Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy:Do you remember the movie The Secret? Ever since that movie came out people were talking about creating their reality and attracting riches beyond their wildest dreams! All a bit woo woo?
Well who better person to ask than a neuroscientist and psychologist who studies brain function and how it interacts with the world. In other words, he shares with us how our thoughts and subconscious beliefs play a big role in the quality of our experience of life!
Our special guest today is Dr Jeffrey Fannin. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, an MBA and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications. He is the founder and executive director for the Center for Cognitive Enhancement and Thought Genius, LLC.
Dr. Fannin has extensive experience training the brain for optimal brain performance working with head trauma, stroke, chronic pain, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), anxiety disorders, depression, trauma recovery. His research and experience also extends into high performance training, such as: personal achievement, performance brainmapping for sports, enhancing leadership skills through brainwave entrainment; improving brain function and to enhance mental and emotional dexterity and personal transformation.
Full Interview: Tapping into the Law of Attraction, Subconscious Beliefs & Maximising Brain Power
In This Episode:
Where to start if you struggle with meditation
How we create our daily reality with our thoughts
How to calm down anxiety and mind chatter
How to create energy coherence throughout the body to feel energised
What brain mapping over 3000 advanced meditators over the last 3 years has taught him
Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s health sessions. We have an awesome guest for you today and his name is Dr. Jeffrey Fannin. Now, he’s the founder and executive director for the Center of Cognitive Enhancement and Thought Genius. Now, he’s also an international authority and speaker in the field of neuroscience research. In a nutshell, he’s a brain expert and understands the brain, how it operates. He has extensive experience training the brain essentially for optimal brain performance and he’s been doing this for 17 years.
It’s a podcast you’re going to have to hang on to your hats to a little bit and if it was the first time we had a brain expert on. Now, in a nutshell, he’s been working with people from such as like head traumas, attention deficit disorders, ADD, ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, trauma recovery. He’s then worked on the other end of the scale for high performance training such as personal achievement, personal performance, brain mapping for sports, enhancing leadership skills and all this is through brain entrainment.
I have to say this is a podcast that goes in every direction totally and this one I’m definitely going to listen to again just to fully understand everything that was spoken about today. All I say is just keep an open mind and just absorb it and see how you go. There’s a lot of practical advice in there too.
Just to give a bit of background, I first met Dr. Fannin. I actually had a brain mapping consultation with him. I was fortunate enough to be in a Dr. Joe Dispenza workshop now a few months ago and if you’re not familiar who Dr. Joe Dispenza is, we actually interviewed him on the podcast a few months ago as well. I highly recommend you check that out because it’s going to be quite a correlation into today’s episode. Essentially, we went to basically a meditation boot camp, if you like, for four and a half days and they brought a team of scientists [00:02:00] in and measured the activity of the brain and the coherence and what was going on within the body. That was Dr. Fannin’s role so I got to know him them and then I’d have consultations since. It’s just been blowing me away with the information I’ve learned from it and now I’m just trying to bring it back in and apply it to my daily life because that’s what we want to do. You want to try and be the best version of yourself and move forward with that.
If ever you’re wondering why we think negative thoughts, why we can be in a state of anxiety half the time, why do we do the things we do even though we don’t want to be doing them and we have bad habits and all sorts and all sorts and react to situations when we don’t necessarily want to, then Dr. Jeff Fannin is going to certainly explain a lot of that today.
Strap yourself in and enjoy. All right, let’s go ahead to Dr. Jeff Fannin.
Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke as always. Hi Stuart.
Stu: Hello mate.
Guy: And our fanstastic guest today is Dr. Jeffrey Fannin. Jeffrey, welcome to the show.
Jeff: Hi, it’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you so much for having me on.
Guy: It’s greatly appreciated. Now you’re actually our first brain specialist so I think you need to go easy on us a little bit today, okay?
Jeff: I’ll try and do that, yeah.
Guy: It does get me thinking, if you sat in an airplane next to a complete stranger and they asked you what you did for a living, how would you answer that?
Jeff: That happens to me more frequently than you think. We might be at a dinner party or on an airplane or something like that and it always gets around to what do you do. I used to answer that in a variety of ways and I’ve tried to simplify it. Now I explain to people I’m a neuroscientist. Then they get this deer in the headlights look, just like oh my good, this guy’s reading my brain. Then they want to know more about that and so we ensue with that conversation. What does [00:04:00] that mean exactly?
We measure brainwave activity and we do that through brain mapping. We do an EEG, electroencephalogram, and then we will convert that into a quantitative EEG which means that we look at all these little heads and the colors on there tells us what’s going on in the brain. With these consults that I do everyday for people all around the world that have been to one of Dr. Joe Dispenza’s events and we do brain mapping on them and then I can do an interpretation. We use a GoToMeeting like what we’re doing on Skype here. I bring up their brain map and I can show them here’s what’s working for you, here’s what’s not working for you.
We even have a lot of signatures from people who are highly intuitive and I’ll show them that signature and ask them a question, do you think that you’re intuitive and the stories I get after that are just amazing. Well, yeah, it comes out in this way and that way and so I’ll show them the pattern of here’s the part that is what we call clairsentient or you know things about people but you don’t know how you know it. Then I’ll show them the signature on the other side of the brain of this is when people are able to interpret other people’s emotional states and you can do that quite readily. Then they’ll have a lot of stories about that.
Everybody has that ability. The question is do people tend to cultivate that and so with these meditators that we work with all around the world, the one thing that I’m finding that’s really fascinating to me is when we look at their brain map that there are these markers. There’s about 12 markers and we see a great deal in consistency. Over the last three years that we’ve measured them [00:06:00] at these events, probably close to 3,000 people, and talking with them we see the same kinds of signatures. Some are more defined than other but these people have the same markers and those markers really are the starting point where the magic begins to happen for a lot of these people.
We measure people who have actually inter-dimensional experiences. They have beings that visit them during these events. We have a lot of people who have been able to do healing. We’ve got a lot of stories in Dr. Joe’s book You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter and a bunch of brain cases in there where people have gotten rid of brain tumors, people who have lessened the effects of Parkinson’s disease or Hashimoto’s disease. Over the years, we hear a lot of that going on.
Guy: To pull it back a bit from that just to get a bit of background on what you do. I know you’ve been doing this a long time. I think it’s about 17 years.
Jeff: Yeah, over 17 years now.
Guy: We’re always interested to find out a little bit about the journey because I knew you used to be a pilot. Is that correct?
Jeff: That’s true. In fact my keen ambition for a long time was to be an astronaut. At one time I had an appointment to the US Air Force Academy. My cousin was a former governor and senator of Arizona where I live. I didn’t live in Arizona at that time but my grades were good enough to capture an appointment to the Air Force Academy. Then the Vietnam War is [00:08:00] pretty heavy during that time. I didn’t know if I really wanted to be in the military. I want to be an astronaut. That was pretty clear from the time I was about nine or ten years old. I wrote letters to the Mercury astronauts back then. They actually sent me letters back. Their secretaries probably signed them but I cherish them and had a little scrapbook with their pictures and followed all the Mercury stuff.
When it got to the point of having to decide whether I was going to go into the Air Force Academy I didn’t know if I really wanted to have a career in the military. I ended up … They had a banquet where we got a chance to talk to a lot of the cadets and whatnot there. They explained what goes on. I got some bad advice from my father. He was on a submarine during World War II and he wanted me to go in the navy. I didn’t really want to be in service at all but decided that I was going to opt out of going to the academy. Then I went the long way around and became a pilot and used to fly tours of Grand Canyon, Lake Tahoe, Monument Valley, fire attack to the forest service, doing all of that. Then got my self to the airlines from that job and was with US Air and flying the tours and stuff like that.
Then I came around to getting a career in the airlines and got on with US Air and stayed there for a few years. I was based in Los Angeles, at LAX, living in Phoenix. Some people commute an hour to work in their car. I would go to the airport, get up the cockpit and the jump seat and commute an hour to work that [00:10:00] way. When they started having layoffs in the early ‘90s and my seniority number was in the middle of the stack so the first layoff that dropped me to the bottom of the stack and that was no fun because then I’d have to almost everyday go over to LAX and sit in the pilot lounge for several days in case they needed another crew and then you’d have to go out. It was just skuzzy that way.
Then they had another layoff and that dropped me out of the system. At that point I knew it’d be at least two or three years with the way the airline industry was going there in the ‘90s before I could get back in. At that time I decided I really want to follow more of this brain activity. A lot of guys that I would fly with, they said, I love flying with you because it’s like going to a Tony Robbins seminar in the cockpit because we’d talk about all this stuff that I was so passionate about and learning. That’s when I went back and got my PhD in psychology and then decided to go down this track and learned about brain mapping. After I got my PhD and started working with people and doing counseling and I decided there’s a lot of these people, they don’t really want to get well so I’m going to work with high performance with authors, professional athletes, people like that.
That was good and they’re a real quirky bunch. They want to do it but they don’t want to anybody to know they’re doing it.
Guy: Like it’s a secret weapon or something.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly the way. If I’ve got an edge I don’t want you to know that I got an edge which is really interesting point of view. Anyway, from there I learned more about brain mapping and that really flipped my switch because the more [00:12:00] I learned about it the more I found out that there was to know and went down that road and then eventually met up with Dr. Dispenza. When we first got together it’s really a funny story of how we did get together. That I was speaking at an event of another friend of mind, Greg Reid, that does Secret Knock. He would bring me in periodically, still does, to do what I call brain magic from the stage.
We would put somebody’s brain live up on a big screen and I would show how they change subconscious belief patterns instantly and be able to show a whole bunch of different things. We would always have fun with that. While I was doing one of these, afterwards Doug caught my attention. He said, hey, come here. I need to talk to you. We started talking about the brain and what it does. Somehow we got on a subject of people that I wanted to meet and I said I have two people on the top of my list. One is Gregg Braden and the other is Dr. Joe Dispenza. I really want to meet these guys. He says, well I do work with Dr. Joe. He says, maybe we could get together on a Skype call or something. That sounded a lot to me like have your people call my people and we’ll do lunch kind of thing but it actually happened.
We got together and talked and Joe invited me up to the Seattle area. He was having a training with a bunch of his instructors. We started doing brain maps on all of them and I’m sitting there telling him all about these things that I could see on the screen. Then later that night when we’re having dinner, he said I’d been looking for somebody like you for three years.
I left out a piece of the story that’s really quite amusing here. That at the time I was actually reading Dr. Joe’s book, the Breaking the Habit of Being [00:14:00] Yourself and just mesmerized by the book. I had given Doug some of the papers that we had published from work that we had done at West Point which is another amusing thing that here I would have gone to the Air Force Academy and done that. Then I end up roundabout getting involved with a research team of Arizona State University and going to West Point and teaching them how to use their brains.
Guy: Wow, that’s quite a journey.
Jeff: Anyway, back to the story. Dr. Joe went to Doug and he was reading some of these papers that we published. He says, I don’t care what you have to do. Get me an appointment with this guy. I was doing the same thing. I went to Doug and I said Doug, you got to get me an appointment with him. This book is fascinating. Here we were both trying to connect then we connected and I went up to Seattle. From there he was getting ready to do one of his advanced meditative events here in Arizona so we hooked up with that. We didn’t even know whether we could measure anything. We just thought, hey, let’s get it a try so we did and we thought we measured something. Then the next event we did another one, we found more and more and more and so this thing has evolved to the point where it’s not uncommon for us to have 650 people in the room and I was brain mapping about 350 of those people during a five-day event.
Stu: You’ve spoken about the brain mapping and all of the analysis and the reporting that you would undergo while you’re doing that. Is that neurofeedback? Is that how you’d term …
Jeff: No, that’s very different. The brain mapping, you’re just measuring what’s going on in the brain under different conditions. Neurofeedback is when we are training the brain. Let’s suppose that we [00:16:00] see a very high elevation at some point in the brain. Let’s say it’s in the back of the brain, we see a lot of beta. That’s usually a pattern that’s consistent with anxiety. If we want to reduce that anxiety, we will set up a protocol to train the brain. We put the electrodes on the head and now with a lot of stuff we do, we put the cap on the head like we’re doing the brain mapping but we’re doing the brain training where we can train 5700 variables all at once.
You have to understand one of the basic elements of the brain. We have our thinking cortex, or the thinking part of our brain, it processes information at 40 bits per second. When you look at the subcortex, the subcortical region of the brain, it can process 40 million bits per second.
Guy: When you say subcortex, is that like the subconsciousness?
Jeff: That’s right, yeah. You can think of it that way. It can process a lot of information that we are not aware of. When we’re training the brain, let’s imagine that my finger here is like a thermometer of information going up and down. We have all of that high beta in the back of the brain that is consistent with the anxiety. We would then put a threshold on that so that would be where that tops out kind of like right there. Then if we want the brain to produce more of whatever it is, every time it goes above the threshold we’ll give it a reward. Every time it stays, if we wanted to produce less, every time it stays below that, then we’ll give the reward. The question is, what is the reward?
We can give it sound, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding kind of thing. There’s a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens and that’s how we learn everything. If this then this. That’s how we learned. Night follows day. Our brain [00:18:00] is very simplistic in that process. When the brain is producing these frequencies and we give it this reward, ding, ding, ding, ding, every time it stays below the threshold, the brain goes oh, okay, I’m going to do that and so it does it over and over and over and over and over again. That’s called operant conditioning.
What that does in the brain is it causes new dendrites to form and new neural pathways developed. That’s what is rewiring the brain. It’s the same thing as when you create a habit. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. It takes 21 days for those neural pathways to entropy or to stop working.
Stu: Nowadays, we’re living in a society where we got signals coming from everywhere. We’ve got internet and mobile phone and constant chatter in our brains and a lot of us becoming more anxious and you’ve probably heard the term monkey mind, this endlessly chattering of the mind, never shuts off. How can we use your strategies to tackle this?
Because I know that sleep, for instance, can be an issue for people where their brains just don’t shut off and also mood, things like that. What can you do?
Jeff: Let’s talk about the two separate issues there. Let’s talk about the sleep first because that affects a lot of people. I think first of all, we’re … Let me put the sleep aside and lay some groundwork here. I think what happens with a lot of people, like you say we live in a society now where a lot of information is coming at us. Everybody’s got all kinds of gadgets that they use. Our brain is now evolving to a new element.
What happens is with all of that information that’s coming to us, we haven’t learned how to manage that information and so that’s why my [00:20:00] book coming out is called Help! My Thoughts Are Holding Me Hostage. That’s also the name of my radio show that I have recently.
The point being is as our brains are evolving to a new element, getting into the sleep issue for sure here. When we see a lot of activity in the front part of the brain, in what we call delta. The brain is producing a lot of frequencies all the time. Delta, theta, alpha, beta, a lot of people have heard those but they are faster in frequency. For example, when delta is the dominant factor that’s when you’re asleep. Here you are trying to get to sleep and you have all these beta or delta activity in the front, that’s when people’s sleep is disrupted. Their brain, that monkey mind in the brain so there you have busy mind, tossing and turning, they can’t shut some of that stuff off.
With the brain training or the neurofeedback that we use, we train the neurons to stop doing that and move towards normal and then they sleep better or they get rid of restless legs syndrome, stuff like that.
Stu: Is that a lengthy process of training or is it something that you can do quite quickly?
Jeff: The answer to that is yes. It depends on what modality that …
Stu: All of the above.
Jeff: Yeah. It’s like is it nature or is it nurture and scientifically, we know the answer to that is yes. It is both nature and nurture. To answer specifically your question, how long does it take, if we’re using neurofeedback only, then we find that it’s usually a four to five month process so when we’re working with sleep issues or attention deficit disorder or anxiety depression.
Neurofeedback has been around basically since the ‘60s [00:22:00] in working with that and now we’re coming into an era of energy-medicine integration and so we’re working a lot with stuff like that. Some of the research that we have been doing recently and seeing elements of the brain change very quickly. Meditation is another thing that people are able to change these elements to their brain.
I’ll give you an example of some of the things that we have done just in the way of research. We would find people … I had a person that we did an experiment with. She had a lot of that beta in the back of the brain, a lot of anxiety and stuff like that. We did a 30-day process with this person. Had her meditate for roughly 30 minutes a day doing … She would average that. Some days were longer meditation, some days were shorter, but as an average 30 minutes every day for 30 days and then we asked her to use what’s called a focused intention. She would at some point in her meditate … Well let me back up a little bit.
There is a process that Dr. Joe teaches about pulling energy up through the energy centers of the body, what we would call the chakras if you will. You pull this energy with this breathing technique up through your body and hold the energy there and then the energy is able to do things in your body. She would do maybe five or six of those breathing techniques before she started her meditation. Then at some point in her meditation she would use the intention. She would visualize the red areas in the back of her brain and we had her, just give her brain very simple instructions and that’s the intention. I would prefer the red to be green.
I didn’t say, okay, [00:24:00] I want to nucleus accumbens to do this and go in through the chiasm. It didn’t have to do that. Very simple instruction, I prefer the red to be green. We brain mapped her in 30 days later, after she had done that done that for 30 days and guess what, the red is green and her anxiety was reduced.
Stu: Do you … Sorry, guy, just one quickie. Do you support your techniques with any nutritional or supplements during this process?
Jeff: Absolutely. Nutrition is so vital in all of this. We’re starting to see where people are enhancing their internal capabilities. Let me come back to that particular issue but I need to lay some more groundwork. Guy looks like he’s going to explode if we don’t let him ask the question in.
Guy: The only point I was going to raise was, there’s a lot of people who might be suffering anxiety or monkey mind, can’t switch off. Actually to get them to sit down for even five minutes to just be still is a massive task. Because then the [crosstalk 00:25:16]
Jeff: That’s what I’m going to share with you, some other information. We just finished doing a six month-long project with a group called access consciousness. If people aren’t familiar with that, go google that and you’ll see that for 20 plus years they’ve been out there working with people in order to do a process called the bars.
Now I have never heard of this process called the bars. Again, I was doing my thing at Greg Reid and the Secret Knock and when I showed up and they are big fans of this and so Greg’s wife, Allen said, “Oh, oh you’re here. We got to connect you up with Gary and Dane and you’ve got [00:26:00] to do this brain map on the bars.” It’s like, “Okay, all right, yeah, that’s good, fine. I’ll do it.”
I’d never heard of that and so we did the brain maps on a few people that were having their bars run and then I was supposed to speak about it at 8:00 the next morning. Well, that’s kind of a dangerous proposition. Measuring something you’ve never measured before and then you’re going to get up on stage in front of 300 people and you’re going to talk about it, you know, when I’ve never heard of this thing.
By the time I get back to the hotel after dinner and stuff it was kind of late and I was tired. I need my full brain faculties to do that. We processed it and by 3 in the morning, I’m looking at this stuff and my jaw is just dropping. I’m going, whoa, brains of my world don’t do this. There is something up here. That’s when I measured it in a whole bunch of different ways, then got up and talked about it. I was just so excited. There’s a YouTube of me out there talking about that, that’s really amazing. From that we decided to do this full out, full blown study at a very high level and we’ve just gotten that.
This bars process they use acupressure so they put their fingers on the head and the acupressure causes the energy in the brain to begin to move and flow. Everybody has areas that get blocked but the energy is not flowing and that’s what slows down some of these process. Now as we look at energy medicine and energy healing and energy psychology, that’s the kind of stuff that we’re dealing with, we found that people’s energy align a great deal and some of these elements that we would see in their brain maps would disappear like in an hour and a half. [00:28:00] Now explain that to me.
When you’re talking about energy, that’s what’s going on in the brain. There’s a graphic that I use in a lot of my lectures and it’s called the thalamic gate. At the top of the thalamus and the brain is a little almond shaped thing right in the center of the brain and it regulates a lot of the frequencies that go on in our brain, in our body. At the top of the thalamus there’s a set of what’s called reticular cells. These reticular cells, a function of that is to allow cells to bind to the top of the thalamus so that other cells can then, like axonal columnar cells can develop out of that through the cortex up through from a subcortex into the thinking part of the brain and it comes out right here, the top center of our head which is basically the crown chakra.
What tends to happen here is that we look at energy in the field, in the morphogenetic field, the collective unconscious, whatever you want to call it. We call that oscillation. That energy is vibrating. We live in a vibrational universe and we are vibrational beings. This energy then comes down through the crown chakra, through the thalamic gate, gets into the thalamus and then it begins to resonate. That’s the energy in the cells of our body so there’s communication that goes on. When people have energy that is not flowing or that is blocked, that’s where we find that disease occurs. All disease is nothing more than disregulated energy. When you line the energy and the brain knows how to regulate itself then you get that regulation flowing then these conditions that we see, why is it that people that come to these events … one guy had a brain tumor and he’d been to two events and then he went [00:30:00] to have his brain scanned again at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
When they came back in to give him the results, they said we can find no trace of the tumor and they said, come back in a couple more intervals and they still couldn’t find it. Why people get rid of the affects of Parkinson’s disease? We’ve seen brain elements change to help brain injury. I worked with professional athletes, football players in particular, that have brain injuries and we’re seeing some amazing changes on that. We’re moving into a new era where it’s going to change the way we understand healing in the world.
Stu: I just had a thought that occurred to me when you were speaking about the energy and how it moves from the top of the head all the way down to the different states of the body. Can we disrupt that energy flow with modern day devices? For instance …
Jeff: Yes, actually that does happen. I was doing some work with a physicist, Yury Kronn, and we were looking at cellphone emissions. The interesting thing about the cellphone industry is that you have usually three or four transmitters in the phone and they only have to report the lowest emission from any four of those so the other three could be very high.
He has developed a process where he can infuse subtle energy into like a sticker and we measure this subtle energy in a lot of different components. When you look at subtle energy and what is subtle energy, it is the energy that is really … that commands of the universe. When you see these pictures of a galaxy [00:32:00] and the galaxy is spinning, what makes the galaxy move? It’s subtle energy. The universe is made up of total subtle energy.
One little demonstration that I do all the time is, and it’s sitting on the corner of my desk, is a Tesla globe where you put your fingers on that and you get all these sparks that are going on in there. If I take a CFL light bulb and I hold it away from the globe where the energy is, that light bulb with light up. What causes that to light up? It is subtle energy and so we are part of that energy field. You and I are connected through quantum entanglement. We are part of each other and so it’s that. I’ve always wondered how when you watch a flock of birds or a school of fish and they’re all going along and now all of a sudden they change direction. How do they do that?
Is it the lead fish goes I’m turning left now and shoosh, off they go? No, it is the vibration in the field. Now let me add something to that and that is, how do we create our own reality because that’s all part of this? Again, in a lot of my lectures I talk about your thoughts. If you have a thought whether it’s a wanted thought or an unwanted thought, it doesn’t matter, the principle is the same. If you have a thought and you hold that thought for 17 seconds and that thought has a vibration energy to it, the law of attraction says that other energy that is like that will be attracted to it. Thoughts begin to come in. If I’m having a negative thought, an unwanted thought and I keep thinking about it, that’s … I’ll give you an illustration here in a second but if you hold that for 17 seconds, 17 more seconds, 17, you get to 68 [00:34:00] seconds. It now has amassed enough energy through a principle that’s called constructive interference that amassed enough energy that it can now affect particle matter. That is how we create our own reality.
Whatever your intention, whatever you’re putting out there, let’s say for example, I’m driving down the highway and I’m in this energy field of content and happiness and love and joy and feeling good and some knucklehead cuts me off. Now I’m vibrating angry energy and I’ve dropped down here. If I’m holding that energy for 68 seconds and I go back to the office and I’m telling the people here, this guy cut me off and I got so angry, he doesn’t even belong on the road.
Now I’ve held it for several hours and I go home and my wife’s fixing dinner and she says, could you go to the store and pick up a few items for me? It’s like, yeah, okay, it gives me more time to think about this knucklehead. I go to the store, get three items and I pick up the three items and go up to the register. Now I’ve been doing this, vibrating this for several hours and I get up to the cash register and there’s a guy in front of me in the express line that has 38 items. Coincidence, not hardly. That’s the energy that I have attracted to myself and I start attracting and we start living these patterns over and over again depending on what we think about if we just understand the principle, if I start changing my thought patterns I will change what happens to me.
You talk to people who maybe have an intention, they want more money and so they’re thinking consciously, I want more money, I want more money, I want more money. They’re putting that in the field and maybe they have a subconscious belief that says you don’t deserve more money. That’s what actually being broadcast in the field and their energy is not lined up so they’re not attracting [00:36:00] the things that they actually desire. Then there are those people who can line that up and it’s like wow, their life is magic, and it’s because they had learned how to manage this energy, not only physiologically in their body but through the thought processes and how to interact with the universal field. That makes sense to you?
Guy: It does. That’s like the scientific version of [crosstalk 00:36:24] … Go on, Stu.
Stu: If I was to sum that up, would it be we really should try and think happy thoughts?
Jeff: In a perfect world that would be great but that’s not what really happens. Seventy-five percent of our thoughts are negative. I don’t know if you knew that or not but …
Guy: We’ve got a question right here because I read somewhere that we have over 50,000 thoughts a day.
Jeff: Well, it’s actually higher than that. It’s more like 600,000. It’s more like what you have consciously aware of.
Guy: Wow, and then the majority are repetitive and negative.
Jeff: Yeah and they’re playing all the time and they’re in your subconscious so how do those get there? A belief is nothing more than a thought that you have over and over again. As you keep having those thoughts, that becomes ingrained or implanted in your subconscious and those are the things … If you want to know what’s on your subsconscious mind, look at your behavior. If it’s like, whoa, I have this behavior I don’t like. Well, that’s probably what your subconscious is about.
Now we have a device, I sent it to the other room, but it’s a headband that when you put it on, it has four electrodes, two in the front and then two behind your ears. All you have to do is think about something and it will let you know what your subconscious perception of that is and also what your emotions are, whether you have positive or [00:38:00] negative emotion.
We use this a lot with a program that we’re doing with Midwestern University Medical University and working with veterans that have PTSD and traumatic brain injury, also first responders and professional athletes that have injury. We can help them see what that is and you can literally use this to help train your brain.
Are you familiar with Mind Movies? Have you ever heard of Mind Movies?
Guy: I’ve heard of it.
Jeff: Natalie Ledwell is one of the founders of Mind Movies and it’s like vision boards on steroids. When we set somebody up with one of these, we also set them up with a subscription to the Mind Movies so you can have your own pictures, sayings, your own video and create a mind movie so that like when I meditate I will watch my mind movie before I go into meditation and then after I come out.
We’ve got some scientific brain maps of people one of the first times that we encountered this. We do like … some of the people we measured at Dr. Joe’s events, we’ll do pre and post so before the event begins and then we measure them again afterwards and look at the changes in their brain. We’re doing one of these pre and post readings with this gal and seeing the EEG going all over the place just like oh-oh, what’s wrong with that. It must be a bad electrode or what. I’m fiddling with stuff and then afterwards, I got her out in the outside of the room there and asked her, I said, “Tell me about what was happening there,” and she says, “Oh, I was just thinking about my mind movie.”
She wasn’t actually watching it, she was thinking about it and it was so real to her she was having that [00:40:00] experience while we were mapping her brain. Now we have literally thousands of those where we have measured people going through that process and so there’s a great deal of power and energy in the brain that happens when you are focusing on this. If a person wants to begin to train their brain, that’s why we now have these tools.
Another one that we’re working on is this guy right here. It’s a 16-channel that will allow people to do brain mapping and brain training from their smartphone, their tablet, or their computer anywhere in the world.
Stu: If I wanted to do that at home and let’s just say I ordered a rogue kit off the internet, could I potentially do more harm than good?
Stu: I’m sitting there and I’m putting this thing on and all of a sudden, I wet my pants, I don’t know why.
Jeff: Or you start quacking like a duck. That could be a little unnerving. Anything that you can train you can untrain and that’s what we call neuroplasticy in the brain. With the training that we teach the brain, I mean you can train yourself with bad habits. You know anybody that has bad habits? Yeah, we all know people. How did they get the bad habits? They train themselves. Can they train themselves out of a bad habit?
Yeah. I don’t know that you would get to the point of putting one of these on and wetting your pants. Here’s what happens when we’re working with that. We create what’s called a protocol or a set of instructions of what we want the brain to do. Maybe this is improving memory or improving your sleep or something like that. There’s a set of instructions that we create for the [00:42:00] brain.
When you put one of these devices on and then you select the brain training side of the application, it’s then going to go into a learning mode. You select learning mode. Imagine that there is cube in a tunnel and it’s suspended in space and what you want that cube to do is you want it to rotate counterclockwise. That’s the event that we want to have happen. You put it in learning mode and you’re thinking about rotate counterclockwise, rotate counterclockwise, and then you could set up neutral where it’s not doing anything.
Then you go into … It takes about eight seconds for your brain to learn that. It records the brain patterns of what you’re doing and then when you select the training mode and you start thinking about, I want that cube to rotate so you’re focusing on the cube and all of a sudden it will start to rotate counterclockwise and then you can control it, go neutral and it will stop.
Now I want it to rotate the other way or I want it to go in and out of the tunnel or I want it to disappear. You can create all of those conditions. We have the ability now to measure things in the brain and put them into a practical application. That’s where we are in the technological field of learning how to train our brains where you can begin to understand, what are some of the subconscious patterns that I’m feeding my brain? How can I train it to do higher and better things? How can I create a better reality for myself? How can I sleep better? How can … you know?
Going back to your question about nutrition, if you’re feeding your body really crappie stuff, guess what you’re going to get? A bunch of blockages and it’s going to cause the cells to react in a certain way. Eating healthy, having good [00:44:00] supplements, there is good food and then there is not so good food. You don’t want to live on a diet of, pardon the commercial here, you don’t want to live on a diet of Twinkies, probably not going to help you. You need a little more protein than just those carbs there or the sugar, so having that balanced nutrition is going to make a big difference.
Much of what we were thought about nutrition, when I was growing up the pyramid and the food groups and all of that, we didn’t know any better and so …
Stu: No, we didn’t. We like to use the power of our brain in this company at least and we turn that pyramid by just sheer thought upside down, so all the good stuff’s at the top and all the bad stuff’s at the bottom.
Just thinking about, if I’m at home right now, we’ve got our listeners out there and they just want to be, they want to be the best person of themselves or the best version of themselves should I say. I’ve listened to what you said about the subconscious mind and the ability that we can have to change these thoughts and try and become happier. What can I do at home? Almost like a hack or practical tools that I can apply perhaps everyday without having access to machinery, services and the like. Is there anything that I can do? You touched on meditation before.
Jeff: Meditation is one of the best things that you can do and there’s a lot of different ways to meditate out there. Some may get you a little further along. I think since we worked with thousands of advanced meditators over the last three years, we’re beginning to understand more about that. There’s a process called [00:46:00] mindfulness and there’s some book out there about mindfulness and if you can start to live present in the moment, that’s one of the best things that you can do. Also, be aware of your thoughts.
Am I getting caught up in these thought loops or can I break that pattern and say, no, I don’t want to be thinking about that because I know what the effect of that is going to have so I’m going to think more about … and let me give you some additional information here. We talked earlier about the negative thoughts and it’s important that people understand that the contrast in the world is very important, the yin and the yang kind of thing.
When we have negative thoughts, that’s really helping us because we understand what it is we don’t want which then allows us to put our emphasis or our focus on what we do want but you’ve got to have the contrast in order to do that. The contrast gives us focus and if people understand that basic principle then when you start having these thoughts about what you don’t want in your life then step back and say, okay, if that’s what I don’t want, then what is it I do want? Oh, this is what I do want.
Then you start putting that energy into that and that’s what’s going to be begin to materialize in the world.
Stu: I understand.
Guy: The first thing is for you to be aware.
Jeff: You don’t need a gadget to do that.
Guy: Nearly every person I speak to though, Jeff, and if meditation comes up in the topic, nearly every person I speak to are pretty much having struggle with it.
Jeff: They don’t know how to meditate.
Guy: And to sit down for even, like you said, five minutes. What would your tip be for that? Even just to go this is what you need to do for five minutes a day to start, whatever.
Jeff: It’s like training a dog. You want the dog to sit and stay. In the very first part, you have to teach the dog to sit, right? Put your butt down on the [00:48:00] floor here and then it’s like stay and then you walk a little ways away. Sit, stay, and then after doing that again and again and again and again, the dog finally gets the idea of sit and stay.
Your brain is no different than that. You get into a meditation and you get all of this stuff going on and it’s like teaching your brain, sit, stay. No, we don’t do that. Quiet, quiet, and if you could only hold it for five seconds, great then the next time hold it for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, a minute and that’s how people build up their ability and at the same time trying to understand, okay, that business in my brain, all of that information that’s going on, I want that to be quiet.
Give your brain simple instructions, I would prefer when I’m in this meditation so you’re getting down and you’re actually cycling between theta and alpha. Theta is a very creative state, alpha is what we call sensorial rest where you are alert, that you are aware of what’s going on. We teach people how to cycle between theta and alpha. As they do that over and over and over again, new dendrites form, new pathways develop and that’s then what fires. People can do that at home if they’re willing to put in the work. Some people say I can’t do it. Yeah, you got decades of your brain running wild so wild dog, horse, wild brain, same thing.
Guy: Is there an optimum time to do it?
Jeff: I’m sorry?
Guy: Is there an optimum time to do it like get up first thing in the morning or it doesn’t matter what time if you want to just …
Jeff: It doesn’t matter. You do it multiple times a day, the morning … I prefer to do mine in the morning because I’m better. When I get 9, [00:50:00] 10:00 at night, I’m like a NiCad battery, I just kind of and I’d sleep. Yeah, I’m done. I usually will get up 3:34 in the morning and meditate for two hours. I never could do that before.
My brain, talking about all this beta in the back of the brain, my brain was like that. I didn’t even know what quiet was until I trained that out of my brain and now I have the ability to be quiet for long periods of time and be able to experience the value of connecting with the universe to find out what I want to find out.
Stu: You mentioned, you touched before on supplementation to help your brain state. Would you recommend any particular supplementation?
Jeff: There’s the two key factors that will help, are melatonin and serotonin. You take a little bit of melatonin at night, that can help and the one thing that I think messes people up when they’re dealing with that is they think more is better. It’s like, well, I’m not getting the effect I want. Three milligrams is about the max you want to take, less is better.
If you’re still awake after 30 minutes, you’re not getting drowsy, then take a little bit less, take half of that and that will help. Serotonin should be taken in the day, that’s what’s going to help you perform better as you go along. You want antioxidants, fish oil and stuff like that. Paying attention to what your body needs. Now some people really should go to their physician and have their blood drawn and look, see if they have any deficiency in zinc or some of the minerals because this is about bringing [00:52:00] your body and your nutrition into alignment so that that’s the way you live everyday and staying in balances.
This is all about staying in balance about not only the energy in your body but help the cells of your body by eating right and exercising. It doesn’t take a lot.
Stu: That’s right. If you’re talking about drawing blood as well and looking for deficiencies, it might be worthy to run a hormone panel on your blood as well because your hormones are going to participate.
Jeff: Absolutely. You can have all kinds of things that are out of balance and so if people recognize, the key here is to get both my body, my brain aligned with energy so that I can interact with the energy field around me. Everybody has the ability for intuition and that’s one of the things we see in the brain mapping, people who are highly intuitive because they do exactly that. They care about their nutrition, they care about the bodies, they do what they need to do to sleep well, to meditate, to stay in balance, they know when they’re out of balance, what to do to get back in balance, how to get grounded, there’s all of those kinds of things.
Stu: Got it. To you what strategies do you personally implement yourself to stay on top of brain health?
Jeff: I eat a lot of Twinkies and chocolate.
Stu: Perfect, we’ll stop there.
Jeff: No. Actually, I listen to my body and it will tell me what it is that I need and so a lot of it is just some education, basic education, of nutrition and things like that. Now I’m getting older, I just turned 65 [00:54:00] this year and so testosterone tends to be an element. I take a supplement that I get at Costco that deals with testosterone supplementation so I’m not dragging myself around all day feeling tired and lethargic. That really helps and it also has a lot of the B vitamins, B6, B12, be healthy. That’s in there as well.
Those kinds of things are really helpful and at different stages of life you might need different things or different conditions depending on how far out of balance you are. I’m not on any kind of medication. The only thing I take are these supplements and they work well for me. Other supplements people might need but it’s about being aware. If you’re not aware of those things, go to a naturopath and have them give you some instruction on it.
Guy: Do you ever get stressed these days, Jeff?
Jeff: Everybody gets stressed and it’s not a question of whether you’re going to get stressed or not. It’s a question of what do you do about it when it does happen. What happens in your brain is when you get into a stressful mode, your brain starts to produce more cortisol and then your memory, you think your memory is going and stuff like that and it’s all … Again, it’s when I experience stress it’s usually because I’m not grounded so I know the process I need to do and I can do it within a matter of three or four minutes, go through this process, get grounded and then I can get back.
Some people don’t believe in this but I do because I experience it quite a lot with people that I work with that there are what I call energy vampires out there. If my energy is [00:56:00] up here and the vibration of that energy is love, contentment, joy, bliss, all of that and that’s where I live in that range, there are people who come in that are down here in the worry, anger, fear stuff, and they like to draw off that energy of people who are in that higher energy level.
Guy: They complain all the time.
Jeff: Yeah. If you’re around that for a while you feel depleted or that person leaves you and you go, wow, they just sucked the life right out of me. Well, yeah, exactly. You have to know how to get one that’s beginning to happen to you, how to get grounded, how to pull the energy in, how to coalesce the energy, not only from outside of us in the field but pull it up through the body and you can do that in a matter of a few minutes and you’re right back on and you’re charged.
Stu: We’ve spoken a lot about nutrition and strategies to improve the mindset, what about exercise? Because I have heard that exercise can be perhaps one of the greatest strategies when tackling depression for instance.
Jeff: Yeah. When you do that … Talking specifically about depression, very often in the front of the brain we’ll see a lot of alpha and that’s what we call familial depression. When you’re walking and that causes the endorphins to kick in, and up here in the left front part of the brain, that’s where our pleasure centers are so, even just walking, exercising, walking in a treadmill, whatever it is, it will get endorphins to fire and you’ll start to feel good.
Stu: Right, so really, get moving.
Jeff: Yeah. Get moving, get out there, get … It affects, the muscles get stronger, you’re able to … That is [00:58:00] very, very important. Again, we’re talking about balance. You can over exercise. For me to go out and train like some of the professional athletes that we work with, that’s not a good idea for me. For them, that works great because their body is in a fine tuned mechanism and just the littlest changes in their exercise can have big consequences in their performance, in their ability.
For me, if I don’t do anything, well, I’m just asking for trouble because the energy is not going to get regulated. I’m not going to get that flow of energy in my body and so it’s knowing really what exercise is going to do good for you and what you’re going to be good at. What you enjoy. I love to play racquetball. I don’t do much of that anymore just because I don’t have time. It’s not because I don’t love it but I’m very busy in the things that we do but I can get out and walk and so I do that.
Stu: Perfect. Excellent.
Guy: Yeah. Wow. I guess the take home message for today’s podcast is listening to your inner self, isn’t it and creating balance within the body to have the harmony and not be influenced by external factors.
Stu: Start small as well. Many of us have, we got busy lives, we got busy minds as a consequence of that but if, like you said, we can just take perhaps just five minutes out of our day just to try and quiet down the monkey in the mind. Spend a little bit of time working ourselves.
Guy: I like the dog analogy, that’s great.
Jeff: Yea and a lot of it is get some education. Find out what this is. If you want to know how to do that, start with mindfulness. Watch some of the videos that are out there and get some books, there are plenty of them, to know how to be present in the moment when you’re washing dishes or when you’re [01:00:00] at work, whatever it is that you’re doing. That will make a huge difference in helping train your mind day after day.
It’s like you can’t go do one pushup and say, okay, well, I’m fit now, I don’t have to do that again. It’s got to become a lifestyle. It’s going to be how much do you want to be in balance or do you like letting your brain run you instead of you running your brain. You create the reality that you want, so if you don’t like your life, then my advice is look at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it because you’re the one that’s creating it.
The only person that’s responsible for the life that you don’t like is you.
Guy: Yeah. That would be hard to hear for a lot of people, I reckon.
Jeff: It is. It was hard for me to learn that concept and then say, whoa, I’m the one responsible for that. No way. Those people think that life is happening to them rather than them creating it. We are creators. We are here to create, to learn how to create and when you begin to understand all of the universal laws and components that go along with that that we’ve talked about in this podcast, then you start to change your reality and life starts to get better, things start showing up.
I love to play this game with the universe when I go out somewhere and if my energy is aligned, I want that parking space so just as I’m puling in, somebody is pulling out or the space closes the door is empty. You probably all had that kind of experience. What if you could do that with intention? What if you could do that all the time? What if you could create all of the things that you want to attract whether it’s the love of your life or you want to attract more things? This is about learning how to command the laws of the universe. If [01:02:00] that’s what you want to do then that’s why you’re here.
Guy: Fantastic. I love the parking spot too. I often try that and it does work.
Stu: You’ve got a motor bike, Guy. It’s easier for you. You might think that you’re commanding this parking spot but there are just more little spots that bikes can slip into.
Guy: Rock star parking.
Stu: You’re cheating yourself.
Guy: I’m fully aware of the time, Jeff. We’re coming to the end of the show but we ask a question with every guest and that is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Jeff: The best piece of advice that I was ever given was I’ve had a mindset, a thought of the way that I was raised and the way a lot of people are raised is, you got to do more. I would take my boat down to the stream, not literally, this is figuratively, and put it in there and start paddling up stream, thinking harder and faster was the way to get where I wanted to go when really the best advice that I got was just stop paddling. Go with the flow.
I don’t have to turn my boat around. It will turn itself around and then I start going with the flow of the energy and that was the best advice that I ever received and really started me thinking about how I’m living my life.
Stu: I like it, makes sense. Go with the flow.
Jeff: Go with the flow.
Guy: Yeah. Struggle is not there. If anyone is listening to this and they want to find out more about what you do, Jeff, where would be the best place to go?
Jeff: Website, we have a lot of information there, thoughtgenius.com. That’s a good place. I have a book coming out real soon. Help! My Thoughts Are Holding Hostage. You can go to the Voice America channel. I’m on the empowerment channel on voiceamerica.com and my radio show is the same name. There’s a bunch of this kind of information shows [01:04:00] out there, it’s free. All you have to do is log on there. You could get an app from the app store for Voice America and listen.
They have a bunch of channels on wellness and health and finance and I just happen to be on the empowerment channel with Help! My Thoughts Are Holding Me Hostage.
Guy: Fantastic. We’re linked to all the show notes anyway when we put this up in the new year. Awesome. Thank you so much for your time today. That was absolutely fascinating. I’m definitely going to relisten to this and take that information again.
Jeff: Thanks for having me on. You guys are awesome. I really appreciate it.
Stu: No problems. I really appreciate your time and hopefully, we’ll connect with you in the future.
Jeff: Absolutely. I’m happy to do this anytime with you guys, you’re fun.
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…
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:
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
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
Guy: Working in the fitness industry for many years, the one question I would get asked all the time was, ‘what’s the best exercise for fat loss?’ So it was great to be able to reverse rolls and ask our special guest this week that very question :)
Dan Henderson is co founder of Australian Kettlebell Institute. The first ever accredited Kettlebells and functional training educators here in Australia. He is also the founder of Coastal Bodies, a Sydney personal training studio that specialises in fat loss, muscle gain, strength and fitness and corrective exercise.
Dan has a BA in Sport and Exercise Mgt, Honours in Human Movement, Cert 3 and 4 in Fitness Instruction, Functional Movement Screen (FMS) Level 2, Level 3 IUKL Kettlebell Instructor, Certified REHAB Trainer, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach (HLC).
The Full Interview: Kettlebells, Fat Loss & the Minimum Effective Dose
Enjoy the interview or got any questions for Dan or us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Dan Henderson. Now, Dan is the founder of Australian Institute of Kettlebells. Now, these guys were the first-ever accredited kettlebell and functional training educators here in Australia, and they’ve now coached over thousands of personal trainers.
Dan also has a personal training studio that he’s been running for seven years in Sydney, you know, specializing in fat loss, muscle gain, strength and fitness, all the usual stuff, and he also has a BA in Sport and Exercise Management and an Honors in Human Movement.
Pretty cool, eh?
You know, working in the fitness industry myself for many years, you know, there was also one question I have to ask him, because I would get asked this time and time again, you know: What is the best exercise for fat loss?
So we dive into stuff like that and many other things as well, and dig deep into the world of fitness, exercise, and kettlebells, and I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it. If you listen to this through iTunes, you know we always really appreciate a review. It takes two minutes to do, and it really helps with our rankings and gets the word out there. So that’s much appreciated and, of course, if you’ve got any ideas for future podcasts, drop us a line, you know.
And, also these are also shot in video, so if you are listening to us through iTunes, come over to our blog at 180nutrition.com.au and you can see our pretty faces as we talk as well.
But anyway, enjoy the show. You’ll get a lot out of this today. I have no doubt, and let’s go over to Dan.
Guy Lawrence: All right, so, I’m Guy Lawrence. With Stuart Cooke, as always, and our special guest today is Mr. Dan Henderson. Dan, welcome. Thanks for joining us on the show, mate.
Dan Henderson: Thank you very much for having me, boys.
Guy Lawrence: We’re very excited. So, was thinking, personal trainer, fitness studio owner, founder of Australian Institute of Kettlebells, the list is pretty impressive, mate. Have I missed anything?
Dan Henderson: Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: Tell us, yeah, clearly you’ve got a passion for health and fitness. How’d it all start with you?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, look, it’s been something that has been there as long as I can remember, Guy. It’s, you know, I’ve always loved to be fit and active. I was always encouraged to play a lot of sport. Where I saw my career heading was actually into the sports management side, so I just loved being around sporting events. I loved the competition. So that’s what I studied at university, but found myself really gravitating towards the fitness side of things as opposed to sport, and, yeah, it’s just been, you know, full on from there.
It’s really been… It’s not only my job, but it’s my passion, and that’s what I’ve been pursuing for the last seven years, from the time I’ve been in the fitness industry full time.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Amazing. I did your kettlebell certification, like, when you guys first started out. It’s been quite a while ago.
Dan Henderson: Yeah. That would’ve been many moons ago. That would’ve been about five years ago. So, yeah. We’re over five years now with that certification. Couple of thousand trainers in four or five different countries we’ve done now, and, so, it’s, from the little course you would’ve done five years ago to what it is now, it’s been exciting.
Guy Lawrence: It’s massive.
Stuart Cooke: So, why kettlebells, Dan? And did you ever think of founding the Australian Institute of Skipping Ropes, perhaps?
Dan Henderson: It really, it was a tough decision, Stewey. Skipping ropes was definitely, aerobics, was definitely in the mix. Decided to go with the kettlebells…
Guy Lawrence: They’re great fun.
Dan Henderson: Yeah! It was, it was a tough call. It’s, you know, a little less Spandex I had to wear there. That was a definite con. Seriously, the kettlebell was just this tool which I just gravitated towards. I loved it. I love the dynamic nature of nature. I love the coordination, developing power, developing speed, strength.
The skill component really got me, so it was like, it was like learning a new sport or martial arts. So that’s what really attracted me towards it and, you know, the intention when I used it wasn’t to form a new company where we’re, you know, running 200 courses in a year. It really wasn’t. It was, “Hey, this is a great tool. I love it.”
I found out everything I could about it and then I wanted to learn more and there was just not much in Australian market for PTs, so I put together a little course, ran it, you know, to really small groups of four and five for about, oh, twelve months and everyone else caught on about what a great tool kettlebell was.
And, it’s just, now you can’t go into a gym without there being kettlebells or kettlebell classes and a lot.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dan Henderson: Back then, it was, no one was using them, and it was, it’s been a phenomenon since then. Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: I’m just assuming that everyone listening to this is going to know what a kettlebell is, right, you know, like a cannon ball with a handle really isn’t it?
Dan Henderson: That’s a good description. It’s a good description. It’s like a big round, circular weight with a handle. That’s what it is.
Guy Lawrence: And they just vary in different weights, right. And, but, like you said, because I’ve been, you know, I was a PT eight, nine years ago, and you just wouldn’t see a kettlebell in the gym. Period.
Dan Henderson: No. No way.
Guy Lawrence: Do you know the history of them? Like, where did they come about?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, so there from Eastern Europe. History, kind of, you know it’s an old tool. It’s a tried and tested tool. It’s been around, I think, like, some of the research says couple of hundred years in Russia. They were using it with their athletes. They were using it with their armed forces. And, you know, they’ve taken a different shape and the style of exercises has changed as well and developed, but it’s a tried and tested tool in Eastern Europe, but it really didn’t make its way over to the Western world, the U.S., in particular, until about fifteen years ago, maybe not even quite that long.
And a couple of guys, Pavel Tsatsouline, Steve Cotter, they have been really the advocates for getting it out and making it a lot more mainstream and that’s why we’re seeing it around a lot more now.
Guy Lawrence: Do you think that CrossFit has contributed to the popularity of the kettlebell?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, look, I think there’s been a, I think there’s been a number, yeah, a little bit, yeah, I think there’s been a number of factors, you know, definitely, when it’s a tool which is on ESPN and getting hundreds of thousands of viewers seeing it. It’s absolutely been a big thing, too. Ferriss wrote about it in 4-Hour Body.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. I was going to say. I read that section, and I think he said if there was piece of sporting equipment that you could use for the rest of your life, it’s the kettlebell for, like, an all over, full-body workout.
Dan Henderson: Yeah, it was phenomenal when that book got released. We were getting… It was a great lead generator for us, because people were, people read it and were inspired to use it. It was massive.
Guy Lawrence: It made me go out and start swinging kettlebells more often, like, you’re just like, “This is amazing. Burn fat in 15 minutes a day.”
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. I guess you were lucky he wrote about kettlebells and not skipping ropes, because you could’ve missed the boat there, couldn’t you have?
Dan Henderson: Would’ve missed it, and I know why Guy would’ve jumped onto the kettlebell following 4-Hour Body. There’s a picture of a girl’s booty in there, before and after kettlebells. So I can understand why you were as eager, Guy…
Guy Lawrence: I actually need to improve my own booty. That is true.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. I don’t know what to say to that.
Guy Lawrence: All right, let’s talk about benefits. So what are the overall benefits of the kettlebells, because it can be… Would you say they’re dangerous in the wrong hands then?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. It’s funny you just said that. We just got a call from a solicitor, and they’ve asked us to be an expert witness, because it looks like a malpractice case where someone has used them incorrectly. I kind of relate it to any piece of exercise or sporting equipment. If used incorrectly, it’s going to be dangerous.
And a kettlebell is no different. I think maybe it has the perception that it’s more dangerous because it’s quite dynamic, the exercises, so you’re in a less controlled environment, and that’s really why we produced our course is because we want people using them right, because it’s such an incredible tool, and there are so many amazing benefits to it, but when you use it incorrectly, you’re going to do damage.
You’re going to do damage to your back if you’re doing it incorrectly. If you’re pressing badly, you’re going to have impingement in your shoulder. All these different issues will surface. So it can be dangerous in the wrong hands without proper training.
In terms of the benefits, it’s, there just numerous. It’s, there a phenomenal tool, particularly for, we’ve already said it, training the posterior. It’s where people are weak: the glutes, the hammies, the lower back. Phenomenal, it’s great.
You know, there’s been numerous studies done now on XXhamstring?XX [0:09:26] activation, happens in your back extensors and they’re coming that it gets more activation than any other exercise tool. There are studies done where people that are doing kettlebells can keep their heart rate elevated at a 90 percent max for an extended period of time, which you just can’t do with a lot of other pieces of equipment.
It’s good for coordination. It’s good for strength. It’s good for power. It’s good for coordination, so yeah, the list goes on. It’s numerous.
Guy Lawrence: Sold. Yeah.
Dan Henderson: Sold.
Stuart Cooke: So the kettlebell would be part of your armory, in terms of weight training and things like that. What do you think would be the overall benefits of purely lifting weights, you know, for our well-being, for everybody out there on the street?
Dan Henderson: Oh, look, weight training, it’s a necessity. It’s not even an option for people. Even if you’re runners, swimmers, if you’re, you know, just older and you’re walking, you’ve got to be doing weight training, and I could almost do a full podcast, actually, I could easily do a full podcast on the benefits of weight training, but definitely, you know, it’s very good for your bone health. It’s very good for your bone density, very good for your metabolism. The more lean muscle we have through weight training, the better our metabolism is going to be, and that decreases as we get older, so we want to try to reverse some of that natural aging. It’s very good for our nervous system. It’s very good for strength, developing power. It’s very good for endurance. It’s good for insulin resistance. It’s very good for the body’s uptake of glucose. It’s good for your bones. It’s good for your joints.
Guy Lawrence: XXNatural hemoglobin reduction.XX [0:11:17]
Dan Henderson: Yeah, absolutely. It’s huge. Decreases stress, and then we haven’t even gone on to the aesthetics side of things. I mean, it makes you look good, so…
Stuart Cooke: Makes you look buff.
Dan Henderson: Makes you look buff, exactly. Most people, when they come and see me, they don’t go, “Hey, Dan, I’d really like, I’d really like better connective tissue.” No. “I want big pecs, Dan. I want big guns. That’s what I want.”
And weight training does that, plus all the other long-term benefits.
Stuart Cooke: So to pull that over to somebody like me. I’m a reasonably skinny guy, and naturally lean. Would I just go into the gym and just lift weights hell for leather to get buff, or would there be a much more strategic approach from you?
Stuart Cooke: Oh, Stu, you’re already buff. Look at the chest.
Guy Lawrence: He is a buff boy. He’s very diplomatic.
Dan Henderson: There it is. One session with me, and look at that chest. That was just one…
Stuart Cooke: You’ve done it. You’ve fixed me.
Dan Henderson: Look, I think it’s… You need to have, you need, like anything in life, you need to have a plan. You need to have a program, so you’re using your time to its maximum efficiency, and you’re getting the best possible outcome.
If you wanted to, you know, get buff, then we’ve got to manipulate the variables so we can do that. So in terms of programming, and Guy would know these things from his days as a trainer, is we need to make sure our rep counts is right. We need to make sure rep periods are right. We need to make sure that we’re training the right muscles using compound lifts. We need to get you in an X number of days and that’s just the training side of things, and then we’ve got all the pre and post-training nutrition so we can get you that best possible outcome, so we can get you buff.
There really is a lot to it. I mean, at its kind of high-end level, anyone can go into the gym and start pushing a few machines around, but that’s not going to get you the best possible outcome.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. You need the master plan, I take it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You need strategy, right?
Dan Henderson: You need a strategy, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: I’m coming to see you. I’m coming…
Guy Lawrence: He won’t listen to me, mate.
Dan Henderson: Sold.
Guy Lawrence: We’re like an old married couple.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. In fact, you know what? I’m going to log off right now, and I’m coming down.
Dan Henderson: Sounds good. I’m logging off as well.
Stuart Cooke: See ya, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: A thought that was raised earlier as well, is like, you know, pulling it back to the kettlebell a little bit, because, you know, correct me if I’m wrong, but it’d be fair to say this is to bring the kettlebell into, as a tool in your armory, right, of what your overall benefits are. You wouldn’t want to just be swinging a kettlebell, or you wouldn’t want to be just weight training. What are your thoughts on that, Dan?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, good question, Guy. I think, particularly in the fitness industry, because I guess I’ve got two businesses, I’ve got one for the consumer, one for professionals, and what tends to happen with the fitness industry is we seem to get fixated on one type of training or one style of training and preach that above each and everything else. Where really what I say to all our students is, “Hey, the kettlebell is a great tool. Fantastic. Love it, but it’s one tool in your kit.”
So, does it mean they shouldn’t be using barbells? Hell, no. You should be using barbells, dumbbells, suspension training. You want to mix it up. Obviously depending on what the outcome is you’re trying to achieve, but one tool is not better than the other. They’re just different, and you use them for different reasons.
So, you know, I really like kettlebells for the offcenter nature of them. It’s great for building up shoulder stability. It’s great for building up posterior strength. And it’s good for some interval training that we do, but I will never run a kettlebell-only session. It will always be in combination with bodyweight exercises, with barbell stuff, and a whole bunch of other tools and things.
Guy Lawrence: And flipping on from that, let’s talk about recovery. You know, I remember back in the day, I would see people in the gym twice a day sometimes and six days a week, and like, if there was a seventh day, if they weren’t closed on Sunday, they’d be in there. And there was this mentality, “More is better. More is better. It’s going to get me there quicker and faster, you know?”
Can you just explain your thoughts on recovery and the reason, the rationale behind it, I think, you know, because that can be overlooked.
Dan Henderson: Yeah, I think it’s a massive one. I think there’s been this real shift where we’re promoting super hard, intense, high-intensity interval training and doing that lots and lots and lots of times for a week, and if you are not giving yourself proper recovery, then it’s going to lead to a whole host of issues.
You’re going to start getting sick, because you’ve got a depressed immune system, because you’re putting that much stress on your body. You’ll actually start increasing cortisol too much, which is another stress on the body. You’ll have lots of inflammation. You’ll have lots of soreness in the body as well, so recovery is just as important as your training.
As we talked about a training plan, you need a recovery plan as well. You know, you shouldn’t be overtraining. Myself, I train four to five times a week max, and if my body’s not feeling it, I’m making sure I’m doing more of a mobility session. You shouldn’t be doing soft tissue work within your sessions in joint mobilizations. So you’re actually letting your body get rid of any toxic byproducts from training as well.
Need to be sleeping. Sleeping is just vital and often overlooked. Hydrating the body is a big part of your recovery.
Guy Lawrence: Nutrition…
Dan Henderson: Nutrition, massive, you want to make sure you’re getting lots of good quality protein or lots of good quality antioxidants which are natural. You want to be making sure that you’re actually consuming enough calories as well or enough food, because a lot of people when they train just end up in this terrible undereating phase.
Guy Lawrence: What’s funny, we only put out a post the other day about the biggest mistakes on clean eating and one is people start eliminating some gluten and grains or whatever, pulling these back, and then the next thing you know they’re not eating enough food.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, they don’t know what to eat, essentially so they don’t eat.
Dan Henderson: Yeah, they don’t eat and it’s crazy, like, your body needs this fuel particularly if you’re going to be putting it through hard training, like even more so. So you need to be even more diligent. Overtraining is a really big thing. I’ve seen particularly a number of young guys get caught in the trap. Their thinking more is better, more is better, but it’s actually, that’s not, that’s not the case. It’s actually less is more a lot of the time. Have a recovery plan and you’re going to see huge, huge benefits physiologically, and aesthetically you’ll get better results, but just from an energy level, you’re just going to feel a whole hell of a lot better.
Guy Lawrence: So that’s the thing. I remember I always used to say to my clients, like, you know, the benefits come in your recovery. You don’t get fitter by running; you get fitter by recovering from your run, you know? And it’s the same with weight training. It’s all, that, you know, the growth happens when you’re sleeping and the next day. So you’ve got to give your body that time.
Stuart Cooke: Well, with that weight training point in mind, many females fear weight training, thinking that, you know, they’re going to get big and bulky and buff and manly, perhaps. So what are your thoughts on weight training from a female perspective?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, it’s a great question, Stu. It’s a really good question. It’s the question in my studio with my female clientele. It comes up every, almost without fail, every single female because what we prescribe is a lot of strength training. It’s a lot of weight training, and the big fear is getting big and bulky, and that’s…The first thing is, well I have to validate that fear, because, you know, we don’t, you never want them feeling uncomfortable where they feel that that may be the case.
On a physiological, since it’s actually very, very hard, a lot of the big, bulky kind of, we’ll call them bodybuilders, but it, it’s, they’re not even, it doesn’t even have to be bodybuilders, they’re supplementing with hormones, so on a real baseline measure, just an everyday person doing strength training, weight training females, they’re going to shape. They’re going to tone. They’re going to lean out their body. They’re going to look terrific. They’re, it’s, what they’re doing is a wonderful thing and it’s going to be very, very, very hard for them to get big and bulky.
But, you know, a lot of my clients will say, “I don’t want to get big and bulky.” So I’ll validate it and say, “Well, let’s do, let’s do a little more volume and a lot of weights. How do you feel about that?” And then that way they feel a little bit more comfortable with the process, because in the end, I want them doing it, and I want them feeling comfortable doing it.
Guy Lawrence: How many days a week would you prescribe that? You know, somebody walks in off the street, a lady, and just like, “I’m willing to train, whatever, do you what you want.” What would your normal prescription be? You know…three, four, two, one?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, look, I think a good mix is important, so I’ll like, so, at the moment we’re running a fat loss program where we’ve got them doing really good strength training two times a week and then doing some metabolic high interval training two times a week, but yeah, look, I think two to three times they should be, they should be lifting weights. They should be doing strength based training and that includes a whole variety of exercises using different tools, so yeah, two to three times is a really good number for me.
Guy Lawrence: Excellent. With that in mind, right, when people, you know, are on the train, the bus, they commute in, they’re very, you know, they’re busy, they’re corporate, whatever it is, and it’s like, oh, you know, I just, some people just want to maintain their health or whatever or even get results, you know, six packs or something, whatever it is. Do you think there’s a minimum effective dose, like, do you have any thinking around that, like, to get the results? Or like, you get to this point and then everything else is excess? If that makes sense.
Dan Henderson: Look, yeah, yeah, look, I think, I think one of the things is people are really inefficient with their training, generally, a lot of the time. They; you go into a gym and there’s, there are, there’s people by the bubbler. There’s people XXtalking by the shoe rampsXX [0:21:53] Have a little flex and make sure that the muscles are still there after XXthey say itXX [0:22:01] So, I actually think, I think we can really, we can get a great strength response in fifteen to twenty minutes twice a week, you know. If you know what you’re doing, and you are time-poor, you can still do it. Everyone’s got 40 minutes a week.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Dan Henderson: And we can still get a great strength response from a couple of sessions, just as long as we’re doing the right things. As long as we’re doing big lifts, which are compound lifts using, you know, lots of big muscles, as opposed to, you know, sitting there doing curls in front of the mirror. If we’re dead lifting, squatting, using bench pressing, all those kind of big compound lifts and we’re programming those appropriately then we can, we can get a great result in as little as 40 minutes a week.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I agree.
Stuart Cooke: So, with that minimum effective dose in mind, as well, let’s pull that over to nutrition. So how important would diet be in terms of weight training, strength training, body composition?
Dan Henderson: It’s, it’s, it’s vital. It’s, it’s, you know people put numbers on it. People go 70/30, 70 percent diet, 30 percent exercise. I just heard another one the other day where it was, they said it’s 60 percent diet, 30 percent exercise, 10 percent hormonal, like, they’ll give it a breakdown. I guess, in either case, it’s a majority of your results are what, are going to come from what you put in your mouth. And you need to get both right. If you want good health, if you want body composition changes, you want to feel good, you want to look good, you need to address both the exercise and the nutrition, but the nutrition is vital.
And nutrition, as you guys know, is not just about what you put in your mouth, but it’s when you put it in as well, and you’re really just educating people on that, so you can’t just all of a sudden get a gym membership, start training four or five times a week and think that it is going to be the answer. It is not going to be enough. You need to compliment it with some nutritional changes and vice versa.
You can’t just jump up, you know, if someone out there is thinking about doing, you know, Light and Easy or Weight Watchers or just something to revolutionize their diet, they’re common programs, but they just address one thing and one thing only. You need to think about your exercise, because it’s going to absolutely compound the impact that you’re going to get from that overall program as well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It comes back to like you said, being effective, right? Because why would you, you know, flog yourself five, six days a week, you know, from Maroubra Beach. I see boot camps absolutely hammering it now the sun’s coming up every morning, and I just, you just hope to think that they’re getting their nutrition in check, otherwise it could be, you know, a slow road, even backward.
Dan Henderson: Yeah, absolutely, yeah, I mean, kudos for them for getting out and getting one part of it right, but really you’re just, you’re just not making the most of that time, that investment by only doing that. You need to address the nutrition, and I think that’s where a lot of people get it wrong. They go one or the other and they go extreme one or the other as opposed to having a balanced strategy which addresses both nutrition and the exercise.
Guy Lawrence: yeah, exactly. The next question, mate. I’ve been looking forward to asking you this one.
Dan Henderson: I’m nervous about this now.
Guy Lawrence: I used to get asked this all the time.
Dan Henderson: I am married, Guy.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, you guys would’ve been so good.
Guy Lawrence: Bugger, but yeah, I would get asked this all the time, and I’d be like, oh, so I’m just going to ask you this. This is great. What is the single best exercise for fat loss?
Dan Henderson: Here it is. The silver bullet. You just want one exercise and then that’s it. Do a few reps of that and then you’re done. Yeah. Maybe if there’s one exercise that is just incredible for fat loss, I would just keep it to myself and then publish a best-selling book and then I can interview you guys on my podcast. There is none. I’m sorry to disappoint Guy and I’m sorry to disappoint the listeners out there. There isn’t one just silver bullet which is going to lead to incredible fat loss or massive results.
Guy Lawrence: Six pack abs.
Dan Henderson: I have a series of exercises that I call my staples, and my staples, what I feel are the most fundamental exercises that they should form the basis of your program no matter what level you’re at and that’s whether you’re entry level, beginner, or whether you’re really far advanced, and you just change the level of, kind of, continue on of difficulty whether you’re, if you’re an entry level, let’s use the squat for an example, because the squat is one of them. You come in, you’ve never exercised in your life, you’re going to do squats. Now I might put you on the XXSwiss ballXX [0:27:08] I might put you up against the wall and you might do some bodyweight squats.
If you’re well-trained, and you’ve been really well-conditioned, hey, we’re going to do overhead squats with a barbell when you’ve got the mobility to do so. There’s my continuum, and then there’s all these different variations in between. That’s one exercise.
Next exercise, dead lift, same thing, I might put you on your knees with a bag, a Powerbag, and you’d just do kneeling deadlifts with a Powerbag. You’re just going to learn how to move through the hips, but if you’ve been, again, trained and been doing it for a while, you’re going to do some serious load on a barbell deadlift, a traditional barbell deadlift.
Pullups, same again, you know we use bands in our studio and, as they get stronger, we’ll move the bands until they’re doing body weight. Once they get to bodyweight, then we start adding load, so they’re doing it with a vest, they’re doing it with a plate between their legs.
So, squats, deadlifts, pullups, pushup, again, same thing. People go, “I can’t do a pushup.” Well, stand up against a wall and then you’re going to decrease the distance, you’re going to get, you’re going to become parallel with the floor over time. So, instead of staying upright, we’re just going to keep moving you down and decreasing the gap between your hands and the floor, and then we’re going to add load to that as well.
And then, obviously, I’ve got to put a kettlebell exercise in there being the kettlebell guy. Swings are another staple, so they’re going to be in there, going to strengthen the posterior, get the heart rate going.
Guy Lawrence: Instantly gets the heart rate going.
Dan Henderson: Instantly get that heart rate going, so they’re kind of my staples: the deadlift, the squat, the pullups, the pushups, and the swing. You know, the other good exercises, lunge and dips are in there as well.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I’m going to put all of those things in a little book, get it online, and we’re XX?XX [0:28:54] Would you like to buy a copy?
Dan Henderson: Mate, I’m getting royalty, aren’t I? There’s got to be something in that book…
Stuart Cooke: Exactly, exactly.
Guy Lawrence: But it just goes to show, right, that that exercise can really be adjusted for anyone.
Dan Henderson: Absolutely, and this is, I mean I have so many people who are fearful of lifting weights, fearful of doing strength work in particular. Anyone can run on a treadmill, so when people get a gym membership they jump on a treadmill, because it’s monotonous, boring, and it takes no coordination or brain power, but lifting weights is intimidating to people, but hey we just, hey, this is the entry level continuum on difficulty and we just put you on there and we progress you, progress you, progress you.
All right, we have a little trouble, problem, let’s regress, and we just move you through the continuums and, yeah, anybody can do it from, you know, I get 75-year-old ladies to ex-professional athletes, and they’re doing the same movement patterns, they’re just doing different levels of those movement patterns.
Stuart Cooke: So if that was coming from a fat loss, weight loss perspective, what factors, in your opinion would hinder those? So what would I have to be doing wrong to hinder weight loss, you know? I’m doing all this stuff that you’re prescribing, but it’s not working for me.
Dan Henderson: Oh, Stewey, big question. Not.
Stuart Cooke: That’s my question.
Dan Henderson: It was a good one. It was a good one. Look, I guess when it comes to fat loss and weight loss, and they’re two different things and I think, I’ll make it, I’ll kind of digress a little bit and I’ll come back. Most people want to see me for weight loss, and I go, “No, no, no, I’m going to get you fat loss. All right? I’m not going to get you weight loss necessarily, so I’m going to change your body, and you’re going to be a different belt size, different dress size, and your skin folds will be different. Your girths will be different, but your weight will probably be the same on the scales because of the strength training affect that it has on your density of our muscle in our tissues. Okay?”
So, that’s really important, because people get obsessed with scales and if it’s a good quality weight training program, there might not be actually a big difference in scales when it comes to a fat loss program. Yeah, and people really make that mistake, and it’s one of the things I’ve really got to intervene because I’ve really got to make sure that people understand it because people come and see us and they’re training and they’re outstanding and they’re doing a brilliant job and they jump on the scales and they’re so disheartened because they’re only down 500 grams and they’ve been training for, and doing everything like you said that I’ve prescribed, Stuart, and they’re only down 500 grams, but hey, you know what? Their girth is down ten centimeters and you’re now a size 31 waist when they were a 35 waist, and people just, people need to understand that you can make massive changes to your body in a positive way without losing weight, so that’s the first thing.
In terms of where people get it wrong on a weight loss program, if someone’s really following everything I say from a nutrition and exercise front, then something hormonally is going on there that I’m going to go refer out, and I’m going to get some tests and make sure that they’re, they’re, what’s they’re insulin doing, what’s their thyroid doing? These things are really important, so there’s a number of other factors that can…and particularly, more so, with women than with men. Cortisol comes into it as well, so how much cortisol is that person producing, and I think, I mean, so there’s some of the more technical things that’s where people get it wrong.
On a more basic level, I think where people get it wrong in terms of changing their body composition is that they put so much pressure on themselves So it’s like they’re all or nothing, and they go really well for a short period of time. They’re making all the changes, you know, they’re doing everything, but they’re doing it to such an unsustainable level that when they fail, they fail big, and they just bounce back, and that’s why we see this yo-yoing all the time with people where really I’m just about ingraining good habits.
Let’s work on one habit. Hey, let’s get you drinking two liters of water a day instead of drinking a soft drink or fruit juice or reaching for food because your body is mistaking hunger for thirst. Hey, let’s just focus on this one thing for 30 days, then after the 30 days, let’s focus on one more area, and you just build some good long-term habits.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. It’s so important, these habits, and especially where stress is concerned as well, because, crikey, just from stressing out too much, you can change your hormones there and that could be a roadblock right there.
Dan Henderson: Massive. It’s huge. I mean there’s that much stress in the world and we place that much additional stress on ourselves. We’re making it hard on ourselves. And then, I mean, it’s all, so yes from the hormonal perspective, we can throw our hormones into chaos with stress, but then it’s also what we do as well. When I’m stressed, people have different responses, but I’ll start reaching for feel good foods. I start eating more sugar than I’d normally be accustomed to. I’ll just eat more than I usually do as well, so I, you know, a lot of the time it’s about addressing the stress then let’s address the diet…
Guy Lawrence: Addressing the stress. I like that.
Dan Henderson: Getting to the root of the problem. A lot of the time there’s something bigger underlying there that will sabotage or that will get in the way of the fat loss plans.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a really good point you raise. I do often wonder sometimes about the fact that people are stressing themselves so much out because they’re not eating right and doing the exercising. The fact that they’re stressing themselves out about these things or got to get to the gym is actually hindering them more than if they just sort of, just let it all go for a little bit…
Dan Henderson: Yeah. It’s too much pressure. Yeah. Like, you’ve got to find a lifestyle, and this is a hard thing to do, but you’ve got to find a lifestyle where you’re embracing healthy behaviors and it’s just part of what you do, but you don’t have this unnecessary pressure or stress to do that 100 percent of the time.
Guy Lawrence: Got to make it fun. Absolutely. We’re going to put you on the spot right now. While we’re on the topic of exercise, what do you do for fitness? What’s your typical week look like?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, look, it changes a lot. I like to mix things up. So, at the moment, I’m enjoying some heavy lifting again. So one day I’ll do some heavy Turkish get ups and weighted pullups and heavy pistol squats. Another day I’ll do some heavy deadlifting and bounce some heavy squats, and then I’m really enjoying some sprint training, so I’ll try and sprint one to two times a week, heavy lift twice a week, and then I’ll usually do a circuit based session, so more of that high intensity interval training kind of session. I might do an AMRAP, a 20-minute AMRAP, something along those lines.
Yeah, I really enjoy mixing it up XXaudio distortion. Sometimes I’ll get sport-specificXX [036:12], so I did a XXcompound sessionXX [0:36:14] with kettlebells, and I just was completely sport-specific, but at the moment that’s what I’m really enjoying. I’m liking the variety.
Stuart Cooke: How often would you mix that up?
Dan Henderson: Look, I’ll reassess it, and really one of the things which I do encourage people to do is, look, absolutely seek outside advice and seek an expert and get some good ideas on all this, but also listen to your body. Like, what is your body enjoy doing, and what gives you energy. If this becomes monotonous for me, I’ll have a look at it and go, “Why don’t we mix this up a little bit? Why don’t we do an extra day of sprint training and one less day of heavy.” Because that’s actually, the recovery for that is taking too long on my body.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a good point.
Dan Henderson: Why don’t we just go for a swim, you know, and do some mobility training and go for a swim, so I think people need to listen to their bodies, and if the movement’s energising them and they feel great, you might not need to change it up too much, but if you’re feeling like you’re getting really sore, or you’re tired, or it’s just becoming laborious, then you need to…
Stuart Cooke: Mix it up. Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Do you ever take a week off, mate?
Dan Henderson: Yeah. I, look, I probably never take a total week off where I’m absolutely doing nothing, because I find exercising energizes me for the whole day. Running a couple of businesses, I just find, like, it’s such a great releaser. What I’ll do is I’ll have what I call a slow week or deload week or, you know, there are lots of different name for it, recovery week…Where I’m really doing a lot more, a lot more soft tissue work, doing a lot more mobilisation, and really that makes up the bulk of my sessions, mobilizations and stretches and activations, and I’ll just do some light activities. I’ll use some lighter loads if I’m doing some weights and I’ll have a light swim and just making sure…
And that usually ties around my travel schedule. When I’m traveling a lot to present, that takes a, it’s really taxing on my body and the last thing I kind of want to do at that particular time is be doing full on heard circuits while I’m in three different times zone and eating all this weird food.
Just place some more stress on my body, because in the end exercise is a stress, and you’ve got to know when you can up it and when you can decrease it as well.
Stuart Cooke: How does that work with your diet? What do you dial into? What foods do you, what foods do you avoid? And what foods do you gravitate to to make you feel good?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, good question. I guess for me, again, it’s similar to how I feel about exercises. I really try to get my body, I really try to be very in tune with my body, and go, “What, how do you actually feel, Dan, after you’ve eaten that food?” And really understand what makes me feel good.
So, for me, lots of grains don’t make me feel good. I feel bloated. I feel heavy. Lots of pastas do the same. Like, all that kind of grainy food does that. I’m not going to say that to everybody, that’s how it makes me feel, so I’m going to steer clear of that, because that’s the reaction that I had.
So, and the foods that make me feel good are, you know, I’m going to be making sure I’m really eating a lot of protein and mixing up my proteins. I really like, I’ll definitely eat chicken probably five times a week. I’ll eat an oily fish three times a week. I’ll eat some lamb. I’ll eat some beef maybe once or twice a week. I’ll have probably about ten eggs a week, so they’re probably my staple proteins.
I’ll have lots and lots of good fats. I love my raw nuts. I love my avocados, so they’re going to be my fats, and they’re going to make up a big bulk of my diet and then, when it comes to, I’ll have just some berries, generally, when it comes to fruit and bananas and lots of veggies as well. Yeah, if I’m struggling on the veggie front, one of the, I’ve got a NutriBullet. Have you guys seen the NutriBullets? Have you got one?
Stuart Cooke: I’ve certainly seen the adverts. Crikey, it’s on every channel.
Dan Henderson: Oh, mate, I’ll tell you what, Stewey, get one. It is, it’ll change your life. If I’m struggling to get fruits and veggies, just chuck some kale, some baby spinach, a few blueberries in there, a bit of coconut water, a bit of the 180 (there’s a plug).
Stuart Cooke: Plug away, mate.
Guy Lawrence: I haven’t heard of it.
Dan Henderson: It’s just really good protein. You guys should look into it. There we go.
Guy Lawrence: Is it powerful enough to chop all the kale up in that?
Dan Henderson: Mate, you know what? Kale used to be the bane of my existence, and putting that thing in a blender used to drive me mad, but, you know, NutriBullet just chops it right up. It’s got this super-fast and super powerful engine and it just does the job. It is the best. So yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That’s the one with the old David Wolfe’s pushing it on the…
Dan Henderson: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: I’m sold.
Dan Henderson: Get on them. Get on them.
Stuart Cooke: Wise words. It sounds great. Essentially you’re gravitating, it sounds like to me, towards kind of whole foods and away from processed foods.
Dan Henderson: In a nutshell. Absolutely. And that’s not to say…
Guy Lawrence: Do you have any tricky treats
Stuart Cooke: I enjoy sweets. Sweets and a big dark chocolate is my Achilles heel. And some good Messina gelato. That is, that is hard to resist. So, a couple of the sweets are good, but on a whole, refined food, and I think for listeners out there, and I don’t know, maybe this sounds all to idealistic, really just slowly cut down all your refined foods and you just find that you don’t actually want them much anymore. Actually, you’ll feel like your body wants whole foods and that’s what you’ll want to give it.
I mean, I’m sure you guys are a testament to that as well.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. You gravitate to what makes you feel great and your taste buds and pallet and you know cravings change, too. Cravings disappear.
Guy Lawrence: Do you drink alcohol all the time? You know, I’ve found that I gravitate to a red wine now and that’s about it, if I have a glass, but I don’t even drink beer anymore since I cut out the grains and that, you know? It just doesn’t work for me, not that I drink much these days.
Stuart Cooke: You’ve had your lifetime’s worth, I think, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: I have, in the early years in Wales. My God.
Dan Henderson: You can never, ever, you can’t even call yourself a Welshman now. You’re not drinking now.
Guy Lawrence: They’ve disowned me back home.
Dan Henderson: They’ve disowned you.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. He’s lost his passport.
Dan Henderson: It’s the same thing. I don’t really feel like it. Like, I’ll have a beer, and I’ll make sure that it’s a good quality beer, like I’ll enjoy a really good quality ale and maybe I’ll have one of those a week on max, and that’s about it. I used to drink a lot more beer, but, again, it just makes me feel bloated. I can feel it in my sinuses the next day. My body just doesn’t like it, so, yeah, I don’t gravitate towards it, and maybe in a social setting I’ll have a really nice tasty more of a boutique pale ale, but that’s about as much as I’ll have these days.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. Well, I always go for a nice, full bodied mineral water. I push the boat out there.
Guy Lawrence: He does, man, it’s true.
Stuart Cooke: Why not? Treat yourself.
Guy Lawrence: And if he gets really extravagant he’ll put some lemon in it.
Stuart Cooke: Fresh lemon, mind, not that cordial stuff.
Dan Henderson: Living large.
Stuart Cooke: I know. I know. I’m worth it, as they say.
Guy Lawrence: We’ve got a wrap up question for you, Dan. It can be on any topic, but what’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given that springs to mind?
Dan Henderson: I think I’ve kind of covered it already twice in this interview. It extends to nutrition, it extends to exercise, it extends to running business, it extends to relationships, the biggest piece of advice that I could really instill in people would be to trust your gut. And really, everyone’s got their intuition, other people turn into it more than others, and really your intuition will not let you down and that has been…I’m in the hiring process right now with some staff and intuitively I know whether they would be a good fit for my business within about 30 seconds. Really, and I think we tend to turn off that intuition. We tend to try to rationalise things and try to look at them logically, but if you’ve got a really strong gut feeling on something then you need to trust in that and that could be on your nutrition. It could be on your exercise. It could be in your relationships. It could be in your profession. So, really, really trust in that. That’s my pearl, Dan’s pearls of wisdom to finish up.
Stuart Cooke: Wise words. Wise words. Trust your Spidey sense.
Dan Henderson: Yeah. Absolutely. It won’t let you down.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, mate. How can we get more of Dan Henderson? For anyone listening to this?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, I guess the two businesses are always, if you want to learn more about them, I’m putting out information all the time. I’m a big advocate on putting out free information like you guys, so Coastal Bodies is the studio business. Australian Institute of Kettlebells is the kettlebell business. If you want to learn how to do exercises, mobilize, things like that, there are amazing videos there, video library. I write a blog for the Coastal Bodies, so you can learn a bunch of stuff on there, or hit me up on Facebook, and I have a habit of saying something profound. It’s rare, but having XXat the same timeXX [0:46:08]. So you can see some insights on there, so…
Stuart Cooke: Well, we’ll make sure all the details are on this blogpost, too, so we’ll spread the word.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, if anyone’s got an inkling for kettlebells, I can highly recommend the course. It’s a must.
Stuart Cooke: You lift weights, do you, Guy? You’ve tried this kettlebells.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, a little bit. I’ve got a six kilogram kettlebell here as doorstop.
Dan Henderson: Six?
Guy Lawrence: No, no. I’m back to my 24, mate.
Dan Henderson: There we go.
Stuart Cooke: Are you sure it’s not two point four?
Dan Henderson: Let him believe, Stu, let him have that, all right? He’s doesn’t do anything with the 24 kilo. It is a doorstop, but he’s…
Guy Lawrence: I carry it up and down the stairs.
Stuart Cooke: I’m sure. I’m sure his kettlebell is in inflatable, right?
Dan Henderson: It’s completely hollow.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Helium, that’s right. Currently on the ceiling.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. That was amazing. You’re a wealth of knowledge, Dan. Thanks for coming on, mate.
Dan Henderson: My absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me, guys.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you, mate, and I’ll, I’m going to pop around in about 15, because I’m getting buff.
Dan Henderson: Let’s make it happen.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Cheers, guys.
“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become”
As another year comes to a close, many of us start to reflect on the year that was…. Did I finally quit my dead end job in pursuit of a more meaningful vocation? Quit smoking? Change my diet for the better? Join and regularly attend the gym? Invest in a personal trainer or coach? We all seem to start the year with such clarity and good intentions, yet on reflection realise that life got in the way… AGAIN!!
Well if this sounds like you, don’t worry because change isn’t that easy. In fact humans are inherently resistant to change. To survive we have evolved with inbuilt mechanisms to maintain stability, keeping physical and mental systems in balance. I’m sure you all have experienced this at some point. Perhaps you’ve struggled to deal with organisational change, fighting to have things returned to “the old way”? Or when your relationship is coming to an end you decide to give it “one more chance” over and over again? We all do it! We feel secure within our comfort zone. The only problem with this is that despite our best efforts, everything keeps changing. This is the universal reality of our inner and outer experience.
Is resistance futile?
Obviously, we need a certain amount of resistance to maintain some level of stability and balance in our lives. However it is not always useful, in fact it can be quite detrimental, preventing us from noticing key signs that it is well and truly time for a scene change. So to use a metaphor to illustrate, they say that if a frog is dropped into a pot of boiling water, it’s reflexes kick in, it reacts and propels itself away from certain death. When the same frog is dropped into a pot of lukewarm water, which is slowly on the boil, the little guy will just lay there happy and contented oblivious to the rising water temperature until he dies.
Ok ok, so not the most uplifting metaphor, but it certainly illustrates my point. How often have you found yourself slowly boiling, yet oblivious to the signs? Perhaps noticing that twinge of anxiety telling you things aren’t quite right before you start to rationalise all the reasons why everything is just fine. With change comes fear and self-doubt. It requires motivation and commitment. It’s much easier to avoid thoughts of change and rationalise why we don’t need it. Before we know it we have excuses for why our jean size keeps going up each year. We become accustomed to the protruding muffin top and lack of energy. It’s a normal part of getting older right? Until all of a sudden you don’t have enough energy to climb the stairs and the Doctor tells you that “you’re obese and headed for a heart attack”. How did that happen you ask?
As the old saying goes, CHANGE REALLY IS AS GOOD AS A HOLIDAY. It helps breaks old habits and limiting beliefs that no longer serve us. It allows us to stretch and grow, find new directions, take risks and achieve things we only ever dreamed of…. The challenge is to notice the signs early. Listen to your intuition, that inner voice that points you in the right direction. Quit that job! End that destructive relationship! Take control of your health! You have all the power to take control of your life and make positive changes…
5 Tips For Creating Change
1) Know where the goal posts are. Where is it that you want to be? What do you want to have achieved? Before asking these questions, be aware that negative thoughts will be rear their ugly head. So put them aside, they will only limit you. Then ask yourself, if I was to wake up tomorrow and the solution to my problem (i.e. being overweight; hating your job; unhappy in your relationship) is present, what would be different? What would I be thinking, doing and feeling?
2) Break down the main areas for change. For example, in question 1, if you decided that the goal posts are to feel fit, healthy and have energy to play with your kids, one of the main areas for change may be to make more healthy food choices.
3) Raise your anxiety levels in the direction of change. Think of change as a colonial set of measuring scales. One side of the scales represents no change. The other change. So our aim is to tip the scales in the direction of change and a key driver in this process is anxiety. By raising anxiety, I mean increasing that uncomfortable feeling about our current situation compared to where we want to be. Ask yourself, what are the disadvantages of remaining the same? What are the benefits of change? What will my life look like in 5 years if I keep everything the same?
4) Remain motivated. It is completely normal to become stuck and lose drive when making changes. From experience, I find this usually results from a lack of confidence in being able to successfully make or sustain the change; or because the client has lost sense of the importance of the change. If you lack confidence, revisit your strengths and personal resources. When have you successfully changed something? Remember how you did it and apply the principles. Perhaps enlist the support of friends and family who have achieved similar changes or speak with a trained professional. If you feel that the change is no longer important, perhaps do some research into the area, or revisit step 3.
5) Finally, you need to plan a relapse strategy.Relapse is to be expected. In fact we generally relapse over 7 times before sustaining any permanent change. Anyone who has given up smoking will vouch on this one. So when relapse occurs, rather than giving up, apply your relapse strategy. Accept your relapse for what it is, reward yourself for how far you came and then propel yourself back into action. Perhaps re-visiting stages 3 and 4.
So it all sounds like hard work. Right?
Well that much is true. But I put it to you that change is well and truly worth the effort. As we design the life we want and then consciously start to take steps on the path, a sense of purpose, commitment and accomplishment soon follows. Even if our desired change does not turn out as planned, we can choose to learn from the experience and grow in wisdom. I often say to clients’ “the definition of madness is to keep doing everything the same yet expect a different outcome”.
So are you on the path to madness?
Just remember that every accomplishment starts with a decision to try.
What have you got to lose compared to what you stand to gain?
If I were to ask you what your character strengths are, would you be able to answer me easily? Have you taken time to explore your inner genius and talent? If you have, then I take my hat off to you because most of us haven’t. In fact when I ask my clients these very questions, most become visibly uncomfortable. BUT what about when I ask you to name your weaknesses? Let me guess, they roll off the tongue. Most of my clients can recite a list a mile long….. If fact that’s usually why they want help. To strengthen what they’re not good at. Yet this process can feel like pulling teeth… painful!