Sometimes, short stories help to paint the picture, so here I go… one fine Saturday morning at our local cafe in Coogee after a very enjoyable ocean swim…
Friend: May I get the muesli fruit salad and a freshly squeezed apple juice please…
Me: Uh?? What happened to the big brekkie and long black you always order?
Friend: This is the new me mate… I need to drop a few kilos so I’m on a health kick!
I order an omelette and congratulate him on his new found enthusiasm for his health kick and weight loss plan. At this point I have two options:
A) I could sound like a food nazi and tell him my thoughts on what he just ordered… or B) Keep my mouth shut and wish him the best of luck.
I choose the latter… the last thing I wanted to do was dampen his spirits with my thoughts with weight loss and fruit, so I thought I’d put into a blog post instead and mail it to him…
Sugar, Fructose & the Forbidden Fruit
Whether you follow a Paleo lifestyle or you are some kind of fruitarian, fruit is fruit. So lets take a look at my friends muesli fruit salad first.
I noticed there was a fair bit of banana in there, I’m guessing half of one.
So the first thing that pops in my head whilst eating my omelette is this:
Weight loss & fruit hot tip No. 1
i)A banana contains approximately 40-60g of carbohydrates (4-5tsp’s of that is sugar). I’ve found over the years, for effective weight loss, many peoples daily carb’ intake needs to come in under 150g per day minimum (& that’s mainly veggies). One banana and you’ve almost hit a 1/3rd of your quota!
ii)To burn off that banana it could take up to 1hr of fairly intense exercise. In my friends case 1/2 hr.
Remember, he’s trying to lose weight here, not maintain his weight. And is he training intensively often? Not likely (sorry mate)…
Then there is the other fruit in the bowl, but more on the fruit itself in a sec’. Let’s take a look at the muesli.
Weight loss & fruit hot tip No. 2
I) Muesli is usually 40-45% sugar content! (yes even your ‘healthy’ ones).
II) Dried fruit (which is in the muesli) is simply a sugar hit, it’s not nutritional. Look at it this way… If you ate enough raisins to cover the palm of your hand you have just consumed roughly 10 tsp’s of sugar! Yes, 10 tsp’s!
Then there’s the chopped up fruit on top of the muesli along with the half banana. Let’s say for arguments sake it equals one piece of fruit. There’s another 4 tsps’s of sugar.
So far my friend is up to approximately (I’ll be conservative here) 12-15 tsp’s of sugar.
The next question he should ask himself is if his muesli fruit salad is nutritional?
I’m not going to mention the rolled processed oats here, I’ll keep that for another post, let’s just stick to the fruit.
Have you ever wondered how fruit can stay fresh for so long?
Imagine having a apple tree in the back garden. When the fruit falls from the tree onto the ground, how long does it last there? Would it be fair to say a few days or week at most before it begins to rot?
If you are a major food corporation this would cause a problem. When delivering fruit to the retailers, by the time it’s transported, shelved and then sold, this process can be a considerably long time. Then think how long it lasts after you purchased it and have it sitting in the fruit bowl or the fridge. A little bit different to your apple tree in the back garden don’t you think?
For it to stay ‘fresh‘ for so long they coat the fruit in a waxing mineral oil, which retains the moisture. This is waterproof, so washing your fruit won’t help it either. A quick search on the net and you’ll find different information about this and the waxes they use, which vary the longevity of the fruit.
In the food industry, where it may be called “wax”, it can be used as a lubricant in mechanical mixing, applied to baking tins to ensure that loaves are easily released when cooked and as a coating for fruit or other items requiring a “shiny” appearance for sale - Wikipedia
From my understanding, the problem with this is that the fruit cannot breath. Combine this with stored refrigeration and the fruit will slowly begin to ferment. The sugar content goes up and the nutritional value goes down.
Personally, I’m not too keen on the idea of eating fruit coated in waxing mineral oil, which is months old and has little nutritional value.
I still find this amazing! Does anyone have more thoughts on this? Would love to hear more on this…
Last but not least, let us take a look at my mates freshly squeezed apple juice:
Weight loss & fruit hot tip No. 3
i)Juicing fruit removes a lot of the nutrients (what’s left of them anyway with waxing & storage) by taking away the pulp and fibre. This makes for a much more concentrated dose of sugar water. You are much better off eating the pulp instead!
ii) Let’s say it takes 3-4 apples to make his freshly squeezed apple juice. One piece of fruit equals 4tsp’s. There’s 12-16 tsp’s of sugar right there!
iii)A glass of freshly squeezed apple juice is the equivalent to drinking a can of coke! Those apples can be organic and blessed by a Tibetan monk, it would still equal a can of coke. All you are really drinking is flavoured sugar water.
But isn’t the Sugar in Fruit Different?
The sugar in fruit is fructose. This is a little different to your regular table sugar as fructose has no immediate effect on your blood sugar levels. The reason for this is that it is metabolised almost exclusively by the liver. Even though there is no immediate effect, it has plenty of long term effect.
The liver has never evolved enough to the kind of fructose load we are starting to have in modern diets. When we flood the liver with fructose, our liver responds by turning much of it into fat shipping it off to become fat tissue. This means that this is the carbohydrate we can convert to fat most readily! If this is done over many years along with other sugars and processed foods, you are seriously asking for trouble.
In my mates case, he’s had a big hit of concentrated fructose from the juice and the fruit muesli. Along with long term storage of fruit and wax, the question he needs to ask himself is – by eating this kind of breakfast am I helping my health kick and new weight loss plan?
“The medical profession thinks fructose is better for diabetics than sugar,” says Meira Field, PhD, a research chemist at United States Department of Agriculture, “but every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. However, all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of the rats on the high-fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic.” While a few other tissues (e.g., sperm cells and some intestinal cells) do use fructose directly, fructose is almost entirely metabolized in the liver.
“When fructose reaches the liver,” says Dr. William J. Whelan, a biochemist at the University of Miami School of Medicine, “the liver goes bananas and stops everything else to metabolize the fructose.” - Wikipedia
I don’t want to make out that fruit is the villain here, but I do feel smarter choices are needed regarding fruit. When you think that over 60% of our daily calories in the typical western diet includes – cereals and grains, sweetened dairy products, vegetable oils, dressing and condiments, sugar, bars and sweets – Rewind the clock and look at a Palaeolithic human existence, humans would not have derived any of their energy from these things. If you are eating many of the above foods and then compound it with fruit and more importantly fructose, surely this is only fuelling the problem with ones weight?… but more importantly health?
Do I eat fruit?
Yes I do, but not a great deal of it and I buy organic when possible. I’ll usually use a few strawberries or dessert spoon of berries in my 180 protein smoothie in the morning along with a fresh coconut for breakfast. This is simple to prepare and non processed. I’ll also have a 180 protein smoothie with a banana in after an intense workout. I’ll have the odd apple or orange if I feel a bit parched. So I’ll end up having at least 1-2 pieces of fruit in my daily diet, but keep in mind I’m a pretty active person and I’m usually doing some kind of exercise, whether it be gym or play six days a week.
I don’t drink fresh fruit juices, if I do have a juice it’s vegetable based – spinach, celery, cucumber, capsicum etc. I usually sweeten it up with a yellow grapefruit and a lemon. This makes for interesting taste but I honestly don’t mind it. I find things taste very different when you have hardly any sugar in you diet. At the very least go for 30% fruit and 70% green based vegetables.
To sum it up:
I eat organic fruit when possible
I mainly eat berries, strawberries & raspberries
If I’m training fairly intensely I’ll also eat bananas
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy:Imagine if you could supercharge your hormones, strength, mood and health with a short daily routine, a little commitment and guidance with the right techniques. In the short video above, we have Wim Hof (aka The Iceman) walking us through what is known as the ‘Wim Hof Method’.
With over 20 world records under his belt where he has pushed his body beyond what was thought humanly possible, Wim’s message is not to be taken lightly as he shares with us why he believes everybody is capable of much greater things than they ever dreamed of.
“We can do more than what we think.” It’s a belief system that I have adopted and it has become my motto. There is more than meets the eye and unless you are willing to experience new things, you’ll never realize your full potential.” ― Wim Hof, Becoming the Iceman
Some of Wim Hof’s incredible accomplishments include:
He climbed to 6700 meters (22,000 ft) altitude at Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes
Completed a full marathon (42.195 km), above the arctic circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C dressed in nothing but shorts
Holds the ice endurance record in by standing fully immersed in ice for 1 hour and 52 minutes and 42 seconds
In 2011, Hof also ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water.
Guy: Hey this is Guy Lawrence on 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s house sessions. We have a pillar of a guest for you today and his name is Wim Hof, the Ice Man. I must admit I was very excited to hear when Wim was coming on and I had an absolute blast today. If you’re unfamiliar with Wim and his work we’ll get into that in sec. He actually holds over 20 world records which is amazing. He’s done some amazing feats. He’s climbed Mount Everest in his shorts and got 6,700 meters in altitude. He’s only in his shorts and boots. He’s completed a full marathon above the Arctic Circle in Finland in temperatures up to minus 20 degrees Celsius which is minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit dressed in nothing but shorts. He’s also brought the ice endurance record by being fully immersed in ice for an hour and 44 minutes. I can’t handle 2 minutes in a cold shower, think about that. He’s also run a marathon in the Namibian Desert without water.
He’s done all these amazing feats and showing what the human body is capable of. Today he’s coming on the show to get that message out there because he’s sharing what he can now call what is well known as the Wim Hof Method. The Wim Hof method we will get into fully into the Podcast, but he’s essentially using 3 elements which is the breath, the cold and the commitment all from a person. By combining these things if practiced daily, what Wim is saying, everyone is capable if they want to even do what he’s gone on and done. Not that we want to go on and do it, but it’s allowing people to do more than they ever thought was capable of as a human being.
With the right training, using these methods and exercises he’s saying you can make your inner nature stronger and prevent disease. By doing that some of the other side effects like improving sleep, recovering faster, even works with athletes, reducing inflammation which is a big one of course, getting [00:02:00] bottomless energy and so forth and so forth. We dive into it. I will say I thought Wim today was just awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The guy is larger than life. He’s a very happy go lucky guy and he’s very authentic and true to himself which is just an awesome quality to have.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. Just go with the ride. This episode goes off in every direction possible and then bring it all back and how it can apply it to your own daily life. I have no doubt you’re going to enjoy. I just want to thank everyone for, people have been living reviews. I’m just going to give a shout out to Jess Holley who left a nice review recently. Even if you did say I mumble, which you’re not the only first person to say that, then having a Welshman and a Dutchman as a guest today you’re going to really enjoy it. Let’s go over to Wim, enjoy the show, go on guys. Hi this is Guy Lawrence, I’m joined with Stewart Cook as always, hi Stewart?
Stu: Hello mate.
Guy: Our fantastic guest today is Mr. Wim Hof. Wim welcome to the show.
Wim: Hi Guy, thank you.
Guy: It is a pleasure to have you on mate. I’ve told a lot of people over the last couple of weeks, once I knew you were coming on to the podcast, I go “We’ve got Wim Hof, the Ice Man coming on.” I found there were two responses. The first one was like, “Oh my God,” they are raving fans and they go, “This guys is awesome, I can’t wait to hear it.” The second response was they had no idea what I was talking about. I’m hoping we can please both parties today with the interview because I have no doubt … I have a sneaky suspicion a lot of our listeners will be exposed in your work done for the first time. It did get me wondering how to explain it and it got me thinking as well Wim, if you were in a cocktail party and somebody came up to you and said, “What do you do?” how would you answer that? [00:04:00]
Wim: I would say, “They call me the Ice Man but I’m just an investigator in life” because I’m totally relaxed now. I don’t look for recognition or anything like that. I’m just at ease and I say, “Yeah, cheers man nice drink.”
Guy: Perfect answer mate. Where did it all begin for you? For the listeners who are not familiar with you Wim and your work because it’s so different. It’s not something you sort of wake up and just go, “I’m going to get involved, put myself in cold water and breath work.” Where did your journey start for you?
Wim: It was when I was 12 years I began to have this longing for, thinking about there is a deeper existence. I don’t know what it is, but it crawled up on me. It made me read when I was 12 years old books on psychology and Hinduism and Buddhism and esoteric disciplines. I began to do my practice in Yoga and Karate and Kung Fu and Meditation and all that. It was a great mystery, just trying the utmost to get this feel from the East into my Western body, my Western understanding.
Years later, 5 years later, 6 years later, I came across the cold. It was on a Sunday morning and I felt attracted to a thin layer of ice on the water. I went in and there I felt from within [00:06:00] this is it. It made me feel really connected within. From there I returned every day and my breathing pattern changed because it has to change and it naturally changes because exposed to cold impact you have to breathe deeper. More effectively cold is an impact, is a force on the body. You need oxygen. You learn to breathe effectively deeper. I came across when I went in the cold water, just 25 of these deep breaths and I could sit 5 to 7 minutes under the ice.
Guy: That’s incredible.
Wim: The only thing I heard then was … like being at home. It’s a tremendous deep feeling and it gave me of course a tremendous power, a power connection within the depth of my body. That makes the senses all stronger like you are on drugs. Very silent down there, very powerful because the cold is a force and you need to develop something inside to oppose that. It makes you feel great from within. This is the way that it all started.
Guy: That was all instinctive, that was just you, just following your own instinct and figuring it out for yourself?
Wim: Yes exactly. It was instinct and having read so many books [00:08:00] on esoteric disciplines, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholic, Mystical disciplines etc. I dind’t get it from the books. It felt intuitively. I had to go into this water and from there something deeper in my brain was ignited, was awakened. From there I began to explore more and more into the human body, the human physiology because it just feels great. It creates a great strong feeling inside. I was longing for that. That was my inner power or … Everybody has it. It is just that I was looking for it and I got the answer inside. Now I’m teaching everybody. I’m seeing that everybody actually is very able to tap in deeper into the physiology the way nature has meant it to be.
Stu: I listened to a podcast recently, Wim, with Joe Rogan and you were the guest. It was an excellent podcast. It was a long podcast, so I got to listen to heaps of your background and story. I noticed that from your experiences in the ice you have set up something called the Wim Hof Method where the likes of Guy and myself could log on and start to learn these techniques. I just wondered if you could just tell me a little bit about what that program actually is and what it does.
Wim: Yes, I’m sorry, I forgot your name again.
Wim: Stu, okay it’s almost soup [00:10:00] Stu.
Stu: It’s almost stew, but it’s hot, so it probably wouldn’t go down that well with you.
Wim: Yeah. I don’t know. I always go for extremes, but easy does it. Make jokes, no war, that’s what I always say. The thing is the Wim Hof Method has been derived after we subjected all what I know from nature in laboratory settings, in research centers. In the universities they saw that the techniques which I adopted in nature, which I learned in nature, that they work on the deepest levels of the immune system. Their hormonal system, they found out that it is the first time we have influenced into the autonomic nervous system like it was never been proved scientifically to be possible. Now we did. 12 people I trained and this is important for the listener.
Guy: When was this Wim when you-
Wim: Two years ago. Finally we could have this study framed, a comparative study, where I was training 18 people into my techniques and in 4 days they were able to show in the hospital to control a bacteria injected within a quarter of a hour. What normally the control group, they suffered from fever, headaches, [00:12:00] uncontrolled shivering, overall agony and my group whom I trained with my techniques-
Guy: For four days?
Wim: They didn’t suffer at all. Yeah, four days.
Guy: They were 12 of them and none of them got sick?
Wim: None of the got sick and it showed that they, in the blood, it showed that they all suppressed the cytokines which is inflammatory bodies in the blood. That means they were able to fend off the reaction of the bacteria injected, the reaction on the immune system which causes inflammation and so you get fever, headaches and all that. They were able to fend it off and had no symptoms at all. The techniques then, they became a method. The techniques are about breathing, little cold exposure and mindset. If I talk about … Just have it over there. Breathing, cold exposure, mindset, that’s it.
Stu: Your breathing as well is different in the way that we’re used to breathing, isn’t it, because I’m guessing … We’re told that a lot of us don’t really breathe that well and we don’t take a big deep lung full of air and we shallow breathe quite a lot as well. How does your breathing differ from perhaps what we’re doing right now?
Wim: There are two very interesting points they saw in the hospital. One is after you do this breathing technique30, 40 times, deep breathe in, letting go, deep breathe in letting go of course you become light headed and loosen the body and tingling [00:14:00] you feel. That’s because oxygen gets into the nervous system and it creates, causes a tingling, that’s one. There’s a lot of, the C02, carbon dioxide, just gets out. Then when you stop after exhalation you will be able to stay one, two minutes without air in the lungs. That’s one. What happens is that simultaneously the PH level goes up, PH level in the blood, and after one and a half minutes without air in the lungs … Hello what is this? Is it finished?
Wim: Are you still hearing me?
Guy: We’re still here, we’re still here.
Wim: I lost side of Guy.
Guy: You don’t want that.
Speaker 3 I touched something, I touched something. I’m very …
Stu: You’ve got electricity in there, don’t touch it.
Wim: Yeah, yeah. There you are, hi mate.
Stu: I tried your experiment after I’d listened to your podcast with Joe Rogan. I thought, “I’m going to try this myself.” First off I tried to hold my breath, just straight off the bat. I just thought. “Right, take a deep breath, hold my breath, how long could I do it?” I got to 45 seconds. Then I did 30 of these really deep breaths and I reckon we’ll ask you to guide us through exactly what that looks like in a moment, but I did 30 of those and I managed to hold my breath for two and a half minutes [00:16:00].
Wim: Nice, how do you feel that? Don’t you feel the inner power then?
Stu: It was very strange because then the next day I thought, “I’m going to apply this underwater.” I went to a local tidal pool with some friends and I said, “Just keep an eye on me, just in case.” I did some deep breaths and then I dove down and I swam across to the other side of the pool and it was quite a long pool. As I was swimming under water I was thinking, “This is really strange. I don’t need to breathe, but I know that I probably should be, but I don’t need to breathe.” I got all the way across the other side of the pool and turned around and started to come back. I though, “There’s something different here.”
Wim: You just became a fish. You know what happens Stu? Is that the PH level, they really go up very rapidly. We breathe to have the PH levels right. When the PH levels are right, you don’t need to breathe, that’s it.
Stu: It’s the way it is.
Wim: You know what happens? It’s genius mam. It’s so simple and nobody knew anymore, the cold taught me. “You just breathe motherfucker,” it taught me, “You go inside and you do that.” This is the way nature meant it to be, bring up your PH levels. Then you become strong without training. You awake this ability, this capability of ours. Everybody is able to do that. After one and a half minutes without air in the lungs, you see that the oxygen in the hospital, we saw this all, we see that the oxygen decreases dramatically. You know what happens in the deepest of the brain then, is the reptilian brain, the primitive [00:18:00] brain, the brain stem, it’s all the same. If we [inaudible 00:18:06] on oxygen, when there is no oxygen it tells, “Danger, danger, danger!” but there is no danger because the PH levels are up. You know why? Because we did it consciously. We’re not like animals. Animals do not do breathing exercises. Only humans can do that. That’s the difference. That’s why I always say a part of this, I always say to people, breathe consciously.
Later on I will explain about this. The thing is after one and a half minute it decreases the oxygen level. Could decrease even up til the measurement device is not able to measure it anymore and it jumps down to 30. It needs to be 100%, but it can lower up to 30% and then it is shut down. The measurement device says, “This man is dead, dead, dead,” but is not. We just tricked the brain and what happens then with this brain stem, this primitive brain, it reacts on having no oxygen there. Then the adrenaline shock comes, boom, and it resets the body completely.
Of course why do you need adrenaline, that’s for a dangerous situation to be able to escape as fast as possible. It brings your body in alert, there you are and there you go, that’s why it is. We get a peak of adrenaline and that resets the body in the right natural way. Then these people in the hospital I taught were able to fend off the bacteria. They got a contact, [00:20:00] resetting the body means also that the immune system is accessible, hormonal system is accessible. You know what they saw? They saw them lying in bed producing more adrenaline than somebody in fear going for its first bungee jump and totally at ease.
Stu: Is that just with breathing or is that in combination with breathing, cold water therapy and then also mindset, some kind of mindset training. Is that those three elements combined?
Wim: No. This is just the breathing and use the mindset as well to go deeper. I will tell you about the mindset. The mindset is nothing more than thoughts. The thoughts translated chemically are neuron transmitters in the hormonal system and in an electrical potential, a signal in the nervous system. They work together, the hormonal and the nervous system. They work as one. This is the hormone, the molecule, whatever particle it is. The other one is the electricity which is the nervous system, they work together. Based on taking blood without movement, me standing before a tank I was gone into the tank for say 80 minutes into ice water or ice cube and to fill it up until my neck. Then they took the blood. I was not moving, but because I knew I was going inside they saw 300%, more metabolic activity in the cell.
Guy: Because you’d seen the ice tank before you got in?
Wim: Yeah. I’ve got to go [00:22:00] inside. I’m ordering inside heat. I’m ordering energy in the cell.
Guy: Is that happening automatically.
Wim: That’s mindset.
Guy: Is that happening automatically, just because without you …
Wim: For that you need the right PH level, right PH level, because a neuron transmitter, together with electrical signal, which constitutes the thought, needs to travel in the body. The travelling is done by the right PH level. Otherwise it’s like gasoline with sugar. A low acidic state of ours doesn’t let a neuron transmitters go freely and it’s not listening so well. With the breathing before I go into the tank, then ordering with my thought, the thought and the breathing together brings up the PH level. Then the thought, the neuron transmitter, is able to travel throughout the body easily and generates or influence cell activity. Anybody could do it.
Guy: The heat being generated inside, is that the autonomic nervous system kicking in that …
Wim: Sure. All these 12 people did it. That’s the autonomic nervous system was until recently, until last year, it was scientifically, people were not able to tap into the autonomic nervous system. After 200 years of science [00:24:00] it all starts in the books, the autonomic nervous system. What is autonomic? Outside of our will. Now it is within our will. That’s because it’s like you swimming under the water, you didn’t think before you were able to that. Then suddenly you find yourself, “I don’t need to breath.” It was always said, “You need to breathe, you need to breathe, you need to breathe.” We think, “We need to breathe, we need to breathe.” All these signs made us think we are not able to tackle disease or to control our food or energy. Now I say, “Yes we are.”
Stu: The autonomic …
Guy: You there Wim?
Wim: Yes I’m here.
Guy: Sorry the camera has gone off.
Stu: It’ll pop back on. Just thinking, when the autonomic nervous system then is basically the … our bodily’s unconscious functions like I guess breathing for one.
Wim: Exactly. If we do not breathe it makes us breathe. Now we are able to consciously intensify this breathing. Thus we change the chemistry in our body.
Stu: I wondered then if we could go back to the breath work and just in order to tap into that breathing technique, if you could maybe just guide us through a few breaths so everybody at home could get a true indication of how we would do this differently than what we’re currently doing right now.
Wim: Yes. Okay there [00:26:00] you are, now we can start.
Guy: I still can’t see you Wim.
Wim: You can’t see me?
Wim: [Dutch 00:26:12] The autonomic nervous system, as I’m explaining I got into and outside of will, outside my control and I touch all kinds of things here on the board. I really got to try them men.
Guy: That’s brilliant, I love it, I absolutely love it.
Stu: This breathing technique, most of us when we get scared for instance we might … we’re hyperventilating. Your techniques, can you just step us through exactly how we would have to breathe to access this?
Wim: Yes We do 35 deep breaths, relax now. You guys relax, are you relaxed?
Wim: What do you think of, your wife or what? I got a joke. As long as you relax it’s okay. Anything that makes people relax is okay. There we go. It doesn’t matter if you … I always say, it doesn’t matter what kind of hole you use, just get it in, and let go. Deeply in.
Guy: 35 breaths?
Wim: Yeah, and let go. Deeply in, yeah and let go and deeply in, and let go. Once again deeply in, let go [00:28:00]. Four deeply in, all right. 30 more, keep on, keep on. I’m light headed, loosen the body. know what happens physiologically. We’ll explain later.
Stu: I’m going to continue to talk as Guy this because I’ve done this at home already and …
Wim: Come on Guy, get him on.
Guy: It’s number 10.
Wim: 26 more.
Wim: Deeper, deeper Guy, Deeper.
Wim: You guide him, you guide him.
Stu: That’s it, slowly out. Not too much out, just slow … that’s it.
Guy: Thumbs are shaking.
Stu: I’m hoping he’s going to clap.
Wim: Go on, go on.
Stu: That’s it.
Wim: 21, Okay, almost 20. Go.
Stu: Keep going, nice big deep breaths.
Wim: Yeah. Go for it, gasp for air, let it go. He’s all almost there. Not so good, get high on your own supply men.
Stu: That’s it Guy, keep on going, a couple of more, couple of more.
Wim: I’ve got the standard watch here.
Stu: We’ll do a breathe hold after, shall we?
Guy: One more?
Wim: Yeah. That go stop.s
P2 That’s it. [00:30:00] You hold your breath Guy and while you’re doing that Wim’s going to be recording. What I’m going to ask you Wim now is as a newcomer to this and I’m interested in your breathing techniques, the cold water therapy, all of these things, what benefits would I expect outside of tapping into the autonomic like nervous system which is huge, but I guess for anybody that doesn’t really know what that is, am I just going to be generally healthier or am I going go to ward off infections? Am I going to sleep better? What will I get out of it?
Wim: That’s just three of them. You get more energy because the chemistry interestin the body is going to be better. You get more energy. Like 52 seconds, 53 …
Stu: Come on Guy, he doesn’t need to be …
Wim: It’s all right, I hate this feeling. It is nice. Yeah man, it’s your body man. Your body talking to you, “Hey where have you been all this time?”
Guy: I got to breathe, my arms are on fire.
Stu: How long did he take?
Stu: 110, Guy that …
Guy: There was a couple of things I didn’t get. The last question, when I breathe fully out, do I breathe fully out or just let go and then hold or …
Wim: You let go.
Guy: Just let go.
Wim: You’ll just let go and maybe one liter of oxygen, air will remain.
Guy: Right, because I thought, the first 15 seconds was the hardest because I felt “Wow, everything’s going to …” I was controlling just to keep this urge that wanted to come through and then it settled down and then. The heat through my shoulders and my arms now is … Yeah wow.
Wim: With this conscious breathing we influence the chemistry in the body. Stu, [00:32:00] about the benefits, you tap in into the hormonal system and what is happiness? Happiness are hormones. What is strength? Those are hormones, like adrenaline and all that. What is health? That’s the immune system. We tap into these both, the systems, and enable us to have a much higher degree in control over our mood, strength and health. That’s it.
Stu: Excellent, because at the weekends, every Saturday we … a group of friends from the surf club, we all go on a big ocean swim. We do this year round. The temperature over here is pretty good. In the winter it might drop down to maybe 16 degrees in the water, but generally it’s about 18 to 20 degrees. There’s one guy in the group and he’s from Serbia. Regardless of what the ocean temperature is he will come in and he will always have a cold shower and we always scrabble, put 20 cents in and get the hot showers coming out and we stand under it for 5 minutes. He always has a cold shower and he never gets sick. He never gets sick.
Wim: That’s it. That’s it brother, brother holy mamma, that’s it. How simple it is. This is what it is. It doesn’t only make you feel good and tap into your systems. The conscious breathing brings, gives you access into whatever creates your mood. It’s not only about involuntarily create a bigger defense in the immune system in order not to become sick, but it also is that you with your will are able [00:34:00] to guide your mood and your strength. Your strength even. That’s what I’ve showed on cellular levels, but those are the benefits. I want this to be shown scientifically on and on and on. Because no money is involved. I don’t see here like 250 a dollar and 175 and hey, a bottle, 60 cents for a breath. You cannot buy this shit. You only can attain the richness of yourself by conscious breathing and take a cold shower and you better believe it, that’s the mindset. That’s all.
Guy: Have there been any studies yet Wim with people with any kind of health issues or illnesses of any kind that have been doing the techniques and have built their immune system and it’s helped them recover?
Wim: Yes, I’m right now into that, in several universities they want to do studies on depression. They see that the blood markers they found in our study, that they relate to whatever causes depression. We got with this shit what we did now, we get these people doing this and they change their chemistry and hormonal balance will be created which caused the depression, as simple as that. Another one is arthritis, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis. Another one is another disease and probably very soon in America we will take up studies with different universities, it’s underway. [00:36:00] I say once again, only until the studies have shown I can proclaim I can heal people with this technique. Until now we’ve got a lot of people healed who are using this. We have testimonials about it. I cannot proclaim this. They tell it, they use it and they do it because the world … there’s so much money going on, so much interests and all too very much make belief. The so called gurus, the healers and the woooo. I don’t like that.
Guy: Just going off tangent slightly, is the breath work the same as Kundalini breath work, because I’ve been looking at that at the last few months.
Stu: What is that Guy?
Guy: Kundalini is just movement of energy through the body using the breath essentially and it’s a Yogic practice.
Wim: Yes, I know all about this, I know about the Kundalini, the Ida Pingala Sushumna, the rising force, the subliminal force going up the spine towards the cerrada which is the brain and the pineal gland, epiphysis. I know and all chakras are the glands who interfere into the subliminal energy and they make these colors in geometrical shapes. Those are called chakras, but I’m not dealing that way. Breathing is something we always did. If you are able to consciously manipulate the breathing or using the breathing in a certain way you are [00:38:00] able to tap in where we never have tapped in before. A science stated it like the autonomic nervous system, because no study out of India or anywhere else has been able to show the autonomic nervous system to influence. That’s my credit. The credit is I went on and on and on to look for scientific proof and not only [inaudible 00:38:37].
People tell culture, “I was somewhere,” but still they don’t know the clue of it all. Why? They just do it? Yeah you become stronger, you become this and that. No. We scientifically prove that every person in very short period of time is able to tap in much deeper into its physiology and it doesn’t take years like they say in Yoga, the autonomic nervous, like 5 keys or any esoteric discipline. They always make it so complicated and put a lot of incense and a lot of candles and things like that. That’s not me. I wanted to find a way that suits for the western mind and body. We found it and it is very simple. The mystical is not gone. It is just very simple to tap into the mystical, that’s it.
Guy: Sorry we lost your camera again mate. That electrical charges …
Wim: That’s my excitement again.
Guy: It is.
Wim: I don’t know what, I didn’t touch it, I didn’t touch it, really.
Guy: There we go.
Stu: It’s coming in, [00:40:00] it’s coming in right now. I’ve got a question for you …
Wim: I didn’t touch it.
Guy: I think Guy touched it. I think I did see Guy’s hand.
Wim: You did it? I made you do it. I made you do it.
Guy: Live it alone Guy, just put your hands up so we can see them all the time.
Wim: Control yourself.
Stu: I have a question regarding …
Wim: Not too much breathing yeah.
Stu: He’s breathing too quickly. My question is on recovery for athletes. How, if at all, would your system benefit these guys?
Wim: Very simple for recovery. It’s logical that they need to get rid of their acids. Their acidic state of being. Breathe better and you will see, if you use these strips, strips … base or acidic alkaline strips. You use them in the swimming pool or any bath and you get-
Stu: Like PH strips.
Wim: Yes, you have it, you piss on it, before and after the breathing and then you see that the alkaline degree goes up very quickly. From yellow which is acidic to blue in 20- 25 minutes.
Stu: Got it. That in turn would lead to-
Guy: We’ve lost him. He’s coming back. Yeah it’s all good, I’ve got everyone back, awesome.
Stu: Excellent. Excellent, excellent.
Wim: We were talking about …
Guy: Athletic, recovery for athletes.
Wim: Yes. Once again if you see tomorrow for example with these strips, these aciding PH strips. You see in the morning [00:42:00] you are acidic and if you do 25 minutes of this breathing you see it gets into being alkaline. If you have done performance very much, you’ve exerted so much of your body, you become acidic. If you do 25 minutes of this breathing afterwards you’ll go from being an acidic to being alkaline. Up to what a degree I do not yet know precisely, but every sportsman I work with, they’re improving fast, recovering fast. Not only recovery but also improving in their performance level.
Guy: Do you get them doing the breath work straight after exercise or do you just get them to do it in the morning?
Wim: I have them in the morning doing this to make the body and alkaline. To make it alkaline. To have the right PH level. That the same energy will have a greater output because whatever … if your chemistry is a little bit acidic the performance is less. It’s logical. Influenced in the morning first your PH level and then the outcome of the same in energy input is better.
Guy: Are you using the cold as well as the breath work for that?
Wim: Yes, we didn’t discuss the cold. I explain a little bit about the cold. The principle is we got 125,000 kilometers of capillaries, veins and arteries inside our body. They all contain primitive muscles [00:44:00] and reflexes. Capillaries, reflexes, arteries and veins that have primitive muscles. They help with the flow, the blood flow. If you do not stimulate this it works like muscle, if you do not stimulate the muscle, it becomes … The function of these, all these little muscles and reflexes is to help the blood flow, go through the body. Thus the heart beat goes down. Now it needs to compensate because we act in a destimulative behavior comfort zone. We have no interaction with nature and if you have interaction with nature, then the body adapts and that’s all about the veins. Are all about these channels and these little muscles, they work. I live in New Trivoli, all day these little muscles, they get weaker because there’s no stimulation.
Therefore we take cold showers. The benefits are, benefits is that the heartbeat is going down. It’s being helped with all these millions of little muscles and reflexes. That’s the transportation of oxygen inside the body, is a whole lot better. That’s one. The immune cells, they are better fed with the oxygen. Every second, every minute if you take cold showers, you will see, everybody will see that their heart rate is going down, they feel more relaxed in the head because [00:46:00] a heart rate up is only at performance or danger. Not while in a rest. A lot of people are in their heart failures and blah, blah. Their transportation system is weakened because it’s not being stimulated, but the heart is going. That’s why they get stress hormone inside. A reaction of the primitive brain is when the heart rate is going up adrenaline, adrenaline, stress hormone, stress hormone because there is danger. That’s the way it works.
Stu: Would there be an optimal time to take these cold showers because I’m thinking if I took a cold shower last thing at night it might disrupt my sleep. Would that be true or that would not be true?
Wim: No. It wouldn’t be true. It would make you sleep better. You know why? Because you get in a stressful moment and when you breathe tranquil you get into the stressful moment, but then directly afterwards it shuts down. Now all the stress hormone in the body gets out. You control your stress hormone and you sleep better. You sleep deeper.
Guy: A bit different of a hot bath with Epsom salt, isn’t it?
Wim: You get a little bit numb with a hot bath because the veins open.
Stu: You’d be very well known then for everyone that follows you right now for doing some really amazing things and holding world records as well that are all related to your breathe holding techniques and cold water therapy and exposure. I wondered if you could perhaps just tells us about some of your most memorable world records and [00:48:00].
Guy: Because there’s quite a few.
Wim: It’s like swimming under the ice. You swim under the ice and you forgot to bring on your goggles and you lose sight under a meter of ice.
Stu: I’ve heard of this.
Guy: A meter thick.
Stu: What was the distance that you swam?
Wim: At that time 113 meters.
Guy: 130 meters?
Wim: 13. I calculated it later. I went by strokes. Every stroke was one meter 20. I lost the 50 meter hole because I couldn’t see anymore. the coronae got frozen. You know what happened then? I tried to find and to see, but I never felt the agony of drowning.
Guy: You didn’t get scared or panicked or …
Wim: Absolutely not. I lost fear for dying over there, right over there. It’s a really immense, very impressive experience, sensation. When you’re down there and you find, there is no agony. It’s all split seconds. You get it. Those are the answers I was looking for because in no book, they only proclaim, “Yeah, dying, dying is inevitable. You die and …” It creates fear. There’s no control. Then they talk, the Tibetan tradition or Egyptian, the Bardo Thodol, the book of death and this … They make it dramatically so big. They’re idiots. [00:50:00] The thing is, I bring it back to the little rabbit. A day before a rabbit dies it is still able, not like these elder homes where people are … not being respected, but for being old etc. Taking paled like this candy. Things like that, they die … that’s not a nice way to die. A rabbit, a little rabbit, one day before it dies, it is still able to flee, to fight, to find food, even to procreate possibly and the day after of course it dies at ease.
The day after it’s going to sleep. You know why? Because its PH levels are right. It’s like we are in a building and you need to get out. You are the soul. Then you have to turn off the light, switch off the light. Switch off the light, that’s the nervous system. But as we have wrong PH levels inside the body these neurotransmitters, the nervous system, the electrical system is not able to shut down. Then you get this. Nobody likes to die, like to go away like that because finally you get into the tunnel, the tunnel of the light, which is the spine. That’s about the Kundalini and the chakras and this, but I just say it’s the ganglia of the spine going up to the brain stem. Then DMT is released. DMT is dying and in the dreams. Subconscious to work it out, what you subconsciously took in.
Guy: The methotreptamine. When you’re … [00:52:00]
Wim: Last one, last one, the DMT, it is nice to die then. You see, “Wow, 3D man.” You see the light. You like to die man. You like to go. Whatever it is you prefer.
Guy: Was you seeing that under the ice, did you get to that point, because you said you were close to dying under the ice, or that was the closest?
Wim: No, I was not … and it was not my time, but there was no … I was grabbed finally by a diver and he brought me back to 50 meter hole, unconscious, almost unconscious. Very little consciousness, but I felt no …
Guy: You were at peace.
Wim: No nothing, no fear, no nothing. It was really strange, awkward, but actually nice. It’s not my time. I’ve got these techniques now that we are able to tap into the brain stem and cause DMT as well. That’s aside. What is more important is that these techniques enabled you to control your mood, your power and your health. It’s genius, it’s genius and I didn’t get it from the book. I got it from nature and it made sense, a deep sense. Now I’ve got it in the laboratory setting and now it’s in the scientific books on the university, a full chapter. University books.
Guy: What about when you climbed Mount Everest in your shorts? Did you go all the way up to the top of the summit where-
Stu: No, no, no. Up to seven and a half kilometers in shorts and with no problem. Seven and a half kilometers no problem. It was only prior to this time, three months before I [00:54:00] did a half marathon barefoot with minus 20, beyond the polar circle running barefoot half a marathon. I had some problems with my left forefoot at that time after 18 kilometers. The veins got … Video stopped. Once again. I’m really not touching this. No, no, no.
Guy: I’ve lost all three of us this time. That’s amazing. Let’s keep going.
Wim: Three months prior to the mount Everest I did this half a marathon. My veins were yet not flexible and they need to adapt at those heights. They open up, they close. You open up, that’s adaptation. Open up, close, open up. They didn’t close well and open and that’s why I returned. I said, “I may be crazy, but I’m not a fool.” I go back. That’s it. I had a great experience. I had no problem whatsoever at those heights at being in shorts. I had no problem. I think I can go with a group of 20 persons and do the same.
Guy: One question that popped in there regarding that is altitude sickness.
Wim: Oh yeah. We have shown with almost 50 people now to go in record times up Kilimanjaro, six kilometers, last time in 31 hours from beginning to the top, 31 hours. That’s it.
Guy: That’s incredible.
Wim: It was no [00:56:00] everybody did it and the oldest was 65.
Guy: Because every time I’ve been on altitude I’ve had altitude sickness, really bad.
Wim: Yeah, but not with my breathing.
Guy: I’m going to have to try that Wim.
Wim: Just try and find … I had a guy who almost died twice at 4,000 meters and he told me, “It wasn’t fear.” Now we did in a record time to six kilometers. I had no problem.
Stu: One thing that I wanted to raise because you mentioned that you’d taken groups up to train and-
Wim: I’m going in January again.
Stu: Is that … I noticed that you offer retreats. Would that be a retreat? Is that what it’s about?
Wim: No. Thursday, tomorrow I go back to Poland into the mountains. I have a retreat for people and in one week we will make them able to climb in freezing temperatures in shorts man or woman, regardless of age or even a possible disease they have.
Guy: Are you there Stu?
Stu: I am, I am.
Guy: We lost him.
Wim: No, I’m back. I don’t know, the technique or something. It’s interfering or we do this telepathy thing.
Stu: I think that’s what it is. We’ve got an electrical storm outside in Sydney. I don’t know whether that has a thing to do with it. It could do, it could well do.
Guy: It’s all happening tonight. No cameras.
Stu: It is. We’re 28 degrees and thunderstorms right now. It’s 8:30 at night. It’s hot and sticky.
Wim: It sound good, it sound amazing man.
Stu: It is. Very atmospheric. [00:58:00]
Wim: Listen up guys. Stu and Guy. We have a nice talk.
Guy: Fantastic, loved it.
Wim: I love you guys man, just hanging out with the dudes, right now. Life is so beautiful.
Guy: It’s amazing man. You’re influencing all these people now and they’re coming to Poland, is it to learn your techniques? How often do you run them, if we wanted to come and do one or anyone listening to this? How often are they being run each year or each month or … Wim?
Wim: Yeah, I do it now one, two weeks, three weeks, four, five weeks, six weeks in the winter time, but as you live in Australia why not do it over there on Tasmania or something like that? In the cold, it’s beautiful down there. We could organize something over there.
Guy: Wim, I’m up for it. If you want to come and do one somewhere in the cold.
Wim: It is already being organized, but we could organize more.
Guy: Have you done one over there?
Wim: I’m going to come to Sydney or Melbourne, I don’t know … what is it, Sydney?
Guy: Sydney, yeah.
Wim: In June, that’s in winter time for you guys.
Stu: It is, yeah, it is. Winter isn’t really winter in Sydney. It’s …
Wim: If you guys generate the interest with this then we make it worthwhile going down to say Tasmania
Speaker 1: There’s no time
Wim: There is no time, but we make it happen anyway. If interest is there we make it happen.
Guy: Canberra, Canberra is where-
Wim: I make a documentary about the human physiology. [01:00:00] There is no limit. Life is beautiful. You see, all these guys within a week transforming. That’s the beauty of it and that’s the way we can share it for Australian television as well. The people go back to be natural like the aboriginals before were. We can combine that. I love to do that. I’m into this project with the Massai now in Africa. We first drilled wells over there for them and I generated money for them, but now we want to open an office and to have these people back in the savanna with … back in the savanna. These people do not fear lions. We are full of shit when we go as westerners with this attitude in the city and … If you see lions in the facility then you’re full of shit you feel. These people, these Massai they guide us in the wild.
Thus we regain natural behavior. This is the tourism we are going to develop. We could do the same showing that we go back to nature in a controlled way. It’s not giving up western ways or anything like that. Just tapping into the deeper physiology of ours which is very beneficial in our pressurizing daily jobs and all that. It just brings about more energy, more quality and all, but ultimal respect and harmony with nature and the heritage of Australia which is possibly the aboriginals. [01:02:00] We’ll not become aboriginal, we will become original.
Stu: I love it, I love it.
Wim: Make this happen man, together.
Guy: That’s awesome. There’s a lot of stress people have.
Wim: I peace out, Guy.
Guy: We shall mate. WIm, we have a couple of questions that we ask everyone on the show if that’s cool before we wrap up because we’re just aware of the time.
Wim: Did you say fool?
Stu: He did. He said cool in his Will Shaxon.
Guy: The first one is … I heard you eat one meal a day, is that correct?
Guy: We always ask everyone on the show what did you eat yesterday from a nutrition perspective?
Wim: I had Anton visiting me. He’s staying at my place. Anton is an artist. Sociologist, artist and a former stock broker. He doesn’t like it anymore. he made cabbage. Cabbage with … as he thought he was going with me to Poland he took everything what was in the fridge and made miscellaneous, a mix of all the vegetables and it was really nice. That’s what I ate. I told him, I took him two bowls, I eat once a day. I said, “This is good shit man. Very well done.” That was yesterday. What it is today? I don’t know. If you eat once a day you really like to eat. You really [inaudible 01:03:59] you really feel [01:04:00] the meat. You smell it.
Guy: If you eat once a day you really enjoy that meal when it turns up regardless of what it is.
Wim: That’s it. You have to learn to enjoy every moment again. We have to bring about this deeper physiology. This is what this method does. It brings back the joy, the enthusiasm, the will, the why we live just because it is. If you are really hungry you don’t need to know why you need to eat.
Stu: You just eat.
Wim: Yeah, you go. If you really love your woman you don’t need to know why, about this love. You take the woman and so forth and so forth and that should be every moment. Able, should be able into that feeling, that sense of living. That’s it. That’s the method really about. It’s about happiness, strength and health for everybody.
Guy: Definitely. Our last question is Wim, for you, and we ask everyone on the show, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Wim: Being given?
Guy: Yes. Or even the best piece of advice you’d give?
Wim: Stay yourself, be yourself.
Guy: Be yourself.
Wim: That’s it, it’s perfect.
Wim: Be yourself and nobody else, yeah.
Stu: I don’t think you can argue with that. Absolutely.
Wim: It’s just perfect. We just have to refind and this … to take the covers away, this cover, whatever, all the shit out and be pure. Just be yourself, you’re beautiful, it’s perfect. If you do not understand, if you do not feel be [01:06:00] reconnected. These super techniques, they work. Use them. Use them, abuse them, do whatever, but be yourself.
Stu: With your techniques, the Wim Hof Method and everything else that you’ve spoken about tonight, where can people go to access this information wim?
Wim: That’s always www.theInnerFire, Inner Fire.
Stu: Inner fire, got it.
Wim: InnerFire.nl. NL is for Netherlands.
Stu: Netherlands, got it. www.InnerFire.nl. That’s excellent. We’ll find the Wim Hof Method there and pretty much everything we’ve discussed today.
Wim: It’s quite a bit for free. People can really get a taste of it. They can feel it and feeling is understanding. From there they are able to dig in and to see what they need. We’ve got these fast conditionings and all that. If you do this really then you can go any depth nature has meant to be with us.
Stu: Fantastic, it sound wonderful.
Guy: That’s awesome Wim.
Wim: Live is so.
Guy: It truly is man. Wim, thank you for your time today and thanks for coming on the show. That was brilliant. I have no doubt, everyone that just listened to that is going to want to find out more about you and go to that website and check it out. That was brilliant.
Wim: Yes. Up till the research it was about me. Now it’s about you. That’s the listener. Really, anybody can do this. [01:08:00] I had a great talk with you, hanging out with the dudes.
Stu: That is awesome. Wim, thank you so much. What we’ll do, we’ll put everything that we’ve spoken about today, we’ll transcribe it, put it on the blog and we’ll give you a shout when we’re going to throw it out onto iTunes and all of the other social media outlets as well. It’s been a fantastic talk, really, really appreciate it.
Wim: Great Guy and Stu. Keep it hot. Keep it hot.
Stu: It’s stinking hot right now. I’m going to have a cold shower before I go to bed.
Wim: We keep it cool. Love you guys, bye, bye.
Guy: Later man.
Wim: Right on.
Stu: Bye, bye Wim.
This week we welcome commonwealth gold medalist and Australian Ironwoman Rebecca Creedy to the show. The elite athlete shares with us how she transformed her diet, including lowering her carbs and eating more wholefoods. Along with this came a massive positive effect on her episodes of hypoglycemia which now seems to be a thing of the past.
We also go deep into her training regimes, pre and post workout nutrition and what she does to to stay on top of her game.
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of Health Sessions. Our lovely guest today is Ironwoman Rebecca Creedy. Now, Rebecca has got an amazing resume when it comes to being an athlete, including winning the gold medal in swimming in the Commonwealth Games. She’s also competed and won medals at the World Championships. All that was by the age of 21. And she’s gone on and won an IronWoman series in 2012 and it was awesome to have her on the podcast today as she shares her journey with us.
She …We first met Rebecca about a year ago. She approached us, because she found us on the internet when she looking for a natural supplement, of all things, and discovered 180 and has been a avid user ever since, which I’m proud to say.
She … In her own words she was “looking to clean up the diet.” She suffered from hypoglycemia and it was affecting her races. So, she really started to delve deeper into the world of nutrition and recovery and see how she could improve it and has gone on and had a fantastic series, which is a Nutri-Grain Kellogg’s IronWoman Series, which just ended last weekend.
So, she shares with us all the things she’s learned and it’s just; yeah; fantastic to have her on and I have no doubt you’ll get a lot out of this podcast today, especially if you’re competing as a high-end athlete as well, because she really doesn’t rely on the carbohydrates as much and the goos and the gels, which is of course, renowned within the; especially in the endurance fields of athleticism. And it’s something which we agree with too, you know, but…
So, there’re gems of information all the way through this and I have no doubt you will enjoy.
As always, if you are listening to this through iTunes, we’d love you to leave a little review. It takes two minutes. Can be a little bit complicated, but it really helps us with our rankings and know that you are enjoying the podcast too. If you want to see this in video and leave a comment as well, just come over to our blog, which is 180nutrition.com.au.
And, yeah, that’s it. Enjoy the show and I’m sure to catch you soon. Cheers.
Guy Lawrence: All right, let’s do it. Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke as always. Hello Stuart.
Stuart Cooke: Hey.
Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Rebecca Creedy. Rebecca welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.
Rebecca Creedy: Hey guys. Thanks for having me.
Guy Lawrence: I thought I’d kick off, Rebecca, you know, well, I was looking a your resume on Wikipedia this morning and it’s insanely impressive, but I thought you’d do a better job in sharing with the listeners a little bit about what you’ve achieved in your swimming accolades over the years and to our listeners; a better job than me anyway.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. Yeah. Look, I come from a swimming background. I represented Australia at two Commonwealth Games, a World Championships, two Pan Pacific championships. Won Commonwealth Games gold medals; Commonwealth Games records. It was a pretty amazing part of my life. Yeah, I made my first Australian swim team at the age of 14. So yeah, 14 to 21; yeah, yep, swimming was my life. So, I was around back in the days with Ian Thorpe and amazing people like that. So, I got to spend a pretty big part of my life learning off some fairly amazing athletes and characters. So, yeah …
Guy Lawrence: What got you into swimming? Were you always like a water baby or did you…
Rebecca Creedy: I’ve always was. I’ve always loved it. I actually didn’t grow up near the beach. so I was, I grew up in Redcliffe which has a beach, but not a lot of people swim there. I grew up as a pool swimmer and I used to beg Mum and Dad to take me swimming every day. So, I got introduced to swimming younger than most and really excelled and loved every minute of it.
Guy Lawrence: There you go.
Stuart Cooke: Awesome. So, tell us, Commonwealth gold medalist to Ironwoman, how did that come about?
Rebecca Creedy: Look it was, it; to be honest it even shocks me when I sit here and talk about it. When I was swimming I used to watch the Ironman series on television and think, “Wow. That’s such an amazing sport. It looks like so much fun.” You know, it never really crossed my mind that one day I would be up there taking out medals in that arena as well. But I finished swimming at the age of 21 and I just lost that drive to really seek what it takes to succeed in swimming and moved overseas and lived the party lifestyle that I missed out on.
Guy Lawrence: I say yeah, yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: So, I got that in for a good XXunintelligibleXX [:04:48.7] two years and one XXtechnical glitchXX[:04:50.8] and, “What am I doing? This isn’t where I want to be.” So, I moved back home and decided to get fit again and XXunintelligible surf lifesaving??XX [[:04:59.2]. Yeah, it was quite amazing that just, I took to the ski really quickly and picked up the ski paddling really quickly and the board paddling was a lot harder and skills it takes to catch waves and that took a little bit longer, but it kind of all comes together in 12 months and next thing I knew I was trialing for the Nutri-Grain IronWoman series. So…
Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome.
Guy Lawrence: Can you explain exactly for our listeners, because I know people, especially back in the UK or whatever, the listeners won’t have a clue what an Ironman/IronWoman series is?
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Can you just explain the concept of it all to us?
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. So, the Ironman series, it’s all based around surf lifesaving and we paddle boards and skis and also swim. So, it’s kind of like a triathlon of sorts. It’s a three-legged race that lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and we do those three disciplines in a race in varying orders and it’s a lot of fun. We go out in big surf and get to battle the elements and it definitely is character-building.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, there’s three disciplines, because I’ve never, I’m trying to think so you’d be; there’s a ski, right? Which is the; like a big kayak, would you say?
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, it’s like a kayak and we go out through the surf and the waves, so it’s a little bit, a little bit harder than sitting in a kayak. A kayak easy in still water …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: So, trying to master sitting in the ski when there’s six-foot waves can be a little bit tricky. But to be honest, I really enjoy it and the ski is probably my favorite leg,
Guy Lawrence: Right. And then there’s the swim obviously.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, the swim obviously came quite naturally to me.
Guy Lawrence: And what’s the other leg? I actually don’t know.
Rebecca Creedy: It’s wood paddling. So, the boards, you see those on the beaches now. It’s based all around the fact that we paddle boards to save lives and yet, it’s a very similar board to what you’ll see on the beach with the lifesavers. So, it’s a little bit more slimline and designed to go a bit faster, but, yeah, we paddle the boards and trying to get that out through the waves as well, can be a little bit treacherous.
Guy Lawrence: I’m assuming that it’s very strategic, right, because you’re; what’s the word I’m looking for? But the elements are going to change the dynamic of each and every race.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: At, you know, what point would they say, “Sorry you’re not racing today, it’s too big like.” How big does it get out there?
Rebecca Creedy: It does get pretty crazy. Last year in Margaret River for the first two rounds of the Nutri-Grain series, they actually took out the ski leg of the women’s race because it was too big. We were a little bit disappointed in that because the girls believed we were capable of dealing with it. But unfortunately it was an executive decision that had to be made. The waves; it was probably about 7 foot and even bigger in some of the sets that were coming through. But, yeah, it was a little disappointing that we had to make that decision. But they generally either cancel the race before they do things like that. So, yeah, so, it all depends on I guess the level of skill of the people racing. So…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s huge. Because me and Stuart both in our XXtrans?? rideXX [:08:20.7] you know and XXgo hit the elements a bitXX. But I can really, after doing that, I would be terrified. I can really appreciate what you put yourself through, honestly, like, waves are scary I think.
Rebecca Creedy: They certainly are. I still get scared out there. I’m a late bloomer so I only started this sport at the age of 23, 24; so for me, some of the skills I really have to think about what I’m doing out there and sometimes I have to overcome my fears just to kind of put the foot on the line and really get myself in the game. But, you know, once you take that first leap of faith, it; all of a sudden you have this confidence in yourself, you know, “Yeah, yeah. I can do this. This is fine.” But, yeah, it’s taking that first step and really having belief and confidence in your skills.
Guy Lawrence: No doubt.
Stuart Cooke: No doubt.
Stuart Cooke: You’re looking shocked, Guy. I’m just picturing you doing your run, swim, run down at Coogee Beach in your Speedos … that’s enough for us. But I see it down there, because I; Guy and myself are in the surf club and I do water safety for the nippers down there as well on a Sunday and you see these little kids who; I do the under 9’s, and we take them out in, you know, in sizable surf for their age and height and some of them just shine and just take to it and some of them are less so and quite scared. But they build that confidence at that early age and I think it just sets you up fantastically, especially for a country like Australia where we spend a lot of time in the water. It’s almost vital and it’s fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: It’s amazing.
Rebecca Creedy: I think, I think it’s a great sport for confidence. You know it’s not always about the fastest person winning and it is a skill-based work, you know, XXtechnical glitchXX [:10:06.9] public, I stay away from rips and things like that, but when it comes down to racing in surf lifesaving we use things like that to be able to the battle the elements and you know the fastest way out and easiest way out in big surf is straight out through the rip. It’s using things like that and that knowledge that you gain and understanding how the ocean works, it really does set you up for life. And I think if the general public understood a little bit more about the surf, it would make the whole; everyone a lot safer, but it takes years; it’s taken me years. I’ve been doing this sport for seven years now and I really feel that this year’s the first time I’ve really started to shine and really, I guess, set myself up for a even better series and a chance to take out the series next year.
Guy Lawrence: Because the series has just finished, right; which is the Nutri-Grain Kellogg’s?
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. The Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman series, we did six rounds, So, we had two starting off over in Margaret River. Then we did two just here on Surfer’s Paradise and more local beaches and then we did two down in Newcastle and that was just last weekend. So, that was; it was an amazing series. I stayed consistent. Yeah, I got some fantastic results and I walked away really happy with how my season panned out.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic and you came in second overall, right? That’s phenomenal. If I’m not mistaken, amazing.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, second overall. I got on the top podium once this series, which was amazing, especially with such fantastic competitors. Liz Pluimers took out nearly every race, but managed to stop her taking the clean sweep.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. It’s awesome to watch, too, because we used to have the final down in Coogee, and I know if you remember that, Guy, so we used to go down there.
Guy Lawrence: I do. Yeah, I’ve been down there.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I remember, you didn’t wave back when I was there. But, it’s really a great spectator sport and I love the fact that you don’t really; you don’t really know who’s won until right at the very last moment because anything can happen in the surf. You can pick up a wave on the ski or the board and everything changes, so so much fun to watch.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. Yeah. Look, you know, people talk a lot about luck and things like that, but you can get a little bit unlucky, but usually find the people that do well can regulate, they just have the skills, they know where to put themselves, they know how to catch that wave that’s going to be coming through and things like that. So, it’s quite amazing. I love it. It’s frustrating sometimes. I got one race this year that I probably should have won and it didn’t quite happen, but it’s moments like that you kind of kick yourself and go, “Oh, those bloody waves.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: But, we always like racing the waves. It’s a nice little rest in between …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I bet.
Rebecca Creedy: … the next leg. So, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: So, what is your typical training day look like to prepare for an event like this?
Rebecca Creedy: Oh, it gets hectic. This off season I did the Coolangatta Gold, which is actually a five-hour race.
Guy Lawrence: Oh my.
Rebecca Creedy: So, it consists of the 20 kilometer ski paddle, 2K run, then a 4K swim and then a 7K board paddle and then another 7 1/2 K run at the end. So, to train for that this year, that really took it to the next level for me; a lot of, basically training three times a day. Trying to get your swim in every morning, board and skis in the afternoon and then a run on top of that. The one thing I had to drop this year was my gym program. I just; it’s basically something that I’m very; I’m a very strong athlete anyway, I’m very muscle-y, so it’s not something I really have to focus on too much. So, for me it was probably the first thing I decided to drop this year. At 31, it can be quite hard to recover in between sessions and I may have an idea of everything I want to achieve that week, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way and you have to take that rest your body needs.
Guy Lawrence: Because you’re training at skills as well as fitness, right? It’s not like a runner, for instance, they’ll just go and run and expand their run and improve their time and things like that. Like there’s so many variables to what you’re doing …
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: … and to stay on top of that as well.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, it is. Like sometimes when there’s big surf on the; the most beneficial thing you can do is go out and go for a surf. It’s learning how to read the surf and get out quickly through the surf is just as important and how to catch that wave all the way to the beach. You know, if I can’t hold a wave in my ski then, to be honest, all the training I did on the lake isn’t going to help me.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: So, yeah, those little skills can be just as important as the speed-based and endurance training that we do. So, yeah, it can be tricky sometimes and I’m very fortunate I’ve got a great coach behind me, who’s also my partner, that teaches me some amazing skills and has passed on all his knowledge to me. So, yeah, I’m very lucky in that way.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: So, what about motivation? Where do you go, I mean, you even mentioned those longer legs where you’ve got 20K, you know, paddles and skis and 7K; I’m guessing that’s soft sand run as well, is it?
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, well luckily it was low tide.
sc. Right. Okay. Excellent.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, but no it’s still, it’s still really hard and I’m not a natural runner, I’m a real water baby. So, for me that run leg was pretty tricky. I did a lot of running in the off season, which I don’t really enjoy, but I guess it’s just getting the most out of yourself that’s, you know, we all have days where I don’t want to get out bed and don’t necessarily want to go and do the swimming, but I’m 31 and I do these things for me now and I don’t feel like I have to do it for someone else. So, I just love the thought of being the best I can be. And I find that’s what motivates me the most is being proud of myself and the things I’ve achieved and, yeah, I guess I like being that person that people consider the tough competitor and the one that’s hard to mentally break and that as well, so that keeps me driven as well.
Guy Lawrence: What time is your first training session?
Rebecca Creedy: Five o’clock in the pool, XXunintelligible so 4:30 get up most days?XX [:16:48.3] As I’ve gotten older, though, I must admit I don’t really enjoy getting up early. So, I’m fortunate enough I do XXmix it up? 0:17:01.000XX at times and if I’m not feeling motivated to swim at that time I’ll swap it around and I’ll do a lighter session or I’ll go swimming in the afternoon and do a board session in the morning. And that’s really important for me at my age, because I do this sport because I love it and I don’t want to take that away. And forcing myself to do things I’m not enjoying I don’t believe gets the most out of my training and yet it’s definitely going to shorten my career if I’m just pushing and pushing and pushing. So, I think the number one key is to enjoy what you do and to just make it work for you, which is what I’ve really, really taken on board this year.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, amazing.
Guy Lawrence: It’s amazing.
Stuart Cooke: You’ve certainly got the right environment, I think, backdrop, to enjoy what you do. I mean, the beach up there is just pristine, so beautiful.
Rebecca Creedy: It really is. It’s a great lifestyle and that’s what I tell people. I’m avoiding the real world because, to be honest, it’s not a bad lifestyle I have here. It’s doing something I love every day. It just drives you, definitely.
Guy Lawrence: It’s magical, yeah. Magical. So, what do you; what do you use for recovery? Like, what tactics do you do, because obviously recovery is a big component of your training as well, you know.
Rebecca Creedy: Absolutely. I think, you know, I’m not 16 anymore and I can definitely feel that. It does get hard. And for me, being able to read my body is super important and understand what it needs. Fueling it in the right way. Putting what it needs into it. When you’re younger, you know, you have a tendency to eat just whatever you want and otherwise I’ve been quite fortunate. I’ve never had to really worry about my weight. So, I’d finish a training session and I’d chomp down on a chocolate bar or something. Whereas, as I’ve gotten older I’ve really listened to how my body responds to things and it’s been really important in my recovery this year and probably the last two years, I’ve noticed the changes. I guess fueling it with the right sources and things that my body, I guess, responds to in the way that it can back up the next session. So, yeah, that’s been really important and I guess 180 Nutrition has been a massive part of that. Something I seeked out from you guys and …
Guy Lawrence: Yep. I mean that’s how we first met, right? Yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: Absolutely. A little Facebook message saying I found your product and I think it’s great and I’d love to get on board. And, yeah, I went from the typical; the typical brands you use that are over-processed and artificially flavored things that I just found weren’t doing what I needed and when I found this natural product I was really happy and I’ve been stoked with how it’s really assisted me in my recovery.
Guy Lawrence: Now that’s good to hear. We appreciate it.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: You look like you are going to say something, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Well, yeah. I was just; I noticed that your diet has changed quite radically from what we’ve seen and heard over the last 12 months. Have you had any other kind of “aha” moments that you’ve taken on board where your kind of old-style eating versus your new style? And I’m thinking, kind of, you know, carbohydrate-loading versus more kind of natural nutrient-dense foods to help you in your training and competitions.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. Look I’ve always; I’ve never really been a massive fan of carbs. I really don’t like the way they feel, like they make me feel. I’ve; it’s something I’ve spoken to a few people about and they don’t necessarily believe you need them to race on as well. So, for me I’ve always tried to, I guess, balance that quite well in my diet, but I guess it’s finding you guys and your product and I guess reading and understanding a little bit more about the clean eating philosophy and things like that it’s made it a lot easier for me to make that decision to steer away from a lot more, simply because most carbohydrates are really processed, contain a lot of artificial preservatives and things like that. So, it’s really helped me, I guess, develop my thinking toward products like that. So, yes.
Guy Lawrence: I think as well, what we found over the years with athletes, that they generally eat, like you say, carbs, but they don’t carry any other nutrients. They sort of; it’s almost like they’re pure glucose, you know and there’s no actual vitamins, minerals and fiber and everything else that the body needs to help recover as well, you know, to get up and do it all over again.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: I think it’s a good message.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. Well, that’s something to really think about. Every meal I make I try and think about all those vitamins and minerals my body needs. In the past I’ve had problems with things like low vitamin B, low iron and I’m also; I do have hypoglycemia. So, for me I know when I’m not putting the right things in my body, because I can go training and within 20 minutes into the session I’ll be having a hypo. So, for me, that’s; and as I’ve gotten older I noticed my episodes happening more and more often, so that was a real turning point as well, But being able to eat properly so those things don’t happen, because when it’s inhibiting my training that’s really, really negative.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And have you been noticed improvements with that since you’ve been eating more whole foods and things like that?
Rebecca Creedy: Absolutely. Absolutely. Like, I can’t actually remember the last time I had one. I did get to a XXstage?XX [:22:49.3] point where I had to keep gels and all sorts of things in my bag just because I never knew when I was going to have one. And it’s a horrible feeling. You just start shaking and you just feel like you’ve got nothing in you because you probably don’t. So, for me, every meal I make like, even when I make a salad, I don’t use lettuce, I use spinach leaves. I just think about little things like that. It’s how can I get the most out of this meal and to put the best things into my body as possible.
Guy Lawrence: When we do the seminars Stu, you always mention that, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. We call it super charging your plate. So like you just said, if you, if you’re going to make a salad, how can you super charge it? And so you’ve gone for the most nutrient kind of dense, kind of leaf and then we’d look at putting it in some, well let’s add some nuts, and seeds and olive oil and get some quality proteins and you know, more of the natural fats as well. And that kind of mindset on every meal that you prepare can really set you up for really enhanced health moving forward, because you just get more nutrients into your body, which is a fantastic thing.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. Absolutely. And that’s what I love about, I guess, the 180 Nutrition supplement, as well, is I can integrate it into my diet in more ways than one. I don’t just have to have it as a shake. I love making my porridges in the morning and I throw that in there and it gives it that extra flavor. I add some berries to give me my antioxidants. I have my yogurt. Just little things like that, that it all just kind of works together and it’s really easy to throw something together with it to make a meal instead of just a supplement.
Guy Lawrence: It takes time though, right? It doesn’t happen overnight? You can’t just go, “right” and switch in and expect results. It’s a lifestyle.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. Absolutely and that’s why I don’t like using the word “diet,” because I’ve never really been one to diet and it’s just; I do what I need to do to make my body feel good.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: And that’s like they say, “It’s a lifestyle.” and it can be hard sometimes. When I’m traveling a lot and overseas and you’re trying to look for a quick meal, it can be really tough and sometimes I do revert back to my old habits and I do notice it.
Guy Lawrence: And there good reminders, right?
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I had a nice wake-up call one Monday morning after the Nutri-Grain series when I had a bit of a shindig on the last night and XXunintelligibleXX [:25.22.5] things like that any more. So …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Tell me about it.
Rebecca Creedy: You know, as you grow up you’re kind of better at making those kinds of decisions and choices and, yeah, you realize that there are other options out there and especially the way supermarkets are these days. It’s really becoming an accepted way to eat and it makes it a lot easier ducking down to the supermarket to pick up the ingredients you need that five years ago you wouldn’t have seen on the shelves.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So …
Stuart Cooke: So, what about, thinking about food on your race days, how do you structure your food? What do you prepare and eat on those kind of critical days?
Rebecca Creedy: You know, look, it’s dependent on what’s available. I love having a cooked meal before a race, if I can. I’m a big mushroom eater. So, for me a nice big plate of spinach with some mushrooms on top and a couple of poached eggs is fantastic for me. I love some sweet potato pancakes in there too. They’re always good and a great form of carbs.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: But you know sometimes, especially when you’re racing away, it’s not always that easy. We need to be down on the beach quite early so, without that available I love getting a nice natural muesli and adding my 180 Nutrition protein to it. And then I mix it in with some natural yogurt, plain natural yogurt, as low-sugar as possible and I just like to sweeten that up with some berries. And I really find that that really gives me the kick I need to kind of carry on, carry on through the day, because most of the time, you know, I’m down on the beach at 7 o’clock in the morning and don’t really get my next meal until about lunchtime. So, yeah, it can be tough when you’re racing sometimes to get something into your system that’s going to last that kind of period.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I find the whole thing fascinating. I think the message is getting out there to more and more with athletes, because we get a lot more inquires from endurance athletes especially as well. And because we’ve got Sami Inkinen coming on the podcast next week and he’s a tri-athlete. But him and his wife rowed from California to Hawaii and …
Rebecca Creedy: Really?
Guy Lawrence: And physically rowed and it took them 44 days and they were rowing; what was it Stu? Fourteen to eighteen hours a day. And they did it all on whole foods with no gels or anything and the message was just to, you know, avoid sugar and actually XXunintelligibleXX[:28:04.0] …
Stuart Cooke: XXunintelligibleXX [:28:04.2] I think to highlight the importance of real food. And I think the message is kind of clear that no one diet suits everyone. We’re all so radically different and you know, what works for me won’t work for Guy and may work for you. We just got to find that sweet spot and you know what it is, because you feel fantastic, your sleep’s good, your energy’s good and you know, your health just feels great. So, it’s really important just to keep trying and testing and I think our bodies change over time as well. What we ate in our teens doesn’t work in our 20s to our 30s and 40s, so on. So, you just got to find what works for you, I think.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. Look, I completely agree and it’s something that as I’ve gotten older I love reading and researching about what people are talking about and I don’t know if you guys watched Catalyst last night. They actually had a big thing about carbohydrates and the guy that actually originated making gels and he was the first one to stand there and say, “I was completely wrong.”
Guy Lawrence: Oh wow!
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, and it’s really amazing. So, if you can get on and look that up, I only saw part of it. I want to go and finish watching it, actually, and it talks about carbohydrates and how our body uses them and how we shouldn’t be relying on them as much. And it was really amazing to hear researchers that were actually the, I guess, the first stepping stone in that process of thought, standing there and saying, “No, I totally disagree with what I wrote ten years ago.” So, that’s quite an amazing thing to see people like that in their fields.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s exciting. You know, new science is springing up every single day and we’re finding out things that we just didn’t have access to years ago and it’s, it’s certainly now we’ve got a whole barrage of information that can help us in the right direction.
Rebecca Creedy: I’m a science-based person and I just love reading about it. For me; anything I find, something I want to try, I want to go read the science on that first and …
Stuart Cooke: Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: And the ABC have done a fantastic job. You know, they’re always bringing out great messages around nutrition and making people sort of think twice about what they’re doing.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. No, and it’s good to see someone going out and doing the science instead of standing there and saying, you know, people are so quick to say “Paleo’s wrong.” But why? Not many people looking for the reason why it is. So…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: And I think, as well, when you’re an athlete like yourself that is putting so much demands on your body, it really then highlights how powerful nutrition is, because, you know like you said yourself, the more actuate your nutrition is, the more you can continue to recover quicker, feel better and do it all over again. You know, if you’re sitting on a chair all day doing nothing, you can get away with a lot more, but it just shows you the effects of nutrition, I think, when you get to that level, you know what can happen.
Rebecca Creedy: I can even feel it some days. When I’ll get up and do my 4:30 set, I’ll be up at 4:30 doing my 5 o’clock session and I’ll come home, I’ll have a sleep, I’ll eat, obviously, have a sleep. And some days I honestly can’t even think of training until 4 o’clock in the afternoon and I can actually feel the time, it’s about 2:30, 3 o’clock, my body finally starts to say, “Okay, your ready to do another session now.” So, every now and then I’ll try and do a 2 o’clock session and I just go, “no.” My body’s not ready to get back into it yet and it’s seems like that, you know, you need to listen to and learn those responses and when your body’s saying “yes” and “no” and things like that.
Stuart Cooke: Always. Absolutely right.
Guy Lawrence: So … go on Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Well, Guy, I was just going to jump in and just ask about winding down and relaxing.. So, you’re so fast-paced and you’ve got this manic training schedule and competition schedule. What do you do to wind down? How do you relax?
Rebecca Creedy: I’m not very good at relaxing. I actually work in the surf club upstairs, so I actually work as a bartender and waitress, which can also make it even harder to wind down sometimes.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: You know, at work I have to be very happy and personable and things like that and sometimes I get home and it’s like all I want to do is just sit in a corner and not talk to anyone for an hour.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: So, it’s definitely important that I get my “me time” and actually, I actually find training helps that. The one thing about being a swimmer is you get to spend a lot of time by yourself. And, yeah, so spending that time on the black line [:32:59.3] and thinking about me and it can sometimes be a great way to chill out and I actually; if I don’t exercise I find I go a little bit nuts.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. I can completely appreciate that, especially with the swimming aspect, because we do a fair bit of ocean swimming and when you get out there into the rhythm, it’s almost mediation. You know, you’re going through the motions of stroking and turning and you can swim for an hour or so and just process thoughts and just kind of you know, de-stress that way. That’s kind of what we do too, definitely get out there and just immerse yourself in some way where you’re not constantly thinking about other stuff. It’s great to kind of switch off the mind, it you can.
Rebecca Creedy: I’m a real nature lover. I have a degree in environmental science, so for me just getting out and being with nature, whether it’s going for a walk in the bush or something like that. I love taking my dog out and just getting away from it. And, yeah, you know, being on the ocean and being out there and feeling nature and it does relax you and it kind of takes away all the pressures and strains. It doesn’t expect anything from you. So, yeah, that’s probably my biggest cure.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I like it. I like it.
Guy Lawrence: I want to touch on, quickly on sleep before we move on. How many hours a night do you sleep, Rebecca, normally?
Rebecca Creedy: Um …
Guy Lawrence: Or day and night or …
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah look, I probably don’t get as much as I should. I’m not; I’ve never been a good sleeper. I go through phases where I sleep really well and then other phases where I don’t. I have trouble switching off, is my biggest problem. So, I find when I’m not training I actually sleep about four or five hours a night sometimes. But when I’m training I try to get at least six hours, seven hours is usually the main, like six to seven hours is probably standard. And then if I can get an hour or two during the day that’s brilliant, but I don’t like to rely on daytime sleeps because I used to sleep a lot during the day when I was pool swimmer and I find it’s just a bad habit.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: It’s nice to use it as recovery and things like that, but when I have to work a lot of the time during the day and I have to start sleeping regularly, I find it really throws out my body clock. I find it harder to sleep at night and I really like to just try and stick to a pattern. So, for me I try to be in bed by 10 o’clock at the latest. You know, it just gets hard with life. I get home from training at 6:30 at night and then I have to make dinner and I have to clean up and then I like to have my wind-down time and things like that. So, it can get quite hectic, but as I said, you know, the hardest part in the morning is getting up and once you’re in that water and …
Guy Lawrence: It’s all worth it.
Rebecca Creedy: And, yeah it is and it’s just you and your thoughts and you working against yourself and pushing yourself to the next level and it’s; it’s amazing what your body can do and work off. I don’t believe I feel sleep-deprived most of the time.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: I get my weekend to catch up and then I’m ready to go again.
Stuart Cooke: Again, it’s finding what works for you and again, sleep is such a hot topic. You know my sleep is all over the place too and I’m constantly trying to find what works for me and you just got to dial into these little nuances that just assist you in get in that extra quality, I guess.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, because my other problem is, is that I find when I start sleeping in I’ll have a sleep in morning one morning and then it throws me off for the next night and I can’t get to sleep at night and things like that. I think sometimes I think I’m not getting enough sleep, but I think I also don’t necessarily work as efficiently when I have to much sleep either. So, it’s finding the balance and taking what you need when you need.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly.
Stuart Cooke: What we’re going to do as well, just; we want to just back track a little bit into nutrition and we generally ask every guest this question as well. What did you eat yesterday and just blitz through maybe just breakfast to evening meal, just because people …
Guy Lawrence: Are curious.
Stuart Cooke: … want to eat; people are curious, they want to eat like and IronWoman. Absolutely.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah. Look I guess for breakfast I had; I basically try to eat the same thing as often as possible in the mornings, as I can. Especially being an athlete it’s really important that my body knows what it’s; I like to do it as a racing thing particularly every day before an Iron session, I’ll eat the same thing that I’m going to eat probably on race day. So …
Guy Lawrence: Right
Rebecca Creedy: I have my muesli, my natural muesli, followed with two scoops of the chocolate protein powder …
Stuart Cooke: Yep, yep.
Rebecca Creedy: … a plain all natural yogurt and some frozen berries mixed through that as well and I find that’s a great, a great meal, especially at the moment when I’m having a lot of wake up training, because it really ties over my hunger as well. And yesterday I had to work all day so, yeah, it’s great for when I’m at work because I can’t necessarily just grab a snack if I want to.
And then for the evening meal, I love a good steak so, for me it was a nice big piece of steak …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, yeah.
Rebecca Creedy: … and again, just a natural salad. So, I have heaps of spinach leaves, tomato, capsicum, snow peas, cucumbers. I do like my cheese, so I like to put a bit of feta in there and then just a balsamic and olive oil dressing. So, for me that really hits the spot. For my boyfriend, though, he insists that he has to have garlic bread with it. That keeps him happy. That keeps me happy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s what it’s all about, that’s what it’s all about.
Rebecca Creedy: It can be hard to balance meals sometimes when you’ve got someone isn’t so concerned about their nutrition.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Keep the home a happy one is what I say.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly.
Rebecca Creedy: Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: So, we’ve got one more question that we always ask on the show as well and this can be related to anything. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Rebecca Creedy: Keeping yourself happy, I think. Putting yourself first. Yeah. Without you being happy, you know, a lot of what you do is a waste of time and I particularity find that with training. If I’m not happy my results show it. As I said again, I’m not happy when I wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning every day of the week. So for me, if I feel like I need I call, I think they call it these days a “mental health day.” I give myself a mental health day regularly. Some days I just have a day off training and I go do something that I wouldn’t have time to do otherwise and I go do shopping and I go to my favorite shop, which is Lululemon and I go there and I buy myself something nice and it makes me feel better and then the next day I’m ready to attack what I’m doing and do it properly and do it at a better, I guess, at a better effort level than I would have if I hadn’t a taken that time. So, I think it’s just knowing when to step back and reassess and I guess mentally build yourself up and get ready to do what you need to do.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: I like it. I completely agree with that and I’m going to take the rest of the day off Guy.
Guy Lawrence: Are you going to go clothes shopping, Stu?
Stuart Cooke: I am. I’m going to get something from Lululemon.
Rebecca Creedy: I know, it’s really sad when your favorite shop’s like a sport shop, isn’t it?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, what does that tell you.
Rebecca Creedy: I don’t know, but it’s good. I can wear them into the gym and then I can wear them out of the gym.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly.
Stuart Cooke: They do make some good clothes. I’ll give you that.
Guy Lawrence: So, what does the future hold for you, Rebecca? What’s coming up? Do you know?
Rebecca Creedy: Yes. This week, as I said, has been a bit of a wind-down for me. It’s coming towards, I guess, the series has ended, but we’ve still got; we’ve got State Team coming up on Australia Day actually, down in Sydney at Manly Beach. So, I’m looking forward to that. We’ll have three days of competition at three different carnivals. So, that will be a little bit intense. But, mainly that’s a fun competition. It takes off a little bit of the pressure, I guess, not having, you know, the 15 girls for the series fighting it out. It’s all about getting there and racing, having a good time, making mistakes and catching up with people you don’t get to see very often. Then we go on to state titles, for Queensland state titles. And that will be, I think it’s in February and then I finish off the year in April with the Australian titles, which is; it’s all about the club racing for those two and I’m a member of BMD Northcliffe and they’ve been the Australian champion club, I think, for ten years now. So, I’m looking forward to racing for them in some team events and again taking our team to the next level and taking out that title again. So …
Stuart Cooke: I think they’re probably looking forward to you racing for them as well, aren’t they?
Rebecca Creedy: Oh yeah. Yeah, no, we’ve got some great girls in our club. You know, we all love racing as much as each other, so it’s great to be part of a team that all have similar goals and that want to go out there and do the best for the club and also for themselves. So, yeah, it will definitely be an interesting off season I’m sure.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. And go on, Stu, are you going to speak?
Stuart Cooke: Well, I was just going to literally; you know, for people who want to find more about you, where would they go? What would be the best place to a bit more of Rebecca Creedy?
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, look there’s been, we’ve got the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronWoman website now, which has, it’s got a profile in there of me and also some personal questions that I’ve answered as well. And so, that’s one thing. But I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and I’m pretty easy to find, because I’m the only Rebecca Creedy really in the world, which is quite convenient. But, yeah, I have the same name for all of them, which is Bec Creedy, so that’s beccreedy and that’s my user name for all three accounts.
Guy Lawrence: We’ll put some links there, because I know you update your Facebook page on a regular basis with all your swims and skis.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, we’re getting right into it. So, no, I think people definitely appreciate seeing pictures and things like that, so I try to stay on top of that some and even get a little bit of insight into my personal life as well.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Fantastic. Sounds great.
Guy Lawrence: That was phenomenal. Thanks so much for coming on the show and I have not doubt everyone going to get a lot out of that, when they listen to that. Awesome.
Rebecca Creedy: Thank you.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah and we hope to see you in Manly then, in Sydney, in our neck of the woods.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, yeah. I’ll have to drop you a line and let you know and we’ll catch up for a XXunintelligibleXX [:44:37.3].
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: Let’s do that. We’ll see if we can get Guy in his Coogee Club Speedos.
Rebecca Creedy: Actually, I’m going to be in Bondi, too. I think I’m staying in Bondi the Monday after Australia Day.
Stuart Cooke: OK.
Guy Lawrence: OK. Good.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, I’m not going back till Tuesday, so …
Stuart Cooke: Right next door.
Rebecca Creedy: Yeah, well Courtney [:44:55.9] and I are coming and having a girls’ weekend. So, staying for an extra night or two.
Stuart Cooke: We might gate-crash you for a cup of coffee.
Rebecca Creedy: Sounds good. Sounds good.
Stuart Cooke: Okay. That is brilliant. Again, thank you so much for your time, really appreciate it. Its been awesome.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome.
Rebecca Creedy: Awesome. Thanks so much guys. I really appreciate it.
Imagine living the lifestyle of Jordan Belfort of the Wolf of Wall Street… it would be no surprise if you didn’t last to long! That’s how our special guest for the show this week, Tom Cronin once lived. He openly shares with us how this lifestyle led to depression, anxiety and ill health whilst being told he can’t be cured and would need anti-depressants. Tom searched for other means and found meditation, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Tom Cronin Full Interview
Discover why 24,000 people have empowered themselves with our free eBook:
Tom Cronin is the founder of the Stillness Project. He has been teaching meditation for many years now and has inspired thousands of people all over the world as a teacher, author and keynote speaker to unlock peoples stillness and calm with meditation.
He has been featured on national TV in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post and Vogue magazine to name a few.
In this episode we talk about:-
Yes, people out there live like Jordan Belfort did!
The one style of mediation that Tom now uses for effectiveness
What meditation is and where it originated
How to quieten a really busy mind
Why stress can be so damaging and how to overcome it
How to start a daily meditation practice when it feels all too hard
Enjoy the interview or got any questions for Tom or us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy
Hey, this Guy of 180 Nutrition and welcome to the Health Sessions. You know, we cover a lot of subjects on our podcast, obviously, regarding health and most of it revolves around nutrition and a little bit about exercise. But one thing we’ve been keen to delve into as well is, obviously, the power of the mind and stress and how that can affect the body as well.
And so we’re very excited to have Tom Cronin on the show today talking about meditation, something that I grapple with a lot and it doesn’t come easy to me. So, we are very excited to have Tom on.
Now, Tom has been teaching meditation for many years. He’s inspired literally thousands and thousands of people all over the world as a meditational teacher and author and a keynote speaker. And he’s all about unlocking people’s stillness and calmness with meditation. He’s a fantastic guy, too.
He’s featured on the national TV for Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post, and Vogue magazine as well, to name a few.
Tom has an amazing story, too. He was a bonds trader in his early 20s and earning a massive amount of money and he said he’d compared his life very similar to the Wolf of Wall Street. So, you can only imagine he wasn’t going to last too long living that lifestyle. And, yes, he burnt out and then turned to meditation and has been teaching that for over 10 years.
So, I’m sure you’re going to get a massive amount out of this today, just as much as myself and Stu did.
If you are listening to this through iTunes, please leave a review. It takes two minutes to do. We know we’re reaching a lot of people out there, and, yeah, any feedback, fantastic. And the iTunes reviews help us get found easier and help us continue to get this good word out there of all the work we do. And, of course, come over to our website, 180Nutrition.com.au. We’ve got heaps of free stuff on there, too, and massive more amount of resources to help you get fitter and healthier every day. So, anyway, let’s go over to Tom, and enjoy the show. Awesome. Let’s get into it, hey?
Yeah, let’s do it! Guy
So, I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stewie.
And our awesome guest today is Mr. Tom Cronin. Tom, welcome.
Hey, everyone. Great to be here.
Fantastic. I’m very excited about this topic today. It absolutely fascinates me. But before we dig into the world of meditation, because I know Stewie’s keen on this one, too, can you share us your journey to what led you to being heavily involved in medication? Because it’s an awesome, inspiring story, I think.
Yeah. People seem to like this story. You know, the story started a long time ago, actually, when I was in finance. I started out as a broker when I was 19 years old and I just walked in off the street, basically, was looking for a job before I went to uni and didn’t really expect to be in finance at all.
I was gonna be a journalist, the Macquarie Uni, I had a few months to fill in before I went off to do my degree. And, you know, this was back in the late ’80s and the finance industry was booming. I was the old Gordon Gekko Wolf of Wall Street type. You know, you hear of Bonfire of the Vanities and Masters of the Universe and they were really expanding the bond market. And I took a job as a trainee.
It was crazy times, you know? I was on really big salaries really quickly. They gave us corporate expense accounts where we just basically were told, “Take clients out.” Which, our clients were the bankers. The traders. And our job was to basically entertain them and inspire them to do business with you. And our job was to XXclear their risk 0:03:41.000XX in the day and there was like a lot of turnover, you know, multiple millions and billions of dollars worth of bonds.
And I was young, you know, and we were just like young kids off the block doing crazy stuff. So, if anyone’s seen Wolf of Wall Street, the movie, it was literally like that. It was really, seriously like that. He started in 1987, the same year as me. He was 22. I was 19. We both started in 1987, and it was crazy times. We were doing crazy things.
And what happened with me successively over the years was I went further down that path of doing crazy stuff and getting way off track. And that let to symptoms.
Any time you start doing things that aren’t really aligned with natural law or aligned with harmony and peace, then you’re gonna get symptoms like the little red light on the dashboard. And I started getting insomnia and anxiety and then, you know, I kept doing the same thing over and over again. Eventually it really exacerbated into these full-blown panic attacks and depression.
And, again, I still didn’t stop. I was still doing the same thing. You know: doing some crazy stuff. I don’t want to go into too much detail. But, you know, let’s just say there was very little sleep, lots of late nights, and really high-energy work. And then that manifested further because, you know, the symptoms will just exacerbate if you don’t change tack.
And I kept doing the same thing and eventually I got agoraphobia. So, I couldn’t leave the house. I was just like ridiculous fear and panic and depression and I was a basket case.
I managed to get out of the house and down to the doctor’s, one day where I was having, like, a full-blown meltdown, and the doctor said, “Look. This is what’s happening. You need to take pharmaceuticals, we’ll send you to the top psychiatrist. And I went into the top psychiatrist and, to be honest with you, I wasn’t impressed. His diagnosis was, “Hey, you’re a stressful person by nature. We need to put you on antidepressants.”
I didn’t buy that. It was something in me. I didn’t know anything about what was happening to me, but I just didn’t buy that diagnosis. It was the most demoralizing thing I’d ever heard in my life, to be honest with you.
And I kind of was, like, sentenced to a lifetime of antidepressants. Now, I just didn’t feel like that was right. So, I started looking into alternatives. And, you know, I just knew I had to start doing something with my mind. And I knew some mind control was needed. So I looked into meditation. I didn’t know anything about meditation, but I just, back in those days, there was no internet. This was in 1996. And I had to get the big yellow pages book out, you know? We use these as door stoppers to stop the wind from shutting the front door.
So I’m going through the yellow pages looking for meditation. And I just rang all these different numbers. And went to different XX???? talks 0:06:11.000XX and different sessions and eventually I just found one that I really connected with. It was very science-based. It was very quick. Very powerful. Very effective.
So, that’s really what I did is I learned that technique of meditation. It was like a XXVedic meditation 0:06:25.000XX; transcendental meditation style. That’s what I’ve been teaching that same technique for the last many, many years now and practicing that technique for the last 18 years.
Did you have to hit rock bottom before you started looking into alternative means? Like, is that a normal case scenario?
Only for stubborn, pig-headed people like myself. I’m a Scorpio so it’s my natural nature to be stubborn and pig-headed and, you know, most people ideally wouldn’t want to have to get to that point.
And, you know, we can get hints. We can get little hints, little guidance, from our body, from nature. Little messages come through each day. But, you know, for me, I was just ignoring them, that’s all. I was given those hints years before. And I could have done something different, but like Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different a different result. And eventually I got insanity.
But, you know, that was the best thing for me. I was the sort of guy who had to get really slapped in the face for me to listen.
But you knew they were warning signs at the time? So, you just, like, “Well, whatever.” Just brush it off?
I thought it was normal to lie in bed two hours before falling asleep and then wake up at 3 a.m. in the morning, wide awake, with insomnia. You know, I just lived with that for years.
Going home at 3, 4 in the morning, guys around me, colleagues, sleeping under the desk and wearing the same clothes the next day at work because they’ve been at a bar or nightclub; strip club, whatever, until 4 or 5 in the morning, going to work for two hours, XXsleeping 0:08:00.000XX, and start the day again. Well, that was normal for us.
So, for everyone out there that isn’t completely familiar with meditation, what; how would you define meditation and where did it originate from? Tom
That’s a good question. Where it originated from, we’ll start with that one. I mean, no one; it’s just so far back that no one really can definitively say. I mean, a lot of the origins are looking like India. I mean, to honest with you, I’m not an authority on the origins of meditation, but it looks like it has come from, you know, thousands and thousands of years ago. I mean, I’ve got texts like the Bagavad Gita was supposedly written somewhere around between 2000 B.C. and 5000 B.C. And they start the Bagavad Gita talking about, you know, ancient times. You know? That they were using these practices.
So, it could go back as far as 10,000 years. They would talk about enlightened ages and golden ages, XXaudio problem 0:09:03.000XX of enlightenment. Many, many thousands of years ago.
And, like quite often happens, knowledge gets lost. It gets diluted as it gets passed down. And so it eroded.
But, you know, that’s looking like the origins of this sort of style. And for meditation, it really can be so diverse. You know, I practice a particular style of meditation using mantras. And what I do is, to make things simple for people, I condense it down into four distinct categories.
And you’ve got concentration meditations where almost you’re putting mindfulness in this category, when you’re using your mind to concentrate, focus on one particular point. And it’s about honing that attention into one specific target, which might be a breath, it might be a third eye, it might be a candle. Whatever it is.
Then you’ve got the contemplation meditation. So, this is where you’ve got some guidance going on. You’ve got someone taking you through a sequence, someone talking to you, someone really in the background or some music in the background doing something for you; going through your chakras.
So, in the contemplation, you’re still engaged in the mind. The mind is still active. There’s still movement within the mind. There’s still fluctuations. And because of that, there’s still going to be fluctuations within the body and movements within the body.
And you’ve got chanting meditations, which are like chanting things out loud: XX“om dimashiba, om dimashiba, om dimashiba, hari hari om, hari hari om, hari hari om.” 0:10:30.000XX
Chanting meditations, they can be sort of bringing the attention down to a single point by saying something out loud. There’s still activity. You’re verbalizing something. You’re thinking something. There’s some movement. There’s some movement going on.
Something that sprang to mind, it might seem like a big question: What’s the purpose of the outcome of meditations? It is simply to still the mind?
You know, it can come from so many different things. It can have so many different objectives. And it’s going to depend on each individual person. Someone might want to have a connection to God. I can have four people come to me on a weekend course and say, “I just want to get rid of anxiety.” One might say, “I just want to sleep better.”
One might say, “I want to experience my higher self.” One might say, “I want to dissolve my ego and become one with the field of the cosmos.” I can teach all four of them the same course, slightly skew the dialogue, and they will all get exactly what they were looking for.
There you go.
And you can have someone start with, take for me, personally, my example: I started wanting to get rid of anxiety and depression. So, there was a pain point I wanted to be removed. Like, a splinter is in my foot. I wanted to tend to that and get the point out.
But now, after 20 years, my purpose of meditation isn’t to get rid of anxiety/depression. That went after weeks. Now, why do I meditate? Why do I sit down each day to meditate? To me, it’s the experience, the oneness, the feeling of oneness to merge with that cosmos. To merge with that universality. To experience the ultimate essence and define my ultimate truth. And to remove the layers of illusion and ignorance.
There you go. That’s very different than just removing anxiety, isn’t it?
Do you think everybody should be meditating, Tom?
That’s a really good question. I think everyone would benefit from meditating, absolutely. I think the planet would be an incredibly different place if we all meditated. And that’s my goal. My inspiration is to inspire one billion people to meditate daily.
I know we’d have a lot less angst, a lot less suffering, a lot less fear, a lot less anger, if we were meditating. But I don’t believe in “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts.” It’s something that we need to find our own way.
So, where would be the best place to start if you were completely new to the concept of meditation. What would I do? Where would I go?
Just give me a call.
We’ll put your local number on the site.
Don’t do that! There’s so many different ways to start. You know, some people say, the technique that I teach, they think it’s an intense practice, because it’s all about transcending. And this is one of the four ones that I didn’t get to finish. There was the three categories that I gave you: concentration, contemplation, chanting. But the fourth one is the one I’ve been doing for 20 years, and it’s a very different practice. And it’s a transcending style meditation using mantras.
You know, these mantras are repeated internally, quietly inside your head. And the mantra is like the carrot in front of the donkey. It’s a very effective mechanism to still the mind because the natural soothing quality of that sound.
And once we understand the nature of the mind, you’ll understand why this meditation technique is a very effective style of meditating, because the mind is always looking for something that’s charming.
The mind is like a little kid, right? You put a little boy, 4 years old, in the corner and he will get bored very quickly. Because he’s looking for something to entertain him. He’s fascinated by things. He wants to explore. And so that will boy will get bored of sitting still and he will start to wander.
And that’s like the mind. It will get bored of sitting still and it will start to wander, because it’s looking for something charming, and thinking is an incredibly charming proposition for the mind.
But when we introduce a sound to repeat effortlessly over and over again, the mantra, the mind finds this really charming. It’s so fascinating. We call these bija mantras, b-i-j-a, and they’re seed mantras that take the mind away from the gross expressed state down into the subtler states. And the mind will do that because of the natural charming quality of those mantras.
And eventually the mind will transcend thought altogether. And when the mind transcends thought, that is the mind has now gone to a place where it’s conscious and awake, but there’s no more fluctuations of the mind.
And the reason the mind will go there and stay there is because it’s found the ultimate source of bliss and charm, and that’s what we call true consciousness.
The chatter stops.
The chatter stops.
Is that like; I’ve read that it’s just like a muscle. Is it that like a daily practice thing that you have to do to get better at it?
No. No. I’ve had people start transcending in the first week. If you were doing concentration meditation, that is a muscle that you need to flex. That will require effort. When you’re lifting a weight, which is a good analogy, thanks for using that; when you’re lifting a weight, you need to develop a muscle so that you can lift that weight more easily. And the same thing with concentration is that you’re forcing something to do something that it doesn’t want to do. The mind does not want to stay still, and you need to use force and a concentration meditation to get that mind to do something that it’s not trained to do or doesn’t want to do. Just as lifting the weight is a force. It’s a friction.
But in transcending style meditations, we don’t use force, we don’t use effort, we don’t try. It’s actually the complete opposite. It’s a gentle idea that we entertain inside our mind. We’re happy to surrender that mantra at any given point in time, because when the mind gets close to transcendence, it will go, “I don’t need this mantra anymore. I found something even more entertaining than the repetition and sound, and that’s pure consciousness. It’s so beautiful. It’s so blissful. I’ll just be residing here in this nectar of oceanic awareness.”
“Well, I certainly want some of that.”
Well, that does sound very appealing.
Yeah. It’s; there’s this beautiful realm that people don’t know exists behind the mind. You know, I just had a group of people from all over the world: Colombia, Brazil, Canada, USA, England, Australia, on retreat in Maui. They’d never meditated before, most of these people. And they were immersing themselves in such mind-blowing richness and beauty and glory and magnificence. There were realms that they were accessing they never knew existed before. And that’s because we used a simple vehicle, which is the mantra, to get into that space.
Like, because you, Stu, you admitted yourself, you’ve got a very active mind, right?
Stuart Cooke: I have such a busy mind. Like, such a busy mind. It doesn’t switch off, you know. I can wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and I feel like I’ve just come out of a board meeting. I’m wired, thinking about a billion things.
And, you know, I have given meditation a go. But, crikey, it’s like I’m sitting in a cinema and everyone’s talking at the same time. You know, I really, really, really struggle. And so, you know, where would I go, because I’m guessing you’ve probably dealt with a billion people like me.
Yeah. Again, it comes back to, you know, what do you want to experience? You can start with simple apps like, you know, there are some apps out there where you can do some guided meditations. But, for me, personally, you can fluff around at the edges, dither and dather for 12 months, 24 months, trying meditations that are gonna be really difficult and really challenging, you’ll not really feel like you’re getting anywhere.
Or you can cut straight to the chase and do the meditation that I suggest that everyone should be doing, and it’s probably the most popular meditation that’s spreading across the world. It’s the one Oprah does. It’s the one Hugh Jackman does. The one Ellen DeGeneres does. It’s the one I’ve been doing for 20 years.
Why have I been doing it for 20 years? Because I’ve done all the research, I’ve tried all the meditations, for me, personally, and it’s not for everyone. Some meditations are gonna be better for other people, but for me personally, and for the students I’ve taught, I’ve never seen better results than the technique I teach. And that’s a transcending style meditation using mantras.
Now, if you’re telling me, “Look, Tom, I want to go off into a monastery in the Himalayas for the next 15 years. I don’t want to have to talk to anyone. I don’t want to be successful. I don’t want to have to have a girlfriend. I don’t want to have a mortgage. I don’t want to be dynamic. What do you suggest I do?” I’d say, “Don’t do my meditation.”
Because when you do this meditation, you will be so; you will start to become so successful and so drawn to doing amazing things in the world. This is an integrative meditation practice. You’ll get creative impulses that will blow you away where you’re, like, “God, I just can’t believe I had that idea. I’ve got to go and do something about that.” Whereas the renunciant concentration meditations are much more conducive to concentration meditations and much more conducive to that.
I just want to be; I want solitude. I want stillness. I want silence. I want to recluse from the world. And there’s something really beautiful about that practice. I don’t think it’s for you right now, personally, but if you wanted to do that, I would recommend a concentration meditation.
And so it really depends what you want out of life, where you want to go, what you’re trying to achieve. If you want to dissolve stress, trying to sit in a chair and focus on your chakras, it’s going to be really hard work. With that said, focusing on your chakras is a really good meditation. But if you want to remove stress, you need to get deep levels of rest where your mind has become still, and metabolically your body’s dropped into a state of rest that’s equivalent to four times deeper than sleep. Then you need to do the transcending style meditations; the ones I teach.
You’d better do it, Stu.
Well, I’m sold. Crikey.
You quickly mentioned chakras as well. Can you explain what that term means?
Yeah. I mean, we have many, many chakras through the body but we have seven main chakras. You’ve got your third eye, your throat, your crown chakra, your heart chakra, solar plexus. In every chakra, and then your base chakra. And so we’ve got all these different points, I guess, energy points, that are through our body and certain practices of meditation are about putting your attention on those energy points and clearing that point and seeing that it’s awakened.
In our world that we’re in in Sydney here and Western lifestyle, we’re quite dominant in our base chakra. So, the base chakra is all about survival, it’s about procreation, it’s about money. And that’s why we have a very grounded base chakra based, sort of focusing on XXtech? Tax? (audio glitch) 0:21:17.000XX and money so much in our lives. Whereas things like a heart chakra, where we just love unconditionally, we just love so openly, without fear, without conditions. It’s a totally different experience.
So, we don’t have very open heart chakras. Our crown chakra, our third eye chakra, is quite closed, because of stress and the nature of being obsessed about the base chakra.
So, for me, I was very base chakra dominant for a long time of my life. It’s taken me a long time to start opening up the other chakras. But, you know, I don’t teach a lot around that. It’s not my sort of niche. But it’s just something I’m aware of.
Guy Lawrence: A thought popped in as well, just we’re rewinding back a bit with the meditation. Like, if there’s somebody listening to this and, you know, the idea of meditation’s great, yeah, I want to do it. But, like you said, every time they go to sit down they get flustered and just move on.
And so, like, looking at it from a nutritional aspect, we hold clean eating workshops. And yet, even though we’re trying to teach people how to eat for life, we embrace them in a 30-day challenge. And we say, “Guys. Start with 30 days, commit to 30 days, and hopefully you’re gonna change enough habits to then go on and start eating better for your life.” You know? Could that work the same with your course of meditation, if we said, like, “Let’s do a 30-day challenge and then let’s see how we feel after that.” And then hopefully we’re gonna get the bug and, you know, keep going. Tom
Yeah. Look, it’s interesting when you bring the word “challenge” and meditation together. I do have a 21-day program, which is my online meditation program. But I really like to let people do their own research. And I think that’s ultimately the best way for people to get results is that I’m gonna teach you a technique and this technique is gonna really change your life quite quickly. You’re gonna notice significant differences.
Now, a student said to me, “Oh, I dropped off my meditation. I’ve really noticed a difference.” I said, “Great. That’s fantastic. I’m happy that you dropped off your meditation, because now you have relativity and you can see through your own personal research what life’s like when you meditate and what life’s like when you don’t meditate.”
Now, if life’s better when you meditate, there’s your research. And if you don’t want to do it after that, then that’s fine. But you’d ask yourself why would you not want to do it. Stuart
I think that answers my geek question, because I was going to ask how I could measure the effectiveness of it, either through. . .
Yeah, it’s a good question. The difference will be for different people; the measurement for different people. Like, for me, what I noticed was I started sleeping immediately, as opposed to waiting one to two hours. That was the immediate effect within the first few days was that I would fall asleep when I put my head on the pillow. I thought, “Wow! That’s insane. I never had that for 10 years.”
Other people might go, “I get this euphoria. I get this blissfulness.” Other people I know, they started crying, because they were releasing emotions of sadness that were in their body. There’s a lot of purification that goes on when you start meditating.
So, the effectiveness of it will depend upon that person, the stress that’s in that individual, the stress that needs to come out of that individual, some get heightened euphoria, some get sexually aroused, some get the ability to sleep really well, some just feel light and blissful. Some feel quite uncomfortable, because they might have a lot of stuff inside, a lot of anger that they haven’t released. It’s sort of, “ahhhh,” coming out.
Just a release.
Yeah. Usually, the effectiveness will be measured by the sensations that they’re getting.
I guess everyone’s different so you will know if you feel different.
Yeah, absolutely. I had one client just recently that, there as a couple, a married couple, and they both learned with me. And the wife was just, like, “Oh, my God! This is amazing. I can’t believe it. This is like the best thing I’ve ever done. I just can’t believe how incredible I feel.” That was, like, two weeks later. The husband was completely the opposite. He was like down in the dumps, angry with the world, bitching and just gnarly as all heck. And I had a session with him and what had happened was that this person, all their life, had never been able to find their voice. I mean, just being pushed and shoved and accepted that. And meditation says, “That’s not your truth.”
And if that’s not your truth, you need to find your truth. And all of a sudden all that anger and all that being oppressed all his life, as a kid, was coming out. And so his experience was totally different. And yet they were doing exactly the same technique and the same course.
How much do you think stress affects our health, then, Tom? I mean, obviously you’ve been through a lot of stress. There’s a lot of stressed people out there. A lot of people holding things in, exactly like you said. And now they’ve got their voice. I mean, do you think that directly affects people’s health in a big way?
Yeah. I mean, Bruce Lipton, who’s the professor at Stanford University Medical School, he said in one of his papers that 95 percent of all sickness is a product of stress. And you can put that down to impaired vision; not eyesight, but impaired vision, awareness, in making poor decisions.
Because when you’re stressed, your brain operates in a completely different way. You go from being intuitive and creative and wise to just operating from primal survival. When you’re stressed, your metabolic rate changes. Your blood pressure changes. Your cholesterol levels change. I mean, when you’re stressed, everything becomes imbalanced. Everything becomes enormous. I’d say stress is one of the biggest killers we’ve got in our society. And the biggest negative impacts.
Because when you’re stressed, what do you do? You start drinking alcohol. When you’re stressed, you start smoking cigarettes. When you’re stressed, you start taking drugs. When you’re stressed, you eat shit food. I mean, it affects us in every single way in our life.
So, what specific factors do you think, Tom, would inhibit meditation? I’m thinking of, well: Is it too noisy? Is it too light? You know. Are there too many distractions?
Time of day.
Exactly. Because we’ll all be in these very different scenarios in our lives. What should we be wary of?
Um. You know, it’s gonna be almost impossible in our life, in the cities that we live in, to find a completely quiet space. Obviously, noise is gonna be one of the greatest challenges. It’s very distracting for people when there’s noise in the background.
But what we teach with this technique is that if you’re on a bus and there’s someone talking in front of you to their partner, there’s someone behind you on the phone, and there’s someone next to you listening to music on their headphones, you’re still in your headspace and you’re still thinking.
So, if you’ve got a mantra to repeat, you can repeat that mantra regardless, wherever you are. And that will, in effect, be a meditation. I used to meditate on the train nearly every day going to work.
So, noise isn’t really; it can be a distraction. I know being down at the beach where there’s waves moving around, people walking by, there’s some wind, I’m probably gonna have less a deep meditation than if I’m in a really quiet room or a quiet parked car.
Anywhere there’s limited movement, limited activity, limited noise, then it’s going to be more conducive to a meditation, particularly for beginners. But for more advanced people, you can meditate anywhere. I can meditate at a football game and still be OK.
Yeah. You just learn to bring your awareness inward, through the training. But in the beginning, you know, there’s a lot of; your senses are continuously going externally, looking for the source of the noise or the smell or the feeling.
Another question that popped in there, and this seems, probably, a bit contradictory, but, like, if there’s a very busy person, and for this set amount of time you can shorten the meditation, are you going to get the same effect from five minutes as 20? Or does it vary?
Because I know, like, if you started meditating, Stu, the first thing you’d ask is, “Well, how long would I have to do it for?”
Minimum effective dose.
There’s a lot of fancy gadgets coming out these days: five-minute meditations, one-minute meditations. It’s great that we pause. You know, it’s really important that we pause through the day. I think, depending on the meditation style, if you’re gonna do a deep, transcending-style meditation, minimum is 20 minutes. I mean, I don’t recommend you need more than 20. But 20 minutes, you know, 15 to 20 minutes. Under 15, you’re kind of not having enough time to XXdig inside 0:29:55.000XX your nervous system, to wind down the mind.
You know, we have such stimulated nervous systems, such stimulated minds, that it’s really just not enough time to get into those deeper states. I mean, that said, you can get into transcendence within three minutes. I’ve seen my students who come into my courses and come to my Monday night sessions and I have a look around the room and I can see them dropped into deep states within the first five minutes. But I think, for the rebalancing process to really take effect, I’d like to see 20 minutes for the meditation practice.
There you go. Is there a best time of day to do or do you just fit it in when you can or. . .”
Ideally, do one before breakfast and one; anytime, I’d say, between lunchtime and dinnertime. Ideally, I like between 3 and 6 o’clock is a nice time. Three and 7 o’clock in the afternoon is a good time. Before dinner.
And, again, it depends on your meditation. See, the transcending style meditation that I teach, the level of rest is so profoundly deep, it’s equivalent to about four hours’ sleep. A deep meditation; 20-minute meditation.
So, ideally you wouldn’t do that before bedtime, because if you had an equivalent of four hours’ sleep at 9 o’clock at night then it’s going to affect your deep sleep session. But if you’re gonna do, like we do a guided meditation before all the kids’ bed, so my family will all sit on the sofa at 8:30 before the kids are about to go to bed and we’ll put on one of my guided meditations and we’ll all sit there with a blanket and listen to 10 minutes of my guided meditation and what that does for the kids is it just XXde-excites? 0:31:26.000XX their nervous system after watching TV. It’s a lot of stimulation with the music and ads and all that sort of stuff going on on TV for 12-year-old kids’ nervous system. So we wind them down with a guided meditation before bed. And that’s a really effective thing to do. So, it depends on the meditation.
It just reminded me of, you know, I said I don’t meditate. I have tried meditation once and I went to a; I was given a voucher for a class on; for this little place in Bondi. And I’m not the most open-minded sort of guy, so I thought, you know, OK, I will give it a go, but, you know, I don’t expect anything to come from it. And now I just remember sitting in this class with a lady; I was actually the only guy there and there were about 12 others in there and this lady was telling me to picture myself as a flower all curled up. And upstairs in this, I think it was like in a youth center, there was like junior karate. And every kind of three seconds, one of these chaps would be thrown on the; slammed on the floor. And I’m just trying to picture myself as a flower.
And then there was another guy outside tuning up his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It was just; it was like a comedy for me, and that was my first experience and I thought, “You know, I don’t know whether this is for me or not.”
But I can see, through what you’ve told me, that that probably wasn’t the best experience and it’s something that I would really benefit from looking into.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s just, we can’t judge all meditation on that one experience. There are certainly other ways to do it.
Are there any factors that could enhance that? I mean, can I drink a cup of chamomile tea and slide into meditation a little easier?
Definitely, lead-up to meditation is important. You know, you guys have come to my Monday night meditations and you’ll notice, you know, I turn off the overhead lights. I put candles on. We light incense. So, I deal with all five senses. I put on some nice, quiet music.
So, as soon as you walk in you’re getting a sense of your nervous system calming down. Your nervous system’s being prepared for something. I talk softly so you’re hearing soft voices. And it’s really a nice prelude, so people tend to go quite deep in those sessions. And that’s because I’ve prepared their physical body, their nervous system, their mind, for a deeper experience.
And we can do that on our own at home. You know, if you’ve been running around all day, just been shopping and being up at the XX junction wall? 0:34:15.000XX and you’ve been listening to the radio and having heaps of meetings all day and then you suddenly sit in a chair and start meditating, it’s gonna take you a lot longer than if you actually just: Take some time preparing your room, putting on some nice music, lighting some candles, getting some incense out, do some gentle breathing, maybe do a bit of yoga. And then you start your meditation. It’s going to be like a completely different experience.
You’ve got to work at it, right? It’s not like: “Ah, let me finish this action movie and then, XXfeck it?? I figure?? 0:34:41.000XX, I’ve got to fly to my 10-minute meditation time and then. . .”
You can still do that. I mean, if you’re pushed for time, it’s still worth doing that. But if do it for a little bit of time, it’s the prep. Not every one is going to have time for the prep. So, it’s one of those things. . . Or the space for it. You know, you just get on a bus and all of a sudden you start meditating. You haven’t got time to light candles and sit them in front of you and burn some incense.
So, you know, there are certain times you just aren’t gonna do it. But it does; I think it does help.
Have you ever meditated; you said you’ve meditated on the way to work. Have you ever missed your stop on the bus or the train?
I have, yes. I ended up; I was supposed to go to Martin Place. I ended up at Town Hall and Central. I told my work that’s why I was a little bit late that day.
I’m guessing you probably don’t promote meditation while driving.
It’s not a good idea, no.
What; like, we ocean swim a lot. And I do a bit of yoga a couple of times a week as well. Is that a form of meditation?
Oh, yes, definitely. You know, anything that’s repetitive. Walking can be meditation. Swimming is a really meditative practice, particularly doing laps in a pool, looking at that little black line below you, it’s “breath, one, two, three, four, breathe, one, two, three, four, breathe.” It’s definitely a meditation.
What you’re not gonna get is metabolic rest. OK? So, mentally it is definitely a meditation. But physically, you’re not gonna have metabolic rest. So, in stillness, when the mind is still, and not moving in transcendence, your physical body’s oxygen requirement is almost zero, and it’s been proven metabolically that you are about four times metabolically deeper in rest than you would be in a deep sleep.
Wow. That’s incredible.
I’m looking forward to getting into this. That’s for sure.
This is where the repair happens. So, the body is this incredible organism that has this intelligence within it that it will repair. It will operate and function at the highest level. We have sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It’s a beautiful design by nature. We’re just not getting the levels of rest that are appropriate enough to get that deep healing process activated. And that’s what happens in meditation.
Like, for me, OK, I had anxiety, I had depression, I had insomnia, I had agoraphobia. Huge levels of distortion. Constantly getting sick. I didn’t have to take tablets. I didn’t have to see doctors. I didn’t have to see therapists. I just simply put my body in a deep level of rest twice a day, morning and evening. I had all the anomalies. I started producing serotonin, oxytocin, reduced adrenaline, norepinephrine, cortisol. I started healing on every level; started getting rest. And it was just a natural mechanism in my body to do that.
I’m inspired. I want to do it. I think high-end athletes would benefit greatly from this.
Yeah. A lot of high-level athletes are now starting to realize the power of meditation.
When you describe it like that, yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. It surprises people when I talk about it on a physical level, but it is just as much, if not more, a physical practice than it is a spiritual and mental one.
What are your thoughts on the plethora of iPhone apps and gadgets out there? Is it something that we should be doing on our own, or can we plug in to technology?
XXFinding Real Bits?? 0:38:12.000XX is another one as well, isn’t it?
I mean, everything’s relevant. We’ve got technologies causing a lot of our problems in the world today, with stress levels and our constant attachment to acquiring information. But it’s also gonna be the source of the solution to the problem.
By my online program, I can now get meditation to people all over the world. I have people every day emailing us from Mexico, Kenya, Venezuela, and even a remote XXGalapagos? 0:38:45.000XX north of Finland. Some woman said, “You know, you’ve changed my life. You’ve taught me how to meditate.” And that’s because what I teach in person I can now deliver to the masses through digital format. And we couldn’t do that less than 10 years ago.
Yeah. It wouldn’t work so well as like a bulk mail-out, would it?
A bulk mail-out wouldn’t work quite as well.
Yeah, sending fliers out to Venezuela.
Oh, that’s right. Exactly. Yeah.
Mate, we got an Instagram question pop up and I thought, ah, this one’s a good one: What were the key lessons that you learnt, allowing you to improve your meditative experiences?
That’s a good question. Well, I’ll answer that in regards to my specific practice. And one of the things that was most relevant for my practice, which is different from a concentration meditation, but for a transcending style meditation, using a mantra, one of the most important things that I was taught that helped me refine that practice was to not hold onto the mantra as a clear, firm pronunciation, but to very effortlessly entertain it as a faint idea so that as the mind is moving toward the transcendent state, toward stillness, it’s able to surrender the attachment to the sound and let it go. So, if you hold onto that as the clear pronunciation, then the mind is attached to the repetition sound, which means the mind is moving constantly.
Could you be stressing yourself out to think that you’re getting the mantra right or wrong? The pronunciation?
Absolutely. That’s why we emphasize, and that’s why it’s important to do a course where you get guidance. I highly recommend for anyone that, this is the big challenge people have is that they’re trying to do meditation on their own. It’s probably the most important thing you can do. And yet we’re reluctant to get authorities to guide us in that space.
And it’s really important that you have someone to assist you in your meditation practice, because not only do you want to make sure that you understand the process very well, and understand why you’re gonna have certain sensations or why you’re gonna have certain experiences that might be a little bit challenging at times. But you’re talking about your unconsciousness here. And everything that you do in life is gonna flow from your consciousness.
And we go to chiropractors, we go to doctors, we go to dentists, we go to mechanics to fix our car. We see professionals in every area of life except for our mind.
Yeah. The most important part as well.
The most important part.
Hey, Tom, yes, good point. We ask one question on the show at the end, every guest. And I can just see Stewie’s face. His brain is working overtime.
This gold. I mean, we’ll be talking about this for weeks after, Tom.
So, what’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given.
Yeah. That’s a really good question. I would have to reference a book, it was a reference from a book called Emmanuel’s Book. And I don’t know if it’s advice as opposed to an insight, but I probably take it as an insight. And that is that ultimately, beyond all the thoughts, all the seeming conditions of what I perceive myself to be, there is the subtle essence of who I am. My ultimate truth.
Is it, “I’m love?” And all I need to do is embody that. And when I’m embodying that as my ultimate truth in every moment, then that’s what we call in Sanskrit “moksha.” Freedom. That is true freedom. There is no circumstance you can’t feel liberated in when you’re just embodying the truth of who you are. And that’s love.
Did it take you a long time to; like, if somebody had that to you when you were in your stock-trading days, bond-trading days, you know, probably wouldn’t have registered the same as to the Tom of today, right?
There’s a reason for that in that knowledge gets superseded by our experience. So, you can have a concept in your head, but if your experience isn’t aligned with that concept, then your experience will override the concept. So, if your concept is, “I’m peace and love,” but if you’re stressed to the hilt, you’ve been up all night doing cocaine and drinking bourbon, and you wake up and you say as an affirmation, “I’m peace and love,” or, “I’m the light.” Your experience will tell you a different story.
And when you’re driving to work in your BMW and there’s a traffic jam and you’re late for a boardroom meeting and a lot of things depend upon this and you’re really stressed and you’re hammering the steering wheel, cussing and cursing, listening to some, you know, hard-core metal music, it doesn’t matter what that concept is. You could have little Post It notes written all over your car on the dashboard saying, “Hey, I’m peace and love.” We need our experience to align with the concepts. And it took me a long time for my physical body to be purified of the imbalances so that I could start to feel that.
So, now my feeling is aligned with the concept.
That makes so much sense when you put it like that, Tom. It really does.
You know, I had a guy at work had heard a lot about the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. And this guy, like, he was a stress bag. A typical broker, just as I was. And he said, “I really want to read this Power of Now. It sounds really good. It’s something I think I should read.” I said, “Sure. I’ll lend it to you.” And I lent it to him. And he wasn’t a meditator, and I knew that he was gonna struggle with that book because if you don’t know how to still the mind or if the mind isn’t naturally, spontaneously living in the now, then (and the mind doesn’t really like to live in the now. It’s in the future and in the past; it’s forecasting and remembering).
And he got about a third of the way through the book and gave it back to me and he said, “You know what? I kind of get what he’s talking about, but I don’t get it.” And that’s because his experience was invalidating the content in the book. He didn’t know how to live in the now, because his mind was always in the future and the past. Without meditation, it’s almost; I’d almost say it’s a great book to read after you’ve been meditating.
Right. And be present. It’s funny you say that, because I’ve read a book, and I’ve gone, “What the hell are they on about?” And picked it up five years later and it’s a completely different book. Even though it’s the same book.
That’s awesome. Any last words, Stu?
Well, I just need your phone number.
I’ll answer it in a second and I’m coming to see you.
Where can we get more Tom Cronin for our listeners, Tom?
The best place to probably go is to the Stillness Project. And the Stillness Project really is a movement we’ve created. Its foundation is to inspire a billion people to meditate daily. Because we see the power of meditation when we incorporate that in their lives. Everything changes. And if we get more people meditating, we’re gonna have a better planet.
So, the Stillness Project is about that. It incorporates retreats, digital programs, digital mentoring, live mentoring, live programs. They can get most of what they need to find about me at the Stillness Project.
Awesome. We’ll drop a link below anyway on our website.
That was awesome, mate. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Tom.
Thank you so much for your time. This stuff, I can see now, it’s critical to mind, body, spirit, holistic health and wellness. I look forward to finding out more and experiencing more. Put it that way.
Did you enjoy the interview with Professor Tim Noakes? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
Professor Tim Noakes: The transcript
I’ll quickly do the introduction. I’m Guy Lawrence. This is Stuart Cooke. And our special guest today is Professor Tim Noakes. And, Tim, honestly, thank you for joining us. It’s awesome to have you.
My pleasure. Thanks, Guy and Stuart.
It’s funny. We actually mentioned to a couple of friends of ours that we’d be interviewing you today, and there was a lot of excitement. We; a very good friend of ours actually studied his medical degree in South Africa and he said that you taught him in one of the semesters there, back in 1984, ’85, I think it was. So, he was very impressed that we were speaking to you today and said to say hello.
Great. I hope I knew something.
And also, another friend of ours, a really good friend of yours, Stu, is it Gavin, is it?
Gavin, yeah, he’s a crazy bush runner, and he was very excited when he found out that we were going to be talking to you. So, we’ve got a few questions a little later on that he’s scripted for us and he’d love to know, so we’ll get to those in 10 minutes or so.
Yeah, so the first thing, anyway, Tim, for anyone that doesn’t know who you are, would you mind just telling us a little bit about yourself for the people that would be listening to this?
Sure. Well, I’m pretty advanced in age now. I’m 64 years old, so I’ve been in medicine since 1969, I started my medical training. And during my medical training I became much more interested in sports medicine and health promotion and disease prevention.
And I realized, also, I was really interested in science rather more than the practice of medicine.
So, after doing my internship in the hospital, I went immediately into research and I’ve been there ever since. I first did my Ph.D. in medicine and I graduated in 1981 and then immediately started teaching sports science at the University of Capetown. So, it was the first sports science degree in South Africa.
And it has kind of evolved into sports medicine and a few other things, and I have built up the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, which is a research organization and a teaching organization. And we started that in about ’95, so it’s gone about 15 or 16 years now.
And my interests, as you know, are: how does the body function as a totality. Because when I started in the sciences, we were taught that when you’re exercising, muscles get tired and then you stop. And we now know it’s much more complex. And so we developed the theory of the central governor model, which is that the brain regulates exercise and performance to make sure that you get to the finish of an event safely.
So, that’s been my one contribution. The other contribution, which brought me into conflict with PepsiCo and Gatorade, was how much you should drink during exercise.
And the big one that I want to finish up on is: what we should be eating, and is it healthful for our bodies.
Yeah, that a massive topic, isn’t it?
So, we noticed that a few years ago, your views on diet, particular carbohydrates, changed dramatically. And I wondered if you could just elaborate on that a little bit, please.
Sure. Well, I reached that age of 61 and, in fact, it happened the night I finished writing Waterlogged, which is the story about Gatorade and the sports industry and so on and how that income impacts over-drink.
So, at the time I was incredibly sensitive about how industry manipulates science and scientists for its own needs and good. And so anyway, I went out and ran the next morning and I had a terrible run and I thought, “Well, Tim Noakes, you’ve got to do something about your running. It’s awful. You’ve got to do something about it.”
So, fortunately, I came home, I went to my emails, and there in my in box was an advert for a book called The New Atkins for the New You. And I said, of course, Atkins has been XXunintelligibleXX and so on. And it said: “Lose 6 kilograms in six weeks without anger.” And I said: That’s rubbish. You can’t lose that without hunger. You’ve got to go and train hard and it’s a sacrifice and so on.
So, anyway, then I noticed it was written by some friends of mine, Jeff Volek and Steve Phinney, who are two really good scientists. So I said, “Well, they wouldn’t say this if it was nonsense.”
So I went and read the book. I read it, and by lunchtime I decided: That’s it. No more carbohydrates.
And I suddenly just lost buckets of weight. And my running came back. I mean, it was astonishing. Now, you must understand I was running really slowly but I dropped 40 minutes in my half-marathon and 20 minutes off my 10K time. So, I went from running seven minutes a K to XXaudio problemXX.
And, you know, that’s astonishing. Because I thought that I was old, and that’s why I had to run at seven minutes a K and suddenly I could run at 5 minutes a K. And it was absolutely astonishing.
So, my every health parameter has dramatically improved. I mean, you know, my blood pressure, from the day one of medical school, was 140/90 or higher. It’s now 120/70 at its highest.
And all I’ve done is changed my diet. So I’m now back to the weight I was as a youngster. And my running is not as fast as it was, but for a 64-year-old, I think I’m doing pretty well.
So, then I studied eating and I just saw that is bogus: the idea that we must cut fat from the diet is based on complete bogus nonsense. And, again, it was industry and commerce that drove us to start eating lots of carbohydrates and sugar and so on.
And so, again, I just started to see exactly the same thing that had happened in the sports drink industry has happened with the industry that promotes carbohydrates.
And, fortunately or unfortunately, my father was diabetic. I’m profoundly carbohydrate intolerant. And if you’re carbohydrate intolerant, you just must not eat carbohydrates. So, I’m the type of person who’s gonna benefit hugely from this advice.
And a final point I’d make is that we’re not that, you know? We are not told that if you’re carbohydrate intolerant, you shouldn’t be eating carbohydrates
Yeah, that’s interesting. Funny enough, Tim, we had DNA testing done about two months ago and it came up that I was susceptible to diabetes and I was carbohydrate intolerant and if I ate carbs, I would become a diabetic, basically.
And it just sort of reinforced what I was naturally doing anyway.
That’s amazing. And you know, I have debated this with the experts in South Africa and they tell me that condition of carbohydrate intolerance or insulin resistance does not exist. That’s what they honestly told me.
What was the initial reaction like that you had when you first came out and said, you know, we should be eating fat, not carbohydrates?
Well, it took me about five months to knock off the carbs. But, all I did was I wrote an article saying, “I’m dropped the cereals and grains.” I didn’t even talk about fat. And there was a complete outcry from the scientists and dieticians. It was astonishing and it continues to this day.
I mean, I’m absolutely persona non grata. And they will do anything they possibly can to discredit me and discredit these ideas. Instead of saying, “Hold on. Let’s look at the evidence and let’s see what the truth is,” because what I teach in science is that there’s always two sides to arguments and you must present both. But they refused to present the opposite argument.
Why would you think that is?
Well, the story I’m getting back is that the dieticians in South Africa have been told that they may not discuss this theory because it completely undermines; it completely undermines the entire; the teaching in their discipline.
So, rather than address the entire discipline, they’re just gonna ignore it. But the tragedy is; my opinion is that the social media and what we are doing here today is the future. And people will learn what the truth is.
So, people are gonna to listen to this and they’ll say, “Gee, you know, I’m like Tim Noakes. I’m 60. I’m fat. I can’t run. Maybe I should stop eating carbohydrates.” And then a few weeks later, they’re running much better and they’ve lost the weight. They say, “Well, Tim Noakes was right and the dieticians were wrong.”
And then they go and tell another hundred people.
Do you think; so, talking about fat adaption and people consuming carbohydrates, is it a kind of clean-cut case, or are there people that simply can’t fat-adapt; perhaps people that need carbohydrates?
I don’t think there are anyone who can’t fat-adapt. I mean, I just don’t XXthink that’s a conditionXX Except if, there is one condition where you’re metabolically deranged and you haven’t got the enzymes to break down fat. But, I mean, that’s a described metabolic disorder.
But, you know, it took me 61 years to learn that carbohydrate is entirely unessential to humans, because you can live without them. You can live without eating even one gram of carbohydrate. No one ever told me that.
That shocks a lot of people when they hear that for the first time.
It does. And certainly if you’ve read my book, Lore of Running, you get the opposite impression.
So, to answer your question, what I do find is that if you’re carbohydrate-intolerant, you benefit hugely from fat adaptation. I mean, one of the people I helped dropped his 56 kilometer time by three hours.
In one year. He ran 6:57 and the next year ran 3:59. Now, this particular 56K race in Capetown, it’s a difficult race. To break 4 is a really good run because you have to run three hours for the marathon and they you have to run 14 kilometers in which you had better run it four minutes a K as well. Up hills. And he dropped three hours. And he was a good runner, obviously, but that was the effect of carbohydrates on him.
It is insane. And he only lost; he lost 16 kilograms ultimately, but the pictures of him before he did the dietary change, he was; his BMI was actually only 26. He wasn’t grossly overweight at all. He would look normal for an African ultra-marathon runner finishing at the end of the races. And then now he looks like a world-class, well, not world-class, but he looks like a fantastic athlete.
And all the difference was that he had been eating carbohydrates, and he couldn’t tolerate them, and as soon as he cut them, his body responded as it should be.
As I say, which is the healthier one? Is it the one on the carbs or the one eating the fat? Which is gonna kill him tomorrow? Is he healthier?
I say, why is it that 50 percent of the people running ultra-marathons in South Africa, and that’s a lot of people, there’s probably 8,000 ultra-marathon runners, why are they all fat? And the answer is because they are doing lots of exercise but they’re eating the wrong diet.
Once they aren’t, the weight just drops off and they start to run better.
So, your thoughts on running for weight loss while following a conventional diet?
Is not the way forward.
Probably not the way forward. We’ve got lots of friends that run. You know, we’ve got bush runners, road runners, soft sand, treadmill. They do it for very different reasons. Many of them do it to lose weight.
But without these thoughts or knowledge or info on the diet, is it pointless as a tool for weight loss?
Yeah, Stuart, that’s a great question. The answer is, if you’re running to regulate your weight, your diet is wrong. You cannot regulate your weight with running.
To use as an example, this Jeff Simon we were chatting about, when he entered the diet, within about 12 weeks he’d lost his 12 kilograms and he was hardly running. Then he was training really hard and he got up to 100, 120 K’s a week and his weight stayed exactly the same. It didn’t change.
You said “recently,” which I think is a very important point, is that you run to burn carbohydrates, not to burn calories. And the reason it works in some people is you burn off the excess carbohydrate that your body normally can’t burn. But the instant you stop running, your weight jumps up again because you stop burning that excess carbohydrate. And if you can’t burn the excess carbohydrate, it has to be stored as fat. That’s the only that people, again, and I didn’t understand that either.
So, you have to have a carbohydrate balance.
How many grams of carbohydrate would he have been eating a day, just out of curiosity?
I would say probably 300 or 400 grams. And now he’s probably down to about 75 to 100. Something in that range. That’s; he’s not grossly intolerant like I am. I’m down to 25 to 50 grams a day. And my weight remains absolutely stable. It doesn’t matter whether I run 10 K’s a day or rest. My weight is stable.
When you talk about how many carbs that you eat a day, where do you get; where do you source those carbs from?
Mainly from veg. Leafy veg. Those are about the only two veg; those are the only two carbohydrate sources that I now eat. I’m actually diabetic. I do treat myself with Glucophage. So, I have to; that’s why I limit to 25. I mean, glucose in my system, it just causes chaos.
And what I’ve also learned is that if you are on the verge, like myself, and you are diabetic, any carbohydrate messes you up for days. It’s astonishing how long it takes to get back to control if you eat much carbohydrate. But even an extra apple is enough to upset my carbohydrate balance the next day.
And so that’s how on the edge we are, once you reach the stage I’m in.
What would you eat, typically, then before and after a race or, you know, just generally as well?
Fantastic. What I do is I would not eat anything before. I’m just XXunintelligibleXX. I’d have a big meal the night before. I might have some extra protein the night before. Because I can generate glucose from nothing. I mean, if I have a big protein meal, my glucose shoots up. If I run, my glucose shoots up.
So, one of the problems in diabetes, and this is not recognized, but some of us have a liver that can produce so much carbohydrates, so much glucose, it’s utterly impossible for me to get my glucose down running. I mean, I could run for hours without any carbohydrate and I’m sure my glucose would still be up.
Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but my point is, I run marathons; half-marathons and my glucose is high at the finish. Even the fact that I haven’t eaten for 12 hours before the race or during the race.
So, I’ve got this massive capacity to produce glucose from the liver, and I think that that is a very common phenomenon in diabetes. And so XXit controls glucose productionXX in the liver, and so adding extra carbohydrate just floods the system and makes it even worse.
That was certainly a shocker for you people, I think. Running a half-marathon with nothing inside of you on that particular day. Because I know that it’s certainly a big gel community at the moment and people are squeezing gels and goos into their mouth every second. And it’s XXunintelligibleXX I think, isn’t it?
If I could just answer that question. What I discovered is that when we change people to high-fat diets, they take XXaudio problemXX during exercise. And if they do, even if it’s an adventure race and they’re out for eight hours a day or whatever, or exercise for eight hours a day, they just eat what they normally would eat.
So, they eat lunch and then dinner and so on. And they’ll eat the same high-fat, high-carb. . . I’m sorry; high-fat, high-protein foods that they normally eat. And they’ll tell you they’re much less hungry, but the people who are competing with them who are carbohydrate-dependent are looking for carbohydrates every half hour, constantly looking for them. That’s the difference.
Once you adapt to fat, you just use the fat that’s in your body and you don’t need the carbohydrates at all.
So, that would be one of the advantages for any athlete listening to this then, Tim, I’m guessing that the fact you don’t need to keep refueling yourself when you’re running all the time.
Absolutely. And so your choice of foods is so much simpler. We had some experts out here recently and one of them had done the Badwater 140-mile race, which has to be the toughest race in the world, under impossible conditions, and they cross over three mountain ranges.
And he said when they started, they used to take on all sorts of foods, lots of carbohydrates, but they also used to put in protein and fat. And he said after a few years, they suddenly realized that they didn’t eat the carbohydrates. They were eating the other things.
So, on their race, their bodies actually said to them, “Give me the fat and the protein.” And so, with time, they adapted and now they don’t take any carbohydrate with them whatsoever, which I found really interesting. If you listen carefully, your body will tell you what you really need.
But I just have to reemphasize that the carbohydrates are so addictive and they do give you immediate lifts, so a lot of those people will need them for the lift, the artificial lift that they give them. Not for the metabolic effects, but for the brain effects that they XXare given toXX.
Just that facet. So, during the period of adaptation, how long do you think that, you know, those cravings would generally last?
Yeah, that’s a great question. I found it took me about six weeks. My running suddenly improved after six weeks, just dramatically. Within a period of a week, I suddenly started running much better.
But the cravings for sugar took about 14 months. And so I would finish those runs and I would still take a little bit of sugar in my drinks and I would still add sugar to tea and coffee. But all that was much reduced. It took a long time. So, now I find water as refreshing as any drink I’ve ever had. And, in fact, the water tastes sweet to me now. But that took two or three years.
So, if you’re an athlete and you’re fat-adapted and let’s say you went on a load of carbohydrates and knocked yourself out of ketosis. Does it take a long time to get back into being fat-adapted? Are we talking hours, days, weeks?
Well, that I can’t say I did personally, but reading what Jeff Volek had said, he said you’re out for about three days. That you’re not quite as good as you were for the previous few, so it takes about three days to get back.
And I mean, I think that’s the point in biology. It doesn’t matter what you do to the body. If you add a lot of salt to the body, it takes you about three days to get back into balance. So, I would think the same applies for most things.
It’s not acute. We don’t adapt acutely. It takes times for the system to get back, because the system is so incredibly complex that it needs time to get everything back into good shape again.
Yeah, fair enough. What, Tim, what’s your thoughts on short bouts of intense exercise and being low-carb? Because it’s obviously; you’re using a different system there, I’m assuming. Because I do CrossFit and long-distance running you’re constantly at one pace, but something like CrossFit is very dynamic, heavy weights, and some things last 10 minutes.
Yeah. You know, I’m not the expert on that yet and I haven’t really tried it myself. I haven’t started doing interval training again, properly. I do feel a bit sluggish when I try to do intervals, and I think that’s what people generally tell you.
And it’s really interesting, because it’s difficult to understand why you should be sluggish simply because you haven’t got lots of carbohydrates in you. Because, in fact, diabetics store carbohydrates poorly anyway. And so adding lots of carbohydrate doesn’t necessarily make insulin-resistant people fill up their muscles with carbohydrates.
So, if you’re intolerant like myself, and most of us who are on this diet, you shouldn’t have been able to store carbohydrate very well anyway when you’re eating a high-carbohydrate diet. And it doesn’t completely make sense to me why we struggle a bit when we do high-intensity training. And maybe it’s because we need to do more of it. I don’t know, but the clinical trials that they’ve done, in XXgymnasts?XX, for example, they show no effect that XXgymnasts?XX are just as strong in a high-fat diet as they are on a high-carbohydrate diet.
However, you know, most people will tell you that they can’t exercise as well. But let me give you one example. I had one guy who was a world-class athlete and he chose to drop from 400 grams a day down to 25 and he said it was a disaster. He didn’t even want to get up in the morning, he felt so terrible.
He then went up to a hundred grams and he said on a hundred grams a day, he’s training better and he’s performing better than he ever did at 400 grams. And so that’s my point. There’s the cut-off value.
And I do not believe that any human being needs more than 200 grams a day. So, even if you’re an Iron Man triathlete, training hard every day, that 200 grams will be enough to provide you all the energy you need during the exercise bouts. Because that will cover it. You know, you can burn lots of fat.
We have done some preliminary experiments on people who have fat-adapted and normally adapted. And what we find is that the fat-adapted still burn quite a lot of carbohydrate during exercise, but what they do is they just don’t burn carbohydrate during the races. They burn fat. Whereas the carbohydrate-adapted person burns carbohydrate all day because he’s got to get back into carbohydrate balance.
So, I would guess that 60, 70 percent of that huge carbohydrate load that people are eating is actually what they’re gonna burn during the rest of the day. Which they don’t need to, because you can burn fat during the rest of the day. And that’s the, sort of, balance that you need to get to, that maybe 200 grams will give you all the carbohydrates you need to train maximally if you’re doing speed work. And then the rest of the day you spend burning fat.
But burning 400 grams or eating 400 or 500 grams a day, you’re just gonna burn most of that during the rest of the day when you don’t need it.
Yeah. Of course.
You see so many people doing that.
Exactly. And, I mean, I wouldn’t have known that until it became so obvious when you’re doing XXunintelligibleXX and that’s what you see.
So, people who are eating lots of carbohydrates are actually fueling; they’re burning the carbohydrates when they’re not exercising. So, that’s important.
And outside of, you know, weight loss and performance, what other benefits have you experienced on a high-fat diet?
My health has just improved dramatically. I mean, I just don’t get ill anymore. That’s what’s remarkable.
I used to get repeated bronchitis, which was quite severe and I needed mediation, steroids, to treat it. I haven’t had an attack like that for three years. And I’ve just; I had a whole bunch of other symptoms but that was the one that used to really worry me.
Because every three months or so, I’d get a rhinitis; a runny nose. And it would go straight into my lungs and I’d get this allergic response, which I always thought was the infection, and then I realized that’s actually an allergic response. And now what I know is it’s simply related to cereals and grains in my diet.
I also had the irritable bowel syndrome. That disappeared. I had dyspepsia. That disappeared. I used to get headaches once a week. I haven’t taken a medication for headache for three years. I used to take it once a week.
So I know it’s the gliadin in the wheat that is the problem causing repeated headaches.
So, I’m just two different people. I mean, I now have got so much energy and it’s just been amazing. I feel like I’m back to 25 or 30.
Whereas before, I was a tired 60-year-old who almost stopped running. I was tiring.
I’ll tell you, I haven’t eaten grains for a couple of years, and every time I’ll have a grain, on the odd occasion, I always feel terrible after it. And the best thing I ever did was get rid of the grains for myself, personally. You know? It’s amazing.
That’s probably the most important adaptation is getting rid of the cereals and grains. And which is, I said, because, you know we’re all told that they are the cornerstone for our health. And it’s just not the case at all.
Yeah, absolutely. That magical food pyramid that has lied to us for so many years.
I’m going to steal one of your questions and throw a little bit of a curve ball your way as well, Tim. So, on endurance exercise, particularly running, and life expectancy. And I’m raising that because of cortisol issues, which, for our audience, is the stress hormone.
What are your thoughts on that?
You know, I think there is some evidence accumulating that for some individuals keeping up high-intensity running, running marathons all your life, probably isn’t such a good idea.
The problem is, they haven’t controls for nutrition. That’s an issue that we haven’t looked at. So, if you’re carbohydrate-intolerant, and you’re eating a high-carbohydrate diet and you’re exercising, I can see that that’s gonna be a problem.
My own view is that I’ve stopped running marathons many years ago, but I would have continued if I’d been on this diet. Because I stopped running because I became so slow. And I now know I became slow because of my carbohydrate intolerance and eating lots of carbohydrates. And that if I’d eaten a high-fat diet all my life, I believe I would have continued running marathons for much longer and not had those consequences.
So, I think that there is evidence for some people for doing lots of vigorous exercise is not good. But I would not like to generalize that to the general public.
We’ve known for years that the Tour de France scientists, generally the winners have a very short life expectancy. But there were drugs involved and many other things that we couldn’t be certain that it’s just the exercise.
But you’ve just got to be cautious, and the one thing you don’t want is atrial fibrillation. And clearly that’s linked to vigorous exercise and it’s hit one of the guys who brought me into running, and one’s an early winner of the Comrades marathon, that’s the 90 kilometer race in South Africa, has got atrial fibrillation. And, you know, that was so clearly related to all his running.
So, one just has to be cautious. And I think if you’ve got signs that things are not good, if you start to pick up abnormal heart rhythms, I think it’s time to look very cautiously and consider, A, are you doing too much, and, B, is it your diet? Is that a factor?
Yeah. Absolutely. And I guess it’s another scenario where one size certainly doesn’t fit all. We’re all so very, very different.
And I’m getting messages back from other guys now, in their 60s, older than me, in their 70s, changing to this diet and suddenly finding their performance going up again, and being able to run much better.
So, again, the question is, is it the exercise or is it the nutrition? And Jeff Volek is doing some wonderful stuff looking at inflammation markers in people who run marathons and ultra-marathons, and if they’re eating a high-carbohydrate diet.
So, the argument is that the combination of lots of marathon-running and high carbohydrates produce inflammatory response. And that, repeated every few months for years, naturally you’re likely to cause problems.
So, I think we have to look at our running and make sure you’re just not getting inflamed all the time and try to do things that will stop the inflammation.
That’s good advice.
It sounds like the diet, again, is very suspicious there.
It think it’s controllable, and look at dietary very carefully.
OK. Another question while we’re on running, then. And we wanted to raise this because we got the famous City2Surf coming up. And, are you aware of that race, Tim?
Yes, I do. And you know why I know? Because John Sutton, famous Australian physiologist, that’s sports medicine doctor, was one of the first doctors to be involved in that race and he described all the cases of heatstroke that occurred.
And I remember him writing one article saying something like, you know, heatstroke in a 10K or 12K fun run shouldn’t be happening.
And I think he got it all wrong, because he was all, “Oh, you’ve got to drink lots of fluids.” And so on. And I don’t agree with that. I think heatstroke is a multifactorial disease and you’ve got to have individual susceptibility for it to start.
And then you’ve got to have a couple of other things wrong with you on the day. But you’d probably have an infection; a latent infection. And maybe other things that happen on the day. Maybe taking medications or drugs which are factors.
And when you put them all together, then you get the scenario. But the reality is that you’ve probably got 50,000 runners in the race and yet you only have one or two guys get into real trouble. But why didn’t all 50,000, if it was the environment? It’s not the environment. It’s something else that’s involved.
So, if somebody was listening to this a week before they were doing the City2Surf run and they’ve eaten a lot of carbs and drinking a lot of Gatorade ready to get ready for the race and they hear this a week before, and they go, “Oh, my God. Should I change everything?” What should they do?
They absolutely shouldn’t change now. But I think what you need to know is that every time you put carbohydrates; refined carbohydrates like those sports drinks into your mouth, you get a huge insulin response and we think that that repeated insulin response, the high glucose, is damaging to the health in the long-term.
Some people are OK because they’re hugely carbohydrate-tolerant. But if you’re intolerant, every time you take a sports drink, you’re actually damaging your health.
So you have to appreciate that. So, we have this paradox in South Africa that our big races are funded by the soft drink industry and if we had a race in Capetown which had 10,000 runners running 56 kilometers and they managed to consume three tons of sugar during the race. I’m not saying that consumed it, but there were three tons of sugar available on the race for those runners.
Now that’s, when you start to think about that, you realize: Here you are running, trying to get healthy, but you’re killing yourself by taking all of that sugar during the race.
Would you add anything to your drink when you’re running; would you anything? Salt or anything like that?
No. You certainly don’t need salt, because your body will provide all the salt you need. So, you definitely need water. And if you’re fat-adapted, you just need fat and protein.
And I would try milk, you know. Or coconut oil. I’ve used both in half-marathons and it’s the most wonderful drink. You have to come to Northern Europe to be fully adapted to milk. Otherwise, you’ve probably got a milk intolerance.
So, many XXSouth Africans?XX come from Europe, as I do, and so we’re tolerant for milk.
But the point being that once you’re fat-adapted, you just really don’t need much carbohydrate, if any, during exercise.
I have a question now from my good friend Gavin, who is a bush runner. And he’s interested from a beginner’s perspective. He wants to know what would be the most effective training method to get him up to a level of fitness in the fastest time period without injury, where they’re able to keep up with other club runners and not feel left behind. If you have any tips.
Yeah. Well, I can only tell you what I did. I was a rower when I started running and what we used to do, we used to race two miles. That was epic. So, if we raced two miles. That was where most people come from, I think. If you’re fit for another sport, you can probably race a mile or two and go flat-out and you’re OK. But once you have to run 5Ks or 10Ks, it’s a real problem.
And I was taken by some real experts and they XXaudio problemsXX controversy. Because you have to learn the pacing strategies. That’s the key. And that’s it is. And after three months, I had the pacing strategies worked out. And then we would start running half an hour, hour, hour and a half, two hours.
So, I think that if you take people who are physically active and healthy and then go through about three months of regular running before you can start properly running 10, 15, 20 kilometers.
So, my focus has always been; so, that’s the one scenario. If you’ve got well-trained, if you’ve got physically fit people, they still need to run half an hour a day, five days a week, and it’s gonna take them three months to get going.
If you’ve got people who are completely sedentary and not physically strong, I started walking and in Lore of Running I describe a walking program where we would get them to walk for the first three months, because otherwise they’re going to get injuries, bone injuries, particularly stress fractures.
So, I think that’s the key. If you have been physically active before, like in Australian Rules or rugby or whatever. Football. That’s fine. But it still takes you time to learn how to pace yourself.
The thing that I learned was, just go slowly.
You’ve got it. It’s certainly not an instant thing.
And add your speed work in. Go for distance first. That’s the key.
And even today, I still make the error of trying to run short distances too fast and not doing the long-distance work. It’s the long-distance work that really makes you a runner.
Just another thought that popped into my mind as well. When training for longer events, would it just be running that you do? Just get out there and run on the road? Or would you hit the gym and start working other muscles?
Yes, I think so. I think you need; it depends. The longer your races, the more your whole body needs to be in good shape. So, I’m impressed by CrossFit. And this not an advert, but I was watching last night the CrossFit World Championships and I was utterly astonished at the women; what they can do. Ten or 15 years ago, we would have said that’s utterly impossible for a man to do, let along a woman.
So, I think, yes, there is good evidence that if you’ve got stronger legs from biometric training and so on, you will run better. So, there is a strength component to running. XXaudio problemXX and they are incredibly XXaudio problemXX. That’s a point that we don’t make.
For a highly-trained athlete to run fast, the 10K; a fast 10K, his foot is never on the ground. That’s what defines a great runner. They’re always in the air; their haven’t broken ground. And the answer is that his foot is on the ground for such a short time, then it explodes and throws; catapults his body forward two or three meters.
Now, OK, he’s only 56 kilograms, but still, the time being that his foot is on the ground is so short that he has an enormous amount of power. So, power is a key component, and it’s something that we forget.
And I certainly know of people who have trained for ultra-marathons by doing lots of weight training in the gym on their legs, and they’ve done relatively little running. So, if you can get your mind ’round it, you don’t have to do as much running.
But I actually agree. In generally, I think that weight training like CrossFit, that’s the best way to try and XXaudio problemXX. OK, maybe there’s more emphasis on weight training in CrossFit than in running, but I think that for many people, all weight training is gonna be beneficial.
Yeah. That’s really a good way of looking at it. I never thought of it like that.
And, Tim, there’s a question I’ve got, I’ve been itching to ask you for ages, and I’m quite aware of time so I’m going to jump to it to make sure we fit it in. And that simply is regarding the ocean swimming. Because me and Stu are big fans. We generally get in there a couple of times a week. And at the moment, the water temp, what was it today? 16.1?
Just over 16, yeah.
Really? Well, this is cold. You’ve talked about training. Is it Lewis?
Yeah. And he swam one mile in, I think, our reference says 1.8 degrees.
Tim Noakes: That’s right. It was actually about 2 to 3. He did the mile swim. He usually swam a kilometer, but he did swim a kilometer in minus 1.8 degrees centigrade.
Now, just to make it clear, there’s no wetsuit. This is just him in his Speedos, right?
How did he do that?
Well, what he discovered was that, provided he was out of the water within 25 minutes he was fine. So, he could cope. And what he did was, as all humans do, is they cool their legs and their arms, they become incredibly cold, so after the long swim at Deception Island, where he swam a mile at 3 degrees centigrade, his muscle temperature was 32 degrees compared to a normal of 37, 38.
And it was 32 an hour and a half later, after he had been in a hot shower for an hour and a half. His muscles were still as cold as they were when he came out.
His core body temperature had risen to 37, so he was normal, his brain was normal again, but his legs were still messed up.
So, what he did was he stored all the cold in his legs. But he reached the absolute limit of his tolerance after 30 minutes. But when he swam it in 20 minutes at minus 1.8, he didn’t drop his core temperature below 36, so he was relatively fine.
So, again, if you just store the cold in your body and you’re fine for 20 minutes, but by 30 minutes you’re absolutely at the limit, and I think that anyone swimming at a temperature below 5 degrees centigrade, they’ve got half an hour before they freeze and drown.
And I think that’s what that work added, which is we now know the limits. And he could get to the mark, because he’s a fast swimmer, and he didn’t slow down much. He slowed down substantially, but not really too seriously.
The danger was is that if your body cools down and your brain is still warm enough. . . Sorry; if your brain cools down too quickly, you lose consciousness and you drown. And I know that had he swam for another five minutes in there at the temperature, he would have gone unconscious.
So, he was close. It was 35 minutes and he was gone.
Wow. That’s amazing. That’s just freaks me out. Because we get in the water, I’m contemplating how cold it is now, you know. . .
Yeah, but you’re both so lean, and you can only swim at about 26, 27. That’s the temperature at which you’ll be able to swim any length of time. But once it drops below 27, and of course the colder it is the worse it is.
I had the privilege recently of meeting a Capetown guy who, in Australian water, was lost at sea for 28 hours. You probably remember the story.
Yes, I do.
The Coast Guard got him or whatever. And he came in here and he spoke to me and said, “I should be dead.” And he gave me the whole story about the 28 hours. I asked what was the water temperature and he said it was 27. I said, “That’s what saved you.” If it had been 25, he wouldn’t have made it.
It’s absolutely critical, the water temperature. And he wasn’t as lean as you guys, so he also had just a little bit of extra fat. But at your weights, you’re in real trouble when the temperature goes below 20 degrees.
Yeah, absolutely. That’s why I’ve just ordered a nice, new wetsuit. I’ll be fine over the winter.
That’s definitely what you need.
So, look, I’m just very aware of the time and one last question, Tim, before we wrap ’er up. And I know it’s a topic you’ve covered well. But, how much does the mind determine the outcome of an event?
Yeah. That’s a great question. I was watching the British Open the other day and Tony Jacklin, who won the Open and one of the major American opens, he said it’s 90 percent psychological and 10 percent mental.
And I think it’s true, you know, when you get to that level, the skill is exactly the same for the top hundred players, and it’s only the ones who control their minds one the day that win.
In running, it’s both a hundred percent physical and it’s a hundred percent mental. In other words, that you have to have the physical capacity. I couldn’t run a four-minute mile ever, because I don’t have the physical capacity. But within my range of performances, then it becomes very mental; it becomes very important. And it becomes the hundred percent.
So, I think at Olympic level, we recognize biologically that it’s pretty much the same and one guy wins the race by six centimetres. That’s purely mental, and I honestly, honestly believe that the person who comes second actively chooses to come second.
It’s obviously at a subconscious level. But then you have to make the choice, because it’s simple. The person who finishes 6 centimetres behind the winner didn’t die. So, he could have run faster. So, why didn’t he run faster? And it’s not biological.
Because the controls that stop you running faster are all, they’re not conscious, they’re subsconscious control. But they’re open to conscious control, in my view. Or conscious modification.
I just; that’s my belief. So the mental is absolutely important. But at a simple level, if I go into a marathon and I’m not sure that I’ll finish, what happens, as you all know, that you’re two-thirds of the race through, and XXaudio problemXX and you say, “Oh, I’ve got 12 kilometers to go,” and your brain says, “Well, you’re not gonna make it.”
And if it says that to you, you’ve got to be able to say, “Absolute nonsense. This is going to be easy.”
And I think that those are the decisions you make before the start of the race. If you have any doubt in your mind, it’s not going to do it.
No, that’s right.
I was only saying to Guy the other day, and, you know, a little similar, when we train CrossFit, if we have, for instance, have to do 20 pull-ups on the bar, in my mind I’ll be going for 30.
And I’ll always get the 20.
I’ll always go for 10 and usually get my 10 and then stop and then do another 10.
The mind is terribly, terribly important.
And, certainly, I work quite a lot with teams; young teams of athletes. And there’s no question that the belief systems of teams, if you can improve their belief system, that team will outperform itself and do much better than it should.
Conversely, you can take a good team without self-belief and they don’t do well.
So, I have absolute belief now that what you think is what will happen. What you really believe will be the outcome. And that’s the difference between the winners and the guys that come second.
Yeah. One hundred percent.
Well, Tim, if you could offer one single piece of advice for optimum health or wellness, for anyone listening to this, what would it be?
Well, I think you know what it’s gonna be. It’s look to your diet.
I did it. I thought I was doing what doing what I meant to do, but I ate the wrong diet. And only when I got my diet right did I get the energy back again to be able to run again and train properly and look forward to my running. And now my health is infinitesimally better and I just love each day.
And when my diet was wrong, it was the opposite. I was hanging in. It’s terribly sad. So, find the best diet for you and we all know what that diet is.
Tim, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate you coming on and joining us for 45 minutes. It’s been awesome. I’ve learned a lot.
Thanks, Guy, and thanks, Stuart. It’s been a great privilege to be with both of you guys.
Welcome to The Health Sessions podcast. Each episode we cut to the chase as we hang out with real people with real results.
Stuart Cooke: I hope Guy hasn’t been boring you, Chad.
Chad Mackay: No. No. No, buddy. He just told me that you must have been perming your hair or something like that.
Stuart Cooke: Mate, you know what I’ve been doing? I’ve been working out on a trigger-point grid.
Chad Mackay: All right!
Stuart Cooke: Are you proud of me? I’m rolling out. That’s what I’m doing. I’m getting back to 100 percent.
Guy Lawrence: He’s getting there. I’m still in shock that he’s got a blue t-shirt on like last time. We interviewed Christine the other week and we ended up; but I got in theme today, see? I’ve got my CrossFit t-shirt on.
Stuart Cooke: All right. OK. That’s really good.
Guy Lawrence: Fair enough. All right, so, we might as well start. Anyone listening to this, I’m Guy Lawrence. We’ve got Stuart Cooke and a very special guest, Mr. Chad Mckay.
Chad, welcome. Thanks for dropping in and joining us, mate.
Chad Mackay: Cheers, guys. Very excited.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, so, what we thought we’d do was, obviously, you don’t need any introduction within CrossFit, you know, but we have a lot of listeners as well; a lot of non-CrossFitters as well. And we were kind of just chatting yesterday about how we can, because, as far as I’m concerned, you’re one of the best athletes in the country.
You know, you’re a coach as well and there’s so much more to get from you than just CrossFit. So, we thought we’d divide it up into two parts. So, we’ll chat a bit more broader first and then we’ll delve into WODs and Fran times and all that kind of stuff afterwards, because people are wondering what the hell we’re on about.
Chad Mackay: Sure. Sounds good.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. So, mate, just to start, then, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself for the people that have no idea what CrossFit is or what you do?
Chad Mackay: Yeah, sure, sure. So, CrossFit’s basically a combination of kind of gymnastics movements, Olympic weightlifting, and strength and conditioning and also kind of hybrid movements using different kind of apparatus: kettle bells; stuff like that. And we put them in workouts and we try and use those different elements to try and pretty much become competent across a whole broad range of exercises and movements.
And yet, it first started off over in the States back in 1996 and it was basically started by a guy called Greg Glassman, and he was a gymnast and then he got a couple of serious injuries and he wanted to start his own kind of athletic performance gym and that’s how, kind of, CrossFit came about. He started training clients and athletes in his own garage back in LA and it’s kind of grown from there.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. I didn’t realize it went that far back: ’96.
Chad Mackay: It’s been around for a few years, and it’s slowly evolved over time and, obviously, sponsors and the like have been involved over the last couple of years and the sport’s just taken off.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, OK. Because, like, we’ve been involved probably, I think Homebush was probably our first real experience of it, which was, I think, three regionals ago.
And we’ve seen that growth unbelievable, you know, just within that time. It’s quite a; it’s a unique thing because when we turned up, like, I knew CrossFitters before that but I’d never been to a regional competition, and it’s really hard to describe for your first experience if you ever see it, you know. We kind of talked about it like being WODstock.
Chad Mackay: Yes!
Guy Lawrence: Or Woodstock, but now it’s WODstock. So, we had all these sort of interesting characters looking around that are absolute fine specimens eating whole chickens and the only thing that was missing was the music festival at the same time, you know?
Chad Mackay: Yeah, absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: So, you coach as well, don’t you, outside?
Chad Mackay: I’ve got a couple of gyms over on north shore of Sydney. One’s in Waverton and the other is in Artarmon. And there’s myself and a couple of other business partners.
And we take care of most of the coaching classes there, so, you know, the class is broken up pretty much into, like a general warm-up for the class and every round there will be either one or two coaches on in the class and we’ll have somewhere between five and 15 to 20 people. We’ll get through the general warm-up, some mobility, normally some kind of skill, and then we’ll do a strength component and then a conditioning piece as well. So, that’s what a lot of people mainly know CrossFit and kind of the generalization is we only really do a hard workout and it’s like a circuit-style training, but there’s a lot more involved than just the WOD, so to speak, or the Workout Of the Day.
So, the athletes get a little bit more exposure to a whole bunch of different movements rather than just a conditioning piece in the workout.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. I mean, the one thing I just want to say as well is that, because you’re a competitive athlete, you know. You go into the World Games. That achievement in itself is gynormous. And so, what I’m interested in is, what does your typical day look like, because, A, you’re a professional athlete, even though it’s probably not recognized as a professional sport. You know, you’re doing all this coaching, it’s a full-time gig, like, what’s a typical day for you?
Chad Mackay: A typical day would be, let’s take yesterday, for example. I started work at 6 a.m., so the alarm was set for 18 minutes past 5. And then I’ve got 12 minutes to quickly have a shake, get out the door, get dressed, get to work by 5:45, coach two classes in the morning, and then I’ve got admin work to do until about 11 o’clock.
And then I train from 11 until about 1 o’clock, so a two-hour session. And that session goes pretty much back-to-back, going through a similar structure to our classes, kind of like general warm-ups and skill, some Olympic lifting, and some strength.
And then I had clients from 1:30 until 4:30. And then I coached three classes and then I had another client at 7:30 and then home by about 9 o’clock.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. I’m tired listening to you.
Stuart Cooke: Straight to bed.
I’m interested about your clients, Chad. Tell about their diversity, because I have seen, just within a CrossFit-type gym, youngsters to the elderly as well, which wouldn’t be your typical, kind of, gym junkie.
Chad Mackay: Absolutely. My clients that I train one-on-one range from, I’ve got a Paralympic swimmer that I train; his name’s Matt Levy. So, I train him a couple of times a week. I train Lynne Knapman. She is a master’s competitor who has competed in the last three CrossFit Games in the category of 50 to 55. So, she’s doing really well. And then I’ve got just some athletes that just want to try and improve their general strength; they may be fairly new to CrossFit.
So, there’s just a broad spectrum of, kind of, ages and abilities there. But regardless of who I’m training, everyone just really has the same kind of consensus of: Let’s try and improve and see what our body is capable of doing and you see those small little improvements and I think that’s why people kind of really find that CrossFit and the kind of strength and conditioning that we do at the gym is really beneficial to people’s bodies.
So, it’s not only the people who are training, whether it’s an elite athlete going to the Olympics or the CrossFit Games, but we have the normal Joe Blow off the street who just wants to improve their flexibility, so to speak. They might sit at a desk for eight hours a day and they’ve got really tight upper body; thoracic. So, yeah, just some general, super-general flexibility issues that we can kind of address during classes or whether they come to see one of the coaches for a one-on-one session.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. What are the most common issues you’d see with clients when they first start training? Do they come there for, like, weight loss or muscle gain and then they’re opened up to CrossFit and their mindset will completely change around it, or. . .
Chad Mackay: Oh, there’s a whole; it’s probably more along the lines of: People hear about CrossFit and it’s normally from a friend or they’ve heard about the community and what’s involved in the community at the gym. So, it’s a lot of word-of-mouth. But the general issues that we have coming to the gym is people sit down at a desk all day and they’re in a flexed position where the hip’s closed off, the shoulders are closed off, and they’ve got a really forward head tilt. So, they’re the main issues.
So, we may get a fairly strong person that comes in that can’t overhead squat a broomstick just because their body is holding them back from being able to hold a bar overhead and do a simple movement like an overhead squat.
Guy Lawrence: We got a question here about mobility, so we’ll touch on that first while we are on it.
Chad MacKay: Sure.
Guy Lawrence: The first time I ever, because remember I mentioned I used to work with Lynne, who you know as well, and she was fabulous CrossFitter. And I’ll never forget the day about, it must have been about four years ago where she was overhead squatting in the gym I was working at. And I went down, I started chatting, and it was 60 kilos, I think.
And it was the first time I was exposed to an overhead squat and she’s like, “Yeah, go on. Let’s see you do it.” And I’m there, you know, all ego, throw the bar above my head, and I move about two inches and I couldn’t do it. And that was my first exposure to mobility, and probably CrossFit as well.
And I think mobility is something that’s overlooked by everyone, and only CrossFit seems to embrace it. Like, I remember working in a gym. You know, you traditionally warm up, you might do a bit of a stretch, and then you get into your exercise. But you walk into a CrossFit gym, you’ve got people who almost look like they’re grinding the floor because they’re rolling out in something.
Stuart Cooke: It is a bizarre sight; I’ll give you that.
Guy Lawrence: It’s amazing. And so, could you just tell us a little bit more about, I guess, mobility, the importance of it, and why so many people suffer from it? You know, I think it’s so untouched outside the. . .
Chad Mckay: Absolutely. The main issue is when people sit down, it obviously closes off the front of the hip and over time you will find yourself sitting at a computer, and, like I said before, that forward head-tilt, that decrease in kind of range of movement at the shoulder joint, everything’s pretty much facing forward and there is no real posterior chain, so. . .
Posterior chain is everything pretty much at the back of your body, so glutes, hamstrings, and kind of the rectus. And when you’re setting down on a chair, it just promotes you to sit forward and use everything in the frontal plane and, over time, eight hours sitting in that position, and then people normally go to the gym and they’ll normally train what’s at the front, so: chest, biceps.
So, how CrossFit differs from that, it pretty much tries to tell you to pretty much work everything in that posterior chain. Dead lifting, squatting, and doing things like pull-ups and overhead squats is going to develop that posterior chain, and over time, hopefully, get people into a more of an extended position; a more upright body posture and shape.
Stuart Cooke: Do you think there would be anything that we could do at home, outside of a gym environment, that would just help loosen us up? You know: stand up straight, shoulders back, anything along those kind of lines?
Chad Mackay: Well, there’s some simple things where you can lay flat on the floor and there’s just a basic movement called a glute bridge where it opens the hip up and it gets the butt and the hamstrings nice and strong. And that’s just a simple hip raise up off the floor.
Also, another very simple exercise is just stretching out in front of the sides of the neck and also possibly laying on the floor again and just pulling the chin down to the floor to kind of lengthen out the back of the neck. Just some really simple things to kind of loosen up and not let the body get in this position. So, yeah. The glute bridge, the side of the neck stretch, and then the kind of back-of-the-neck stretch on the floor.
Guy Lawrence: Do you mobilize every day, Chad?
Chad Mackay: Pretty much every day.
Stuart Cooke: Every minute, I think, Guy. Not every day.
Guy Lawrence: I still keep coming back to the fact that you can snatch 130 kilos. Mobility must have, you know, played a big part in being able to do that.
Chad Mackay: Man, absolutely. If I go to the movies with my girlfriend, I’ll take a small little golf ball and put that golf ball on the ground and I’ll just get some release on the bottom of my feet. So, I’ll spend 45 minutes on each foot and it does make a big difference. It’s like going for a massage. I had a massage this morning and my body feels like it’s already improved a little bit and I can feel the difference already. So, if I can get 45 minutes on each foot while I’m going to the movies, buddy, that’s perfect.
Stuart Cooke: That’s a top tip.
I’ve got a question about your diet. You know, you do a huge amount throughout your day. What does your typical daily look like? What are you eating and how much do you eat?
Chad Mackay: Well, in the off season I’ll tend to eat a little bit more. During the season, I try and weigh and measure most of my meals. Otherwise, I just feel like I can overeat quite easily. So, I just need to be quite strict on what I do eat and at what times.
A general day would be five meals, and those meals would be spaced about four hours apart. Breakfast will be about a quarter past 5 in the morning where I’ll have a shake, a banana, and a handful of nuts. About an hour before training in the morning I’ll have just a really small snack, kind of pre-workout, and then post-workout I’ll try and have a full meal, whether that will be chicken or lamb. So, some type of flesh. And then a big salad, sweet potato, and that will be kind of drenched in olive oil and avocado. And I’ll have a piece of fruit after I work out.
My meals are basically the same for the rest of the day, so brekkie and post-workout meal and then that post-workout meal is the same for the next three meals throughout the day.
Guy Lawrence: Where do you get your carbs from? So, mainly sweet potato and fruit and veggies?
Chad Mackay: Sweet potato and fruit and veggies.
Guy Lawrence: Do you eat any grains?
Chad Mackay: No grains at all.
Guy Lawrence: Good man.
Chad Mackay: No grains at all.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, because I only raise it as well because there’s a common myth that you need, traditionally, if you’re a high-end athlete that grains are one of the main sources of energy.
Stuart Cooke: Hmm. When did you eliminate your grains, Chad? And, I guess, why?
Chad Mackay: I personally eliminated grains, it would have been around about five years ago. I looked into, when I first started CrossFit, I looked into a diet called the Zone Diet and that’s basically portion control and how much protein, carbohydrate, and fat we should have at every meal. But with the Zone Diet, that’s structured a little bit differently where, if you want to have a Big Mac for a meal, you just need to take the top of the bun off and eat kind of the bottom layer of the bun and the ingredients through the middle and that will keep your blood sugars at a certain level so you don’t have a spike in insulin.
And that didn’t really sit well with me, so I decided to stick with the kind of favorable carbohydrates and the kind of clean meats and veggies. So I stuck to that, pretty much religiously, for about three months, and I went from being 116 kilos and I dropped down to about 105 kilos in three months.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Chad Mackay: The initial two weeks I lost probably three or four kilos in that initial two weeks and then I slowly tapered off after that. And then I kind of got introduced to the Paleo Diet, which is basically anything that had a face, you can eat, and anything that falls off a tree or grew in the ground you can have; it’s also known as the caveman diet. So, the last couple of years I’ve been doing that.
Guy Lawrence: When you first made your adjustments and, you know, you dropped down 10 kilos, did you performance and strength remain the same?
Chad Mackay: Well, as I transitioned between kind of bodybuilding style and kind of CrossFit movements, so I couldn’t really gauge the feeling of performance or strength. I think my strength actually dropped back a little bit initially, just because I was having that transition to a new sport.
But definitely energy levels and also a feeling of kind of being sustained throughout the day. I used to have quite large meals, so “quite large meals” would be four or five sandwiches for lunch, a liter of milk. Also, bread, rice, and pasta at pretty much every meal. And unless I felt like I was full I didn’t really feel sustained or didn’t feel like I had much energy.
So, my stomach definitely isn’t as bloated anymore and that’s probably one of the biggest things that I found is that I didn’t have that bloated feeling.
Guy Lawrence: Do you have dairy in your diet, or much, or little, or?
Chad Mackay: A little bit of dairy; not too much. Like, at the moment, I’ve cut most of the dairy out. I might have a little bit of milk in a coffee in the mornings. But when I’m trying to drop back in weight for the season, I’ll try and cut out milk. But in the off season I will add a little bit of milk occasionally.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. Fair enough.
And; go ahead, Stewie.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. So, just getting back to your season and your training, how do you turn into the fine line between optimum training and overtraining?
Chad Mackay: For me? Hard question for me. Because I’ve been doing it for a few years now, I just need to listen to my body. There’s a couple of young guys that train at the gym and are kind of coming through the sport in their early 20s and. . .
Stuart Cooke: Gung-ho.
Chad Mackay: Yeah, absolutely. I think if I was in my early 20s I would probably just be going 100 percent and just going flat-out every session, trying to have the thinking that, you know, more is more. For me, at the moment, I need to listen to my body. I’m a little bit older than most of the guys. If I’m feeling tired and a little bit lethargic, I’ll make sure my nutrition and sleep is spot-on. And if I’m feeling good one day, I might train for a couple of hours and do kind of two or three conditioning pieces in a day.
But at the moment I just need to listen to the little needles and just take it nice and easy when I need to. So, overtraining for me doesn’t really come into play. I’m pretty smart when it comes to that type of thing.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, fair enough.
Guy Lawrence: Talking about your training, I saw that little Facebook post the other day and I just glanced at it and there was something about you walking around like a Michelin Man. What was that about?
Chad Mackay: I’ve heard whispers that at the CrossFit Games there’s going to be a weighted vest run, and it could be a longer-style run. We got some new, weighted vests. They weigh 20 pounds each. So, I put all three vests on. I did a 400-meter sprint, came back into the gym, took one vest off, did another 400 sprint, took the other vest off, so I was left with a 20-pound vest on, ran 400. And I went through that three times. So then I would come back in, load the three weights back on, and then away I would go. So, by the end I was more like a power walker; a little shuffle. So. . .
Guy Lawrence: Carrying 60 pounds on you! Fair enough. Good one.
What I thought we’d do as well, because obviously we put out the Facebook questions as well, and your response was enormous, by the way. I don’t know if you’ve checked them all out. And there’s some funny ones in there, too. So, we thought we’d go through some anyway.
So, we got a question from Paul Hilton. “If you hadn’t found CrossFit, what do you think you would be doing now?”
Chad Mackay: I still think I would be training in a gym, doing some kind of strength and conditioning in the gym. Be surfing a little bit more. I grew up, kind of, surfing, and whatever sport that I did play or that I was involved in I’d pretty much engross myself in that sport and try and get as good as I can. So, whether it be training in the gym, trying to push myself in the weights room, or whether I was down at the beach surfing or running the soft sand down at Bondi, I’d kind of always be looking at the clock or. . .
Guy Lawrence: That competitive nature.
Chad Mackay: It’s always been there. I think it’s one of those things that’s in the blood and evolves over time. So, whatever it would be, I would just be trying to do it the best that I can.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. Harrison Matra wants to know what you think of the CrossFit drug-testing model. Should it be more frequently tested in local comps to hopefully find athletes who are cycling throughout the year?
Guy Lawrence: That’s assuming if they are, I guess.
Stuart Cooke: If they are, of course.
Chad Mackay: Yeah, sure, sure. Look, I think that, regarding the local comps, those local comps are more about people wanting to have fun and get involved in the community. Those local comps are my favorite days, just to go there and see the people that have been doing CrossFit for six months and they go to a local comp.
I remember my first local comp, and it was just the most fun I’ve ever had. Driving home, the buzz that I had, you guys have experienced the same thing, you know. And if we start to get too serious about things and drug-testing people to go in those local comps, I think that’s a little bit over the top. But when it comes to the open regionals and the CrossFit games, I think if you’re going to go into the open, you should be held responsible for, obviously, if you’ve taken any performance-enhancing drugs, because it is a worldwide contest, I think that things need to be looked at a little bit more seriously there. But regarding those local comps, just get out there and have a bit of fun.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough, mate. Yeah, we remember our first local comp very well, up in Hornsby. And it was almost like, it was bizarre, because it was almost like when we first arrived it was like a scene from Fight Club or something, because we were in this underground car park and there was no one above and as soon as you go down it was just hundreds of people screaming, you know.
Yeah, the camaraderie and the buzz from it is amazing. Like, it was a lot of fun.
Chad Mackay: I had the hill sprint; I had the hill sprint in that comp.
Stuart Cooke: Yes. I remember I did.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it was a 600-meter run up the hill and back and there was a 10-minute time clock and whatever time you had left was burpees. I remember just thinking, “You’re kidding me.”
Chad Mackay: How many burpees did you get out?
Guy Lawrence: I got out 98, I think.
Stuart Cooke: I got 115 and that was my first exposure to burpees.
Guy Lawrence: I’m ashamed.
Stuart Cooke: Thanks for taking me back there, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, no worries, man. No worries.
All right. Next question. Katrina Stewart says, “I loved watching you come out of the water last year. Do you train in the water much at all? If so, how often does your program look like?”
So, I’m assuming she’s talking about the Pendalay, is it?
Chad Mackay: The Pendleton, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Pendleton, sorry, yeah.
Chad Mackay: Yeah, I’ve been in and out of the water since I was 5 or 6 years old, whether it be surfing down the beach with my dad and then I had a couple of buddies that were competitive swimmers, so I would jump in on the occasional swim session with those guys and get a little bit more advice on, kind of, technical help and stuff like that.
Buy, yeah, growing up in the surf really helped with that and just being confident in the water. And kind of always competing in school events. You know, I always had a bit of help and technique advice from their coaches.
And then I worked in a leisure center up on the Central Coast as a pool lifeguard, so I’ve always kind of been around the water. And regarding how much I do it in training, because I know I can swim quite well, I kind of focus my energy on other things; more weak areas. So, I might jump in the water once a fortnight, just to do a few laps and I’ll normally go down to Bronte and swim in the ocean bars down there.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s beautiful down there, isn’t it?
Just for those that are listening, can you explain what the Pendleton was? Because you crushed it like the swim. You were out and gone.
Chad Mackay: Yeah, it was; we had to firstly start off with a 700-meter soft sand run and then there was an 800-meter ocean swim. And the transition onto a bike and there was an 8-kilometer trail bike ride and then an 11-kilometer trail run. So, the trail run, for me it was more like a power walk up the hills and then sprint down the hills. And it was a two-hour event.
Stuart Cooke: I think that shook a few people up, didn’t it, as a first event? Because historically I think, you know, everyone’s thinking of heavy lifts and gym movements. But to throw in something completely out of the ordinary, almost triathlon-style, really shook the boat a little bit.
Chad Mackay: Yeah, absolutely. The event after the triathlon was an obstacle course; an army-style obstacle course. There were guys that were kind of left on the balance beams or any kind of apparatus that were cramping up, just because they either hadn’t eaten food or didn’t supplement properly throughout the event. And they were suffering pretty bad from cramps, so, yeah, it absolutely shook a lot of the athletes up. And the soreness that was going to develop from that two-hour event was felt for the rest of the Games for the next three days. So, it was good one to kick us up.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. You never know. Shake it up, I guess, is the way to go. It’s the true test.
Thinking about those, the very nature of training in the games, I’ve got a question from Matt Gray, who asks that, “When you’re exhausted, where does your mind go when you need to dig real deep to find that extra strength and keep pushing through the pain?”
Chad Mackay: There’s a few different things that I think about. I’ve normally got a game plan to a workout and I’ll try to stick to that game plan. And then if things start to really hurt, I’ll just take my mind back to other times that I’ve hurt much worse. There was a time in the Games in 2010 where there was a rope climb at the end and I was struggling pretty bad. It was the last event. We have probably three or four minutes to climb a rope and then move back across and jump over a wall. And it was just kind of as many rounds as you could do that in the last piece. And I climbed the rope once, came down, got back down about halfway, and my grip just went and I slid pretty much from the top of the rope to the bottom and tore every single finger pad on my hand off on both hands.
Every time I start to hurt, I take myself back to there. It was 45 degrees and I had no skin left on the pads of my fingers. I always think back to that and just tell myself nothing can kind of compare to that.
And the other thing I think about a lot is I think about my family when it starts to hurt, and rather than kind of doing it for myself and trying to block out the pain, I think about them and that’s a big motivator for me as well. Just to think about family and how much support they give me and I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. So, my mind wanders to my family when I start to hurt as well.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, man. A question that just occurred: When you’re out there, do you think it’s the mindset things that differentiate a lot of the outcome? Because, like, when we looked at the open, just for the regionals, and even the regionals it was so tightly contested, it’s incredible, you know? And do you think that’s a factor about that point; being able to overcome that?
Chad Mackay: Yeah, absolutely. Like, there’s the 10 domains of fitness in CrossFit, so you need to be competent across all those 10 domains. But I think there’s definitely an element where the mental aspect of the sport is where it’s really at as well, and if you see an athlete lose it out on the floor, and they kind of lose that focus, it’s pretty hard for them to get that back. So, definitely that mental component is what kind of develops over time as well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. Fair enough. Wow. All right.
Well, next question. We’ve got Doug Evans. We touched on it a little bit earlier, I think: pre-workout and post-workout meals. What do they consist of? Would they be crucial meals?
So I guess; do you just generally eat the same or do you eat something specific before and after?
Chad Mackay: Normally something specific before, pre-workout will be normally banana. And I’ll probably have about a third of a banana before; exactly an hour beforehand. And then I’ll have about probably 40 grams of weighed protein, so that’ll be chicken or lamb or beef.
And then, post-workout will be a shake, a 180 shake, and then a piece of fruit as well and a whole meal. So, that’ll be straightaway. I’ll normally still be breathing pretty heavy to get that meal in.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, OK. Fair enough. That’s a good point, actually.
Stuart Cooke: So, another question from Lach Mac, again, on food: “When the mood hits you, what, if anything, is your go-to cheat meal?”
Chad Mackay: I think the last time I would have had a cheat meal would have been after the Games last year. And I’ll normally go for pizza or ice cream for me. Normally, when I’m at home I’m quite good. I won’t have a cheat meal every week or every month. It’ll be pretty much after the CrossFit Games I’ll go out and let my hair down.
Last year, we finished off in Vegas and they’ve got these incredible buffets in Vegas and, yeah, I went to town.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I think they’d be in trouble if you went to town on a buffet. It’s like I’ve seen on The Simpsons.
Chad Mackay: Yeah, they didn’t make any money off me, that’s for sure.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: How did you feel? Like, we eat pretty clean. If I eat something that’s cheap meal it knocks me for six. I mean, it’s not the easier thing, even though it sounds great, you know?
Chad Mackay: I get a; after the Games, we have a fair bit of time to relax, so I had friends send over some ice cream and the ice cream was just waiting for us in the room when we got there. And so we polished off maybe a tub of ice cream that night, or that evening. And then the next morning up I woke up and it’s like you’ve got a sugar hangover, and, you know, you’re a little bit cloudy in the morning and it takes a bit of time to get going. But, yeah. . .
It’s not something I look forward to anymore, definitely. I much more look forward to, like, it sounds quite boring, but like a chicken salad. A chicken salad for dinner every night is perfect rather than a big bowl of ice cream.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fair enough. I mean, they say 70 to 80 percent of performance is nutrition, and if you want to perform at the top, you’ve got to fuel yourself the right way. Otherwise, forget about it.
Stuart Cooke: Unless, of course, you’re in an ice cream eating competition. That would be a little different.
Chad Mackay: You’d do that, Stewie, right?
Stuart Cooke: I’d give it a go. I’d give it my best shot.
Guy Lawrence: All right. We’ve got Dean Glendall-Jones. “What is your favorite thing to do on a rest day?”
Chad Mackay: A rest day; I kind of don’t really take rest days. If I’m on a rest day, I like to go to yoga, go surfing, spend time with friends and family. Do some mobility roll-out. Still trying to improve on a rest day. Even if it’s something light, I know there will be some kind of improvement there. So, on a rest day, it’s mainly spent by still doing active. . .
Guy Lawrence: An active rest day.
Chad Mackay: Absolutely. Yeah. An active rest day, for sure.
Guy Lawrence: Does that go right through the whole year, pretty much, or would you, after the games you stop for a month or do you just keep chipping away or?
Chad Mackay: I think I took about a week off after the Games last year, and that was just total rest. And I’ll probably do that again.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, right. Amazing.
Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve got a couple of short questions left. This one has been getting quite a lot of press: Jared Smith is very interest in how big your calves are in centimetres.
Chad Mackay: So, Jared’s a good buddy of mine, so he calls me “Calves,” actually, so he’ll send me a text or an email and it will be, “Hey, Calves, how are you doing?” So, he’s a character. He’s a really good athlete as well. Jared, I’m not too sure how big my calves are. They’re definitely bigger than your biceps, buddy.
Guy Lawrence: And do you know who Gary Cousins is?
Chad Mackay: I know Gary Cousins.
Guy Lawrence: He said: Do you have a man-crush on him?
Chad Mackay: He’s a serial pest, Gary Cousins. He’s a lovely bloke. His son trains at our gym, and he’s actually in the team that’s gonna go over and represent Active at the games this year. So, Dean’s a really good athlete and he’s keeping goals in training at the moment. But Gary’s a really good guy.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. The Active support at the regionals was hilarious. Like, it was awesome to see everyone in orange jumpsuits, pretty much.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that’s right. The orange men in the crowd.
Chad Mackay: Yeah, that was great to see. And I think the CrossFit headquarters was calling us the “Orange Army,” which was pretty cool.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just remember walking in one day and they have the rowing competition that was going on outside for the fastest 500 meters and all I saw was this guy completely head-to-toe in orange. Even his face was covered, and he was just going for it.
Chad Mackay: Yeah, it’s great to have the support, you know? For all the gyms, even CrossFit Bay. They were getting behind; all the Active guys were out on the floor as well, which was fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, awesome. Awesome.
Well, that’s pretty much all the questions we sort of wanted to cover, you know. Just to wrap it up, I know you’re a busy guy. You run a couple of CrossFit gyms on the North Shore of Sydney, so if people are interested in coming to check out your CrossFit gym and what you guys are about, where’s the best place to go?
Chad Mackay: Just jump onto the website and you can; just jump onto firstname.lastname@example.org. And get in touch with Patty and see how you can get started at the gym. We’ve also got a free trial class on every Saturday at our Waverton location. So, jump online, check that out, and we’ll hopefully see you around down there shortly.
Guy Lawrence: We can put the appropriate links up, anyway, on the blog.
Awesome. Chad, thank you for your time.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you, Chad. As always, fantastic, again. And for anybody out there that’s at the cinema, keep an eye on the guy wearing the Whites vest rolling a couple of golf balls. And say hi.
Chad Mackay: Awesome to see you. Thanks, guys. See you,