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


The above video is 3:15 minutes long.

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

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

Ruth Anderson Horrell
 

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

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

Ruth Anderson Horrell Full Interview:

In This Episode:

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

Get More Of Ruth Anderson Horrell:

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Full Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:Hello, mate.

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

Stu:As always.

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

Ruth:Hi, Guy.

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

Ruth:Yeah, that’s good. Yeah.

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

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

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

Guy:Many balls in the air.

Stu:Busy. Crikey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:Yes.

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

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

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

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

Stu:Great.

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

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

Stu:Fantastic.

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

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

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

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

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

Ruth:Yeah, absolutely. I think …

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

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

Stu:Yeah.

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

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

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

Guy:Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Cronulla?

Ruth:Yeah. Yeah. Is that eight years?

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

Ruth:Yeah.

Guy:Long time ago.

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

Stu:Wow.

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

Guy:That’s amazing.

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

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

Guy:[00:18:00] Right.

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

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

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

Guy:Okay.

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

Stu:Wow.

Guy:That’s awesome.

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

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

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

Guy:Right, yeah.

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

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

Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

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

Guy:It’s a huge commitment, isn’t it?

Ruth:Yeah, yeah.

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

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

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

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

Ruth:My target’s 9. 

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

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

Guy:Yeah.

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

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

Stu:Okay, okay.

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

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

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

Stu:Yeah.

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

Stu:I could have done with that last night.

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

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

Ruth:I think it’s called diglycinate?

Stu:Yeah.

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

Stu:Right. Got it.

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

Stu:Okay.

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

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

Guy:Right.

Stu:Right.

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

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

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Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Do you get any takers?

Stu:Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Yeah, yeah.

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

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

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

Ruth:I’d like to see that.

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

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

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

Guy:Yeah.

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

Guy:Yeah, I mastered it. Mastered it.

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Yeah?

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

Stu:All over the place.

Ruth:Yeah.

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

Ruth:It starts February 28.

Guy:Okay. 4-5 weeks?

Ruth:Yeah.

Stu:yeah, about 5 weeks away.

Ruth:Coming up.

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

Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

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

Guy:Can I add to that?

Ruth:I love fresh vegetables.

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

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

Guy:Yeah.

Stu:Yeah.

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

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

Ruth:It’s only about 180.

Guy:That’s a good number.

Stu:Yeah, that is a good number.

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

Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

Stu:Yeah.

Ruth:Just not something that happens.

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

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

Guy:Right.

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

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

Stu:Yeah, it’s just easier, isn’t it?

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

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

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

Stu:Right. Okay.

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

Guy:Yeah, yeah.

Stu:Sure.

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

Stu:We do.

Guy:It’s true, though. It’s true.

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

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

Guy:That’s individualize for you?

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

Stu:Right.

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:That’s right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:Yes.

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

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

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

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

Ruth:Yeah, they’re like this big.

Guy:Oh, really?

Stu:Oh, they’re huge.

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

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

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

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

Ruth:Okay, sounds good.

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

Stu:We have.

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

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

Guy:You’re already there.

Ruth:You’re already there.

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

Guy:Fantastic.

Stu:That’s what we could say.

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

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

Guy:You’ve got a website, too?

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

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

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

Stu:Thanks, Ruth.

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

Are Grains Really The Enemy? With Abel James…

The above video is 2:38 minutes long.

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

Are grains really the enemy? Who better a person to ask than a guy who’s interviewed hundreds of health leaders from around the world and walks his talk when it comes health and nutrition. His answer wasn’t quite what we expected! Hence why we loved it and it’s this weeks 2 minute gem.

abel james fat burning man
Abel James is the founder of ‘The Fat Burning Man’ show. A health and wellness podcast that’s hit No.1 in eight different countries on iTunes and gets over a whopping 500,000 downloads each month! It was fantastic to get the laid back Abel on the show today to share with us his own personal weight loss story, his discoveries, the trial and errors and the applied wisdom of others.

To sum up Abel James in his own words: My goal is to create a place where people can have spirited discussions and debate about issues that truly matter – not just fat loss and fitness, but ultimately health and quality of life. I also feel obligated to expose the truth about nutrition, fitness, and health so that people are no longer reliant upon deceptive marketing practices, misleading corporate propaganda, and powerful special interests that have accelerated the worldwide obesity epidemic and health crisis.

Full Interview: Lessons Learned From Becoming The Fat Burning Man


In This Episode:

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

  • Abel’s journey from being overweight to becoming the ‘Fat Burning Man’
  • What the body building industry taught him about weight loss
  • His thoughts on grains and which ones he eats
  • How to manufacture a great nights sleep!
  • His exercise routines & eating philosophies
  • Abel’s favourite books:
    Chi Running by Danny Dreyer & Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet
  • And much much more…

Get More Of Abel James:

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Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions.

So, as you can see, if you’re watching this in video, I’m standing here at Mcmahons Pool here in Sydney, which is a pearl of a location and I quite often find myself jumping in first thing in the morning. The water is cold here in winter in Sydney, although the sun’s shining, but it’s a great way to start the day nonetheless.

abel jamesAnyway, on to today’s guest. I might be a little bit biased but I think this show today is fantastic and we’ve got an awesome guest for you. And he has a podcast himself, and I reckon he has one of the smoothest voices that is just designed for podcasts and radio, I tell ya. And that might even give you a clue already.

Stu often says I’ve got a face for radio, but I don’t know if I’ll take that as a compliment. But anyway. So, our guest today is Abel James, AKA the Fat-Burning Man. And if you are new to this podcast, definitely check it out. I’ve been listening to them for years. And Abel has had some fantastic guests on the show, as you can imagine, when you’ve been doing a podcast for over four years.

And we were really keen to get him on the show and share his experiences with us, because, you know, once you’ve interviewed that many people and some absolutely great health leaders around the world, you’re gonna pick up on what they say, their experience, and how you apply it in your own life. And we’re really keen to find out from Abel why he does, you know, because he’s covered, obviously, topics on mindset, health, nutrition, exercise, and what are the pearls of wisdom has he gone and taken over the years of experience and applied it. And some of the stuff what he doesn’t take, you know, take on board as well.

So, Abel shares all of that with us today, including his own story. Because Abel was once overweight. He’s looking a very, very fit boy at the moment, just from changing his nutrition.

So, anyway, that’s what you’re going to get out of today’s show and it’s a great one. So, it’s a pleasure to have Abel on.

And also, I ask for reviews, you know, leave us a review on iTunes if you’re enjoying the show. Subscribe, five-star it. You know, let us know where in the world you’re listening to these podcasts. I think we’re in 32 countries at the moment or maybe even more getting downloaded. So it’s pretty cool. And we always love to hear from you, so, yeah, jump on board and of course drop us an email back at 180Nutrition.com or .com.au now.

So, let’s go over to Abel. Enjoy the show.

Stuart Cooke: Guy, over to you.

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

Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Abel James. Abel, welcome to the show.

Abel James: Thanks so much for having me.

Guy Lawrence: Now, you will have to forgive us this morning, mate. It is very early in Sydney. So, I’ve never seen Stu up at this time of the morning, I think, so it will be interesting to see how he responds.

I’m just kidding. Come on.

Yeah, look, obviously we are big fans of your podcast. It’s great to have a fellow podcaster on. And what we were curious about, just to get the ball rolling, is I guess a little bit about your journey and what got you into podcasting and what let you to that. Because you’ve been doing it awhile now.

Abel James: Yeah. Well, the podcast itself kind of comes out, or it comes somewhat naturally, because I’m a musician and have been doing that for a very long time. So, you know, I had a blog, and this was, I guess, like, four years ago when I first started Fat-Burning Man.

But before that I worked as a consultant with some companies in the food and beverage industry right after I got out of college. And so I’d actually been blogging about health for many years before that, but anonymously. My site was called Honest Abe’s Tips. And it was a picture of, like, this digitized Abe Lincoln peeking out from behind the laptop.

But then with Fat-Burning Man, I realized that when I went through my own struggles with health, basically, I got fat and old and sick in my early 20s and didn’t want to keep being that way. So I kind of turned things around and found that it was a lot easier and more straight-forward and simpler than almost anything I’d ever read had made it out to be, you know, in the fitness magazines and the media. Even some of the science.

And so I started this up and realized that, you know, if I were looking at a fitness book or a fitness blog or something like that, first thing I’d do is, like, turn around, look at who’s writing it. Like: Are these people actually living it? Are they following their own advice?

And so I figured, you know, it’s the internet. Let’s just put it all right out there. And so I came up with this ridiculous Fat-Burning Man, like superhero type thing and just wanted to make it about being positive and showing that you can be happy and healthy at the same time. Because so much of the messaging, especially then, but still now, is that you need to be hungry and miserable and punish yourself. But you really can have a more holistic approach. So, that’s what I try to do.

Guy Lawrence: Did you ever imagine the Fat-Building Man would take you on this journey to where it is today? You know, when you started.

Abel James: You know, it’s so funny. Because now it kind of sneaks up on you a little bit. You know, like, I was just out at a health food store here in Tennessee and like within five seconds of walking in, someone’s like, “Abel! Hi!” We just moved here and that just happened in, like, New Orleans, in California. And so I don’t even realize how many people are listening but I’m so glad that they are, because when I first started it was just me talking into a microphone and hoping that people would listen and trying to get this message out there that was different and still is kind of different.

Because most of the stuff you find in health, and I’ve had to learn this the hard way, is not health information. It’s marketing propaganda. You know, designed to sell you supplements, shakes, consumables. Whatever they’re selling you is usually kind of, like, disguised in something that’s information. And that information is hurting people.

So, I wanted to just be totally open about all this and say, like, “These are the things that we think might be right, but we’re probably wrong about a bunch of stuff. But that’s definitely wrong over there.”

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Stuart Cooke: So, when you mentioned that in your early days you were fat and sick and things just weren’t working out for you, do you think that was particularly diet-based?

Abel James: Yes. Absolutely. Because basically what happened is I grew up, my mom is a holistic nurse practitioner and an herbalist, and I was raised eating from the back yard. And we had fish sticks and stuff like that, too, sometimes, but it was; I had a very strong education in eating naturally, from the real world, back then.

And then, for me, like every teenager who wants to prove that there’s a better world out there than the one that they came from or whatever, to pay off my loans I got this big, fancy job in consulting and I got this big, fancy insurance that came along with the consulting job. And I’m just like, “All right. I’m gonna find the best doctor and listen to his advice and take his drugs and do his thing.”

And so I did that, and it was… You know, when I first walked in, he’s like, “What is the family history?” And I said, well, you know, there’s thyroid problems, most people gain weight as they age, my grandmother has high blood pressure, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

They looked at my blood and they’re just, like, “OK, well, we need to put you on a low-fat diet right away.” And, you know, zero dietary cholesterol and the whole… you guys are familiar with how that works, I’m sure.

And so I got that whole spiel and I’m like, OK. Well, if that’s gonna help me live longer, help my heart be healthy, and basically guarantee that I’m doing the right thing, then let’s do it.

Except it didn’t really work out that way. You know, for the first time in my life… I was always athletic and I love fitness and just getting outside, going for hikes or runs or mountain-biking. Whatever. And so I never really had a problem with weight. And all of a sudden, it’s creeping up, and it wasn’t until my boss made fun of me for being fat that I realized that I was, like, “Oh. This is fat.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. “There’s a problem.”

Abel James: And I wasn’t, like, massively overweight. But if you imagine me with less muscle and 20 pounds of flab, then all of sudden you kind of look like someone who’s much older than you actually are. And certainly not thriving anymore. Not athletic.

And I always want to be the best at whatever, so I had to turn that around.

Guy Lawrence: Was there any, like, little tipping points with books or information that made you sort of go, “I’ve really got to start delving into this” and looking down that path?

Abel James: Well, yeah. For me… So, I’m pretty narrow-focused a lot of the time and my focus then, when I first got into it, it was my first job, you know. My first real in-the-workforce job. I worked with my dad growing up and in restaurants and stuff. But this was the first thing I was taking seriously. And so I just wanted to pay down my debt as quickly as I could so that I could be free to do whatever more passion-based stuff.

And then I, basically, like, a little bit at a time saw that it wasn’t working. But I had outsourced it from my own brain, you know? I had always focused on being fit and athletic and running a lot, whatever. But it kind of like got away from me, because I was working so hard doing something else that was kind of like stealing my attention. And then it wasn’t until that comment and a couple of other things happened that I was just, like, “Oh. I guess I’ve got to focus on this.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, for all of our listeners, and your listeners as well, what did you focus on and what did you change?

Abel James: Well, it was interesting, because I grew up, my brother is about five years older than me, and I watched him go from… he’s a little bit obsessive and he watched Pumping Iron, the Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding classic movie of the ’70s. He watched that for the first time, and I watched him over the next few months go from 155 pounds to well over 200; up to 220 of just solid, massive muscle.

So, that; it was in the back of my mind. I think sometimes you need something crazy like that. You need to see it happen in front of you before you really believe that it’s possible. You know what I mean? And so I hid that in back of my mind.

And so I always knew that you could do stuff that didn’t make any sense and it would kind of work out. And he did a lot of things that, dietary-wise, who knows what he was eating but it certainly wasn’t healthy. It was very different from the foods that we were eating.

But it was more generous with fat and protein and lower on carbs and kind of like counter to everything that I was told was healthy. And so I saw that whatever I was doing was not working. So I needed to do something different. And I was just like, well, why don’t I just flip it on its head and get some of the fats up there again and take down the carbs, take down the processed food, just kind of look at… I was looking at ketosis, cyclical ketogenic dieting that the bodybuilders were doing in the ’60s and ’70s, and it was like, you know they’re eating 26 eggs a day. Or drinking two gallons of milk a day. Or just chugging heavy cream. And getting down to 3 percent body fat. And for someone who had too much body fat, I’m like, “That’s interesting. I gotta try that.”

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: It happened for us the same, because I worked with mainly people with cancer about 10 years ago and I used to do the weight-training programs for them. And it literally started from a bodybuilders’ diet. They got them on a ketogenic diet and weight-training, and that was the first time I was exposed to a high-fat diet, and back then I saw the results too. You know, it was quite remarkable, and their health, everything gets turned on its head overnight and you’re, like, “My God, I’ve got to tell the world.”

Abel James: It’s very bizarre. Because it should kill you, right? According to everything that the doctors tell you. That should just put you straight into a stretcher or a coffin or whatever.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Abel James: But oftentimes it does the opposite.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, with all your guests and podcasts, there’s all these amazing people you’ve interviewed and things like that. Any pearls of wisdom that have stood out or guests that have jumped out at you? It’s probably quite a big question but…

Abel James: I look for the things that… Well, I should just say, even the people who come on my show, which are, like, curated (to a certain extent), by me, they have to go through some sort of vetting process. They love to disagree about a lot of things. And for me I just try to keep it on point, step aside. I’m not gonna be combative even if I disagree with what they’re saying. I think it’s really important to see the richness of experience in people who are getting results.

And so I look for the things that they agree about. And there are very few. But number one is that everyone should be eating more leafy green vegetables and colorful vegetables, especially the non-starchy kind. And almost everyone agrees on that. Pretty much 100 percent.

Yet, almost nobody does it. Even the people who are, like, super paleo and super healthy or whatever. They’re more, usually, obsessed with the latest gadget, pill, carb-backloading approach, like new things that… I just had Kiefer on, I have a lot of people on with kind of like new spins on whatever. And so people get obsessed with, like, the new spin instead of having a salad. Which is like… So, one of the things that I try to do is encourage people to do the simple things that we already know, because it’s really easy to ignore that.

Or, if you go and you’re paleo and you’re really excited about it and you’re getting all these results and you’re doing CrossFit and then you go and get a paleo treat or whatever from the grocery store, because now you can find those, at least in America. And, you know, all of a sudden you take down 25 grams of sugar without even realizing it. But it’s “totally paleo” because it has honey in it. Wait a second!

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, half a jar.

Abel James: That kind of goes against the whole thing. So, I try to make it simple for people and more habit-based. More like, my background’s in brain science and psychology so I try and take it from that angle where, like, you guys know: If you’re training people or if you want to achieve something in your own life, it’s not really about the information that you have as much as, are you doing it. Right? So, I really try to focus on getting people to do it, making that easier and more simple.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You always find you can go on these crazy paths and you always get back to basics. Just keep it very simple.

Stuart Cooke: I think those basics generally come back to how our grandparents ate as well. It’s, like, super simple, really.

Abel James: It was wonderful. Beautifully simple.

Stuart Cooke: It’s it? Yeah. It couldn’t be more simple, yet in other respects it couldn’t be more complex with all this crazy info out there.

Abel James: Especially today.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Totally. So, over here we had quite an interesting article that came out in the Sydney Morning Herald about grains and bread and how everybody’s becoming more resistant to gluten and they’ve got intolerances and sensitivities to everything under the sun.

In your opinion, are grains the enemy?

Abel James: That’s a great question. I think they’re one of the enemies, yes. But that’s more a function of the fact that we’re eating grains in a way that we never ate grains before than the fact that they’re grains, if that makes sense. So, what I mean by that is if you take a chicken and then breed it to have certain characteristics like having breasts so large that it topples over or breaks its legs like most of the turkeys and poultry we have and then you inject it with a bunch of antibiotics and, you know, feed it with poison and whatever else. It’s not the same chicken that our ancestors would be eating.

And if you take wheat and, over the course of time, you breed it to make sure that it’s well-adapted for transport, ready for harvest months before it would have been otherwise, and basically mutate it and change it into something that it wasn’t before, it’s not the same wheat either.

And so what we do with that wheat, for example, is then, if that weren’t bad enough, kind of like mutating this thing into something that’s bred not for your health but for basically industrial efficiency, then you throw it through all these industrial processes, like grinding it into this really, really fine powder and not allowing it to ferment on the stalk, which releases enzymes to make it digestible, and then you let it fester on a shelf and get old or whatever, but it’s so irradiated and processed that you barely notice that the food is so spoiled.

It’s not the same thing as eating wild rice like Native Americans did here, especially in the Southwest. And you can you still, though, my wife is from Arizona, so we go there quite often, you can go and get, like, Native American wild rice and eat that.

So, if you compare that to, like, Uncle Ben’s rice, a brand we have here which is basically like processed white rice, not the same thing. So, we do eat some grains, but it’s in an entirely different way than almost everyone else eats grains these days.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, totally. No, that’s a good point. I read, a few years back, a book called Wheat Belly, and it really does kind of open the lid on the wheat industry. And, crikey, you really do think twice.

Abel James: It’s hard to get away from them.

Stuart Cooke: Very, very hard to get away from them. Unless, of course, you eat like your grandparents ate and then it’s actually a little easier to get away from… putting labels on vegetables.

Guy Lawrence: What are your thoughts on… Because I struggle with wheat and gluten and a big thing for me has been looking at food sensitivities over the years, and allergies. What are your thoughts on that? Have you personally looked into that?

Abel James: I have. It’s interesting because we don’t know how reliable it is. Especially… food allergy testing is one thing, but food sensitivity testing is quite another. And so for me, there are so many different variables but I’m trying to get better and better.

And a few years ago I had… Probably about two years ago, at this point, I remember I talked about food sensitivity on the podcast with Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Executive guy, who just loves testing of all kinds. And so we went through various things that I was supposedly reacting to. I did the tests again about a year after that and most of the things had gone down. A couple of them stayed up. And then there was a new one, like pinto beans or something else I “highly reacted” to. Whatever.

And there were some other unfortunate ones that were, like, paleo foods. Like olives. Olive oil. And honey. From the first test. Those seemed to kind of stay elevated. And then I took it again about three, four weeks ago and I’m reactive to almost nothing now.
So, from my own personal experience, it’s been interesting to look at that because I love science, I love numbers, I love personal experimentation. And I don’t know what’s going on with that. I can say that I’m pretty happy about it, but I don’t know if it kind of like invalidates the tests that were done before. Because one of the arguments against it is that it kind of just counts the stuff you’re eating too much of anyway.

Guy Lawrence: When, like, the olive oil and honey came up on the test, did you then avoid those foods?

Abel James: I did. I avoided them, not completely, because it’s really hard to eat a salad anywhere that’s not your own home without olive oil or GMO oil or whatever else. And so basically if someone knows that you’re paleo or gluten-free or healthy-conscious, then they’re giving you honey and olive oil and… mushrooms was another one that came up.

Yeah, so, kind of bizarre things, especially considering how healthy those things are normally and how much they would be included in almost any meal that you eat out. You don’t really think about not eating something like mushrooms, right? Or olives. But once you have to look for that, it’s in everything. You can’t believe it. It’s just hard to get away from.

But, yeah, I definitely; I went from eating those things on purpose to eating less of them or basically not forcing myself to eat those foods anymore. And that seemed to do the trick.

But gluten is one that we’re not really sure if it’s the gluten itself or just the wheat being so manipulated and so low-quality that that’s hurting us. But there’s something in modern wheat that’s terrible for us. It might be the gluten. Some people are definitely allergic to it, flat out. Other people are kind of reactive to it or whatever. But I just avoid it, pretty much at all costs.

Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting. Like, Stewie, had the short straw when it came to sensitivities tests. He came up eggs, glaringly.

Abel James: Oh, no.

Stuart Cooke: One of these things. And I was loving my eggs. I’d eat two, three, four, five a day, which is great. But then I also do wonder whether worrying about the foods that you shouldn’t be eating, worrying about all these crazy diets, you know, does more hard than good. Can it actually then evoke food sensitivities because your cortisone levels are going crazy.

Abel James: Right.

Stuart Cooke: You know, it’s just insane. I’m wondering, from your perspective, how important do you think it is to try and unplug or really work on stress management as part of your kind of holistic approach to health?

Abel James: I think it’s the number one thing that people don’t really talk about. Because it’s not that sexy to say, “Sleep. Go to sleep early.”

“Don’t get stressed out. Meditate. Chill out. Take a walk. Take a vacation.” It’s really easy to say those things. But it’s like eating a salad, right? We all know that that’s exactly what we should be doing. The problem is that we’re not doing it.

And so, yeah, I mean, one of our secrets, why we “look and feel so great all the time and always have this energy” is because we go to sleep, like, way earlier than most other people. And we take flak from it sometimes.

But, at the same time, when you show up to a… So, we go to a lot of, like, health masterminds and stuff like that with a lot of the other big names in the field. Stuff like that. And I can tell you, these people are just, like, running themselves into the ground, a lot of the time. And they’re not really sleeping. They’re kind of compensating.

And we’re ready to rock, and usually, like, we’ll go out and party and hang out with all these people because it’s so much fun. We don’t really get to do it that often. And so you see just the huge tax that running; that basically doing too many things at the same time doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, if you’re in health or not, it’s beating you up and it will get the best of you at some point.

And so the really boring things that we do every day are the things that really matter. So, like, for instance, my wife and I, we wake up every morning, we do Qigong. We’ve been doing that now for a few years, I guess.

Guy Lawrence: Can you explain that?

Abel James: Qigong, or yoga, which is like tai chi, and so it’s basically fluid, kind of almost active stretching type movements. Balance and stretching. And then we meditate for, not necessarily very long, 10, 20, minutes. But we do it every single day. And we tend to wake up fairly early and we go to bed early as well. With some exceptions, but not very often.

And it’s the things that you do every day, if you’re in the habit of slumping on the couch after a hard day of work and then you have a beer or two every night, that’s a lot of beer. It compounds.

But if you, every night, you have tea or something like that or you just relax, you have a glass of water, you hang out, you relax, you slow down, you get some sleep. And then on the weekends you go out and you have too much wine or you have a few beers, totally different thing. You’ll probably get away with it, because it’s not the thing that you’re doing every day. Right? That’s the exception.

So, you have to kind of like train into yourself the right habits that are automatic that aren’t getting the best of you. And part of that is definitely tuning down the stress. Because we’re all, like, with the amount of technology that’s around us these days, we’re all totally cranked out of our minds.

Stuart Cooke: We’re plugged in, aren’t we?

Guy Lawrence. Massively.

Stuart Cooke: Do you sleep well?

Abel James: Thank you for asking. What a sweet question. I’ve been doing interviews all day and that’s the sweetest question I’ve gotten.

Stuart Cooke: This is the million dollar question.

Abel James: Yes. I didn’t used to. I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping, especially staying asleep around the morning. It was like I would wake up, it didn’t matter how late I had stayed up the night before… As a musician, my gigs would start at midnight and I’d have to play under three or something and then go to bed at 4. But I’d always wake up at 6 or 7 and again at 8:30, even if I was trying to sleep it through.

But these days, I think a lot of it has to do with how we time our carbs and starches, which is almost always in the evening. And we eat very lightly or kind of like fast most of the day and then we have a big feast at night, pretty much.

And so we have a compressed eating window. And saving the brunt of our calories and food for the evening seems to slow you down and put you in digestion mode at the right time, especially if you are staying… There are other things where we stay away from alcohol most of the time. On the weekends we go out, have some fun, whatever. But pretty much every weeknight we’re not letting that disrupt our sleep. Because science shows that there’s no getting away from it. If you drink alcohol, it’s disrupting your sleep patterns for sure.

And if you stay up certain nights really late and other nights try to go to sleep early, that messes with your clock, too. So we stay on a nice, steady clip of sleeping and waking up in the morning.

And I don’t do well on very little sleep. I’ve always know that about myself. I think it’s one of the reasons that I do well, succeed, is because it’s something I’m obsessed about. Other guys, like, as a musician, you go on tour or whatever, other guys are staying up all night. It doesn’t really seem to be a problem. It is a problem, like, if they actually looked at it, but it affects other people less than it affected me, it seems like. So, I’ve always just made that the one thing that I do. I sleep, and it’s important.

Stuart Cooke: Any particular gems or strategies or hacks that you can share with everybody right now?

Guy Lawrence: You love the sleep topic.

Stuart Cooke: Well, I, crikey… this is my topic. And I’m fanatical about sleep. But always interested in, you know, it could be the tiniest little thing that you do that makes the hugest difference, and of course sleep is the number one. You can be eating like an absolute prince, but if you don’t sleep, then you’re not recovering or restoring; all of those things.

So, any little gems that you could share with us right now to say, “These worked for me”?

Abel James: Well, I think you touched on something that’s really important. Sleep should be time for recovery. And what that means to me is that almost every day I do kind of like micro-exercise, where I’ll do five to 10 minutes of an exercise pretty much every day except for Sunday. And I put that in the morning. So, I do my exercise like first thing, gets my blood flowing, and by the end of the day I’m tired and I want to go to sleep. And so I honor that.

If you try to force it and crack work out, that’s another thing that’s really important. It’s like, I work hard but I’m almost always off of communication by, like, 7 or 8. Usually before that. I shut my laptop. I’m not checking; I don’t have notifications on my phone. That’s a pretty big one, too. Or on my computer. My email comes in; I don’t know. I have to go in and check it. I’m not having all these things that are, like, “bloop, blop, bloop,” no matter what time of day or night it is. That’s really important.
And staying away from technology in the evening is really useful. So, one of the things I do is play guitar or play piano or sing. Do something that’s right-brainish. Gets you into that flow, that relaxed state, that’s kind of sleepy and dreamy. It’s just like perfect timing to kind of lead you into going to sleep.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. Perfect.

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Guy Lawrence: What kind of… Just touch on exercise. What kind of philosophies do you abide by, then? What do you incorporate in your week?

Abel James: Well, I used to run marathons.

Guy Lawrence: All right. Wow!

Abel James: I’ve always been a runner of some kind. I was never great, but I was always good. It was something I did more for meditation. I didn’t call it that back then, but I’d run outside and I’d get into this state, that the only way I can describe it, is meditative, for sure.

So, I used to do a lot of exercise. And I raced mountain bikes when I was younger and stuff. Now, I’ve found that exercise is something that I do as a habit, not as something that I kind of, like, force in there, if that makes sense.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Abel James: So, at this point it’s pretty much automatic, that in the morning I’m going to be doing something.

On Mondays I do monster lifts, which isn’t anything too crazy. It’s basically just like I have a couple of dumbbells …

I always work out at home, I don’t really go to gyms, because our nearest health food store is in a different time zone. Like, we’re out here in the middle of the woods, so, I don’t really have any other choice.

So, I’ve got a couple of 52-pound dumbbells, free weights, and I use those to do squats and some dead lifts and maybe a couple of other little exercises, some presses or whatever, on Mondays.
Or I might do a kettlebell workout on that day. But every Monday I’m hitting it, I’m making myself sore, and then I’m going to go and crush a bunch of work, my worst work, I put that all on Monday.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Abel James: So, it’s just one of those days, it’s just like, “All right, we’re getting it!”

And then, maybe on Tuesday, then I would do something that’s a little bit less intense, like yoga-type moves, some holds, focusing more on balance and mobility.

And then on Wednesday, I might do a very intense sprint workout. That’s what I did today. Which is, basically just like tabatas. So, you do 20 seconds on, all-out exercise that’s intense. So, I’ll do sprints or burpees. So you do that 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Repeat it ten times. You’re done in five minutes.

Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.

Abel James: And if you’re not smoked by the end of it, you’re doing it wrong.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Right. That’s perfect.

Abel James: It’s the week, … sorry, go ahead.

Stuart Cooke: It’s just interesting, you know, there are a lot of people now kind of almost ingrained to think, “Well, I’ve got to go to the gym every day and I’ve got to stay in the gym for two hours. And I’m on that treadmill and I’m watching TV and you know, that’s me, done.”

But like you said, you can do this in five minutes. You know, I do a little kettlebell burpee workout and I can do that in about six minutes and I’m toast. Done. But yeah, massive effects on how you feel later on in the day.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. But it’s bringing it back to making sure your sleep’s dialed in and your nutrition is dialed in.

Abel James: Right.

Guy Lawrence: And then you can spend the time enjoying your life outside of these things, instead of obsessing about them all.

Abel James: Yeah. The simple things. It’s is just kind of … get your calendar in order. Grab a hold of that thing. Shake it around a little bit, if you need to, and then put the right things in, especially in the morning. That’s, I think, from a habit point of view. It’s like, if you’re forcing yourself to go to the gym every day, for two hours, and go on a treadmill, which almost nobody likes.

Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.

Abel James: That’s why you watch TV, because you’re so just bored. Then it’s hard to believe that that’s sustainable. It’s hard to believe that you’re going to be able to do that for the rest of your life.

It might work, kind of. But if you can’t do it for a really long time, if you don’t love to do it, you’re going to stop at some point. Then you’re going to fall off the wagon. Get out of shape. Then it’s really hard to get back in shape.

So, like, make this … if you can do your workout in six minutes, do it! I mean I’m a “health guy” or whatever and that’s exactly what I do.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Abel James: I think that it’s the best to know that science supports that too, right?

Stuart Cooke: It does. Yeah, that’s right.

Abel James: I’d much rather; I like running, but to be perfectly honest, if I can do it in five minutes instead of three hours, I’m going with five minutes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Every time.

Guy Lawrence: I think you touched on something else as well. It’s important you’ve got to enjoy it. Just do something you love doing. I think that’s so important psychologically, as well, so you can go and do it again.

I worked in a gym for a long time and I found people who forced themselves through the door, just staying there for so long, just like a diet per se, as well. And then they would drop off at the other end and everything they gained, what they’d struggled to gain, it comes back anyway.

Abel James: And it’s heartbreaking, right?

Guy Lawrence: Ah, yeah.

Abel James: When you know what works. You know they know what works, too. But sometimes it’s just; it all goes away.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Abel James: It’s a bummer to see that.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

So, moving on, we mentioned your book “The Wild Diet.” Can you tell us a little bit about it? Because it’s launched I’m thinking a few months now.

Abel James: Yes. Yeah. It’s been out for about a month now. It’s called “The Wild Diet” basically, because what we have in most societies now is this industrialized food system that is feeding us junk food, processed food, and junk food disguised as health food. And so a lot of people are getting burned by that.

On the other side of that, we have kind of like this wild world. The opposite of industrialized domesticated. You know, where animals, if you choose to eat them, are raised eating the diets that are natural to them in nature.

So, cows are eating grass, for example. So you eat grass-fed, pasture-raised animals.

Your getting heirloom and heritage varieties of seeds, nuts, plants, as much as you can, because those things are inherently designed by nature, generally most healthy for our bodies at this point. We’re well-adapted to eat things we’ve been eating for a long time in the form that they used to be.

And sometimes that can be hard to find. You know, like finding wheat strains, for example. Finding really traditional sourdough breads, made with an ancient variety of wheat, is something you need to try to do. You need to look for it or whatever. But it can be done.

And so, “The Wild Diet” is basically trying to … I come from the paleo world in a lot of ways. But paleo as a theme has kind of subsumed a lot of other movements.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Abel James: It kind of like absorbed them, right? Like the eat local movement, the low-carb movement. And so, I’m somewhere in between all these.

And one of the problems, it’s exciting but, one of the problems with like, paleo, for example, is that it’s gotten so big and so many people have heard about it, that the marketers know that it’s a hot market and so they’re starting to flood the market with a bunch of “paleo health foods.” And a lot of people are getting the wrong idea about what that means.

You can’t just go to McDonald’s and get a hamburger or three hamburgers, throw away the bun and call it paleo, right? If you’re doing it right.

So, I felt like I needed that other word that hadn’t been poisoned yet. So, I wanted to come up with “wild.”

And basically it’s just a … it’s more of a philosophy on how to eat and live than it is about some crazy dogmatic diet. It’s basically like: Here’s everything that you need to know to actually do this, in a simple fun book.

And so, I basically wrote it according to what my community and fans and followers liked and wanted to listen to and then we filled it up with some of the best recipes we’ve ever made. So …

Guy Lawrence: Good one, yeah.

Abel James: … it’s a fun book.

Guy Lawrence: But it’s a bit of a big task putting a book together I can imagine, right?

Abel James: Oh, boy. It’s the worst possible thing you can do for your health, is write a health book.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

So, given the fact then that you’ve got all this knowledge and you’ve put it into this book, this fantastic resource for everyone, the million-dollar question is, what have you eaten today?

Abel James: Oh, good one. So, that’s the question that I can almost not even ask on my show, because a lot of people are so embarrassed about what they actually do.

So, I started the morning with supplements. A lot of them are herbs and adaptogens, you know, like rhodiola is one of my favorites. And fermented cod liver oil I usually have in the morning, because it’s a nice little dose of fat and kind of like front-loads lot of nutrition. Vitamin D is something I take pretty much every day. So, I’ll take that in the morning as well.

And then I made myself … well, every morning I wake up, drink a big glass of water, I usually keep that going throughout the day. So, lots of hydration.

And I had … this is my sixth interview today.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, crikey.

Abel James: And I have two more after this.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.

Abel James: So, on interview days I generally fast until the evening. Sometimes until the afternoon, depends if I have the time or the breaks.

So, I make myself my own, like, usually I roast the coffee about once a week, so I’ll make some French press coffee and then I’ll fill it up with a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or some sort of fat. Which gives me some interest, right? I like drinking that with my coffee and I might have some coconut oil with it or medium-chain triglycides or other fat that I put in there.

So, that’s what I had today and I’ve had, I think, two cups of coffee with probably about three tablespoons of heavy cream, pasture-raised. And then right before this interview I felt like I wanted something and so my wife made an awesome green smoothie, which we have almost every day.

That’s usually how I break my fast, is by having basically a blended-up salad. But you can pick the right thing so it tastes really good.

So, it’s got like three different types of greens in it. It’s got strawberries. It has chia seeds and flax, so it’s full of omegas, the right kinds of fats, and plenty of fiber. So, I hit that with some coconut on top, some shredded coconut, because it’s nice to chew on something.

And that’s all I’ve eaten today.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.

Abel James: Tonight I think we’re going to have a big steak and probably a big salad and maybe a side of red rice, I think we have some going. And we have some soup. Some bone broth that we made, that’s left over, that we’re just going to heat up and some of that too and probably some really tasty chocolate or some of Alison’s homemade cookies for dessert.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. It’s almost breakfast time and you are making me hungry.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That is fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we have a couple of wrap-up questions for the podcast.

Abel James: Hit it.

Guy Lawrence: And first one is, are there any books that you’ve read that have been a great influence in your life?

Abel James: “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer. He’s one of my past guests. That’s one of the most underrated books there is I think.

It’s about how to incorporate symmetry and balance into your movements. Specifically for running, but it really applies to almost everything using, you know, ancient … I’ve seen a lot of similar things in Taoist textbooks and certainly like the tai chi and things like that.

That’s an awesome book. It’s called “Chi Running.” Danny Dreyer’s the writer who’s been on my show.

Guy Lawrence: We’ll include it in the show notes. Yeah. Fantastic.

Abel James: Yeah. That one’s great.

The “Perfect Health Diet” is done by Paul Jaminet. It came out a few years ago; another just wonderfully researched book.

And Paul … I was fortunate to hang out with him a bunch of times and kind of become friends with him. And he’s not your typical health professional, in the sense that he’s not really interested in any of the marketing or whatever. He likes research and he likes the science.

And so I really like that book too, the “Perfect Health Diet.”

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Perfect. I’ll check them out. I haven’t seen any of those two.

And last one is, and this is a pearler. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Abel James: I worked with this Russian guy when I worked at restaurants growing up. And on one catering gig, he just messed up royally. I don’t know what happened exactly, but the boss was really pissed off and this guy was not having a good time. And then he just kind of like turned to me and I’m 14 years old or whatever and he’s this massive Russian guy and he’s just like, “Every kick in the butt is a step forward.”

This is how it started off and you could tell that he didn’t care at all. He was going to have a great day no matter what. And after I kind of like saw that happen and I was like, “All right. That’s cool.” The way that he handled that, I want to be able to handle something like that …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Take it on the chin and move on.

Abel James: … when the world comes crashing down on me someday.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that works. That’s fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome, mate. And is there anything coming up in the future, Abel? Anything you’d like to share? Any exciting projects?

Abel James: Sure. Yeah. We’re excited about … well, we decided basically that, this is my wife and I, this is something that we’re just going to do, you know. We’re going to make this our … we’ve been doing it full-time for a while, but we weren’t sure exactly if we wanted to do apps or you know some other type of publishing or helping publish other people or whatever. But we decided to make the blog and the podcast and our new video series kind of our main thing.

So, we just recorded a huge cooking class, that we invite all these cameras into our kitchen. We set up a bunch of GoPros and other cameras. And so, it’s like documentary-quality. Just hanging out with us in the kitchen learning how to cook things quickly and easily.

And so, it’s called The Wild Diet Cooking Class and you can find that at: FatBurningMan.com/cooking.

So that’s just one of the things, but if you go to FatBurningMan.com and sign up for the newsletter, we’re planning to come out with cool stuff like that every few months or so and just keep a steady clip of like, “You guys want to learn more about ketosis? All right. We’ll do this class.”

Stuart Cooke: Perfect

Abel James: And keep that going.

Yeah. So, it’s been fun. It’s a lot of work, but after taking about a year off traveling the world and going to Australia, which is loads of fun, it’s been really cool to come back with a renewed passion and focus.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate and for your book, “The Wild Diet” as well, go back to FatBurningMan.com, as well?

Abel James: You can actually, if you want to see that, you can go to: WildDietBook.com.

Guy Lawrence: Okay. There you go and we’ll put a link in the show notes, as well. Brilliant.

Abel James: Right on. Thank.

Guy Lawrence: Abel, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was a treat. And I have no doubt everyone listening to this will get a heap out of that. That was awesome.

Abel James: Awesome. Yeah. What a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Stuart Cooke: No problems and we really appreciate it. And you enjoy the rest of the day. Good luck with your interviews and enjoy that meal. Sounds delicious.

Abel James: Thank you so much. You guys have a great day.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Abel.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you buddy. Take care. Bye, bye.

Abel James: All right, just like you.

Guy Lawrence: Bye.

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7 Exercise & Fat Burning Myths Exposed

exercise & fat burning myths

Guy: Working in the fitness industry for almost 10 years, I would get exposed to hundreds of people each week. It was during this time that I got to understand the public perception of the exercise and fitness world.

Being in the firing line every day I got to cut through the noise, confusion and misconceptions of it all and felt inspired to write this post. So if you find yourself practicing any of the below, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy.

exercise myths sit ups1. Sit-ups Burn Belly Fat

I can’t tell you how many people would be doing sit-ups, medball twists and crunches because they wanted their stomach and obliques (side ab’s) flat and toned. I know many athletes and weightlifters that have abs popping without doing a single sit-up. Why is this you may ask? Drum roll please… It’s because they understand nutrition, reduce inflammation and work with fundamental exercises that activate the core. Crunches give you strong abdominals, the fat that sits on top of that is a whole different story. If this sounds a little foreign to you and you want to learn more, download our free eBook here.

exercise myths running weightloss2. Running for Weight Loss

It’s a common sight, people pounding the streets or spending hours on the treadmill with weight loss as their goal. At first glance this seems like the right thing to do, but the simple answer is this – if you are running for weight loss, your diet is wrong.

So with this golden nugget of information, the first place you should start is the kitchen. Don’t believe me? Watch this short clip with Professor of Exercise and Sports Science, Tim Noakes, as we ask him what he thinks about running for weight loss.

exercise myths weight lifting3. Lifting Weights Make You Bulky

This is the greatest fear with women but I would see it with men occasionally too who don’t want bulky thighs and giant biceps! If only it was that easy. Lifting weights is one of the best strategies for increasing metabolism, toning the body, steadying blood sugars and burning body fat. Did you know fat occupies 4 to 5 times more space than muscle? If you exchanged 5kg of body fat for 5kg of muscle you would reduce your body size and have a more toned definition. This is why weighing scales should only be used to weigh your suitcase when you are going on holidays. Learn more reasons why weights are awesome here.

exercise myths carb loading4. You Need to Carb Load

This is the strategy we are taught as fitness trainers and is even more applicable to endurance athletes. Ramp up those carb’s to get you through your workout. The short answer to this is that there are many studies showing that fat adapted athletes respond better than carb loaders. Carb’s are reduced and natural fats are increased with some of the benefits of delivering quicker recovery times, reduced inflammation, less injuries, steady long lasting energy and reduced excess body fat. If you want the more scientific answer, listen to our full interview with running legend Professor Tim Noakes here.

exercise myths overtraining5. Spend Hours in the Gym to Get Fit & Buff

There’s a big perception that more exercise means more results, whether it be muscle building or weight loss. That is so simplistic it’s not funny as there are so many variables at play. There really is a minimum effective dose when it comes to results, and with the multitude of factors in place like nutrition (yes that means eating real foods and avoiding marketing fads), intensity, variation, recovery periods, sleep, type of exercise etc, you must have a clear understanding of all of these to realise your own true potential. They say a six pack is made in the kitchen, and I tend to agree with this. If you understand and implement all the other factors you’ll be the envy of all your friends in half the time :)

exercise myths exercise machine6. The Single Best Exercise for Weight Loss

This kind of marketing drives me nuts. I’m all for educating people and simplifying things so it’s digestible and easier to understand, but TV and dodgy advertising tends to skew the message. I would get constantly asked what the best exercise for weight loss was, and my answer would always be the same… ‘do you want the fluffy chocolate covered strawberry answer, or do you want the facts? Sorry to tell you that there is no single best exercise for weight loss… But if you want just the straight facts then watch this short video (2 ½ mins) with us and Australian Institute of Kettlebells founder Dan Henderson.

exercise myths yoga7. Yoga is for Women, Vegan’s & Tree Huggers

Being a male yoga fan, I had to include this one as I swear some of my mates think that I’m the only guy (pun intended) in the class breathing through one nostril and visualising flowers. To all the guys out there who are reading this, get in there as you are missing out! Especially if you’re an athlete or take your sport seriously, as I’ve seen many of them greatly improve their flexibility and mobility. Personally I practice two to three times a week and mine has gone through the roof. Physically and mentally I’ve found this the perfect counter-balance to the intensive training I do and it compliments it perfectly. There is also magic to be found in a Yin style class (i’m addicted), and I would urge anyone with high workout routines to check them out too. Yoga’s popularity over the years has grown massively for a reason, so don’t let the ego get in the way ;) Watch this 2 min clip with ex army officer Duncan Peak why athletes benefit from yoga.

Replace processed foods with a 180 superfood smoothie here

Dan Henderson: The Best Exercise For Fat Loss?


The video above is 2 minutes 28 seconds long

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 kettlebellsDan 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


downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • Why you should include kettlebells
  • Weight training & women. Do they bulk?
  • Why it must be fat loss not weight loss!
  • What’s the best exercise for fat loss
  • Importance of recovery & overtraining
  • The factors that hinder weight loss
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Want to know more about Dan Henderson?

Enjoy the interview or got any questions for Dan or us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy

Transcription

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.

Archie Basil. How I got my body fat into single figures

body transformation Archie Basil

By Stuart Cooke

Stu – Meet Archie Basil. A 41 year old father of three who runs his own business. Archie shared his story after a health scare that gave him the motivation to make some radical changes in the way he lived his life. The image above of Archie on the left was taken in August 2012 at 90 Kilos, just three months late he weighed in at 75.3 Kilos!

Over to Archie…

Archie Basil from Basil Bodies“Owing my own business I used to spend my days just sitting at my desk, missing meals which lead to binge eating and piling  on weight. My stress levels just kept rising in proportion to my waist measurement. After a serious health scare I decided I needed to follow the programs I  had been giving to my clients.

The results I lost  just under 15 kilos, 23.5cm’s of my waist, over 20% body fat and my blood pressure came down from 165/97 to 113./73. I am now a lot more productive at work which means I have been able to allocate more time to keeping myself healthy and taking time out for my family .”

Nutrition

When we first spoke, you were extremely determined to drop the weight & improve your health.

What was the defining moment to make you turn things around, (the ah-ha moment)?

“I felt very unwell, unhealthy and unfit. My time with my children was suffering as I found I didn’t have any energy to play with them. I would rather sit on the couch and fall asleep. As soon as my wife started to call me “HEART ATTACK HARRY” I knew something needed to be done.”

Were there any particular foods that were your downfall?

“Because I am a very busy business owner I didn’t schedule any time for my food breaks. This made me feeling very hungry as was starving by the time I got home. I would just raid the fridge and cupboard and eat anything in site to satisfy my hunger. Peanut butter sandwiches were high on the list along with any other high carbohydrate convenient food. I also wasn’t drinking any water which wasn’t a good thing.”

“You have to be organised as this is a big part of it. Having the right foods in front of you is a must when you are hungry!”

Could you give a rundown on what a typical days eating looked like back then?

Back then:

vegemite toasties

  • Breakfast would be cheese and vegemite toast
  • Lunch if I ate it would be peanut butter sandwiches
  • Dinner was what would ever be put on the table which was always healthy, but I developed a habit of indulging after dinner! Anything from chocolates to ice cream to chips because my blood sugars were going crazy I felt like I needed a fix.

And now:

healthy meal choices

  • Breakfast Veggie Omelette or 180 smoothie
  • Lunch Some form of meat protein and big leafy salad with olive oil or flaxseed oil. And if I’m on the run, a 180 smoothie again :)
  • Dinner Similar as before, mainly protein and veggies
  • Snack through the day Varies from day to day, but I try and keep it as natural as possible… Nuts & seeds, fruit, etc.

“I always try to eat as unprocessed when I can. I’m not one who is against carbohydrates; it’s more about the quality of them and the timing in which they enter my body.”

What did you used to drink, and has that changed much?

“In fairness, I never really drank anything bad like diet soft drinks etc. My biggest problem was that I did not drink enough of anything! I’ve never really drink anything but water but I drink much more of it now. Usually 2-1/2 ltrs a day.”

Exercise & Mindset

Were you exercising when you were overweight, and are you exercising any differently now?

“If anything my training is a lot less intense than it used to be when I was training as a 100m sprinter. I have found that this is more sustainable for me now as I also have other priorities in my life and need a balance for my children. I have never been into one particular way of exercising. (away from training for a specific event) but on a general level you need to find something that works for you and enjoy whatever type of training that maybe I say go for it.”

“Personally I do like to include some form of weight/strength training including, standard weights, kettlebell circuits and olympic lifting once a week. And the one to two days of interval work up to 30mins. Whether it be the rower, sprints, bike etc.”

We always hear people say that they don’t have enough time to exercise or be organized, how did you overcome this?

“I made it a priority and blocked time out in my schedule to do it. If that meant getting up 6am on a Sunday to get it done then that’s what I will do. As I do at the moment when it needs to be done.”

Did you have any lightbulb moments along the way? If so, what were they?

“No not really. It’s all about being consistent and doing the right things right no matter how small the right things are. Once old habits are gone and you create new ones, you can really get in the flow and get momentum!”

Did you hit any plateaus? If so, how did you overcome them?

“No not really. Once I set my mind to something I don’t allow anything to hold me back.”

For anyone reading this who is looking to lose weight for the long term, do you have one single piece of advice you can give them?

“You can say I want to lose weight to yourself without any meaning. If you do that your journey will not last. The first thing you need to do is flick the switch in your brain and change your mindset. (Guy: I wrote a post on this here)”

“Set your goals by writing them down and set small targets to tick off along the way to keep you motivated. Accept that you will make mistakes along the way and know that they aren’t signs of you failing. Instead, get back up and learn from your mistakes and don’t let anything get in your way of achieving your goals. Once you set your goals don’t do anything that is not coherent with them. It’s cliche but it really is one step at a time, one day at time, one week at a time.”

Has your personal health journey inspired others?

“Yes, especially my dad. It’s been awesome to see him change the way he looks at food! As I am a fitness trainer, it’s been awesome to inspire and be around people who are on the same journey. There’s one case where a client lost over 23kg! Simply awesome to see people smash their goals.”

“I also hope this post inspires others too! If you are on a similar journey, please share it with us :)”

Apart from weight loss, has there been other benefits to your newfound health since you changed the way you eat and live?

“Everything in life is so much better! I feel vibrant again and I really can’t imagine going back to the old me.”

Thanks so much to Archie Basil for sharing his story. If you want to connect with Archie you’ll find him at Basil Bodies below:

Based out of Coburg, Melbourne, Victoria, Basil Bodies, is dedicated to helping people from all walks of life to look and feel their best, while developing a healthy lifestyle and preventing health disease.

Visit Archie online: Basilbodies.com

Call Basil Bodies on: 0402 197 515

Connect with Basil Bodies on Facebook

Did you enjoy the post? Do you know anyone you can share it with to help them kick-start their new vibrant selves? Are you on a similar journey yourself? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below… Stu

fuel your body with powerful, natural and nourishing foods ** click here **

Is barefoot running dangerous?

barefoot running

By Guy Lawrence

“The human foot is a work of art and a masterpiece of engineering.”
—Leonardo Da Vinci

Guy: These are just one of the questions we ask sports scientist, barefoot specialist and running coach David Chamberlain.

I must admit, myself and running are not the most compatible companions. If Forest Gump were a gazelle, I’d be a silverback gorilla! In saying that, running has always been in there or there abouts with my training.

A few years ago after a spell of chronic back pain, one of the things I looked at were the shoes I was wearing, which sparked an introduction with the barefoot minimalist shoe ‘The Vibram Five Fingers’ which you can read my review here. I’ve worn minimalist shoes ever since.  More

CrossFit Journey Part IV: A typical WOD session at CrossFit Bare

By Guy Lawrence

What is CrossFit? I’m still struggling with this question when I get asked. But when I tell people the first thing I do in the morning is check the CrossFit Bare website to see what today’s WOD is, I usually get two responses that go something like this:

  1. Uh? Don’t you think that’s a little obsessive? What’s wrong with you mun!
  2. Wow…Really! What’s a WOD? Tell me more…

This post is dedicated to the latter…

Guy: Hi this is Guy of 180 Nutrition and today on my crossfit journey I wanted to take you through a typical WOD which is a workout of the day here at crossfit Bare. Now, wht’s inspired this is that Cassie my coach has just entered me into a competition in October. Now, A – I never thought I’d be doing that and B- it’s not as daunting as it sounds as it’s divided into three categories which is intermediate, advanced and also there is a beginner category for somebody like myself which is definitely where I’ll start. What we have here is the whiteboard which is the cornerstop of crossfit. Everyday we walk in here and this displays the workout of the day. So what’s on here today is what our fellow crossfitter Khan or KP as he’s known as has written for us. The idea is that this is scaled from beginner, intermediate or advanced and we just wanted to show you the different things that we can do so crossfit can cater for anyone.

Khan: How are you going guys, alrighty so like with any class we’re going to start off with a warm up today and our warm up is going to be broken down into two components. We’ve got the initial two minutes of double unders and single skips which guy is going to kindly demo for us in a moment followed by a bit of mobility with the spiderman complex followed by pass throughs. These are basically going to prep the joints, prep the body for the movements to come. Alright Guy, let’s go.

Guy: Nice t-shirt mate…

Khan: So Guy’s got the rope here and we’re going to start with the single unders followed by the double unders. Its the same sort of movement just a vary degree of the exercise. So we’ve got the beginner, Guy’s kindly de-robing for us there (nice t-shirt mate). So he’s going to start off with some single unders which is just a basic skip, one jump one rotation of the rope. Now the more advanced version of the exercise is the double under as just as it sounds it’s going to be one jump but two rotations of the rope… Ideally you’ll go a little bit longer than that though… beautiful. Alright from here were going to go straight into the spiderman complex. So Guy is going to drop down and start for us. Now you’ll notice what he is doing is opening up the hips here, we’re going to have squats, we’re going to have cleans, we’re going to have box jumps later on in the workout so we want the hips nice and open nice and mobilised beforehand. So dropping nice and low here, we’re gonna drop the inside arm down as well. Beautiful Guy, we’ll hold that for a little longer though, now we’re going to swap legs. Just do some little circles with the back leg here to really open up that hip joint. Beautiful from here we go on to the pass through, we’re going to use a dowel for the pass throughs, and this one’s to open up the shoulder joint. There you have it guys, that’s going to be the standard warm up that we start up with for most workouts.

Alright, next up in the workout is going to be a strength component and our life for today is going to be the clean. We have got 4 different types of the clean to cater to 4 different types of athlete. First up we’re going to have Guy run through the med ball clean which is the beginner version of the exercise and then we are going to have Josh who you may remember from the last video that we made go through the hand clean, power clean and squat clean.

Part 1 – Med ball cleans

med_ballComing over to Guy first, now Guy is going to demonstrate the medball clean, very nice Guy. Then we have josh over here, Josh, nice shirt mate. Now Josh is avery strong guy and this is light weight for him and he’s just going to use the weight at this level to demonstrate perfect technique. OK Josh so take it away with the hang clean, beautiful. And now for the power clean, so he’s going from the ground this time, very nice, one more. And lastly the squat clean, this is the most advanced version of the exercise which Josh makes look very easy there.

Alrighty, next up we’ve got the workout of the day or the WOD as it’s written. Now you’ll see that we’ve got three different WOD’s written up, they are all basically the same workout just three different levels. We’ve got level 1 which is the beginner version of the workout, level 2 which is the intermediate version and level 3 which is the RX or as prescribed version for the advanced athletes. Now Josh, Guy and myself are going to run you through each of the three different exercises and each of the different levels.

Part 2 – Box jump

180_nutrition_crossfit_box_jumpGuy: OK, so I’m basically going to do the level 1 step-up, which is essentially a step up and if we wanted to take that a little bit further we could take that into a box jump. Josh is going to show us a level 2 box jump look like.

Josh: Jump up, full extension and off, up, extend and off

Guy: And Khan, 30 inch box jump

Khan: then come into full extension at the top, down and up.

Part 3 – Front squat

180nutrition_crossfit_front_squatJosh: Ok guys hey it’s Josh. I’m going to be coaching Guy and Khan through the squat so we’re going to be going from the beginner level which is the air squat, I’m going to show you the goblet squat and the the front squat. So first of the all the coaching point for guy is weight on heels, heels heels heels. We’re going to sit back, arse back and squat through. You’ll see how his hip crease goes below the knee, perfect nice.

For the goblet squat, use a kettlebell or a dumbbell, hold it high and pull the belly button towards the spine. Sitting back, heels, heels heels, perfect Josh (LOL).

Use that front rack position with high elbows. Perfect, well done.

Part 4 – Gymnastic rings

CrossFit gymnastic ringsGuy: Now we are on to the last part of our WOD. We’ve covered the power and we’ve covered the strength, and now we are into the back section of the gym which is the gymnastics component. We are now going to show you three ways to essentially master the muscle up. I’m going to show you level one which is simply a ring row.

So that’s the first exercise to master. Now if you come over this way, we have Josh who’s going to show us level two.

Josh: we are going to do a pull up first. There is the strict pullup or the Kipling pull up. After that we do is move onto ring dips. So I get myself nice and stable and use what’s called a hollow body position. With the hollow body dip down and up, down and up.

Guy: essentially, these two movements have to be mastered before we move onto level three, which is the muscle up. And mister KP himself is going to demonstrate that for us.

Khan: we are doing a strict muscle up today cause we don’t have much room to do a kip muscle up. This is harder than the kip muscle up.
So bum on the ground, hands turned out sitting in a nice L position like this. Then we are going to turn the hands in whilst pulling ourselves up, and the muscle up is going to look something like this.
And up onto the rings like so, finishing in the top of the ring position. And then back down, hands out at the bottom, and back up like so. You can see how the initial part of the movement is a pull, and the second part of the movement is a ring dip. And that’s why we master the other to levels before we master the muscle up.

Guy: Khan has made that look very easy, which is essentially a very difficult exercise to master, believe me!

Khan: thanks mate.

Guy: So we’ve just gone through the three levels of the workout and after the WOD itself we always finish off on a bonus and a mobility and I’ll let Khan explain that before we finish up.

Khan: Thanks Guy, so the bonus we’re generally going to work on a bit of skill or a little bit core. Today we’ve got three different exercises to run through and then mobility we’re going to roll out the quads. Mobility is something that Guy is going to cover in another installment for you Guys.

Guy: So essentially that’s normally the last five minutes and have a bit of a cha,t and hang out and high five ourselves of how wonderful we’ve done through the workout over the last 45 minutes or so. So as you can see it can all be completely scaled and can be done by a variety of people so I’m just going to continue and try and master these for the competition in October, which I’ sure we’ll cover later in the blog. Until the next time, I hope you learned something from today, thanks.

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

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What is CrossFit? My journey begins at CrossFit Bare in Sydney


By Guy Lawrence

In this video (length 3:04sec)

  • What is CrossFit?
  • My Crossfit journey at CrossFit Bare
  • Before & after photo of Lynne Knapman. She lost 25kg with the help of CrossFit.
  • Why CrossFit can be for anyone & everyone
  • What are progressive exercises
  • And much more…

What is CrossFit?

It’s a question I honestly struggle with. For me CrossFit is an ‘experience’ and it is near on impossible to sum up in one sentence. When I get asked what do I do for training, I say CrossFit. Nearly every response I get receives a vague look with questions like ‘CrossFit rings a bell but…isn’t it for the fanatical?’. Then others simply have no idea what I’m on about.

My Journey at CrossFit Bare in Sydney

Over the next few months I’ve decided to blog about my CrossFit journey at CrossFit Bare in Bondi-Junction, Sydney. I’m enjoying it that much I wanted to help reveal a side to CrossFit that I feel can be easily overlooked by many.CrossFit_Bare

I’m from a village in Wales. I would walk down my street to the local shop which was 200m away. This could take me up to an hour on times from bumping into people and talking. I would pretty much know everyone, and this is an experience I don’t get as much from living in the big smoke.

I have a lot of experience when it comes to commercial gyms, and whilst there is all the glamour with bells and whistles, I feel a lot of them lack soul. I may have been a member but I never felt like I belonged. Maybe this is just my country ways.

People who know me know that I like to chat, be part of something bigger than myself and embrace others. CrossFit has given me that. That community feeling that I crave and I’m loving it.

I hope I do CrossFit justice and that you enjoy this discovery with me as I start my journey at CrossFit Bare…Warm regards, Guy.

Ps. The picture in the video was taken of Lynne Knapman pre-CrossFit and 25kg over weight (Cassie’s maths teacher) and was taken in June 2010. The picture of Lynne post-CrossFit is her competing in this years Australian Regional CrossFit Games in April 2012. She is an amazing inspiration! More

Exercise less & lose more weight (part II): The best exercises for weight loss

best_exercise_for_weight_loss

By Guy Lawrence

“If you motivate an idiot, they just do stupid things faster… Education is key!” – Unknown

Last week I told my mate he needed to exercise less to improve his health and lose more weight. If you have no idea what I’m on about, read this post first (part 1) before going on. I asked him if he liked the idea of exercising 1 hour a week instead of 1 hour a session. He did…

I’d finally started to make some inroads with his way of thinking. He could see that to gain success with weight loss, it needed to be a byproduct of living a healthy lifestyle. Not living for weight loss and hoping he’d become healthy. A subtle difference but an extremely important one.

I love exercise, I do it most days. I always look for ways at how it can be fun yet challenging, and for me it can be extremely rewarding too. But weight loss is the last thing on my mind, and I wanted to hammer it home for my mate too.

He asked me what/why exercises he should be doing and this is what I said…

His Goals: Health, fat loss & muscle tone

All of the above were my mates goals. For him to achieve this, contrary to popular belief, I believe more exercise is not necessarily better. The key is the quality of the exercise, not the quantity. The way I see it, jogging forever on the treadmill or spending hours lifting weights is not the way forward to achieve what he wanted (or anyone for that matter). And now he was wanting to know the best exercises for weight loss.

There’s a great saying – If you motivate an idiot, they just do stupid things faster…Education is key!

Not saying my mate is an idiot, but simply getting him pumped up and throwing on his trackies and running shoes isn’t necessarily the way forward.

Let’s take a look at his goals:

1) Health

I believe one of the biggest players when it comes to overall health is sleep. I don’t care how well you eat or exercise, if you don’t sleep well on a regular basis you are still going to go backwards.

We now know from the last post, another factor of his health will come from what he eats daily. I also believe the other major player in health is to stimulate the release of human growth hormone (HGH) on a regular basis. (this also ties in with sleep as well as exercise) This is like opening a parachute on ageing and slowing the whole process down, increasing vitality and preventing muscle wastage. (I wrote a post called The fountain of youth if you want to learn more about HGH).

Human Growth Hormone

What’s the best way to produce HGH? Short bursts of significant exertion along with brief rest periods. Rowing, cycling, sprinting  and even yoga are all good. But using weights &/or kettlebells are excellent. These can challenge the muscles very quickly in very few sets. The great thing about these exercises is that there are countless studies showing that they improve insulin sensitivity, prevent muscle wastage and actually lower insulin levels. This is a really cool thing because the less insulin you produce, the better your health and longevity. And remember, if insulin is present in the body, the body can’t burn body fat for fuel.

The other thing I wanted my mate to avoid was cortisol production. Long periods of excessive exercise has been shown to produce a lot of cortisol, which makes sense as it’s our primary stress hormone and exercise is a form of stress. Cortisol also raises blood sugar levels and is catabolic. In other words, it eats muscle and other tissue. So with long periods of exercise you can actually end up going backwards.

The one thing that really concerns me is that your heart is a muscle too, and it makes me wonder what excessive cortisol production would do to that.

2) Fat loss

Now what’s really really cool about shorter and more intense interval training is this: EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption). It’s the after effect if you like from the short bit of hard work you did. I wanted my mate to have this so his afterburners are kicking in many hours after he’s exercised. This is a much more effective way for burning body fat long after he’s finished training. But this is where the food he eats is crucial. We don’t want to elevate blood sugars and create an insulin response. Remember, less insulin production, more body fat burnt… Did I say that already?

diet afterburners

The other thing that’s a must is incidental fitness. In other words walk everywhere. Take the stairs, park further away. Simply try to move daily as much as possible. Fat is the main fuel for low levels of aerobic activity, and as long you are not eating high carbohydrate foods and creating an insulin response you will steadily burn body fat. Doesn’t sound glamorous, but if you were to carry a pedometer around with you for a week you will soon see that it all adds up.

3) Muscle tone

It still amazes me how many people (you ladies especially) that think they are going to get big and bulky if they do some body weight exercises or weight training. Putting on size is a lot of hard work for guys, and almost impossible for girls.

Lets look at the facts. If you have 1kg of muscle and 1kg of fat side by side, the 1kg of muscle would be approximately 20% smaller. If you did a straight exchange for say 5kg of fat for 5kg of muscle, I assure you you would like the end result! Your body size would have decreased, body fat would be lower and you’d be left with a much more taut and firm body. Now who wouldn’t want that exchange?

MUscle vs Fat

Hot tip: Throw away your weighing scales and use clothing size for reference instead.

The best exercises for weight loss

So what’s the best exercise for weight loss? If you are like most people I’ve spoken to, then dropping the love handles and being healthy, lean and trim with some muscle definition is the usual response. And combining the above things I’ve mentioned will get you there (providing your nutrition is in check).

In a nutshell it’s short sharp bursts of exercise that will create an EPOC response for recovery, along with using those muscles to create HGH and muscle tone which will also further improve metabolism when recovering. Throw in daily incidental fitness everywhere you go and you will end up becoming a fat burning machine.

This all sounds well and dandy, but if you’ve been hunched over a computer for a year and the most energetic thing you’ve done is pull your pants up this morning, believe me, you’d be in a world of pain if you applied the above concepts straight off.

So what’s the key? Progression.

Scalable progressive exercise

The reality is, until I spend some time with my mate, I’m not sure whether he could do 20 air squats or 20 weighted squats (I could have a good guess though!). Sprint 10m or sprint 400m five times. Swing a KettleBell or knock himself out with it! But as you can see, all these exercises are scalable.  (I wrote a post a while ago on the benefits of a KettleBell swing and how to make it progressive. If you would like to do a KettleBell course, I can highly recommend AIK).

If there was one impression I wanted to leave with my mate with it was this: Start with what you feel is comfortable, it needn’t be more than 20-25min of exercise. Each session you should look to increase the intensity slowly by increasing the difficulty, but not the time. All he needed to do was ask himself how can I make this a little harder than last week? And then apply it. He would then be making his exercise regime progressive. Make sense?

An example of a workout for my mate would look something like this:-

4 rounds for time:

All these exercises are scalable and simply reducing the rest increases intensity too. My mate could knock this out in under 20min no problem. If he then looked to mix it up and varied it every time he did a workout he would have a much greater responce, as he will keep his body guessing. The choices are endless.

So what exercises apply to everyone else? It depends on whether you are a couch potato, weekend warrior or a supreme specimen of athleticism. But more or less the principles will remain the same.

Just remeber, if the most energetic thing you’ve done today is pull your pants up… Go slow to begin with!

Improve your daily diet with a 180 smoothie here

On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thought’s and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.

If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thought’s in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…