal for the last few years has been competing at the Crossfit games and doing well there. In the meantime, on the Crossfit journey, I ended up opening a Crossfit gym about 5 years ago also. That’s been steadily growing and keeping us busy. That’s been a whole new experience for me, just learning how to run [00:04:00] that business. I also run a website, ruthless.co.nz, where we sell Crossfit equipment and accessories and things. That’s normally a few hours of my day, as well. Then I’m a small animal veterinarian and I’ve been doing that for 2 days a week for the last … I’ve been fairly part time, actually with it, probably for the last 3-4 years, so that I can focus on my training. Yeah.

Guy:Many balls in the air.

Stu:Busy. Crikey.

Guy:Can you share with the listeners where you are, as well? It’s a part of the world that I really want to go to.

Ruth:Yeah, yeah. It would be a bit of a temperature drop for you guys. I’m in Invercargill, which is right on the south coast of the South Island in New Zealand. We were the southern-most affiliate. I haven’t actually done a check lately, but we’re pretty south as far as Crossfit gyms and population, generally, I guess.

Guy:Yeah, yeah, yeah. What’s the weather like there now. Is it all right? Not too cold?

Ruth:Well yeah, it’s our summer, but we’re sitting early 20s today. At most over the summer, we’ll hit 30 degrees probably only a few times. It’s not a huge variation. 

Stu:Comfortable. That’s what I like, cool and comfortable, doesn’t keep you awake at nights like last night.

Ruth:No, definitely not. No, no. No trouble sleeping. The room’s always fairly cool.

Stu:Good. Good on you. For our audience that are not Crossfit savvy, and for anybody else who really doesn’t entirely understand what Crossfit is, I wondered if you could just explain? Give us your elevator pitch. What is Crossfit?

Ruth:As Greg Glassman always says, [00:06:00] “I’ll show you. Come and have a go.”

Stu:Yes.

Guy:I’ve never been there, but you’ve explained it.

Ruth:It is a really tough question. It’s actually funny. We were sitting around at the Queenstown Crossfit Tour and there was a bunch of all these elite athletes at a table. The waiter came around and said, “So what is Crossfit?” Everyone looked at each other. It was like, “Who’s going to answer it?” You’ve got people that have literally based their life around it and still have trouble explaining well how it works.

It’s a strengthening conditioning program. It’s constantly varied, so people that train Crossfit style, every day they go into the gym, they’ll be able to try new things that there will be either a variation of movement, variation of weights, variation of complexity, and a variation of time that they’re going to work out. A huge range of energy systems get used because it scopes literally from workouts that can take seconds to workouts that can take probably around an hour or so. There’s a few that go a bit longer. 

For me, it’s a sport. For most people, it’s a way of just maintaining health and fitness. For me, it’s become a sport and it creates a slightly different level, I guess, a different level of complexity in terms of movements and weights and everything else.

Stu:Great.

Guy:Good answer. That’s good, yeah. It’s constantly varied.

Ruth:It’s different. The movements are very much preparing people for everyday life. That’s probably the thing I love most about it. I’m training an older lady at the moment who’s preparing to walk one of the big, there’s [00:08:00] lots of beautiful walks in New Zealand, and she’s 65 and she’s preparing to walk a trek that’s about 60 kilometers with a pick. We know that we can get her ready for that.

Stu:Fantastic.

Guy:What is the diversity of people that you train, then? I think with Crossfit, if you’re on the outside looking in, it’s very easy to say, “Oh, that’s an elitist thing,” because the guys are generally pro videos, the guys that are really good at it. You don’t see the other side of it.

Ruth:Yeah, for sure. In our gym, the oldest person is actually my dad and he’s about to turn 70, but there would be no reason we couldn’t have older people. That’s just as old as we currently go. In terms of the youngest, well, we’ve got Crossfit kids and teens at our gym, so those kids are learning body weight movements and things from age 6. There’s a pretty huge range there, and then of course you get that huge range in how much sport people have previously done and also just what they do in their everyday life. We have people that have relatively sedentary jobs and in our box we also have a lot of people that are laborers or mechanics, builders, gardeners, that do a lot of physical work. It’s important for them to either reverse some of those effects of some of the quite repetitive movements that they’re doing and address some of the mobility problems and things that may come from that, and also just so they can be stronger and reduce the chance of getting injured while they’re lifting heavy objects and things they do at work.

Guy:Yeah. I’d imagine you’ve seen quite a few transformations all the time, as well, with people coming in [00:10:00] and following the protocol all the way through and seeing how that impacts their lives.

Ruth:Yeah. It’s really cool when people that they haven’t done a lot of exercise before, they’re the most scared. They’re the most apprehensive at walking in the door, but in many ways, they’re the most exciting people to train because you’ve got a little bit of a blank canvas and you know you can really make a difference by coaching these people in movement and having a better way of life.

Guy:I’d just say anyone listening to this who hasn’t tried Crossfit, they should put it on their bucket list and at least walk into a box and try it once and see what all the fuss is about. I recommend you.

Ruth:Yeah, absolutely. I think …

Stu:I’m thinking about just common issues, Ruth, as well. If I’m new to Crossfit, I’m going in, what do you typically see from people that walk into your box, because we’ve experienced it ourselves, Guy and myself, and we were voracious when we started. We probably hit it a little bit too hard, personally. What are commonalities that you see with the newbies?

Ruth:Yeah, I guess that wanting to have the more advanced movements before having the basic elements.

Stu:Yeah.

Ruth:That’s cool. You’ve got to have a goal and a dream. I know when I first discovered Crossfit, there was much less on the internet about it than there is now, but I remember seeing videos of people doing … Girls were the biggest thing, not guys, of seeing women do things like muscle ups and lift weights over their heads and things like that. That was what inspired me to get started with it. I didn’t have a box to walk in the door of, but [00:12:00] that’s what inspired me to get started. You know that people need to have those dreams, but just not paying attention to the basic movements first before, “But can I get up and just hit it a go? I just want to jump in those rings and I just want to do this and that and swing around.” They’re just not quite grasping some of the complexity and the amount of elements that needs to be tied in. 

That’s just the learning process. A lot of that is our job as coaches, to help people see, “Well, okay. Well, there’s some deficiencies here and here, and if we work on those parts, then we’re going to get this mastered.” Then I guess just not paying any attention to their own recovery or mobility. I’d probably put those 2 together. Just trying to get in the gym right when class starts and get straight into the workout and just not paying any attention to some of the things that they need to do to get their body well-prepped. We coach people into generally trying to come 15-20 minutes before class. We still run a warm-up, but we want people to work on their own specific things that they need to address. 

I know for myself, I took way too long to start addressing my problems with my thoracic mobility, and basically because I just didn’t know any better and I didn’t have anyone to tell me any more than that. It ended up that I ended up having an injury when I was competing. I had slipped a disc at T-5, which is quite an unusual injury. That forced me to address it, but that’s neither something that you would want to happen to an athlete that’s coming into, for a strengthening conditioning program. They need to be aware of where those deficiencies are [00:14:00] and what they need to do to resolve them.

Guy:Yeah.

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Stu:Great. One of the take homes for me, from being a Crossfitter for a couple of years, was just the importance of my mobility and flexibility. That’s something that I do every day as well now. Just the realization that we really do need to get moving and stretch these muscles and open up the joints … Every day from sitting at a desk, I go over and I’ll go into a squat and just sit there for 5 minutes, roll my shoulders and just get, open myself up and just try and get in a few positions that ordinarily, most people would just never even conceive of wanting to try. It makes me feel so much more alive and open. Great lessons in there.

Ruth:I think range of motion has a huge impact just on our quality of life and when you see older people that just haven’t been able to maintain activity, just how quickly range of motion gets lost, and then strength goes with it. Yeah, that’s definitely … I’m still learning about range of motion and how things can be improved, really.

Guy:How long have you been involved in Crossfit, just out of curiosity, Ruth?

Ruth:I think about 8-1/2 years.

Guy:Right, and you’ve been in Invercargill that whole time? What made me think, is because you opened a box there 5 years ago. What were you doing before the box came?

Ruth:Yeah, we just started out. My brother-in-law was living down here at the time and he had been living in Melbourne. Someone had just showed it to him. I’m not even sure if he’d done a workout with these people. Some people just showed him the Crossfit.com website and he came back. He was taking me through some personal training. We were just doing some strengthening so I could [00:16:00] compete at a triathlon that I wanted to do. Yeah, we just decided to start following some workouts on Crossfit.com and things got wild pretty quickly. Within 4 months, I went out to the first-ever regionals, which was in … 

Guy:Cronulla?

Ruth:Yeah. Yeah. Is that eight years?

Guy:It’d be a while back, because I had a friend that competed in it. 

Ruth:Yeah.

Guy:Long time ago.

Ruth:Yeah, I went out to CFX there and that was just when you could roll up to regionals.

Stu:Wow.

Ruth:[crosstalk 00:16:57] since you had no idea what. We didn’t even really know what all the movements of Crossfit were at that stage. I was like, “Oh, okay. Clean and jerk. All right.” The judge is out back with each person, showing them all the movements that they’re going to need to do, a bit like a level 1.

Guy:That’s amazing.

Stu:That’s a radical change from any training that you would have been doing at the time, as a triathlete, as well, to then suddenly go into these wild and wacky Olympic lifts and technical movements. Wow. How did that work out?

Ruth:I did miss one of the workouts at the competition because I couldn’t do a ring dip, but I think I had captain pull ups by then, had no idea what a butterfly pull up was at that stage. We actually had a sand dune run, so I did really well on that and I think there was another workout I did quite well in. It was okay, but I know I did miss on 1 of the workouts, not being able to do a ring dip. I just couldn’t believe that there were girls there that could do ring dips. I was like, “Oh, my goodness.” The rings was totally, was not even something that I had, wasn’t a piece of equipment that we even had. We were playing. We didn’t even have a kettlebell, actually. We were swinging a dumbbell.

Guy:[00:18:00] Right.

Ruth:We did okay, probably as you would expect, but it really was an inspiring moment for me to realize the level that some of the athletes were at and that in some ways, I could see that I could be there.

Guy:That’s amazing, because Crossfit’s come such a long way. Like, when you look at the caliber of athlete today that you compete against, if anyone seemed again to walk into a regional games, it’s well and gone in Australia. Go and check it out for an hour. It’s phenomenal, the standard of athlete today. How many were competing at the time back then? Was it … 

Ruth:I’m going to say there might have been about 30-40 women, and probably the same for the men.

Guy:Okay.

Ruth:Yeah, so I imagine it was just advertised on the Crossfit.com website. Just clicked the link and registered, and all the sudden, I flew to Sydney and had a go.

Stu:Wow.

Guy:That’s awesome.

Ruth:I’ve been really fortunate, to be able to grow with the sport, I guess.

Guy:You have, yeah, fully. Absolutely. Move on to the next question, when you’ve talked, because we’re still on the topic of training, how do you, I’m always curious to ask athletes this, walk the fine line between optimum training and over-training?

Ruth:Yeah. I’ve definitely crossed the line before, so I know what that feels like. I’ve had to be aware of how to modify. I had quite a big hand surgery this time last year and I have had a few injuries along the way, so I’ve had to be aware of how to be patient with those and modify things as needed. I know my body. Generally, if I’m over-doing [00:20:00] it, I generally wake up very early in the morning. I never have too much trouble getting to sleep, but I have a little bit of trouble staying asleep. That’s normally the warning sign for me, if I’m not able to maintain my regular sleep pattern. There’s normally something amiss, because generally that won’t happen. As soon as something like that, if I become aware of that, then I’ll normally start throwing in some more rest days, beyond what my regular rest days are.

Guy:Right, yeah.

Ruth:I guess it’s a difficult thing. I feel like you probably need to cross the line to know exactly where it is, in some ways. You probably need to make a couple of errors to work it out.

Guy:Along the way, you learn from it. Yeah. You intuitively get in-tuned in. Maybe you should explain to everyone listening to this, as well, what a typical day of training might look like for you. We know coming into the season of Crossfit … You’ll be competing for the regionals, Auckland regionals this year, Ruth?

Ruth:Yeah.

Guy:Yeah. Some of the listeners might not know, you picked up an injury last year leading into the, was it the open or the regionals itself?

Ruth:Yeah, yeah, we were about 3 weeks out from the start of the open and my tendon on my thumb snapped. It was a little bit of, “Maybe I just don’t have the surgery and have a floppy thumb,” and then I decided I needed to get it done. That was a tricky decision because I’d obviously worked my butt off to come back and give it to Carson and go back to the Crossfit games and have a good shot. I felt like everything was falling well into place, so it was one of those stumbling blocks.

Guy:[00:22:00] Yeah, but a year comes around quickly. Here it is again, right?

Ruth:Yeah, yeah. Sorry, what was your question again?

Guy:We were talking about the fine line of over-training and recovery.

Ruth:Yeah.

Guy:Now we get into the season, just to give listeners an idea, what would your typical training day or week look like?

Ruth:At the moment, I’m generally doing 3 days on, 1 off. That varies a little bit throughout the year, but that’s currently what I’m sticking with. Today, for example, I’ve been in the gym and I’ve done a couple of hours of gymnastics training, working position, a very small amount of what I would consider conditioning, but for the most part, just working position and some of the movements that I find more challenging. I quite like to start my day with more technical elements like that, but I have a little bit of variation. Sometimes I will lift in the morning. Generally, I’ll try and get in at least an hour. It will depend on my coaching schedule, but at least an hour, possibly 2 before lunch and then in the afternoon, I will generally start an afternoon session with a good 90 minutes or so of lifting and then I’ll have a little break and then I’ll start having my conditioning.

[inaudible 00:23:25], so what people would commonly get if they go in for a class, and then I often end a session with some interval-style training. Yeah, that’s about it. It’s a bit broken up into little blocks, 60-90 minutes at a time, and give myself a bit of a break. The break might include getting in a personal training session with someone or getting some of my other business work done and then coming back to [00:24:00] training. I find it pretty hard to just hit a 3-hour block or something, of training. There has been times I’ve had to do it because of my schedule.

Guy:It’s a huge commitment, isn’t it?

Ruth:Yeah, yeah.

Stu:3 days on, 1 day off, so that 1 day that is going to be really, really important for you to rest and recover. I’m interested in the strategies. Are there any? What does a Crossfit champ do on the recovery day to absolutely maximize that day for everything?

Ruth:I need to do a lot of mobility work, so I try and get in, it will be an hour, and I try and do more if I can. Some of that, for me, it needs to include a bit of activation-type work as well, just to get my shoulders moving as best as they can and glute activation and making sure my hips are as mobile as possible. For me, that’s been important. Number 1, I’ll be 32 this year. I guess in the life of Crossfit athletes, it’s creeping up there at the end of staying at world-level competition. It’s just something I just have to make sure I’m really on top of the mobility side.

I used to do a bit more of things like having a jog, like doing a long run in the bush and things like that. I don’t do that every … I consider that more of a workout now. I try and have my rest days as being a bit more rest days. It will depend on my state of mind, I guess, as to whether I want to throw in some skill work at the same time, as well. If there’s something that is just technically challenging and not going to be over-fatiguing, [00:26:00] I might do that, as well. If I just feel like I’ve been at the gym so much over those last few days and would prefer to have a break, then I won’t.

Guy:How many hours sleep do you get a night, Ruth, normally?

Ruth:My target’s 9. 

Guy:There you are. Okay. Yeah. A good night’s sleep, right? I like it.

Ruth:Yeah, yeah. I probably hit 8 most of the time and try to get another 30 minutes in the afternoon. I love getting an afternoon nap. It just makes training in the afternoon go better and just feel so good. That’s my favorite thing, but just, life doesn’t always allow it.

Guy:Yeah.

Stu:That recovery day is wildly different to anything that I thought you were going to say. I imagined that you were going to say, “I’m going to sleep in, have a coffee, go down to the local video store, get my favorite movie, sit back on the lounge with my dog, and just veg out.” I didn’t expect to hear that …

Ruth:I wish. I wish, but no, I’ve got to run the businesses and do all those other things, so I probably have a bit more catch-up and try to get on top of the world as much as I can, emails and all that kind of stuff, have a real tidy-up so that it allows me more time on the training days.

Stu:Okay, okay.

Ruth:Yeah, yeah. I don’t … I’m not big on lying around too much. I like to get out of the house, mow my lawns, and I like to keep moving. Yeah. As you see, get in squat position and stuff while I’m weeding my garden.

Stu:I’ll write you a recovery program, Ruth, and see how that goes down for you: lots of movies and stuff like that. Guy touched on sleep there, as well, which obviously is critical for everybody, even more critical when you’re an elite athlete. Have you got any tips or tricks that have worked for you? Do you do anything in particular to get that solid sleep working for you?

Ruth:[00:28:00] Yeah. I don’t like bright light. I know I’ve stayed at some other people’s homes and I’ve found if their living rooms and things are really lit up, I find that quite buzzy. I just think they interfere.

Stu:Yeah.

Ruth:I try not to spend too much time watching TV or anything late at night. My room is really dark. I live right at the end of the street and there’s no street lights that affect my room. I’ve got proper blackout curtains and things. I typically don’t have any trouble. It’s cool, I should mention, but that’s just, that’s without air conditioning. It’s just the temperature is cool.

Stu:I could have done with that last night.

Ruth:It’s pretty good. I always take magnesium in the night time, and the amount will depend on if I’ve had a massive training day or have some with my dinner and some again just before I go to bed.

Stu:Any particular type of magnesium that works for you?

Ruth:I think it’s called diglycinate?

Stu:Yeah.

Ruth:Yeah. Is that right? It’s a powder drink that I make up. I find that fantastic.

Stu:Right. Got it.

Ruth:I just notice it, if I’ve missed it for a few days. I just feel like I’m missing it. It’s been a supplement I’ve taken for a long time.

Stu:Okay.

Guy:I’m interested, as well. You’re going to be pretty switched on with the nutrition. I know we’re going to get into that topic a bit later, but in terms of recovery, have you ever deviated from the way you eat, and how did that go on and affected your recovery? Have there been any kind of correlations that you’ve seen at that end?

Ruth:Yeah. I’ve had things like I’ve trained, a workout’s taken way longer than I expected. [00:30:00] I’ve literally got 10 minutes and I need to run a class, so I’m having a shower and then starting class. I totally skip having any post-workout nutrition. I’ve generally been more sore for that the next day. 

Guy:Right.

Stu:Right.

Ruth:I know that I need to get some carbohydrate and protein in after I train, and it does seem to be quite a difference if I haven’t got it in within 30 minutes of training. The next day’s always going to be tougher. Definitely just, life’s got in the way and I haven’t done things as I would have liked. I’ve known the difference for that.

Guy:Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, fantastic. Excellent. Now, do you have … I’m assuming you have coaches, as well, guiding you to the games. I’ve also noticed that you’ve gone to America for the last few times that you’ve competed prior to the games, as well. 

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Ruth:Yeah.

Guy:Why do you go to America, first of all? Yeah, beforehand.

Ruth:In our town, there wasn’t Crossfit. My first introduction to some high-class, quality coaches was when I met Dusty Holland at the gymnastics [cert 00:31:19] at the [Schwartz 00:31:23] Gym in Melbourne, about 4 years ago, I think. Met him and we became really good friends and I traveled out to him. I think I’ve had 6 trips out now to the states to spend good blocks of time with him. They also gave me an opportunity to train with some amazing athletes like [Sam Bricks 00:31:48] and Lindsay [Vellanzuella 00:31:51], [Tina Lee Brixton 00:31:52], some really, really amazing athletes out there. Initially, my gymnastics was my largest weakness [00:32:00] in my range of movements, so it seems like the perfect match. Dusty’s continued to program for me for a number of years now. We don’t chat as much as we would like to at the moment because we’re both really busy people, but he definitely helps guide me to making sure I’m working on some of the new movements that are coming into the sport and just continuing to develop my virtuosity in the more basic elements, as well.

I’ve also had a weightlifting coach here in Invercargill for a number of years, which has been fantastic, Joe [Stinsy 00:32:43]. He’s actually one of the New Zealand coaches now, as well. We traveled to Papua New Guinea and competed at the Oceaneas last year, did there as well.

Guy:Yeah, because I was going to ask, it requires so much discipline, what you’re doing leading up into the open and competing, so do you have a coach at every training session with you, or is a lot of it self disciplined, that you’re just literally just turning up and training, because it’s hard to ask. Some people, it’s hard to do a bit of exercising in a day, just to motivate themselves, let alone at that end.

Ruth:Yeah, yeah. I have some days where it is totally no one else at the gym, so they’re probably the more challenging days. I find even just having someone else there, whoever it might be, is just useful. In recent months, I’ve actually been grabbing some of the guys and saying, “Hey, I’ve got to do these 6Ks or row sprints. Do you want to join me on it,” things like that and just fun.

Guy:Do you get any takers?

Stu:Yeah.

Ruth:Yeah, I do. Yeah. I choose things that I like, totally, and they will help. They’re like, “Yeah, yeah. Okay. Take you on at that.” I’ve also had a bit of [00:34:00] the athletes partnering up and taking me on at a workout. They’re doing it as a partner would, thing like that. We try and find ways, but for the most part, no, I don’t have a coach hanging with me in the gym each day. That definitely has its down sides, but some part of me likes being at the bottom of the earth and away from too much hype. Probably one of the harder things of training at Dog Town with Dusty was, cameras would be showing up every second day and different people wanting to take videos and pictures and just a lot more people, just a lot more going on. 

In some ways, it gives me a little bit more focus. I do a lot of, what’s the word, visualizing, so even in my sessions this morning, which probably weren’t the type of things you would expect to see at a competition that were quite skill-based things, before the clock starts, I still am imagining I’m either on the games floor or I’m standing up there at regionals. I try and put myself in that mental space.

Stu:Do you use your visualization for stuff outside of Crossfit, as well, everyday life? I know that I always visualize the rock star car parking space when I’m out and about and I need to pull in somewhere, and 9 out of 10 times, I get it. It’s true.

Ruth:I have to think about that. I don’t know if I do as much.

Guy:You should try it. Stu recommends it. I do well at it because I’ve got a motorbike.

Ruth:I’m really good at parking anyway. No, I don’t know. I’ll have to think about that. I might subconsciously do it.

Stu:I reckon [00:36:00] that there’s merit in that stuff. I do, just all of that stuff. I’m just really into, “I’m thinking it, I’m seeing it, and I’m going to make it happen.

Guy:Yeah. It’s interesting what you said, Ruth. It made me think of a podcast I listen to with [Dorian Yates 00:36:18]. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Dorian Yates, but he was the bodybuilding world champion in the 90s. I think he won 7 titles and incredible. They used to call him The Shadow because he always used to stay out of the glitz and glamour of LA and the limelight. He had a little gym in Birmingham and nobody knew what he was up to. He said he used to use it to his advantage, so he would train, he would visualize going to all these great competitions where everyone else was seeing actually what they were doing and competing and judging themselves. He just stayed away from the whole thing and then would turn up when it was time for Mr. Universe and just blow them out of the water, you know?

Ruth:Sometimes, if you’re competing against another athlete and you’re actually, if you’re beating them by a lot, or say if you’re training with them and you’re beating them by a lot, you can think that you’re doing quite well and back off. Whereas if you’re visualizing someone that’s better than you or just beating you, then that’s, I see that as an advantage. I’m not going to lie. There’s definitely days when you’re all alone in the gym and you just think, “Gosh, this is a tough ask.”

Guy:Yeah, yeah.

Stu:It is tricky. I know that training on your own versus training with a crowd versus training with a crowd of elites, there is that impetus to absolutely excel and put on your best show. There are days when I go down and lift a few weights in the gym and I think, “Well, I’ve had enough. Nobody’s around. Nobody knows.”

Ruth:[00:38:00] I have probably ruined myself a little bit, training against some other athletes. I had a bit of a shoulder niggle, but I was still trying to do the workouts, because the other athletes were doing those, and they weren’t things I should have been doing, if I was just sticking to what was going to be good for me. I probably wouldn’t have done them. That’s probably one of the disadvantages, that you get a little bit hyped up in the moment and you want to do exactly what everyone else is doing, and that’s not always the right thing to do.

Stu:Yeah. Completely. Next time you’re in Sydney, you come train with me and I guarantee that won’t happen.

Ruth:I’d like to see that.

Stu:You’re wandering down the street in Invercargill and you bump into a 20-year-old version of yourself. Obviously, you’ve got 10 years of experience, all this wonderful knowledge that you’ve gleaned from everything that you’ve done. What advice would you give the 20-year-old version of yourself, if that person had just started Crossfit and wanted to be the best?

Ruth:This might just be the 20-year-old version of me, and not every other 20-year-old, but for me it would be spending more time mastering body weight movements with a fantastic coach that knows exactly how to do it, having a coach that was really well-versed in gymnastic movements. I think in gymnastics, there’s much more understanding, or in gymnastics coaching, there’s so much more understanding of the importance of getting correct range of motion. In my first year of Crossfit, I went down to the … We have a great gymnastics gym in this little [00:40:00] town. I went down there and this guy was … I wanted to do muscle ups and he was showing me how to walk across the parallel bars. I was just like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can do that.” I would quickly do it to be like, “Yeah, I can do that. I want to do this,” and just not understanding just exactly the movements that my body needed to be doing to do those elements well and the importance of them.

Because I didn’t have those correct, one of the regionals I went to, it was 2010, I came back with a bad sprain in my shoulder, which was probably from doing muscle ups, which was probably from not moving correctly. For me, in the sport, it would definitely be mastering some of those elements and also playing. Do other sport, as well. I probably stopped doing other team sports and things by the time I was 20, I think, and I think playing some other sports is really good for you.

Guy:Yeah.

Stu:It’s solid advice, and it works for you, as well, Guy. I know that Guy has really embraced Zumba, and that’s 1 of those things. He’s quit good at table tennis, too.

Guy:Yeah, I mastered it. Mastered it.

Stu:Follow the advice, Guy. Follow the advice. We’re not getting any younger.

Guy:I actually had a profound question and then you’ve just taken this right out of my head.

Stu:My mum told me once that, if you forget it, it’s either it’s a lie, or it’s not worth asking.

Guy:It’s not worth it, yeah. Is Crossfit season on for you now, Ruth?

Ruth:Like, do I have an off-season?

Guy:Yeah?

Ruth:[00:42:00] I guess my off-season this year was 3 months in a cast, so yes. No, I do a little bit. My program’s a little bit period-ized, I guess. The conditioning goes right down. I do more strength-based and technical-based movement and then I bring it back up. That works quite well because it’s not nice to get out and run in the middle of winter here. It probably just gives me a little bit of a mental break from doing lots of high-intensity stuff. I have that little bit. I think probably after the Crossfit games this year, I would probably look to take 1-2 months off, but yeah. This last year was a bit of a … It was a little bit different.

Stu:All over the place.

Ruth:Yeah.

Guy:Just out of curiosity, how long is it until the open starts? Is that far away?

Ruth:It starts February 28.

Guy:Okay. 4-5 weeks?

Ruth:Yeah.

Stu:yeah, about 5 weeks away.

Ruth:Coming up.

Stu:I’d really like to delve in a little bit now, Ruth, just on nutrition.

Ruth:Yeah.

Stu:Again, a big part of who you are. Without it, I don’t think you’d be able to do half of what you do, if you’re not eating the right way. What right now does your typical daily diet look like? 

Ruth:I describe my diet as paleo. I guess the things that would be different from what people would consider paleo is that I’m okay with a bit of rice and I use a bit of Greek yogurt or kefir. For the most part, there’s a lot of vegetables and a good amount [00:44:00] of, I’m a big fan of lamb. We have awesome lamb in this country and seafoods, so plenty of that. I also am pretty in charge of my macro nutrients. I actually had a really great mentor, Brad Stark, who’s at Stark Training, which is out in Orange County. I’ve been working with him for a couple of years and he has just made the world of difference to the way that my body performs. He’s helped me work out, just in brief, is that I prefer to have quite a lot of fats with some proteins for the first part of the day and then we really delve into more carbohydrates with the protein towards the end of the day. It’s a little bit more calculated than that, but that’s probably for the most part, how it works.

If I have too much carbohydrate in the morning, I tend to crash out. I don’t do very well with fruit at all, so I don’t tend to eat it. I have a little bit of berries in smoothies and that’s as far as my fruit intake goes. I’m just not a real big fruit eater. It just doesn’t do well for me. I would literally, if I hit some fruit and then an hour later did a workout, I would be, my head would be spinning and I would just have this real crashing thing going on. Yeah, we played around a bit with that. 

Guy:Can I add to that?

Ruth:I love fresh vegetables.

Guy:Yeah. Just for our listeners, what carbs would you generally eat, and what carbs would you generally avoid?

Ruth:Yeah. My carbohydrate is mostly [00:46:00] rice or sweet potato.

Guy:Yeah.

Stu:Yeah.

Ruth:I have a little bit of white [inaudible 00:46:04] every now and then. I’m not too worried about that. I have worked out that gluten is horrible for me. I’ll occasionally have some gluten-free wraps and some other grain-based products that aren’t full of gluten. I’m okay with those, but I actually still, I never feel like it would get the same good muscle recovery that I get from having sweet potato post-workout. I’m okay with them for a treat, but I don’t treat them as great post-workout carb.

Guy:Yeah. Have you ever counted the amount of grams of carbohydrate you eat in a day, just out of curiosity, or not?

Ruth:It’s only about 180.

Guy:That’s a good number.

Stu:Yeah, that is a good number.

Guy:Yeah, no. I only ask because obviously, your workload is massive, right?

Ruth:Yeah.

Guy:A lot of people would be eating twice that amount of carbohydrates with 1/10 the amount of work you’re doing on a manageable, on a daily basis.

Ruth:Yeah. I know I’ve had some different nutritionists and things have a look at what I’m eating, and say, “No, that’s wrong. You need more carbohydrate.” I’ve just been there. We’ve tried it. It just doesn’t work.

Stu:That’s right. You’re your best judge, I think, of that just by how you feel and perform, based upon your feeling.

Guy:I remember when we, we actually showed you, a post of yours, Ruth. I don’t know if you remember a couple of years back, a dietitian came in there and just said, “You shouldn’t be pushing this content out to people because it’s just so wrong.”

Ruth:Yeah.

Guy:There’s a great thread of conversation going on there and [00:48:00] it’s like, the proof’s in the pudding. You walk and you talk.

Ruth:That’s interesting. Things that people say, or that, “you’re not getting enough fiber.” I’m eating 7 cups of vegetables a day. I’ve never had a problem and felt like I needed more fiber. Just unusual things that you just realize, it’s almost textbook stuff, and it’s like, what’s the point in having this textbook knowledge? You’ve got to actually have a go at … You eat the paleo diet and see if you don’t have enough fiber, because I just, I’ve never had anyone that I’ve coached in my gym get on the paleo diet and come back and say, “Man, no. My body just hated me because it was not enough fiber in my diet.”

Stu:Yeah.

Ruth:Just not something that happens.

Guy:Another question, because we did a talk the other week, a workshop in Wollongong, and the biggest hurdle we felt from talking to them is preparation. People love the idea of changing their diet, becoming more tuned-in, and being able to do it, but the reality is, more from what we see, is that people don’t prepare. Then they get caught up and they get all sorted and they don’t change their eating habits. Any tips? How do you do it?

Ruth:I’m a little bit of a, when I cook meat, I generally get the crockpot out. If I know I’m going to be home late, I’ll often have something already cooked in terms of the meat department, or I’ll cook a lot of bigger cuts of meat like roasts and things like that. There’s always some form of protein ready to go in the fridge. 

Guy:Right.

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Ruth:Then, I eat quite a lot of [00:50:00] salads like cabbage and kale and vegetables that don’t take very much to prepare. If I know I’m going to be, if I’m just crazy busy or grabbing something on the run, I’ll even buy just the pre-cut vegetables, the stuff that’s already sliced up and put in bags. I try not to do that. I try and just avoid plastic generally, but I think you’re better to do that than skipping the veggies all together. What else do I do?

Probably lunch is the time or mid-afternoon, where people fall down because they haven’t been prepared with lunch. I’m pretty fortunate because most of the time, I live a few blocks from the gym, so most of the days I come home and quickly prepare something. When I haven’t been enjoying that, I’ll either when I cook dinner, I will put enough aside for heat up leftovers the next day, or I will, as I’m preparing my breakfast, I will quickly prepare some lunch at the same time. I feel like, if you’ve got some kind of protein that works for you, whether it’s boiled eggs or whatever it might be, if it’s ready to go and you’ve always got a steady supply of just something ready in the fridge, then I think it just takes away your temptation. I don’t really get those temptations, but I’m just thinking about the athletes that I coach.

Stu:Yeah, it’s just easier, isn’t it?

Ruth:The temptation of … Yeah, it’s got to be easy. What you’re trying to do, you need to make it easier than going through the McDonald’s drive-through or whatever is your temptation.

Stu:Yes. Definitely. Does your nutrition change at all during competition, or is you just ramp it up even a bit more? Do you do anything any differently?

Ruth:[00:52:00] I do probably a bit more shakes then. If there’s a lot of workouts throughout the day, it’s hard for me to have as much vegetables as I would like, because I just can’t digest that quickly. I’ll just do more shakes.

Stu:Right. Okay.

Ruth:Yeah, that’s generally the main difference. Probably it works out, a bit more calories because there’s a few more post-workout meals.

Guy:Yeah, yeah.

Stu:Sure.

Guy:We might be biased, but we love encouraging the shakes and things.

Stu:We do.

Guy:It’s true, though. It’s true.

Stu:From a supplemental perspective, then, what supplements do you use? What and why? Obviously, you’re putting your body through heavy load, day after day after day. What are your favorites?

Ruth:Fish oil’s been here for a long time. I always take some of that. The turmeric capsules, I’ve been on. I’ve been on for a shorter while, been on those, just to help with my healing of my wrist surgery. I have a few amino acids that I take, and that’s based on the supplement protocol that Stark Training has guided me …

Guy:That’s individualize for you?

Ruth:Yeah. yeah, so it’s things like glycine and tuarine, things that are quite good to calm me down after I’ve trained and try and bring everything back to normal as quickly as possible.

Stu:Right.

Guy:Interesting, yeah. Magnesium as well, you were saying earlier.

Ruth:Magnesium, yeah. That’s about it. I haven’t got a cabinet full of supplements. I’m pretty big on vegetables as the answer.

Stu:That’s [00:54:00] right. Real food. Yeah.

Ruth:[crosstalk 00:54:07] The vegan protein, at the moment.

Guy:Okay, yeah. It’s interesting. We have conversations with people and they may never have heard of 180 before, and they’re like, “Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t take supplements.” I’m like, “Well, you’re our perfect customer, then.”

Stu:That’s right.

Guy:We don’t look at it as a supplement at all.

Ruth:Yeah, it’s totally how I feel. I just consider it another form of real food.

Guy:Yeah, fantastic. That’s great advice. What foods do you go out of your way to avoid?

Ruth:Anything with gluten. Cheese is bad; it just work well with me at all. Generally, a little bit of dairy, I seem to cope with, but I definitely wouldn’t go and buy a milkshake or have a large amount. As I said, yogurt seems to be okay. When I’m getting a bit more savvy with things like … I used to be like, If I order the chicken salad, for example, you think you’re going to get chicken and salad, but then you get this big sticky, weird oily sauce that they put on it and it’s really sweet or whatever. I’m getting a bit more savvy with just asking whether there’s a dressing and if there is, either having it left to the side so I can decide whether it’s safe enough to eat. If it’s going to be an olive oil dressing, that’s probably okay with me. Probably the biggest thing is keeping it gluten free because I had some pretty wild reactions to … I went to a wedding and had a cake a few months back and just had a terrible reaction to that. Just becoming a [00:56:00] bit more aware of …

Stu:That’s it. That’s really the main thing, as well, just being aware of that kind of stuff just switches on a light bulb when you are out and about, like you said. If you’re going to order a salad, I would guess there’s going to be a dressing there. Who knows what’s in that dressing. It may suit some people. It may not, but just be aware of it. We chatted, too, with [Chad McKay 00:56:28] a while back and talking to him about nutrition and stuff like that. He told us that after the regionals were over and he’d done the best that he could do, he has this cheat meal. I think it was a whole pizza and a whole tub of ice cream, something like that. That’s just my off switch. I’m done, I’m dusted, smash this meal down and get on. Do you have anything like that? Do you go nuts to zone out of everything with a cheat meal, or are you just clean all year round?

Ruth:I get this question a lot, and I always feel like I’m a little bit boring. I’m not really big on big desserts and things. I know after the Crossfit games, I’ve done some big donuts and things. I probably did it more for the novelty of it than the pure enjoyment. It literally felt like I was just eating solid sugar. I just found it a bit too much. Do you know cassava crisps?

Stu:Yes.

Ruth:yeah, I put those in my mouth and it’s like they dissolve on my tongue and then I have to have another one. They’re probably something that … If someone had some of those, I’m like, “Oh, no, don’t bring those near me,” because it’s literally like I have one and then just [00:58:00] immediately want to have another one. That’s probably the one food I can think of that I know is not good for me, but my body still wants to eat it.

Stu:It’s funny. It’s hardwired somewhere in there, isn’t it. I don’t get to New Zealand very often, but I used to live there. We lived there for 5 years and I stumbled upon … This was pre-my healthy days and pre-180, and stuff like that. I stumbled upon this chocolate chip cookie by a brand called Cookie Time, and they were huge. They’re huge. Every now and again, when I do end up in the country, I’ll head over to a New World and I just head for the Cookie Time aisle. [crosstalk 00:58:52] these things, and it’s like something is programming. Something is guiding me around. I’m on automatic pilot and I get this Cookie Time thing. I only need the one.

Guy:I need to get that shot in Instagram for everyone.

Stu:Cookie Time, it’s like the biggest chocolate chip cookie you could ever have.

Ruth:Yeah, they’re like this big.

Guy:Oh, really?

Stu:Oh, they’re huge.

Ruth:At least. People are like, you buy them. You can get them heated and stuff, as well, so all the chocolate’s all gooey and things, as well.

Stu:Yeah, I had a friend who used to put them in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Ruth:Yeah, yeah. Now, to me, probably I know that having the gluten and the sugar and stuff, that within a very short time, I’m going to feel very unwell from having it, so I just don’t have the same urge for it. If you showed up to my gym and you had some gluten free, very similar paleo-style cookies, I’d probably be pretty tempted because I know that I wasn’t going to be …

Stu:Got it. We’ll work on something for our recipe section on [01:00:00] the website. I reckon we’ve got a good base there already. We’ll see what we can do for you.

Ruth:Okay, sounds good.

Guy:That’s going to be awesome. Now, Ruth, I see the time’s getting on. We have a couple of wrap-up questions. We’ve actually asked one, which is “What did you eat?” Yeah, we’ve asked that.

Stu:We have.

Guy:What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Ruth:My dad always says to me, “Never say, ‘can’t.’” Whenever I have someone in my gym now that tells me that they can’t, it makes me cringe. The word just makes me cringe and it is such a negative thought to ever think that you can’t do something. You may not be able to yet, or whatever it is, but if you decide you can’t, it’s like …

Guy:You’re already there.

Ruth:You’re already there.

Stu:That’s right. You’ve already switched off. No, that’s good advice. Wise words.

Guy:Fantastic.

Stu:That’s what we could say.

Guy:For anyone listening to this, if they want to get a bit more of Ruth Anderson Horrell, where is the best place to go? 

Ruth:I’m pretty consistent on Instagram, ruthlessnz, and I have a Facebook page, Ruth Anderson Horrell. That’s pretty much it.

Guy:You’ve got a website, too?

Ruth:Yeah, they can pop onto the website, ruthless.co.nz.

Guy:Awesome. We’ll link to the show notes, anyway, when this goes out and that was awesome. I have no doubt everyone listening to this today, Ruth, thoroughly enjoyed that. Ruth, thanks for coming on and thanks for your time. I really appreciate it.

Ruth:Thank you so much, Guy. It’s been fun.

Stu:Thanks, Ruth.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Post Workout Recovery for CrossFit Here

Chocolate Chia and Nut Truffles

Chocolate Chia and Nut Truffles

Angela: Love these simple healthy high protein treats. Simple to make and you have a healthy treat ready to go when you are feeling the need for something sweet. Thanks for the recipe Angeline…

Ingredients

Method (makes 12 balls)

  1. Place the 5 scoops into a mixing bowl along with the vanilla powder.
  2. Mix in the maple syrup and filtered water until it forms a paste.
  3. Shape into balls (I made 12) and toss in a bowl with desiccated coconut.
  4. Refrigerate to harden and then enjoy!

You can find more awesome recipes here and you can follow Angeline here.

Other Posts By Angeline:

Order 180 for your recipes here

 

Desk bound All Day? Why a Standing Desk Might Not Be the Answer. Try This Instead…

The above video is 3:49 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy: Make no mistake, most of us have mastered the art of sitting! With today’s working lifestyle it’s very hard to get away from. So the big question is, are standing desks really the answer?

So who better to ask than movement specialist Keegan Smith. If you find yourself chained to a desk daily then this interview is for you!

Keegan Smith

“… If you don’t have time to move, it’s like not having time to eat, it’s like not having time to breathe; Movement is being human. Walking is being human. That’s who we are, that’s what we’re here for. If we don’t have time for that, what do we have time for?…” 
― Keegan Smith, The Real Movement Project

Keegan Smith is the founder of the Real MOVEMENT Project, which was born of a decade of research into what it takes to reach the highest levels of performance.

In Keegan’s own words; ‘Higher performance is contagious. As you attain new levels of performance and success you change the world around you. You become a coach for your family members, friends, team-mates and everyone who sees the standards you’re living to’.

His impressive resume includes; Strength & Conditioning coach for rugby league teams The Sydney Roosters and The London Broncos. He’s also coached world cup winning New Zealand all black Sonny Bill Williams and Australian Ironman champion Alastair Day.

Keegan Smith Full Interview: Building Your Best Body & Mind with Real Movement


In This Episode:

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

  • How and why we need to move daily, and simply hitting the gym 3 times a week is not the answer
  • Why much of your own success lies within the company you keep
  • His own exercise routines
  • His journey from suffering chronic fatigue to greater health
  • Key things he did to help overcome chronic fatigue
  • Using limitations as a guide for actions
  • The future of performance – holistic -> mind, diet, community, self-respect, non-mechanical stress

Get More Of Keegan Smith:

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Full Transcript

Guy:Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s health session. Our first guest for 2016 is Keegan Smith. I [inaudible 00:00:12] thoroughly enjoy this podcast today. I don’t like talking up the guest too much; I like to leave the actual podcast interview to do the talking for us. I must say, Keegan has been a bit of an inspiration in my life recently and I’m sure long may that continue.

He is the founder of the Real MOVEMENT Project, which was born of a decade of research into what it takes to reach the highest levels of performance. He’s got a very impressive resume. He was the strength and conditioning coach at the Sydney Roosters, London Broncos. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re rugby league teams in the NRL. He’s worked with some amazing athletes including [Sonny Bill Williams 00:00:49], whose now gone on and become a world cup New Zealand all black legend, pretty much. He’s a big rugby league star, too. He recently worked with [Ali Day 00:00:58], whose an Ironman, Australian Ironman champion. 

Keegan’s own personal journey is phenomenal. He talks about the days of him when he was suffering from chronic fatigue and what he looked upon to make amends to that and how it’s led now into what is not the Real MOVEMENT Project, which we go into in depths but, essentially is becoming almost the best version of yourself. Using exercise movement, and food, and building a community around that, and hanging out with like-minded people to then take inspiration and draw that from everyday so, you can apply it in your life. 

As I’ve gotten to know Keegan like I said, he’s certainly made me think about the way I move daily. It’s inspired me to take on new challenges, literally as we speak. I genuinely think there’s something in this podcast for everyone. Whether you’re a fitness trainer and your fully into strength and conditioning, or not. You might go to the gym once a week but, it’ll certainly make you look at the way we approach our lives on the daily [00:02:00] basis. I got a lot out today and I’m sure you’re going to thoroughly enjoy. 

I will mention as well, we’ve got the clean eating video series, that’s coming up. They’re 3 videos that we’ve made available for free for you guys. You just need to go back to 180nutrition.com.au/clean. These videos are going to be available for 1 week only. It’s pretty much putting my [inaudible 00:02:26] sorts and philosophies, what we’ve learned from all this podcasting and working in the industry for the last 6 years into 3 bite size videos so, you can take action and make 2016 the best year as well. Why are we only making them available for 1 week? We want to create scarcity around it so you guys will take action, and sit down, and actually watch them, and then apply it. Anyway … They’re to recommend to family and friends, as well. That’s 180nutrition.com.au/clean. They will be available in the USA as well. Awesome. Let’s go over to Keegan Smith. 

Guy:Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stu.

Stu:Hello, mate.

Guy:Our awesome guest today is Keegan Smith. Keegan welcome to the show.

Keegan:Good day guys. Thanks for having me on.

Guy:Yeah, mate. It’s been a long time coming, I reckon. I just wanted to start out as well, I’ve been following you on Instagram for quite a while now. Everyday, I see you juggling, doing backward flips, throwing a lot of weight round, walking the tightrope but, doing something that looks a lot of fun. I reckon it’s clear that you love what you do and you enjoy doing it as well.

Keegan:Yeah, definitely. It’s such an important part of the success that you have is, that you love what you’re doing. I can see with you guys and the amount that you’ve grown. It’s always inspiring to see what you’re doing and your podcast growth is extending your reach and your impact. I love seeing people who are passionate about what they do; get what they want. It doesn’t get much better than that. 

Guy:It’s awesome [00:04:00] and I know we were having this conversation yesterday as well, about … It’d be easy to assume that you were always been this way and doing what you do because you make it look so easy and effortless for when it comes to movement, strength conditioning, and the whole shebang. Pretty keen to get in and tell us a little bit about your own journey and what’s brought you to this point today, really. Also, your impressive resume along the way, as well. Start wherever you want, mate.

Keegan:Appreciate your kind words but, yeah it’s definitely not effortless. The art is to do stuff that’s really hard and keep yourself calm as you do it and under control. I think that changes the psychological response during your training will affect your physiological response. It’s actually a really important part of what we do is, trying to look calm and keep things under control as you train. It’s definitely been a journey and it’s been [inaudible 00:04:57]. 

I had that background of sports growing up. My father’s an NRL coach of 30 years so, I was always around rugby players and the sporting environment. Mum was an elite athlete as well but, I guess there was a time there where I turned by back on all that and decided to look for something deeper and went backpacking quite a while. That led to a physical deterioration. Even though though I was still trying to eat relatively healthy and get some training done, it did definitely slip. At the end of that time, I basically got to the stage of chronic fatigue where I just had no energy to train. If I trained, I’d just have a headache, and I’d go home straight to bed, and I’d stay in the dark room for the rest of the day, kind of thing. It was … They were dark times in a lot of ways but, I knew was on my way to something important. That was probably why I changed and gradually things have got better from that point up until now. 

I wouldn’t say … I talk about canaries and cockroaches. The canaries are the fragile ones [00:06:00] and the cockroaches are the ones that are hard to kill no matter what you do. I was definitely very much on the canary side of the spectrum, I was very sensitive to anything; electromagnetic radiation, or foods, or training, all these kind of challenge and stimulus. I’ve come a long way since then but, if I get things wrong, I can still slip back. It’s been exciting to learn all the things that can build myself to that … To be able to do a bit more than I used to be able to do-

Guy:How many years out did you take, Keegan?

Keegan:Sorry?

Guy:How many years out did you take when you … ?

Keegan:Basically, I left home at 21. I quit [uni 00:06:43] halfway through my 4th year, which meant I didn’t graduate from the degree that I was enrolled in but, I could graduate from a … just a straight exercise science degree. Moved to England, worked with the London Broncos but, that was really the awakening. I spent a little bit of time in Prague with a friend and realized, “Hey, there’s a whole other world out here. There’s people who speak other languages, there’s all these different experiences.” my little box of Australia and England … I’d lived in England a few time before, been to America; I’d only experienced that kind of Anglo world and, yes spending time over there opened things up for me. 

I started to learn Spanish while I was in London. Going out an partying in London, you met people from all over the world and I was like, “Definitely learning 1 language after 20 or … 15 years of formal education, I can only speak 1 language. This is not how it’s meant to be.” I started learning Spanish, I was reading a lot of Che Guevara, and exploring ideas of how the world could potentially be different. Pretty much between 21 and 28, that was the journey. Living different lives and learning more. Spent a lot of time in Latin America and the Outback in Australia. It was all about trying to understand the way the world works and how I could … What role I was going play in it. That’s probably what the 20s are about. [00:08:00] for a lot of people. 

Guy:I actually heard … I don’t know if this is true, mate, that you speak 3 languages now.

Keegan:Yeah, French and Spanish are pretty comfortable, bits of … decent understanding of German and Polish now because my wife is German-Polish, and then bits of [inaudible 00:08:17], which is an indigenous Australian language, and [inaudible 00:08:21], which is a Mayan descendant language. I’ve spent a fair bit of time watching Portuguese stuff, and music. I really enjoy that now. I guess once you get one and you get that experience of it … I worked in France for 2 years so, I was forced to learn that. I guess it just builds that belief and … You start to know that you’re adaptable and that you can pick up another language [crosstalk 00:08:45]

Guy:Yeah because Stu reckons I haven’t got English down quite yet, let alone any other language.

Stu:Well I was just going to say [crosstalk 00:08:50]

Keegan:-definitely different.

Stu:Yeah, I’m similar to you Keegan, I speak fluent Scottish, Irish, American, and of course English, as well. We’re on your-

Keegan:It’s a good mix, yeah. 

Stu:Yeah, Guy’s still struggling with English but, we’ll get there. We’ll get there. That’s why we transcribe this.

Keegan:Yeah, very useful. Very useful.

Stu:Absolutely right. I’m really interested in the chronic fatigue side of stuff. I want to delve into that a little bit later.

Keegan:Okay.

Stu:First up, from a strength and conditioning perspective because you’re the man now in that zone; I was interested, and for our listeners, too. Strength and conditioning versus regular gym stuff, what’s the big difference?

Keegan:Firstly, I don’t really feel like I’m the man. I’m a lifelong student and I’ve been passionately studying this stuff for the past 15 years so, if anything good has come of that, it’s a result of all those people that I’ve learned from over that time. I don’t really like that guru type thing that … Some guys when they get a little bit ahead [00:10:00] and then they feel like, “Well it’s all mine now and I’m going to forget about where it’s all come from” … I appreciate your kind words but, I think that’s what it’s about. If people out there do want to become acknowledged and leaders in their fields then, trying to be a real student, a life-long student, is probably going to be much more useful for them than trying to be the … Put themselves already on that pedestal, which I see people trying to do too early and it limits progress. I’ve been there as well so, this is what I’m trying to do right now.

Guy:Fantastic. They say the more you learn, the more you don’t know.

Keegan:Yeah, exactly.

Stu:We’ll use the term, pioneer, mate because I think that’s we’ll fitted. 

Keegan:All right, all right. Cool. 

Stu:[crosstalk 00:10:47] Strength and condition versus regular [globo 00:10:51] gym stuff.

Keegan:I think once you’ve … I started a lot with the globo gym type training. I think when I first when to [inaudible 00:10:59] gym to train, it was bench press into dumbbell bench press into incline bench press into flys. I don’t think I did the pec [deck 00:11:08] too much but, I did those kind of body builder-esque workouts. I bought muscle magazines and saw the guys full of steroids and just massive humans with 3% body fat. That was what was the dominant paradigm in that time. Crossfit was just barely being born, and there was no real gymnastics for adults, and that sort of thing. That was what I was exposed to and through university there was no weightlifting. You basically had to get a PhD to think that you could attempt to snatch. It was this off-limits thing that no one should do unless they’re going to become a professional weightlifter and dedicate their life to it. Almost like becoming a monk or something. 

All those barriers have come down now so, now when people experience strength and conditioning it’s a learning experience. I’m so passionate about learning and when people are learning and going beyond physical-mental limitations in the gym, they [00:12:00] just experience another level of themselves. You can’t change the mind without changing the body. When you change the body, you change the mind and vice-versa. That’s what I really love seeing. People doing a handstand fro the first time … I was talking … I did a interview last night with Witness the Fitness coach, [Ben Murphy 00:12:17], who’s one of the guys who I mentor in the Real MOVEMENT crew. He’s got 60 year olds doing handstands and it’s not just the physical factor of shoulder integrity, body awareness, being able to hold everything together but, the mental strength that comes with that, and the feeling of, “Well yeah, I’m 60 but, I’m getting better and I’m learning.” That’s the amazing thing. 

The great thing with strength and conditioning and this kind of training that we’re doing, we try … Called, performance development, is really that if you … even if you stop … If you do a handstands for 2 years and then you stop, you’ll still be able to go back and do a handstand; whereas, when you train for body composition, you’re only ever a month of bad eating away from losing everything that you had because you don’t really … You might build a base of strength but, it really deteriorates quite quickly; whereas, when you’re developing skill and mobility, you will find that you can go back to those things. We’re really empowering people with life-long skills and that’s much more exciting for me. You’re changing the body but, you’re changing the perception of self, and at the same time, you’re giving people tools for life.

Stu:Got it. Got it. I was intrigued as well, when you said the 60 year old doing a handstand. Common perception is, strength and conditioning, and gym, and handstand, and snatches, and Olympic moves are for the younger crowd but, obviously we don’t want to use it and lose it. We don’t want to get old, and frail, and fragile, we want to be strong throughout our lives. You’re fully into that transition all the way through life, are you? With your conditioning programs?

Keegan:Definitely. I think I’m getting younger and I feel like there’s so much possibility for a majority of the people out there, to be younger biologically through [00:14:00] improving their nutrition mindset and getting this training done. If you can do things that a 20 year old can’t do; physically you have more endurance, and more strength, you have more skill, who’s younger? Maybe we’re not … we are going to extend life a little it but, it’s more about … It’s not about not dying, it’s about fully living. That’s the opportunity that you get when you’re living at your best and you’re pushing for to become a better version of yourself everyday. I feel like that’s the most exciting way to live. There’s certainly opportunity for old people to become a lot younger if they take on the challenge.

Guy:There’s been a definitely interesting shift because I was working in the fitness industry probably 7, 8, 9, 10 years ago and you wouldn’t see anyone rolling out in the gymnasium let alone, to what it’s come today. Strength and conditioning probably thanks to Crossfit really, you can see there’s more and more people catching on and starting to do it, as well. 

Keegan:Crossfit is the most effective training system to exist so far in terms of, its penetration into the population. It’s made a huge difference and opened up … Everyone who runs a strength and conditioning gym who hates on Crossfit is really shooting themselves in the foot. There were no opportunities for strength and conditioning gyms, especially in Australia. There were hiring ones in the US, dealing with college athletes about to go to the NFL and [combines 00:15:25] but, your everyday Joe was not going to a strength and conditioning gym. Now, that opportunity is there. 

Real MOVEMENT has learned a lot from Crossfit. I’ve learned a lot from Crossfit. I’ve worked with [inaudible 00:15:37], and [inaudible 00:15:37], and [inaudible 00:15:38]. Top guys in Australian Crossfit have taught me a lot and inspired me a lot. While I don’t do Crossfit, I have learned a lot from it. I think there’s so much to learn and be thankful for with it. It’s opened up a whole new world of gymnastics. All those parts of Crossfit, gymnastics can be done a lot better than the way it’s done in Crossfit, in my opinion. Weightlifting has [00:16:00] been pushed ahead massively by Crossfit in terms of, the general population. Whether it affects the elite end, we’ll probably know in another decade or so when some of these kids who were 10, and 12, and 15, who were doing Crossfit … I think some of those kids are going to go to the Olympics for weightlifting, potentially. Time will tell.

Guy:Springing in mind with Crossfit, I’m interested to know about your recovery protocols, as well and stuff. What I’ve noticed even with Crossfit with myself, and Stu will probably speak for this, it’s very easy to get in there and actually get caught up in the emotions of what’s going on with everyone else and maybe lift beyond what we’re doing or pushing ourselves every single day. It’s so addictive.

Stu:A lot of people embrace it and it just becomes this bug. Personally, being mindful about the amount of times that you go, and your recovery time in-between, and strategies and protocols just to recovery before you go and smash yourself again. 

Guy:What would your recovery protocols look like, Keegan?

Keegan:Firstly, I think you hit the nail with the emotion part of it. If your training is very emotional consistently, you’re gone. It’s not going to work for you. You can train 3 times a day if you build your tolerance to that point but, if you’re training with emotion 3 times a day, you will over-train within a week. There’s no way of doing that. If you look at [inaudible 00:17:23], if you look at [inaudible 00:17:24]; if you look at these guys, the calmness that the have even when they’re in front of a massive crowd actually competing, how do their facial expressions look compared to the guy who’s smashing himself up at the local box. You can see that there’s a very different experience going on on the inside. 

That emotional side of it is massively underrated and under-recognized. In terms of recovery, that is probably one of the biggest things that the less emotion you put into your training, the more likely you’re going to be able to repeat regularly. It means the emotion comes in once every month, once every couple of months, or one [00:18:00] set, or one rep within a session but, not every set, every rep; 10, 15, 20 minutes at a time feeling high, high stress. Especially, on the strength loads. That’s definitely what’s going to make the biggest difference.

Stu:How could you perhaps become more aware and manage that? I get exactly what you’re saying because stress hormones can make everything go wrong as well as, everything go right. What do you do to-

Keegan:You guys are going to be the world leaders in this. You keep having the neuroscientists on and … You guys are going to … You already have so much information about that and so much knowledge. I recommend if people want to answer that question, check out all the other podcasts because there’s a ton of stuff there about how to control your physiology and psychology. [inaudible 00:18:49] [Spencer 00:18:49] been doing … Joe Spencer’s work and [inaudible 00:18:52] work, religiously lately … Guy who really sparked me back into that. I’m massively thankful for him putting me on that train again. The crew of coaches, gym owners around Australia, and around the world that I work with are also exploring more of that stuff. Really thankful for that and really exciting where it’s going to go. 

I do believe that [inaudible 00:19:12] is a really, really powerful way to start getting emotional control and deeper physiological control. The training itself, if you treat it as that, it’s going to teach you as well. If you say, “Yeah, I’m just going to train until the point where it feels as though I’m starting to lose control a little bit and then, ill back off from there.” At that point, it’ll continue to shift upwards. You’ve got your comfort zone and that comfort zone becomes very small when we don’t … when we never stress ourselves and when we don’t challenge ourselves so , we need stress. It’s a big misconception to avoid stress. If you’re trying to avoid stress, you’re probably going to end up in chronic fatigue and feeling really bad. We need the stress but, we need to gradually increase our tolerance to that stress, and our bodies ability to adapt to it, and our minds ability to adapt to it, to tolerate it. With that, we can definitely push a lot further. 

Guy:Definitely. I think one of the common things [00:20:00] that I used to see a lot as well, would be the person that hadn’t stressed their body for 6 months plus because of work, and commitments, and everything. The moment they walk through the doors of the gym, they’re acting like they’re 21, and then you wouldn’t see them again for weeks on end because they’ve just overcooked themselves. 

Stu:With that emotional side, and that mental side now, becoming more prevalent with all these great guys coming out with all these strategies, techniques for us to be able to manage that; the future then, of performance and movement … Because I’m seeing Crossfit is just it’s rolled through Australia like a steam train and people have just embraced it so much. Now, I’m seeing a shift with [F45 00:20:52] for instance, another twist on that kind of stuff. Where do you think it’s going to go bearing in mind that there is all this kind of psychological stuff that we really do need to embrace?

Keegan:I feel like Real MOVEMENT is the future. It is going to take things to a place that it hasn’t … that a lot of the world hasn’t been. We have over 30 facilities, 30 guys have gone into new facilities over the last 12 months and we’re sneaking along with some nice growth. We’ve got some good plans in place and I do see it as my responsibility. You’ve got to change the things that you don’t like about the world. “Be the change that you want to see in the world”, as Gandhi said. That’s really what I’m trying to do. 

I want to influence back a lot into the NRL. I know we did things a lot different at the [inaudible 00:21:39] and we had some different results because of it. I’m excited about changing the way physical preparation is done in the NRL over the next few years and taking that into commercial facilities is part of what we’re working towards. We’re starting to have a good network in Europe as well, we’re definitely expanding. Hopefully, I’m going to present it by range during [00:22:00] the year in China. I think that we do have a big responsibility and possibility for doing things better so that’s why we have to keep learning and presenting things better and making-

Stu:Got it.

Keegan:-a difference.

Stu:So for … Sorry, mate … For our listeners, your Real MOVEMENT Project, what is it? In a nutshell?

Keegan:Real MOVEMENT is a thing that came around, kind of a Marxist movement in the 50s and 60s, if you search for it on Wikipedia. It was a political movement and an attempt to shift stuff. I’m not a Marxist but, I have explore a lot into alternative economies and I do think that there needs to be a shift in our economic model for us to be able to give everyone the best life possible. I think that the model that we have is going to serve that very well. The Joe [Rogan 00:22:50] YouTube video, that he’s just put up … Have you guys seen that one? I think it just came out last couple days.

Guy:I haven’t, no. I follow his work but, I haven’t seen it.

Keegan:It’s 5 minutes and it’s bang like, nail on the head. Things about the way the world needs to change and the opportunity that we have to change it, and the unlimited potential of individuals, and how we’re wasting a lot of that potential, and stuff. Really, really interesting. I’m just about to put up a blog post with some thoughts about exactly what he said. That’s something that I believe [00:23:22]. There is potential for things to be done a lot better and to be done differently, and that’s why I went backpacking and living with the Mayans, living with the indigenous Australians; looking at how things can be done better and trying to learn about that. 

Bringing it into movement, it’s not actually about how we have the authentic movement and everyone else’s movement is bullshit. It’s not … That’s not what Real MOVEMENT means. Real MOVEMENT is about a real change change towards a better world and that’s the foundation of it. I guess [inaudible 00:23:57] and [inaudible 00:23:57] is really popularized the word, movement. [00:24:00] I really think it’s been valuable for the whole world of fitness, strength and conditioning, performance, and that’s filtering out all over the place. It’s not about just building muscles, it’s about building real connections, quality of movement, and taking it to a whole other level. I’ve done a lot of work with him and that’s really exciting as well. [crosstalk 00:24:25]

Guy:You structure workshops around that, right? For at the moment, if anyone is listening to this and they go …

Keegan:That’s kind of the philosophy. What we actually do … The biggest part is mentoring gym owners, and people who want to own gyms, or people who want to coach, or lead sports teams. I’ve got guys working with a number of AFL, NRL, super-league teams and they network with each other so, they’re all getting better at a faster rate than they would if they were doing things on their own; the gyms and the coaches working with the teams. 

I have a 12 month program there that’s really making a shift and that came from doing 2 day workshops and 3 hour workshops in gymnastics or on the whole Real MOVEMENT system. I have the Real MOVEMENT level 1 coming up around different sports. That 2 day gets people excited and gives them an experience but, generally I feel that it’s too much of a shift for people to follow it up so, the people I get work with over 12 months … The change that we’re seeing in some of those people and now it’s been 2 years and I’m still working with some of the first guys. The changes that they’ve had physically, mentally, and spiritually, and economically … They’re making money, they’re making a difference. It’s just super exciting so, that’s what Real MOVEMENT is really about. We want to put a performance center into [inaudible 00:25:42] and Fiji this year. We’re looking to-

Guy:Fiji, Stu. Did you hear that?

Stu:Oh Fiji. I’m coming, mate.

Keegan:Sounds like I’ve got a-

Guy:We’ll be there, yeah. 

Keegan:These are really hubs for rugby players and areas that are under-served and probably have been [00:26:00] … probably exploited by Australia in terms of, dominance in the area politically. I think that they’re starting to experience a lot of the behavior-related diseases that we brought from European culture, European mentality. To have an impact on that is, something that really excites me. It’s part of where we’re going in the next little while.

Guy:Fantastic. I have to say, the power of community is immense. I’ve seen it firsthand even within your Real MOVEMENT Facebook page. The amount of support that’s going on in there with each other is fantastic.

Keegan:Different wavelength and it was great to have you speak to some of the elite guys at my place in [inaudible 00:26:46]. I know you impacted a lot of guys and there are a lot of them that are taking on [inaudible 00:26:50] and looking into … [inaudible 00:26:52], I think a bit of a gateway into the spiritual …

Guy:Yeah, yeah, yeah. Definitely, no it’s interesting stuff. While we’re still on the topic of movement, I heard you say as well, “You can’t nourish a cell without movement.” I thought that was fantastic. Can you elaborate on that for us?

Keegan:Yeah. It comes from Moves Your DNA, by Katy Bowman. It’s a fantastic book, one of the best books on training movement; understanding the body, that I’ve read. Definitely top 5. She talks about how, yeah you can put great food into the system but, what good is it while it’s sitting in the digestive track? What good is it while it’s sitting in the arteries? It has to go to the capillaries. The capillaries are all within a couple of hairs width of the cells and they are really where nutrition actually gets delivered. 

When we’re sitting, when the blood is pooling then, cells are actually being starved. It doesn’t matter what’s going in, you could be sitting down, chowing down on organic, amazing, high-quality, perfect, macro-nutrient balanced food but, if you don’t circulate that, and get the other stuff out then, you’re not going to have amazing nutrition. I think that is such a key [00:28:00] part of the picture for health that is underestimated by those who are trying to be in good health.

Stu:It does make perfect sense and I read a Chinese saying … I think it was in a [inaudible 00:28:17], might have been in a 4 hour body or something along those lines. It was, “Take 100 steps after every meal for better health.”

Guy:That was in [inaudible 00:28:24], yeah. 

Stu:1000 steps, right. I’ll stick with 100 for now. I guess it makes sense. You’re really trying to utilize what you’ve just put in rather than, it’s just a vessel for in and out.

Keegan:Our ancestors knew a lot of this and they had to do it anyway just to get water and to get their food and all that. [crosstalk 00:28:46] The new thing that we can not move for a day or 2. 

Guy:Yeah, it’s amazing. The lifestyle that most people lead and not … Half the time they’ll follow your own, if we get caught up and it’s pretty sedentary. 

Keegan:Easy for me to do it, as well. I have an online business. I like blogging, I like writing. You have experienced this too so, you really have to discipline yourself and build it into your day if you want to … It’s not enough to train 3 times a week. Training 3 times a week is just a ridiculous concept if you’re thinking about movement for longevity. Sure, you can build muscle mass and be lean but, doing training now doesn’t mean that you’re … You would decrease your chances of a lot of the behavioral diseases that we see now but, you see guys like Lance Armstrong and there’s elite athletes, elite rugby league players getting diagnosed with cancer and stuff like … Just moving doesn’t guarantee that your going to be healthy now. We have to go beyond that. That’s what we’re trying to do.

Stu:It may have been yo that said this as well but, the number 1 movement these days is sitting. 

Keegan:Best the human race has ever been. [crosstalk 00:29:58] I can guarantee that. There’s no way. [00:30:00]

Stu:It really irks me because we know that we shouldn’t be doing it. 85% of us are desk bound, we’re desk jockeys. There’s no way out of it because …

Keegan:Oh come on. There’s no way out of it? That’s taking things a little bit too far.

Stu:Hear me out. Hear me out.

Keegan:It’s easy to fall into it but … [crosstalk 00:30:19]

Stu:It is. If we’re in a job and we’re in a cubicle or booth, and we’re not going to get a … Our boss isn’t going to give us a standing desk or a [inaudible 00:30:33]. We’re really zoned in and we’ve got to pay the bills, I get that you might be able to get off the bus early and walk to work, and work back from work, and go out at lunch time but, the bulk of our day, we’re trapped.

Keegan:If you’re trapped, you’re trapped. If you’re not trapped, you’re not trapped. The mentality of that is the key part here. If you’re at a chair, is someone going to actually imprison you, or fire you, whatever, if you stand up every 5 minutes, push your hips forward, sit down in a squat, and once an hour you walk to the bathroom, you do a back bridge, and you go back to your desk. Are you going to get fired for that? Maybe. The other side of the coin is, quit the job, find something you’re passionate about, find an environment that you can lead in [crosstalk 00:31:18] people need, that you can be passionate about.

Stu:Tell us a bit … You said, “Get out the chair” so, you do … roll your shoulders. I always … Whenever we get guys who are specialist in their area, we always like to pick … Just give me these little gems. If I am desk bound, what do I need to be doing?

Keegan:First thing is, change the mentality around it. You’re not chained to the sea unless, you’re a prisoner of war or something. You need to take responsibility for where you put your body. You can … Standing desks are really easy to make with a couple of boxes. Even if you can’t do that, there are other options. If you do get to work at home like you guys do a bit; learning to work lying down, to work [00:32:00] sitting crossed legged onto a chair, find different postures to use your keyboard from. Get a keyboard off your laptop so you can get that line of sight and those sorts of things like, work on the ergonomics but then, vary your positions. You need to be using lots of different positions. If you over-use 1 position, your body will become extremely adapted to that position and you’ll suffer as a result.

Guy:The thing I wanted to add to that is … I haven’t looked into this but, I do wonder if you have a standing desk, that you could over-stand on the spot all day because it’s not encompassing movement. 

Keegan:I believe you can. I believe you can and a lot of people aren’t prepared to stand for a long period of time. You stand … Now, I’m standing at the moment. My tolerance to standing is much better than it used to be. If I used to stand for a long period of time … Really it’s all lower back … Go to concerts and stuff and it was a pain to stand for a long time, standing on the one spot. We’re meant to walk. We should work in a squat for a little while, work sitting down, work laying down; varying the postures is really the key. Standing isn’t really the whole solution either. There’s the treadmill desks now, those things are interesting but, we’re meant to have a variety of-

Guy:Did you say a treadmill desk?

Keegan:-variation of movement diet. is the way that Katy Bowman talks about it. I really like that. We talk about diet in terms of vegetables, different nutrients … The movement needs to be the same. Don’t just settle on standing and say, “Oh that’s my solution. I’m just going to stand now.” That’s not the solution. We need that variety of the movement diet.

Guy:What would be some simple movement tests you could do? If somebody listening to this, go, “Well we’ll see if you can do this, and if you can’t you know you need to improve your range of motion …”

Keegan:We have a standard battery of simple mobility tests that we use with anybody that starts training in Real MOVEMENT facilities or … They’re going to be on the new app as well so, you can show people through that. Basically, being able to rest in a squat position is really valuable. If you go pretty much anywhere in the world, you’ll see that, outside of Anglo culture, you’ll see [00:34:00] that people rest in a squat position. In China, in Africa, all through Asia, Africa, middle-aged, you’re going to see that people are comfortable resting in squat position just because we stopped doing it generally from 5 years old. We have toilets rather than hole in the ground type toilets. We lose that position. 

It’s quite as valuable but, it’s actually a really shortened hip flexor, psoas  iliacus … The muscles around the pelvis at the front are actually really shortened in that squat position so, just getting good at that could actually cause problems as well. We want to be able to rest all the way down in that squat position but, then we need to go the opposite direction, is the biggest one. Really opening the hips. There’s 2 ways to do that. We can do it off a single leg, which is more of a lunge and a lean back or we can do it off a double leg, which is standing and balancing back. You think of it a little bit like [crosstalk 00:34:54]

Guy:That’s interesting you say that because I always wonder about the psaoas, the muscles coming from the pelvis. If I’m doing … practicing an overhead squat, I’m going off a little bit tangent with a broomstick, which I just like to see with my mobility. My body is always forward and I’m always like, “How can I open that up and bring it back?” You suggest leaning back would be one to open? Is there anything else we could do?

Keegan:I have a whole series of movements because when you do a mobility drill … anyone can find mobility drills now so, look for a mobility drill, try it, if you see that there’s a difference within about 30 seconds then, you should stick with that drill and keep using it. If you don’t feel like there’s an immediate change then, it’s probably not going to work for you and you should probably just move on to the next drill. One of the ones … Resting in that squat position … Are you comfortable resting in the bottom of a squat?

Guy:Yeah.

Keegan:Being in that position and then-

Stu:I was going to say, I don’t think you can get him to a squat, mate so, I don’t know how comfortable he is.

Keegan:I think he can, he’s very deceptive big guy. He’s doing his [inaudible 00:35:55] and he’s doing his work-

Guy:-heels flat, I can sit down no problem. 

Keegan:Yeah.

Guy:Easy. [00:36:00]

Keegan:Don’t underestimate him. 

Stu:I never do. I never do.

Guy:The problem is, he’s been working with me too long. He starts [palming 00:36:08] off anything that I say or do. You see a massive change when he moves up this way. He’ll be “My god.” You won’t recognize me.

Keegan:You’re a good couple, you 2. You’re doing amazing work so, that’s good to see continued. The back … Working towards the back bridge or what they call a wheel in yoga, I think is-

Stu:What is a back bridge, Keegan?

Keegan:Basically, it’s being able to go back on your hands and feet with your hips up. 

Stu:Is that like a … Because my daughters do it. Is that like a crab walk, that kind of thing? Is that …

Guy:Yes.

Keegan:Without the walking, right?

Guy:Yes.

Stu:Yeah.

Keegan:Crab walk can also be called … the crab walk is … Yeah, no it’s over the top so it’s … your body makes a big arch-

Stu:Yes.

Keegan:-between hands and feet.

Guy:If you did yoga Stu, it’s called the wheel.

Keegan:Yeah.

Stu:I don’t-

Keegan:In gymnastics, it’s back bridge. 

Stu:I don’t have the-

Keegan:That is extremely challenging and most people aren’t going to be able to do it initially. I would say working towards that, working with a coach or finding a way to get to that level of being able to do a back bridge and a lot of the postural deficiencies, deficits will be undone. It requires big amount of thoracic extension, it requires the shoulders, and range of flexion so, a lot of people have difficult getting the arms overhead because we don’t live with the arms overhead, we live with the arms in front of the body now. That’s the position on the phone, driving the car, at the keyboard, so having arms overhead becomes something that’s very difficult for people that haven’t used that. 

When their arms overhead, it’s going to be looking something like this. There’s an arch forward, you want to be able to open that up, and have that … Be able to see … You’re going to have to be able to do that to do the wheel. You’re going to have to be able to get some thoracic extension, you’re going to have to get the hips up and extended, and that’s going to fire you’re glutes really hard, [00:38:00] which we generally get inactive glutes from sitting on them all day, and not walking enough, and all that stuff. It’s a really good litmus test which 99% of person trainers will fail, let alone average Joe, general population. We have to increase … We have to change the standards of movement within society if we’re going to get somewhere. That’s a minimum standard that we like everyone to be able to achieve.

Guy:That’s great, mate. Mate, I’m going to make the wheel my number 1 mission because I can’t get near it. 

Keegan:It’s a good battle. For a lot of people it could be 2 years, it could be 5 years but, 2 or 5 years is going to pass, what are you going to have to show for it? You want to be able to … It doesn’t matter how long it takes, just get to where you need to be. 

Guy:Absolutely. 

Keegan:We’ll be able to do some work on it as well, enough to get a session done up here.

Guy:100%. No, I’m keen as def- … yeah, for sure. The next thing I wanted to look- Stu you’re going to ask a question or can I jump in? Are you good?

Stu:Please, after you, my friend.

Guy:I know it … What does your exercise routine look like for yourself, personally? Are you constantly setting goals or are you training to maintain or … ? I know listeners are going to be of all varying abilities as well but, I’m sure there’d be some wisdom in there from the way you approach everything, for yourself personally on a weekly basis.

Keegan:I do see my training as being one of the key components to the success that I have as a coach. I do set goals for myself and what I’ve been able to do since I turned 30, everything has changed a lot. I’m a lot better physically than at any stage in my 20s or teens. The reason why … As soon as I improve, I always see the people around me improve in any case. I see it as a responsibility for me within the community I work with but, also [00:40:00] tens of thousands of people checking stuff out on social media. There’s a responsibility for you to show people that what they think they’re capable of is a lot lower than what they’re really capable of. Hopefully that’s the message I get across. I don’t post stuff to show, “I’m way better than you.” I’m a nearly 33 year old guy who … I consider myself to be quite average genetically, physically. I don’t consider myself to be massively gifted beyond what everyone else is. I think everybody is gifted and we all have the chance to learn and develop. It’s been great to do that. 

In terms of my training at the moment then, well, I’ve just been on a fast so I haven’t done much training in the last few days. I’ve done some balance work and some juggling but, has not been around a little bit more than what I thought it would. The week before that, I was doing a high frequency squat and dead lift program. It’s based on a guy who had a world record in the knee to thigh lift, a partial dead lift, called, Steve [inaudible 00:41:08]. That program is 3 reps, 3 single repetitions of a dead lift on a Monday and then, 5 single repetitions on a Tuesday, 7 on a Wednesday, gradually increasing by 2 reps just throughout the week. Basically, that’s at 70% so, it’s really built around that concept of expanding your comfort zone. It kind of breaks away from some of the traditional strength and conditioning but, I have had great results with that program in the past. I had PB on my dead lift at 211 kilos just in the end of the last year.

Guy:Sorry, how much?

Keegan:211 kilos.

Guy:I just wanted you to repeat that. Jesus Christ. 

Keegan:It’s nowhere near where I want it to be but it’s better than what it has been.

Guy:How heavy are you, Keegan?

Keegan:How heavy?

Guy:How heavy?

Keegan:About 80 kilos. 80 to 82. I want to get to triple body weight. [00:42:00] Triple body weight is a leap in power lifting. That would be about 240. That’s the target.

Guy:Wow. 

Keegan:Yeah, if I can maintain … People think because you’re training mobility and stuff then, you can’t be strong or because you’re strong, you can be mobile. My mission is just to use my body as a tool and to show people that limitation and that limiting belief that you have is a false belief and that needs to be changed. Seeing is believing for a lot of people. I’m the other way around, believing is seeing. I’m trying to be that way. I know that I’m capable of doing this so, it’s going to happen. I know for a lot of people they’re going to want to watch it before they go, “Yeah, I probably can do that. I’m 22 and healthy. Why don’t I go and …?”

Guy:I reckon, not to be … There could be people listening going, “Oh that’s easy for you, Keegan because you got a gym out the back, and you can wander in and do what you want.” For somebody that wants to improve, how much time a day would they … could you get away with to doing something in a busy lifestyle?

Keegan:It depends where you’re at. The more athletic you are, the less potential for improvement there will be in that area. For the majority of people, just 2 minutes a day of anything will improve them massively. Just doing 1 set of chin ups and 1 set of push ups will transform the body. We work a lot in 5 minute blocks to deal with that barrier. The system that we use, real strength system’s 5 minute blocks. It makes it manageable. If you only get 1 block done, that’s fine. 

I could say you don’t actually have to get to the gym. Have a doorway chin up bar and do some chin ups and push ups in your house, or do shin ups and squats, have a kettle bell; it’s not actually … The barrier is almost always mental, Guy. Who doesn’t really have 5 minutes a day? The other side of the coin is that Joe Rogan video, change your life. If you don’t have time to move, [00:44:00] it’s like not having time to eat, it’s like not having time to breathe; what are you doing? Movement is being human. Walking is being human. That’s who we are, that’s what we’re here for. If we don’t have time for that, what do we have time for? What’s more important than … 

Guy:It’s normally the catalyst. The catalyst when they start … They normally can see the improvements, get addicted, and then just very easy to find the time around that.

Keegan:That’s why we’re building the most addictive system where you constantly see improvements. I get ahold of people for a couple of hours at the [Thrive 00:44:31] convention where we met, where we first met face to face, I managed to get a few people addicted on juggling and handstands in a short period of time. That’s something that they’ll then take on for the rest of your life. Body composition training, you just can’t do that. You’re not going to change somebody’s body composition in an hour and a half educational lecture. 

Guy:Yeah, no. 

Stu:I picked up that you mentioned the word fasting just previously. I was interested in your philosophies in nutrition based upon the fact that Real MOVEMENT being holistic, I guess that would be a cool component of what you do, too. What do you do where the food and drink is concerned?

Guy:I’m a big believer in whole foods and I’m a big believer in ancient wisdom. That’s pretty much the litmus test for when I look at a nutrition program or someone’s diet. How much whole food is it compared to processed food? Does it fit within something that your ancestors could have eaten? Whenever you go beyond that, you really should proceed with caution. I’ve had periods of taking lots of supplements. Lately, I haven’t been using supplements but, if you’re adding things that are outside of nature’s rules then, you should be really careful, and cautious, and intelligent with it. A lot of what we add from outside of nature’s rules like, the processed [00:46:00] foods, the majority of stuff in the aisles at the supermarket, trying to go around the outsides, down the aisles there’s not much stuff that is going to … Is full of life, energy … That part of it … That’s kind of how it works. 

The other thing is looking at food is looking at information. Looking at it as just the macro and nutrient level. That’s a big stake that I think … You can get great body composition from just looking at calories and macro-nutrients but, are you healthy? I want people to thrive long, to live long, I want them to have great mental energy; you can get the macros right and be lame, and be unhealthy on the inside, and not feel, and not be on track for anything great in life. That’s why local foods are really important. It is food as information. That food … The intelligence of plants is massively underestimated. The Secret Life Of Plants, is a good book to check out around that, or Primary Perception from [Cleve Backster 00:46:55], a CIA guy who studied plants for a number of years. He was a like detector guy, figured out that plants have consciousness and it’s the stuff that yogis would talk about but, now it’s actually been proven in science but, it still hasn’t really penetrated mainstream thinking.

If a plant grows in your environment, it how knows how to solve problems in your environment and it’s going to give you more useful information in your environment than stuff that comes from the other side of the world that grew up in a completely different situation. This is getting to the high end but, basically getting that whole foods approach and looking at things from an ancestral context. Some people need more carbs, some people less carbs, some people more raw food, some people more protein; it’s not cut and dry but, whole foods is definitely the [inaudible 00:47:44].

Guy:The moment you start cutting them, processed, inflammatory foods out, you start becoming more in tune with your body and then you can start to figure out, “Am I eating too many carbs or not? Do I need to put a bit more fat in my diet?” Your body is much more receptive to everything you eat on a daily basis. 

Keegan:Can’t change your body without changing your mind. [00:48:00] You bring an extra level of awareness in. It was great to see that with the Roosters guys. Typical rugby league team, players will eat a lot of takeaway food, they’ll drink a lot of alcohol-

Guy:This is the high end?

Keegan:I heard a story yesterday, it was actually on NRL.com, I believe. NRL [inaudible 00:48:19] I won’t embarrass them but, you can check it out if you want, said that he’s eating McDonald’s everyday for the last 22 years and he’s 24. This guy just signed a big money contract and he’s played with professional clubs and that’s still the level that he’s been at. Not to say that someone hasn’t done that undercover that I’ve worked with. There have been a couple players that you feel like you’re not really getting to and everyone is on their journey. You got to invite them into something better if they can see that you’re living it and that it’s working for you. If they can see that it’s working for those around them, the community side of things then, they’re more likely to step into it but, you’re not going to win them all. I don’t know if I would have changed him. I’d like to think I would have earlier, I think he’s changing now. 

Those guys when they start to eat whole foods … We fed them really high quality organic food a few times a week and we showed them what we would love them to be consuming and they definitely changed. I think that is part of the higher level of consciousness that led them to the decision to not to binge drink on alcohol … Didn’t drink alcohol at all because they don’t … a lot of them don’t know how to not binge if they have won. Did that for the last 3 months of the NRL regular season, and then all the way to the playoffs, all the way to winning the premiership-

Guy:They won the premiership that year?

Keegan:It’s never been done in rugby league. It’s that kind of group sacrifice and group conscious decision. The food definitely changes the mind and makes all the other stuff more …

Guy:That amazes me thats going on in the NRL. We must be living in a podcast bubble or something because elite end athletes can pay a lot of money. The protocols should be [00:50:00] in place. You’d think so anyway. 

Keegan:The members of society, they don’t stand separate from society. Until society changes, our lead athletes are still going to be a reflection of it. Holding our elite athletes to a higher standards than we hold society as a whole, too, it’s a reflection on [inaudible 00:50:17]. If society, “If this is what’s going on with these guys, they’re getting in trouble and doing things like … Where are the values of where they’ve grown up? What environment did they grow up in? What was the school like? What was the suburb like? What were the values of all the coaches and strength and conditioning coaches they’ve worked with?” 

A lot of strength and conditioning coaches have had very different experiences of life to me. They haven’t spent time in the mountains of Mexico, or haven’t had chronic fatigue, or whatever. They’ve got no reason to think that eating a diet, which has tons of Gatorade, tons of pasta, lollies before and after training, isn’t the best way forward for all their athletes because that’s all they’ve known. There’s textbooks and smart people who say that’s the way forward. I know there are still NRL clubs … That’s what the nutritionist is prescribing and players are trying their best to stick to that and be diligent with it. No wonder their psyches are going to be off if they’re doing that sort of stuff. If you’ve had that experience and you’re not a guy who’s really tolerant to those carbohydrates … [crosstalk 00:51:11]

Guy:Good answer, yeah. Absolutely. 

Keegan:-broken system.

Guy:It’s easy to be judgmental if they’re in the press a lot, messing it up in all the rest of it.

Keegan:A lot of good guys then … A lot of good guys who are doing really great community work and stuff. I was really blown away by how great a lot of them are as humans, and how tolerant they are, and how much giving … how giving of their time they are. You don’t see that stuff. That stuff doesn’t really make the press but, it’s absolutely phenomenal. You walk along with Sonny Bill Williams and the patience he has to sign autographs, take photographs, I never saw him frustrated, I never saw him saying no to anyone-

Guy:Sonny Bill-

Keegan:In that sort of pressure everyone wants the money, and the body, and whatever but, do you want someone asking you for your autograph everywhere you go? Watching what you do everywhere you go? Judging your every action? It’s a hard standard to live by.

Guy:I saw [00:52:00] in the rugby world cup, he gave his winning medal away to a kid that’d been rugby tackled on the field by one of the security guards because he ran on. That’s incredible.

Keegan:He’s just been to Lebanon and has been to the Middle East, and he actually saw a lot of what’s going on there with refugee camps, and people fleeing, and all that sort of stuff. He went there with UNICEF and he actually posted a picture of some dead children, talking about, “What have they done to deserve this and what are we doing about it?” As a bit of a challenge, it was a bit of a controversial one. He’s definitely one of the more conscious athletes that I’ve come across and carries a higher purpose to what he does. I think when you have that higher purpose then, the higher performance can come with it,

Guy:I know he’s done … I know Stu doesn’t follow the league union much but, he’s done what most athletes only dream about switching codes like that and becoming a key.

Keegan:In boxing as well, just not giving a shit and doing what you want to do and how you want to do it. You make the rules and that’s what he’s done. He’s backed it up with an ethic to continue to succeed in it, and to do a great job for everyone he’s had the opportunity to interact with in those experiences.

Guy:Before we wrap up, I really want to touch on the chronic fatigue and Stu mentioned he wanted to go into. The reason why is that we had a very earlier on podcast, a guy that had chronic fatigue. It became very popular and there definitely seems to be a need for that information to get out there as well. I know you wasn’t physically diagnosed with it but, I know you went through a lot and you made some changes. Could you give us a few points of a little bit of that journey and the changes you made? So that other people can-

Keegan:I wasn’t diagnosed with it but, I had hormone testing done that showed that things were flat lining. I had immune blood testing that showed things were flat lining. All the symptoms when you go through the symptoms of it, it is a great diagnosis anyway. I have a scar on my face here [00:54:00] from an infection that wouldn’t heal; 6 months, just didn’t want to get better. I just didn’t have the energy in my body or the something, the will to be at my best. That pushed a lot of exploration. I worked with a few … People come to me now and I worked with Ali Day, who won the Ironman series last year and he was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. Bouncing from doctor to doctor, not really getting better, not really getting any answers. We started working together and the next year he actually won the series which was amazing. A massive … I’m not taking credit for that but, I know the things that we worked on definitely played a part-

Stu:What sort of things did you do?

Keegan:I think the first thing is the purpose. You have to have a reason to get better. People can get really stuck with, “Okay, I’ve been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, this is who I am. I’m putting this hat on. I’m putting these clothes on. Everyday I show people my chronic fatigue.” That is a state that cannot be recovered from. I don’t care what you do nutritionally, I don’t care what you do in terms of anything. You have to change the belief that that’s something permanent, that that’s who you are, that can’t be your identity. That is very deep and very important. People say, “Yeah, that’s airy fairy stuff. Give me the details.” No, that is the biggest thing. Have a big reason why you need to be better and who you’re going to serve by being better and that will be a huge step. Just making that step can be enough for some people to just walk out of bed and be okay. 

For me, that decision was about serving the rugby league teams and on the mission to what has become Real MOVEMENT Project. That was why I got better. That forced me to look for the knowledge. Digestive function is just huge. If digestive function is low, you’re going to have less neural transmitters, you’re going to be bringing less nutrients into the body. We get nutrient manufacture in the intestines and gut as well; the stomach is not going to work properly. If those things are not working well … “Death begins in the gut” was a quote by Elie Metchnikoff, he was a Nobel peace prize [00:56:00] winner and he was right. It was a long time ago but, he was right.

Stu:How would you know that your digestive system isn’t functioning?

Keegan:You generally get some pretty strong symptoms around flatulence, pain, bloating. You’ll have signs of nutrient deficiencies. There’s lots of signs and symptoms that … The health of your hair, and your nails, and those sorts of things, your recovery from training. Generally, people will have a pretty good idea. If you get down to the details [crosstalk 00:56:29] you go to the toilet … What’s the consistency of the stool like? All those details are really important and they will tell you a lot. 

Once you’ve identified that there’s an issue there, there are some really good protocols for improving that. Fasting, I think is very valuable. GAPS diet is a really good one. It’s built around sort of broth, and then building into whole foods from there, and eliminating a lot of the highly allergenic stuff. I’m a big believer in gelatin and collagen. They’re an easier way. People say broth, “I’m going to be making that stuff all the time, and filtering it, and putting it in the fridge.” It’s not that hard but, I understand. Gelatin and collagen, and that sort of stuff is the easy way to get that done. That will not only help to rebuild the gut lining but, it’s also cleansing, it’s healing for the cells. There’s a lot of medical research going on into gelatin in the 30s and 40s but, then we had to shift to a pharmaceutical model. All that kind of medical thinking got squashed. 

Stu:Absolutely. I agree with that. That’s one of the things that’s one my menu twice a day. I’ll have a … I’ll make sure that I have a couple of nourishing … I think this is the stuff I’ve got right now. Boom.

Keegan:[crosstalk 00:57:48] Great Lakes is a quality brand. There’s another one, Gelatin something Australia, they have really good stuff as well.

Stu:That right. I think we’re … We love our muscle [00:58:00] meat as well. We do discard all the other meats that have all these beautiful, nourishing qualities about it. Mentioned organ meat to somebody and they just … their eyes roll back. We used to-

Keegan:The most valuable part.

Stu:Absolutely. We used to favor all of the good stuff with all of these amazing, nourishing, nutrients. Of course, it’s lean cuts and … Nowhere near as nourishing or beneficial for the body.

Keegan:I live in indigenous community in the Outback and we went hunting for kangaroo, we cooked him up in the traditional way. When the [roo 00:58:38] was ready, I open it up, the kids were in there with a cup scooping out the blood, which had been almost a stew of the organ nutrients, drinking that and loving it. Pulling out bits of spleen, bits of heart, bits of liver; I got a little bit of spleen gifted to me and it was like they were giving me gold. At the end, I was left with this brontosaurus leg of kangaroo. I thought, “They really like me” but, later I realized that the spleen was the gift and that big chunk of meat was “blegh”.

Stu:That stuff should be given to the dogs. It’s not favored at all.

Guy:That’s amazing. How long were you in the indigenous community for?

Keegan:7 months. 8 months, I think. [inaudible 00:59:24], it’s like 4 hours from Alice Springs. It’s a community of about 150 to 300 population and some transient movement in that. I worked as a youth worker there.

Guy:Had they been influenced by western society, at all?

Keegan:Sure, sure. The community was actually built when the railroad was going from Adelaide to Darwin. It was actually fenced off and the indigenous people weren’t allowed to go inside the facility so, it was built as a little town. A lot of [Afrikani 00:59:50] workers were [inaudible 00:59:48] with their camels to build that railroad so there’s actually a mix of some Afrikani blood with indigenous Outback, which is really interesting when you see [01:00:00] the different features of guys and girls. 

They lived in that community and it was tough. It was tough to see the conditions that they live in. It is definitely 3rd world in a lot of way but, most are on that purpose side of things and the mental side of things. Everything that they live for has shifted. There were people there who had seen white man there for the first time in the 20s but, they definitely had a lot of influence by that time. I went there, they had Tvs, and phones, and cars, and all that stuff. It relatively recent, they still do their men’s business. The men will have their front tooth knocked out to show that they’re men, to show that they’ve been through initiation. Those practices are still alive but they’re … They can also go into Alice Springs and be told that they have to get a job, or go o a nightclub, or … They’re in this between worlds that’s really complicated to say what the solution is but, things aren’t ideal there.

Guy:I always think of that movie. That sugar film that came out recently about the indigenous tribes. I don’t know if you’ve seen the film but, the-

Keegan:I did.

Guy:Yeah, because he did spend time there previously making a different movie and the western society and really influenced the diet. It was the highest selling village of Coca-Cola in Australia or something like that. The tragedy that went around it. 

Keegan:The shop was really limited. To get food from somewhere else from [inaudible 01:01:34] was a 3-4 hour trip It wasn’t an option for them. There was limited whole foods there. It was not uncommon to have chips and coke for 3 meals a day. The metal function at that … When you’re doing that, physical development is going to suffer. There were amazing athletes as well. It was really interesting from the athletic point of view. There’s [inaudible 01:01:56] selective pressure and behavioral towards coming extremely [01:02:00] [endurant 01:02:01], and powerful, and fast, and that’s sort of stuff was cool to see as well. 

Guy:That must have been an amazing chapter in your life, man. That’d be wonderful.

Stu:Just … I just want to jump back a little bit. We were talking about the gelatin and stuff like that …

Keegan:We did the digestive stuff, we did the mindset …

Stu:Yes, Anything else? Any other intervention strategies, protocols … Whole food, etc.?

Keegan:The movement and the breathing are the other 2 things. I guess breath is movement but, I believe that this [inaudible 01:02:30] method will really change a lot of people’s lives with doing this stuff. I have had some experience around cold exposure being life regenerating for people experiencing low levels of vitality. I don’t like the labels of chronic fatigue and whatnot. It’s a bunch of symptoms that we try to put a name on but, that’s pretty much all modern diseases. It’s like, “There’s disease, there’s dysfunction, there’s something that’s not right and we need to go back to right.”

There’s a continuum of all that stuff. If you’ve got certain blood sugar level, that’s not diabetes, and then at one point higher, “Okay you’ve got diabetes now.” It’s all on a continuum in a sliding scale. We just want you to slide back to where you are towards where your best day is, and then have your best day more often, and then shift that again. Many steps is a big thing. If people can say, “Do you sometimes I feel okay?” “Yeah sometimes I feel quite good.” “Well cool. We know that you can feel okay then, let’s just do that more often.”

The breathing .. The breathing and cold, I think is really valuable and, movement. Bringing some mobility in … I know people with chronic fatigue feel like they have no energy but, walking is so valuable. At whatever level you’re able to do. If you’re in water where there is no gravity, and being in that environment, and just moving; that circulation is going to be extremely valuable. You get that nutritious diet, you get the food coming into the system, you have the will to heal yourself and to be better, and then you circulate that and you do what humans have always done, you will [01:04:00] improve. I’ve seen it consistently and often. 

I have a lot of confidence that there’s always change. The body is always changing. There’s always possibility for us to reinvent ourselves. We reinvent ourselves every single day. We reinvent the whole system that we live in every single day. If we did everything differently then, their system would change overnight. That, knowledge of the ability to change as an individual, as a community, as a global community, I think that is something that we need to attach to and be empowered by. Empowering people that have whatever it is, chronic fatigue or other labels [inaudible 01:04:39]. Most common things that so many people are experiencing; dysfunction that shouldn’t be there. 

I believe that it can be undone but, it starts with empowerment. Basically the same steps, the same steps are going to be what gets you out of chronic fatigue but, they’re also going to be the things that take you to a lead performance. It’s mind, diet, movement, and then some recovery stuff. They’re the 4 pillars of what we do and the 5th thing is community. You can’t be successful, you can’t be high achieving, you can’t be super healthy without community. Social isolation is the biggest [inaudible 01:05:10] for disease. We have huge amounts of social isolation in the modern system so, getting around people who are doing great things and who have energy is going to be … That’s who you are. 

The Jim Rohn quote, “You’re the product of the 5 people you spend most time with.” It’s true but, people don’t take it literally enough. You are who you spend time with. If you want to get stronger, just spend time with strong people. Spend all day with them; I guarantee you you’re going to get stronger. You go and train in the gym where people are breaking world records, you may not break world record but, you’re going to be ridiculously ahead of the guy who’s training at a globo gym.

Stu:That’s right, yeah.

Keegan:Decide who you want to be and then go spend time with those guys.

Guy:It’s massive.

Stu:It’s proximity, isn’t it?

Guy:We’ve often spoke about that, haven’t we? From when we started 180, it’s like, “We  got to be around people that are going to inspire us and make us raise our bar over the years.” [01:06:00]

Keegan:Now the podcast has given you the chance to link up with so many great people and I’m really happy to join your list of guys. I love hanging out with you guys because you are these people. You’re the people who are doing something to make a difference in the world, you’ve got a business, you’re trying to fill in all the pieces of the puzzle; spiritually, physically … Great. Getting a great product out there. That’s who I want to be so, spending time with you is success for me. That’s progress, that’s what I want to be.

Guy:I appreciate it, Keegan.

Stu:That’s awesome. 

Guy:Mate, we have certain questions we ask everyone on the show before we wrap up. The first one you kind of answered, which was what did you eat yesterday? Which was …

Stu:It was nothing, was it?

Keegan:I had some charcoal, I had some clay, I had some tea. Tea is still in there for me.

Stu:What sort of tea did you have?

Keegan:-some level.

Stu:Green tea?

Keegan:I haven’t been having … I have had green [mate 01:06:53] tea twice. I like mate as well, [yerba mate 01:06:57] from Argentina but, yeah other ones as well, like ginger.

Guy: Can you explain the reason behind the charcoal? That’s just for people listening, just in case.

Keegan:Charcoal, activated charcoal draws out toxins. It had been used down the ages and it’s … It has an extremely high surface area to weight ratio, it’s a size ratio so, it’s gots lots of spaces for stuff to stick into. People with body odor and things like that will notice a difference with using charcoal. It’s used for flatulence, digestive issues but, when you’re detoxifying the cells are actually purging a lot of stuff that they want to get rid of. When you’re not bringing in protein, your cells will recycle any of the damaged proteins and get rid of them. I’ve also been having a sauna for half an hour. 40 to 50 degree heat to pull some more stuff out. Usually, you get headaches with that but using some things like the charcoal and the clay … I haven’t had headaches. Vitamin C and some antioxidant stuff.

Guy:How long you fasting for? [01:08:00]

Keegan:It’s been 3 and a half days now. I actually had a tea with a little bit of [inaudible 01:08:07] and a little bit of collagen just before I jumped on because I wanted to be at my best for this opportunity and I was really excited about it. It did seem to make me feel better. I was pretty weak and I think I’d have to go a bit longer to feel the buzz of fasting. It has felt good on and off but, just walking, walking around the block and walking up the stairs has been like, “Whoa, I’m pretty tired. I’m not doing it that well.” I think this is … My celebration from this will be having another tea like that. I’ll have some fat and protein over the next couple days. I did my ketogenic testing and I’m in the high range for ketones so, I think ‘ll stay in ketosis for a few more days.

Guy:Then introduce the foods back.

Stu:How do you test for ketones, Keegan? What method do you use?

Keegan:Ketonics device. If you go to Low Carb Down Under, they sell them on there. The breath one, there are urine and blood ones but, they’re very fiddly. They’re about 25 bucks so, not super cheap but-

Guy:Are they pretty accurate?

Keegan:The research is pretty good on them. That seems to be what a lot of the guys who love ketogenic life so …

Stu:[Jimmy More 01:09:20] is a big advocate for that one.

Keegan:Exactly. [crosstalk 01:09:25]

Guy:Okay. One other question. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Or to give?

Keegan:You are what you think about … You are what you think about. That’s the strongest thing. It’s all through the Bible, it’s all through the [inaudible 01:09:41], it’s all through … Every holy text you’re going to see, the Quran, you’re going to see it from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Tony Robbins, and all these guys; modern, ancient, they’re all saying … Make a decision, concentrate on what you want. Don’t concentrate on what you don’t want. [01:10:00] Interesting quote from [Bob Proctor 01:10:01] is that, “It’s between prayers that counts”, “Most people do their praying between prayers”, something like that.  You may pray, you may have that time of thinking, “I’m grateful and life’s good”, but in-between that is what’s going to be important as well. 

You need to be concentrating and doing the things that feed your mind, feed your spirit all through the day, and when you do that, when you set a focus, you can’t go wrong. If you look back at your life, I’m sure the things that you’ve focused on have happened. Almost everybody you talk about their day experience and you’re like, “What were you thinking about that time? What were you concentrating on?” When you have a bad breakup and whatnot, you just get stuck in that thought and you just stay on that though train and run it over, and over again and that becomes who you are for that period of time. Be careful what you wish for … That’s where we start. Think about what your best case scenario is, if you don’t have a best case scenario, where are you going to get to?

Guy:You’re kind of free-falling, right? Then, you don’t know where it’s going to go.

Keegan:People get jealous that I have a gym and that I have the resources to study under the world’s best people in whatever field I want to study; it’s a decision that I made. I wrote it down and I focused on it, and I’ve done steps towards it everyday for a number of years. If you haven’t done that then, don’t be jealous. Another great quote is, “Envy is ignorance” from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Don’t be envious, just go and get it done. Put your own drink down, don’t follow someone else’s dream but, make a decision and from there it’s going to be a better life. 

Guy:Great answer, mate. Perfect.

Stu:Wise words.

Guy:Yeah. I’m a huge believer in that. What’s the future hold, mate? Got anything exciting coming up over the next year, 2016?

Keegan:All the stuff I’m doing is really exciting for me. I’m going to present in Spain, an island in France later in the year. [01:12:00] By [inaudible 01:12:01] so, I’m really excited about doing things again. I went over there last year but, bigger and better this year. I’m bringing over {Mitch Bike 01:12:07], who’s one of the coaches who I’ve been working with for almost 2 years, a year and a half. He’s going to come over and present with me, which is another step in the chapter; having guys who are ready to have an impact, and who I really like learning from. That’s really exciting for me. Going towards [inaudible 01:12:26] and Fiji, having a facility in Australia to invite people into to experience the things that we do. That’s really what I’m excited about in 2016. Who knows what else is in store for me but, I know where I’m going to so, things are going to keep opening up to make that happen. 

Guy:Yeah, mate thats amazing, that’s exciting. Last question, Keegan Smith, where do they go to find you? You’ve got a couple websites?

Keegan:Yeah, realmovementproject.com is the best one. I used to work out of coachkeegan.com and it’s still got some stuff on there but I don’t use it too much anymore. Realmovementproject.com, Real MOVEMENT Project on Facebook, or coach Keegan on Facebook. Real MOVEMENT on [Insta 01:13:14].

Guy:Instagram I was going to say. If they want to see what I’m seeing everyday with you doing all these great feats of gymnastic abilities, that’s be on the Real MOVEMENT Instagram?

Keegan:There’s Real MOVEMENT [inaudible 01:13:25] and Keegan Smith is the one that I’ve had initially, that one’s almost up to 20,000 so, still keep [inaudible 01:13:31] that one along. Real MOVEMENT is catching up though, and that’s good to see as well. We have a summary of what I believe in because people say, “How can I start?” Not necessarily ready  to come an do an internship or whatever. I’ve written down 10 key principles that have been the things that have helped me change my life and helped me go from unhappy, unhealthy and having poor performance to somewhere close to the opposite of that. [01:14:00] 

I Choose Movement is a campaign that we’re running. It’s 10 key principles. Movement is part of that but a lot of it’s around other principles like, simplifying life and be careful of what information you bring into your mind, and how you’re exposing yourself, too. It’s the holistic thing, it’s what I think of being the most valuable for me to improve the quality of my life so, pillars of what I teach. That would be a great place if someone feels excited about some of the things they’ve heard today. That would be a good next step to build some momentum and really become who they want to become. 

Guy:Mate, that was amazing. We’ll link to all the show notes anyway on our 180 website so, they’ll be there is people are listening to them … come from there. Mate, thanks so much for your time, Keegan. That was phenomenal.

Keegan:Great speech. Really appreciate it.

Stu:Really excited about showing this because there’s some absolute gems of information there and I would people to connect with you because you’ve got a wealth of knowledge. Thank you again.

Keegan:Awesome thank you guys.

Guy: Thanks, Keegan.

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Food Courts: Avoid Sneaky Tactics & Learn How to Navigate the Lunch Menus

The above video is 3:34 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy: I’m sure we can all relate to this… You’re starving hungry, you have no food and you’re stuck in an airport or the city and all you have to choose from is the food court! With a few tweaks and a bit of insider knowledge, you’ll be amazed at what meal you can whip up to get you out of trouble. The key is to know what NOT to eat in this situation.

I have to admit, I was SHOCKED to find out what some of the cafe owners get up to in the pursuit of making their food tasty. But with the nuggets of info’ in this weeks 2 minute gem above you can easily avoid the pitfalls of the food courts and make better meal choices…

Josh Sparks Thrive

Today we welcome entrepreneur, health and fitness enthusiast and top bloke Josh Sparks. Josh is the founder of the hugely successful Thr1ve cafe/restaurant chain, which can be found in most CBD food courts. In a nutshell they make real food, real fast, and it is a place I actively seek out to dine at when I’m in the neighbourhood.

Stu and I had a huge amount of fun with this podcast as we tap into Josh’s wealth of experience when it comes to the food industry, his own personal journey and paleo discoveries and how he stays on top of his own health with his very hectic lifestyle!

Trust me, after listening to this podcast you will be inspired to take action on whatever your own goals or endeavours are :)

Full Interview: Life’s Lessons to Look Feel Perform & Thrive

In This Episode:

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

  • The biggest lessons he’s learned since cleaning up his diet
  • How to navigate your way around a food court to make healthy choices
  • His daily routines and how he stays in great shape!
  • Why he enjoys being bad at meditation
  • What stress and your life’s purpose have in common
  • Josh’s favourite & most influential books:
    Antifragile by  Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    - Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
    - All books by Tim Ferriss
    - Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
    - All things by Tony Robbins
  • And much much more…

Get More Of Josh Sparks & Thrive:

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Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions. I’ve been very much looking forward to today’s guest, because it’s safe to say he is a entrepreneur, but not only that, a very healthy one.

You know, from myself and Stu’s experience in developing and running 180, it’s all well and good us doing podcasts, creating posts, developing new products and all the rest of it. But it can become very stressful and we have to look after our own health at the same time and it can actually be very challenging sometimes.

So, I was very keen to pick today’s guest’s brains, because he does a very good job of that. His name is Josh Sparks and he is the founder of the THR1VE cafeteria chain here in Australia.

Now, if you’re not aware of the THR1VE cafeteria chain, in a nutshell, they do real food, real fast. And if you’re in most CBDs in Australia you can go into a THR1VE café and actually have a really great meal. It’s one of the places that I will seek out and find when I’m in the city, no matter which one it is here in Australia.

You know, Josh’s background; it’s basically 14 years in high-growth leadership roles as CEO in the fashion industry, mainly, of sass & bide, managing director from Urban Outfitters and CEO of Thom Browne in New York, as well.

Whopping amounts of experience, but then he’s gone and taken that and started to develop his own cafeteria chain, which is what we talked to him about today.

He says now he’s been eating, moves and recovers according to the ancestral health principles now for all the last five years and he’s probably fitter and stronger than he was 20 years ago. More importantly what he does stress as well is that his blood markers of health were improved dramatically as well.

So, Josh was consistently astounded, you could say, by the lack of authentic healthy dinning in top areas within the CBDs. So, he helped and did something about it and has created a very, very successful brand about it.

We get to talk about all them things. His own health journey and even what goes on in the food courts, which there were some things he said in there that is quite shocking what can go on.

So, we delve into all of them things, which is fantastic. So, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy.

Now, last but not least, you may be aware that we are, yes, we are live in the USA. So, for all you guys in America that are listening to this podcast, 180 Super Food, you can get your hands on it. You just need to go to 180nutrition.com.

If you’re unsure what it really is; I always tell people it’s a convenient way to replace bad foods, really quickly. So, I generally have a smoothie; I can mix it with a bit of water or coconut water, if I’ve been training, some berries and I normally put a bit of avocado and I make a smoothie. Especially if I’m out and about, going into meetings in the city or whatever and I know I’m stretched from time I will make a big liter of it and sip on it and it gets me through to my next meal.

So, yeah, you can do that. Go over to 180nutrition.com and check it out.

Anyway, let’s go over to Josh and enjoy today’s show. Thanks.

Guy Lawrence: All right. I always get this little turn every time. Anyway …

Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hey, Stewie!

Stuart Cooke: Hello, buddy.

Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Josh Sparks. Josh, welcome to the show.

Josh Sparks: Thanks guys. Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: Now, look, very excited, mate. I think today’s topics are going to be great. We’re going to certainly want to cover a few things, especially like bringing Mr. Paleo Primal himself over, Mark Sisson, earlier in the year for the THR1VE symposium; which was awesome, by the way.

Josh Sparks: Oh, great.

Guy Lawrence: And of course the THR1VE brand itself and how you’ve taken the food courts kind of head on with the THR1VE cafeteria chain. So, there’ll be lots to discuss, mate, so, very much looking forward to it.

Josh Sparks: I’m excited to be here.

Guy Lawrence: So, before all that, we get into those subjects, what did you used to do before you got in the health industry?

Josh Sparks: Before I did THR1VE?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: So, my journey has been a fairly interesting one. I studied law and I worked very briefly in mergers and acquisitions law and decided, as I think many young lawyers do, that law school is not the same as being a lawyer and got out of that fairly promptly.

And then for the bulk of my career, the last 15 years prior to THR1VE, I was in various fashion businesses. So, all retail, I guess THR1VE is a retail, but fashion and lifestyle focus, never food.

So, I was the first CEO of sass & bide, which is an Australian women’s label that some of your listeners may be familiar with. And then I moved to the U.S. and became the CEO of Thom Browne of New York, which is a men’s line in New York. And then I moved to Philadelphia and ran the ecommerce business at Anthropologie, which is part of the Urban Outfitters group.

So, all fashion; tons of fun. You know, the really interesting thing about fashion and I think how it relates to what you guys are doing, and what I’m doing, what any of us are trying to strike out on our own and create a brand is that within the fashion industry what you’re really doing is storytelling. You’re building brands around what is otherwise largely a commodity product. The $30 jeans use the same denim as the $200 jeans.

So, it’s really about the creativity you can bring to the design and the creativity you can bring to the storytelling to really set it apart. So, I think that that’s what I loved about the fashion industry.

On the flip side my personal passion, really my whole life, has been around health and wellness. Every since I was a high school and college athlete, I’ve always been particularly interested in the intersection of training modalities, training methodologies and nutrition and how to best support each and really ultimately the synergy between the two.

But as I got older, while I was doing all this fashion stuff, I think I experienced what so many of us do and I started to … my body wasn’t responding quite the way I wanted and my thinking that you could steer the ship through exercise started to be challenged by the evidence that confronted me in the mirror every morning and on the scales and in the gym and I just wasn’t performing or looking or feeling quite as I did.

So, I started to explore the nutrition side much more actively. Until then, I think like a lot of guys in their 20s and early 30s, it’s much more about training for a while, or at least it was for me and perhaps my generation.

But as I started to explore nutrition, like you guys and like so many in our community, I discovered ancestral health templates. So the Paleo, the Primal, the Weston A Price and started to experiment with reducing processed foods. I mean, it sounds crazy now that this was an experiment, but reducing processed foods, reducing our processed carbs in particular, amping up the veggies. It’s just so incredibly obvious now, but at the time it was a revelation.

So, as I was professionally developing the skill set around branding and marketing and communications and running businesses here and in the U.S., personally I was having this journey of discovery, this very exciting revelation around what we eat and how profoundly it impacts how we feel and perform, whether it’s physically in the gym or whether it’s mentally and emotionally at work, in our relationships, or whatever.

So, it’s really … I guess I just had this light bulb moment of, “How do I connect the two?” This professional experience that I’ve had, what I’ve loved, around the fashion industry with what is a much deeper personal passion to me than the fashion space and that is health and wellness.

And to cut a very long story short, that’s how I came to develop the idea for THR1VE.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. How long ago was that, Josh?

Josh Sparks: So, I moved back from the U.S. in 2011 and I started working on … I came back and I was consulting in the fashion space here in Australia, in Sydney and Melbourne to Just Group and Gisele and M. J. Bale and a bunch of different brands. And I was doing that really to save money to do my own thing, to do my own brand.

So, I started working on business plans for THR1VE. It would be unrecognizable to you, knowing THR1VE today. My first two business plans were terrible and it was going to be a one-off restaurant. Then it was going to be a home delivery meal system. Then it was going to be a supplement line and then it was going to be … and I didn’t know what I was doing and I was so all over the place. And then I really came back to focus on what I know and love best, which is this premium consumer retail, effectively.

Which in Australia, for food, that is either food courts or one-off cafes and restaurants, and I decided I didn’t want to do a one-off for a number of reasons. But probably most importantly, I wanted to reach as many people as possible. And the café and restaurant scene in Australia is pretty good. You can get some really healthy, yummy meals in a whole bunch of cafes and restaurants in Australia. Even in small town Australia now, you can get some pretty good food in cafes and restaurants.

But the food court, whether it’s in a mall or in an airport or strip retail, you know, a cluster of food outlets in strip retail. Pretty average. Predominately processed, 70 to 80 percent carbohydrates. You know, you walk into a food court; it’s just all carbs. All processed carbs. You know, its bread and pasta and sugar and all sorts of stuff that we know we could probably benefit from eating a lot less of.

So, I saw it as the area of greatest opportunity and the area of greatest need and thus THR1VE became, through multiple business plans, a food court focused retail offer.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: How long did that process take, Josh, just thinking from your sketches to the day of opening?

Josh Sparks: Yeah, it took a little while, Stu. So, late 2011 I was really actively working on it. I had registered the name and I had settled on broadly what I wanted to do. But we didn’t open the first store until late 2012. So, it was over a year of very focused work here where I settled on THR1VE. I settled on the fact that it was going to be a retail location and I was out talking to landlords and prior to that … I mean, I started working on a business along these lines probably about seven or eight years ago, when I first read Loren Cordain’s stuff.

But that was when I was still in the U.S., I was in Philly, and at that point I was thinking about doing a sort of gym and café combo, where it was going to be a sort of a high-end personal training only gym with sort of a café/restaurant attached to it. Which sounds great, but I never would have been able to pull it off, because I’m not a PT. It just was doomed to go nowhere.

So, how long did it take to really take shape? It took years and years and years of very focused work around the idea of THR1VE as vaguely recognizable as it is today. I was a good 12 months of just hitting the pavement and talking to landlords and pitching it to staff. I mean, no one wanted to know about it. I had a huge amount of difficulty convincing a landlord to give me a location.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Stuart Cooke: Really?

Josh Sparks: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Why do you think that is? Just the whole idea?

Josh Sparks: It’s very easy for us to forget that even in 2011, late 2011 when I first started talking to landlords, no one had heard of paleo or primal. I mean, there wasn’t … it was … the subject; we were so niche. I mean, it was a very small subset of the market and I probably still at that point was being a little bit purest about it as well.

So, when I was talking to landlords, I was probably sounding a little evangelical and a little dogmatic and probably a little bit crazy. And so, I kept having this look, “You know, you seem to have done OK with these fashion brands and you had a bit of success and maybe you should stick to that.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: “And I don’t know if food court really wants healthy food.”

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Josh Sparks: “And we’ve got salads. So, what else do we need?”

Stuart Cooke: Sure.

Josh Sparks: And, “Yeah, we’ve got a Japanese operator. So we’ve got health covered.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Josh Sparks: It was these sorts of conversations. I think it was, even just three or four years ago it was considered a bit ahead of its time and in branding, any sort of branding, whether it’s fashion, whether it’s lifestyle, whether it’s automotive, whether it’s what you guys do. Whatever it is, you want to be ahead enough of the curve to capture some mind shares, some early mind shares. At the same time it’s very easy to go broke if you’re too far ahead of the curve.

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And it’s just finding that sweet spot and the feedback I was getting landlords was that I was to far ahead of the curve.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Josh Sparks: And my sense was not at all. This is; we’re at a the tipping point here. This is going to go mainstream in the next couple of years. And it might not be called paleo and it might not be called primal. It might not be call ancestral health. It might not be called THR1VE. But this way of eating, this awareness of just how profound the impact is on how you look, feel, and perform when you eat differently, that’s right at the tipping point. You know, the obesity levels and the Type 2 diabetes level and the fact that Medicare is publicly funded and it’s just unaffordable for us to continue to pay for bad lifestyle choices. Whether it’s smoking or whether it’s excess sugar. So, I felt that we were just at a bit of a tipping point, but it was very challenging to convince people around me, whether they were landlords or investors or potential employees, that I wasn’t completely crazy.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I’m curious, right? Just a thought came in, because I’m always fascinated by everyone’s journeys, was it a particular niche; tipping point or something that happened in your own life? Because I know you’re saying that you were starting to put on weight and things like that, but was there an “aha” moment where you’ve got to go, “Right. I’m going to cut out the process foods. I’m going to change my lifestyle.”

Josh Sparks: So, I think, there’s two. For me personally it was recognizing that I just, I wasn’t happy. And it started off for me with a sense of, you know, emotional well-being suffering.

And it wasn’t so much, because I didn’t get huge, I’m naturally pretty skinny and even when I … I sort of the skinny fat guy. If I’m out of shape, I get skinny-fat. Like, I don’t get a huge gut.

I just don’t … I lose tone. I lose strength. I lose all those physical markers of health, the objective physical markers of health.

This was more subjective to answer your question, Guy. I just wasn’t feeling great.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Josh Sparks: And so, it led me to an exploration, “Look, am I drinking too much? Is it something I’m allergic to? Is there something in my diet that’s problematic?”

I stopped drinking completely. I cut out sugar. I started cutting out processed foods. That led me on a journey around fat. I started upping my Omega-3 intake.

But all those things really started for me around a sense of emotional health, not being as good as it could be. I wasn’t depressed. It wasn’t that acute. I just didn’t feel great anymore and I was used to feeling so motivated and so energetic. It was really sad to think, “God, is this aging? Is this normal? Am I meant to feel this way?”

Stuart Cooke: It just sounds like you weren’t thriving, Josh.

Josh Sparks: Thank you very much. I’m glad we got that in there. It’s very fine of you.

Guy Lawrence: So, back to THR1VE, right? And I really want to put this question: like, how would compete against now, like the Subways of this world? Because they’ve got “healthy food” marketing, that’s getting bombarded and the food court’s littered with it.

Josh Sparks: Yeah. Look, I think it’s a really great question. So, there’s two things. One: I think the use of the word “health” is becoming as ubiquitous as the use of the word “green” was about 10 years ago. You know, like, Chevron and Shell were running ads about how “green” they were. It’s like, “OK. Where are we on this ‘green’ thing?” And I think we’re in the same place with everyone’s claiming to be “healthy.”

So, first of all I think there is … that that’s going to lead to a certain level of backlash and I think consumers are already starting to become aware that they’re being hoodwinked with marketing. And great marketers are really good at what they are doing.

So, there’s health messages that are overt and there’s a whole bunch that are much more subtle and nuanced, but they’re rife throughout the food industry; whether it’s retail or wholesale or supermarket, wherever.

So, I think there’s going to be a little bit of a backlash and a little bit of growing skepticism, which I’m hoping will lead to my next point, which is: ask the follow-up questions.

So, yeah, I think whether it’s the press or whether it’s us as consumers, we’re terrible at asking the follow-up questions.

“So, great. You’re healthy.” What is healthy? Define healthy to me? You know, what is your paradigm of health? What protocol do you subscribe to? And that can lead to some really interesting conservations, because we see … I used to go … I read this and I must admit that I read this in a Playboy magazine, which I was reading for the articles when I was about 28 or 29 or so …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Josh Sparks: And it was the first time I’d ever read about Paul Chek. It was actually an interview with Paul Chek in Playboy, of all places. And Paul Chek was talking about the fact that he’d been interviewed on TV and he got into this head-to-head around diet with a, I guess what we’ll call a conventional dietitian or a nutritionist who was stuck on the U.S. food pyramid, which is very similar to our recommendations.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Josh Sparks: Anyway, he obviously lost patient with the process at some point and he said, “Listen, do you subscribe to … everything you just espoused, your so-called philosophy of eating, do you subscribe to this a hundred percent in your own life?” And this guy’s, “Yeah. Absolutely.” And he’s like, “Great! Take off your shirt and I’ll take off my shirt.”

And it was just this kind of moment of: OK. So, if this is really working for you, do you look, feel and perform exactly how you want? And if you do, well, let’s see it. Come on. Let’s get this on.

And I thought, OK, it’s a little bit crass. I don’t think it would work on Australian TV. But at the same time I really respected the kind of cut through the B.S.

If you claim to be healthy, give us a sense of what that actually means and hopefully you’ve thought about it enough to have some kind of protocol, some kind of framework that you’re working within. And then is it working for you? And give us some sense of that. You know, “I came from here to here; it’s backed up by bloodwork.” Or, you know, I’ve lost a ton of weight and I know it’s fat, it’s not water or muscle because I did a DEXA scan before and after.

Give us some evidence, you know. Not this kind of fluffy, “healthy” thing.

Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting that you say that, because I worked as a PT for a long time and I would do … I must have … no exaggeration, sat in from the thousand of people, right? Doing consultations and the first thing I would do was ask them, “Do you eat healthy?” I mean, we do that even with our clean eating workshops we’ve been doing with CrossFit, right?

Josh Sparks: Right.

Guy Lawrence: And nine times out of 10 they, go, “Well, yeah. Yeah, I eat pretty healthy.” I go, “Great. Let’s write down what you just ate for the last 48 hours.” Right?

Josh Sparks: Right.

Guy Lawrence: And then once they start doing that there’s two things that generally happen. One: they actually, genuinely think they they’re eating healthy, but I look at it and go, “Oh shit. That’s not healthy.”

Josh Sparks: Yeah. You might have something there.

Guy Lawrence: Or two: they’ve just sort of been in denial. They go, “OK. Maybe I could improve a little bit.” and stuff like that. When you get down to that detail, but we just don’t. It’s human nature.

Josh Sparks: It is human nature. There’s a great stat where I counted it as 92 or 93 percent of male drivers think they’re better than average. So, it’s like, we are great at doing nothing. We are great at deluding ourselves, right?

So, when you have an objective check, someone like you, when you’re sitting in front of them and you’re forcing them to actually go through it, there’s nothing more powerful than documenting a food diary or training log, you know, “Because I’m training hard.” and you kind of look back at what actually you know, “I’m been a complete wuss.”

And it’s the same thing with a food diary. We don’t encourage things like obsessive diarization or cataloging or counting calories or measuring food. We don’t focus on that at all.

But the point that you just made, a point in time gut check, no pun intended, on “How am I eating?” and “Is this truly healthy,” and “Do you even know what healthy is?” And then engaging with the right kind of advices to give you some options and some alternatives.

And so, I think for me, whether you … whatever you call it: paleo, primal, ancestral health, whatever, I’m not really stuck on the labels. In fact, I think the labels can be extremely damaging because we can get a little bit dogmatic around that.

So, setting aside this specific label, what I want to know is whoever is claiming to provide their customers with healthy food and their customers are trusting them. I mean, that’s a relationship of mutual trust and confidence. It’s an important relationship. It should be respected.

Are they lying to them? Or have they actually put some energy into documenting what they believe and have some evidence to back it up? And then have they … again, another follow-up question … have they audited their supply chain? Is there sugar being snuck in the products? Are there bad oils being snuck in the products?

You know if you go around the food court, you would be staggered by … the Japanese operators add processed sugar to the rice. Many of the Mexican operators, not all of them, but many of the Mexican operators add table sugar to their rice.

Now, why do they do that? Because they tested it with customers and surprise, surprise, customers preferred the rice with sugar.

Stuart Cooke: Right. Yeah.

Josh Sparks: So, it’s great that we’re talking about health. I mean, on the one hand, let’s be positive and celebrate the fact that at least it’s a topic of conversation in the food court, which five, 10 years ago, you know, not so much. Certainly 10 years ago.

On the flip side, now that we’re talking about it, let’s have an intelligent conversation about it and let’s ask a couple of follow-up questions. And then we can make an informed decision where your version of health, Mr. Vegan, is right for me or not right for me. And your version, Mr. Salad Man, is right for me or not right for me.

So, that’s what we’re trying to encourage at THR1VE. You take that discussion further.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Awesome.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. Well, first up Guy, I think, it’s only right that we perform these podcasts in the future without our tops on. OK? That’s a given. We’re going to do that. It won’t start today.

So, just thinking, Josh, if you can’t access, you know, THR1VE in the food courts around here, how would you navigate the food courts? And I’m just thinking in terms of our customers who might think, “Well, sushi is the best option out there.” When we’re looking at the likes of the Chinese and the kabobs, and the McDonald’s and all the other kind of footlong gluten rolls or whatever they are. What do you do?

Josh Sparks: Footlong gluten roll.

Stuart Cooke: I’ve just sold it. I used to work in marketing don’t you know.

Josh Sparks: That’s a marketing winner, I reckon.

Stuart Cooke: No one’s thought of it.

Josh Sparks: It’s a really good question and I think that, I mean, we’ve got six stores, we’ll have nine or 10 opened in another nine or 12 months. So, we are not everywhere, sadly. In fact, if you go Australia-wide, there’s not enough places where you can find THR1VE or something like THR1VE.

So, to answer your question, I think you’ve got a few options. You’ve got … most salad operators will have a range of salads that don’t include the added pasta and the added grains. And I’m not terribly concerned about gluten-free grains as long as I know that … you know, it’s such a difficult question to answer diplomatically, but I’ll give you a version.

So, most salad places will have something for you. Most of the proteins in the less expensive salad joints are not … they’re reprocessed proteins. So, they’re reconstructed proteins.

So, they’re by no means great and there tends to be sugar and gluten snuck into those products. It gives them better form and it gives them better preservation and what not. But it’s not going to kill you, once in a while.

With respect to the Japanese operators, if you go for sashimi you’re pretty safe. Be conscious with the rice, as I mentioned before. But again, I’m not anti-rice by any stretch, but I don’t want table sugar added to my rice. So, I probably tend to avoid it in most of the Japanese operators. Unless they can tell me, and I believe them, that they’re not adding sugar to their rice. But that’s sticky rice. Traditionally prepared, they don’t use sugar. They use a specific kind of rice. But in most food operators there is sugar added to it.

Mexican operators, if you go without the bread, without the corn chips, without the processed carbs. And again, I’m persuaded that lentils are not the end of the world and beans aren’t the end of the world.

I’ve read a whole bunch of interesting stuff on that recently, particularly after Mark Sisson came out at the THR1VE Me Conference in March and said that he was reading a lot of evidence that legumes in small amounts occasionally can actually be beneficial to gut flora and so on and so forth.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.

Josh Sparks: So, Mexican operators, if you go for kind of the beans and the guac and the salsa and the meats, maybe skip the rice if you’re having the beans. You probably don’t need a double hit. But maybe you do, if you just worked out.

So, what I do is I look those operators with brands that I trust. I prefer to feel that there’s some integrity in the supply chain. And to a certain extent I find, and it’s a terrible term, but the idea that it’s reassuringly expensive is not always true, but if you go to some of those really sort of dirty café, you know, greasy spoon type operators and you can get a bacon and egg roll for three bucks. Not that I have the roll anyway. But you can pretty well be sure that that bacon and that egg is not going to live up to your standards. It’s probably not the sort that you would have at home.

So, I prefer probably going to the more premium ends of the operators in the food court. Taking my; you mentioned the kebob operator, so in a pinch you can get on a plate, you can get the meat and you can get the salad and you can ask for extra salad, now I normally put some avocado on it and just skip the bread.

Now, I wouldn’t do that unless there was no alternative. But I think that’s a hell of a lot better than having a burger or a XX 0:26:09.000 dirty pieXX or whatever.

So, I think it’s more about … for me the simple rule is, it’s more about what you take out and if you can remove the processed sugars and the processed carbs as much as possible, then you’re going to be left with something that is relatively benign, if you are indulging in it occasionally.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Josh Sparks: If you’re having it every day, then you’ve probably got to take it a little bit further and say, “Well, if this is processed chicken, what did they process it with? If this is reconstructed chicken, what else did they put into it? What oils have they used in this salad dressing? What oils do they cook in?”

But you’re getting down to some lower dimension returns on that stuff. It makes a ton of sense if you’re doing it every day. So, if you’re doing it every meal, but if you’re doing it once every two weeks because you’re stuck in an airport and you’ve got no alternative, I would say don’t sweat it.

Guy Lawrence: A hundred percent. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly.

Josh Sparks: There’s also all that stuff about hermetic stressors right? Which I’m just fascinated by and the idea that you can go too clean and all the stuff that Robb Wolf has done around Special Forces.

They go back to base. They eat 100 percent strictly extremely clean, because they’re allowed to. And they’re cooking for themselves and they’re eating off-base. They’re not eating in the cafeteria, etc., etc.

They then go on to deployment and they’ve got to eat these MRAs that are just horrendous. Because they’re packaged for stability and shelf life, not for the kind of nutritional profile that we would look for. And these guys are getting really sick for the first two days on deployment. And if you’re sent out on some sort of Special Forces mission, you don’t want to spend two days over the toilet when you just landed in enemy territory or whatever.

So, the idea is to … I think, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence. And don’t sweat the occasional toxin, you know, in strict sort of paleo/primal sense. But eat clean as much as you can. And then don’t worry about it too much. If you find yourself stuck eating a salad that’s probably used vegetable oil and they’ve added sugar to the dressing, I say don’t sweat it too much.

Stuart Cooke: I think so and also you can switch on stress hormones by sweating it too much.

Josh Sparks: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: And seriously that can be just as harmful as the food that you eat.

Josh Sparks: That’s so true.

Guy Lawrence: Do you … you talked about the other cafes and food courts, right? And their owners putting sugar in the rice and they’re using different oils. Do you think they’re even aware that they’re doing things that could be damaging to health? Or do you think it just not even on their radar and it’s just purely business perspective and they just think they’re doing the right thing?

Josh Sparks: Yeah. It’s a really good question. I don’t think … I don’t think … I would love to think that there is no malice involved.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: You know, I think it is a genuine desire to please customers and maximize sales. And most of these guys, certainly the big brands, have done blind taste testing and they know that customers prefer high sugar.

Now, the customer doesn’t know that rice “A” has no sugar and therefore is going to taste very bland on its own and rice “B” has added sugar. They just know that rice “B” tastes a whole lot better and, “I’m not quite sure why, but it’s great!”

So, I think they’re doing this testing and it’s revealing that there’s a certain level of sugar … these days we’re so detuned; our tastes is so detuned to sugar now, because it’s everywhere, Certain level of sugar is almost necessary, particularly if the food is otherwise rather bland.

And then in terms of oil, I mean, we spend a fortune on oils. Oils for most of our competitors are … it’s a rounding item. They’re getting 20 liters for $8 or less. Fifteen liters for $15 and these are industrial oils that are mass produced and, we know, problematic for a whole bunch reasons.

So, that’s not a taste issue. Because the average consumer, once its mixed up and it’s cooked and it’s got a sauce on it on and a side, you can’t tell whether it’s canola oil or whether its macadamia oil at that point. Most of us can’t, you know. The truth is, we just can’t tell.

However, my competitors have got an extra 4 percent in gross margin, because they spent a lot less on oil.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

So, I think that there’s two decisions being made here. One is around taste and the other one is around the economics.

Australia’s such a high-cost market for what we do and our rents are near world highest. Our food costs a near world highest. And our hourly rates are the highest in the world for causal workers.

So, there’s a real scramble on to work out, well, how do we make this thing profitable? And when you’ve got something like oil costing 10 times as much, it’s an easy decision I think for a lot of operators. But I don’t think it’s malice. I think it’s pleasing customers and survival.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.. I wonder if they’re actually, genuinely aware. It’s the brands I get frustrated with, because obviously, like you said, the paleo movement and primal and health are more on people’s radars now and we’re seeing more health brands coming onto the market. But then I’m looking at what they’re selling and I’m like, “ugh!” They’re just, they know they aren’t doing the right thing right here.

Josh Sparks: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That’s where it can get frustrating.

Josh Sparks: It is frustrating and I think, you know, on the flip side I guess, Guy, it’s capitalism, right? And that is what a large percentage of the market wants.

It’s like McDonald’s, when they first started doing salads, they don’t sell any salads, it just makes you feel better about walking into McDonald’s. So, you’ll tell your friends that you went to get the salad, but they end up buying a cheeseburger.

So, I think that there is … most people think that they want health, until they’re given the choice at the counter.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: And so, some of our competitors feel, competitors broadly defined, have a really good salad offer, for example, but they also do sandwiches on this incredibly thick ciabatta bread. It ends up being about 70 percent processed carbohydrates.

And you see it all the time. Like, people get up to the counter and that thing being toasted, that sandwich being toasted that smells amazing or you can have the healthy salad and willpower seems to come off.

So, I think there’s always going to be a percentage of the market that says they want to be healthy but don’t really mean it. But what we’re trying to do is encourage those that say they want to be healthy and actually, genuinely want to be healthy and are prepared to make decisions on that basis. We want to give them something that they trust that there’s been real effort into creating a meal and auditing the supply change around it.

Stuart Cooke: Got it.

Josh Sparks: But it is frustrating for us, because we’re being undercut by … you know, we are not the cheapest source of calories in the food court. We don’t use the processed crappy food that is cheap. Processed carbs are cheap, right?

Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.

Josh Sparks: So, it’s frustrating for us when someone slaps a whole bunch of nice images of seasonal food across a poster and splashes: “This season’s local produce. Healthy this. Healthy that.” And we know that 79/80 percent of their salad is processed food.

It is frustrating, but at the same time I think it fires us up. Like it makes us … it puts a bit of fire in our belly, because it means that we’ve got to get smarter about how we’re communicating. That not only are we healthy, but there is a follow-up question and please ask us, because we’d love to tell you. We’re going to get smarter and smarter in that conversation.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant

Stuart Cooke: Excellent.

Now, when I was younger, much younger than I am now, going through college. I worked in England for a very large supermarket chain. And I used to do the evening shift. So, you know, we’d get rid of the customers and we’d tidy up and we’d attend to waste.

So, food wastage, it was unreal. Now, I’m talking big supermarket chain. So, it was Sainsbury’s. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with that brand.

Josh Sparks: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, I worked on the produce, the produce section, and occasionally the bakery. And every night we would just fill up probably three or four of these huge wheely bins of donuts and cakes and pies and pastries and all this kind of wonderful fruit, that just kind of past its cosmetic expiry date.

At the time, being a young guy, we used to eat donuts and you know, “You can eat a couple of donuts, guys, before you throw them.” And that was awesome, at the time. But it did open my eyes to: boy that is huge, huge, huge amounts of waste and on a global scale, as well.

Now, I was listening to a podcast the other day about food wastage with you guys and I thought you had some really neat policies. So, I wondered it you could share that with our audience, please.

Josh Sparks: Why sure. So, thanks for asking and I completely agree with you. It’s just I find it horrendous to think about the amount of waste.

So, what we do is twofold. One: we minimize what; we’re incredibly focused on developing systems and processes to minimize our waste. So, we’ve actually engaged a bunch of consultants and we’ve developed a system in-house that, they call them “build to’s” and this is all new to me, right? Because this is not fashion terminology.

So, there’s sort of “build to’s” each day in terms of the amount of stock that’s being prepared. And it’s based on a history of sales. Like-for-like sales.

So, Thursday’s today. What did we do last Thursday? What did we do Thursday before? It’s summer. It’s winter. It’s sunny. It’s not sunny. There’s a bunch of variables that we look at and really dial in what’s been what’s being prepped.

Typically that means we actually run out towards the end of the lunch rush and we’re normally open for another couple of hours beyond that. So, if that happens and that’s the ideal, after the lunch rush we actually prep to order. So, it means you order what takes takes two and a half to three minutes; that is our objective. It will take four to five minutes, but if you’re happy to wait that, you know, mid-afternoon, then it means that we don’t have any waste in those key products at all.

Now, having said that, we’re very rarely perfect, because the day’s never predictable and it’s extremely rare that we aren’t left with something in some ingredients.

So, we’ve got certain things right. We under cooked, we under cut some and then we did too much of others.

So, then we work with OzHarvest and they’re basically a group that collects food on a day-to-day basis, from a bunch of food operators actually, and provide them to the homeless.

So, our raw ingredients end up going into the raw ingredients for things like soup kitchens, to prepare their own food. And our prepped, ready-to-go food, is literally just given as a meal to the homeless.

You know, I had this very funny interaction not long ago, I guess it was about a year ago, in our store at Martin Place in Sydney, there used to … it’s not anymore, it’s just been refurbished … there used to be a little bench just outside the store.

I used to do all my meetings there, because we still don’t have an office, like I’m doing this from home, you know, we’re a small business. So, I was kind of using this as my desk. And I was meeting with my general manager and this guy came over, he was obviously homeless. I mean, he had an old sleeping bag around him. He had the big beard and the crazy hair. He looked like he was sleeping rough and he was clearly coming to me. Like he was making a beeline for me. Like, “What have I done to you?”

And so I’m sort of looking at him coming over and he goes, “Hey, hey, hey …” and I was wearing this THR1VE t-shirt … “Hey, are you Mr. THR1VE?” And I went, “Ah, I guess.” and he goes … am I allowed to swear on this podcast?

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Guy Lawrence: Yeah, go for it.

Josh Sparks: He goes, “I fucking love your food. It’s the best food.” Why that’s awesome!

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Josh Sparks: I said, “I’m glad you enjoy it. Come back anytime.”

And it was just one of those moments. Because what’s happens is he’s getting one of the meals that’s got the THR1VE branding on it, so he knew it was from us. It just made me realize that you kind of set up these relationships, but you’re not always sure that it makes it to the end user exactly how you anticipate it might. But that was just a nice little moment and I think what OzHarvest does is fantastic.

And these days we don’t do as much prepped foods as we used to. We used to do salads that we made just before lunch rush. So if you’re in a hurry, you point at it in the fridge and we’d give it to you and you’d be good to go. But we moved away from that, because we wanted to give customers more choice in terms of how they build up the bowl.

So, we don’t have the level of giveaways we used to. So, OzHarvest, unfortunately are not getting as much from us as they used to. But we still provide them with any waste that we do have at the end of the day.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Sounds fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: It’s still a fantastic initiative. And just so you know, we’ve got quite a large station wagon, so if you need a hand transporting any of that food wastage, we’ll happily fill up our car with that and drive into the sunset with that. Don’t worry about that. Just say the word.

Josh Sparks: I may take you up on that.

Guy Lawrence: Mate, just a quick question. If anyone is listening to this is new to, say, “clean eating” and they walked into your THR1VE café today and go, “Right. I want to order a dish.” What would you recommend them?

Josh Sparks: OK.

Guy Lawrence: Somebody starting out.

Josh Sparks: Great question. Great question. And should we define “clean eating?” Should we define …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go, yes.

Josh Sparks: So, for us; again the follow-up question thing; for us “clean eating” is about no processed foods. So, it’s no added sugar. No gluten-containing grains. It’s no chemicals, preservatives, etc., etc.

So, that’s how we define “clean eating.” It’s not strictly paleo. It’s not strictly primal. It’s certainly inspired by those protocols. But “clean eating” for us is about eliminating processed foods, added sugars, bad oils as well, and any gluten-containing grains. So, that’s how we define it.

So, what we typically do with someone who’s brand new to this way of eating or this way of living, we suggest something that is very familiar. And I have actually have this really strict brief that in our environment; a food court it’s not a niche healthy café in Bondi or XX0:40:19.000 Byron Bay or Neustadt, or the Mornington PeninsulaXX.

It is a high-traffic mainstream environment and we have to have food that sounds and looks familiar and comforting. We’ve just taken the effort of pulling out the bad stuff. So, most of our menu, I would say, hopefully would look and feel pretty approachable and unintimidating.

But our bestseller is our Lemon and Herb Pesto Chicken. Which is just a chicken breast that’s been butterflied, grilled. We make our own pesto. So, we use olive oil, we don’t add sugar to it, etc., etc. We do add a little Parmesan, because I’m not anal about dairy. So, it’s a really nice fresh pesto. We use roasted peppers.

And that will all sit on a bed of whatever veggies or gluten-free grains you want. But I’d suggest you do it on our zoodles, which are … literally it’s just a zucchini that’s been spiralized. It’s not cooked, it’s just … it looks like … it sort of looks like pasta, but it’s raw zucchini. It’s awesome.

Guy Lawrence: I love it.

Josh Sparks: And I do it a half zoodles base and then I’m really into a kind of seasonal grains thing at the moment, because like everyone, I feel like I’m not eating enough grains. So, I do half zoodles on the base, half seasonal grains and I do a side of avocado; maybe a side of broccoli. And depending on what you get, that’s going to cost you anything between, sort of, $12 and $16; depending on how hungry you are and how large each portion you want it to be.

So, that’s kind of a really nice, familiar lunch/dinner. It’s the kind of thing you would see on lots of café menus and lots of restaurant menus and lots of people make it at home.

So, I would recommend something pretty simple like that to start off with.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect. You’re making me hungry.

Stuart Cooke: I am very hungry as well. And good tip as well on your zoodle. Because I had always … well when I say “always,” I’ve experimented with zucchini pasta and for me I’ve always boiled ,,, I’ve kind of boiled it too long and always ended up with a really sloppy mess.

Josh Sparks: Right.

Stuart Cooke: And I’ve been really disappointed. I’m not looking forward to the next one. So, you just do that raw, do you?

Josh Sparks: We do it raw. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Josh Sparks: Because the other, I’m sure you guys read all the same research as well, when I talk about diversity of vegetables, most of us don’t have enough. And then in terms of diversity of preparation, most of us get stuck on a prep step. So, we like steaming or we like roasting or we like frying or whatever. Everything that I read suggests that we should have a mix of a whole huge variety of veggies and a huge variety of prep, including raw. And I realized outside of salad leaves and salad greens I never eat a lot of raw veggies.

So, it’s a way, and I don’t want to say the entire business is built around my selfish desire for raw veggies, but it seems like those zoodles were a good idea and they’re selling very well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Great. Well, they say variety is the spice of life, mate. That’s for sure.

Josh Sparks: Exactly. Exactly.

Stuart Cooke: That’s beautiful. That’s so deep, Guy. I’m really moved by that.

Guy Lawrence: He’s bagged me twice all ready on this podcast. I’m sure I’ll …

Stuart Cooke: I just can’t help it. Sorry. It’s the beard, the beard. Have you noticed he’s got a beard now?

Josh Sparks: He’s rocking it. It’s very masculine.

Guy Lawrence: It’s very hip, I reckon.

Stuart Cooke: He’s going ancestral.

Josh Sparks: And when he does go shirtless, it’s going to be sort of hipster meets paleo.

Guy Lawrence: Exactly. I’m getting in theme for this podcast. That’s all it was. It was for you, Josh. It was for you.

Stuart Cooke: Thanks a lot.

Josh Sparks: Thank you.

Stuart Cooke: So, I’m going to steal another question, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: Why not, you bagged me twice.

Stuart Cooke: So, paleo, Josh. So, paleo’s all over the media right now. It’s getting some great press. Good. Bad. Indifferent. Has this particular message affected you in any way?

Josh Sparks: Yeah, it has. So, I think that there’s two things I would say. First of all I think … further the point I made earlier, it’s great that paleo is even appearing in the press. Just like it’s great that health is now appearing in the food court and to the extent it’s inspiring a dialogue, and at times a well-researched and intelligent dialogue, then obviously I applaud it. I think that’s a fantastic thing.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Josh Sparks: On the flip side, because the media deals primarily in sound bites and research takes time and to give them their credit, they work in very short-form media these days, I mean, everything’s a Tweet, basically, in whatever format it’s coming.

I don’t think we’re getting the benefit of a lot of the nuance around what is paleo, what is primal, what’s ancestral health, and I think it’s as a subset of that, people tend to hang onto certain aspects of it that appear dogmatic or prescriptive and I think most people, me included, don’t like being told what to do.

So, I think the backlash that we’re seeing is a natural human response to the perception, you know, real or imagined, that we as a community are coming out and scolding and lecturing people and telling them how bad they are and how better they could be if only they were as purist as we are.

Now, I don’t work that way. I know you guys don’t work that way. But the perception is that we as a community are inflexible, we’re dogmatic and we’re prescriptive. And I think that’s something we need to be very, very focused on countering. Because the reality is, that as Mark Sisson keeps saying; as Robb Wolf keeps saying, as Chris Kresser keeps saying, there is no one paleolithic diet. It’s a template. It’s a template. And there are paleolithic communities that have nothing but meat, primarily fat and protein, there are paleolithic communities that have 16 to 17 percent from their carbs … 16 to 17 percent of their calories from carbs, now, ancient carbs, but carbs.

So, when we’re coming out and saying, for example, “paleo is low-carb,” not only is that historically completely inaccurate, it also fails to recognize that there’s a huge swath of population that are interested in paleo. And they run from skinny weightlifting boys through to, you know, obese Type 2 diabetes, syndrome “X” men and women in their 40s, people who train intensely with weights, people who like going for a walk; obviously completely different need for carbohydrate.

So, I think that it’s a great thing, but it’s a double-edged sword. I think it’s a great thing, but the over-simplification of it I think personally has definitely led to some rather challenging conversations between me and customers and me and the press.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: But also our business has taken … it took a knock when it was really intensely fervently being debated. We noticed that certainly salads and certain products came off. Thankfully they’ve gone back up again. But I think it’s a consequence of over-simplification and the perception of dogma, I think.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: So, this sort of conversation is what I love, because we can put it in its rightful context. Rather than saying, “paleo is this and paleo is that. And you’re not allowed to do this and you’re not allowed to do that.” Which just instantly gets people’s back up. And what you end up doing … I know it’s a long-winded answer … but what you end up doing in that sort of environment is preaching to the converted.

And if we got into this, because I know I did and I know you guys did, because we genuinely want to help other people, I mean, I certainly didn’t get into it for the money. I should have stayed in what I was doing instead. It’s a grand way to not make a lot of money. But we got into it because we genuinely want to help people.

Now, if that’s the belief and there’s real authenticity and integrity around that, we have to reach people that aren’t already converted and that are probably going to be a little bit resistant to the message. And to go back to my fashion days for a second, because it’s a stupid analogy, but I think you’ll understand what I mean.

You know, you have catwalk pieces that are gorgeous and expensive and no one really wears.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Josh Sparks: They end up on the backs of celebrities and they end up in magazines. But they attract attention and they spark interest. But they’re way too intimidating to the average consumer.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: So, the average consumer, you’ve got to provide a bridge and that bridge is something like a XX 0:48:22.000 t-shirt brand or a dinner brand or a swimwear brandXX or whatever. They come in; they experience the brand; they get excited about it and hopefully they work their way up the ladder.

Now, that may sound like a stupid analogy, but I think we’ve got to a certain extent a analogous situation here where we bombard people with the pointy end of the stick, you know, the last 5 percent, this is all we want to debate the first 95 percent.

If we had people just decide they wanted to step over that bridge with us and we soften the message just a little bit and say, “Look, if you’re not ready to give up bread and you show no signs whatsoever of gluten intolerance, well then, let’s try to get you on an organic salad XX 0:49:00.000 or oatsXX it’s naturally a lot lower in gluten, and let’s just start by giving up the sugar and giving up these horrible oils that you use for cooking and deep frying.”

And then notice some changes, and this is what Sarah Wilson done so brilliantly.

Guy Lawrence: She’s done brilliantly, yeah.

Josh Sparks: Start the journey with sugar. And that is naturally going to … you’re going to see profound change in how you look, feel and perform. And if you’re a curious person and you’re interested in furthering the journey, then you ask, “Well, what’s next and what’s next?”

The opposite is what I think some in our community are doing, which is coming out and saying, “You either do all of this or you do nothing.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: And if you don’t subscribe hook, line and sinker, to everything in this book or everything on this website or whatever, then you’re not worthy and you’re not truly one of us. And I think that is; that’s great if you’re trying to build a small club. It’s not great if you’re trying to change the world, because we need to bring as many people with us as we possibly can.

And just recognizing that not everyone is as ready for the hardcore message, softening it a little bit, I think you’re going to bring a lot more people with you and that’s going to have a much bigger impact.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, mate. Great answer, man. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more.

I’m just looking at the time. I’m aware that the time’s getting on, right? So, I want to just touch on a couple of questions and then we do some wrap-up questions to finish …

Josh Sparks: Cool.

Guy Lawrence: … which is always fun.

But, one thing that I was really intrigued to know and I just want to bring on the podcast. I think people listening to this might not appreciate the effort; almost you could say the entrepreneurship of what you do and stress and everything else that’s going on. You’re a busy boy. You’re doing wonderful things. You’re very successful. How do you keep that work/life balance? Any tips? Like, what do you do?

Josh Sparks: That’s a great question and I would say that … well, first of all I live with my Creative Director, so I’m romantically involved with my Creative Director, Steph, so I don’t know whether I’ve pulled off work/life balance rightly there. Truthfully, I mean, taking about THR1VE every night at dinner is not work /life balance.

But you know what we do, what Steph and I do, what we encourage everyone in the business to do, is make time to train. So there’s this … no matter what’s going on, it’s in the diary and I don’t train every day or anything like that. I train every second day. So it’s three or four times a week, depending on the week. That’s always locked in.

I try to get sun every day. Even if it’s a crappy day, I just sit outside for a while. You know, 10, 20 minutes over lunch.

I started meditating, which I am absolutely rubbish at. The whole “still the mind” thing, I don’t know if that’s ever going to be possible, but I kind of love that too, that I’m really rubbish at it and I’m getting better at it so slowly. It’s going to be a lifetime thing for me and I’ll probably still never get there. So, I’m finding that really helpful.

But in terms of … so you know Keegan, right?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: Keegan Smith, who we all know and love. I think the guy is genius in many ways. He’s got; he started to focus on one specific area, but I think he’s a very clever guy. And he said to me once; we were talking about stress and he sent me a follow-up note. And he said, “Look, I could tell you were really stressed. I can tell you’re really busy.”

And there was a point earlier on, I mean, not that it’s not stressful now, but it was early on, we were running out of cash. The stores weren’t yet profitable and there was a very real possibility that it just wasn’t going to work. We were selling food and we had a group of customers that loved us, but we just didn’t have enough of them.

And so, I remember meeting him and sort of sharing with him a little bit, “Look, I think someday this is going to be an amazing business, but oh my God it’s incredibly difficult right now.” And he sort of empathized with me.

Anyway, he sent an email later and he said, “Josh, the thing with stress, you’ve got to decide whether the stress relates to your life’s purpose or not. And if it relates to your life’s purpose, then not only do you not resist it, you embrace it. Because that’s exactly what you need to make you harder, stronger, fitter, faster, you know … blah, blah, blah. It’s a hormetic stress. But if it doesn’t relate to your life’s purpose, you have to be ruthless about eliminating it. Just get it out of your life.”

So, a negative person, a negative relationship, some kind of partnership or some sort of hobby or something that isn’t serving you any more, you eliminate it.

Guy Lawrence: Great.

Josh Sparks: And I think that’s … it’s probably not balanced as such, but I’ve really taken his advice to heart and I’ve become a lot less social. Like, if I’m social now, it’s because it’s something I really want to do and it’s people I really care about and they mean a lot to me. I’m not going out through the opening of an envelope or because someone’s throwing a party or whatever.

So, I’m really focused on spending quality time at home with Steph and with the kids. Prioritizing in training. Prioritizing in good eating. Mediation. All that kind of stuff.

But then also recognizing that some days are going to be incredibly stressful, because I’ve chosen to do something that is challenging and I can’t blame anyone else for that. And so, I need to embrace it and work out, “OK, why am I feeling stressed?” Really get underneath the skin of the challenge and how are we going to take this to the next level.

So, I mean, I know I’m skipping ahead to talk about something you often talk about with your guests around favorite books.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Josh Sparks: But just on this stress point. A book called “Antifragile.” Have you ever heard of that?

Guy Lawrence: I’ve heard of it.

Stuart Cooke: I have heard of it, yes.

Guy Lawrence: Who’s the author?

Josh Sparks: Nassim Taleb.

Guy Lawrence: OK.

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Josh Sparks: So, his surname is: Taleb. And his first name: Nassim. He wrote “The Black Swan.” His background is from … he was a quantitative trader. He made a lot of money out of quant trading on the markets and he’s now basically a fulltime philosopher.

But anyway, the whole “Antifragile” book is written on the idea that systems, be they natural systems; be they the human cellular system; be they economic structures or political structures or whatever. All rely on a certain amount of stress to thrive.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Josh Sparks: Got to get the THR1VE word in there again.

Guy Lawrence: Again. We’ve got to make it three by the end of the podcast, mate.

Josh Sparks: Yeah. Yeah.

Not only; there’s a difference between being robust or resilient and being anti-fragile. Robust and resilient means that you absorb the stress and try to maintain stasis. His idea around anti-fragility is that stress makes you stronger.

So, say, for example, you go out and train with weights. All right? And the short term, if we took your blood after doing German volumetric training squats, 10 sets of 10 squats, your bloodwork would be horrendous. And if we showed that do a doctor and didn’t tell them that you’d done 10 rounds of 10 reps on heavy squats, they would probably want to hospitalize you. Your stress markers would be out of control. You’d be showing a whole bunch of damage at the cellular level. Cortisol would be slamming through the roof. Etcetera etcetera.

But next time you come into the gym, provided that you have the right nutrition and adequate amount of rest, you’re going to be stronger.
So, that’s a short-term stress that makes you stronger and more capable of coping with the same stress next time. Everyone understands the weight training analogy, right? But I think Keegan’s point, at least the way I interpret it, is that it’s the same with emotional/intellectual stress as well. If you don’t have at, at least in a way that’s something that you can cope with and doesn’t put you in the ground, and it relates to something that you consider really important, then surely you can overcome it. That stress that seemed completely unmanageable before, we’re good to go and we’re ready to move on to the next level.

So, I know that’s a really long-winded way of answering the question, but…

Guy Lawrence: No, that’s fantastic, and a great analogy. And I know Tony Robbins goes on about exactly the same thing, and he gets you to draw like a stick man on a piece of paper with a circle around it, you know. And that circle is your comfort zone.

And we very rarely go to the edge of that. But he encourages that you go up against it and you push it, but you don’t step outside. So, your stress muscles are being built and then that circle slowly gets bigger and bigger and then as years go by you don’t realize it but you’ve grown tremendously through actual stress. But you only want to take on what you can cope with.

Josh Sparks: Yeah, exactly. You won’t know until you’ve taken it on. And you know that old saying about “bite off more than you can chew and chew like hell.” I think is a part of that with me as well, where I think that, you know, it’s an other terrible cliché but an accurate one. And you guys might relate to this. But if you knew everything about what you were currently doing before you started, you probably wouldn’t have started it, right?

Stuart Cooke: Oh, my God. No way.

Josh Sparks: But you are. And you’re doing really well. You guys are killing it here. You’re moving into the States. And you’ve got a fantastic product. I think you’ve got best-in-class product. And you’re taking it to the world.
So, you know, you wouldn’t have done that if you knew everything. And that’s why sometimes I think it’s better to just leap. You trust your gut. Your intuition says this is gonna work. You know it’s gonna be difficult. But you can probably figure it out along the way. So, just go for it.

Guy Lawrence: I often joke sometimes that being naïve has been my best friend in some respects, because if you have no idea and sometimes you just jump, you just figure it out and then you learn along the way.
Josh Sparks: For sure. And if you don’t; if; the worst-case scenario is that you start again. This is not life-and-death stuff, right? This is about, whether it’s business or a relationship or sport or trying to do a PB in the gym or whatever it is, if you fail, OK. Well, pick yourself up and go give it another shot. I mean, why would you not want to do that?

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. And life’s lessons, right? You learn from each mistake you make, which makes you stronger or a better person moving forward.

Josh Sparks: I totally agree. It doesn’t make it feel great at the time, always. But it’s the only way to live.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, look, no. I love that. Everything that we do, albeit negative, I want to know: Well, what can I learn from this? What can I do different next time?

Guy Lawrence: And another great tip, I think it was Meredith Loring, when we asked her, she came on the show, and she said, well, the best thing she’s realized is only focus and set goals that are within your control. Like, don’t try and control the uncontrollable and just let it roll and then things will come in time. And she said once she had that shift in the headspace…

Because we think about this with the USA at the moment, it’s probably the biggest decision we’ve ever made to move into an American market. And, you know, I could seriously lose sleep over this if I chose to. But it’s beyond my control, so with Stu and I we just meet up and we just focus on the things that we know we can do, we can control, and the rest is up to fate, to a degree. You do your best and then the rest is just see what happens.

Josh Sparks: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And give yourself the time and the space to figure out along the way. You know, you don’t set yourself crazy goals where you’ve got to conquer the entire market in 12 weeks.

Guy Lawrence: Exactly. Patience has been…

Josh Sparks: Yeah, it’s a tricky one.

Guy Lawrence: It’s massive. It’s everything, almost, to a degree, and then you just, “OK. Let it go.”

But we’ve got a couple of wrap-up questions. I reckon we should just shoot into them. One was the books. So, what books have greatly influenced or make an impact in your life. Are there any others on top of Antifragile?

Josh Sparks: There’s tons.

Guy Lawrence: Give us three.

Josh Sparks: OK. So, OK, this is a little bit off the reservation but Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I read that as a teen and it blew my mind and I think it’s done that generations of guys and gals. And I think probably what I found most entertaining about it was the guy was just such a; there was no rule that he wasn’t comfortable breaking. And of course it’s fictionalized and of course there was an obsessive amount of drug and alcohol abuse going on. So, his particular vehicles for demonstrating his willingness to rebel, we don’t necessarily recommend to all your listeners. But the idea that he was just out to have the adventure of a lifetime and didn’t care what the rules were, I think at a pivotal age to me… Because I was pretty conservative. I was very much; I followed the rules and I was a very good student and all that kind of stuff. And I just did a 180 in my thinking: “Hold on a second. Maybe I don’t have to follow the path that’s been laid out for me. Maybe there’s another way to go about this.”

So, though I hate to recommend it because it’s full of massive powdered drug use, it’s actually a really good book from the perspective of: Let’s think about this differently. Don’t necessarily follow the example, but let’s think differently.

I think the other book that I’d say, apart from all the paleo and primal ones; your audience will be very familiar with those ones. I think Robb’s book; Robb Wolf’s book and Mark Sisson’s book had a huge influence on me.

I think Tim Ferriss is underrated by a lot of people in the paleo and primal community. But I think his work has probably had a greater influence over me in more areas. Because he touches on business and he touches on relationships and he touches on sex and a whole bunch of stuff that the paleo and primal crowd tend to ignore a little bit. And they shouldn’t because they talk about lifestyle but they tend to write primarily about food. So, I found Tim Ferriss’s stuff really good.

The other thing that had a huge impact on me, I went to a Zen school. I lived in London for five years after graduating from uni, and I went to a Zen school very sporadically and it was just, I guess, my first attempt to meditate, really. I heard about this school. And it was in Covent Garden, which you guys obviously know well, and it was this crazy little place where you just sat around and nothing happened. And my first few times, I was like, “What are we going to do? We do we start?” And they were: “It’s done now. You’re finished.”

But there’s a book called “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” that I read at the time and the idea is that for all of us to try to acquire a beginner’s mind. There’s a quote in there that in the expert’s mind there are very few possibilities. In the beginner’s mind, it’s unlimited, right? So, the smarter we get and the more we know, the more narrow and dogmatic we tend to become. And the whole idea is let go of all that and try to reacquire a beginner’s mind. Come to things fresh with an open mind. And you see things that you otherwise would have missed. So, I thought was a fantastic book.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s an awesome message. Our beliefs shape so many of our judgments moving forward, and you’ve got to avoid that, for sure. Fantastic.

Josh Sparks: You mentioned Tony Robbins before, and I think that Tony Robbins; I went to all his courses. So, when I was living in London, I did the three-day Unleash Your Power. And then I went to Hawaii and did; I can’t remember what it’s called.

Guy Lawerence: Date with Destiny? Did you do that one?

Josh Sparks: Yes. Date with Destiny on the Gold Coast. And one in Hawaii, and I can’t remember, and Financial Mastery I did in Sydney. So, I certainly did them all over the place.

But his stuff is awesome. And it sounds kind of; I don’t know if Hunter S. Thompson and Tony Robbins have ever been mentioned in the same sentence before, from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to Unleash Your Power. But in their own way, they both challenge us to think differently. To think more creatively and to free your mind.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, “Awaken the Giant Within” had a huge impact on me; that book itself. And I’ve been to a couple of his seminars as well, yeah.

Josh Sparks: He’s here in a few weeks, I think.

Guy Lawrence: We should get him on the podcast, Stu. I’m sure he’ll come on.

XX1:04:27.000
Josh Sparks: I think we’re busy, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I’m confident of him.

Stuart Cooke: It would be a good get.XX

Guy Lawrence: So, last follow-up question, Josh. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Josh Sparks: Oh, man. I think, wow, you know what? I didn’t expect this one so this is a good surprise wrap-up question.

Guy Lawrence: You’ve had a lot to say up until now and now he’s stumped.

Josh Sparks: Just talk amongst yourselves.

Guy Lawrence: Have you got any fashion tips for Stu?

Stuart Cooke: Don’t hang around with you, mate. Well, maybe that’s the best fashion tip. I just need to hang around with you and suddenly I look hugely fashionable.

Josh Sparks: You guys can keep doing this. This is good.

You know, it’s such a cliché but I think probably my mom. And when I was debating what to do and whether or not I should get out of fashion and do what I really wanted to do, she said, as mothers do, she said: You know your own heart and you’ve got to follow your heart. And it’s so cliché. And I know it’s on a million different Hallmark cards. But when it comes from someone you really respect, who knows you inside-out and backwards and says, “You do know what to do, so just go and do it,” I think that was the best piece of advice I’ve ever had.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. I thought you were gonna say that your mum told you to eat your greens and that’s how you got where you are today.

Josh Sparks: She did say that as well. That was the second sentence.

Guy Lawrence: So, what’s next for you, mate? You got anything coming up in the pipeline?

Josh Sparks: Yeah, we do. A bit like you guys, we’re looking overseas. But not just yet. We’ve decided after much contemplation, we’ve registered the trademark all over the world, and we bought the trademark in the U.S. But after much thinking about it, we’re going to focus on doing another six to 10 stores in Australia first and just really kind of dial in the model.

So, another six to 10 stores in Australia, we’ve got three lined up in the next 12 months. We might do four; I think probably three. Every four months feels about right. Which feels fast to me, but it’s incredibly slow, as I understand, in our industry. They want you to do 10, 20 a year, franchise, and do all that kind of stuff. And I just want to focus on doing our own stores and getting them right and help seed this conversation that we’ve been talking about: trying to get the follow-up questions asked, trying to get a more nuanced, intelligent conversation around what we do and what you guys do, in our whole community.
So, I think rather than rushing off too soon, because retail takes time to build out, wholesaling, what you are doing, you can grow a little bit faster. I think just focusing on Australia for the next 12 to 24 months. But then I would love to take what we’re doing overseas.

And there’s a raging debate amongst a whole bunch of people who I respect whether that should be U.S. or whether it should be Asia. But some kind of off-shore opportunity. Because the Australian market, ultimately, it’s finite. It’s not huge. And it’s very high-cost for what we do.

So, if we took our exact business model anywhere else in the world, it would instantly be meaningfully profitable because the costs are lower.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Josh Sparks: So, I think that’s an exciting opportunity. Because at one point I need to pay everyone back, right?

Guy Lawrence: Just keep borrowing, mate. Just keep borrowing. Just roll with it.

Josh Sparks: The investors want a return at some point. So, I think they have been very supportive of my vision, which is great. But in Australia it’s very difficult to do what we’re doing and make it meaningful for investors.
Australia’s a great place to prove a model and prove a brand. It’s a very difficult place to build a small business. Which is why Australia’s full of these massive XX1:08:14.000 shop places? The cost base is so high.XX

But I love doing it here, and I’d happily do it here forever. But I think to really maximize the impact we want to make, which is the “heart” stuff, and return a meaningful number to my investors who have placed so much faith in what we’re doing, which is sort of the “head” part, going overseas at some point makes sense.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, cool. And, mate, I mean, you have been super successful so far. It’s a fantastic brand and I have no doubt moving forward that you’ll be successful wherever you heart leads you to in those endeavours.

Josh Sparks: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Guy Lawrence: For anyone listening to this; obviously they might not be near a THR1VE café but they might like to find out more about you and what you do, where’s the best place to send them?

Josh Sparks: Probably the website, which is Thr1ve.me. Thr1ve with a 1, dot me. And Instagram, which is Thr1ve. Our social media, which is done Steph, my partner, obviously I’m a little bit biased. I think she’s brilliant. So, there’s a really good level, I think, of understanding around what we do that is conveyed through social media.

We’re re-launching our blog. We just sort of got to busy doing the store, so we haven’t really spent enough time on the blog. We’re gonna re-launch that in a few weeks. And in the meantime, there’s some good information on the website as well.

But if you can’t get into a store, the best way to get a sense of what we do is to buy 180 products and read the books that we are talking about and get involved in the community. Because what we’re doing is really, or trying to, hopefully, with some degree of success, distilling a message that we’re all sharing and presenting it in our specific environment, which is the food court and fast-casual restaurant environment.

But you guys can sell over the internet. I can’t send a bowl over the web, unfortunately. But you guys can send protein all over the place.
So, you know, get involved with what you’re doing, which obviously they already are, because they’re watching this podcast. But enjoying your products, reading up on the books, getting involved in the community, trying to spread the word like we discussed in a way that really attracts the unconverted and perhaps those who are a little bit intimidated.

And when they do eventually get to a THR1VE, it’s gonna feel like coming home.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, awesome, mate. Awesome. And we’ll link to the show notes. And just before I say goodbye, I’m going to ask you, you can give me a very quick answer, because we didn’t get to talk about it: Is Mark Sisson coming back to Australia?

Josh Sparks: I certainly hope so. We are not doing THR1VE Me in 2016. We’re going to do it every two years. It turned into a; it was such a massive exercise. I mean, you guys were there. It was great, but it was huge.

Guy Lawrence: It was awesome.

Josh Sparks: I’m really looking forward to doing it again, and Mark’s keen to come back. So, I think realistically for us it will be 2017.

Guy Lawrence: Brilliant. And, yeah, we got to spend some time with Mark and he’s a super nice guy, but also exceptionally fit and walks his talk.

Josh Sparks: Exactly. It’s all about authenticity and integrity.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. And you need to go and see him once. Like, you need to be there. Awesome. Something to look forward to.

Josh Sparks: Yeah, great. Well, I hope you guys are back. We certainly want you there.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, we’ll be there, mate. Definitely.

Awesome, Josh. Look, thank you so much for your time today. I have no doubt everyone’s gonna get a great deal out of this podcast.

Josh Sparks: Thanks. I really appreciate it.

Stuart Cooke: Thanks, Josh.

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Why Some People Lose Weight Quicker Than Others… With Jonathan Bailor

The above video is 2:50 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy: If you’ve been following us and our podcasts for a while, you’ll probably be aware that we believe every ‘body’ is different when it comes to weight loss, diets, health and even exercise! I think the short clip above is gold when it comes to having a greater understanding of our bodies and why some people will lose weight quicker than others.

Jonathan Bailor & the calorie myth

Our fantastic guest today is the very lively Jonathan Bailor. Jonathan is the author of the NYT best selling book; The Calorie Myth.

He exposes the fundamental flaw upon which the diet industry has been built: the “eat less + exercise more = weight loss” equation simply doesn’t add up.

In this revolutionary work informed by over 1,300 studies and the new science of fat loss, food, and fitness, Bailor shows us how eating more—of the right kinds of foods—and exercising less—but at a higher intensity—is actually the key to burning fat, healing our hormones, boosting metabolism, and creating long-term weight loss.

Full Interview: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight & Live Better

In This Episode:

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

  • Why counting calories is outdated and is not the best approach to long-term health
  • Why the body acts like ‘kitchen sink’ & should be the first thing to address weight loss
  • How to eat more & exercise less for better health
  • Jonathan’s favourite & most influential books:
    Antifragile by  Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
    - How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • And much much more…

Get More Of Jonathan Bailor:

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Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions. So, today we’ve got a fantastic guest lined up for you. I know I say that every week, but that’s okay anyway, because we like to think they’re fantastic anyway.

He is an internationally recognized wellness expert who specializes in using modern science and technology to simplify health. I know we certainly want to simplify health with our message.

Our special guest today is Jonathan Bailor and he’s collaborated now with top scientists for more than 10 years to analyze and apply over 1300 studies, which led him to write; which became a New York Times bestselling book called “The Calorie Myth” which came out, I think, at the beginning of 2014.

Now, “The Calorie Myth” comes with the slogan, “How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better.” And I think after all the years that I’ve been doing this, this certainly is a message that I like to push as well.

It was great to get Jonathan on today to share his wisdom that he’s learned. And of course it’s, you know, the quality of the food, not the quantity. I certainly don’t count calories any more, that’s for sure, and that’s a big message.

But also, on top of that, what Jonathan shares with us is that high-quality foods balance the hormones that regulate our metabolism and what’s behind that. He has a great analogy as well where he talks about the body’s regulatory system becoming, inverted commas, “clogged.” And it prevents us from burning those extra calories and actually, you know, the body running at its full efficiency.

So, we get sucked into it and he shares some fantastic bits of wisdom with us for today’s show. So, I have no doubt you’re going to get lots out of it.

I also did some mathematics yesterday. Yes, I do get a calculator out every now and then and worked out that somewhere in the world every four minutes, at the moment, somebody’s listening to a 180 Nutrition podcast.

I thought that was actually pretty cool and thought I’d share that with you. It keeps inspiring me and spurring me on to do these podcasts more and I truly want to try to get into the top five on iTunes here in Australia, at least, in the health and wellness section by the end of this year.

And the reality is, the only way I can do that is with your help. All you need to do is subscribe, hit the five-star and leave us a small review if you’re genuinely enjoying these podcasts and they’re making a big difference to your life.

I’ve always pushed for podcasts. They’ve made a huge impact on my life over the years and it’s certainly something I love doing and strive to do even more and continue to get this message out there and simply reach as many people as possible in the way we do it.

So, if you could take two minutes and do those things for us, it would be greatly appreciated.

Anyway, let’s go on to Jonathan Bailor and you’re going to thoroughly enjoy this. Thanks.

Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hey, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Jonathan Bailor. Jonathan, welcome to the show.

Jonathan Bailor: Hey, guys. Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic, mate. We found over the years that this topic of counting calories, weight loss, even exercise, has a great deal of confusion. So, we’re looking forward to getting some clarity and pearls of wisdom from you today for our audience. So …

Jonathan Bailor: Well, I hope I provide as much wisdom as I can.

Guy Lawrence: That’s appreciated, mate.

So, the way we start the show is, would you mind just sharing a little bit about, you know, background, what you do and why we’re excited to have you on the show? Because I know you’ll do a much better job than me in doing that.

Jonathan Bailor: Yeah. I know we’re limited on time, so I’ll give you the short version, because I could give you a very long version.

My journey actually started when I was very small. I’m talking 3 years old. If you go to my website, SaneSolution.com and you check out the backstory, you’ll actually see photos that confirm that I was really into eating and exercising and trying to become a Superman even when I was really, really, really young.

So, I grew up as a naturally thin person. I still am a naturally thin person. And don’t hate me; this is going to come full-circle and turn out to be a good thing. But I wanted to get bigger. I wanted to be like my very athletic older brother.

So, I became a personal trainer over at Bally Total Fitness here in the States and that’s the way I paid my way through college. During that time period, I had a painful experience that then changed the trajectory of my life moving forward.

So, while I was a trainer, this was during my late teens, early 20s, I was eating and I’m not exaggerating, 6,000 calories per day in an effort to try to get bigger. Like we sometimes forget that there are people who want to gain weight and can’t do that.

But while I was doing that, I was training predominately mothers and grandmothers who I was telling to eat 1200 calories per day and we were all trying really hard. I was trying really, really hard to gain weight and I knew I was eating 6,000 calories per day.

These were partners at law firms and MDs and they weren’t stupid people. They weren’t lazy people. They were really; really smart, brilliant, capable people. And I saw their food journals. I knew they were eating 1200 calories per day and they weren’t losing weight.

And I was stuck with this reality, which is, “Hey, I’m a homosapien. We’re all homosapiens. How is it that I can eat 6,000 calories per day, try my hardest and not gain weight? And these people, same species, can eat 1200 calories per day, exercise more than I’m exercising and not lose weight.

So, that then caused me to quit being a trainer, because I felt I was a failure, because I was. I couldn’t even reach my own goals. And it set me on this journey, which got us where we are today.

Which was 15 years of deep, deep, deep, deep academic research with top doctors and researchers at the Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, like 1300 studies, New York Times bestselling book, USA Today bestselling book, blah, blah, blah, blah blah … to answer the one question, which is: Why is it that some people can eat a whole lot of calories and not gain weight and other people eat very few calories and not lose weight? What’s going on there?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. There you go and I got to say, Stu is exactly that person you just described.

Stuart Cooke: I am that person. I’ve done the whole 6,000 calories a day thing for two weeks. I did it as a self-experiment when we were on holiday and I really wanted to put on a little bit of size and I lost a kilo and a half. It just goes to show that we’re all very, very different biological machines.

I had a question for you, Jonathan, because over the course the weekend I went with my family and we visited some markets and when I in the queue I was kind of listening to the lady behind me queuing up pay to get in and I heard her tell her partner, “I can only eat 500 calories today and so, I don’t want to be naughty.” And I thought, “Boy, that’s not a huge amount.”

So, I’m just, you know, kind of crazy, but how did we in up counting calories?

Jonathan Bailor: Well, starting back in, at least in the States, so in the States in the late ’70s there was a bunch of government documents that came out that said …Well, first they thought that we were unhealthy back then.

So, they thought we were unhealthy back then, oh boy. We thought we’re just horribly, like orders of magnitude worse since then. And some of guidance was to eat less and exercise more and also to change the composition of what we were eating. Specifically to eat less fat and to eat more carbohydrate and anything as long as it was low in fat. And the way they simplified this message for everybody, was to introduce the concept of a calorie into the mainstream.

It’s hard to imagine right now, but prior to the 1980s or so; I mean, in the ’70s even exercise was thought of kind of some weird fringe thing, right. It wasn’t this popular thing that everyone did. In fact, my mother tells me a story… My mother’s not that old; she’s in her late 60s, that when she went to University she was not actually even allowed in the gym. It was thought of as bad; unhealthy for women to exercise.

So anyway, starting in the late 1970s the concept of the calorie and the concept of exercise entered the mainstream and we were told that we just need to eat less and exercise more. So, exercise more is why exercise got introduced and eat less was just … okay, eat less, what’s that mean? It means eat less calories.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Jonathan Bailor: So, we stopped talking about food and we started talking about calories and just telling people, “Hey look, all you have to do is eat fewer calories and exercise more and all your problems will go away.” And if you just, you know, for whatever reason and we can talk about that, since then everything’s gotten worse.

So, clearly that doesn’t work. We can debate why it doesn’t work, but the guidance to just eat less and exercise more has not worked.

Guy Lawrence: There you go. Do you think that the message is changing? I mean, if you still walk in the gymnasium, I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but is everyone still counting their calories and on a kind of exercise-diet program?

Jonathan Bailor: It’s changing. So, the exercise isn’t really changing. People still think they need to exercise more and more and more. In fact, with things like Fitbit and all the tracking tools, it’s actually getting worse.

But the eating, I think, we are, actually I know we are, statistically seeing things like Weight Watchers and calorie counting is thought of a little bit as last generation.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Jonathan Bailor: And new generation is much more … if you think about the things that have garnered headlines recently. There’s things like veganism, Paleo, Atkins, South Beach. And while those are all very different, they do share one thing in common and that’s change what your eating, not how much your eating.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s so important. I remember, Jonathan, a couple of years ago stumbling across your video “Slim Is Simple.” And I remember sharing it to our audience, but you had an analogy of the kitchen sink, which we thought was spot on. Would you mind sharing that analogy with us, please?

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Jonathan Bailor: Sure. The reason that the “calories in/calories out” equation, which again it’s not that that doesn’t exist, it’s just that that’s an oversimplification. The reason that stuck is because it seems intuitively correct.

It’s like, “Oh, your body works like a balance scale and if you exercise more for here, it shifts and you lose weight. Or if you eat less it shifts.” But that metaphor, while it’s intuitive, it’s wrong, and a better metaphor is to think of your body a little bit like a clogged sink.

So, when a sink is unclogged; so when a sink is working properly, when a sink is working as it’s designed to work, more water in just means more water out, right? Because the sink is designed to balance itself out.

Now, to be clear, if you dump a bucket of water in your sink, the water level may rise temporarily, but it will go down and you usually don’t dump buckets of water into your sink. That’s not how most people use their sinks.

But now, if your sink gets clogged, any amounts of water, right, you just leave your faucet running just a little bit, it will cause the water level to rise and evidently to overflow. And now you could say: Oh my God, my sink is overflowing. Here’s what I’m going to do. First, I’m never going to wash my hands again, because putting water into the sink will only make it worse. So, I’m going to put less water in, and then I’m going to dress up in Spandex and I’m going to get a teaspoon and I’m going to put on techno music and I’m just going to be like “boom, boom.” And I’m just going to bail water out of that sink for like two hours per day and I’m going to be extreme about it.

And, again, the water level will fall. But why not just unclog the sink, right? The problem isn’t that there’s too much water in the sink or that you’re not pulling enough water out of the sink. The problem is the sink has a lost its natural ability to balance itself out.

So, our body works similarly. When we eat the wrong quality of food, just like when you put the wrong quality of stuff in a sink, it gets clogged, right? Sinks don’t get clogged from using a lot of water. They get clogged from putting things other than water, other than things they’re designed to handle, in them.

So, when you put things other than food into your body, it gets clogged. And at that point more in does result in more fat stored. Whereas conventionally, more in would just result in more out or more burnt.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. That is beautiful. No, I love that and it was such a visual message when we saw it. It just made perfect sense.

So, where do most people get it wrong then, when trying to lose weight? I guess one, you know, not understanding the analogy of how everything works together. But if you could offer a couple of kind of golden nuggets of information, what would they be?

Jonathan Bailor: The first and most important is that, it’s not their fault. Because the experts have given them incorrect information, right? So, if we were told, and this seems crazy, but it actually happened; if we told that smoking wasn’t bad for us and then we all got lung cancer, is that our fault? Smoking is delightful, I guess, I’ve never smoked. But people who smoke seem to really like it and if you were told it wasn’t bad for you, you’d do it, right?

So, up until this point, especially if you’re over 25, you’ve been told you need to count calories. You need to eat less and you need to exercise more. And chances are you’ve done that.

Let’s be very clear. You’ve lost weight. We’ve all lost weight. The issue is you haven’t been able to keep it off.

The reason you haven’t been able to keep it off is because you’re sort of fighting against that clogged system, rather than unclogging it itself.

So, the first piece of wisdom, yes, wisdom, I would tell people is that if you want a different result, you have to take a different approach and it’s not your fault.

And a different approach is so much simpler. It’s what every single person ever did prior to the obesity epidemic. Which is, eat stuff, eat food, like actual food when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and just move your body.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. You mean real food?

Jonathan Bailor: Real food.

Stuart Cooke: No plastic food? Packaged food?

Guy Lawrence: Now, you’ve touched on a point there, because so many people have unknowingly got it wrong and they’re genuinely out there trying to do the best they can, what they perceive to be a healthy approach. And that is one really frustrating thing.

You know, can you touch on a little bit as well for us regarding hormones and how they can affect weight? Because I think that’s a real strong topic as well.

Jonathan Bailor: It’s very important and it actually relates back to the “just eat real food” message as well.

So, I want to … I’m going to address hormones and I also want to address the “just eat real food” message.

So, important distinction here: One is, prior to the obesity epidemic people just ate real food, but all they ever ate was just real food. So, I want to make a distinction between someone who’s never been hormonally clogged, continuing to just eat real food, and someone who is hormonally clogged now, who needs to first unclog and then move forward. Right?

So, that’s sort of really important. Because if you took someone … say you have a person who’s 250 pounds and is diabetic and you say, “Just eat real food,” and they take that to mean, “I’m going to get 60 percent of my calories from white potatoes.”

Like, white potatoes are real food. They’re found directly in nature and they have nutrients in them, but we have to actually heal the body first and that requires a little bit more nuance than “just eat real food.”

So, the value that I try to bring to the table is taking sort of common sense wisdom, which is do what we did prior to having the problem with really rigorous modern science. To pair those together and to say that “just eat real food” actually isn’t enough guidance.

Because when you understand hormones, you understand that there are certain types of real food that are a lot more hormonally beneficial than other types of real food and based on your hormonal state, we need to adapt that. And also just from a common sense perspective for … like tobacco is real and found in nature, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

So, we’ve got to take the “just eat real food” guidance, then we need to understand our hormones. We need to understand our neurobiology. We need to understand our gut biology. Then we need to refine down the best real foods to heal our hormones.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Okay. So, has anyone from a kind of regional and cultural perspective, has anyone got it right in terms of their diets or the way that they have always been eating? And I’m thinking, like, Mediterranean diet for instance, something along those lines.

Jonathan Bailor: A lot of the debate that takes place on the internet is, you know, like, “What’s best? Like high carb/low carb, all this, like, which types of real food should you eat?”

Now, again this depends on your goals. It depends on your starting point. So, one thing we can’t argue with is results.

So, there are tribes that eat a super high-fat diet, have always eaten a super high fat diet and are radically healthier than the average westerner. There are tribes that eat a very a high carbohydrate diet and have always eaten a very high carbohydrate diet and are very, very healthy.

There is no culture anywhere, ever, that has eaten a 40 to 60 percent refined nonsense diet, which is what most Americans eat, that is healthy.

So, what we need to do is sort of focus less on, I think, what one way is right and what we can focus on and with a lot more confidence, is what is wrong. Like, it’s way easier to disprove something than it is to prove something.

So, I don’t know if we’ll ever know the perfect human diet. Just like I don’t think we’ll ever know the perfect outfit a person could wear. I don’t think one exists. I think it’s contextually dependent.

But I do think we know what we should not be eating and if we can just get rid of that stuff, we’d be good to go.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. A question popped in there, So, with everything we’ve covered so far, right, if somebody’s listening to this and they might be late 30s, early 40s and they’ve neglected their health and they’ve got to a situation in life where they’re overweight. They’re behind the eight ball a bit. They’re realizing that, “Oh shit. My kitchen sink is blocked and all these diets I’m doing is not working and I’m frustrated. I’m just over it all.” That’s all great.

What would your advice be? Where would you sort of start chipping away with that? What would be the first protocol? And they’re probably exercising every day too.

Jonathan Bailor: From a food perspective it’s very, very simple and that’s where the SANE framework comes in to play.

So, SANE is the name of my brand. But it’s also … it was just, you know, I don’t know if God or some higher power had this planned out all along, but eight years into my research I was trying to figure out; okay it’s all about high quality. We get that. It’s about quality not quantity.

And then I noticed that there were these four factors in the research, which helps to determine … like, you ask someone on the street, “Hey, what’s a high quality food?” They’re like, “I don’t know.” If they’re a vegetarian they give you a much different answer than if they’re Paleo, right?

So, how do you actually, scientifically, objectively determine the quality of a food? And then once you can answer that question, I can then tell you, “Step 1 is eat these. Step 2 is eat these.”
So, let me unpack that really quick.

So, SANE is an acronym fortuitously for the four factors that determine the quality of a food.

So, the S stands for Satiety. This is how quickly a food fills you up and how long it keeps you full. So, you know, like, soda you can drink 600 calories of soda and it does nothing to satisfy you. In fact, it actually makes you hungrier, right? So, there’s low satiety.

The A is Aggression. Where the hormonal impact a food has, so glycemic index, glycemic load, things like that.

N is Nutrition. So, the amount of nutrients, essential nutrients: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, you get it per calorie.

And then E is Efficiency or how easily your body could store the given calorie as fat.

So, for example, protein is very, very difficult for your body to store as fat. It’s not an energy source. It’s a structural component. So, if you ate just way too much protein, all sorts of chemical processes would have to happen in your body before that could even be stored as body fat. So, it’s very inefficient. That’s why higher protein diets often result in weight loss.

Anyway, so now we just have to say, these are four scientifically proven and scientifically measurable factors. And we can just stack foods, right? We can say which foods are the most satisfying, unaggressive, nutritious and inefficient.

And when we do that, here’s the coolest thing; here’s where it all comes together beautifully. So, the most rigorous science in the world and common sense come together.

So, the most satisfying, unaggressive, nutritious and inefficient foods on the planet are, drum roll please: non-starchy vegetables, right? So vegetables you could eat raw.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Jonathan Bailor: You don’t have to eat them raw, but you could. So, corn and potatoes, you can’t eat them raw. They’re not vegetables. They’re starches.

So, the first thing I’d say is, 10-plus servings of non-starchy vegetables every time you’re eating. Non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables.

Next on the list is nutrient-dense protein. So, these are humanely raised animals. Also certain forms of dairy products that are low in sugar, such as Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

Then next on the list or in terms of volume of what you’re eating are whole food fats. So, these are things that get the majority of their calories from fat, but are whole foods. So, eggs, nuts, seeds, avocados, things like that.

And then finally, low-fructose fruits. So, not all fruits are of equivalent goodness. For example, blueberries have a lot more vitamins and minerals and radically less sugar than something like grapes.

So, I would tell them, “Here’s your four steps. In order, you eat: non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats, low-fructose fruits.”

Fine anybody on the planet who’s doing that and has done that and isn’t free of diabetes and obesity and I will be shocked.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: I like it. I like it simple. So, I’m guessing then that foods that really don’t adhere to any of those quantities would be insane to eat, right?

Jonathan Bailor: That’s exactly right. They’re insane. And there’s actually three factors I forgot to mention.

So, if you don’t want to remember satiety, aggression, nutrition and efficiency, you can remember three things, which are a little bit simpler, and that is: water, fiber and protein.

So, sane foods are high in water. They’re high in fiber. They’re high in protein. Insane foods are low in those things.

So, for example, processed foods. If you notice, they’re all dry. So, cookies, cakes, crackers, pies, you put them in a blender you get a powder. You don’t get something liquidy. They’re low in fiber and they’re low in protein.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect.

Guy Lawrence: So, with all that said, right, Jonathan, what did you have for breakfast this morning?

Jonathan Bailor: I had a green smoothie. So, green smoothies are God’s gift to humanity. And I also had a, believe it or not, some SANE ice cream.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: What is SANE ice cream?

Jonathan Bailor: What is SANE ice cream? Yes. So, it’s a combination of coconut. So just shredded, unsweetened coconut. Chia seeds, some clean whey protein powder, cinnamon, guar gum, vanilla extract.

Guy Lawrence: Sounds good.

Jonathan Bailor: Some stevia and I freeze it and then I thaw it for two hours. Throw it in the blender and I eat it.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. That sounds awesome.

So, we got a tiny bit of time left. I just wanted to touch on exercise for you. Given that everything you told us about the way the hormones interact with our body and the way that we look and feel: running shoes or kettle bells? So, what do you think?

Jonathan Bailor: Oh my goodness. I’m going to offend some people here. I’m going say neither.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Jonathan Bailor: So, kettle bells are certainly preferable to running shoes, but I think we can do even better. And remember that my message is targeted at, let’s say, the average American and if you hand the average American a kettle bell, all they’re going to do is hurt themselves.

Guy Lawrence: Uh-huh.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Jonathan Bailor: So, it’s not that kettle bells are bad, it’s that kettle bells are probably like Step 6.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jonathan Bailor: So, Step 1 would be … I want people to focus on doing very heavy resistance training, very slowly. And the “very slowly” is very important, because the quickest way to derail your fitness efforts is to hurt yourself and to try to do too much too soon.

So, instead of trying to do more running, you would do less, but way higher resistance and way slower weight training.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. And across the board: male, female, everyone?

Jonathan Bailor: Yeah. And in fact, I would say, even more so for females, simply because they have heard the opposite message for so long. I mean, since the ’50s, guys have been told to left weights. Women have been told the exact opposite. And women, especially given the hormonal changes that take place in women’s bodies, like post-menopause and after having given birth to children, the hormonal therapy that heavy resistance training can have on a woman’s body is fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You know you’re spot on, because I worked as a fitness trainer for many years and the biggest mistake I would see is people who haven’t done anything for three or six months and they get all motivated and then they come in and they go hard and then the next thing you know, after a week later, they’re just out of there. They couldn’t just turn up, slow it down and then create a progression as each week goes by.

Jonathan Bailor: Yeah, and Guy and Stuart, can I add one thing that I think is going to be really helpful for your audience, because it’s been really helpful for me?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go for it. I’m not in the way.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jonathan Bailor: Not at all. I’m looking at my camera but not at your faces.

So, there’s a … one of the most influential books that I’ve ever read in my entire life, easily, is a book called “Antifragile” and I can’t pronounce the guy’s name. It’s like Taleb is his last name. Anyway, he makes a point in the book that oftentimes the longer something has been around, the more likely it is to be true or good and the more likely it is to continue into the future.

So, for example, these sort of cutting; these new forms of exercise, like how often do we see something new that comes around and then next year it’s gone?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jonathan Bailor: Whereas, like, squats, pushups, shoulder press, chest press, like these six physical movements; like move heavy things in the basic way your body is designed to move, that’s been around for a long time. It works for a really long time. Anyone who actually knows anything about building a world-class physique will tell you that their workout routine revolves around squats, bench press, dead lifts, pull-ups, shoulder press and basically those five exercises.

So, just anytime, whether you heard something new fancy… blah, blah, blah. Get the basics done really, really well and you’ll achieve fantastic results.

Guy Lawrence: There you go. And that was “Antifragile” was it?

Jonathan Bailor: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: The book?

Jonathan Bailor: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Okay. We’ll link it in the show, one of us. That’s great.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. No, that’s good information. I’m just thinking about you, Guy, with your new passion for Zumba. How that fits in?

Guy Lawrence: Don’t tell anyone. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: No, exactly.

So, I wonder whether you could tell us a little bit about your book, “The Calorie Myth” because I’ve been reading a little bit about it and it sounds quite exciting. So, could you share that, please?

Jonathan Bailor: Yeah. It’s the culmination of 13-plus years of research, distilled down into, really, three sections. The first is we bust the three; like, none of this is going to make sense unless you can free yourself of three myths.

And the first myth is you have consciously count calories. That’s a myth.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jonathan Bailor: I prove that definitively in the book. The second is that a calorie is a calorie. So, we disprove that definitively in the book. And the third is that calories are all that matter and that’s where hormones come into play. We disprove that in the book.

Then we talk about how all these myths, which we, I mean like, disprove, disprove in the first part of the book. Like now, “That’s crazy!” Well, how did we come to believe that anyway?

And then the third part of the book we introduce the solution. So, the new quality-focused eating and exercise and then also introduce you to SaneSolution.com, which is my company,

And also people read “The Calorie Myth” and they say, “Okay, that’s great. You’ve blown my mind. You’ve stripped away everything I thought I knew about eating and exercise. So, now what do I do?” And we provide meal plans, tools, resources, all kinds of fun stuff like that on sanesolution.com to help you live that new lifestyle.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: It’s all well and good, and that’s the one thing we see, right? It’s all well and good understanding this message: “Yes, and I’ve got to change” but actually implementing it on a daily basis, moving forward is quite a; can be quite a challenge and certainly support is needed. Yeah, we’ll certainly link back to that as well, Jonathan. That sounds awesome.

So, mate, we’ve got a couple of wrap up questions we ask on the show.

Jonathan Bailor: Sure.

Guy Lawrence: First one is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? And this normally stumps everyone.

Stuart Cooke: We’ve got him, Guy. We’ve got him.

Jonathan Bailor: Uh-oh. This is the first one that popped into my mind. So, it’s from my mom and it’s, “If you have to think about it, the answer is no.” So, if you debating whether or not something’s good or bad, it’s bad. Because that’s your brain trying to tell you, “You know better.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That’s good. That does resonate with us actually.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Excellent. One more, mate, and you touched on it earlier about a book. Is there any books that spring to mind that have influenced you over the years that you want to share with the audience?

Jonathan Bailor: Oh, absolutely. In fact, I could give you the numbered list right off the top of my head. So, the most influential book I’ve ever read is the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jonathan Bailor: Without question. Also high on the list is, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jonathan Bailor: “Antifragile” is on the list. I think, at least off the top of my head, those would be the three that most resonate right now.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Perfect. Excellent.

And for anyone listening to this where can they get more Jonathan Bailor?

Jonathan Bailor: Please go to: SaneSolution. So… SaneSolution, singular. Not solutions, SaneSolution. Not thesanesolution. Not thesanesolutions, but SaneSolution.com.

Guy Lawrence: Brilliant. And have you got any exciting projects coming up in the future, mate, that people can look forward to in the pipeline? Any more books?

Jonathan Bailor: Oh, absolutely. Well, we’ll see on the books, right? Now we’re focused on helping people actually live this lifestyle and we’ve found that the easiest way to do that is to make real, whole, SANE food more convenient.

So, we’re reinventing the supplement world. We’re kind of replacing supplements with what we’re calling “meal enhancements” which is whole real food put into a convenience form so that you could get eight servings of the best non-starchy vegetables in the world in like 17 seconds.

It’s incredible. It’s like taking all that’s good about supplements, but moving it into the whole foods space so it’s all natural. And you can check that out at: SaneSolution.com. Just click store. It’s pretty phenomenal.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: And that’s our message too. I think that the whole industry is moving that way and the sooner it does, the better.

Jonathan Bailor: And we ship to Australia.

Guy Lawrence: There you go. It’s got a long way to come, but it does get here.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I’ll place my order today.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Jon, thanks so much for coming on the show, mate. That was awesome. We really value your time and I have not doubt people heaps out of that.

Jonathan Bailor: Awesome. Thanks guys.

Guy Lawrence: Good on you, Jonathan, and thank you.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: Bye, bye.

180nutrition_quiz_blog_post_button

Are Grains Really The Enemy? With Abel James…

The above video is 2:38 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Are grains really the enemy? Who better a person to ask than a guy who’s interviewed hundreds of health leaders from around the world and walks his talk when it comes health and nutrition. His answer wasn’t quite what we expected! Hence why we loved it and it’s this weeks 2 minute gem.

abel james fat burning man
Abel James is the founder of ‘The Fat Burning Man’ show. A health and wellness podcast that’s hit No.1 in eight different countries on iTunes and gets over a whopping 500,000 downloads each month! It was fantastic to get the laid back Abel on the show today to share with us his own personal weight loss story, his discoveries, the trial and errors and the applied wisdom of others.

To sum up Abel James in his own words: My goal is to create a place where people can have spirited discussions and debate about issues that truly matter – not just fat loss and fitness, but ultimately health and quality of life. I also feel obligated to expose the truth about nutrition, fitness, and health so that people are no longer reliant upon deceptive marketing practices, misleading corporate propaganda, and powerful special interests that have accelerated the worldwide obesity epidemic and health crisis.

Full Interview: Lessons Learned From Becoming The Fat Burning Man


In This Episode:

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

  • Abel’s journey from being overweight to becoming the ‘Fat Burning Man’
  • What the body building industry taught him about weight loss
  • His thoughts on grains and which ones he eats
  • How to manufacture a great nights sleep!
  • His exercise routines & eating philosophies
  • Abel’s favourite books:
    Chi Running by Danny Dreyer & Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet
  • And much much more…

Get More Of Abel James:

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Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions.

So, as you can see, if you’re watching this in video, I’m standing here at Mcmahons Pool here in Sydney, which is a pearl of a location and I quite often find myself jumping in first thing in the morning. The water is cold here in winter in Sydney, although the sun’s shining, but it’s a great way to start the day nonetheless.

abel jamesAnyway, on to today’s guest. I might be a little bit biased but I think this show today is fantastic and we’ve got an awesome guest for you. And he has a podcast himself, and I reckon he has one of the smoothest voices that is just designed for podcasts and radio, I tell ya. And that might even give you a clue already.

Stu often says I’ve got a face for radio, but I don’t know if I’ll take that as a compliment. But anyway. So, our guest today is Abel James, AKA the Fat-Burning Man. And if you are new to this podcast, definitely check it out. I’ve been listening to them for years. And Abel has had some fantastic guests on the show, as you can imagine, when you’ve been doing a podcast for over four years.

And we were really keen to get him on the show and share his experiences with us, because, you know, once you’ve interviewed that many people and some absolutely great health leaders around the world, you’re gonna pick up on what they say, their experience, and how you apply it in your own life. And we’re really keen to find out from Abel why he does, you know, because he’s covered, obviously, topics on mindset, health, nutrition, exercise, and what are the pearls of wisdom has he gone and taken over the years of experience and applied it. And some of the stuff what he doesn’t take, you know, take on board as well.

So, Abel shares all of that with us today, including his own story. Because Abel was once overweight. He’s looking a very, very fit boy at the moment, just from changing his nutrition.

So, anyway, that’s what you’re going to get out of today’s show and it’s a great one. So, it’s a pleasure to have Abel on.

And also, I ask for reviews, you know, leave us a review on iTunes if you’re enjoying the show. Subscribe, five-star it. You know, let us know where in the world you’re listening to these podcasts. I think we’re in 32 countries at the moment or maybe even more getting downloaded. So it’s pretty cool. And we always love to hear from you, so, yeah, jump on board and of course drop us an email back at 180Nutrition.com or .com.au now.

So, let’s go over to Abel. Enjoy the show.

Stuart Cooke: Guy, over to you.

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey Stewie.

Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Abel James. Abel, welcome to the show.

Abel James: Thanks so much for having me.

Guy Lawrence: Now, you will have to forgive us this morning, mate. It is very early in Sydney. So, I’ve never seen Stu up at this time of the morning, I think, so it will be interesting to see how he responds.

I’m just kidding. Come on.

Yeah, look, obviously we are big fans of your podcast. It’s great to have a fellow podcaster on. And what we were curious about, just to get the ball rolling, is I guess a little bit about your journey and what got you into podcasting and what let you to that. Because you’ve been doing it awhile now.

Abel James: Yeah. Well, the podcast itself kind of comes out, or it comes somewhat naturally, because I’m a musician and have been doing that for a very long time. So, you know, I had a blog, and this was, I guess, like, four years ago when I first started Fat-Burning Man.

But before that I worked as a consultant with some companies in the food and beverage industry right after I got out of college. And so I’d actually been blogging about health for many years before that, but anonymously. My site was called Honest Abe’s Tips. And it was a picture of, like, this digitized Abe Lincoln peeking out from behind the laptop.

But then with Fat-Burning Man, I realized that when I went through my own struggles with health, basically, I got fat and old and sick in my early 20s and didn’t want to keep being that way. So I kind of turned things around and found that it was a lot easier and more straight-forward and simpler than almost anything I’d ever read had made it out to be, you know, in the fitness magazines and the media. Even some of the science.

And so I started this up and realized that, you know, if I were looking at a fitness book or a fitness blog or something like that, first thing I’d do is, like, turn around, look at who’s writing it. Like: Are these people actually living it? Are they following their own advice?

And so I figured, you know, it’s the internet. Let’s just put it all right out there. And so I came up with this ridiculous Fat-Burning Man, like superhero type thing and just wanted to make it about being positive and showing that you can be happy and healthy at the same time. Because so much of the messaging, especially then, but still now, is that you need to be hungry and miserable and punish yourself. But you really can have a more holistic approach. So, that’s what I try to do.

Guy Lawrence: Did you ever imagine the Fat-Building Man would take you on this journey to where it is today? You know, when you started.

Abel James: You know, it’s so funny. Because now it kind of sneaks up on you a little bit. You know, like, I was just out at a health food store here in Tennessee and like within five seconds of walking in, someone’s like, “Abel! Hi!” We just moved here and that just happened in, like, New Orleans, in California. And so I don’t even realize how many people are listening but I’m so glad that they are, because when I first started it was just me talking into a microphone and hoping that people would listen and trying to get this message out there that was different and still is kind of different.

Because most of the stuff you find in health, and I’ve had to learn this the hard way, is not health information. It’s marketing propaganda. You know, designed to sell you supplements, shakes, consumables. Whatever they’re selling you is usually kind of, like, disguised in something that’s information. And that information is hurting people.

So, I wanted to just be totally open about all this and say, like, “These are the things that we think might be right, but we’re probably wrong about a bunch of stuff. But that’s definitely wrong over there.”

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Stuart Cooke: So, when you mentioned that in your early days you were fat and sick and things just weren’t working out for you, do you think that was particularly diet-based?

Abel James: Yes. Absolutely. Because basically what happened is I grew up, my mom is a holistic nurse practitioner and an herbalist, and I was raised eating from the back yard. And we had fish sticks and stuff like that, too, sometimes, but it was; I had a very strong education in eating naturally, from the real world, back then.

And then, for me, like every teenager who wants to prove that there’s a better world out there than the one that they came from or whatever, to pay off my loans I got this big, fancy job in consulting and I got this big, fancy insurance that came along with the consulting job. And I’m just like, “All right. I’m gonna find the best doctor and listen to his advice and take his drugs and do his thing.”

And so I did that, and it was… You know, when I first walked in, he’s like, “What is the family history?” And I said, well, you know, there’s thyroid problems, most people gain weight as they age, my grandmother has high blood pressure, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

They looked at my blood and they’re just, like, “OK, well, we need to put you on a low-fat diet right away.” And, you know, zero dietary cholesterol and the whole… you guys are familiar with how that works, I’m sure.

And so I got that whole spiel and I’m like, OK. Well, if that’s gonna help me live longer, help my heart be healthy, and basically guarantee that I’m doing the right thing, then let’s do it.

Except it didn’t really work out that way. You know, for the first time in my life… I was always athletic and I love fitness and just getting outside, going for hikes or runs or mountain-biking. Whatever. And so I never really had a problem with weight. And all of a sudden, it’s creeping up, and it wasn’t until my boss made fun of me for being fat that I realized that I was, like, “Oh. This is fat.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. “There’s a problem.”

Abel James: And I wasn’t, like, massively overweight. But if you imagine me with less muscle and 20 pounds of flab, then all of sudden you kind of look like someone who’s much older than you actually are. And certainly not thriving anymore. Not athletic.

And I always want to be the best at whatever, so I had to turn that around.

Guy Lawrence: Was there any, like, little tipping points with books or information that made you sort of go, “I’ve really got to start delving into this” and looking down that path?

Abel James: Well, yeah. For me… So, I’m pretty narrow-focused a lot of the time and my focus then, when I first got into it, it was my first job, you know. My first real in-the-workforce job. I worked with my dad growing up and in restaurants and stuff. But this was the first thing I was taking seriously. And so I just wanted to pay down my debt as quickly as I could so that I could be free to do whatever more passion-based stuff.

And then I, basically, like, a little bit at a time saw that it wasn’t working. But I had outsourced it from my own brain, you know? I had always focused on being fit and athletic and running a lot, whatever. But it kind of like got away from me, because I was working so hard doing something else that was kind of like stealing my attention. And then it wasn’t until that comment and a couple of other things happened that I was just, like, “Oh. I guess I’ve got to focus on this.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, for all of our listeners, and your listeners as well, what did you focus on and what did you change?

Abel James: Well, it was interesting, because I grew up, my brother is about five years older than me, and I watched him go from… he’s a little bit obsessive and he watched Pumping Iron, the Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding classic movie of the ’70s. He watched that for the first time, and I watched him over the next few months go from 155 pounds to well over 200; up to 220 of just solid, massive muscle.

So, that; it was in the back of my mind. I think sometimes you need something crazy like that. You need to see it happen in front of you before you really believe that it’s possible. You know what I mean? And so I hid that in back of my mind.

And so I always knew that you could do stuff that didn’t make any sense and it would kind of work out. And he did a lot of things that, dietary-wise, who knows what he was eating but it certainly wasn’t healthy. It was very different from the foods that we were eating.

But it was more generous with fat and protein and lower on carbs and kind of like counter to everything that I was told was healthy. And so I saw that whatever I was doing was not working. So I needed to do something different. And I was just like, well, why don’t I just flip it on its head and get some of the fats up there again and take down the carbs, take down the processed food, just kind of look at… I was looking at ketosis, cyclical ketogenic dieting that the bodybuilders were doing in the ’60s and ’70s, and it was like, you know they’re eating 26 eggs a day. Or drinking two gallons of milk a day. Or just chugging heavy cream. And getting down to 3 percent body fat. And for someone who had too much body fat, I’m like, “That’s interesting. I gotta try that.”

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: It happened for us the same, because I worked with mainly people with cancer about 10 years ago and I used to do the weight-training programs for them. And it literally started from a bodybuilders’ diet. They got them on a ketogenic diet and weight-training, and that was the first time I was exposed to a high-fat diet, and back then I saw the results too. You know, it was quite remarkable, and their health, everything gets turned on its head overnight and you’re, like, “My God, I’ve got to tell the world.”

Abel James: It’s very bizarre. Because it should kill you, right? According to everything that the doctors tell you. That should just put you straight into a stretcher or a coffin or whatever.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Abel James: But oftentimes it does the opposite.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, with all your guests and podcasts, there’s all these amazing people you’ve interviewed and things like that. Any pearls of wisdom that have stood out or guests that have jumped out at you? It’s probably quite a big question but…

Abel James: I look for the things that… Well, I should just say, even the people who come on my show, which are, like, curated (to a certain extent), by me, they have to go through some sort of vetting process. They love to disagree about a lot of things. And for me I just try to keep it on point, step aside. I’m not gonna be combative even if I disagree with what they’re saying. I think it’s really important to see the richness of experience in people who are getting results.

And so I look for the things that they agree about. And there are very few. But number one is that everyone should be eating more leafy green vegetables and colorful vegetables, especially the non-starchy kind. And almost everyone agrees on that. Pretty much 100 percent.

Yet, almost nobody does it. Even the people who are, like, super paleo and super healthy or whatever. They’re more, usually, obsessed with the latest gadget, pill, carb-backloading approach, like new things that… I just had Kiefer on, I have a lot of people on with kind of like new spins on whatever. And so people get obsessed with, like, the new spin instead of having a salad. Which is like… So, one of the things that I try to do is encourage people to do the simple things that we already know, because it’s really easy to ignore that.

Or, if you go and you’re paleo and you’re really excited about it and you’re getting all these results and you’re doing CrossFit and then you go and get a paleo treat or whatever from the grocery store, because now you can find those, at least in America. And, you know, all of a sudden you take down 25 grams of sugar without even realizing it. But it’s “totally paleo” because it has honey in it. Wait a second!

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, half a jar.

Abel James: That kind of goes against the whole thing. So, I try to make it simple for people and more habit-based. More like, my background’s in brain science and psychology so I try and take it from that angle where, like, you guys know: If you’re training people or if you want to achieve something in your own life, it’s not really about the information that you have as much as, are you doing it. Right? So, I really try to focus on getting people to do it, making that easier and more simple.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You always find you can go on these crazy paths and you always get back to basics. Just keep it very simple.

Stuart Cooke: I think those basics generally come back to how our grandparents ate as well. It’s, like, super simple, really.

Abel James: It was wonderful. Beautifully simple.

Stuart Cooke: It’s it? Yeah. It couldn’t be more simple, yet in other respects it couldn’t be more complex with all this crazy info out there.

Abel James: Especially today.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Totally. So, over here we had quite an interesting article that came out in the Sydney Morning Herald about grains and bread and how everybody’s becoming more resistant to gluten and they’ve got intolerances and sensitivities to everything under the sun.

In your opinion, are grains the enemy?

Abel James: That’s a great question. I think they’re one of the enemies, yes. But that’s more a function of the fact that we’re eating grains in a way that we never ate grains before than the fact that they’re grains, if that makes sense. So, what I mean by that is if you take a chicken and then breed it to have certain characteristics like having breasts so large that it topples over or breaks its legs like most of the turkeys and poultry we have and then you inject it with a bunch of antibiotics and, you know, feed it with poison and whatever else. It’s not the same chicken that our ancestors would be eating.

And if you take wheat and, over the course of time, you breed it to make sure that it’s well-adapted for transport, ready for harvest months before it would have been otherwise, and basically mutate it and change it into something that it wasn’t before, it’s not the same wheat either.

And so what we do with that wheat, for example, is then, if that weren’t bad enough, kind of like mutating this thing into something that’s bred not for your health but for basically industrial efficiency, then you throw it through all these industrial processes, like grinding it into this really, really fine powder and not allowing it to ferment on the stalk, which releases enzymes to make it digestible, and then you let it fester on a shelf and get old or whatever, but it’s so irradiated and processed that you barely notice that the food is so spoiled.

It’s not the same thing as eating wild rice like Native Americans did here, especially in the Southwest. And you can you still, though, my wife is from Arizona, so we go there quite often, you can go and get, like, Native American wild rice and eat that.

So, if you compare that to, like, Uncle Ben’s rice, a brand we have here which is basically like processed white rice, not the same thing. So, we do eat some grains, but it’s in an entirely different way than almost everyone else eats grains these days.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, totally. No, that’s a good point. I read, a few years back, a book called Wheat Belly, and it really does kind of open the lid on the wheat industry. And, crikey, you really do think twice.

Abel James: It’s hard to get away from them.

Stuart Cooke: Very, very hard to get away from them. Unless, of course, you eat like your grandparents ate and then it’s actually a little easier to get away from… putting labels on vegetables.

Guy Lawrence: What are your thoughts on… Because I struggle with wheat and gluten and a big thing for me has been looking at food sensitivities over the years, and allergies. What are your thoughts on that? Have you personally looked into that?

Abel James: I have. It’s interesting because we don’t know how reliable it is. Especially… food allergy testing is one thing, but food sensitivity testing is quite another. And so for me, there are so many different variables but I’m trying to get better and better.

And a few years ago I had… Probably about two years ago, at this point, I remember I talked about food sensitivity on the podcast with Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Executive guy, who just loves testing of all kinds. And so we went through various things that I was supposedly reacting to. I did the tests again about a year after that and most of the things had gone down. A couple of them stayed up. And then there was a new one, like pinto beans or something else I “highly reacted” to. Whatever.

And there were some other unfortunate ones that were, like, paleo foods. Like olives. Olive oil. And honey. From the first test. Those seemed to kind of stay elevated. And then I took it again about three, four weeks ago and I’m reactive to almost nothing now.
So, from my own personal experience, it’s been interesting to look at that because I love science, I love numbers, I love personal experimentation. And I don’t know what’s going on with that. I can say that I’m pretty happy about it, but I don’t know if it kind of like invalidates the tests that were done before. Because one of the arguments against it is that it kind of just counts the stuff you’re eating too much of anyway.

Guy Lawrence: When, like, the olive oil and honey came up on the test, did you then avoid those foods?

Abel James: I did. I avoided them, not completely, because it’s really hard to eat a salad anywhere that’s not your own home without olive oil or GMO oil or whatever else. And so basically if someone knows that you’re paleo or gluten-free or healthy-conscious, then they’re giving you honey and olive oil and… mushrooms was another one that came up.

Yeah, so, kind of bizarre things, especially considering how healthy those things are normally and how much they would be included in almost any meal that you eat out. You don’t really think about not eating something like mushrooms, right? Or olives. But once you have to look for that, it’s in everything. You can’t believe it. It’s just hard to get away from.

But, yeah, I definitely; I went from eating those things on purpose to eating less of them or basically not forcing myself to eat those foods anymore. And that seemed to do the trick.

But gluten is one that we’re not really sure if it’s the gluten itself or just the wheat being so manipulated and so low-quality that that’s hurting us. But there’s something in modern wheat that’s terrible for us. It might be the gluten. Some people are definitely allergic to it, flat out. Other people are kind of reactive to it or whatever. But I just avoid it, pretty much at all costs.

Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting. Like, Stewie, had the short straw when it came to sensitivities tests. He came up eggs, glaringly.

Abel James: Oh, no.

Stuart Cooke: One of these things. And I was loving my eggs. I’d eat two, three, four, five a day, which is great. But then I also do wonder whether worrying about the foods that you shouldn’t be eating, worrying about all these crazy diets, you know, does more hard than good. Can it actually then evoke food sensitivities because your cortisone levels are going crazy.

Abel James: Right.

Stuart Cooke: You know, it’s just insane. I’m wondering, from your perspective, how important do you think it is to try and unplug or really work on stress management as part of your kind of holistic approach to health?

Abel James: I think it’s the number one thing that people don’t really talk about. Because it’s not that sexy to say, “Sleep. Go to sleep early.”

“Don’t get stressed out. Meditate. Chill out. Take a walk. Take a vacation.” It’s really easy to say those things. But it’s like eating a salad, right? We all know that that’s exactly what we should be doing. The problem is that we’re not doing it.

And so, yeah, I mean, one of our secrets, why we “look and feel so great all the time and always have this energy” is because we go to sleep, like, way earlier than most other people. And we take flak from it sometimes.

But, at the same time, when you show up to a… So, we go to a lot of, like, health masterminds and stuff like that with a lot of the other big names in the field. Stuff like that. And I can tell you, these people are just, like, running themselves into the ground, a lot of the time. And they’re not really sleeping. They’re kind of compensating.

And we’re ready to rock, and usually, like, we’ll go out and party and hang out with all these people because it’s so much fun. We don’t really get to do it that often. And so you see just the huge tax that running; that basically doing too many things at the same time doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, if you’re in health or not, it’s beating you up and it will get the best of you at some point.

And so the really boring things that we do every day are the things that really matter. So, like, for instance, my wife and I, we wake up every morning, we do Qigong. We’ve been doing that now for a few years, I guess.

Guy Lawrence: Can you explain that?

Abel James: Qigong, or yoga, which is like tai chi, and so it’s basically fluid, kind of almost active stretching type movements. Balance and stretching. And then we meditate for, not necessarily very long, 10, 20, minutes. But we do it every single day. And we tend to wake up fairly early and we go to bed early as well. With some exceptions, but not very often.

And it’s the things that you do every day, if you’re in the habit of slumping on the couch after a hard day of work and then you have a beer or two every night, that’s a lot of beer. It compounds.

But if you, every night, you have tea or something like that or you just relax, you have a glass of water, you hang out, you relax, you slow down, you get some sleep. And then on the weekends you go out and you have too much wine or you have a few beers, totally different thing. You’ll probably get away with it, because it’s not the thing that you’re doing every day. Right? That’s the exception.

So, you have to kind of like train into yourself the right habits that are automatic that aren’t getting the best of you. And part of that is definitely tuning down the stress. Because we’re all, like, with the amount of technology that’s around us these days, we’re all totally cranked out of our minds.

Stuart Cooke: We’re plugged in, aren’t we?

Guy Lawrence. Massively.

Stuart Cooke: Do you sleep well?

Abel James: Thank you for asking. What a sweet question. I’ve been doing interviews all day and that’s the sweetest question I’ve gotten.

Stuart Cooke: This is the million dollar question.

Abel James: Yes. I didn’t used to. I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping, especially staying asleep around the morning. It was like I would wake up, it didn’t matter how late I had stayed up the night before… As a musician, my gigs would start at midnight and I’d have to play under three or something and then go to bed at 4. But I’d always wake up at 6 or 7 and again at 8:30, even if I was trying to sleep it through.

But these days, I think a lot of it has to do with how we time our carbs and starches, which is almost always in the evening. And we eat very lightly or kind of like fast most of the day and then we have a big feast at night, pretty much.

And so we have a compressed eating window. And saving the brunt of our calories and food for the evening seems to slow you down and put you in digestion mode at the right time, especially if you are staying… There are other things where we stay away from alcohol most of the time. On the weekends we go out, have some fun, whatever. But pretty much every weeknight we’re not letting that disrupt our sleep. Because science shows that there’s no getting away from it. If you drink alcohol, it’s disrupting your sleep patterns for sure.

And if you stay up certain nights really late and other nights try to go to sleep early, that messes with your clock, too. So we stay on a nice, steady clip of sleeping and waking up in the morning.

And I don’t do well on very little sleep. I’ve always know that about myself. I think it’s one of the reasons that I do well, succeed, is because it’s something I’m obsessed about. Other guys, like, as a musician, you go on tour or whatever, other guys are staying up all night. It doesn’t really seem to be a problem. It is a problem, like, if they actually looked at it, but it affects other people less than it affected me, it seems like. So, I’ve always just made that the one thing that I do. I sleep, and it’s important.

Stuart Cooke: Any particular gems or strategies or hacks that you can share with everybody right now?

Guy Lawrence: You love the sleep topic.

Stuart Cooke: Well, I, crikey… this is my topic. And I’m fanatical about sleep. But always interested in, you know, it could be the tiniest little thing that you do that makes the hugest difference, and of course sleep is the number one. You can be eating like an absolute prince, but if you don’t sleep, then you’re not recovering or restoring; all of those things.

So, any little gems that you could share with us right now to say, “These worked for me”?

Abel James: Well, I think you touched on something that’s really important. Sleep should be time for recovery. And what that means to me is that almost every day I do kind of like micro-exercise, where I’ll do five to 10 minutes of an exercise pretty much every day except for Sunday. And I put that in the morning. So, I do my exercise like first thing, gets my blood flowing, and by the end of the day I’m tired and I want to go to sleep. And so I honor that.

If you try to force it and crack work out, that’s another thing that’s really important. It’s like, I work hard but I’m almost always off of communication by, like, 7 or 8. Usually before that. I shut my laptop. I’m not checking; I don’t have notifications on my phone. That’s a pretty big one, too. Or on my computer. My email comes in; I don’t know. I have to go in and check it. I’m not having all these things that are, like, “bloop, blop, bloop,” no matter what time of day or night it is. That’s really important.
And staying away from technology in the evening is really useful. So, one of the things I do is play guitar or play piano or sing. Do something that’s right-brainish. Gets you into that flow, that relaxed state, that’s kind of sleepy and dreamy. It’s just like perfect timing to kind of lead you into going to sleep.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. Perfect.

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Guy Lawrence: What kind of… Just touch on exercise. What kind of philosophies do you abide by, then? What do you incorporate in your week?

Abel James: Well, I used to run marathons.

Guy Lawrence: All right. Wow!

Abel James: I’ve always been a runner of some kind. I was never great, but I was always good. It was something I did more for meditation. I didn’t call it that back then, but I’d run outside and I’d get into this state, that the only way I can describe it, is meditative, for sure.

So, I used to do a lot of exercise. And I raced mountain bikes when I was younger and stuff. Now, I’ve found that exercise is something that I do as a habit, not as something that I kind of, like, force in there, if that makes sense.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Abel James: So, at this point it’s pretty much automatic, that in the morning I’m going to be doing something.

On Mondays I do monster lifts, which isn’t anything too crazy. It’s basically just like I have a couple of dumbbells …

I always work out at home, I don’t really go to gyms, because our nearest health food store is in a different time zone. Like, we’re out here in the middle of the woods, so, I don’t really have any other choice.

So, I’ve got a couple of 52-pound dumbbells, free weights, and I use those to do squats and some dead lifts and maybe a couple of other little exercises, some presses or whatever, on Mondays.
Or I might do a kettlebell workout on that day. But every Monday I’m hitting it, I’m making myself sore, and then I’m going to go and crush a bunch of work, my worst work, I put that all on Monday.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Abel James: So, it’s just one of those days, it’s just like, “All right, we’re getting it!”

And then, maybe on Tuesday, then I would do something that’s a little bit less intense, like yoga-type moves, some holds, focusing more on balance and mobility.

And then on Wednesday, I might do a very intense sprint workout. That’s what I did today. Which is, basically just like tabatas. So, you do 20 seconds on, all-out exercise that’s intense. So, I’ll do sprints or burpees. So you do that 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Repeat it ten times. You’re done in five minutes.

Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.

Abel James: And if you’re not smoked by the end of it, you’re doing it wrong.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Right. That’s perfect.

Abel James: It’s the week, … sorry, go ahead.

Stuart Cooke: It’s just interesting, you know, there are a lot of people now kind of almost ingrained to think, “Well, I’ve got to go to the gym every day and I’ve got to stay in the gym for two hours. And I’m on that treadmill and I’m watching TV and you know, that’s me, done.”

But like you said, you can do this in five minutes. You know, I do a little kettlebell burpee workout and I can do that in about six minutes and I’m toast. Done. But yeah, massive effects on how you feel later on in the day.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. But it’s bringing it back to making sure your sleep’s dialed in and your nutrition is dialed in.

Abel James: Right.

Guy Lawrence: And then you can spend the time enjoying your life outside of these things, instead of obsessing about them all.

Abel James: Yeah. The simple things. It’s is just kind of … get your calendar in order. Grab a hold of that thing. Shake it around a little bit, if you need to, and then put the right things in, especially in the morning. That’s, I think, from a habit point of view. It’s like, if you’re forcing yourself to go to the gym every day, for two hours, and go on a treadmill, which almost nobody likes.

Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.

Abel James: That’s why you watch TV, because you’re so just bored. Then it’s hard to believe that that’s sustainable. It’s hard to believe that you’re going to be able to do that for the rest of your life.

It might work, kind of. But if you can’t do it for a really long time, if you don’t love to do it, you’re going to stop at some point. Then you’re going to fall off the wagon. Get out of shape. Then it’s really hard to get back in shape.

So, like, make this … if you can do your workout in six minutes, do it! I mean I’m a “health guy” or whatever and that’s exactly what I do.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Abel James: I think that it’s the best to know that science supports that too, right?

Stuart Cooke: It does. Yeah, that’s right.

Abel James: I’d much rather; I like running, but to be perfectly honest, if I can do it in five minutes instead of three hours, I’m going with five minutes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Every time.

Guy Lawrence: I think you touched on something else as well. It’s important you’ve got to enjoy it. Just do something you love doing. I think that’s so important psychologically, as well, so you can go and do it again.

I worked in a gym for a long time and I found people who forced themselves through the door, just staying there for so long, just like a diet per se, as well. And then they would drop off at the other end and everything they gained, what they’d struggled to gain, it comes back anyway.

Abel James: And it’s heartbreaking, right?

Guy Lawrence: Ah, yeah.

Abel James: When you know what works. You know they know what works, too. But sometimes it’s just; it all goes away.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Abel James: It’s a bummer to see that.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

So, moving on, we mentioned your book “The Wild Diet.” Can you tell us a little bit about it? Because it’s launched I’m thinking a few months now.

Abel James: Yes. Yeah. It’s been out for about a month now. It’s called “The Wild Diet” basically, because what we have in most societies now is this industrialized food system that is feeding us junk food, processed food, and junk food disguised as health food. And so a lot of people are getting burned by that.

On the other side of that, we have kind of like this wild world. The opposite of industrialized domesticated. You know, where animals, if you choose to eat them, are raised eating the diets that are natural to them in nature.

So, cows are eating grass, for example. So you eat grass-fed, pasture-raised animals.

Your getting heirloom and heritage varieties of seeds, nuts, plants, as much as you can, because those things are inherently designed by nature, generally most healthy for our bodies at this point. We’re well-adapted to eat things we’ve been eating for a long time in the form that they used to be.

And sometimes that can be hard to find. You know, like finding wheat strains, for example. Finding really traditional sourdough breads, made with an ancient variety of wheat, is something you need to try to do. You need to look for it or whatever. But it can be done.

And so, “The Wild Diet” is basically trying to … I come from the paleo world in a lot of ways. But paleo as a theme has kind of subsumed a lot of other movements.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Abel James: It kind of like absorbed them, right? Like the eat local movement, the low-carb movement. And so, I’m somewhere in between all these.

And one of the problems, it’s exciting but, one of the problems with like, paleo, for example, is that it’s gotten so big and so many people have heard about it, that the marketers know that it’s a hot market and so they’re starting to flood the market with a bunch of “paleo health foods.” And a lot of people are getting the wrong idea about what that means.

You can’t just go to McDonald’s and get a hamburger or three hamburgers, throw away the bun and call it paleo, right? If you’re doing it right.

So, I felt like I needed that other word that hadn’t been poisoned yet. So, I wanted to come up with “wild.”

And basically it’s just a … it’s more of a philosophy on how to eat and live than it is about some crazy dogmatic diet. It’s basically like: Here’s everything that you need to know to actually do this, in a simple fun book.

And so, I basically wrote it according to what my community and fans and followers liked and wanted to listen to and then we filled it up with some of the best recipes we’ve ever made. So …

Guy Lawrence: Good one, yeah.

Abel James: … it’s a fun book.

Guy Lawrence: But it’s a bit of a big task putting a book together I can imagine, right?

Abel James: Oh, boy. It’s the worst possible thing you can do for your health, is write a health book.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

So, given the fact then that you’ve got all this knowledge and you’ve put it into this book, this fantastic resource for everyone, the million-dollar question is, what have you eaten today?

Abel James: Oh, good one. So, that’s the question that I can almost not even ask on my show, because a lot of people are so embarrassed about what they actually do.

So, I started the morning with supplements. A lot of them are herbs and adaptogens, you know, like rhodiola is one of my favorites. And fermented cod liver oil I usually have in the morning, because it’s a nice little dose of fat and kind of like front-loads lot of nutrition. Vitamin D is something I take pretty much every day. So, I’ll take that in the morning as well.

And then I made myself … well, every morning I wake up, drink a big glass of water, I usually keep that going throughout the day. So, lots of hydration.

And I had … this is my sixth interview today.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, crikey.

Abel James: And I have two more after this.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.

Abel James: So, on interview days I generally fast until the evening. Sometimes until the afternoon, depends if I have the time or the breaks.

So, I make myself my own, like, usually I roast the coffee about once a week, so I’ll make some French press coffee and then I’ll fill it up with a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or some sort of fat. Which gives me some interest, right? I like drinking that with my coffee and I might have some coconut oil with it or medium-chain triglycides or other fat that I put in there.

So, that’s what I had today and I’ve had, I think, two cups of coffee with probably about three tablespoons of heavy cream, pasture-raised. And then right before this interview I felt like I wanted something and so my wife made an awesome green smoothie, which we have almost every day.

That’s usually how I break my fast, is by having basically a blended-up salad. But you can pick the right thing so it tastes really good.

So, it’s got like three different types of greens in it. It’s got strawberries. It has chia seeds and flax, so it’s full of omegas, the right kinds of fats, and plenty of fiber. So, I hit that with some coconut on top, some shredded coconut, because it’s nice to chew on something.

And that’s all I’ve eaten today.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.

Abel James: Tonight I think we’re going to have a big steak and probably a big salad and maybe a side of red rice, I think we have some going. And we have some soup. Some bone broth that we made, that’s left over, that we’re just going to heat up and some of that too and probably some really tasty chocolate or some of Alison’s homemade cookies for dessert.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. It’s almost breakfast time and you are making me hungry.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That is fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we have a couple of wrap-up questions for the podcast.

Abel James: Hit it.

Guy Lawrence: And first one is, are there any books that you’ve read that have been a great influence in your life?

Abel James: “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer. He’s one of my past guests. That’s one of the most underrated books there is I think.

It’s about how to incorporate symmetry and balance into your movements. Specifically for running, but it really applies to almost everything using, you know, ancient … I’ve seen a lot of similar things in Taoist textbooks and certainly like the tai chi and things like that.

That’s an awesome book. It’s called “Chi Running.” Danny Dreyer’s the writer who’s been on my show.

Guy Lawrence: We’ll include it in the show notes. Yeah. Fantastic.

Abel James: Yeah. That one’s great.

The “Perfect Health Diet” is done by Paul Jaminet. It came out a few years ago; another just wonderfully researched book.

And Paul … I was fortunate to hang out with him a bunch of times and kind of become friends with him. And he’s not your typical health professional, in the sense that he’s not really interested in any of the marketing or whatever. He likes research and he likes the science.

And so I really like that book too, the “Perfect Health Diet.”

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Perfect. I’ll check them out. I haven’t seen any of those two.

And last one is, and this is a pearler. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Abel James: I worked with this Russian guy when I worked at restaurants growing up. And on one catering gig, he just messed up royally. I don’t know what happened exactly, but the boss was really pissed off and this guy was not having a good time. And then he just kind of like turned to me and I’m 14 years old or whatever and he’s this massive Russian guy and he’s just like, “Every kick in the butt is a step forward.”

This is how it started off and you could tell that he didn’t care at all. He was going to have a great day no matter what. And after I kind of like saw that happen and I was like, “All right. That’s cool.” The way that he handled that, I want to be able to handle something like that …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Take it on the chin and move on.

Abel James: … when the world comes crashing down on me someday.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that works. That’s fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome, mate. And is there anything coming up in the future, Abel? Anything you’d like to share? Any exciting projects?

Abel James: Sure. Yeah. We’re excited about … well, we decided basically that, this is my wife and I, this is something that we’re just going to do, you know. We’re going to make this our … we’ve been doing it full-time for a while, but we weren’t sure exactly if we wanted to do apps or you know some other type of publishing or helping publish other people or whatever. But we decided to make the blog and the podcast and our new video series kind of our main thing.

So, we just recorded a huge cooking class, that we invite all these cameras into our kitchen. We set up a bunch of GoPros and other cameras. And so, it’s like documentary-quality. Just hanging out with us in the kitchen learning how to cook things quickly and easily.

And so, it’s called The Wild Diet Cooking Class and you can find that at: FatBurningMan.com/cooking.

So that’s just one of the things, but if you go to FatBurningMan.com and sign up for the newsletter, we’re planning to come out with cool stuff like that every few months or so and just keep a steady clip of like, “You guys want to learn more about ketosis? All right. We’ll do this class.”

Stuart Cooke: Perfect

Abel James: And keep that going.

Yeah. So, it’s been fun. It’s a lot of work, but after taking about a year off traveling the world and going to Australia, which is loads of fun, it’s been really cool to come back with a renewed passion and focus.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate and for your book, “The Wild Diet” as well, go back to FatBurningMan.com, as well?

Abel James: You can actually, if you want to see that, you can go to: WildDietBook.com.

Guy Lawrence: Okay. There you go and we’ll put a link in the show notes, as well. Brilliant.

Abel James: Right on. Thank.

Guy Lawrence: Abel, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was a treat. And I have no doubt everyone listening to this will get a heap out of that. That was awesome.

Abel James: Awesome. Yeah. What a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Stuart Cooke: No problems and we really appreciate it. And you enjoy the rest of the day. Good luck with your interviews and enjoy that meal. Sounds delicious.

Abel James: Thank you so much. You guys have a great day.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Abel.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you buddy. Take care. Bye, bye.

Abel James: All right, just like you.

Guy Lawrence: Bye.

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How We Got It Wrong! Why I Eat Saturated Fat & Exercise Less

The above video is 3:57 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

How do you put a claim like this into a short video (above)? In all honesty you can’t, but hopefully it will whet the appetite enough for you to dig deeper and listen to the full fascinating interview with investigative journalist and NYT bestselling author Nina Teicholz.

In 2014, Nina released her book ‘The Big Fat Surprise’ that was nine years in the making. Within the book she reveals the unthinkable: that everything we thought we knew about dietary fats is wrong.

Nina Teicholz Big Fat Surprise

The book received rave reviews including:

“Most memorable healthcare book of 2014″Forbes.com

“This book should be read by every nutrition science professional… All scientists should read it… well-researched and clearly written…”The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

So sit back and join us as we cover some of the hottest topics in the world of health and nutrition.

In This Episode:

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

  • Where the low fat theory came from and why it’s flawed
  • Why Nina went from vegetarian to eating saturated animal fats
  • The history of vegetable oils and why she goes out of her way to avoid them
  • Why everybody’s carbohydrate tolerance varies
  • Why exercising more is not the answer to long term health
  • The best style of exercise for health and weight loss

And much much more…

Get More Of Nina:

Full Interview: A Big Fat Surprise! Why I Eat Saturated Fat & Exercise Less


Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions.

So, if you’re watching this in video you can see it’s a beautiful day here in Sydney as I stand on my local Maroubra Beach and I might even be tempted to get a wave a little bit later, as well, but on to today’s guest.

We have the fantastic Nina Teicholz today. So, if you’re unfamiliar with Nina, she is an investigative journalist and she spent the last nine years putting a book together that was released in 2014 called “The Big Fat Surprise.” It hit The New York Times bestsellers list as well, which is an awesome achievement.

So, if you’re wondering what Nina’s all about, well the title of the book is a slight giveaway, but yes, dietary fat. And if you’ve been frustrated over the years, like myself and Stu, about the mixed messages of nutrition and what the hell’s going on, Nina sets the record straight today. Especially when it comes to what fats we should be eating, what fats we should be avoiding and even the whole debate around vegetable oils, which I avoid like the plague anyways. I don’t even debate about it anymore.

So, there’s gems of information.

Now, I must admit, I didn’t know a great deal about Nina, but she came highly recommended and this is the first time I met on this podcast today and I thought she was an absolute rock star. She was awesome. And yeah, it was a pleasure interviewing her and yeah, you’ll get a lot out of it.

Stick with it, because it’s action-packed and it’s probably a podcast I’m going to listen to twice, just to make sure I understand all the information.

Last, but not least, I know I ask every episode, but if you could leave a review for us. If you’re enjoying these podcasts and you get something out of it, all I ask is that you leave a review. Five star it and subscribe to it. This is going to help other people reach this information too so they can benefit from it as well.

One of my ambitions is to get the Health Sessions into the top ten on iTunes, in the health and fitness space and I really need your help to do that. So, we’re definitely gathering momentum. We’re moving up the charts and this would mean a lot to us if you just took two minutes to do that.

Anyway, let’s go on to Nina. It’s an awesome podcast. Enjoy.

Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie.

Stuart Cooke: Hello buddy.

Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Nina Teicholz. Nina, welcome to the show.

Nina Teicholz: Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here.

Guy Lawrence: It’s awesome. Very excited about today. It’s a topic that definitely fascinates us. We’ve had various people coming on the show, talking about all things, fat especially, and looking forward to getting your collective experience over the years and being able to share it with us and our audience. Yeah, it’s going to be awesome. So, it’s much appreciated, Nina.

So, just to get the show started and the ball rolling, would you mind just sharing a little bit about yourself, what you do and your own personal journey for everyone?

Nina Teicholz: Right. Well, I’m a journalist. I’ve been a journalist for decades. I live in New York City. And about a decade ago I sort of plunged into this whole area of nutrition.

And that started because I was doing a series of investigative food pieces for Gourmet Magazine, which is a food magazine in the states. And I was assigned to do a story about trans fats, which are now famous, but back then nobody really knew about it. I wrote this story that kind of broke that whole topic open in the U.S. That led to a book contract and I started writing a book about trans fats.

And then I realized that there was this whole, huge, untold story about dietary fat in general and how our nutrition polices seemed to have gotten it terribly wrong. And then after that it was decade of reading every single nutrition science study I could get my hands on and just doing this, like, deep dive into nutrition science. At the end of which I wrote this book called, or I came out with a book that was published last year, called “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”

That book has been controversial, but also successful. It became a bestseller internationally in, you know, it really was the first book to really make the case for why not only fat was good for health, but saturated fat. You know, in butter, dairy, meat, cheese, the kind of fat in animal foods was not bad for health.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: And maybe those foods were even good for health. So, that, of course, turns everything know upside down on its head. So…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.

So, just thinking then, Nina, that you’re completely absorbed in research and medical studies and things like that. At what point during that journey did you question what you were eating?

Nina Teicholz: Well, I started out as a, you know, what I call a near-vegetarian. Since I was in my late teens I had basically, like most American women, I had eaten a pretty low-fat diet, very nervous about eating any kind of fat at all. And I hadn’t eaten red meat in decades. I had like, little bits of chicken and fish. And I was, you know, I was a good deal fatter than I am now. But I also used to just exercise manically. I use to, really, for an hour a day, I would bike or run and I still wasn’t particularly slim.

So, when I started this book, it took me, I would say, a few years until I started really believing what I was reading. Which is to say, that fat wasn’t bad for health and I started to eat more fat.

And then I started to; like, I would say it took me a good five years before I would; I could actually cook a piece of red meat. Like, buy a piece of raw red meat and taste it, because I just hadn’t, you know, all I had in my; I’d only had vegetarian cookbooks and it just seemed; it was like a foreign thing to me.

But, I’m not one of these people, like, I know you probably have listeners who they just like they see the light from one day to the next and they can radically remake their whole diet and that was not me. It just took a long time for me to make that transition.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. In a way it’s such a big topic to get your head around in the first place, because we’ve been told the low-fat message, well, I have my whole life, you know. And when I first started hearing this myself, I was like, “Really? Come on. No way.” But then over the years, you know, I applied it and it’s changed my life, really.

So, what I’m intrigued in as well, if you wouldn’t mind sharing with us, Nina, is how did we end up demonizing fat in the first place?

Nina Teicholz: Well, that really goes back to the 1950s. I mean, there was always this idea that fat would make you fattening, because fat calories are more; they’re more densely packed. And there’s nine calories per gram of fat and there’s only four or five in carbohydrates.

So, there was always this idea that maybe fatty foods would also make you fat. But it really didn’t get going as official policy that all experts believe; it started in the 1950s and I have to back up a little bit if you don’t mind?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go for it.

Nina Teicholz: I mean, it actually started with saturated fat, right? It wasn’t; it all started with the idea that saturated fat and cholesterol were bad, would give you heart disease. And that really started the 1950s.

It’s a story that I tell in my book, it’s been told by others, how a pathologist from the University of Minnesota named Ancel Keys, developed this hypothesis. He called it his diet-heart hypothesis, that if you eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol it would clog your arteries and give you a heart attack.

And this was in response to the fact that there was really a panic in the United States over the rising tide of heart disease, which had come from pretty much out of nowhere. Very, very few cases in the early 1900s and then it became the number one killer. And our president, Eisenhower, himself, had a heart attack in 1955; was out of the Oval Office, out of the White House for 10 days.

So, the whole nation was in a panic and into that steps this Ancel Keys with his idea. It wasn’t the only idea out there, but he was this very aggressive kind of outsized personality, with this unshakable faith in his own beliefs and he kind of elbowed his way to the top.

So, the very first recommendations for telling people to avoid animal foods, saturated fats and cholesterol, in order to reduce their heart attack risk, those were published in 1961 by the American Heart Association, which was the premier group on heart disease at the time, still is. But at that point there was nobody else.

And so, that started in 1961. Then by 1970 they’re saying, “Well, its not just saturated fat. It’s all fat, because if you reduce fat in general that’s likely to keep calories low.” That was always the argument. That somehow it would just keep calories low and so that was probably a good idea to avoid fat all together. That started in 1970.

Then you see this low-fat diet, which, you know, there’s no evidence. There was no clinical trials. There’s no evidence at all. It just was like; kind of this idea that people had. That was adopted by the U.S. government in 1980, so then it became federal policy.

The whole government is kind of cranking out this idea and all its programs are conforming with it and then throughout the ’80s you see it spreading around the world. So, it spreads to your country. It spreads to Great Britain. It spreads everywhere. And then all Western countries follow the U.S. and our advice.

So, that’s how we got into this whole mess.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Nina Teicholz: And, you know, it’s; now we’re starting to get out of it. But it’s been decades in the making.

Stuart Cooke: Crikey. It’s ludicrous when you think about it based upon zero, I guess, concrete medical knowledge at all. I’m just; I’m intrigued about the studies that are set up, that guide us on this journey. I mean, how are these nutritional studies, I guess, initiated? And it seems that they can be so easily biased. Is that true?

Nina Teicholz: Oh, you know that is such a huge topic.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: I mean, there are thousands of nutritionists studies and we all know what it’s like to feel like be whip-sawed by the latest study and how do you make sense of them? How do you put them in perspective? Is really the question. What do you make of the latest mouse study to come out?

So, the way it all began was with the study that was done by Ancel Keys, called the “Seven Countries Study.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: And that was done on nearly 12,000 men, men only, in seven countries, mainly Europe, but also the U.S. and Japan. And that was a study; it’s called an epidemiological study; and that’s the key thing to know about it. It’s the kind of study that can show an association, but not causation.

So, it can show; it looks at your diet, and usually these studies they test diet just once and they ask you, “What did you eat in the last 24 hours?” You know how well you can remember that, right? And then 10 years later they come back and see if you’ve died of a heart attack or what’s happened to you.

So, even in the best of studies where let’s say they ask you three times what you at in the last 24 hours or they try to confirm what you say with what they measure; maybe they measure your diet. But even in the best of those studies, they can still only show association.

So, let’s say they find, as Ancel Keys did in that first epidemiological study, let’s say they find that you don’t eat very much saturated fat and if you’re one of those people, you tend to live longer. But not eating a lot of animal foods, you know, in post World War II, let’s say Greece or Italy or Yugoslavia, which is what Ancel Keys discovered; that was; those people were also, they were poverty-stricken people, devastated by World War II. They also didn’t eat a lot of sugar.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Nina Teicholz: Right? Because they didn’t have it. But; so you don’t know, was it the sugar? Was it the fat? An epidemiological study can never tell you. Or is it something you didn’t even think to measure? Was it the absence of magnesium in the soil? Was it your, you know, now is it your internet use? Is it your exposure to plastic? You don’t know all those things you can’t think to measure. You’ll never know in an epidemiological study.

But that was, that Seven Countries Study was the basis of that original American Heart Association recommendation and it’s also been the basis of a lot of other bad advice that’s based on these kinds of studies that only show association.

So, the better kind of data is called a clinical trial, where you taka a group of people and you divide them into two groups and you give one group this kind of, you know, a high-fat diet; the other group a low-fat diet and you see; everything about those groups is the same. It’s what’s called “controlling.” You’re controlling for internet use, for magnesium in the soil, or whatever. You take them in the same city; you assume they’ve got the same exposure to all that stuff, so you don’t have to worry about it. You just can measure the effect of the diet or you know, give one a drug and the other not a drug.

So, clinical trials are the kinds of studies that can provide rigorous evidence. And, you know, that they’re harder to do. They are expensive. It’s expensive to feed people. It’s expensive to; you know, usually the good clinical trials really control the diet all day long. It’s best if you do them on institutionalized people, where you can totally control the diet.

But there are clinical trials out there now; now there are after all these years, and you know, all those clinical trials show first, you know, one that saturated fats does not cause heart disease, does not cause any kind of disease, and that the low-fat diet that we embarked upon, when it was finally tested in big clinical trials, was shown to be either, at best, totally ineffective and at worst, it looks like it could very likely provokes heart disease by creating worsened blood lipids.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Nina Teicholz: So, but, those clinical trials, when they eventually came out it was sort of too late, because the official dogma had already charged ahead.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Crikey. Yeah. We’re still seeing an absolute barrage of low-fat goods on the shelves and that message is still loud and proud. People are still completely fearful of fat. It’s insane, isn’t it?

Nina Teicholz: Yeah. I don’t know what the official recommendations are in Australia, but I know in the U.S. they’ve tried to back off the low-fat diet. Like they don’t include that language anymore.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Nina Teicholz: But they still model all their diets as being low-fat. Low-fat is sort of defined as anywhere between 25 and 30, 35 percent of calories is fat.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.

Nina Teicholz: You know, before the low-fat diet we were; all our countries were eating 40, 45 percent fat.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: So, we’ve really dramatically reduced our fat intake. But, you know, our officials just can’t; it’s hard for them to back out of it. It’s just our; all of our food supplies are based on the low-fat diet. I mean, all of our cattle has been bred to be leaner for instance, you know, amongst many other things.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. From over the years of what I’ve seen as well, even if people adopt a higher-fat diet, there’s still a huge amount of confusion about fats themselves.

Nina Teicholz: Right.

Guy Lawrence: So, I’d love to get a little bit of clarity on that today as well. Like for vegetable oils for instance. You know, where did vegetable oils come from and the idea of them being healthy, when, you know, when I avoid them like the plague.

Nina Teicholz: Well that’s another amazing story and I’m not flogging my book, but it’s only place where the history of vegetable oils is really set out. And I just couldn’t believe what I’ve discovered about them. I mean, so the basic thing to know it that they didn’t exist as a foodstuff until really the early 1900s.

Before 1900, the only fats that were really used, well at least in America, I don’t know about Australia, but were butter and lard. Around the world it was butter and lard were the main fats that were used in cooking. And there was some olive oil in Italy, you know, in the Mediterranean.

But that starts later then you think, actually. And before that all oils were used; they were used for industrial uses. They were used to make soap. There were a lot of uses of oils, but it was not for eating.

And then; and so the very first oils introduced for eating, just as plain oils, they didn’t come around; in the U.S. they were introduced in bottles in the 1940s and before that they had; oils are unstable, you know, and they oxidize and they go rancid and they won’t last in shelves.

So, before that, in 1911, in the U.S. at least, they were introduced as like a kind of imitation lard. It was called Crisco that we have. And that they harden the oils through a process called hydrogenation and that produces trans fats. Which is why we all know about that now.

But that was first invented to make those oils stable, to harden them, so that they don’t oxidize and grow rancid.

So, that’s when they came into our food supply. That industry, the vegetable oil industry includes some of the biggest companies in the world now; ADM, Monsanto, Cargill, IOI Loders Croklaan. I don’t know if those are familiar names to you, but they’re huge companies. And they from the very; from the 1940s on, they figured out how to influence; like for instance, they were hugely influential in launching the American Heart Association. Which then wound up recommending vegetable oils for health. Because …

So, if you get rid of the saturated fats, what do you replace them with? You replace them with unsaturated fats and that’s vegetable oils.

So, these companies got their products recommended for fighting heart disease, basically. And they did that by infiltrating into our most trusted institutions, including the American Heart Association and also the National Institute of Health. And that’s why we think vegetable oils are good for health.

I mean, the main argument was that they lower your total… and originally it was they lower your total cholesterol. And then we could measure other things like LDL and HDL, the argument was they can lower your LDL cholesterol and therefore they fight heart disease. Well, I mean, that whole cholesterol story turns out not to be so simplistic.

So, that’s how they came into the food supply and that’s how they came to be viewed as healthy.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah and did it in everything. Like when you walk into the local supermarket, well the commercial supermarkets, I should say; they’re in so many foods.

Stuart Cooke: Well, yeah, 99 percent, I think, of our processed and packaged foods will contain them in some way, shape or form which is kind of crazy. And you touched a little bit on trans fats as well earlier; Nina and I wonder whether you could just talk a little bit about that today? Because that is, that’s a phrase that is quite fearful over here and I know on the packaging at least a lot of the manufacturers are very proud to say, “zero trans fat.” So, what exactly is it?

Nina Teicholz: Well, so when those vegetables oils are hardened, that process that I just mentioned called hydrogenation, that’s just an industrial process and one of the side effects of that process is it creates some amount of trans fats in that hardened vegetable oil, right? You harden the vegetable oil so it can be used precisely as you say in those packaged goods, right?

So, a lightly hydrogenated oil would become; be used as the basis of like a frosting or something. A soft, creamy substance. And the more; if you create; a more highly hydrogenated oil containing more trans fats would be used to say make the hard chocolate coating of a candy or something.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Nina Teicholz: So, you have varying amounts of trans fats in all of those hardened vegetable oils that are the backbone of our food industry.

Trans fats, you know, from that very first introduction of Crisco imitation lard that they were always in there and scientists kind of knew about it and were worried about it, from the 1970s on. But it really wasn’t until they were; really didn’t become exposed and known until the early 1990s. And it turns out that they slightly raise your LDL cholesterol. I mean, that’s; that was the evidence that upon which trans fats were kind of hanged by various expert agencies.

Trans fats are not good for health probably, but not for that reason. I mean, I think their effect on LDL is very minimal. They also seem to interfere with the functioning of your cell membranes. They kind of lodge themselves into critical key spots in every single one of your cell membranes. And they increase calcification of cells.

So, definitely trans fats are not a good thing. They were kind of condemned, I think, for the wrong reason. But, you know, the main issue now is like, what’s replacing trans fats? So, if you get rid of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, what replaces them? And my worry is that they’re just being… in restaurants, which used to use these hydrogenated oils in their fryers.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: Again, they were hydrogenated to be stable. That means not to create oxidation products when heated. So, in this country at least, restaurants are going back to using just regular old non-hydrogenated oils, which are toxic where they’re heated.

They create these hundreds of oxidation products and they create massive inflammation in the body, I mean, there’s all kinds of very worrisome health effects of those non-hydrogenated regular vegetable oils.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: They’re also inventing new oils. There’s something called, interesterified oil that they’re inventing to try to use instead of these trans fats oils. So, the trans-free options are to me, like, equally worrisome or if not more so. And, you know, what should be happening is just to return to butter and lard. That’s what we used to use.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Nina Teicholz: That’s what we used to use. Those are solid, stable fats that … and tallow, McDonalds used to fry their French fries in tallow. They’re solid and they’re stable and they don’t oxidize and they don’t go rancid.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: And that’s what we should return to. But we can’t, because we’re; there’s this taboo around saturated fats that we can’t use them.

Guy Lawrence: Wow. That’s incredible, isn’t it? I was going to say with the next question, like to just to simplify everything we’ve just discussed for the listeners, is like, what fats would you eat and what fats would you avoid? Like from everyday to …

Nina Teicholz: You should cook with stable natural fats. Lard. Butter. Ghee.

Guy Lawrence: Ghee.

Nina Teicholz: Coconut oil. Tallow if you have it. Those are stable. They’re natural. They’re the fats that we’ve always cooked with throughout human history.

If you want an oil for your salad dressing or whatever, olive oil, which; olive oil is better than vegetable oils. The reason is that olive oil is what’s called monounsaturated. It only has one double bond that could react with oxygen. Vegetable oils are polyunsaturated, meaning they have multiple double bonds. Every single one of those double bonds can react with oxygen. So, you want to just keep your double bonds low and that means using olive oil in favor of those other vegetable oils.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.

Nina Teicholz: Is that enough?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s good advice.

So, you touched upon the olive oil as well and I’m just thinking about, you know, in our society today we’ve got a diet for everything. You know we’ve got Paleo diet, low carb/high fat, Mediterranean; crikey there’s so many. With the research that you’ve done, are any of these existing diets close to optimal for long-term health?

Nina Teicholz: You know, I think; so, looking at the clinical trial research again, that kind of good rigorous data …

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Nina Teicholz: It’s strongly supports a lower carb/higher fat diet for better health. That diet is better at fighting helping people lose weight, at keeping their blood glucose steady and under control, which is how you keep diabetes; prevent diabetes or keep diabetes under control and also for improving cardiovascular risk. The majority of cardiovascular risk factors seem better on that diet. So, that’s a diet with anywhere from 45 to 80 percent fat even and carbohydrates, you know, 20 to 40 percent carbohydrates.

I mean, people really respond to diets differently.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: And so, your nutrition needs are different if you’re young, if you’re a child, if you’re elderly. It’s just so important to know that people respond differently to different diets. But; and critically it depends on whether or not your metabolism has kind of tipped over into this unhealthy state.

So, if you’re obese or if you have diabetes or if you have, are fighting heart disease, you are more sensitive to carbohydrates. So, your tolerance for them is lower. If you’re healthy, if you look like you guys, your tolerance is higher for carbs. If you’re active and you’re burning calories a lot, your tolerance is higher.

So, you know, you have to kind of adjust your nutrition plan based on that. But, you know, I think that one of the key things to realize is to eat a higher fat diet you have to eat, and if you want your fats to be natural, based in natural real foods, you just; it has to be a diet that’s higher in animal foods.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Nina Teicholz: You know, that’s again why; it’s one of the reasons why meat, butter, dairy, eggs, cheese is important to have in any kind of diet. The other reason is, is those are the foods where, you know, the majority of nutrients are, like almost all nutrients are, that you need for good health. And that’s not true in plant foods. It’s very hard to get the nutrition you need on a plant-based diet.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah and this is coming from someone that was a vegetarian, like you said as well.

Nina Teicholz: Yeah. Oh my God, you know, I had anemia. I had; most of my young adulthood I had anemia and all kinds of health issues that I had no idea were based on nutrition, but seem to have been now that they’re resolved.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow. And just to tie up the fat thing and I know because one question we get asked a lot, “Well, how much fat do I eat?” So, what would a plate look like for you at a meal? Could it be as simple as you cook your veg, you have your steak and then you put a big knob of butter on it kind of thing to have the dietary fat for that meal? What would your advice be?

Nina Teicholz: Yeah. I mean, that sounds like a great dinner to me. I mean, I’ve heard various ways of explaining it to people, you know. Like, half your calories should come from animal foods and half the volume on your plate should come from plant foods. Or what did somebody else say? Eat meat; eat animal foods until you are full and then have some fruits and vegetables.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Nina Teicholz: You know, I think, yeah I think like visually if you think like half your plate is being; having animals foods on it, like eggs, meat, diary and then the other half being salad greens, you know, fruits and things. That’s probably a pretty healthy diet.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Just keeping it simple.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. So, just thinking now then based upon where we are right now, with all the information that’s coming from, you know, the government, the doctors, you know, health advisors. So, if I go to the doctor’s and the doctor says, “Look, you know, you need to get in better shape. I need you to adopt a low-fat diet.” Now, that’s hugely confusing for me now with this barrage of information, new information that’s come out, saying the complete opposite. So, where would I start if I come back from the doctors with that info?

Nina Teicholz: Right. Well, first you sign up for your podcast.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That’s a good one.

Guy Lawrence: We send it to so many people and friends, you know, who have had that message.

Nina Teicholz: Yeah. And then you send your doctor my book or you send him your podcast. I mean, this is; I mean it is confusing. I think that until the paradigm shifts and our expert advice shifts, we’re going to live; we’re all going to live with this kind of cognitive dissonance between what our doctors say, who, you know, by the way have; most doctors, at least in America have about one hour out of their entire, what, seven-year education is at one hour or one day is devoted to nutrition. Really, they don’t know about nutrition. Even though if you look at polls, most people get their dietary advice from their doctor. So, that’s unfortunate.

But you really do have to become a little bit of an independent thinker, I think, on this subject. You know, especially if you feel like if the low-fat diet isn’t working for you, then there’s your own; I mean, in nutrition everybody is their own “n=1” experiment, right?

Stuart Cooke: Yup. Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: You know, you can go on a low-fat diet and see if it works for you over time. And then if it doesn’t you can go back to your doctor and say, “You know, that really didn’t work.” And he’ll say, “Well, you didn’t exercise enough and you didn’t lower your fat enough.”

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Nina Teicholz: And you can try that advise and see if it works for you. Or you can go on a higher-fat diet and see how well that works.

I mean, I just think that this is a field where there is a kind of alternative view and you have to kind of wean yourself from expert advice in this field. Because the expert advice is really misinformed and it’s entrenched. So; and I think that’s not going to change any time.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s a huge topic and its, yeah, which; you touched on exercise as well. So, question would be, exercise and heart disease are highly related, you know, heart disease and prevention. What’s your thoughts on that?

Nina Teicholz: You know, the recommendations for exercise are mainly based on this idea of burning calories, right? And that’s all based on this idea that weight, your weight, is determined by your calories in, how much you eat, subtracted by your calories out, how much you exercise.

And so, that’s why their recommendations are, you know, burn as many calories as you can. Or, you know, exercise an hour a day to burn calories.

But it just turns out that, you know, weight is not so simply regulated by calories in versus calories out. And we all know, like, I could probably go to a meal with you guys and you’d probably eat a massive amount of food and I’d be sitting there eating like, nothing and thinking, “Why are these guys so slim?” I mean, we all know people for whom that’s true and we all know fat people who just don’t seem to eat very much and we assume that they’re all, you know, stuffing themselves with ice cream every night. But that’s not necessarily true.

The experiments on exercise are uniquely depressing. I mean, they show that when; here’s the most depressing one I’ve ever read, which is kind of emblematic of the whole field, which is, they took a group of people. They had half of them do nothing. The other half trained for marathons for an entire year. They ran like a hundred miles a week, at the end of which the groups were the same in weight. The marathoners hadn’t lost any weight or any more compared to the controlled group. And that was, because when you exercise a lot, you get hungry and then your body, well, your body’s not an idiot, it knows; like it just wants, you know it will make you hungrier and then you’ll eat more and then you’ll replace the calories that you burn.

So, that kind of aerobic exercise does not seem to be effective and there’s a lot of studies like that. I mean, I’m sure you’ve talked about it on your program, the kind of exercise that seems to be supported by better evidence is, like, intense exercise, like, lifting weights or doing sprints or you know, really intense exercise that changes your actual muscles at a cellular level, will actually change their sensitivity to insulin.

Which is totally fascinating. But you don’t have to do a ton of that exercise, you can just do like 15 minutes of it, of intense exercise, and that seems to make, you know, enough of a difference to have an impact.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Perfect. Yeah, I have a little 6-minute workout that I do couple of times a week and I’m done and dusted in 6 minutes, but it knocks me sideways. But I feel great for it and I sleep better afterwards and I don’t have to spend hours in the gym on a treadmill.

Nina Teicholz: It’s too bad you’re so obese, really. Obviously it’s not working.

Stuart Cooke: I know. Well, you can’t really see the full body …

Guy Lawrence: Stu, I tell you, as I’ve mentioned on many podcasts, Stu’s body fat is probably at about 8 percent, right? I mean, he eats like a horse, like I can’t keep; like he probably eats physically twice the amount of food I do in a day. It’s incredible. I don’t know how he does it or what he does, but …

Stuart Cooke: Well, it is interesting because we had some genetic testing done on the both of us and our makeup is so very, very different. And it really is a slap in the face for everybody who counts calories, because we are so uniquely different. I couldn’t put on weight if I tried and I have tried. Whereas it’s the opposite for Guy. So, it really does, you know, take a little bit of a mind shift to think, “Well, perhaps it isn’t just about what I’m eating.” Because our bodies are kind of chemical machines rather than just, you know, adhering to the simple principles of energy in/energy out. So …

Nina Teicholz: That’s great.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: For women, I would say for women, especially women, you know, of a certain age like me, you know, then there’s other factors; your hormones become involved.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Nina Teicholz: I mean, your fat in technical terms, your fat deposition is controlled by your hormones, right?

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Nina Teicholz: And the reason that carbohydrates fatten you up more is that they trigger the release of a hormone called insulin, right?

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Nina Teicholz: And then when you get to be my age your hormones change and it becomes; and so that also messes with your fat deposition and then you have to, you have to make adjustments or figure that out. But I mean all of that just shows you that fat is controlled. The deposition of your fat on your body is controlled by your hormones. Insulin is one of those hormones and other hormones have an effect as well.

So, it’s really not about the number of calories that you eat.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Nina Teicholz: One of the great things about eating a higher-fat diet is it just; you don’t have to count calories. Which is like such an enslaving, awful way to live. You know, you can just eat until you’re full. All the tests on the so-called Atkins diet, all the formal scientific experiments, they don’t tell the people to control calories. That diet works even without counting calories. So …

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Nina Teicholz: And that’s a fundamental thing, because that is a terrible way to live. Like where you’re counting the number of calories in your toothpaste, because like, you know, you’re just; you’re, I mean, you’re like, “I’m never going to get back in that dress.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. The other …

Stuart Cooke: I was just thinking that’s just a perfect product; just low-carbohydrate toothpaste. Why didn’t we think of that? We’d make a fortune.

Nina Teicholz: If you’re counting calories.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. True. True.

Guy Lawrence: And the other thing we see all the time as well, is that when people are counting calories, a lot of the calories they’re indiscriminate about what they eat. Like, there’s no nutrients in to them whatsoever except glucose half the time, you know. It’s just processed carbs and they keep to that. I often wonder what that would be doing to you know, the gut health, the inflammation and all these knock-on effects that are coming from that as well. It’s huge.

Nina Teicholz: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And just supports; we certainly don’t push the calorie-counting message, that’s for sure.

Stuart Cooke: So, given the fact then, Nina, that you’ve written this amazing book and you’ve just got a wealth of knowledge and it’s a question now that we ask everybody on our show and if you don’t mind and I apologize in advance; can you tell us what you ate today?

Nina Teicholz: Sure. I don’t mind. It’s not very interesting. Let’s see, I two fried eggs for breakfast.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Nina Teicholz: I drink a lot of coffee. And then I had a huge bowl of full-fat cottage cheese with walnuts and some raisins for lunch. And I haven’t had dinner yet, because I’m here in California. I don’t know what time it is there, but I haven’t had dinner yet.

Stuart Cooke: Right. Okay.

Nina Teicholz: That’s it.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect. There you go.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: And just touching on that, another thought that came in, because for anyone listening to this that is still eating a low-fat diet, you know, what would you advise them in terms of what you found on transition, you know, to allowing the body to adapt and utilize fat more as a fuel?

Nina Teicholz: Well, so a few things; one is that if you’re transitioning to eating more red meat, if you haven’t eaten red meat in a long time you don’t have a lot of the enzymes that you need to digest it and it does take awhile to build those enzymes back up. So, that’s kind of a slow transition.

The other thing is that typically when people switch to a higher-fat diet, I’m talking about like an Atkins diet that’s quite high in fat, there’s a transition period during which you feel awful. And one of the problems with a bunch of these trials on the Atkins diet is they were like, “Oh, let’s test it for three weeks.” And everybody feels horrible during those three weeks. And they’re like, “Oh, that diet must not work.”

But you have to test it for a longer period of time, because there is this transition period. Your enzymes are changing; your regulatory pathways; your metabolism is changing; you’re switching to burning fat rather than glucose as fuel. That takes time and there are resources to try to help you make that transition without suffering too much.

You know, you’re supposed to drink bone broth and have more sodium and you know, there’s various things that you can do to try to replenish some of the nutrients that are depleted. And you know there’s books; I can recommend a book about that. But you have to get through that transition period and then you start feeling better. That’s the crucial thing.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Yeah I just wanted her to touch on that.

And we have a couple of wrap up questions that we ask on the show every week and one was what Stewie just asked for, what you ate today?

Another one is, what books have influenced you the most or what would you recommend to people and this can be outside the nutrition or anything. Is there any that spring to mind?

Nina Teicholz: Well, I haven’t read anything other than nutrition for so long. I feel like, oh yeah, there was probably “Catcher On The Rye” back when I read other kinds of things. But, you know, in nutrition the most important writer in nutrition in my view is Gary Taubes. His book, “Good Calories, Get Bad Calories,” is like the Bible, I think, of this whole field. I think it’s, you know, fantastic. It’s; my book covers a lot that same territory, but it’s maybe a little bit lighter and also covers some other things.

So, yeah, I think that’s the most important book I can think of in this field. He also wrote a book called, “Why We Get Fat.” That’s a little more user-friendly.

Yeah, and then you know, Jane Austin. Read about human nature. Never gets better than that.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. That’s excellent.

Guy Lawrence: Excellent. And the last one, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Nina Teicholz: Oh, you know I get asked this and then I’m like, “I don’t know anything about; I don’t know how to live.” I don’t know. Actually I just don’t know how to answer that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: I think that maybe in this field, for this audience, the point about taking care of your sleep. I’m a chronic insomniac; I’ve been for years. And that so interferes with your weight, and your ability to function and I’m just getting my sleep in order and I would say, yeah, attention to your sleep. It’s just as important as what you eat.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect and we certainly agree with that one.

Stuart Cooke: That is excellent advice. I am absolutely consumed by all things sleep right now. So, in another conservation, I could chew your ear off about that topic.

Nina Teicholz: Oh, I would really like that. I would really love to hear actually what you know.

Stuart Cooke: Likewise.

Nina Teicholz: It’s a whole; that’s another topic where, you know, where you go to your doctor and what they say is so unhelpful, you know.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.

Nina Teicholz: And what you find on the internet is largely unhelpful and it’s hard to find your way to good information. So …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, they’re all alike. I’m been; I have been infatuated by this probably for the last two years and I’ve read a billion books and a million podcasts. And yeah, I’ve got all these strategies as well that are just like gold and I know now that if I do this thing I’ll have a better nights sleep and it just works. So, yeah …

Nina Teicholz: Thank goodness.

Guy Lawrence: Can you share with us tip, Stu for anyone that’s listening out there.

Stuart Cooke: Okay. One tip; I’ll give you two tips.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: Blue light and devices wreck sleep, because it interrupts with the body’s production of melatonin. So, if you’re staring at a laptop at 9 o’clock at night and then expect yourself to go into a blissful sleep, it won’t happen.

So, I’ve just been; I wear these blue light blocking glasses. You know, I look like a construction worker. But, crikey, you put them on and ten minutes later you feel sleepy. It’s that crazy.

Nina Teicholz: Wow.

Stuart Cooke: And so, yeah, for me it’s kind of devices off at kind of 6 p.m. and then I try and get into more of a sleep routine where I read and listen to music and prepare myself for sleep wearing those glasses. So, that works.

And the other thing, is a little bit of carbohydrate-cycling. So, following a reasonably low-carbohydrate diet, I tend to have most of my carbohydrates at night before I go to bed. And that really helps with insulin and puts the body in this sleepy state and helps me stay asleep during the night.

So, I find that if I restrict my carbohydrates in the meal at night and just have, I’m going to say carbohydrates, but I’m thinking more of the starchy carbohydrates. So like, sweet potato, things, you know, outside of just the veggies. It works. So, a baked potato, with like guacamole on it; a steak, some veggies covered in olive oil; is my go-to-sleep meal.

We have that on a Monday evening almost religiously and I get the best sleep on Monday night. I just do. So, I’ve been researching a little bit more about that; just about starch and stuff like that and how that plays with our sleep.

Nina Teicholz: All right, I’m signing up for your pod. I’m …

Stuart Cooke: No problem.

Nina Teicholz: Those are great ideas. I’ve heard them, but I mean, that is; really sounds very smart and you’re right. If you can encapsulate that advice and get it out to people, that’s incredible service. So, sign me up.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: All right and thank you.

Guy Lawrence: That’s a good one, Stu. That’s awesome.

And so, what does the future hold for you, Nina? Anything exciting coming up?

Nina Teicholz: No. I hope to be; have a very dull life and get a lot of sleep. But I am; I’m particularly interested in trying to change the actual nutrition policy, you know, that exists, so that; which is so influential. That’s why your doctor gives you the wrong advice, is that they get their recommendations straight from the government and that’s also true in Australia, I know.

So, I think that that needs to change and I’m hoping to work to try to move that along. And basically, you know, nutrition reform. I mean, it’s one thing to write a book, but then you just have to get that message out there. So, I’m working on that.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And for everyone listening to this, where is the best to go to get more of you so that you; your website?

Nina Teicholz: I do you have a website.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Nina Teicholz: It’s not so active, but there’s a lot of information there, which is: www.thebigfatsurprise.com.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And they’d be able to get your book from there too or just on Amazon?

Nina Teicholz: Yes. I think it should still be on Amazon. There’s actually a new version that’s being sold in the UK without the thousands of footnotes at the back. So, that’s; might even be considered beach reading, because it’s a light enough book to carry with you.

Guy Lawrence: Well, Stewie’s going through it at the moment, I’m waiting for him to finish and then I’m going to be reading it.

Nina Teicholz: Oh, good.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.

Nina Teicholz: Great. Well, it’s lovely to talk to you both.

Guy Lawrence: Thank you so much for coming on this show, Nina. That was an awesome and yeah, everyone’s going to get so much out of it. That’s brilliant.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you again, Nina.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Nina.

Nina Teicholz: It’s really been great to talk to you.

Guy Lawrence: Cheers.

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How I Lost Over 100kg Without Dieting

The above video is 3:49 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Do diets really work long-term? With every weight loss plan, diet calorie counting and exercise regimes out there all claiming small miracles, it can be challenging to figure out what we should really be doing! So who better to ask than a man who lost over 100kg’s without dieting.

jon gabrielAnd from the words of Ray Martin (A Current Affair TV Program) “He lost more than 100 kilos (220 lbs) without diets or surgery, now meet the man who says we can all melt fat using the power of our minds”

Yes, this week our special guest is Jon Gabriel, which I honestly believe is one of the most inspiring transformational journeys I have ever heard! Jon’s story has been featured on A Current Affair and Today/Tonight in Australia. His success in helping others lose weight has also been discussed on many popular talk shows in the U.S., including The Jane Pauley Show, Hard Copy and Entertainment Tonight.

Full Interview with John Gabriel: How I lost Over 100kg Without Dieting Using These Techniques


downloaditunesListen to Stitcher
In this episode we talk about:

  • Why diets never work long term
  • How the body fat just ‘melted’ off him when he applied certain techniques
  • The best place to start if you are always struggling to lose weight
  • The best approach to meditation for beginners
  • His daily routines
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Get More of Jon Gabriel Here:

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Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Today I’m standing at Coogee Beach and that building right behind me is Coogee Surf Club. And believe it or not, that’s where it all began for 180 Nutrition now over five years ago with me and Stu.

And I thought I’d bring the introduction here today, because when we started I had no idea where 180 was going to lead to and what was to follow. And it’s quite a special moment for us, because we’re literally about to launch into the USA. And I never in a million years thought that was going to happen when we started a conversation just over five years ago.

So, from probably about the second week of August, you’ll be able to head to 180nutrition.com for you to listen to this in America and our superfoods are going to be available in America. So, that’s really exciting and a really big deal for us.

So, if you’re over there, check it out.

Anyway, on to today’s guest.

Today’s guest is Jon Gabriel and I reckon this is probably the most transformational story I’ve ever heard and one maybe the internet has ever seen. The guy was weighing in at 186 kilos at one stage in his life and he said he had tried every diet under the sun. It wasn’t that he was lazy, he was just struggling; he even went and saw Dr. Atkins at one point and he feared for his health. And if you see him today, ten years on, the guy’s got a six-pack and looks fantastic. I mean it’s incredible.

And what made Jon’s story even more exceptionable was that, basically, fate intervened with him one day and he should have been on the flight from Newark to San Francisco back on September 11, 2001, yes the terrorist attacks, and he missed the flight and he should have been on it and he said everything changed from then because he realized he’d been gifted a second chance in life. And he moved himself and his family to Australia. And then the weight just started to fall off. And a big part of that was using visualization techniques and meditation and, I guess, letting go of a lot of self-beliefs.

But I guarantee from listening to this episode today, you will be inspired to meditate. You know, if it’s something; like, for me, it’s always been a bit of a task, but I’m fully embracing it at the moment and loving it, only because I’m starting to “get it.” And from this episode, you know, you’re going to be sitting there, getting up an extra hour early in the morning, I promise you.

And last, but not least, before we get on to Jon a big thank you for everyone that’s leaving reviews on iTunes. Please let us know if you’re getting something out of this podcast, leave us a review. Tell us a little bit about your story. It’s awesome to hear them. We know these podcasts are making a big difference in people’s lives. And it’s just wonderful to hear it and know that we’re getting our message out to as many people as possible.

So, if you get the chance leave us a review.

Anyway, let’s go over to Jon Gabriel. This one’s awesome.

[text on screen]: 180 Nutrition

Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke as always. Hi, Stuie.

Stuart Cooke: Hello mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Jon Gabriel. Jon, welcome to the show, mate. Really appreciate your coming on.

Jon Gabriel: Great to be here, Guy. Thanks.

Guy Lawrence: We actually had James Colquhoun on our podcast recently and for anyone listening to this, he’s the man behind Food Matters and Hungry for Change, the awesome documentaries. And we asked him actually, “Of all the people that you’ve met and interviewed, who’s been some of your most inspiring? And he instantly said, “Jon Gabriel.”

Jon Gabriel: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: So, we’re very honored to …

Jon Gabriel: That’s a huge compliment.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, we’re very honored to have you here, mate.

Jon Gabriel: Awesome.

Guy Lawrence: So, could you, just to kick start the show, I guess, yeah, share a little bit about your amazing story. Your journey from where you started, what you used to do, too.

Jon Gabriel: Yeah. Sure. So, I used to be over 400 pounds or 180-some-odd kilos and I was working on Wall Street. I was stressed out. I felt like I was killing myself. I felt like I was on a treadmill that was just going too fast.

And I got off of that treadmill and over a two-and-a-half-year period I lost a hundred kilos, or 220 pounds, without restrictive dieting. That is: without forcing myself to eat less or forcefully denying myself and without killing myself with exercise. It was almost as if the weight had just totally melted off of me.

And because of the way the weight melted off of me, I knew I had a really powerful message for the world. And I wrote about how I did it in a book called, “The Gabriel Method.” And “The Gabriel Method” touched a chord with a lot of people that had been trying to lose weight by dieting and have not been successful. And the book went on to get translated into 16 languages and is in 60 countries and a bestseller in several languages.

And we went on to create this whole process of losing weight by what we call getting the body to want to be thin rather than forcing. And even today, there’s; a lot of the information that we put out is similar to what other people are putting out, at least from a nutritional standpoint. There’s like a convergence going on in terms of: You need to take care of your digestion and you need to nourish your body properly and how healthy fats. . . And all this kind of stuff.

But nobody, even today, and this is now ten years down the road, we published The Gabriel Method in 2007, but I lost the weight in 2004. So, it’s been; I’ve been out there now over ten years.

I still don’t hear anybody talking about losing weight by getting your body to want to be thin. I hear people talk about speeding up your metabolism and cutting carbs and healing your digestion and reducing stress, but I never, ever, ever, hear anybody talk about getting your body to want to be thin.

So, our whole focus is the science and study of getting your body to want to be thin, because as in my case and now thousand of people all over the world, when you get your body to actually want to be thin, you’re not at war anymore. You don’t have to; you don’t need to know how many calories you should have in a day. You don’t need to know whether or not you should eat in the morning or in the afternoon or whether you should intermittent fasting or eat every two hours.

You don’t need those rules anymore. Your body does the accounting by itself, because you become, in essence, a naturally thin person. So, that’s what we’re trying to do, is turn people into naturally thin people.

Stuart Cooke: How did you arrive at that solution, Jon? Like where was the light bulb moment?

Jon Gabriel: Right. So, it was; basically it was through my life experience. So, what happened was I was sort of a naturally thin person back in like 1990. I was about the same weight as I am now. I was athletic and I ate a healthy diet. But I didn’t have to ever make an effort to keep maintaining my weight. I was like most people or many people that we know.

And I moved to New York. I started working on Wall Street. Really high-stress job. Working my butt off. Try to make ends meet. Blah, blah, blah.

And as soon as I moved I started gaining weight. And I gained maybe five or ten pounds the first year, five or ten pounds the second year, and I didn’t think too much about it. But then by the third or fourth year I was looking at, you know, I was 220, 250 pounds. A hundred kilos.

And so, that’s the first time I decided that I’m going to do something about it. And I did what everybody does, which was go on a diet. Because this is what we’re taught, right? It’s calories in, calories out, just cut your calories. So, I went on a diet and I lost a little bit of weight and then I’m fighting cravings left and right and I gain it back.

And then I went on this process over an 11-year period, where I went on every diet I could find. And every diet I went on followed the same approach. I would lose five or ten pounds through sheer brute force restriction willpower over a one-month period and then I’d come to this place where I couldn’t take it any more and have a huge binge. I’d gain that ten pounds back, literally, Guy and Stu. And when I say I gained that ten pounds back in a day, two days max. I am not exaggerating, I mean …

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Jon Gabriel: Boom! It would come back and then a week later I’d be five pounds heavier than when I even started that diet.

So, I went on this process where I lost ten pounds, gained fifteen pounds, lost ten pounds, gained fifteen pounds over a ten-year period till I was over 400 pounds.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Jon Gabriel: And when I say I did everything, I met with Dr. Atkins, face-to-face for a month. He’s not alive anymore, obviously. But he was living in New York and so was I, and I met with him every Monday morning at 7 o’clock and I spent three or four thousand dollars with him. And in the end, I’m sitting in his office and he’s reading all my test scores. I’m borderline Type 2 diabetic and insulin resistant, metabolic syndrome, cholesterol through the roof, high blood pressure like you wouldn’t believe, all this stuff. And he just looks at me and he goes, “What are you doing? You’re killing yourself.”

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Jon Gabriel: And I’m thinking to myself: Is that really the best that you can do, Dr. Atkins? You know, you’ve written this book called The Atkins Diet; 30 million people are on the Atkins Diet. I’m going to you face-to-face and the best that you can do is yell at me? Like, I’m going to lose weight because you’re ashamed of me or like you’re shaming me into losing weight? Like I don’t have enough motivation? I had fitness trainers at six in the morning. I would wake up with fitness trainers.

The important message with me is that I was a disciplined, hardworking person and I think that’s true of most people that gain weight. We have this stereotype, you know, where people are weak and lazy.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: But that’s not the case. What happens, I discovered, is there’s like this switch that goes off in your body where there’s the feedback regulating mechanisms that naturally regulate your body weight get completely out of whack and you have this unregulated mechanism where you just keep gaining and gaining and you’re hungry all the time.

And so, yeah, I would go on these diets, but at 11 o’clock at night if I didn’t have my carbs, you know, donuts, pizzas, whatever, I couldn’t sleep. So, then I’d have to eat that.

So, you know, this thing goes on and it’s not about being weak or lazy or undisciplined or trying hard or any of these things. And you go to the doctor and he goes, “Well, you should just eat less.”

And I remember walking into so many different doctors’ offices and they’d just look at me and they’d just give me this look, like, you know, “Oh, this guy doesn’t care about himself.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, as if you don’t care, yeah.

Jon Gabriel: Yeah. “Oh, well, you should just eat less.” And that’s what doctors are saying.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: It is kindergarten medicine. It flies in the face of hormonal molecular biology as we understand it today; it flies in the face of it. There is switch that goes off. I lived through it.

So, when I recognized, and the turning point for me was in 2001 I realized that for whatever reason, my body wanted to be fat and as long as it wanted to be fat there was nothing I could do to stop it. And I stopped dieting. I stopped this whole craziness and I just started researching everything I could about the hormones and the biology of weight. And I had a solid foundation in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania because I’d gone to the Wharton School of Business, but I wanted to be a doctor too, so I took all the pre-med courses of organic chemistry, molecular biology and all these.

So, I had enough of a foundation to read the researchers’ reports and make sense of it. And I studied and studied and I realized there were a lot of components to it. The biggest thing I studied was stress and the hormonal biology and the biochemistry of stress and what I discovered is that stress sometimes causes the exact same chemistry as a famine.

So, if you were in a famine you would have certain changes in your chemistry. So, your triglycerides would elevate and your cortisol levels would elevate. Certain proinflammatory cytokines would elevate and all these things are the exact same things that happen when you’re in a famine and you’re chronically hungry all the time. And what it is, is a signal to your brain that you’re in a famine.

So, what happens is your brain gets tricked by other stresses into activating the famine mechanism and it becomes this unregulated thing. Because if you were, if you were in a famine in real life you’d have all these stresses. Your brain would go, “Oh, we’re in a famine and we need to eat and eat and eat.” Then you’d eat and you wouldn’t be in a famine anymore. You wouldn’t have the stress anymore and you wouldn’t be signaled anymore.

But if the stress is coming from something other than a famine, but it’s causing the same biology as the famine …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right.

Jon Gabriel: It’s like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Like, I once saw this National Geography thing with these sharks and this shark had had its belly cut open and its intestines were coming out, but it was a feeding frenzy, and the shark was eating its own intestines. So, it’s like, you know like, one side doesn’t …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: You know, it’s like one part of your brain doesn’t know what the other part is doing, you know. And this is what people are living through. They’re living through this situation where one part of the brain is not responding properly to outside stresses.

So, what I started to do was look at all the different stresses that can cause this trigger to go off. And so, it turns out there’s a number of stresses and that’s what we published in The Gabriel Method. And some of them are physical and some of them are emotional.

So, if you’re in chronic emotional stress all the time, you’re pumping out proinflammatory cytokine cortisol, the same way you were in a famine in certain instances, not for everybody and we can talk about that, but for certain people it’s the same.

If your digestion is off and you’ve got leaky gut, you’re pumping out proinflamm; you’re pumping out toxins into your bloodstream, which is activating your immune system and causing a low-grade chronic inflammatory XXtechnical glitchXX [:12:40.0] it’s the same as famine. If your triglycerides are elevated because of certain processed foods you’re eating, it’s the same as famine.

So, the key is to change your biology so that your brain is not whacked out anymore and getting miscommunication. And then what happens (and this is what happen for me and this is what happens with the people we work with) it’s like imagine this scenario: You’ve got 200 pounds of excess weight on you. Your brain, because it’s whacked out because of the chemistry, thinks you have zero fat, right? So, you’re eating and eating and eating. And this is what’s going on with people. And then all of a sudden one day imagine you wake up and your brain is getting an accurate assessment of how much weight you have on you and your brain says, “Oh my God, we’ve got 200 pounds of excess weight. This is crazy!” And then what happens is you just start losing weight like crazy. So, I just stopped being hungry.

What I did is, I moved to western Australia. I started growing my own food. I started meditating. I started visualizing. I started taking lots of probiotics and digestive enzymes. Taking super greens with protein powers and smoothies and all this kind of stuff. And all of the stresses that were causing this went away and the weight started to melt off me and I wasn’t even trying to lose weight at that point. I just couldn’t; I just had given up on life kind of.

In my job, I couldn’t work anymore. I was just totally at a breaking point and I just wanted to take care of myself for a little while.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: But the weight started to melt off of me. Melt off of me. And this is; and then it just totally melted off of me, all of it, and I’ve been the same weight now for ten years and I never, ever diet. It’s just that I know how to take care of the communication mechanism that causes your brain to listen properly to the amount of fat that you have. And that’s what I do when I work with people.

And the most overriding comment that I get from people when I work with them and these are people that have been serial dieting for 30 years and might have 50 or 100 kilos or 200 pounds to lose, they say; they go, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m just not that hungry anymore. You know, you tell me to eat a good breakfast. I can’t eat a good breakfast and I’m not hungry after lunch. Should I still eat every two hours?” No! You have changed. You’ve got it. Your chemistry has changed. Let your body lose weight. Let your body do the accounting now. Your body is your own best friend right now. Let it lose weight.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: Get your body to want to be thin; you lose weight sustainably.

Stuart Cooke: Fascinating.

Guy Lawrence: Did you have to reach a finite tipping point? Like a breaking point? Because we find that with many people that it’s almost like something has to become unbearable and then they snap.

Jon Gabriel: It’s like a perfect storm. It was like a perfect storm for me.

So, I was at 400 pounds. I was working three jobs on Wall Street, you know, I was running three companies on Wall Street and so I was working around the clock. So, one of them was a; just a brokerage company that had 16 brokers working for me. Another one was a startup online company and another one was an online overnight trading company. So, I was getting up every two hours to check the markets.

So, this was what I was doing. I was just racing and racing and racing, but at the same time carrying 200 extra pounds on me.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: So, I felt like I couldn’t go any further. Then I was almost on one of the planes that crashed in XX2011 – misspoke. Edit? 0:15:34.000XX and I just said, “I’m on borrowed time right now. I almost died. Life’s giving me a second chance and here I am killing myself. I’m just going to take a step back.”

And I sold my business. I moved to western Australia. I bought a piece of land. On 12 acres I started growing my own food and I just started living day-to-day. I figured; okay, it didn’t cost me much to buy the property, because currency was real strong for the U.S. dollar back then; this was some time ago. And property prices were really, really cheap in western Australia back then. So, it cost me; it cost me almost; it cost me $75,000, something like that, to buy this property.

You know, it was like; and I just; I said, “Okay. I have a place to live and I have some food, because it’s growing outside. So, today’s taken care of.” And I started living just one day at a time, saying, “Okay. I have a place to stay.” And as I was saying; I used to say to myself, “Okay. Air is free. I have a place to stay.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: “And I have food and water. So, today is taken care of.” And that was how I lived my life. And as I was doing that, it just; I didn’t; I wasn’t even trying. I still had; like I still would buy chocolate, eat pizza and all things that you can’t eat because they’ve got fructose and they’ve got; they’re insulin resisting. You know, all the things, but I still ate them and I was losing weight. And then eventually I lost my cravings for them entirely, because my body just kept going healthier and healthier. But it came from a very organic place.

So, when I tell people I lost weight without dieting, they’re like, “Oh, I bet if you measured your calories…” I’m, like, I didn’t measure my calories. I started; my body wanted to let go of weight, I started being less hungry and started craving healthier foods. Eventually I started having enough energy to exercise and so I started riding my bike.

You know, it just all happened from a very organic place by taking care of the chemistry that communicates your brain to your body.

Guy Lawrence: Wow. So, another question that popped in. So, for anyone listening to this who is struggling to lose weight and, “I’ve tried everything,” you know. Where would be the best place to start for them?

Jon Gabriel: So, the first thing you have to understand is that there’s reasons, there’s certain reasons why your body wants to hold on to weight. It comes from a confusion of survive; it comes from your body accidently activating a survival program. So, holding onto weight is a survival program. It protects us against famines when we’re living outdoors. And our body has a switch that activates that survival program. The stresses in your life can trip that switch.

So, the first place to look when you’re trying to lose weight isn’t necessarily how many cupcakes you’re having or any of these other things or how often you’re exercising; those things come into play, but the first thing to do is look and say, “What is the stresses (stress or stresses or stressors) that are tricking my body into activating this fat program?” That’s the first place you have to look.

So, it could be your digestion. And the way that; the clues to that are: “When did I start gaining weight?” So, sometimes people tell me, and I deal with people that have had serious, serious weight issues, lifetime weight issues. They tell me it all started when, for example, God forbid, they were abused as a kid, right? And that’s a trauma that causes stress. It causes chemistry.

Now, if you don’t relieve that trauma and make your body feel like you’re in a safe place, then dieting isn’t going to work. Because as soon as you lose a little bit of weight your body’s going to be like, “Well, no, we need that weight.” It’s a protection, you know, so you have to deal with that.

It could have been when you had a nasal infection. You started taking antibiotics. And then if you look at that and so you took antibiotics for a month or whatever, your friendly bacteria is destroyed. So, if your friendly bacteria is destroyed, that causes an inflammatory stress in your body. So, now we have to heal your digestion.

It could be that you just have too many toxins in your body and you need to detoxify. It could be you’re not sleeping well; you have sleep apnea. That’s a really big one.

You know, one thing we think; you know, you take a guy who’s three, four hundred pounds, work him real hard and he’s trying to exercise; he’s exhausted, he’s trying to eat well and you’re trying; and he goes to a fitness trainer or doctor or whatever and then they say, “Well, you need to exercise more. You need to exercise seven days a week.”

Well, really what he needs to do is sleep. And he’s not sleeping because he has sleep apnea. Because the weight of his neck is choking off his, you know, his windpipe, so he’s not getting into a deep sleep.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

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Jon Gabriel: That’s causing a chronic low-grade stress. It’s activating his inflammatory hormones and also his cortisol levels and that’s activating this fat program. He needs to get a CPAP machine to learn how to sleep.

If you’re chronically stressed all the time, he needs to learn how to meditate. If you’ve been emotionally abused you need to work through that emotional abuse.

So, you need to focus on the root issue. And the key to finding the root issue is always going back to finding the trigger of “when I started gaining weight?”

So, when you go back there, it’s the first thing I always ask people, “When did you start gaining weight?” and we talk about that. I don’t talk about what they’re eating. I don’t care what they’re eating.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: I want to find out when they started gaining weight. “When I started having kids. When I was in a divorce. When I got married. When my parents separated. When I started working on Wall Street.” Whatever the thing is, we need to go to there. We need to work through that.

So, the first place you always have to look is: what is the trigger, because there’s always a trigger, that’s causing this miscommunication with your body.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah that’s fantastic advice, mate. It’s so difficult to get our message through. Like, you know I worked as a fitness trainer for ten years and that’s why we started 180. Because, you know, I wanted to try and put out the beliefs out there. What I truly felt to be doing including, like, these podcasts and stuff. But when you’ve got; when you’re getting bombarded by the calorie in/calorie out, the diet message like you’re saying “flogging yourself” harder and harder at the gym and sleep comes into the problem. It’s really hard to cut through all that nonsense.

Jon Gabriel: When I work with my coaching people, I’ll work with people that have had a lifetime of weight issues and they feel like they’re failures. They feel like they’re sabotaging. But it’s not any of those things. The approach has failed them. The irresponsible way that we’ve looked at the data that’s out there and analyzed it and our lack of ability to respond to the current; to the new information, is what’s failing them. Not themselves.

So, I will talk; there are people that I have worked with, where I say, “I do not want to talk about food or exercise.” For months, we’ll go three months and then I’ll say, “Okay, now let’s talk about food.” And then we’ll do that for a couple of months and then I’ll say, “Okay, now let’s talk about exercise.” And we’ll do that for a couple of months and then I’ll say, “Okay, now you’re in a situation where you can expect to lose weight.” And they go: Poof! 80 pounds gone within two months. Boom! And stays off. Stays off!

Guy Lawrence: Incredible.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s amazing.

Jon Gabriel: It’s the exact opposite of the diet. So, a diet, you lose weight real quick; 20 pounds in 20 days. And then your metabolism slows. You further activate that famine response, which was already activated for some other stress, right? So, you further activate that. You go to war with your body. You’re fighting cravings all the time. And boom! You gain it back.

This, maybe you’ll do this groundwork, you know. I call it; you pay it forward. You do this groundwork to get to reverse the insulin resistance, the leptin resistance, the inflammation, the cortisol, the mindset, the nutrition. You do all these things in reverse and then you just go, poof! And the weight starts falling off.

And for me, too, when I lost the weight and kept it off; I didn’t lose weight quickly in the beginning, I lost weight really slowly and then it started to speed up and at the end I was losing weight like crazy, because my body became very efficient at burning fat. All the issues were gone. The weight wanted to let go. I had so much energy to exercise and it just; it was like this accelerated thing and that’s what happens with the people that we work with, it’s the exact opposite.

There’s this transition period, where you’ve got to do the work and then poof! The weight falls off.

Stuart Cooke: It’s amazing, because I think the majority of people immediately would assume that, “Well, I have to eat less.”

Jon Gabriel: Right.

Stuart Cooke: And then given what you’ve been telling us that would put enough stress on your body. Just the sheer worry about not knowing …

Jon Gabriel: It’s not just the worry. Think about this for a second. So, remember I said that sometimes the stresses in your life trick your brain into activating the famine response, right?

So, picture this scenario. You’re worried about making ends meet or your digestion is messed up, you’re not getting sleep; whatever it is. But you’ve got stress hormones that are communicating to your brain, your survival brain, not your conscious brain, but your survival brain, which is what’s in charge, that you’re in a famine, right?

So, your brain thinks you’re in a famine and then you go on a diet. What happens? You’re already; your brain already thinks you’re in famine and now you’re in a real famine …

Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: … and then you go to war with your body. And that’s why diets don’t work. There’s an inherent conflict of interest, because you’re not working with your body.

So, I’ll give you a perfect example of eating less with someone I just talked to just yesterday. So, we’d been working together for a few months and she says to me, “You know, I’m just not hungry. After lunch, I’m just not hungry anymore and I’m losing weight.” Is what she says and for a long time and she goes, “And something weird is happening. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. But if I do eat at night, I know I’m not that hungry, but if I do eat a certain amount or whatever, I start getting really hot and I sweat and I don’t know what’s wrong.” And I said, “Your body doesn’t want weight right now, which is why you’re not hungry.”

So, yeah, you have to eat less but you’ve got to want your body to want that so your body’s not hungry. Your body wants to lose weight, so you’re not hungry. And if you do eat, your metabolism speeds up so that you burn that food before you go to sleep. That’s what’s happening.

Stuart Cooke: Unbelievable.

Jon Gabriel: Your body just doesn’t want the weight anymore. That’s the way you lose weight sustainably. Get your body to not want the weight anymore.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Brilliant. Fantastic. Tell us a little bit about meditation, because you touched on it earlier. Is that like an integral part of stress management?

Jon Gabriel: Yeah. So, meditation and also what I call “visualization,” which to me is targeted meditation, is really, really important and so incredibly useful, because it rewires your brain chemistry so that you’re not pumping out stress hormones all the time.

So, if you look at the way brain chemistry works, the more you do something, the more it reinforces the signal so you’re going to do it more. That’s how habits are created. But thoughts are the same.

So, if you’re thinking fearful thoughts all day, what’s happening is there’s a signal going to the limbic part of your brain, activating a part of your brain called the amygdala, which is the seed of aggression and fear, which then pumps out inflammatory hormones and stress hormones. And so, what’s happening is the more you do that the more it gets reinforced.

So, you’ve got this unregulated feedback thing that’s pumping out stress, causing stressful thoughts. Pumping out stress, causing stressful thoughts. And if you were to actually trace the chemistry of that part of your brain, it becomes a stress-producing factory or a stress hormone-producing factory, which basically is like taking a weight loss drug all day. It’s like, if you were inter. . . Or a weight gain drug.

So, if you were intravenously tied to a weight hormone that causes you to gain weight and it’s pumping into you all day, you’re just going to get heavier and heavier. This is what’s happening with people.

So, how do you break that?

Well, when you meditate, even though if you’re only mediating only for like ten minutes a day, you start activating, creating inroads to activating areas that make you feel safe and relaxed and connected. And it’s not just for those ten minutes. It’s for the whole; it’s for the rest of the day and then evidently over time, it becomes all the time.

So, it’s just like the same as if you were to work out 20 minutes, three times a week, you’d be stronger all the time. Not just when you’re working out. If you meditate every morning for 10, 20 minutes, you then change your chemistry all day so that you’re not producing those stress hormones.

Guy Lawrence: Okay.

Jon Gabriel: So, that’s really, really powerful. And then when you use visualization, you actually get your mind and body to communicate. So, anything you imagine doing; if you imagine the weight melting off your body, if you imagine yourself craving healthy live fruit or going to the gym or doing well at business or any of these things. When you’re in that meditative state, your mind is very powerful and you become much more able to achieve your goals.

And by achieving your goals, not just weight loss goals, but other goals, sometimes it helps with weight loss too, because if you’re worried about finances, for example, and you’re able to use visualization to help improve your business and to have a good meeting and be successful, then you’re not worried anymore. There’s less stress and the weight comes off.

If you imagine yourself eating healthy foods, then you’re more likely to eat them. If you imagine yourself going to the gym, you’re more likely to do it. Many studies have shown that when you practice, rehearse mentally something, especially when you’re in a meditative state; you’re going to do it. It’s how you create habits.

So, we’ve incorporated meditation and visualization. That’s like the framework to get your mind and body to work together.

Guy Lawrence: So, just for people to visualize it …

Jon Gabriel: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: …you know, I’m thinking meditation is almost like a pressure cooker scenario, where you’re releasing the lid off it and allowing pressure to come.

Jon Gabriel: That’s one way to look at it. I would also look at it as it’s also creating a different connection so that you never even go into that pressure cooker.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: So, on the one hand you’re letting off the pressure, but you’re also connecting in another way so that you’re never even creating the pressure.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, perfect.

Jon Gabriel: So, like, you’re waiting in a bank line, right? And you’re late for work and you get to this; you’re pumping out stress hormones. But what you find, if you do meditate on a regular basis, is you’re not doing that anymore. You’re late for work or whatever, you recognize, “Look, I’m in a line. I’m going to be to work. I’m going to explain this to my boss. There’s nothing I can do about it now.” You don’t have that pressure any more. You give into the outside world, maybe doing whatever it’s doing.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah and you’re in the moment. So, with meditation, Jon, it’s a word that I hear get flung around a lot, and visualization and it’s something that I’ve always grappled with, as well. There’s things I grasp and just run with, you know, in areas of my life and I probably speak for Stu as well. So, for people listening to this, and I know a lot of people that fall in and out of meditation constantly, you know, as in they’ll do it for a week and then they don’t do it for six months. And then all of a sudden it builds up, you know. What would be; like if you could give three tips, like, what would be the simplest way for …

Jon Gabriel: So, I’ll tell you how I started and I get every…

Guy Lawrence: Okay, perfect.

Jon Gabriel: You want; the key is you want to become addicted to it. But there’s a lot, there’s a long road to get there, right? So, what I did was I listened to a meditation every day. It was a 20-minute meditation. I listened to it every day for about two years. Eventually, I would get; when I started doing the meditation I would just get this incredible bliss and relaxation, like, you’re sitting there and you’re not fidgeting anymore, And you’re not trying; like most people; that’s the other thing, it’s very paradoxical in the sense that if you try to concentrate you actually take yourself out of the meditation. Do you see what I’m saying?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: So, its like, you know, it’s like they teach you in martial arts, if you’re tense and you’re using muscle, you’re not going to be as effective as if you’re relaxed and you have sensitivity and you can move fast and you can think clearly. It’s the exact; as soon as you start trying you get discouraged, you get out of the meditation, and then you give up.

So, what I tell people, I’ve created seven- to ten-minute visualizations. It couldn’t be easier. They’re seven to ten minutes long. I say you have it all set up in your room. You do it as soon as you wake up.

So, you wake up. You don’t check Facebook and then do the meditation. You wake up. You press the button. You close your eyes. And the most important thing is, you let your mind wander. You don’t try to get; so if I say, “Imagine the weight melting off. Imagine yourself.” You don’t try. You just let your mind wander and you just sit there for the ten minutes or seven minutes.

Because what happen eventually; number one: you don’t give up, because you’re not getting discouraged. You’re not thinking, “It’s not working, my mind’s wandering.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: You’re not trying. You’re not taking yourself out of the meditation. But something takes over where all of a sudden you’re, you know, your mind’s going “mee-mee-mee-mee-mee,” then all of a sudden you go “meep” and you are there. And it feels; it’s just like, you know, if you think about it all the best experiences you can have are experiences when you’re just there; your mind isn’t doing it.

So, if you’re getting the best message in the world, you might start out, your message therapist is saying, “How’s your day? Blah, blah, blah.” “Oh, yeah, blah, blah, blah.” Then all of a sudden, you know, 20 minutes into it, she’s working on your back and your shoulders, and you’re just like “ah…”, right? Your mind’s not wandering.

You know, if you’re making love and it’s amazing, “ah…” Your mind’s not wandering. Like if you’re having; like if you’re sky diving or skiing or snowboarding …

Guy Lawrence: Surfing. I think of surfing.

Jon Gabriel: …surfing, your mind’s not wandering, right? You’re watching the best sports event, you know, it’s 30 seconds left; your mind’s not wandering. You’re just right there.

So, every great experience that you have across the board has one thing in common. You are just right there. And what happens, you can’t create it with meditation, but it creates you. It takes you over.

You don’t ever know when it’s going to happen and I’ve been mediating for years now and I never know when it’s going to happen. I’m always surprised every time. It’s like “mee mee mee mee mee and tomorrow I’ve got to call this guy” and all of a sudden I go. . .

Stuart Cooke: Boom.

Jon Gabriel: And you’re like; it’s like you’re plugged in.

Do you remember Star Wars; the first Star Wars episode?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: And C3PO? I don’t know if remember, like in the video he goes, …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: “If you don’t mind sir, I’ll just turn off.” And he just goes …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: That’s what it is. It’s like you go “whoop.” And you just; it’s almost like, you feel like you’re being plugged into a source of energy. Where you’re just energized and focused and you feel it and then it permeates your day where you feel this bliss, you know, all throughout the day. And then you’re hooked.

Stuart Cooke: I hope I can work at that. I’ll have to work at that. For me, I liken it to looking at a TV shop with 20 different TVs and they’re all playing different stations. And I’m looking here and here and here. All these conservations coming in, so I need to …

Jon Gabriel: Yeah. All right. But listen to your languaging. You say, “I have to work at that.” And even that is going to take you out of meditation. So, rather than say, “I have to work at that.” just say, “I’m going to listen to that every morning.”

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Jon Gabriel: Just press the button every morning.

So, I take; when I work with people, I take that feeling of that activity out of it. So, all you have to do is press the button every morning. Even if you’re just lying in bed, it’s best if you’re sitting up, but you just press the button every morning until once you become hooked you’re; that’s it. You never have to worry again, because you’re going to do it.

Like I don’t have to go, “Ah…” Like, if with yoga, for example, I have to go, “Ah, I’ve got to do yoga.” You know.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: But there’s some people that are hooked on yoga. You know, they’re going to do their two hours in the morning, because they love it and I’ve never getting that. I will never get to that place. I hate it, hate it, hate it and it’s just that it.

But you can get to that place with meditation. Where, like, for me, I’m hooked. I don’t have to think, “Ah, I have to meditate today.” I sit up and it just comes in and then you’re just; you have this ability to focus and imagine how your day’s going to work out. And you find this correlation between what you imagine happening and what happens in real life. It’s just uncanny.

When you’re, like, a business meeting, you want to do really well. You imagine it and all this light coming out and people just spellbound and it happens. It’s just a cause and effect relationship that’s unreal.

So, it’s like this mechanism. You imagine the weight melting off your body and it happens.

And you know for me I imagined myself, when I was 400 pounds. If you’ve ever seen my before and after pictures, I imagined myself with tight skin and stomach muscles. And everybody thinks those pictures are PhotoShopped. I even; I went back to the lady that took them, just recently we created another video, where we videoed me getting pictures again and had her swear that they weren’t Photo. . . They’re not PhotoShopped.

Like, there’s probably a lot of reasons why that happened, but one of them was, I imagine; really, really, really focused and just tight, healthy and it just, it happened. You know, and I just, I don’t know how much of that is in the mind, but I don’t want to discount the mind either. Because I think the mind is so much powerful than we can even imagine.

We can even, you know, there’s studies with the mind right now, where they did this placebo study with cancer patients, right? Where they wanted to test a form of chemotherapy. So, one group got the real chemotherapy and one group didn’t get chemotherapy, but they thought they got chemotherapy. The group that didn’t get chemotherapy, but thought they got chemotherapy, 30 percent of them lost their hair.

Stuart Cooke: Oh boy, oh boy.

Guy Lawrence: Wow!

Jon Gabriel: 30 percent! We didn’t, we have no idea how powerful our minds are.

Stuart Cooke: It’s hugely powerful, isn’t it. It’s unbelievable.

Jon Gabriel: And everybody’s, nobody’s looking at that. And I’m like why are we not looking at this? But when you apply it the other way, rather than getting you, tricking you into losing your hair, you can apply it the other way into getting you to be thin and fit and successful. And so, that’s what we do with our meditations and our visualizations, is we apply that power in the right direction.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Jon, listening to you just makes me want to do it. You know, like it’s phenomenal.

So, again for anyone listening to this and going, “Well, I’m going to have a crack at this.” and they’ve not done it before. What would be a good amount of time to start with to make it a habit? So, I remember you saying to once, “make it a habit first,” right?

Jon Gabriel: Five to seven minutes. So, but you need; I suggest you need to; you listen to something. Like, we have, we have lots of visualizations that are seven minutes long. Just keep listening to it until you become addicted to it until you can feel the energy, because you feel the vibration, because you feel the calmness and you can feel why it’s working. And that can take six months to a year and then you’re like, “Oh, I get this. I really, really get this. I see why I can’t wait to do this again.”

When you’re there, you do it on your own. But until then, press the button. Don’t work at it. Don’t try. But just press the button every day. Make a commitment to pressing the button first and just sitting there for seven minutes every single day until you become addicted.

And believe me, it’s easier than becoming addicted to yoga, because you don’t have to do anything but sit. You just sit instead of feeling that intense pain that you …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Well, what we can do, like, if you’ve got visualization techniques for people that we can link to the show notes for this so when they listen to this they can come and check it out.

Jon Gabriel: We have some free visualizations, you know, on our site and we have; we’ve got a support group with 40 visualizations in there …

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Jon Gabriel: … that, you know, I keep making new ones and that you can join and have a; you can join for free for 30 days. So you can literally, you can join this support group for free and download all 40 visualizations and then cancel the next day.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: You know, like, we want to give these out. I want the world to; I want people; I feel like it’s a blessing to, for me and I wouldn’t be able to do what I did unless I, this happened to me where I became addicted to this; to mediating and visualizing in it. I just want that for the rest of the world you know.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant.

Stuart Cooke: I had a question now to shift this over to about parents and children.

Jon Gabriel: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Because I’m a dad myself and I take my girls to school every day and I have noticed that there are kids now that are carrying a lot of weight and parents are looking frazzled as well. You know, they’re plugged into the grind.

Jon Gabriel: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Any particular strategies for the parent perhaps who are struggling?

Jon Gabriel: Well, you know we wrote a book. I wrote a book with a pediatrician, named Patricia Riba, named “Fit Kids”. Specifically, I’m the Gabriel Method to kids.

But it’s the same thing. You’ve got to look at causing the chronic low-grade inflammatory stress that’s causing them to gain weight.

So, let’s talk about some of the things. Kids have stresses in school. They have bullying in school. There’s abuse that goes on. There’s nutritional depletion. So, the foods that we’re eating are so full of; so devoid of nutrition that they’re getting nutritionally deplete. And of course, all the chemical changes that take place when you eat all the junk food, that’s a big deal.

The toxins. There’s so many toxins in our food.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: And toxins can cause you to gain weight; then all the toxins of the medications. We’re living in this culture where it’s just expected that we medicate our kids and there’s something like; there’s something like 70 more vaccinations that we give our kids than we had when we were growing up.

Stuart Cooke: Right

Jon Gabriel: So, including a vaccination for hepatitis the second a kid is born. Why you have to get a vaccination for hepatitis the second someone’s born is beyond my imagination. But if you think about what a vaccination is designed to do; it’s designed to cause you to evoke an inflammatory response.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: That’s what it’s designed to do. Which is fine every once in a while. We did it. We had vaccinations. We had our vaccination schedule for our measles and our whatever. But now you’ve got vaccination schedules for itchy knees, I mean, for anything. You know, 200; some statistic by the time you’re three you’ve had like 70 or 100 vaccinations.

So, if you’re constantly injecting substances into your kid all day long and if you look at the childhood obesity; if you look at a graph of how childhood obesity has grown over, since 1990 when we started accelerating the vaccination schedule, it’s pretty much the same exponential curve as the rate of which vaccinations have grown.

So, I don’t want to just dis vaccinations. That’s a heated discussion. But you need to look at the inflammatory consciences from a weight perspective and you need to balance how that’s going; how frequently you have them and do you need every single one of them always.

Is everything life-threatening, that you have to do that? And what are the consequences? And so, that’s one thing.

Another is just other medications. Antidepressants can cause you to gain weight. And maybe; and sometimes the answer when you have depression is you don’t have the right gut flora. There’s a lot of studies to show that.

So, we’re not taking care of the gut flora of our kids. We’re pumping them with medications that cause inflammation. We’re giving them food that has no nutrition. They’re in stressful environments. They’re emotionally abused, you know, we all suffer; that’s there too.

So, you need to look at all those different things with the kid and you need to approach it that way. Because if you don’t approach it that way and just say, “Okay, eat less cupcakes.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: You get into this situation where the kid feels shame. The kids; it’s a futile effort that’s destined for failure and then it makes the kid feel like a failure.

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Jon Gabriel: You’ve got to give the kid a fighting chance by reducing the chemistry that’s causing them to want to eat chronically. You’ve got to nourish them. You’ve got to heal their digestion. Help detoxify their bodies. Help reduce stress.

We do a lot of visualizations for kids that are really good. There’s one called “The Dreaming Tree.” Another one called, “The Magic Carpet Ride.” “The Ride of the Blue Clan.” Cave Clan I think it’s called, something like that. We just have all these different stories that we tell the kids to reduce those things. And you’ve got to look at the medications that you’re putting in you kids and the frequency. And you’ve got to make an informed decision about which ones are the most important and when to do it. You have to be active and proactive with your kids.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: What sounds like the key word is “stress.” Whether it be from toxins, you know, the environment. Whether it’s from our gut. You know, everything.

Jon Gabriel: And that’s not what we’re doing. We’re just saying, “Okay, how may calories?” I remember the lady that we wrote this book with, Patricia Riba. She talks about this 4-year-old kid that carries a cup wherever she goes. And it turns out that she does that because the nutritionist said, “Only eat this much food.” So, she has this cup wherever she goes and she’s just this, you know, poor little 4-year-old kid.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: And whose fault is that; that she’s in a situation, we’re putting it on her. Like that she’s eating too much.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: And you, you know, you have to live through it too. So, like, when I was living this thing, where I was hungry, hungry, hungry all the time and now I’m not. You know that you’ve got to get to that place.

You don’t just take a kid who’s hungry all the time and deficient in so many nutrients and so much; and their gut flora is so messed up, and they’re so insulin resistant or leptin resistant that they’re hungry all the time. You don’t take a kid like that and say, “just eat this much food” and shame them all the time. You’ve got to address the real issues. So irresponsible, because if you look at the research that’s out there; so irresponsible not to be doing that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, such a huge topic. I mean, do you hold hope for the future, Jon, in the whole?

Jon Gabriel: Yeah, I do, because I see like a convergence of information. I see people, I see people; parents are getting educated.

I mean if I look at my support group, we’ve got a private forum where people may ask stuff and I’ll be; it’s like a Facebook forum. So, I’ll see it on my feed and I’ll think, “Oh, I’ve got to get back to that man to answer that question.” I go back two hours later and there are better answers than I could give. More informed answers.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Jon Gabriel: I thought, okay. These are parents. These are people that had weight issues. These people are very into it. You give people a direction to heal themselves and it starts to work for them. And they’re like, “Screw this, I want to know” and they’re taking their health in their own hands.

So, there’s a convergence and a spreading of people that are taking their health in their own hands and sharing information. And that is hope for the future. That’s real hope.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic, fantastic.

Mate, we have a few questions we ask everyone on the podcast as we go towards the end and I’m going to bring in one more as well, ask three. But do you; what is your daily routine, like non-negotiable practices that you’ve kind of brought in over the years now?

Jon Gabriel: So, I don’t have many non-negotiable. I meditate every morning; that’s non-negotiable. I won’t start my day without mediating. I do this meditation and as soon as I know I’m ready, I ask for guidance. I ask my higher self to guide me throughout the day and work through me. Once I know I’ve made that connection, because that’s one of the things meditation I feel does is it helps you connect with your higher power. So, that’s non-negotiable. I’m not going to start my day.

So, like if I’ve got to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to catch a flight, I’m going to wake at 3 o’clock and meditate. I remember, I remember I was, I was with my video editor somewhere and I had to pick him up at 6 o’clock in the morning and I was looking for him and getting lost. So, it was like 6:10, 6:20 and the guy who’s with him said, “You think Jon didn’t wake up? He fell asleep?” He said, “No man. Jon’s been up for three hours. He’s been mediating for three hours”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: And it was true. I had meditated; I had gotten up hours before and meditated. That’s non-negotiable for me. I love it.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

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Jon Gabriel: I have to do it that. The other thing is I nourish my body. I don’t focus too much on; I don’t have a rhythm of I have to eat breakfast at a certain time or lunch at a certain time or don’t eat this, don’t eat that. But I will have super greens. I will have smoothies. I will have green juices. I’ll have salads. I’ll have sprouts. I’ll have fermented foods. I will eat lots of really nutritious foods and I’ll focus on the adding of those things.

And the other things you can’t eat after a while. You know, when your body gets really, really healthy you cannot eat junk food. And that’s a beautiful place to be, because it’s very different than fighting junk food.

So, those are probably the two non-negotiables. I’m going to do my meditation every day and I’m going to nourish my body really well every day. Those are non-negotiables.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: And what about, we always say, “motion equals emotion” and we love to get off our seats.

Jon Gabriel: Yeah, yeah. So, we didn’t talk about exercise. So, let’s talk about exercise for a moment.

Guy Lawrence: Sure. Go for it.

Jon Gabriel: From the perspective of survival. So, how fat or thin your body wants to be and remember how we talked about how you’ve got this sort of survival program in you to force you to gain weight if you’re in a famine, right? You’ve got another survival program in you that forces you to get thin if your body thinks that you need to be thin in order to be safe. I call it the “get thinner, get eaten” adaptation. And so, let’s imagine, so when you get the theory of it then exercise, how to apply it to exercise, is automatic. It just makes sense.

So, the theory is that if you were; if you want to get; if you were living thousands of years ago in an island, where let’s say where you had all the food in the world. It’s all healthy and real live fruit. You can eat all you want. So, you’re not having a famine, right? So, you don’t have that famine stress saying, “Hey, we need to hold to the weight.” And it’s warm; so you don’t need weight for, to hold on to, you know, protect you from the elements. So, you don’t have those stresses that would make your body want to be fat.

And let’s imagine that you lived outdoors, in the jungle, 10,000 years ago and every couple of times a week tigers would run out and they would chase you. And if you weren’t lightning fast, you were dead, right?

Now, that’s a different stress. It is a stress too, but it’s not a chronic low-grade inflammatory stress. It’s a 30-second life or death stress. That 30-second life or death stress changes your body’s chemistry. It makes you very sensitive to the hormone leptin and you start melting fat, because your body says, “Hang on. Forget about everything. If we’re not thin, we’re dead.”

And so, you can replicate that with exercise. And the way to replicate that with exercise isn’t the traditional 40-minute power walk, seven times a week. Because if you were living outdoors and chased by a bear all of sudden, you wouldn’t got for a 40-minute power walk, right?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: You would run for 10 to 20, 30-second maximum, and you would either be eaten or you were dead.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Yeah.

Jon Gabriel: Now, so, if you apply that to exercise, what works really, really well is, let’s say you’re gone for a 20-minute walk or whatever, walk leisurely and enjoy it. But every once in a while, for just ten seconds, move as fast as humanly possible and imagine you’re being chased by something. It’s life or death. Because your brain doesn’t know, the survival brain doesn’t know there’s been a real or imagined experience. You imagine that, the weight just melts off of you.

And you don’t have to do this. It’s not about calories in/calories out. It’s about getting your body to want to be thin. So, that actual 30 seconds, you’re not burning much calories in that 30 seconds, but the hormonal changes that take place are forever, because your body goes, “Stop everything. If we’re not thin, we’re dead.”

So, that’s the way to apply it and you, and so when I work with people, I say, “Do this a couple of times a week. Two times, three times max. Exercise for a maximum of 10, 20 minutes, but within that period you need the ten seconds all out.”

And so, when you look at also the high intensity types of workouts that they have, they measure the on and the off, so 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off or a minute sprint, minute rest. I don’t care how long you rest. I don’t care about keeping your heart at a minimum heart rate or a fat burning range, I don’t care any of that. I don’t care about fat burning during the exercise. I just care that when you do that ten-second sprint or 20 second, you are life or death. You are all out, because that’s what’s going to create this specific stress that’s going to make your body say, “We need to be thin.” And it’s all about getting your body to want to be thin.

Stuart Cooke: Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect.

Guy Lawrence: Mate, we have one more question that we ask everyone on this show. And what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Jon Gabriel: To follow your heart. Because I think there’s a part of us that knows why we’re here and knows our life’s purpose. Knows the future. Knows all of that. It’s communicated through our heart.

And a lot of times we don’t want to listen now, we want to listen to this and it says, “No, no, no. We don’t have time for that. We got other things we’ve got to worry about. Blah, blah, blah.” It’s got all those voices, “I’m going to take care of you, blah, blah, blah.”

But this other voice is going to always push you in the right place at the time. And so I say, whenever you can listen to that voice.

Guy Lawrence: Now, that’s perfect advice and that’s something I can relate to, mate. I think, yeah, fantastic.

Jon Gabriel: Awesome.

Guy Lawrence: Jon thanks so much for it all. So one last thing.

Jon Gabriel: Oh, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Where can people get more of Jon Gabriel.

Jon Gabriel: Yeah. You just go to TheGabrielMethod.com. So: TheGabrielMethod.com. There’s hundreds of pages of free information and we’re always doing, like, we’re doing a meditation for weight loss challenge coming up and we’ve got all kinds of visualizations you can listen to and podcast information. So, it’s a good place to check out.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome. We’ll link on the show notes as well.

Jon, thank you so much for coming on the show …

Jon Gabriel: My pleasure.

Stuart Cooke: Yes, thank you. A wealth of information and I just cannot wait to share it. Thank you so much.

Jon Gabriel: Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: Good luck to you Jon. Thank you very much.

Free Health Pack

3 Biggest Paleo Diet Misconceptions

The above video is 3:51 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

There’s no doubt about it, the paleo diet certainly has divided opinion (especially if you listen to the media)! We ask Marlies Hobbs, what are the biggest misconceptions when it comes to the world of paleo. Can you guess what they are?

If you like inspirational stories, then this one is for you, as we have on todays show Marlies, who is the co-founder of the Paleo Café along with her husband, Jai.  She had a great career in law and threw it all in to start the Paleo Café.

marlies hobbs paleo cafe

After the birth of her dairy-intolerant son Troy, she had a new outlook on life and a sincere appreciation for the effects of food on our physical (and mental) health. After making massive changes in their own life when it come to the foods they ate and the direct impact it had on their health, what follows is a fantastic journey of courage and commitment as they set out to create a paleo cafe lifestyle revolution! Enjoy… Guy

Full Interview with Marlies Hobbs: Why I Risked It All To Start The Paleo Cafe


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Listen to Stitcher
In this episode we talk about:

  • Why she quit her secure job in law to start a cafe revolution
  • The greatest lessons she’s learned about the paleo diet
  • How she handles her hashimoto disease through food
  • Why gut health is a main priority
  • The Food Strategies she uses for her children
  • How she lost 8kg in weight by making simple dietary changes
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Get More of Marlies Hobbs Here:

 

Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions.

Today, I’m sitting in the Paleo Café in Bondi Junction, Sydney, and this is place where myself and Stu like to try and have our business meetings so we can rely upon the food. But it’s also very relevant to today’s guest.

Now, I do wonder if people get the feeling, you know, sometimes their career is not serving them what they want to do or they’re trying to have more purpose and meaning to it all, I guess. What they’re trying to do with their life, even, in general. I know I certainly had that before starting 180 Nutrition and wanted to make a difference.

And, you know, today’s guest is no exception. So, if you like inspirational stories, this one’s for you, because we have on the show today Marlies Hobbs, who is the co-founder of the Paleo Café along with her husband, Jai. And she decided one day to give it up; all her job security. She had a great career in law and threw it all in to start the Paleo Café.

And so why did she do this? You know, it takes massive courage and dedication, that’s for sure. And obviously a lot of passion. But in a nutshell, they’d just had a newborn son, Troy, and when he was born he was suffering acid reflux for many, many months. He was vomiting a lot and it was causing multiple problems, obviously, to them and they were very worried about him. And they realized that; eventually they found out that he was dairy intolerant, and then they started looking into other foods that might be causing problems, not only to their son Troy but to their own health as well.

And she stumbled across the book The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain and started applying the principles for that. Within five weeks, she’d dropped 8 kilos. Her digestive problems improved and Jai also lost a lot of weight as well and realized they wanted to make a difference in the food industry. And in 2012, the first Paleo Café was born. And it’s now 2015, as I’m saying this, and I think there’s 14 or 15 Paleo Cafes now across Australia, which are awesome. So if you’re in the neighborhood certainly check them out.

I don’t know about you, but if you are needing be inspired and motivated to make change, you’ll get a lot out of this episode today with Marlies. She explains it all, and of course her own health journey as well. It was fantastic to have her on the show.

We also get a lot of emails as well with people asking us, “How do I drop the last five kilos? How do I lose weight? How do I get around bloating?” You know there’s a lot of misinformation out there. So, obviously, with these podcasts and everything that we do, we get comments coming back every week, so we’ve put a quiz together. It’s very simple. You just go in and answer the multiple choice surveys and from that we can then give you content regarding what your answers were.
And some of the biggest roadblocks that we find are, you know, misinformation, people can’t lose the last five kilograms, and also they struggle sticking to their diet in general. So we’ve addressed all these issues and put them into some great information. All you need to do is go back to 180nutrition.com.au and take the quiz and go from there, basically.

But also give us some feedback on what you think of the videos. We’d love to hear from them. And everyone’s that been leaving reviews on iTunes over the last few weeks, really appreciate it. Keep them coming, if you haven’t. It only takes two minutes to do. It gives us good feedback, it helps with our rankings, and it helps us reach more people and it allows us to continue to get awesome guests so we can share them with you and you can listen to them on the podcast. So, head over to iTunes, five-star it, subscribe, leave a review, and it’s always appreciated and we love getting the feedback and thanks again for people who have left them; it’s greatly appreciated.

Anyway, I’m gonna start talking. Let’s go over to Marlies Hobbs. Enjoy.

Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi, Stuart.

Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Marlies Hobbs. Marlies, welcome to the show.

Marlies Hobbs: Thank you for having me.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, no, fantastic. We’ve got some awesome things to cover today. Everything paleo and the Paleo Café. But before we start any of that, would you mind sharing us a little bit about yourself and your journey prior to moving into the Paleo Café world?

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, sure. So, basically, I grew up in Cairns, went to law school, and was practicing as a planning and environment lawyer until I had my first son Troy. And he was born really sick with a dairy intolerance. And it was through that experience that I really learned the profound effects of food on the body as well as the mind.

And at the time I was suffering from acne, digestion problems, fluid retention. Having issues with XXbloating?? 0:04:48.000XX. And I certainly didn’t wake refreshed. So, I had some health issues which I had just accepted as normal, but I guess being awoken to the impact of food on the body.

I had a bit of curiosity there, and Jai, my husband, was actually enjoying his CrossFit and his CrossFit coach told him about the paleo diet and Jai was really keen to give that a go.

And at the time, I was very skeptical. I had just gone through hell and back with my son. He was basically; he screamed for the first four and a half months of his life. You know, he was vomited and pooing blood. It was, like, a very traumatic time. He woke every hour throughout the night. I basically didn’t sleep.

And so, as we were coming out of that struggle, and Troy had been prescribed a dairy-free formula, because basically I had lost my milk because of the stress that that had put on my body and whatnot.

I guess I was really not in a position to want to try any new diets. I just really wanted to, I guess, rejuvenate. But he brought home The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain and I read the first chapter and it suggested all these possibilities to actually heal myself from many of the health complaints that I was experiencing. So, it was at that point that I was prepared to give it a go. And we, as a family, gave it a go. Jai lose 10 kilos. I lost eight kilos. My skin cleared up in about six weeks. My digestion problems went away after about three. And we had energy. We had learned about a new way of looking at life. You know, getting out in the park and how great that is for us as a family. And actually stopping and laying there on the grass and appreciating all the gifts that Mother Nature has for us.

So, it was through that experience with Troy, and my health issues and Jai’s performance and fitness goals, that led us to the paleo diet. And it just completely changed our lives.

Guy Lawrence: Was that the first time you ever considered nutrition as therapeutical for the body, as well, as a healing? Because, you know, you see so many people out there that completely overlook what they put in their mouths daily, or they don’t have that connection yet. So, was that the first time for you?

Marlies Hobbs: Absolutely. Up until that point in time, I had really thought that I was healthy, you know. I didn’t eat fast food too often and I mostly cooked at home. It was spaghetti bolognaise and, you know, curries with rice. And I was healthy! I had XXmilo? Merlot? 0:07:30.000XX and milk and whatnot.

But I thought that I was really healthy. I’d have a muesli bar XXtechnical glitch 0:07:45.000XX and all these healthy things, they weren’t XXtechnical glitch 0:07:45.000XX until I actually became healthy.

Stuart Cooke: Just thinking about your transition to the paleo diet, and it’s amazing to see that you do change your diet and you can really make some amazing changes to your health, but what triggered that spark in you to say, “I’m gonna take this to as many people as I can. I’m gonna set up my own chain of Paleo Cafés”?

Marlies Hobbs: So, it was basically; I remember the moment. One day I walked in the house with a bag full of groceries and products and literally I had been out for a few hours just to get a few things, because I had to jump from health food store to supermarket to health food store asking everyone, every shop, “I need coconut oil. I need XXflax seed? 0:08:41.000XX, I need this.” And they all looked at me like I was crazy. And I was XXyou’re never gonna ??XXX. You know?

And I said to Jai, “Oh, wouldn’t it be good if there was just one place where you could go and get all your products in one place, get a meal, you know, still socialize and have a meal out with your friends without feeling like a crazy person asking for every ingredient in every dish and then basically not being able to eat anything. So, you know it was quite isolating.

And then I figure out, also, we were gonna have a XXtype? 0:09:13.000XX I was a lawyer and I’m going back to work as a lawyer and Jai had his own XXbuyer?? businessXX. We had no time to always prepare every meal every night. But takeaway just wasn’t an option, unless it was a hot chook that we had to prepare ourselves, which is pretty easy. But otherwise there just really was no takeaway convenient meal option for us.

And there’s where the ready-made meal idea came in, where you could pack and it’s ready-made there, so that you could grab them on your way home and enjoy those without compromising your health.

So, that’s sort of where I was thinking wouldn’t it be great to have this type of business. And he goes, “Well, that would be quite a good idea.” And the next day he registered the business name. Paleo Café just seemed to make sense. We didn’t give it too much thought. It just made sense to us at that time.

And I was so intrigued by the whole idea and I still worked as a lawyer until three weeks before opening the first café. Every night before I would go to bed I would research supplies, research products, research recipes and develop menus. I was recruiting people from all over the world, which ended up being a bit of a mistake, but that’s another story.

You know, I was absolutely making this happen. And franchising as such wasn’t in mind in the beginning. It was just a concept, and it was something that we wanted for ourselves that we continued to employ this lifestyle. And I had planned to keep working as a lawyer, but it wasn’t until everyone became so intrigued and so much inquiring, so much interaction, I couldn’t keep up with that as well as managing staff and having a job and having a baby.

So, I cried my last day at work, the whole day I cried, because I was like, “What have I done? I’ve worked there and I was working my way up the chain.” And, “Oh she threw this away to open a café.” People literally said they thought I was absolutely crazy.

It just sort of happened, I suppose.

Guy Lawrence: That’s so inspiring. That’s awesome. So, how long did it take you from when you registered the name Paleo Café; you know, Jai got; you guys got inspired to your first Paleo Café opening. How long was that period of time?

Marlies Hobbs: We registered the business name in around April 2012 and we opened the first café in October.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.

Marlies Hobbs: So, the end of October 2012.

Guy Lawrence: Wow. That’s fantastic. That’s amazing.

Stuart Cooke: Wow, that’s quick. That’s super quick.

Marlies Hobbs: And people had no idea. My only hospitality job was a pub when I was teen. It was just passion and determination and vision.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, exactly. Go on, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: I was just gonna ask what the biggest challenges were that you faced during that setup period.

Marlies Hobbs: Probably finding the right staff. And I guess my lack of hospitality experience sort of led my down paths sometimes that may not have been the right path. And I know I believe that there’s no such thing as a mistake. You know? You have to learn your lessons in life to keep striding ahead. So, but basically, I sort of had this misconception that you had to have paleo-experienced chefs and whatnot to run an effective Paleo Café. So, I recruited someone from XXIslands?? Irons? 0:12:57.000XX. And that came with a lot of expense and challenges. And, yeah, that’s a whole ’nother story. But it didn’t quite work out.

And so as far as getting the right staff, but without; as a leader, you have paleo recipes and it’s got to be run like a business and you’re the passion. And so I guess making sure that you have the right staff with the right amount of hospitality experience and they share you vision. You know, that was probably the biggest challenge was getting everyone on board. I guess there was probably a lot of lack of confidence in us in the beginning, by our staff. “These people are crazy!” You know. “XXWhere’s their experience in business? 0:13:42.000XX What do they know about food? And there they are telling me to make these crazy recipes and serve these drinks and know we’re bucking every rule and trend in our café environment.” I think they just thought we were nuts.

And certainly the business went gangbusters initially and then one the XX????XX went through a bit of a lull, and it was then that we learnt, I guess, the hardest lessons and the best lessons. And so we had to obviously change staff and change the way that we looked at our business and the way that we. . . yeah. Viewed customer demands when it came to the interaction. We sort of really grew. So, we re-recruited. We had a very clear strategy from that point in time. And so we launched from there.

But obviously there’s some supplier complications, you know. Sometimes things are easier to source than others and freight to Cairns was challenging. But I suppose, yeah, the biggest challenge, and I think it’s common for any business, is having the right people on the bus and getting the wrong people off the bus is probably one of the biggest challenges. And then the next one obviously goes to the roots of our business, which is making sure that people understand what work they’re doing, why we’re doing it, and why XXit’s important 0:15:05.000XX. You know, XXaudio glitchXX.

Guy Lawrence: I’m sorry it just stopped on you slightly on the end there. But how many Paleo Cafes do you have now, Marlies?

Marlies Hobbs: So, there is currently 14 open and we have a 15th café opening in Canberra in the next couple of months.

Guy Lawrence: Wow. Fantastic. So, the next question that rings a bell is, and it’s almost a tongue-twister: How does the Paleo Café define paleo?

Marlies Hobbs: I try and explain to people that fundamentally it’s living and eating as Mother Nature intended, which means a good variety of seafood, meat, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and berries. And avoiding dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar and preservatives.

But we also try and make people appreciate that it’s just; it’s even more simple than that. It’s just eating real food, unprocessed food, avoiding chemicals. And it’s just a matter of really listening to your body, your individual body, and working out exactly what works for you.

For Jai, he can tolerate some amounts of dairy and whey, whereas for my that’s what causes my adult acne. So, you just have to appreciate that everybody is unique and you have to, I guess, really invest your energy in understanding your body fully and getting whatever tests you need to to make sure that you’re nourishing your body the way that it needs to be nourished to, I guess, experience optimal health.

Stuart Cooke: And what do you think the biggest misconceptions are out there at the moment about paleo? Because it’s a term that we’re seeing quite a lot in the press lately as well, you know. So many people gravitate and embrace it, but you also get the other side as well. So, what are those misconceptions that you hear predominantly?

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, there’s quite a few misconceptions. The common ones are that it’s like a meat, protein heavy diet. That it’s hard. That it’s unsustainable. That it doesn’t taste great, you know. I mean, like it’s super-healthy, you’re eating rabbit food, so to speak.

And I find with all those misconceptions, just to touch of some of the answers, and a lot are being by XX??? 0:17:39.000XX before me that in terms of it being difficult, it’s just cooking simple ingredients. So you can make it as difficult or as easy as you like. Your traditional barbecue steak or salad and XXroast with baked potato?? 0:17:54.000XX. It’s perfectly paleo. And likewise you could make the make fabulous raw desserts or slow-cooked meals full of herbs and spices.

So, you can really make it as hard or simple as you like. In terms of the “expensive” argument, when you eat paleo, your body very much self-regulates, as you guys would know. And so, you know, you don’t find yourself snacking. And so whilst you’re buying premium ingredients, you’re barely eating three meals a day, generally. Some people even sustain themselves on two, depending on if they’re doing intermittent fasting or whatever is working for them based on their level of activity and their, I guess, own individual body.

But essentially, you’re buying a lot less food but you’re consuming quality ingredients. You’re feeling satisfied for longer. So you’re nourishing; you’re putting the right fuel into your body rather than empty fillers that really just make you fat and make you hungry; make you eat more.

So, in terms of, in regard to the expense, and certainly, I can’t see how anyone could imagine that eating beautiful, fresh, seasonal produce and premium meat and healthy fats with lovely herbs and spices where you can even concede that you would be sacrificing on taste. Like, nothing tastes better. And I think once you wean yourself off the traditional foods and the sugar and salt-laden foods, your taste buds adjust and you really appreciate the quality of the food that you’re eating.

And fruit and vegetables have never tasted better to you once you’ve adjusted in that way.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That is massive. Especially the sugar thing. People don’t appreciate that. If you’ve got sugar in your diet and you’ve had it; so many people have had sugar in their diet their whole life and have never had a life without sugar. And until you get off that, you can’t really taste the appreciation of good food. You know?

And, yeah, I always remember many, many years ago when I sort of changed all my health journey. And my flatmate at the time, this is going back seven or eight years, he had the biggest sugar tooth. And he accidentally tried my full-cream natural yogurt by mistake thinking it was like his sugar vanilla loaded. And he almost spat it out. He said, “Oh, my God, that’s disgusting! What’s going on?” And that was just a classic example.

But, anyway.

Marlies Hobbs: I suppose with the meat question, certainly, that comes up a lot, too. And, you know, that’s a misconception I suppose. Plant foods should be the greatest source of food that you’re consuming. Your food should predominantly be coming from plant foods. Then animal foods and then herbs and spices to bring it all together. And your healthy fats are incorporated into plant foods and animal foods.
So, it’s trying to eat a nice, balanced meal, you know. Eat some proteins and carbohydrates and some healthy fats. So, it’s definitely not a plate full of ribs, you know?

Guy Lawrence: And that’s another thing, Stu even stressed this as well, we have vegetables with every meal. Even when I make a smoothie, like if I’m rushing out the door and I’m throwing in some 180, I’ll always put spinach or cucumber or just something green in there as well to bring that in, you know, if you’ve got two minutes.

Marlies Hobbs: Absolutely. And I think that’s what; people are so stuck in their ways about this is typical breakfast meal, this is a typical lunch meal, and this is a typical dinner meal. It’s all just fuel. And so you basically have a fridge full of fresh, beautiful ingredients, paleo-friendly ingredients, and you’d be surprised what goes in what.

This morning I felt like chocolate mousse for breakfast. So I had banana, cacao, and a little bit of coconut milk, avocado, and blended it all together and topped it with some raspberries and blueberries. And who would have thought you could have a healthy chocolate mousse for breakfast?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s beautiful.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I had a whole bowl of steamed green vegetables covered in olive oil, salt, and pepper, topped with a huge can of sardines. So, you know, who would ever want to eat that for breakfast? But I gravitate to that kind of stuff. I love it. Because, to me, those vibrant colours, that green. I mean, that just says “life.” And irrespective of the paleo naysayers, you cannot argue that eliminating crappy food from your diet is anything but a great idea.

Marlies Hobbs: Definitely.

Guy Lawrence: On your journey, Marlies, which foods do you find have caused more problems for you in the past?

Marlies Hobbs: I have recently learned that Hashimoto’s Disease runs in my family, and I just recently, after the Thr1ve conference that I saw you guys at, I went and flew back down and saw Dr. John Hart from Elevate Health Clinic.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, did you?

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. He is amazing.

Stuart Cooke: He’s awesome, isn’t he?

Marlies Hobbs: He’s a genius. And I took my mum along who has already been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. And sadly it was confirmed that I also have Hashimoto’s Disease. And it’s a very hereditary thing and it’s a thing that is more common in women than men. And I suppose it didn’t come as a huge shock and it’s probably something that triggered my health issues all those years ago before I found paleo. And certainly paleo put a lot of my symptoms in remission. So, I’m lucky that I found paleo when I did. And it’s actually sustained my hormone levels to a fairly healthy level.

So, for me, paleo is my diet for life. And certainly gluten is a huge factor for people with Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease. And from what I understand, in America alone, there’s 50 million and growing people with autoimmune disease. So, so many people have autoimmune disease and they don’t even realize it. They just accept their symptoms as normal and they’re completely not. They don’t know what it feels like to feel great.

And most illnesses start in the gut, due to leaky gut. And diet and lifestyle factors including stress, the predominant cause is a leaky gut, which lead to things like autoimmune disease, and autoimmune disease then can lead to more chronic disease and cancer and whatnot.

So, it’s very much; I think gluten is a huge problem, right along with sugar. Dairy, for people that can’t tolerate it, so I’ve just had all my food intolerance testing done and I’m just waiting for my results to come back. And John gives you this great report which basically gives you a column of all the foods that your body can tolerate. All the foods that you’re mildly intolerant to. And foods that you’re severely intolerant to.

So, there might be some foods within paleo, because of my Hashimoto’s condition, that I actually should be avoiding. So, it’s just; I guess investing the money to understand your body to the best extent possible so that you can really create a diet and lifestyle to suit your individual body.

Because, at the end of the day, what’s anything worth if you’re not living an optimal life with health and happiness?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.

I’ll just add to that as well. We had John Hart on the podcast and so anyone listening to this, check him out, he’s an amazing guy. And, like you said, he’s worth flying from anywhere in the country to go and see him in Sydney. He’s that good.

But I would add to that as well, even if the price or whatever scares people, to get these tests done originally, just try cutting out these trigger foods for a month and see how you feel. See what happens. You know, that’s the basic way.

Stuart Cooke: Just thinking about, like, the food sensitivity, if I’m curious about your; the Paleo Café, I don’t really know a great deal about the paleo diet, but I do love my milky teas and things like that. Can I wander into the Paleo Café and get a nice cup of tea with cow’s milk in it?

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, you can. And it was a difficult decision when we opened. But obviously paleo-primal. Paleo is, obviously, avoids dairy. Primal, a lot of people are happy to have some dairy in their diets.

And so, like I said, Jai can tolerate it. For me, I have to listen to my body. And we serve almond and coconut milk for people that are like myself. And that can be difficult to find, but for the people that can tolerate dairy and are looking for that, then we do have dairy options. But all our food is dairy-free.

Stuart Cooke: Got it.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

And I think it’s a great thing, even if a normal cup of tea and you’ve got dairy and it brings someone in off the street and puts them in this environment for the first time. And they’re looking at the menus, looking at their other options, that’s awesome. That’s the thumbs up because you’re creating a new way of thinking for these people that come in as well. And, yeah, I’m all for that. Definitely.

Marlies Hobbs: I think that XXaudio glitch 0:27:30.000XX certainly XXaudio glitchXX a lot of awareness around paleo at all when we very first opened the first Paleo Café. It sort of all happened collectively in the last sort of couple of years. And we just; we wouldn’t have been able to have a sustainable business at all if we limited our market any more than what we already had.

So; and, you know, if you are OK with dairy and you know that you’re OK with dairy, then, like Mark Sisson said at the conference, see what you can get away with.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right.

Guy Lawrence: But there are so many options. We have our business meetings in Bondi Junction all the time in the Paleo Café, and it’s a great choice. But I generally gravitate to the Bulletproof coffee myself. There’s a bit of dairy in that but it sits with me fine.

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, and, look, a lot of people are fine. And I think that if you’ve got a very healthy gut, flora and whatnot, and you’re not experiencing any leaky gut, you know, there’s plenty of people that are OK with it. I think it’s just a matter of, you know, it takes a lot of effort to get yourself to that really healthy point and making sure that you don’t have leaky gut.

And when you get there, then you can experiment. But until you get there, I think it’s really important to take your health seriously. And you will have to sacrifice and avoid some things to get your body functioning as it should be. And then you can play around with those.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Yeah. No, it is right, and it brings me back to that food sensitivity testing. You know, that’s so vital. You may not know that you have got a sensitivity or an allergy or an intolerance to a certain food that you’re including every single day. And that might just be pushing you into weight issues, sleep, energy, you know: allergies. All of the above.

And these tests, you know, they’re inexpensive, they’re quick, but I think so worthwhile. I absolutely. . . You know, I live by the results of mine or our food sensitivity tests and it’s great. I feel so much better for it.

Marlies Hobbs: What testing did you guys get, just as a matter of interest?

Stuart Cooke: Food Detective. It’s called a Food Detective test and it was a prick of blood from the finger and then it gets shaken into a vial, wait for 20 minutes, pour it over in this little tray with a series of dots, and each dot represents a food type. So, you’ve got, like, a tray with dots and then you have a card and all those dots are numbered, so 1 might be dairy, 2 might be wheat. And when you pour the liquid over that is mixed with your blood, that has sat for 20 minutes, those dots will darken the more sensitive you are to a food. So, you know, in literally 30 minutes’ time I knew that I had issues to kind of three or four things. And so I pulled back on those and I noticed radical health changes.

Marlies Hobbs: Do you mind sharing what they were?

Stuart Cooke: Eggs.

Guy Lawrence: Eggs is a big one for you.

Stuart Cooke: Eggs was huge. And I, you know, I was eating four eggs a day and loving it, but just something wasn’t right with me and it was wrecking my skin and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was.

Shellfish came up, strangely enough. Yeah, shellfish, eggs. Walnuts were in there as another one. I used to have a handful of walnuts. So I changed to pecans now. Great. No problems whatsoever. And mild wheat.

Guy Lawrence: I mean, you avoid gluten anyway, really.

Stuart Cooke: I do. But, you know what, 30 minutes, and I just culled eggs completely for six months. And I feel so much better now. And every now and again I’ll have the odd one, but I won’t go gangbusters like I was before. Crikey, I ate huge amounts of eggs each week, because I thought, well, it’s a superfood.

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, absolutely. And they are great, but if there is an underlying issue that you need to heal, then certainly I understand that I will have to go onto the paleo protocol, the autoimmune protocol, shortly. And eggs go for awhile. So, yeah, and it’s not because eggs aren’t great. It’s just that our; there are certain proteins that if you have leaky gut, or if you experience an issue, to let that leaky gut heal, you need to refrain from eating certain foods.

And, I mean, we haven’t really gone into detail about sugar and grains and gluten and chemicals. But I think we’re all fairly savvy enough now to know that they’re not good for us and why. But, you know, just making that awareness that it’s even beyond the foods that you’ll find in the paleo food pyramid, it’s a matter of really understanding your body and making sure that you have got perfect gut health, or as close to it as possible. Because, you know, the whole gut-brain connection. And certainly something I experienced, you know, when my gut flora is compromised, it causes me a lot of challenges academically and to function. Like, my productivity really drops. My creativity drops. I get fatigue.

So, it’s all connected, you know. Gut health and brain health is very much. I’ve definitely experienced first-hand the connection there. And it’s so fundamental to get your gut health right if you want to feel happy, feel healthy, and have energy and longevity.

You know, like, I’m determined; I look at John and he’s a real inspiration, you know. He is gonna just XX??? 0:33:32.000XXX by the look of him. XX????XXX. And that’s what you want. You want to be functioning and fun of vitality until the end.

And that’s why, I guess, my goal for myself and also to teach that to my children. I don’t want them to accept the way things were going. You know? That basically obesity, diabetes, heart disease, all just part of life. That is not part of life. That is not what was intended for us. And you have the choice to shape your future, your health, and your longevity and how much quality of life you have for your entire life.

Stuart Cooke: You completely do. And I love the fact that we have such a powerful medium in the forms of food. You know, nutrition, as a strategy for health moving forward. And for all of those people that are, you know, on the fence with the paleo, the primal, the whole-food diet, I just remember that, you know, when I started out on this journey, I thought, “God, this is so hard. What am I gonna eat? I can’t eat my sandwiches. Can’t eat pasta. Can’t eat any of these things.” Walking around the supermarket and going, “Oh, I can’t eat any of that.”

It took about a month and then you realize that there’s so much to each. But it’s just the good stuff. And then I look at the central aisles at the supermarket. It’s like cat food. Why would I ever gravitate to any of that rubbish? Because I know how it will make me feel.

And there’s so much wonderful stuff. So, sure, you’re meals aren’t conventional anymore, but I look it as, you know, food is information. Food is fuel. And what do I want to do today? Right? I’m going to be a bit more active, well I might mix up a few more carbs, but every single food or meal for me is about getting as many nutrients into my body as I can, because I’m thinking, “What is my body gonna do with those nutrients?” And whether it’s herbs and spices, fats and oils, beautiful fruits and vegetables, all these wonderful meats. You know, it is an opportunity to refuel, rebuild, repair. And I love that kind of stuff.

And now, like I said, I wander around the supermarket and I’m so sad for the people that don’t understand, because they could feel amazing. We have the tools.

Guy Lawrence: And, again, for anyone listening to this, that might seem completely overwhelming because you can look at it all as too much information and you just shut down and go, “You know what? I’ll figure it out next month. I’m too busy.”

But even just try changing one meal a day to something. And just start from that and just point yourself in the right direction and walk forward with it.

Marlies Hobbs: Jai and I fell on and off the wagon quite a few times when we first adopted the lifestyle. We were fairly strict for sort of like six weeks. And then my skin cleared up and I was like, “Yeah!” Then I’d have a little sip of that milkshake that I missed. Oh, my skin would just break out. And I would literally feel the fluid just stick to me in an instant. And then you’re like, “Yeah. That didn’t really work great.” And then you don’t do it again for awhile. And then you feel really brave and good and you have another little go of something.

And your body tells you. So I think if you give yourself the chance to eliminate in whatever XXextreme sense? 0:37:07.000XX that you go with, you know, if you’re really listening to your body and you persist with it, and you take small steps or a big one if you’re prepared to do like a Whole30 challenge or whatnot, it’s just a matter of moving in the right direction, however fast you can do that. You know?

And common sense tells us the answer. There’s some people who are too stressed, they’re too depressed, maybe they’re under financial difficulties, they have kids that just got bad habits to eating and their arguments just aren’t worth it to them. You know? So people have lots of reasons not to do this. But no one can really sensibly argue with the philosophy, I don’t think.

Especially if you take the view that we all have to be just very much educated about our own bodies and listen to our bodies. And they tell a lot more than what people realize when they start listening. You know, like being depressed or having financial issues or having kids stuck with bad habits, I know, and believe me I understand, I’ve got two children myself, and even Troy who has been brought up on a paleo diet, he still challenges me because he’s surrounded by kids that eat candy or everyone else has vegemite sandwiches and why does have; today he’s got pork chop and broccoli and sweet potato chips. And he’s just; he’s really going through a troublesome phase at the moment, because he’s looking at the muesli bars and the sandwiches and he’s like, “Why am I getting this?” But I just explained to him, and yes, it won’t be easy in the beginning, but if you understand where you’re going with it and why you’re doing it, you know, you break habits with children if you eliminate the bad foods and you always offer them the good foods and you get them involved and you get them helping. You know, Troy was pretty happy about having chocolate mousse for breakfast this morning. Get them involved and you make them understand where food comes from, that it comes from nature, not from a box, and you get them in there cooking and make it a bit interactive. Yes, it takes effort, but it’s better than obesity or diabetes.

Stuart Cooke: That’s right. It’s worth it in the long run. And, you know, I’ve got three young girls and if I ever hear any issues from them where food is concerned, I’ll give them a couple of options. “Do you want healthy option one or healthy option two?” And they’ll always gravitate to one. And they think they’ve won.

Marlies Hobbs: That’s great. Good. Exactly. I do the same thing with Troy, and that’s exactly right. And, you know, you always just have to keep improvising and trying to educate subtly along the way. And like depression, there’s a huge link between depression and gut health and whatnot as well. So, you know, personal body image and all that type of thing.

So, people don’t appreciate, I don’t think, how powerful changing your diet and lifestyle. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s about a new lifestyle. It’s about a new appreciation of your body. Self-love. And a whole healthy relationship with yourself and food.

And that’s very empowering. You feel free. You know, so many people are currently addicted to so many foods, they are under the spell of some foods. And that’s not an enjoyable place to be. And I know, I didn’t realize until I came out of it, how bad it was. And so empowering to look at it, like you said, walk past those aisles in the supermarket and go, “Ugh, those poor people that are putting that horrible stuff into their bodies. They just don’t understand.” And it’s very empowering. It’s not a chore. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle, and you feel so much better for it.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I was, just to get back to your son, and we mentioned a little bit of food there as well. Now, I don’t know how old your boys are, but our girls get invited to lots of parties. You know, every weekend: “Come to the party. Come to the party.” There will be a whole table full of crap, sweets and lollies and sodas and stuff like that.

Now, I have a strategy that I use when I take them to the parties prior to that. But I wondered what your thoughts were. Is there anything that you do for your boys before you get to the party, or do you just let them go gangbusters on whatever they want?

Marlies Hobbs: It’s a hard thing, and I’m just trying to feel my way all the time. You know, obviously there’s no bad foods at our house. So, Troy predominantly eats paleo. So, if, on occasion, he has something outside of that space and whatnot, I’m not gonna have a meltdown over it. Because it’s just not worth it, you know. And I think the more of an issue you make it, the more they sort of resent and resist you. But I basically try and make sure that he’s fairly full before we go to a party. So, he’s not going there starving. And often he doesn’t; he likes playing. He likes being out and about.

When he was younger, he used to just: hand in icing, sugar, cake. It was a big joke. Everyone would be like, “Oh, watch out for Troy! He’s been unleashed. There’s the sugar!” And he would just literally go for that cake.

And it was a bit embarrassing, because everyone would have their snicker, “Oh, those parents. He never has sugar and when he gets to a party. . .”

Stuart Cooke: He makes up for it.

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. If you can’t find him, he’s probably looking for the lolly bowl, you know. But he’s really come out of that phase. And now he really; and our friends are very accommodating with us, too. And I’ve seen a really healthy shift. We will go parties, they’ll have some unhealthy food option, but Troy just doesn’t really go for them anymore.

And, yeah, they have barbecues or roast meat and veggies and stuff. We’re very lucky. We have very considerate family and friends. I guess they’re probably moving in that direction themselves anyway. But when they know we’re coming, they sort of do allow for us a bit. And we just try not to put a big emphasis on food. So many people live from meal to meal like it’s the highlight of their day. To me, it’s just fuel. You’re a bit hungry, you’ve got to get energy, you eat some good food, and then you move on to doing some fun stuff. Like, some people just sit around all day, “Oh, what are we gonna do? Where are we gonna go next for a meal?” And they sit and eat and they sit around and hibernate until the next meal and it’s a sure way to health issues, I suppose.

Guy Lawrence: How old is Troy, Marlies?

Marlies Hobbs: So, Troy will be turning 4 in June. And Zac’s 8 months.

Guy Lawrence: Right. OK. Because I don’t have kids yet, but I imagine it’s much easier to bring them up with this lifestyle than you converting yourself and then having a 10-year-old you’re trying to convert. Maybe get off the sugar and lollies that they’re eating all the time.

Marlies Hobbs: It would be very hard. And it would take very much a lot of determination, I think, and very much getting rid of everything in the house and really having a really well-explained approach to what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Get them involved and get them involved with the cooking.

You know, there will be different approaches for different families. You know, maybe a gentle approach they don’t notice, and other families it might be like a pretty cold turkey approach, you know.

And I think you just have to work out what can you handle? What is manageable for you as a family? And I think sometimes the stress can be worse than some of the bad foods so you need to balance it out. And do it in a way that’s not going to cause too much stress on you and your family.

Guy Lawrence: Like World War III.

Stuart Cooke: And I think that, you know, kids are so impressionable, too. You know, they look at their parents and they want to emulate what their parents are doing. So if their parents have got healthy habits, then it’s gonna rub off on the kids anyway, which is a good thing.

Marlies Hobbs: Definitely.

Guy Lawrence: Why do you think kids’ menus in cafés. . . You know, being a café owner, why do you think the kids’ menus in cafés and restaurants are so poor in general?

Stuart Cooke: XX?? food? It’s always ?? food isn’t it? 0:45:41.000XX

Guy Lawrence: Every time I eat out, I always look.

Stuart Cooke: Fish and chips. Schnitzel and chips. XXBagel?? 0:45:49.000XX and chips.

Guy Lawrence: Ice cream and soda.

Marlies Hobbs: And the thing is, I think my observation, anyway, with Troy especially, is that they are very impressionable and their taste buds are; those foods are as addictive to them as they are for us. Probably more so addictive to them. Because they don’t understand the difference between. . . Like, I try to educate Troy about, you know, a treat or “good food” and “bad food,” we talk about a lot.

And they don’t; he understands that and we talk about that a lot and he; they don’t understand the adverse effects on their health, I suppose, of the bad foods. They just taste good. They trigger all sorts of emotions and addictions in them. And so when they’ve had them once, their, like, radar is going. So if you go to a restaurant and they’re like, “Oh, you can have steak and vegetables or you can fish and chips.” Pretty much you will rarely find a kid that hasn’t been under the spell once they’ve tasted the saltiness of those fish and chips. It’s very difficult to make them choose the healthy option.

So, I think that’s probably why the menus are the way they are. Because they’re trying to please. And they’re the only foods that the kids will be ordering. And the parents are out for dinner; they just want to have a pleasant meal and they don’t feel like arguing and having a tantrum at the table because they’re trying to order steak and vegetables, if that’s even on option, than the fish and chips. So, for ease and also it’s price. It costs nothing to deep fry some disgusting, processed nuggets and chips. But it costs money to put a nice piece of steak or meat and some vegetables on a plate. It’s all fresh and it’s prepared by the chef. Whereas they’re not just dumped into a deep fryer and slapped on a plate.

So, there are the reasons. And it’s devastating, really. And I think the only real answer. . . Like, for us, when we go out, we don’t tell Troy if there’s a kids’ menus. We often just order either another meal for him or we order something that’s too big for me to eat and he eats; we get another plate and he eats what I eat.

And on occasion when we have allowed him; there’s been times where a family member is gonna have fish and chips and he loves it, like any other kid, he loves it, but he actually feels really sick afterwards. The oil from the batter, from the deep fryer, often he’ll vomit because he’s just so nut familiar with having that in his stomach.
So, yeah, I guess that’s my real take on it.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: No, absolutely. There’s some great pointers there as well. Like, you can you always order a meal and split it. That’s kind of what we do. We order an adult meal and we order a couple of extra plates and we divvy it up that way for the kids. And there’s generally more options as well for them, as opposed to this little miniscule XXparty 0:49:11.000XX menu, which is never gonna be great in the first place.

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, like when you order a meal and then you order a side of vegetables or a side of vegetables and a salad and then you share it amongst yourselves, it’s pretty much not too much more expensive than ordering a kids’ meal when you do it that way. And everyone ends up happy and healthy. But it definitely does take effort to make sure that you have foresight. Because as soon as they spot that kids’ menu with all of those chips and stuff, it’s over. It’s over for you.

Stuart Cooke: Game over.

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. Game over. Game over. So, you really have to have a strategy.

Guy Lawrence: Would you, because I know you have a book as well, Marlies, and is there any kids’ menus in that? I haven’t seen the book. But would that be an option for parents?

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. I’ve got a kids’ section in there, a Paleo for Families section in there. And it gives some great tips about things we’ve spoken about. About parties and whatnot. And also has some great little meals and treats and whatnot, and even ones that you can get the kids involved in. Even the chocolate mousse recipe that Troy loves.

Stuart Cooke: Got is. So, is it predominantly a cookbook or have you got a whole heap of other stuff in there as well?

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, it’s a Paleo Café lifestyle and cookbook, so the first sections are about the diet and the lifestyle. Just a very nice, simple, gentle introduction. You know: It’s not only technical and complicated so it’s very much a nice; like, people have always complimented us on the information. It’s what you need to know without it feeling too daunting, I suppose. And then it’s got over 130 recipes in there.

Yeah. And we get great feedback all the time on the recipes. Because they’ve been created, obviously, in our cafes and had to be produced at quite a large scale in pretty short time frames. Everything’s very economical, generally, in terms of cost and time to prepare. So, there’s some really great practical recipes. You don’t see these two page long lists of ingredients and whatnot. It’s fairly practical in that sense.

Guy Lawrence: Sounds like my kind of book.

Stuart Cooke: And if I didn’t live near a Paleo Café, where could I grab that book?

Marlies Hobbs: You can get it online from our website, www.Paleo-Cafe.com.au.

Guy Lawrence: We can link to that. I’m just curious: What’s your favorite dish in there?

Marlies Hobbs: My favorite dish in the cookbook. I absolutely love, and obviously I’m from Cairns and mangos are beautiful here; we have a delicious mango avocado macadamia nut salad, which I really love. It’s a favorite. It’s been on the menu a few times at the Paleo Café. It’s just actually gone out because mangoes have gone out of season. But that’s probably one of my favorites. And it was on the menu when the café very first opened here in Cairns.

Stuart Cooke: In the next edition, perhaps you can get my sardine breakfast surprise in there.

Marlies Hobbs: Yes. Yes. I’m going to have to taste test it first.

Guy Lawrence: You need to put that right on the back page, hidden somewhere.

Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Save the best to last.

Marlies Hobbs: I’m gonna have to give it a go.

Guy Lawrence: I can’t. I can’t do sardines.

Stuart Cooke: Just got a couple more questions, Marlies. Where are you going to take the Paleo Café brand? How big is this going to be?

Marlies Hobbs: I suppose the sky is the limit when it comes to the paleo café brand. And we definitely have a few different things that we’re looking at at the moment, you know, to try and. . . I guess our primary goal is to spread the message about the benefits of the paleo lifestyle to as many people as possible. And that’s through the cafés, through collaborations, through our website, through our publications. And hopefully in the near future a recipe app which is nice and simple for people to access right off their phones.

We XXaudio glitch 0:53:27.000XX so we can basically gauge the market and move in the directions that we need to move, I suppose, to do the best we can in the environment that we have.

And definitely XXaudio glitch 0:53:38.000XX making sure we can reach the masses and making sure that we can educate people why they are coming to Paleo Café as opposed to another café. And there are things that we are sort of trying to achieve through education online and obviously it’s great to have opportunities like this one to share our message as well.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Awesome.

Stuart Cooke: It’s exciting times!

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. There’s a lot going on.
So, Marlies, we always finish with a wrap-up question, the same one every week. It’s one of my favorites. And that is: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Marlies Hobbs: I suppose it’s a very broad application but basically everyone just needs to believe in the beauty of your dreams, whether that’s in relation to your own personal health. Some type of, I guess, performance goal or even in business. You know: Believe in the beauty of your dreams and if you’re passionate about something, just go for it.

And the other thing would be definitely to look after your body because it’s the only place that you have to life.

Stuart Cooke: I like it. It’s true.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s so true. We spread that message every week ourselves. Yeah. Fantastic.

And if anyone listening to this, I guess the website would be the best place to get more of you guys and the Paleo Café to find out if they’re in their local area and more about the book, right?

Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. The books on there and all the local cafés are listed there as well on the website. And we obviously have Facebook pages as well for the respective cafés as well the head office business.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant. Well, we’ll XXlink to all that 0:55:19.000XX when the podcast goes out anyway. And then, yeah, that was fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Marlies. We really appreciate your time.

Marlies Hobbs: Thank you so much.

Stuart Cooke: It was great. So much information. I think people will get so much out of this as well. Thank you again.

Marlies Hobbs: I really appreciate it. I always love chatting to you both.

Stuart Cooke: Awesome.

Guy Lawrence: Thank you Marlies. Goodbye.

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