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Should Athletes Fat or Carb load?

should athletes carb load

Guy: With all the confusion out there on whether athletes should be eating more dietary fats or carbohydrates for enhanced performance, who better to ask than Dr Kieron Rooney; a biochemist from the University of Sydney. Kieron’s wealth of knowledge is incredible and he has a long standing interest in the basic science behind low carbohydrate diets.

He will be hosting Sydney’s June event featuring low carb for athletic performance expert Professor Jeff Volek - “Nutrition for Optimising Athletic Performance”.  Over to Kieron…

1. Do the benefits of a LCHF (low carb high fat) diet only apply to endurance athletes in sports?

Good question! My gut response is that this would be the population it makes the most sense to focus on initially as they are typically the athletes in which performance / fatigue has been traditionally shown to be most influenced by dietary strategies during an event and (possibly prior). But that is most likely an artefact of the duration of non-endurance events – not much time to suck down a ricotta stuffed olive when your 100m event is over in 9 and a bit seconds; and nor do you have the hands free in a power lifting event.

Dr Steve Phinney’s original work in the 80’s set the scene for endurance athletes to be primary participants and lots of the big name stories coming out are endurance athletes as well… It may just be though that the non-endurance athletes are yet to be convinced.

If we unpack this a little more, what are the benefits of LCHF you are referring to?

If we think of an endurance event, then the conventional wisdom is that your ultimate performance will be reliant on a steady supply of carbohydrate during the event. This will primarily be met by glycogen stores, perhaps gluconeogenesis in the liver and then anything else you can consume in goos and drinks and the like during the event to sustain blood glucose levels and “spare” your muscle glycogen stores. This research is quite repeatable and has led to feeding strategies such as carb loading and the like being standard approaches to enhance performance. But this would be in athletes that are “carb adapted” individuals. These are athletes that are most likely consuming large amounts of carbohydrates each day of their lives and as such have an energy system that is dependent on carbohydrate fuels.

My understanding of the LCHF approach is that you play the long game – live LCHF and adapt your system away from this reliance on carbohydrates, then the fuels (and ultimately performance) you are relying on during your event will less likely to be glycogen and carbohydrate intake as you are tapping into the larger fuel reserves of body fat.

A key question then is in ultra-endurance events and the like, where no doubt some food is necessary – what do you eat?

This is a question I look forward to hearing Jeff Volek discuss.

If we go back to your question just briefly. IF we are looking for signs that LCHF may have a place in the development of athletes outside of traditional endurance events, my reading of the LCHF approach is that a state of nutritional ketosis results in a preservation of muscle mass. In their book “Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance” There is discussion of studies reporting in LCHF participants in which protein sparing occurs via reduced oxidation of the Branched Chain Amino Acids. This would suggest for athletes preparing for events that are not typically endurance but reliant on muscle power, perhaps the LCHF will have a place – we just need for literature to get there.

2. Do you need to be in ketosis to fully benefit from a LCHF diet?

Great question, of course one needs to be wary of what is identified as a “benefit”. If we are focussing on athlete performance in their endurance event then my reading of the LCHF approach is that yes, it is an all or nothing approach, you can not dip your toes in and out of brief periods of carbohydrate restriction as your body will be in a continual state of switching between differing adaptation states.

If you are not in nutritional ketosis but are doing a “lower” (rather than “low” carb approach (somewhere on the continuum of less than 130g a day but not quite as low as the 50g often reported as the threshold for nutritional ketosis) then you are likely developing a system that is still reliant on carbohydrate fuels, but because you have gone lower carb they are not around, and because you are not in ketosis then the ketones aren’t around to meet the energy demand and so you are in danger of not meeting energy needs in your exercise effort.

If though your focus is on weight loss / maintenance I think there is more scope here for a lower carb approach as some studies would show you can get health improvements coming down to the 100-130g level. Whether or not you would be in “nutritional ketosis” at this level is something I hope Jeff will talk about.

3. How long does it typically take to become fat adapted?

This varies with the individual. Jeff Volek has done extensive research on this, and according to his book; The Art & Science of Low-Carbohydrate Performance estimates between 3 – 8 weeks to become full fat adapted.

4. In your experience what is the average macro-nutrient profile for ketosis?

I have no experience other than my own. You will need to be careful on this one, I often see people (nutrition professors and the like) mix their macronutrient profiles discussion around absolute amounts and % contributions. Jeff and Steve’s books often state it as no more than 5-10% of your total daily energy intake from carbs (so for someone on 2000 calories that would be a max of 50g).

Protein has to be kept moderate as well and is given as 1.2-1.5g/kg body weight (although they specify “reference weight” which I hope Jeff unpacks a little more) so this would be about 90-110g for a 75kg individual (approximately 20% total energy) but this would be a maximum I believe as there is reference in the LCHF books to avoid “high” protein. You then make up the rest of your energy needs with fats which could end up being anywhere between 70-80% of your energy intake which on 2000 calories a day would be about 150-180g of fat.

5. What is the ideal sports drink?

Water!

The Secret to Exercising Without it Feeling Like Exercise – Darryl Edwards

The video above is 2 minutes 58 seconds long

darryl edwards fitness explorerGuy: Do you struggle to motivate yourself for exercise? Then this 2 minute gem above is a must watch as Darryl shares with us the secret to exercising without it feeling like exercise!

Darryl Edwards is a movement therapist, paleo nutritionist, blogger and published author of the book “Paleo Fitness”. Based over in the UK, his main focus is primal nutrition for disease prevention, health, body composition, performance and well-being.

From former coach potato to a fantastic ambassador of true health and fitness, Darryl shares with us the lessons he’s has learned along the way. He also a seriously fun and playful guy and we had a lot laughs recording this.

Full Interview: Couch Potato to Becoming The Fitness Explorer. A Transformational Story


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In this episode we talk about:-

  • The biggest key to turning your health around
  • Is the paleo diet is for everyone?
  • How to apply paleo with ease to your whole lifestyle
  • Motivation. How to get going daily
  • How to turn your environment into your gymnasium
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Get More of Darryl Edwards:

Darryl Edwards Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. So, our special guest today is Darryl Edwards. He’s also known as The Fitness Explorer. And in his own words, he was a couch potato and he said he journeyed into the world, I guess, of primal fitness, holistic health, and paleo nutrition. And it’s transformed his life and now he’s out there helping others with the same journey, I guess, you know?

The one thing that was very clear about this podcast today is that Darryl is a lot of fun and we had a lot of fun doing it. It was a very relaxed conversation. I got a lot out of it. It makes me want to go and bear crawl across the sand when I leave the room in a minute.

And I love the way Darryl actually looks at, I guess you could say the holistic approach to everything. And I have no doubt whether you are a couch potato or whether you are going to the gym six days a week, if you listen to this it will make you think a little bit differently about your approach.

As always, if you’re listening to this through iTunes, please leave us a little review, a little bit of feedback. It’s always great to hear and, of course, it helps our rankings and gets the word out there. And of course come over to our website. You can sign up to our email and we send this content out on a regular basis so you don’t have to miss anything, which is, of course, 180Nutrition.com.au.

Anyway, enough of me talking. Let’s go over to Darryl and enjoy the show.

All right. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke and our special guess today is The Fitness Explorer Darryl Edwards. Darryl, welcome. Thanks for joining us on the show, mate.

Darryl Edwards: Thanks for the invitation. I’m really looking forward to the chat.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s great to have you on. And I was just; we were chatting to Stu, you know, because we were discussing literally about the transformation you’ve been on over the years, you know, and you even mentioned on record you were a skinny fat person at one time. And clearly now you’ve gone on and you’re, you could say, exploring fitness. You know: You’re a paleo advocate; nutritionist. And what I’d love to kick off with is, I guess, what was the tipping point? Where did your journey begin and now you’re out there, you know, spreading the good word?

Darryl Edwards: Yeah. I suppose my journey began with me getting, you know, kind of an early warning sign or signs about the state of my health after an annual health checkup. And basically the report that I was presented wasn’t good news. So, you know, everything from hypertension, I was pre-diabetic, I was anemic, I had a whole host of issues in terms of my blood panel. My lipid profile was off. And what I was told was that the only way out of this was a series of meds. Was medication.

And: “It runs in the family.” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And it was like: “This is the option for you. Take some medication and everything will be fine, but you’ll just be dependent on this for the rest of your days. Or, you can look at your lifestyle.”

And I didn’t really have many suggestions from my doctor as to what that lifestyle choice should be. So, I had to resort to investigations and research of my own. And I had read paleo diet, you know, a few years previous; prior. And I kind of went back to it and I was, like, “Hold on a second.” Something kind of didn’t make sense when I read it initially, but the second time around, in the context of how I was feeling and what I recognized I had to do, which was a back-to-basics; a kind of go back to the basics. You Know: be more aligned with nature. And that kind of appealed to me.

So, the diet was the gateway to the rest of the lifestyle. And that research led me to kind of evolutionary biology, evolutionary medicine, evolutionary fitness. The whole kind of, well, if I’m eating the foods that are optimal for health based on nature’s design, then surely there are other aspects of the lifestyle that are just as important. Movement was one. You know. Then, looking at everything else.

Guy Lawrence: So, it took a scare, basically, for you to make change.

It’s interesting that you mentioned that you read the paleo books three years prior. And a question had popped in at the time. Did that; did you sort of read it and go, “Oh, wow. This is interesting. This makes sense.”? Or did you go, “Pfft. I don’t know about this. This all sounds a bit woo-woo. Or…”

Darryl Edwards: Yeah. I guess. I suppose, I mean, it was long time ago now. It was over 10 years ago now. So, when I, yeah, I mean, I remember kind of questioning the whole argument around, you know, I’ve got nothing in common with the caveman. You know, it sounds very romantic and idealistic about everything was just perfect pre-agriculture. And it just didn’t; it was like, yeah, it sounds like a great idea, but how is that gonna fit in with the 21st century? How is that going to fit in with my life today?

But when I had that kind of health scare and when I recognized that whatever I was doing and whatever was conventional wasn’t working for me, I had to basically pin my hopes on a different direction, and I think a back-to-basics concordance with nature seemed to fit. It kind of made sense.

And having the before-and-after snapshot, which was a health snapshot, presenting really good results after three to six months, you know, repeating the blood tests and everything being great, it was like, OK, I don’t know why this is working, necessarily, but it works.

And that was good enough for me to realize I had to maintain the same, that journey and that same sort of path, and then do more research and find out, well, why is this actually working and what else do I need to know in order for me to make this really a part of my life rather than just a three- to six-month transition and then revert back to my old lifestyle. What I am going to do to make this part of my life until the end of my days?

Stuart Cooke: Why do you think it did work for you? What were the standouts where, perhaps, what were the differences before and after that really made such a difference to you?

Darryl Edwards: Um. That’s a really good question. I mean, I suppose just removing processed foods, removing foods that, wherever you, again, it’s even today I’m still toying with the importance or the relevance of avoiding grains, avoiding dairy. And by removing those food; removing those items, you know, and focusing on real food, focusing on food that I could; if civilization ended tomorrow and I was on a desert island, what are the foods that would be available to me?

And that makes sense to me. You know: How long would it take me to hunt down a cow and, you know, produce milk? What will it take for me to do that? You know? What would it take for me to find; to get some wheat from a field to kind of break the kernel down, to grind it for several days just to produce a few grams of flour.

It’s like all of that process-intensive, labor-intensive work just to get relatively poor-quality foodstuff. You know what I mean?

So it’s like I think just a focus on natural produce, removing several steps of the manufacturing process and chemical processing and artificial foodstuffs. I mean, that’s the real benefit of paleo. And then the agriculture or pre- or post-agricultural argument, is debatable. But I think even going back 20, 30, 40 years ago, going back to my childhood, the food I was eating back then as a child was far more healthful than what most people will eat today.

So, going back, when I was eating meat as a child, my parents wouldn’t go to a supermarket to get food. They would go to a greengrocer’s, a butcher’s, a fishmonger’s. That would happen. There was no; everything was kind of organic.

So, it was the obvious choice as a kid. And then as an adult you decide, “Oh, no. I prefer convenience. I prefer what’s gonna cook in two minutes in a microwave.” Those are the decisions I was making in terms of food. And so it’s not surprising that I was suffering as a consequence.

It’s no surprise. No fat in my diet. Dairy that; I was suffering from dairy consumption, and just believing it was OK to deal with that. So, every couple of days I’d have my cereal. I’d then spend much of the morning on the toilet. And I was, “Oh, yes. This is just how it is. This is just the norm.”

But when dairy was removed from my diet…

Stuart Cooke: It’s insane, isn’t it? I’ve got a story about dairy, and this takes me back to my teenage years. When my skin was appalling, so, it was erupting, and I went to the doctor’s and the doctor said, well, I’m gonna give you some antibiotics. And of course at that stage of my life, I had no idea about the importance of a healthy gut and gut bacteria to keep me thriving. And so I went on a course of antibiotics. And it helped a little bit. But this course continued for about four years; four or five years. And so I was on antibiotics every single day for about five years.

And it didn’t really seem to fix the problem. And then I remember reading one day about dairy and how dairy can affect hormones and hormones are linked to skin. And so I cut out dairy.

And at that time, I loved cheese. You know, I was pizza-eating challenge at college and I could eat cheese and pickle sandwiches every single day. And so I cut it out. Three weeks later: completely clear. And that’s the trigger.

And you’re told that there is no relationship between what we consume and how we look and fill, but I think it’s a different story, completely.

Darryl Edwards: Yeah, for sure. Totally agree. I mean, it’s pretty much obvious that what you eat; you are what you eat. People don’t choose to believe that and it’s unfortunate that, as you said, most of the kind of medical and conventional establishment will say, “Oh, it’s got nothing to do with food. How can that have any bearing on your health?” That’s just ridiculous.

Guy Lawrence: It’s crazy, isn’t it? It’s crazy. And, sadly, pain is the biggest motivator. You know? We need to be in a lot of pain before we need to change and then start making decisions and actually thoroughly looking into these topics and going, “OK, let’s apply it.” And actually apply it.

Because we can tell ourselves all sorts of things and think we’ve getting away with it.

Stuart Cooke: So, do you think that the paleo diet would be everyone?

Darryl Edwards: Um. You’ve asked a good question.

Stuart Cooke: It’s a loaded question.

Darryl Edwards: Yes. I mean, yes in the sense that I believe human beings are omnivorous. There were no hunter-gatherer populations that are just carnivorous or just herbivores. We are omnivores. We should have animal protein and vegetable matter and plant matter in our diets. And on that basis, it of course is suitable for all human beings.

Of course, ethics, morals, cultural decisions can also come into play. And that may be a barrier as to whether you can partake, happily, with the paleo diet. You know, if I was French, for example, and bread is an extremely important part of my lifestyle, it may be very difficult for me to avoid grains and take on board paleo unless I’ve got some health issues that came about by me consuming grains. Do you know what I mean?

So, I think yes, it’s suitable for all. But it comes down to the individual whether XXyou type it painfully enough? 0:13:49.000XX for you to want to make the transition or whether you believe that the foods that you consume will lead to a healthier and more productive life; lifestyle.

Stuart Cooke: And I think it’s about finding your sweet spot, too, because we’re all so very, very different whether it be from a genetic level or almost an ancestral level. It finding out what works for us. It might be higher fat for some. It might be higher carbohydrate for others. But I think we can all benefit from pulling toxins and processed chemicals out of our diet, for sure.

Darryl Edwards: Yeah, for sure. That’s a good point. Again, you know, as we’ve been doing this quite a while, I’m always toying with the idea of this kind of this one-size-fits-all or should it be down the stage of being so individualize. And so an individual description in terms of our nutritional macronutrient profile and what we should be consuming.

And I’m not veering most towards that actually I believe if we’re healthy, XXat once I should feel it all?? 0:15:00.000XX. And the reason I believe that is because if you do go to a hunter-gatherer population, they were eating foods based on their environments. They weren’t choosing foods based on, “Oh, well, we’re a hunter-gatherer of this persuasion, so we’re gonna predominantly have fats.” That wasn’t…

Guy Lawrence: “That wasn’t an option, was it?”

Darryl Edwards: Yeah. It was based on their environments. And, again, I can’t imagine people saying, within that community, that small community, “Hey, you know what? I don’t really fancy eating food. I want to have a lower food consumption because I don’t feel too good on food.” I’m pretty certain most people had exactly the same template in terms of their food consumption, based on what was available in their environments.

I think, for us in the present day, most of us are suffering from all sorts of ailments, you know, whether it’s epigenetically, whether it’s environmental, that we probably do have to have a personalized prescription. But I think that’s more to do with the travails of one society rather than the fact that we need an individual prescription. That’s just my take.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, absolutely. And I think our interpretation of our environment is a little skewed as well, because our environment now has a Pizza Hut on every corner and a fast food take-away next door to that, and a supermarket right next door. So, we kind of; it’s a struggle now to actually connect with these beautiful whole foods unless we go out of our way to farmers markets and the like.

Darryl Edwards: That’s a very good point. I mean, yeah, we don’t have to hunt for our food anymore, and hunting would be going to a farmers market or going to a local supermarket or going to the fridge.

Stuart Cooke: Hunting for the cheapest pizza.

Guy Lawrence: So, for anyone listening to this, Darryl, that would be, maybe, wanting to create change with their nutrition and diet, they look at it and go, like, it’s so overwhelming. We have all these emotional attachments to changing these foods and everything else.

What would you say would be; how would you prescribe it? Where would you say to start, for someone to just go… Do they go cold turkey? Do they do it softly, softly? You know?

Darryl Edwards: Um, yeah. That’s a really good question. For myself, I went; I kind of selected what I knew wouldn’t be a heartache for me in terms of going cold turkey. So, for example, dairy was easy to do. Literary, day zero, no dairy. That’s it.

Oats, for example, never: “Boom.” It was easy for me to select certain food types and go, “Right, you know what? I’m not going to have any issues with avoiding those.”

Others that were a little more troublesome, you know, I had to just phase them out over time. And that’s what worked for me. So I think it depends on your personality. It depends on your views about willpower. It’s also deciding what’s going to be a long-term decision for you.

So, I think people can, in the short term, be really strict and go cold turkey and then they’ll just break down and backslide, maybe even worse than their original starting point in terms of their dietary choices.
So, I think it’s really worthwhile thinking about, well, why am I doing this? You know, is it because of health? Is it because I want to look good? Is it because I just want to drop a dress size? What’s the reasoning behind this?

And if that reason is fairly short-term, “I want to lose five kilos in six months,” then you might only decide to follow that lifestyle change for six months, because you’ve achieved your objective. You’ve achieved your goal. And then you’re likely to kind of bounce back.

Whereas, myself, I had to make sure I was underpinning my lifestyle. The reason for my lifestyle change is underpinned by health. And so I’m always looking at, not just today, not just in a year’s time, but literally decades ahead is part of my vision.

And so it means I’m not perfect in my decisions but at least the majority of the times it’s always in the back of my mind. Do I want to take the left path to destruction and poor health? Or will I veer much more to the right and go, hey, more or less I’m making the best decisions that I can, and I feel really happy about making those choices. So, I don’t feel as if I’m punishing myself.

And I think that’s what, yeah, I think it’s: Don’t punish yourself and try to make a long-term decision.

Stuart Cooke: I think it allows us to reconnect ourselves with food as well, because historically, with our processed and packaged food, it’s a quick, you know, slap it in the microwave, boil in the bag, open a packet, put it on the plate.

Whereas now, you know, we’re careful about the fruits and vegetables and meats that we can prepare. We understand taste. And when you strip, when you move away from your processed packaged foods, then you can start exploring things like herbs and spices as well to bring those flavors together. So, it’s about getting back in the kitchen and understanding that cooking is actually part of our day, where as ordinarily it might just be: Slap it in the microwave, put the TV on, and just eat.

Stuart Cooke: I kind of like that side of it. And also, from a parent’s perspective, it’s great as well, because your kids see you doing that and we don’t; that’s such a vital aspect of our upbringing, which is cooking and preparation of food.

Darryl Edwards: That’s also a very good point. I mean, yeah, a lot of what I remember I can reference as a child, and the lessons that I was taught by my parents in terms of food preparation and selecting food. And it’s amazing what comes flooding back, know that I’m actually spending more time thinking about food preparation. But I spent, you know, a good 10, 15 years, literally, what can I source as cheaply as I can, as conveniently as I can, and if I do have to carry it home, it literally is popping it in the microwave, dishing it onto the plate.
Guy Lawrence: I think, as well, when you’re doing that, you have no idea what’s going in there. No idea at all, you know?

Darryl Edwards: You simply don’t care. You don’t care. As long as you kind of fill that need of, “I need to eat food,” I mean, yeah, I know food is an inconvenience most of the time. It’s like, “Oh, I have to eat because I’m hungry.” It’s like, “Why am I hungry? Why can’t I just survive without food?”

Now, of course, I recognize that it’s extremely important and it’s about nutrition and not just enjoyment. It actually feeds us in many, many ways.

Stuart Cooke: It’s fueling our body.

So, just to put that into perspective, given the fact that it’s quite late where you are, can you tell us what you have eaten today, from breakfast to now?

Darryl Edwards: Yeah. So, breakfast I had some eggs, like fried eggs, kind of scrambled. I had some sardines and some veg. And a couple of mandarins as a kind of dessert, for breakfast. I just had some nuts at lunch. It was very, very light. This evening I had some fish and some veg.

Guy Lawrence: Easy. So, it doesn’t have to be wild and wacky. You know, you eat whole foods, real foods, there’s no craziness going on.

Darryl Edwards: Yeah, no, exactly. It’s fairly straight-forward. So, I think there are times where I don’t have time to think about food preparations. It’s just a quick marinade, and it’s popped in the oven, job done. Throw some oil over, coconut oil, job done.

Other times you want to experiment a bit, you want to kind of go, “Hey let me tweak this recipe,” and, you know, slow-cook it. But it allows; you can work it into your lifestyle where, I don’t have much time but I’d still rather do that than pop to the KFC, which is next door.

Stuart Cooke: Especially with the likes of the slow cooker, which has become our best friend now. Just, you know, whack everything in in the morning and in the evening you’ve got the most amazing meal that you can then reheat for breakfast. It’s easy.

Darryl Edwards: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, breakfast is just another meal, at the end of the day. So, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve got to ask one question, Stu, I’ve got to ask you: What have you had for breakfast this morning? Because this guy is legendary with his breakfasts.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. OK. So, what have I had for breakfast? So, last night I made up a chili. So, just with a grass-fed mince and just mushrooms, veggies, I probably put a bit of paprika in there; a little bit of curry powder. A few spices. And I put a sweet potato in the oven. And then mashed up an avocado; did all of that.

Now, I ate half of it last night and I reheated the other half this morning so the looks on the girls were: “Oh, Dad, your breakfast is so smelly.” And I said, “Well, forget it. It’s so tasty.” So, I’ve had chili this morning.

But ordinarily, my breakfasts are quite similar to yours, Darryl, because I’ve got the biggest sardine fetish in the world. I can’t help myself. I often slip a few cans in when I’m kind of traveling around as well, just to make sure I get my fix.

Darryl Edwards: That’s a good idea, actually. I mean, it’s such good value for money. And I’m quite appreciative of the fact that people, they hate; it’s a love-hate relationship with sardines and I’m quite happy that a lot of people hate sardines because it keeps the price down.

Stuart Cooke: It does.

Darryl Edwards: So, a lot of the foods that we really enjoy that are paleo are becoming quite pricey, like coconut oil. Years ago, it was pretty cheap; almost a throwaway. It’s pretty pricey now. Avocados, same sort of deal. So, yeah, I’m…

Stuart Cooke: Let’s keep the sardines to kind of an underground Fight Club secret. Just don’t tell anybody.

Darryl Edwards: Don’t talk about it. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: I might rush out this morning and buy up a small pallet full of them, because they’ve got a good shelf life.

So, I’ve got a bit of a left-field question. And, so, talking about your primal beliefs, how do they fit in outside of just food and exercise? And when I say that, I’m thinking about, kind of, you know, modern-day dude, he’s got a mobile phone stuck to his ear 24-7, gets up in the morning, has a shower, he’s got his shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, aftershave, chemical toxins galore. What do you do to address the environmental side of things, if anything?

Darryl Edwards: Yeah, so, well, starting with the mobile phone. I try and use hands-free or headphones. So, it’s been years since I’ve had it pressed to my ear. I try to avoid that as much as I can. In terms of, like, cosmetics and toiletries, so now everything that I use is, you know, no paraffins, no sodium laureth sulfate.

I’m pretty strict and a tight regimen about exactly what I’m going to be using. So, I think that the food and movement was a great gateway to start questioning other aspects of our lifestyle. It’s like: What’s the point in me trying to avoid toxins that I’m consuming, but yet I’m splashing all sorts of rubbish on my skin and in shampoo, toothpaste, and the like.

So, it doesn’t take long to start not only looking at the labels on the back of food products but also on the labels on the back of toiletries and go, “What does that mean? What’s that?” You know. XX??? paraffin?? 0:28:13.000XX. What’s that? What’s all that about?”

So, it doesn’t take long to educate yourself and go, “Ah! It’s harmful. Ah! That’s a carcinogenic. Oh my goodness, that’s, you know, petro-based, petroleum-based product.” I don’t want that. Don’t want to be using that.

So, I think, another thing, we do live in the 21st century. We can only mitigate the risks as best as possible without living out on the sticks. I mean, wherever you live in the world you’re tainted by some form of toxin. You know, a toxic environment wherever you are, unfortunately. So, you can only do the best that you can.

And so, I no longer use plastics in the kitchen. So, I no longer use any kind of harsh chemicals in terms of cleaning products as well as what I use on my skin. And I think you just start questioning every single aspect of your life. I can’t avoid using my mobile phone, but…

Stuart Cooke: You do the best you can.

Darryl Edwards: Do the best you can. Yeah. Which is, I think, it’s far better than just going, “Oh, there’s nothing I can do about this. I’ll just…”

Stuart Cooke: No, that’s right. I always like to think about the nicotine patches that you can purchase and you pop on your skin. And people don’t understand that you put one of those patches on your arm and within 10 minutes, the nicotine is in your blood system. Well, that’s the same vessel for transporting whatever it is in your moisturizer or your soap or shampoo, goes; it’s the same thing.

And because we just think, “Well, that’s just soap,” or, “That’s just conditioner,” we just don’t think along those lines. So, yeah, definitely great just to be aware of it and do the best we can, I think.

Darryl Edwards: Yeah. And it’s amazing you say that, because we’re watching adverts all the time, anti-aging products telling us about the fact that these chemicals are absorbed into the skin and affects the XXchemical?? 0:30:23.000XX structure of the skin and affects the follicles in the hair, and of course, XXsomebody’s??XX going to say it’s a pseudoscience and doesn’t really work. But at the end of the day, you know, the largest organ on our body, i.e. the skin, does absorb some of these nutrients.

Stuart Cooke: It’s just nuts, isn’t it?

Darryl Edwards: Yeah, exactly. So, it’s kind of common sense but as you said, we kind of go, “Eh. Meh. It’s just on the surface. It’s all external. It’s the surface of the skin. It’s kind of impervious. It doesn’t really matter.” Actually, yes it does.

So, if somebody suffers from a lot of skin issues for many, many years and has seen their dermatologist and been told there is nothing you can do, dietary or externally, that’s going to make any difference, apart from taking these topical creams, you know. The steroid creams will work. “But nothing else you can do is gonna make any difference.” And actually, there are things we can do to make a difference.” You know?

Stuart Cooke: Perhaps we could work together and come up with a skin care range based upon sardines.

Guy Lawrence: That would be such a winner.

Stuart Cooke: It would be. You can be the guinea pig, Guy.

Darryl Edwards: I think it would be just be XXyou and I purchasing that 0:31:39.000XX. I don’t think anyone else would but into that.

Guy Lawrence: I just want to add, as well, because you guys are raving about sardines, I buy cans of them and they sit on my shelf for weeks and I have to build up the courage to eat them. I just can’t swallow them. I’ll put about 6,000 spices in it, but…

Darryl Edwards: It needs spices. But, I’ll tell you want, again, as a kid, it was kind of; it’s a “poor man’s food.” And so you just XXget used to its 0:32:09.000XX taste and, fortunately, I had a lot of fish as a youngster, so that fishy smell doesn’t; yeah, whatever.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.

Darryl Edwards: It’s a great source of calcium as well.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, I love it. Bones and all. I used to take them out, but not anymore. I love it.

Guy Lawrence: So, I was thinking it would be great to just get into the movement side of things now. Because we see that you’re doing some unconventional things in the way of diet and fitness. And we saw a quote on your website the other day that you help people who hate exercise get fit and eat that way. So, I wondered if you could just elaborate on what actually it is that you do.

Darryl Edwards: Yeah, so, Primal Play is my movement methodology. And part of that is its designed for people who hate to exercise. And I think quite a lot of us, even when we kid ourselves otherwise, we do hate to exercise, because it’s a chore, it’s kind of punishing/grueling, and we do it because we recognize it’s gonna be beneficial for us. Because we either want to get fitter or we want to, again, look good-natured or whatever it is.

So, we put ourselves through the paces but the experience itself may not be that pleasurable.

And so Primal Play is really getting people to focus on what is enjoyable about movement. The essence of movements. And most conventional exercise doesn’t necessarily address that, in my opinion.

Guy Lawrence: Do you think it would be fair to say, because, like, I come from a background as a fitness trainer as well, when you exercise you’re always fixated on the end goal. So, let’s say I’m going to go for a run, 10Ks, and I’m fixated on my time and everything else. And then I’m done, you know. Psychologically I can relax and watch TV or whatever. You know? And from what you’re sort of promoting is that you can be; everything’s about just being present. Being in the moment and enjoying the process.

Darryl Edwards: Yes. Yep. That’s exactly right. I mean, being mindful and thinking about the process rather than the goal; the end result. And making sure you’re getting instant gratification when it comes to movement.

So, most people will be thinking about the end result. You know: the goal. “At the end of my 10K run, everything’s going to be great. I’m going to get the endorphin rush, it’s going to be amazing, and I can take off and have a run completed.”

But starting that 10K? Pfft. You know, it’s very rare, thinking about when I used to do a lot of running, it was rare that I would enjoy that first step of the run. Very rare. You know? Putting that playlist on my iPod of 2,000 songs and I’d still be bored out of my skull. You know? Thinking: What song have I got on my iPod that’s actually gonna keep me going for the next 25 minutes, or whatever.

So, yeah, for some people who are really motivated to exercise, it doesn’t matter. They’re not distracted. They can just get stuff done. But most of us I don’t think are that self-disciplined. I think we force ourselves into this culture of exercise and fitness because we know it’s so beneficial.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely. Definitely. Yeah.

I always remember the amount of miserable faces that would walk into the gymnasium: “Oh, my God, I’ve got to do this for an hour.”

Stuart Cooke: That’s because you were training there, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: I would soon put a smile on their face; don’t you worry about it.

It makes me think of surfing, as well, because myself and Stu have taken up surfing because I live just outside Maroubra Beach. And when I’m in there, it’s all about the moment. Like, I never think, “When is this gonna end?” I’m just enjoying the process of it all and the elements around me. And it doesn’t feel like a chore.

And sometimes I go out and go, “God. I’m knackered. That was really hard work.” But at the time I didn’t have to think about it in any sense, and I’d have a smile on my face.

Darryl Edwards: In that compression of time, it’s really important.

Stuart Cooke: What would one of your fitness sessions look like? What do you get into?

Darryl Edwards: It’s very difficult to describe, really, but I sort of can just visualize; if you can think about going back to being a kid and playing at any game that you played as a kid, which was about including everyone who was available to play. Yeah?
So, there was no kind of like, “Oh, you’re not good enough to play this game. You don’t have the right skill level. You’re not the right age. You’re not the right sex.” Whatever. So, being very inclusive. Again, ensuring that there’s maximum enjoyment right from the off.

And usually ensuring that there’s some sort of cooperation kind of teamwork is involved. And so that can be everything from a modified version of tag. Or, I came at this with about three or four different variants of tag when I went to Australia. “Tips” is one. And I was, like, “What the heck is that: tips?”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly.

Darryl Edwards: So I was like, yeah, we’re going to play tag, and they were like, “What’s tag?”

Stuart Cooke: We used to call it “it” at school.

Darryl Edwards: Yeah, “it” as well. Yeah. So, I play like a modified version of tag, which is more suitable for adults and doesn’t involved running around like a maniac for hours on end.

But it’s kind of taking that playful, kind of play-based activity but making sure there is some training and conditioning effect from it. So, not just the completely aimless, where it’s like, “Oh, what’s the point of doing this?” But actually, I want to play, but I still want to get stronger. I still want to get fitter. I still want to build up my endurance and stamina. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

So, I’ll still have those fitness goals, but I want to make sure that it’s all wrapped around this kind of veneer of play.

Stuart Cooke: So, you’re playing and your participants have to wear a 10kg weights vest. Is that correct?

Darryl Edwards: Yeah. You know, I’m going to add that to the repertoire next.

I suppose people can see, can check out my YouTube channel to see, get an idea of what my Primal Play session looks like. Or, even better, try and participate in one of my workshops.

But, yeah, for people who take part are in two categories. There are those who hate exercise, who have been sedentary, like couch potatoes, for 10 years, who go, “You know? I want to; show me what I can do to enjoy exercise again.” And I also get a second category of individuals who are, like, “I’m really fit. There’s nothing you can do with play that’s gonna challenge me.”

Stuart Cooke: That’s a dangerous question.

Darryl Edwards: I say, “OK. Let’s see what we can do.”

So, it’s great to pit those complete, diametrically opposed individuals and go with someone who’s an elite athlete and someone who’s a couch potato and get them both to play this game, but feel as if you’re both working out. You know what I mean? You both feel as if you’re working at maximal output, but you’re doing it together. Well, then you’re thinking, “Oh, my gosh. You’re just so weak and pathetic. What’s the point in me doing this with you?” Or, “Oh, my goodness. They’re so big and strong and intimidating. There’s no way we’re going to be able to work out or play out together.”

So, yeah, it’s a very interesting concept. It’s taken me awhile to develop this. And the great thing about it is people tend to have a great time and oftentimes go, “Oh, my goodness. I didn’t realize… Why am I sore?”

Guy Lawrence: I think you mentioned the word “community” as well, at the beginning, and I think that’s so important as well. And when it comes to exercise, if you are doing this in a fun group environment, it really brings out the best of you. And you’re sharing an experience with other people, as opposed to just; I keep using running as an analogy, but just listening to an iPod, running on your own, it’s such a different thing. You know? And you can have laughter and fun and it will motivate you to go back and do it again.

Stuart Cooke: I think it’s really good to mix it up as well. Because I keep myself reasonably fit and healthy, but, you know, after an afternoon’s play with the kids, you know, the next day I have got all of these sore muscles all over the place where I never thought I had muscles. And I’m thinking, “What on earth did I do?” And I thought, crikey, of course, I’m crawling along on the grass like a lunatic, and enjoying it, having fun, laughing, and it must be beneficial too.

Darryl Edwards: Yeah. Of course. Yeah. That social aspect. And I think social isolation is, again, pretty much part of the modern era. And we’re quite happy; a lot of us are happy to be on our own, be completely isolated, and keeping fit is also part of that. “I just want to be in the zone on my own, nobody talking to me.” And even if you go into a group class, you know? I’ve been to lots of group classes at the gym, and it’s so much you’re siloed, you’re almost cloned with 20 other people doing your own thing and you might have a chat at the end: “Wasn’t that a great class, guys?” “Yeah!” And that’s the end of it of.

Guy Lawrence: That’s the only direction you go.

So, from a motivational perspective, right, so you’ve got the unmotivated person and they’ve got sedentary habits, where should they start? What would you recommend? Like, even from a mindset perspective, you know? To just get them over the edge, get them going?

Darryl Edwards: I suppose it’s trying to get them to integrate movement into their normal day. So, I think for somebody like that, to say to them, “Hey. You just need to just do 20 minutes a day. Just do half an hour three times a week.” That’s gonna seem like a mountain that’s impossible to climb, for them. But if you present it in the sense that, hey, you know what? You can just think of it as an interesting way to get XXout of the chair, for a start? 0:43:01.000XX. That’s one thing you can do. You know. You can start thinking of the stairs as your gym equipment. Every time you see the stairs, and you see a lift, you can go, “You know what? I’m gonna take the stairs because that’s me getting my workout; me actually doing some work.”
So, I think just presenting interesting opportunistic ways for them to get more movement into their day and hopefully start creating a bit of an appetite for that.

And for someone who’s naturally, who’s struggled to maintain the habits; form a habit of exercise, I would join a gym in January, and you’d be lucky if you’d see me there from February on. It just wouldn’t happen. I may be there in June to get ready for the beach in the summer, for holiday. But I’d be literally like, “Yeah, yeah, I’m all keen, ready to go, but I couldn’t maintain that habit. And I think part of that was because you’re going from zero to wannabe hero in a short space of time. You get sore, you achieve a lot in what’s actually a short space of time, but it’s kind of painful. It’s uncomfortable. It gets boring and routine. So you’ve got to find a way of making sure it just becomes the norm. It’s not a hobby anymore. It’s just part and parcel to integrate into your day.

And I’m finding I’m spending more time moving. If I go for a walk now, if I’m waiting for the bus, there are times when I will race the bus. I’ll purposefully be one step away from where I need to be, because I want to sprint for that bus. Or I’ll XXsit in the bus shelter and I can’t do proper pull-ups here?? 0:44:47.000XX I’ll walk around the wall because I want to text my balance out. The mindset that I have now has developed to the point where I don’t need a gym anymore, necessarily. Because the world is my gymnasium.

And that’s what I try to foster with my clients is that, yeah, wherever you’re at, whether it’s a hotel room, your living space, you’re in the outdoors, your gym, you’ve got to view it in a different way. And then you’re gonna start craving opportunities for yourself and hopefully enjoy those opportunities and then you can’t wait. And you almost itching for that next movement experience. I think that’s the way to go.

Stuart Cooke: That’s perfect. It is almost; it’s almost childlike in the thinking, because when I think of children out on the street, they very rarely sit and stand in one place at one time. If there’s a wall, they’ll be on the wall. If there’s a tree, they’ll be hanging off the tree, doing stuff. They never stop. And it’s kind of getting back to that way of thinking, opening up, letting go, having fun, and moving as well.

Darryl Edwards: That’s a great point. You know the comedian Lee Evans? The English comedian? So, I saw a show that he was on; a talk show that he was on. And he was like really animated and he was kind of climbing over the sofa and was being his, kind of, crazy self. And he was being asked about his age. And I think he’s just 50 or in his 50s. And he looks; you could take off 10, 15 years easily. He looks absolutely fantastic.

And there was a moment during this interview where he became very adult-like. He stopped playing around and started to be really serious. And immediately, those of us watching were like, “He looks his age now.” Seriously. It was like, “He looks 50 now.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s nuts, isn’t it?

Darryl Edwards: What he was like before, he could have been 30, 35 easily. And I think that hits the nail on the head. That childlike, almost innocence. That kind of like nervous energy that kids have, once you lose that. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Use it or lose it, isn’t it? That’s what they say.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely. So, what recovery kind of strategies do you do, Darryl? Do you think about it much or…

Darryl Edwards: It’s a bit like when you start looking at diet and you start, say, looking at paleo and you might start kind of weighing your food, measuring your food, thinking about, “Oh, I need to XXwork out with these shows here? 0:47:49.000XX and then you start thinking about: What times of day do I need to eat for optimal X, Y, and Zed. And then go, “Actually, no. I’ll just eat when I’m hungry. I’ll make sure what is on the plate is a decent portion. And I’m gonna be satisfied with…” You kind of just get a feel for what your body needs.

I think it’s the exact same with movements. You know, some days I go harder than others. Sometimes I play with others. And I just know what type of recovery I need for me to either continue with the same intensity or have to drop it down a bit. So, I think, again, being kind of childlike, I don’t remember being a kid, my mates coming around and saying, “Hey, Darryl, do you want to come out and play today?” And I’d go, “No. No chance, mate. I feel a bit sore from playing tag all day.”

Guy Lawrence: “I’m in recovery mode.”

Darryl Edwards: I do a bit of stretching and I’ll be fine.

Guy Lawrence: It comes back to listening to your body, right? And just being in tune. And I think the more you kind of take out the processed foods and get a good night’s sleep.

Stuart Cooke: But that’s it. You’ve touched on nutrition prior to that. But that is probably one of the biggest elements of your recovery. You have pulled out all of the inflammatory foods out of your diet and you’ve replaced them with these beautiful whole foods. They’re nutritious and healing. And that’s probably one of the best things you could do.”

Darryl Edwards: For sure. I think that’s a really good point. And also, I think if you have, in terms of movement, traditionally, I would have a one-dimensional or two-dimensional approach to fitness. You know, one-dimensional being I’m quite good at endurance stuff, so that’s what I’m gonna focus on. I’m quite good at cardio stuff. That’s what I’m gonna focus on. But need to get a bit of strength in there. So, ah, I see another dimension. I’ve covered two dimensions. But now I recognize that if I have a really wide repertoire of movement, I’m less likely to be injured. I’m less likely to have repetitive stress and strain. So, I’m less likely to be sore, actually. You know?

It sort of the point where I’m just kind of completely beaten up. And so if I do get sore, it’s sore to the point where I’m still not deterred from continuing to move. And I think that’s also part of listening to yourself. Actually, you know what. I’m sure, again, my ancient ancestors would be going for a heavy-duty hunt one day. Did they come back the following day when the didn’t capture anything and go, “Hey, you know what, today we’re just gonna stay; we’re not gonna go for a hunt because I’m sore and we didn’t even get any food yesterday.” Do you know what I mean? It was like, no, what do you mean “sore”? Muscle soreness? What’s that about?

Even that I think is definitely the fitness industry telling us that we should avoid movement if we’re feeling a bit sore. Because I don’t remember my father telling me when I was young that he was really sore from all the heavy lifting he had to do when he went to work. Do you know what I mean? He was tired. He had a hard day. But he wasn’t talking about XX???and saying I need to get a ??? 0:51:08.000XX.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I get that completely.

Darryl Edwards: I push it because I’m too knackered or…

You just had to get stuff done. You just had to get stuff done. And I think that’s, as well as listening to ourselves, also knowing a safe limit to ensure that we’re still challenging ourselves because the day we can’t challenge ourselves, you know…”

Guy Lawrence: And most people, sadly, don’t move enough. The sit in front of a computer all day. They’re hunched over. Their posture’s just doing one thing. And even if they just moved, psychologically as well. You know, it’s massive. They’d get into it.

I’m checking the time. We’re starting to run out of time. So, we always ask a question on the podcast each week, and it’s: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? It’s such a small question.

Darryl Edwards: I had a book autographed by Mark Twight, who owns; the founder of Gym Jones, a fantastic gym facility in the U.S. He trained the guys in 300. And I was fortunate enough to spend some time in his facility when I started kind of exploring fitness and looking at different movement. But he basically wrote in my book, which he signed to me, and he said, basically, to kind of find your path. Find your way. Get off the path. And then, you know, get off it. Kind of deviate from that quite to an extreme level. And then come back to the path.

And that resonated with me then and it still resonates with me now, to the point where I think even as convinced as I may be about a particular path, whether it’s nutrition, movement, lifestyle, never stop questioning. Because I think you may be called back to that. But at least you’re completely aware of everything in the periphery. So, that’s probably the best advice I’ve received in recent memory. And it’s what I definitely will follow.

Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. Some of this brings to mind, I remember thinking the more you know, the more you actually don’t know.

Darryl Edwards: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: So, remaining open to it.

Darryl Edwards: Yeah, that’s a really good point, and I think simplicity now, I mean definitely for myself, I’ve initially amassed so much knowledge and intellect, I believe, is the way for me to improve my lifestyle. You know? “If I can have a Ph.D in nutrition and biochemistry, and I can be a chef, and I can become an exercise scientist, and I can…” You know what I mean? If I can master all of these different disciplines, then I’ll be healthy. And the reality is, if I could actually just implement some of the bare-bone basics, that’s good enough. Do you know what I mean? You don’t need to know that much, really.
Guy Lawrence: It doesn’t have to be complicated, does it?

Darryl Edwards: It doesn’t have to be complicated, no. You just have to basically implement it. And so now I’m actually spending less time researching unnecessarily, and thinking, hey, I just need to start doing a lot of this stuff that I already know.

Guy Lawrence: Less thinking, more doing. Yeah.

Darryl Edwards: Yeah. Exactly.

Guy Lawrence: Have you got any projects coming up in the future? What’s next for you, Darryl?

Darryl Edwards: Yeah, I’ve got a few projects on the go. So, the next big project is releasing PrimalPlay.com. So, I’m working on that at the moment. As I said, I’ve kind of worked on this movement methodology for some time, and kind of gaining a lot of attention in that area. So, I’m going to have a dedicated website with downloadable videos, a kind of community base of people who want to play more and recognize it’s part of a lifestyle rather than just the physical aspects. But it kind of permeates through every single part of your lifestyle.

Just learning how to kind of enjoy life, actually. And I’m working on my second book, which is going to be based on Primal Play. So, that’s going to be published by Primal Blueprint Publishing, so Mark Sisson’s publishing house.

And a pet project, a little side project I’m working on, is related to travel hacking. I’m not sure if you know much about this, but it’s basically a way of getting very cheap or completely free travel legally using certain strategies. So, that’s another website I’m going to be launching. Because I’m traveling quite a bit. I’m definitely a master now at getting upgrades and all sorts of stuff. So I’m kind of packaging it up and creating a launch space for that.

Guy Lawrence: Brilliant.

And then you can combine them all together: travel cheaply, play everywhere, and eat this paleo lifestyle while you’re doing it. And have fun along the way.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate. That’s awesome. So, for anyone listening to this, where do they go if they want to get in touch with you; find out more about you, Darryl? Where is the best place to go right now?

Darryl Edwards: The best place is on my blog at TheFitnessExplorer.com. PrimalPlay.com will be available shortly. And just get in touch with me on social media. So, @fitnessexplorer on Twitter, Facebook.com/fitnessexplorer, and YouTube.com/fitnessexplorer, so you can see all my videos and just get a feel for what I’m doing.

And, of course, you can buy my book, Paleo Fitness, which is available in all good bookstores.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome. We’ll link out to everything so people who come to our blog and all the rest of it can check you out, Darryl.

That was awesome. Thank you so much for joining us on the show.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Thank you. I’ve had a lot of fun today.

Darryl Edwards: Thank you very much, guys. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a real pleasure. It’s also like a smorgasbord of accents as well, which is quite cool.

Stuart Cooke: It is. That’s right. We’ll confuse the listeners. Maybe we’ll run a competition to spot the accent.

Darryl Edwards: We’re going to have some captions there.

Guy Lawrence: Google Translate.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome.

Thanks so much, Darryl.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you, buddy.

Darryl Edwards: Cheers, guys.

 

Discover Why We Get Fat: Understanding Your Carbohydrate Tolerance

The video above is 2 minutes 30 seconds long

Guy: The video above is the short version of why we get fat and what we can do about it. Below is the fascinating long version as today we are joined by Dr Kieron Rooney, a Researcher in Metabolic Biochemistry.

Kieron is a fun, down to earth guy who gives us an incite to what is going in the world of nutritional study from an academic perspective. So if you are wondering why there could be so much disagreement out there on the world of nutrition, then watch this as Kieron sheds some light on what’s really going on!

Full Dr Kieron Rooney Interview: Science, Research & Nutrition. What’s the real deal?

Free Health Pack 

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • Kieron’s personal journey of weight loss
  • How scientific research actually works!
  • Why we are getting fatter and sicker as a nation
  • Understanding our own carbohydrate tolerances
  • The relationship between sugar and cancer cells
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Full Transcription

Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our awesome guest today is Dr. Kieron Rooney. Now, to quote his twitter bio, “Dr. Kieron Rooney is a researcher in metabolic biochemistry. He campaigns for real foods in schools,” and awesome project, “He’s interested in cancer and sugar metabolism and he’s also a registered nutritionist.”

And, also, on top of that, a really awesome cool guy, and we’re pretty keen to get him on the show today. The one thing I’ve realized chatting to Kieron on this podcast today is that the more you know the more you don’t now. You know? So delving into the world of science and academic research with Kieron and trying to figure out why there’s this whole nutritional mess going on, really, with this low-fat, high-fat, high-carb, low-carb, what, you know, what’s going on and to get it from Kieron’s perspective is pretty awesome.

So strap yourself in. It’s pretty information-packed, but he does break it down in really simple terms, and we cover many, many topics, including all of the above I just mentioned, so I’m sure you’re going to get a lot out of this.

If you are listening to this through iTunes, a little review, awesome. It takes two minutes. It can be complicated; iTunes don’t make it easy for us, you know, but the reviews, and if you subscribe to our podcast, allows us to get found easily on iTunes and it helps get this message out there. So if you do enjoy our podcasts and you do enjoy the show, a simple review telling us, “Hey, guys, keep it up,” would be pretty awesome.

We know we’re reaching a lot of people now and we know you’re out there. Of course you can watch these on video. If you are listening to us through iTunes, just come over to our blog 180nutrition.com.au where we’ve got a host of things everywhere from blog posts, obviously these podcasts, our products, whatever, it’s all in there, and it’s all there to serve you and help your health moving forward.

Anyway, enjoy the show. Let’s go over to Kieron and let’s hang out for the next 45 minutes. Awesome.

Guy Lawrence: All right. I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m with Stuart Cooke and our awesome guest today is Dr. Kieron Rooney. Welcome!

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Hello.

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

Guy Lawrence: Before we kick off, I’ve got to say I’m very excited to have you on the show and now I do say that to all the guests, but even more so today, because, you know, I was just thinking this morning there’s a lot of smart people in this world, right? And a lot of academics and the rest of it, but for some reason we still can’t get a unison, harmony, if you like, on nutrition, so what’s going on? So I’m really looking forward to shedding some light on that today.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: And find out why everyone is so indifferent about it.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I might not have a definitive answer for you, but I can at least come up with a few suggestions. How’s that?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’d be awesome.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: yeah? All right.

Guy Lawrence: Before we get into that, can you just explain to our listeners a little bit about yourself?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Oh, yeah, sure.

Guy Lawrence: And why we are excited to have you on the show?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Okay, so, look, professionally I did a Bachelor of Science degree from 1995 to ’98 at University of Sydney and then I did my honors and Ph.D in metabolic biochemistry. So I had four and a bit years where I was looking at the role of the phosphocreatine energy shuttle and how it reacts or behaves to shuttle energy around muscle cells, liver cells and the pancreas. I was particularly looking at whether or not it influence insulin secretions, so I then used a couple of different animal models to manipulate that, so we would use exercise as intervention, we would use high-fat diets as an intervention, and we’ll have a look to see what we could do to influence fuel storage and fuel utilization capacity, and that…

And then in 2003, I got my position as a lecturer just after the Ph.D lecturing in exercise physiology and biochemistry. I’ve spent the last ten years now developing curriculum for exercise science degrees, exercise physiology, that mostly focuses, my part mostly focuses, on what regulates fuel utilizations, how we store it, how we break it down, and the regulation behind that, and that’s my teaching side of things, and then for my research perspective what I’ve continued on is the investigations of fuel utilization. We’ve got a number of research projects have looked at how diet and exercise can influence how well we store and break down fuel. 

Personally, because I know that you’re interested in the personal story, if we go back to 2006, 2005, I was a smoker weighing in at around 90 kilos, but I could still run 5Ks at around about 25 minutes, so was living thinking that I was fit, right, but then decided with my partner that we wanted to start a family so we probably really should get ourselves healthy as well. I started making more changes so I quit smoking. I quit the drinking of Coke, which at that time I was probably around about two liters a day, and then I quit drinking Coke again in 2008, and then I quit drinking it again in 2010, and I quit drinking it again in 2013…

So, that one’s been a little bit of a recurrent one for me, but look…about two years ago I decided to go, well, I guess, the focus was not eating processed food. It was removing as much of the highly processed foods that were in my diet, which at the time was huge, right? That’s twos liters of Coke a day and there was a lot of pasta, there was a lot of breads, it was eating out a fair bit, and so once I, or the family, jumped onto that thinking and we removed a lot of the highly-processed refined flours, those types of foods, health just started improving even more dramatically.

Everyone like weight stories. I dropped. I went from 91 kilos at that point down to 75, but more importantly I think I’m still running quite well, although, I’ve cut that out and I’ve started doing more strength work and my power outputs at the gym have been increasing over that same time, so I know I’m feeling stronger and now I’m feeling better, and some people tell me I’m looking better.

Stuart Cooke: Oh boy, okay. You’re qualified to answer my next question then.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: On two fronts, right? I get the academic perspective and the personal anecdote N=1 that nobody likes. 

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. You’re right. You’ve certainly touched on what I think the answer is going to be, but in your scientific opinion why do you think we’re getting fatter and sicker as a nation?

 

Dr. Kieron Rooney: My perspective on this has changed dramatically over the last ten years. My training was from a biochemistry point of view, small animal models, cell models, looking at individual metabolic pathways, looking for particular energy transfer systems that might explain why it is that we’re storing more fat or more carbohydrate, whatever it might be, or not accessing it properly, and so therefore we might be storing it but not breaking it down, but five years ago, 2009, 2010, I started collaborating with a psychology group who were, at the time, looking at sugar-sweetened beverages and sugar-sweetened foods to influence cognition, and we got collaborating going, “Well, you guys will measure behavioral adaptations to food, I can have a look at the metabolic perspectives in those same models, and we’ll see what happens.”

So, for the last five years, we’ve been publishing that work. Last year we were able to get an ARC grant to start trying to translate into human population. So, look, ten years ago I would’ve said to you, “We’ve got some nice discrete energy pathways that are defective in individual cells within the body, and that might be what it is that’s driving us to be fatter and sicker.”

But, over the last five years, as I start looking more at the behavioral, the cognitive side of things, I see it’s much more of a mix between the two, and I think one of the biggest issues we’ve got at the moment is as individuals we want our meals to be convenient so they can fit in with our busy lives. We want them to be cheap, so they can fit in with our finances, and more and more, we want them to be increasingly tasty, flavorsome, and so what we’ve done as a society is we’ve created a niche there where the food industry have come in and provided exactly what we’ve been wanting with highly processed foods that are energy dense, taste great, and relatively cheap.

Now what that’s done is that it’s lead us to be eating more, and so we no longer just have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which are in moderate proportions, but we’ve also got the mid-morning snack, the late-afternoon snack, the food that I’m going to eat on the drive or the bus ride home, I’ve got my dessert, and I’ve got my late-night snack before I go to bed. So we have an environment where we’ve got a surplus of food, but the big issue is that metabolically our systems can’t meet that capacity, and so we’ve put our metabolic systems, which have a limited threshold to utilize energy into an environment where we’re providing it with vast excesses. 

Now, our bodies do burn energy. Absolutely. We’ll try and excrete as much of the excess as we can, but any excess we store, and that answers the question as to why we’re getting fatter, shall we say, or larger, right? So, we’re eating the wrong foods. We’re eating too much of them. We’re eating too frequently, such that the system doesn’t have a chance to recover and remove the excess that we’ve taken in, but the other big issue there is that we’re not eating the right foods. We’ve gone for the reliance on the convenient, cheap, highly-processed foods and we’ve moved away, we’ve forgotten about food quality, and so when you move into eating those types of food, they meet the nutrient requirements for your metabolic capacity and you don’t tend to overeat all of them.

Guy Lawrence: A question, a thought just popped in there, Kieron. With your own personal circumstances, you know how you say you dropped this weight from being over 90 kilos…

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: And you’ve changed the quality of your food dramatically, obviously, in the Cokes and that. Did the consumption change as well, or did that remain the same?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I’m a little bit of a, because I’m a scientist at heart, I tend to collect a lot of data on myself, so I do have spreadsheets of energy intake, energy expenditure, what I’ve been doing, since around 2004, and when we have a look at the total energy intake, that hasn’t changed that much, but what has happened is that my frequencies of meals. 

So, for example, I don’t eat breakfast anymore. All right? When I wake up in the morning, I’m not hungry. I might have a cup of coffee. That gets me to work. My first meal is usually around about half-past ten, eleven o’clock, so you might see me attacking my fridge in about an hour, but what I’m seeing is I’m eating far less often during my day, but those meals are much more nutrient dense, and that’s getting me through the day. 

So, what I’m probably finding, if I was to look at my own system, is that there are far more times during my day where I’ve got a recovery period and I don’t have a constantly high metabolic load coming in onto that system that my digestive system and my endocrine system have to deal with.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. From a science perspective, then, because we’ve been pushed a low-fat diet for many, many years, you know, I think Ancel Keys was the breakthrough scientist, and do we know what we know now back then? So, has opinions changed dramatically, or have we just had new discoveries over the last couple of years? Or has it always been a mixed bag of information over the last twenty or thirty years?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think…when you think about it from a nutrition research, nutrition information, public health policy point-of-view, the science and the evidence hasn’t necessarily changed significantly. We still know very much what we knew quite a long, long time ago. There’s been evidence from early turn of the century that particular foods behave in different ways when you consume them, all right? So whether or not that knowledge has changed is not really the issue. I think part of the big problem is how it’s being marketed, how it’s being utilized in health promotion, and that’s what necessarily has changed. 

We knew years ago that if you ate too much, if you ate more energy than you’re going to, than you expend, then you’re going to store lots of it. We knew twenty years ago, thirty years ago, forty years ago exercise was important for prevention of cardiovascular disease, the prevention of diabetes…I think the big change that is happening at the moment is people realizing that maybe one of the biggest fallacies that they’ve had is that they’ve only thought about food and nutrition from an energy perspective, and what we really need to identify far more is how individual foods react or changehow our metabolic systems work. 

So, the whole energy in, energy out argument, which works as a nice simple piece of dogma to get a particular message across, that is, “If you eat too much, you’re going to gain weight. If you eat less, you’re going to lose it,” that works to some extent, but it doesn’t explain how food relates to metabolic disease, because food is far more than just the energy, right? 150 calories from a sugar-sweetened beverage is going to metabolically impact your body far different to 150 calories from cheese.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And in that instance then, eating, and our nutrition advice should all be about not so much just what the energy balance is about, but what rather what are the food types that you’re eating? What’s the quality of that food? Where is your energy coming from? 

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s certainly coming at the forefront. I mean, because we play around with this a lot, don’t we, Stu? Like, you know, and for myself, personally, I can dramatically increase the calories providing it’s natural fat, and as long as my carbohydrate intake remains reasonably low, I can, I generally don’t put on weight even if I increase in calories quite a lot, from a personal perspective, and Stu can eat all day and not put on…

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I come at it from the other side of the fence, where I have always struggled to maintain weight, and I can eat literally anything, but the difference for me is the way I feel. You know? I may look slim and skinny, but I just feel wasted if I eat some food low in nutrients, to put it that way.

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Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, so, you’re touching on a couple of things, and so I’ll start with Guy’s. Guy touched on carbohydrate content relative to fat, and that’s where we see a lot of the social conversation happening at the moment, a little bit of the academic conversation happening, and that is, “What is this discussion around the balance of carbohydrates and fat?”

And you’ve got a number of different approaches to how you balance those macronutrients. We’ll come back to that in a moment, but Stu, you also touch her on something else that a lot of the behaviorialists talk about, but very few of the metabolic researchers have until recently and that is if we think about food as more than just this energy content, what’s its impact on our quality of life, our general outlook on things, and that’s an area in which there needs to be far more attention, because we’ve got qualitative data from individuals, but people like to think that that’s not strong enough to warrant investigation, but yeah, it’s definitely a theme that keeps popping up, so you’ve got a macronutrient issue, but you’ve also got a consideration of whether or not food is more than just the energy and there it is, but the third thing that you’re touching on here is individual variance, and how you can get a number of individuals eating the same diet, but they might respond very differently.

Okay, so, give me a couple of minutes, I’ll try and cover those ones for us, right? So, if we go to the carbohydrate/fat ratio thing, right? Now, it’s an area I’m particularly interested in, because I think one of the biggest things that’s changed over the last twenty years with our general society eating is the introduction to liquid calories and, in particular, sugar-sweetened beverages. 

Okay, so I’ll declare my bias. I’ve researched in the area for five years, so I might have a little bit of an idea about what I’m talking about, and I’ve received funding from the ARC to investigate this in the next few years, right? But we can show on our models what others have shown quite consistently that the excess calories that you take from sugar-sweetened beverages or the sugar that you’re getting in from that will have a completely different effect upon individuals, between individuals, will have a completely different effect to the carbohydrate sources that you might get from whole foods and real foods, right?

So, when we talk about individuals who go along restricting processed foods, removing those nutrient-poor but energy-dense types of foods what you might typically find is people drop their carbohydrate intake, because when you have a look at the processed, a lot of the processed foods, they’re high-fat and high-sugar, but they’re far more carbohydrate in there relative to the fat that might be in there.

Now, when we think about how our metabolic systems are designed, we have a minimum, sorry, we have a maximum threshold for how much carbohydrate we can tolerate. Now, we’ve been told within the profession and therefore have translated it out to the social, to society, that there’s a minimum requirement of carbohydrate of about 130 grams a day, as a theoretical value, and in actual fact, my opinion, from what I’ve read, from what I’ve researched, is that 130 is not a minimum requirement, it’s a maximum requirement.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And where we calculate or where that 130 has been calculated from was discrete experiments that have a look at what’s the minimum requirement of the brain, the central nervous system, what are tissues burning within you cells, sorry, what are the cells within your body utilizing as their predominant fuel. Now, if you accept that that number is a maximum threshold, then you start looking at the metabolic systems that get kicked in when you start eating over it. 

Now, the most recent national nutrition health survey data of Australians that came out a couple of months ago showed that on average we’re eating right about 250 grams of carbohydrate, and there are individuals in amongst that group, that’s on average, so there are some individuals in that group who are eating in excess of that up to and over 300 grams of carbohydrate a day.

And there’s an acknowledgment in that data that there’s underreporting, so in actual fact, it’s probably over that amount. Right? Now, that means if we have a metabolic system that can only handle 130 grams of carbohydrate, give or take a few carbs for individual variance, then if you’re an individual who’s eating 200, 250, 300 grams, then your body is not going to catabolize that fuel. It’s not going to burn it and break it off; it’s going to store it or do its best to excrete it. Now, we initially store carbohydrates as glycogen, but we’ve got a maximum threshold of how much glycogen we can store, and then once you’ve met that threshold, the overflow goes elsewhere.

And there’s multiple pathways in which that excess carbohydrate can go, and there’s good evidence to show that it can go into fat or it might go into other metabolites. So, you’re carbohydrate content there has its maximum threshold, Guy. Now when it comes to fat, there’s no published minimum threshold for fat, and there’s no published maximum threshold for fat intake. So if you go to the NIH where there’s where this 130 grams of carbohydrate came from, in that same table for fat they’ve got a dash, right? It’s an unknown number, right?

What we do know is that there are essential fatty acids that our bodies can’t create, so therefore there are certain fats we do have to eat, right? Now, so, when I think about what you’re telling me, Guy, and that, yeah, you can fluctuate your energy intake but if it’s fat you can get away with it a fair bit. What you’d think about is the people who come from the low-carb, high-fat philosophies say, “Well, if you maintain a very low carbohydrate content, so you’re sitting around about 50 to 80 grams of carbohydrate, then your body adapts to be a fat-burner.”

So, all the metabolic systems within your tissues that can burn fat stay up-regulate, so you’ve got more of them, and you down-regulate, or reduce the amount of carbohydrate pathways…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Which means that if you’re eating fat, your systems tune to burn that fat, right? Now if you put carbohydrates into that system, though, because you’ve down-regulated the pathways that would burn carbs, you’ve got a reduced capacity to catabolize them and perhaps a more increased capacity to store them, so you need to be careful of that balance and when you’re going to bring those different macronutrients in, so, one of the issues we need to identify is that the human body is an adaptable system. It will change its metabolic processes to deal with the foods that you’re putting into it.

So, if you habitually live on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, then the metabolic systems within your muscles, within your liver will adapt to deal with those fuel systems. If you live on a high-carbohydrate, lower fat system, then those tissues in that system will adapt to try and handle that as well as they can, but we have a limited capacity to deal with carbohydrates and excesses over that will flow in.

Now, what we don’t know is what really determines individual variance. We know habitual diet can have a play. We know genetics has a huge play, and there are big studies in hundreds, thousands of individuals that have tacked individuals over years. I think about this one called the Heritage Study, which has been running for a good twenty odd years or so. It’s got grandparents, parents, children. It’s got quite a number of generations within families. They have endurance training programs. They’re monitoring food.

And one of the outcomes of interest that comes from that route is that you’ll find a reported average benefit of the endurance training program of, yeah, anywhere of around about, yeah, a liter per minute of vo2 max, so that means your physical capacity is improved this much, all right? On average. 

But if you have a look at the individual data, you’ll find that there’s individuals who’ve been doing the exact same lifestyle intervention for four, five months and don’t respond at all, so, no response whatsoever, and others who have responded that much, right? So, what we need to be careful of is when we start thinking about dietary advice, exercise advice and try and translate it out to everybody, we need to be aware that absolutely we’ve got the evidence from research that shows we have individual variance.

There will be some people that respond to particular interventions far better than others and…

Guy Lawrence: Sadly, it’s not marketed like that, is it? Like, it’s always like, “You must do this!”

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right! That’s right! And so what you really start thinking about then is a research study. If we want to get that published, if we want to get that funded, we need to have large numbers of participants, and they’re the real good funding bias, or not good, real poor, bad, but they are the fact of publication bias that we like to favor publishing positive results, right?

So, if you go and do a huge study, and you show that your intervention didn’t have a good outcome or didn’t have a significant outcome, then it’s much harder to get that paper published than if you’ve got an intervention that has had a positive outcome, right? Whether it be one way or the other, right? So, what we find is that we can have a publication bias that only published papers and interventions that have had this significant effect. Now, to get that significant effect then you want to make you’re, you don’t want to, but what people tend to, which is not really part of scientific method, is they will search for populations that will meet that need.

So, knowing that we’ve got individual variance, you can design your parameters in a way that ensures a much more likelihood of a significant result, right? So, we get papers published. It shows that we’ve got this significant adaptation or outcome in one particular direction, that’s the message that gets sold because it’s the simplest, it’s the clearest message, but if you go into the individual data sets then you can see that there’s quite a big variance at how individuals respond to that.

And so the idea of the message should actually be, “Well, here’s a couple of different approaches that an individual might want to take in society. Try them. Find out what works for you. You might be an individual that thrives on a lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet, or you might be an individual that thrives on the Ornish Diet, 80 percent carbohydrates, very low fat, but the idea is that the way we should be thinking perhaps is that future-wise, when we think about the research, the messages that come out, it’s not so much saying here’s one protocol that everyone should be trying. It should be more along the lines of, “Do you know what? Here are a number of different approaches that people have used and that have worked for them.”

And it’s about experimenting with ourselves engaged in finding what works best for us.

Guy Lawrence: Is that what’s happened with the low-fat diet? Because, like, everyone I know, or most people, generally are just conditioning to eating a low-fat diet. It’s always been that way, you know, when I grew up everything about it. I remember, you know, avoiding fat like the plague, and you know that information had to come from somewhere.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right. So, you know, there’ve been plenty of books written about it. There have been public seminars given about it. The big turning point in nutritional history would’ve been, everybody refers to it in the ’70s in America, identify what are some dietary guidelines for Americans to follow from the ’70s onward, and one of the things that we need to keep in mind with Australia is those guidelines don’t directly impact what our advice is. 

Yes, there was some influence. They did get translated into our Australian population and that underlying theme of reducing saturated fat or reducing fat intake does persist within our guidelinespre-2013 and to some extent within the current 2013 ones as well. That wasn’t necessarily a turning point directly for Australia, but that message has been what has come through and translated to everybody.

So, we have a ’70s time point in America where there is enough evidence for some individuals to say< “We need to focus on high-fat intakes as being a problem.” The marketing and the messaging around that then severely demonizes fat as a negative macronutrient and that we shouldn’t be eating too much of it, and more often not, you see people will have, the professionals will advise a cap at around about 30 percent of your daily energy intake coming from fat. Anything over that, they would refer to as a high-fat diet. And so, that’s right, what most prevalent in most people’s thinking is, “Fat’s the problem; we need to remove it.”

Now, that’s probably got a much stronger message than anything that comes out at the moment, because it’s the first one that’s come out, right? So, we’ve had dietary guidelines form America since the ’70s. In Australia, they came around ’80s, ’90s or so. Now, the very first time then a society’s being told we’re being told we need to watch what we eat, the focus is on fat, and so that’s the prevailing thought that comes into everybody’s thought, “I’m dieting. I need to restrict fat.”

But the evidence that is subsequently being collected suggests that it’s not as simple as that, right? We can’t just focus on that one macronutrient. We can’t just focus on putting a cap at 30 percent on that one macronutrient and in actual fact, some individuals who go onto that diet do not perform well, all right? They’re eating far more carbohydrates than their systems can adapt.

So, if we force those individuals to stay on that regime, on that dietary advice, they are not going to perform well and they’re going to get sick, but the big issue that we have, or one of the big issues that we have, is if we framed a professional situation now where we make individuals feel that they can’t go against that advice, right, and that’s a big issue that we’ve got when we think about, “How do we translate the evidence from science into nutritional policy into health promotion and health advocacy?”

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There is evidence in the science to show that individuals on a high-fat diet, low-carbohydrate diet can perform quite well in health outcomes, not just in weight, but there’s also within those same papers evidence that suggests that individuals on that diet won’t perform well. Just as much as there’s evidence to show that individuals on your low-fat, moderate carbohydrate diet will or won’t perform well. What we can’t have is a system which is dogmatic, that says everybody should be following this macronutrient distribution. What it should be is identifying individuals respond differently to various programs and it’s about you as an individual finding out what works for you.

And then we should be, as academics and professionals, setting up a system that supports that, right? Identifies what’s your relationship with food, what’s your relationship with your eating patterns, and whether or not part of the issues or problems that you might be having is because you’re forcing yourself to fit a paradigm that doesn’t fit for you.

Stuart Cooke: So what should we be doing right now at home to address this confusion, because from a commercial standpoint, you know, “Fear cholesterol, you know, eat healthy whole grains.” We still seem to be doing the wrong things being told to do the wrong things, so right now, what could I do to figure out what works for me?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: The safest option for you is to find yourself a qualified professional who’s going to support you in identifying what works for yen,

Stuart Cooke: How would I do that based upon traditional food practices and doctors who are again aligned with perhaps cholesterol-lowering drugs, you know, and the like. How would I find a , I guess, I’m almost looking at a new age doctor who understands.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, it doesn’t have to be being New Age. You can’t put that umbrella over it or make people think that they’re quacks and…

Stuart Cooke: How do you think I can about that? I’ve been to, well, in the past, I’ve been to a number of doctors who have been grossly overweight, and I figure, “Would I really want to go to you for nutritional advice?” That would be my concern.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Hey, look, you raising an interesting issue and I’m not remembering the journal that it was published in, but there was a paper that came out a year ago or maybe early this year, which was looking at clients’ perceptions of receiving advice from the professional that I’m talking about, and without doubt there’s very much that feeling that some people would walk into a room and look at the individual and go, “Well, how am I going to trust you?” 

It’s an issue I’ve had trying to teach biochemistry. The vast majority of people that walk into a biochemistry lecture have already decided that they’re going to hate it, and they’re basing that on more likely their experiences with chemistry in high school, and there’s a really good reason for people to feel that, right? Because chemistry and biochemistry can be intimidating. It can be something that people hate, so as a lecturer in that topic, I’ve had to take onboard very early on how do I get people to engage with that topic? Do I have to be the topic myself? Right? And now I find myself, yeah, answering a question in which I’ve got to turn that philosophy onto, well, yeah, does the person giving the message have to represent the message that they’re giving? I’m going to say no for a moment, right? And I’m going to say no because what you’d have to appreciate in your analogy there, Stu, is that we don’t get fat and sick overnight.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: WE get fat and sick over thirty, forty years of small incremental differences in our metabolic behaviors but also in our cognitive behaviors, right? So, you could have a very wise health professional who’s reading the up-to-date evidence at the moment, who’s beginning to challenge their own beliefs and what they’ve been practicing, what they’ve been doing over the last twenty or thirty years, but they won’t represent that right now, right?

And, so, to put that kind of assumption on an individual is kind of being unfair to that profession, right? What you need to be able to appreciate is that while a health professional I don’t think has to embody the evidence that they’re giving out, right? Because what we’ve got at the moment is a real change in the zeitgeist, right?

The conversations that happen in society, the conversation that’s happening on social media, the conversations that are happening in academia are changing, so what one individual might advise a patient tomorrow could be quite different to what they advised last week, two weeks ago, even a year ago, but they won’t see that impact straight away, right? 

If I think about my own personal journey, if we just looked at weight as an outcome, yeah, I lost, what was it, 15 kilos, but it took eight months to do that, all right? But I started feeling perceptual benefits, yeah, within a couple of weeks. I was feeling great. I was feeling energized. I was feeling like I made the right choice, and I was going to stick with this new approach to living, new approach to eating, but if you’d come and seen me three weeks into my program and had gone, “Yeah, you’re still fat, right? Clearly, it’s not working for you.” Then I would have lost you very early on, right?

So to say to expect that immediate change and for us to represent that, I don’t think is exactly fair, right?

Stuart Cooke: If I had come to see you while you were guzzling two liters of Coke a day, I perhaps would have been questioning your advice as well.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Absolutely. If I’m telling you to cut out the sugar-sweetened beverages while I guzzle down on one, I, perfectly, I accept that 100 percent, right? I mean, for people who’ve come across me already, they might be aware that for at least the last year or so I’ve been campaigning to change the nutritional guidelines for what we sell in schools, right? At least in New South Wales, if not nationally.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And one of the challenges that we’ve got there is the New South Wales government has said, “The person responsible for implementing healthy eating practice in schools is the principal, right? So, that means that the government have put this policy in place then they’ve washed their hands of it and gone, “Local schools; local decisions. You can take care of it.”

So, if you’ve got a principal who’s walking around the school playground guzzling Coke, eating Party Pies, sausage rolls, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizzas. He’s the person, or she’s the person, that we have to convince to change what food they serve to kids, and the message gets lost right away. So, point granted. If at the time that they are delivering their health advice they’re not following it themselves, they have good reason to question it, right?

Stuart Cooke: Got it. Got it. So, I’ve gone to the doctors and I’ve looked past the appearance of my doctor. The doctor looks okay, and I’m questioning my doctor, “What should I eat to be healthy?” Where would we go? What should I be looking for? What do you think my doctor would be advising me to do?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think one of the first things that the doctor should be doing is asking you, “How much processed food are you eating?” You would classify in nutrition and dietetics as being discretionary food, so if you go to the Australian dietary guidelines, there’s a nice couple of peaches, there’s some good worded paragraphs that shows you exactly what are classified as discretionary calories. 

Now, one disclaimer: I do not believe that anything, in my opinion, such as a discretionary calorie, right? There’s no such thing, so your body does not take a calorie that’s coming from a sugar-sweetened beverage and go, “Oh! That’s one of my 10 percent discretionary calories, so I’m going to put that over in my discretionary calorie bank account, and this is a good one.” Right?

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think the, in my opinion, the rule should be processed foods are out as much as you possibly can, right?

Guy Lawrence: Can we just explain the umbrella of processed foods? Just in case…

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Sure. The best thing I can do here in such a timeframe would be to advise people to look up the NOVA Classifications of Food Processing. All right? So that’s N, O, V, A. It’s originated out of Brazil. It is providing an alternative classifications on foods on the degrees of processing.

So, there’s foods that have not been processed, such as your vegetables straight out of the ground, shall I say. Then you’ve got your minimally processed, where you might be including your dairy products in there, so you’ve had to do some kind of human interference to it in manufacturing. Then you go up to highly processed, up to ultra-processed, and when you’re getting into those degrees what you’ve got is industry coming in, they’re taking what was once originally a whole real food and they have mashed it, they’ve homogenized it, they’ve extracted out what nutritional scientists have said are the good bits and they’ve repackaged them into something that’s highly palatable, cheap, and convenient to eat.

Now, at that point, we cannot say that the nutrients within that food behaves the same way as if you ate the nutrients in their original form. All right? So, what you should be looking for is reducing as many of those ultra-processed, highly processed foods out of your diet, because what we’ve got is although they might be packaged saying that they’ve got all the nutrients that you need to be fit and healthy individual, they also bring alongside a number of products that you don’t need to be healthy and active, healthy individual, but also may be what’s making you sick. 

They’re also designed to make us eat more, so what I would like is my doctor to tell me, “Well, Kieron, the first thing I want to find out is how many of these discretionary calories are you eating? Have you gone beyond what the dietary guidelines recommend you should be eating?”

And, if we go to the National Nutritional Health survey that came out a couple of months ago, thousands of Australians interviewed over a couple of years period, we saw that between 30 to 40 percent of our energy intake was coming from these discretionary foods. Right. So, if I’m an average Australian that fits into the data that came from the National Nutritional Health survey data, then my doctor would be making the assumption that 30 to 40 percent of my daily energy intake is coming from these discretionary highly processed foods.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And, if we have a look at what the Australian dietary guidelines are saying, whether or not you agree with them on any particular level, just at a very simple point they say no more than 10 percent. So, already we would have identified a key area that you need to reduce food intake from. Now that does not mean you stop eating them and don’t replace them with anything. All right? That would be a starvation diet, and we’re not advocating for that. All right?

What it would be doing is going, “We’re going to remove those processed foods and the energy that you’ve lost from that we’re going to reintroduce, but we’re going to reintroduce them from your minimally or nonprocessed foods. All right? You’re going to be cooking at home with the real food, raw ingredients that you’ve purchased from your fruit and veg shop. Right?”

 In that instance you should have already drastically minimized your total energy intake, although that won’t necessarily be true for everybody, but what you will have done is you’ll have removed preservatives, additives. You’ll have removed, you will have inserted probably far more fiber, because you’re eating proper vegetables because they’re in their whole form, but you’re also bringing their nutrients in the format in which you would have been, your body would digest them and expect them.

Guy Lawrence: It’s quite a simple form now, isn’t it?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. That’s right. You look like you want to ask another question.

Guy Lawrence: No, no…I’m trying to keep myself restrained.

Stuart Cooke: You’ll struggle to read Guy’s face. I’ll tell you that, Kieron.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, okay.

Stuart Cooke: I think he’s just thinking about his next meal.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, yeah, right? But that’s what I’d be expecting from my health professional. All right? If my health professional started dictating a particular prescription that I had to follow, then I’d be concerned. Now, how do you find one of these individuals? Well, I’m not aware of any particular database. I would not Google “new age doctor.” All right?

Stuart Cooke: You should try it.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: But, you know what, there are enough health professionals on social media sites, qualified dieticians, qualified medics, who are out there talking about what their message is that you should be able to relatively easily find someone who is still not going to dictate to you their new philosophy, but at least support you in investigating for yourself what might work.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect, and I guess referral plays a large part in that as well.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeas, as in, you mean, word of mouth if you’ve come across individuals that have supported one individual…

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. Yeah, absolutely. Guy has found a wonderful new age doctor. I like what he says. I’m going.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Now I love my GP. I’ve had the same GP since I was five now, so he’s known me for quite a long time, and he’s seen me go from a preschooler up to a qualified academic now, and we have great conversations. He knows I’m only coming to him because I haven’t tried to figure out first what went wrong with me, and I already have a long list, “I don’t think it’s any of these, so it’s over to you now. All right?”

Stuart Cooke: That’s exactly right. Fantastic.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: But he’s more than willing to support and go, “All right. Well if you’re going to go that way, let’s have a look and see what happens.”

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Stuart Cooke: Perfect. And again, just to break it down, overall message: Great place to start would be to eat more whole foods, get in the kitchen, start cooking with real ingredients, and just try and reduce the packet food.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right, and if you find yourself eating a meal out of convenience because you’re trying to fit it in between a meeting or between one other priority, then we need to rethink how we’ve approached what our food intake, what our behaviors are, because once we start doing that type of mindless eating, you can very easily increase more snacks, your taking in food more regularly, your energy intake is going to shoot up, and depending upon what the macronutrient content is, you could be doing yourself far greater harm.

Stuart Cooke: Got it, and I guess it’s kind of an exercise in time management as well, because if we’re putting ourselves into a space where we simply don’t have time to eat and we have to make these processed choices then we should perhaps go back and look at how we structure our days.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: It’d be lovely to think that’s what our holistic approach is. All right? And at the moment, we, as a community, have allowed our society, our environment to be dictated to us, and I’m going to jump on the big food bandwagon for a moment and say food industry, they want us to be distracted. They want us to be busy because that’s what their product is. Their product is in a box. It’s quick. It’s convenient, and it apparently has all the nutrients that you need to be fit and healthy, but it’s not. Right?

You’ve removed, you’ve given up your right to listen to your body, to take control of what it is that you’re going to feed it, and in that instance, if we keep our environment set up that way, we’re only going to get worse, right? So, you want to have an approach to eating in which you’re in control and you’re not being dictated to by marketing, because let’s face it, food industry they’re here to make profit, not to look after your health. All right?

And your priority should be your health and not an individual’s profit, and look, it’d be nice to think that what we need is a big social debate with our unions, with our workers, with our employers, with our workplace individuals, to say, “Look, what we’ve actually allowed to happen over the twenty, thirty, forty years that we’ve been here is we’ve created an environment in which our health is suffering, because we’re filling our lives up with priorities that are external to us. Right? We’re working for somebody else. We’re earning other people money. We’ve got this focus on commercialization, and in that instance our priorities have been distracted, and so therefore, one of the big areas that we’ve allowed without source is healthy eating, and that seems to be one of the biggest mistakes that we’ve made.”

Stuart Cooke: Well, I’d happily sit there and discuss that with you, if you want to form a coffee club. I’ll bring the biscuits.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I have to say, in some circles I’m not qualified enough. I’ve only got a Ph.D. and 14, 15 years of research experience, but I don’t have a dietetics qualification, so all of this you’re getting as a nutrition academic who’s researched the area for 15 years.

Stuart Cooke: Well, you file me your details. I’ll order you one on the internet and we’ll get back to you before the end of the day.

Guy Lawrence: I know time is slowly creeping away from us, but I really wanted to ask you this, because I understand you’re looking at the relationship between cancer and sugar, so this is going way off tangent. What have you found? Can you just explain a little bit about that?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, sure, okay. So, look, I should point out I haven’t yet done any direct research myself, but if anybody’s listening, watching who is interested in having a look at the role of low-carbohydrate diets or even ketosis diets in case studies or patient, cancer patients undergoing treatment, I’m more than happy to have a conversation.

I came into this topic because though in my background readings and my support readings in sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar intake, impact on metabolic diseases, and I stumbled across these readings on ketosis diets and the treatment of cancer patients, and it turns out way back in 1924 there was a Nobel Prize-winning hypothesis, well now this wasn’t what the Nobel Prize was for, but the individual who won the Nobel Prize came up with this other hypothesis and that’s called the Warburg…

Guy Lawrence: Is that Warburg? Yeah, Otto Warburg.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, Otto Warburg, who identified that in particular cancer cells there largely dependent upon glucose as their predominant fuel source. Now Warburg said that every cancer cell expressed this need, right, this desire, but subsequently we, you know, evidence comes out that shows not every cancer cell. There are particular cancer cells that are more dependent upon glucose than others. There are some that can adapt to a low-glucose environment to utilize other fuels, but for the large part, the vast majority of cancer cells have this increased reliance on glucose as a predominant fuel.

So there’s evidence coming out now and research being conducted, mostly in the States, which is investigating the starvation of cancer cells from sugar, and because the working hypothesis is, “Well, if we’ve been able to identify the particular cancer cells dependent upon sugar to survive, well, if we restrict access to sugar, does this cell growth arrest, shall we say?”

And then there’s an added benefit on top of that that some people such as a group XXat ????XX [0:50:11] in Florida are showing that ketone bodies themselves might have a protective effect, so the sugar and cancer story is a developing one. All right?

The general lay of the land is this, there are particular cancer cells that seem highly dependent upon glucose as their predominant fuel source for a number of things, not just as an energy source, but the pathways by which we make new DNA and new cell membranes and all the biomolecules we need to make new cells, which is what cancer cells are doing, is completely dependent upon glucose and that’s the pentose phosphate pathway. 

So the thinking is if we restrict glucose from cancer cells, we deprive them of their energy source, we also deprive them of the building blocks of the new cells, but the overarching effect, which other research is looking at, such as Eugene Fine, is independent of the acute effect of sugar on cells, if you’re restricting sugar intake you’re having another whole body effect, and that is you’re reducing the amount of insulin that you’re secreting, and insulin is a specific growth factor that stimulates cancer cell growth.

Now, every time you eat carbohydrates, you secrete more insulin, so there is a window of opportunity there for a cancer cell to have increased growth factors which allow them to grow in that particular time. Now, look, certain cancers are very slow-growing cancers, right? Just like diabetes, just like heart disease, you don’t wake up one day and all of the cancer cells have exploded, right? It’s a progressive disease.

So what you need to, what some people are looking at is, well, regardless of whether or not the Warburg effect or Warburg hypothesis is true for every cancer cell, what is a more common theme amongst cancers is that it depends upon growth factors to stimulate growth, and one of the most predominant growth factors that have an impact is insulin. And what is the major driving force for insulin secretion? Carbohydrate.

Guy Lawrence: So does that mean then this could be a cancer prevention? Actually keeping your insulin production reduced?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, some people come at it from that perspective, yes. At the moment, I would say that the thinking would be more as a collaborative treatment, shall we say, so undergoing your chemotherapy, your traditional approaches to cancer treatment, whether or not they can be boosted, supported, by your also having a low-carbohydrate ketosis diet which ultimately leads to lower insulin levels throughout your entire day and therefore reduce the instances of growth factor stimulation on those cells.

Guy Lawrence: Okay. That is fascinating.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That is, from my personal perspective, that’s reading at the moment, that’s talking to some of those researchers via email at least, but hopefully in the coming years the opportunity to work with a couple of professionals in the area to develop some case studies if not some intervention studies to see where the data’s coming, but there is good evidence coming out in recent times to identify low-carbohydrate ketosis diets in assisting the management of chemotherapy and treatment of cancer cells.

Guy Lawrence: There you go. Fantastic. Thanks for that. Stu? You look like you’re going to say something.

Stuart Cooke: No, I’m just…Yeah. I’m fascinated and intrigued by this talk and I’m just wondering how far away we are from hearing a lot more of this in mainstream media.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, it’s getting out there. All right? There’s a focus in some of the research that’s looking at…Unfortunately, I think, at the moment a lot of the research is still focusing on macronutrients, right? Carbohydrates, the fats, the protein ratios, what’s the impact of those? Are they in or not in calorie deficit, so, yeah, taking individuals, forcing them onto a particular diet and have a look at it…

What…last month there was a low-carbohydrate versus a moderate-carbohydrate standard diet paper that came out. There’s a rapid weight loss, there’s a long term weight loss diet study coming out also. There’s lots of intervention studies that are currently running or slowly coming out. It’s a matter if how quickly that evidence base is going to build to influence the profession

What we’ve got with the academic world, I think, is an environment which is completely different to what traditional academic would ever have been experienced to it. If we think about up until ten, fifteen years ago, and academic could have a long-lasting career doing their own research, publishing their own papers in scientific journals and the only people that would ever read that would be other scientists.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

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Dr. Kieron Rooney: In the last five to ten years with free access to publication journals such as Plus One, the Frontiers range of journals everyday individuals are getting access to the evidence XXin the science space 0:55:21.000XX, so we’ve got social groups who are moving quicker than the academic fraternity. Right?

And so the information’s gonna get out there well in advance of a consensus change from the profession. And so the information is out there, but if we’re expecting leadership from academia, already you’re a good 15, 20 years away from it still. Right? Because academics, we’re obliged to look at all the evidence. Right? We are obliged to take our time to make sure we’ve checked all the pros, all the cons, crossed the Ts, dotted the Is.

And with every new study that comes out, it doesn’t change our thinking. It gets absorbed into our current ways of thinking and we see whether or not it changes us.

Now, some of us are more open to being adaptive. Others, right? And it’s a measure of whether or not the community, the academic community, are readily taking on new evidence and allowing that to alter their current perception, or whether or not they’re ignoring it.

Stuart Cooke: “Watch this space.”

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t like that phrase, Stu.

I’m going to be in a different space, surely, in a couple of years’ time. If I’m still sitting in this office I’m going to be very upset.

Stuart Cooke: I’m going to print that on a T-shirt and send it your way.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Excellent. Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: Just before we wrap up, Kieron, I know when we were having a chat on the phone the other day you mentioned that you’re going to be looking for some test subjects in Sydney next year.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. Yep.

Guy Lawrence: Do you want to quickly mention a little bit about that? Because…

Dr. Kieron Rooney: OK. I’d love to. I’ve got; we got funding for two major projects that we’re going to be running from 2015, 2016 onward. The first one is we are looking at trying to translate some of the research that’s been conducted on animals on sugar-sweetened beverages into a human population.

But what our key focus is on is on behavioral changes. Right? So, there are many groups that are already working on the metabolic impact of sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugar-sweetened beverages, from my opinion and from my research, are a particularly nasty processed food to be consuming. Our bodies deal with liquid calories differently to solid calories.

We also, when we consume liquid calories through sugar-sweetened beverages, put a huge dose onto our metabolic systems in a very acute time frame. And that’s gonna have another impact.

Now, other groups are already looking at the metabolic outcomes. And so we’re trying to be a little bit clever. We’ve got funding. We’re going to be doing metabolic outcomes. But we’re mostly interested in whether or not they’re impacting your behavior, your perceptions of foods, your eating behaviors, your intake.

So, that’s currently going through ethics at the moment. It should be, hopefully, approved by January, February of next year. And we’ll be looking for individuals for around about March, April onwards to come into our labs at the university and have some acute eating and metabolic measures taken during and after sugar-sweetened beverages. And we’re also looking at the impact of artificial-sweetened beverages as a control groups. That’s one study.

The other study that we’ve got currently running is going back to that individual variance question. And that is: touching on research from the ’80s and ’90s, going back to some of that data, shows that if you’re an individual who has a habitual diet that’s low in carbohydrate or low in fat, and then we give you a fat meal, you metabolize that fat completely differently.

So, we’ve got genetic studies running at the moment. We’re now going to put on top of that exercise, individual work, and what we’re gonna do; we’re gonna get individuals in, we’ll screen you for your fitness, we’ll screen you for body composition, and then we’re going to have to play around with some acute testing of fat meals and carbohydrate meals and see how individuals respond to that, depending upon your habitual diet.

So we’re going to be looking for hundreds of individuals across a wide section of the Sydney population. So, we’re going to want the paleo guys. We’re going to want the clean eaters. We’re going to want the vegetarians. We’re going to want the standard Australian diet individuals. And we’re going to try and identify, through a large observational cross-sectional study, whether or not we can identify key differences in these example populations.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Well, you’ve got two here.

Stuart Cooke: Keep us in the know. I’ll put Guy forward for the sugar-sweetened beverages study, if that’s OK. Go for that slot. You’re in there, Guy.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Well done.

Guy Lawrence: Excellent.

Stuart Cooke: Right. So, we’ve got time for the wrap-up question, Guy?

Guy Lawrence: Let’s do it. Let’s do it. So, we ask this question on every podcast, Kieron. OK? And it’s simply: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve even been given? It can be anything.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I’m still waiting for something. I’ve been given lots of advice in my time. Right? The biggest problem is that I haven’t listened to a lot of it. All right? So, I’m going to go with the one that’s popping into my head acutely is one from my dad, and that was always: “Don’t let the turkeys get you down.”

So, quite often I find myself in situations where I might be talking to a lot of individuals who disagree with what I have to say, and they’re telling me that I might have missed things or I might be wrong, and when I go back and read things I try to find and see that, no, no, I should be getting listened to. So, in those circumstances it’s very easy to lose confidence in your own research, your own work, thinking that you’ve missed what other people have got. And then you realize later on when they’re not around, you haven’t.

So, that can get you down a fair bit. So, I say: Don’t let the turkeys get you down. If people are telling you that you’re wrong, as opposed to getting into a XXscrap meet 1:01:04.000XX with them right there, just go away, fine more evidence, build on it, and come back and fight another day. How about that?

Guy Lawrence: Awesome.

Stuart Cooke: That’s perfect. That will do.

Guy Lawrence: That will work. And if anyone wants to get in touch with you, Kieron, or find out more about next year or got any questions, all the rest of it, shall I just link to your bio on the university website?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, that’s the best way to do it. I’m not on Facebook. I think that’s a fad. I don’t think it’s going to be around for long. I am on Twitter. I’ve been on Twitter for roundabout 10 months now, so I’m getting into that.

Guy Lawrence: I see your Tweets coming through daily, mate.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: They can find me there or if you link to the home page on the university website, that will have my contact details there. When we’re at the point of recruiting and advertising the studies, we’ll have announcements up on that.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: That was brilliant. Thank you for coming on, Kieron.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, no worries. Thanks for having me.

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Why Athletes Benefit From Yoga

The video above is 02:19 long. Use your time wisely ;)

Duncan Peak is founder of Power Living Australia Yoga (P.L.A.Y). He’s also a very cool guy & we chat to him about his life as a former army officer, nearly dying, and becoming one of Australia’s most authoritative figures in yoga.


Full Interview with Duncan Peak: Power Living to the Modern Yoga

In this episode we talk about:- 

  • downloaditunesA individuals journey that takes an unexpected twist that we all benefit from
  • A dramatic change in life path that’s lead to building a legacy (his franchise) that we all benefit from as a result
  • There are a lot of assumptions about yoga. Is yoga what you think it is?
  • Why yoga & Crossfit are a great fit & strong men struggle with downward dog
  • Why yoga suits the modern man/women & the unsuspecting masculine guy
  • Yoga…much more than a physical journey and a place to find women in figure hugging attire
  • CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Power Living Australia Yoga (P.L.A.Y)

- Learn about P.L.A.Y Here

- Follow P.L.A.Y On Facebook Here


Interview with Duncan Peak Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition, and welcome to podcast episode number 21. Today our special guest is Mr. Duncan Peak. Now, if you’ve never heard of him, he’s the founder of the amazingly successful Power Living Australia Yoga, also known as PLAY, and he touches the lives of over 6,000 people each week. He’s one of the most well-respected yoga teachers here in Australia and teaches workshops, teacher-trainings, retreats, pretty much all over the world and so it’s a privilege to have him here today.

So, today, he’s actually sharing with us a story of how an army officer, which is what he was, he also had a near-death experience, ends up doing yoga and becomes very authoritative in it, as well. So, we’re very excited to have him on.

If you are listening to this on iTunes, really appreciate the review. The reviews help us get our rankings up, which then, in turn, help us get this message out there to other people, and then go on and, obviously, inspire other people, and then, yeah, so, if you just sit back and enjoy the show, and let’s go over to Duncan.

Awesome. All right. Let’s get into it. Hi, I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Mr. Stuart Cook, as always, and our very special guest today, Mr. Duncan Peak. Duncan, thanks for joining us, mate. Really appreciate it.

Duncan Peak: Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: Look, it’s awesome, mate. There’s a couple of reasons that, A, was really excited to get your story out to the show, to the show, to our listeners, and B, hopefully, that story will convince theory in doing a bit more yoga, as well, a little while. But, I’m sure you get asked this question a lot, mate, but, you know, an army officer, a first-grade Rugby Union player, to now, you know, becoming a very authoritative figure in the yoga world. How the hell did that happen?

Duncan Peak: Yeah, I suppose it seems really contradictory to why, but I think the same discipline really drives the practice. I think; yoga has an aspect to it we call Tapas that’s a fierce sort of flame and drive within you. It’s a yearning towards to an enlightened state or to have a practice that’s going to achieve, you know, that development of your character. I think, just, the army was a life situation where I chose to go there when I was a young kid and sorted my life out and gave me the direction, and it was a lot of fun, to be honest, and then, yeah, just events happened that moved me into the yoga world.

I’ve been doing yoga most of my life or meditation, most of my life, and so I, yeah, I just sort of fell into the yoga world, and it was more a XXaudio glitchXX 0:02:45 than a quest to become an authority in the yoga world.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s just sort of just like we spoke just before the recording, just sort of following your passion, and it’s evolved into that. When you say you started yoga at a young age, what age would that have been at?

Duncan Peak: Well, I did my first, sort of, meditation slash yoga class when I was about 15. I was with the family I was living with who were just taking care of me and their father had lived in India for about 11 years, and he just taught us what’s called raja yoga.

It’s a very traditional style of yoga. It’s mainly focusing on your mind and trying to meditate or concentrate your mind, and so that’s when I first started, and then I just used meditation to deal with all the stress and some grief that I was going through at a young age. I’d lost some people really close to me and, yeah, just kept doing it throughout my life, and when I was about 25 I eventually got into the physical style of yogaÉmaybe a little bit younger than that, and started to do what you see now, today’s style of living.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow. Yeah, you know, because when I watched you speak XXthrough Eloise the other weekXX 0:03:46 you mentioned, as well, an incident in the jungle. It really touched me, as well, I thought that was incredible, and would you mind sharing that bit of a story with us, as well?

Duncan Peak: Yeah. For sure. So, I went to the military. I was an officer in the Royal Military College, Duntroon, and then I became a paratrooper for three years and then worked at the Special Forces training center for three years as a captain. And during that time I did lots of exercises and in one of the exercises I was asked to, well, it’s part of training and selection for things to do seven days without food and walk about, I don’t know, 250 kilometers in that week and get about two hours’ sleep a night, if that, and you get a tiny bit of food, but it’s like a mouthful of food on the third day, and, yeah, they challenge you with a lot of raw, sort of, disgusting foods, to see if you’ll eat it.

But it’s to test your levels of leadership and high-levels of stress. And, anyway, I did the course, and I finished the course, and, on the last day, I handed him my radio and all my flares and things like that, because you’re alone a lot of the time on the course, and then they said, “You know, beeline that way to the clearing, and that’s where you’ll get picked up,” and so I did, and I took my bearing and went there, and on the way walking there after I finished the course I felt this pain in my stomach, and, of course, I’d had pains in my stomach all week, and every time I’d spoken to anyone about it, they’d say, “Well, of course, you have pains in your stomach. You haven’t eaten for seven days.”

So I just, sort of, pushed myself, you know, beyond my limits and went, “Suck it up, you know. Stop being a girl,” and pushed myself. Anyway, I was walking and there was, like, real pain in my stomach, and I got down on one knee and just pulled my water bottle out and was there drinking my water bottle and, as I did, it felt like boiling water was just rushing my stomach. Something felt like it tore in there, and I was completely incapacitated.

I couldn’t move, and I hit the ground, and I was, sort of, in the middle of the jungle, nowhere, and very rare that somebody was going to find me, and I was there for about three hours, I think it was, beforeÉwhich was a whole process I went through of dealing with the pain, because it was excruciating. It was the most amount of pain I’d ever felt, and then I’m dealing with the fact that no matter how tough or physical or, you know, focused I was, it wasn’t going to help me. I couldn’t move and getting at peace with that and, you know, things like accepting my father and accepting the way I was and my mother and just the whole upbringing and losing, really, people close to me very young in my life, all that, sort of, came up, and it was a wonderful spiritual experience in the end. And then, towards the end of that three hours, just luckily, another guy was walking a very similar path that I was and found me, and he carried me to a road and eventually got me help. I was pretty much unconscious by this time and just completely out of it from the pain.

And it took about eight hours before they got me to an operating table, and they diagnosed me with a ruptured appendix and then cut me open and went in to have a look at my appendix and realized it wasn’t my appendix. My appendix was fine, but they took that out anyways.

Stuart Cooke: Oh!

Guy Lawrence: How do you do?

Duncan Peak: Just to get that scar there and, you know, it never happened that you had a ruptured appendix. People wouldn’t diagnose you, so they’d harvest your organ.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow!

Duncan Peak: And then, anyway, they cut me from basically top of my chest down to my belly button and just searched around until they found I had a ruptured duodenal ulcer. So my duodenum, the second part of your, the part after your stomach, and it had perforated and was leaking out and, you know, an injury like that, it could kill you in a matter of hours, and, you know, I was lucky enough to survive for however long it was, eight hours, before they got to me.

And then I woke up the next day and, yeah, my beautiful mother was there holding my hand when I woke up, and I had tubes coming out of me, and I had, you know, five-inch incisions down here and another six- or seven-inch incision up here, and I’d gone from being like a super soldier, you know, I was fit and healthy and as strong as you can be to pretty ripped apart, and I sort of knew then that would lead to my discharge from the army and, eventually, problems that happened from that, rebuilding my core and things like that, and another injury I had through football, they discharged me from the army, and that’s when I left at about 25 years of age.

Through the process of rebuilding my core was how I got into the physical style of yoga, and that was sort of like a blessing in disguise, you know? It was what started Power Living in one way, but it ended a career that I was really enjoying in another way.

Guy Lawrence: Wow, I mean, if that had not happened, do you think your life would look very different today?

Duncan Peak: You know I often wonder about that. One of my best friends is the commanding officer of the SAS at the moment, and he was, you know, right alongside us doing all the stuff we were doing, and, you know, I wonder if I would have followed that path. I’m not sure. I don’t know if my heart and my moralistic fiber was in doing that completely. I think it was more of a life decision that changed me to do that.

So, I’m not sure whether I would’ve on my own natural causes got out. I think I would’ve stayed in the army a little bit longer and done a few more things and achieved things in there that I wanted to do, but I think eventually I would’ve got out, but I’m not sure if yoga would’ve ever evolved the way it did. It was never a vision for me to be a yoga teacher or to create the business that we’ve got.

Guy Lawrence: That’s insane, because they often say, you know, adversity is almost like the universe giving you a little nudge into your path that you should be doing, you know?

Stuart Cooke: That’s pretty deep, Guy. Just saying.

Guy Lawrence: I believe it.

Stuart Cooke: So, Duncan, if, for all of our listeners out there that aren’t or haven’t fully connected with yoga, could you explain the benefits? Because, you know, Guy’s certainly a big advocate for yoga. I’m just kind of exploring it. So, from an outsider’s perspective, you know, is it a little bit more than dudes in tight fishing pants performing a few strange poses?

Duncan Peak: It’s mostly girls, not so much dudes. They’re getting a lot more into it now, but look at yoga, if we think of the word yoga, that’s as broad a term as fitness, and I think that’s what a lot of people misunderstand straight away is that within yoga there are so many ways we can practice it, have beliefs around it, so that’s one big thing to consider is that in the style that we’ve done, it’s called hatha vinyasa yoga, it’s the main style. We call it Power Yoga. It’s just a marketing name, basically, even though it is a very powerful style of yoga. They’re not really traditional style of names that have come from ages.

Most of the yoga that we practice these days is only about a hundred years old, but the philosophy that goes with it dates back, you know, eons. So, there’s really a few aspects of it. There’s your physical flexibility and agility and range of motion that is very popular. Stretching. Vinyasa practice. Out of that, the yogis believe we unlock energetic pathways, very similar to Chinese medicine philosophy of meridian channels. We call them Nadi channels. So, we unlock energy movement and flow within the body.

And then there’s the third aspect to it, which is training your mind, and this is the aspect where I’m so passionate about is understanding deep belief systems that you have, that you’re unconscious of, but they control your behavioral patterns, and the yogis call these vasanas, and it’s what makes up a character.

If you can consider, character’s very hard to change. Like, you can go and put on a new pair of tights or wear different clothes or listen to additional music or drive a new car, move to a new town, take up new sports, and you’ve got a different personality, but you put that same person under stress and they’re going to react in the same way, because their character is still the same.

And, so, yoga doesn’t look to change your personality. There’s no ideal spiritual personality. People get lost in trying to change their personalities, but it’s nothing to do with your personality. You actually want to transcend the personality, and we’re trying to change our character, and we’re trying to change our character into being, embodying the virtues of, like, compassion, you know, kindness, love, courage, all those sorts of, you know, things we talk about that have high moralistic fiber.

And so through the practice of yoga, whether it’s a physical practice and being mindful about the reactions you have, or whether it’s sitting in meditation and observing what the patterns of your mind are and how hard it is to really focus your mind, we’re trying to change the same thing in that we’re trying to evolve our character to be less reactive, what we call equanimous, so that we have a more peaceful life, and then, if we can do that, so they say, and I don’t know this from experience, but we can have an enlightened mind, which is a mind that is always like that, and that’s what yoga aims to do in all of its facets. And then anything within that that you’re doing toward that stilling your mind could be considered a practice of yoga.

Stuart Cooke: I’m sold! I’m just going to sign up for a course now. Where did it originate from? Where’s it come from?

Duncan Peak: It’s from India originally in the oldest books of time, called the vedas, and originally it was really only passed down. They believe it came, and, again, this is a bigger concept and they believe it came from the Rishis which passed it, which it means “great seers” which interpreted it from their experiences in meditation from a more of a collective consciousness, and, again, that’s up to everybody to decide whether they believe that sort of stuff, but they believe it came from that level of higher knowledge and then disseminated through great teachers and then slowly through, it was then transcribed into books in the really early, you know, 400 B.C., things like that, and then eventually, you know, you see it evolve into the modern yoga, sort of, evolution that we have happening today.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, because yoga’s definitely growing in popularity. There’s no doubt about that. It’s unbelievable. Like, I remember growing up in Wales. It was all rugby, union, and beer, basically, and how much you could bench press. I don’t think even yoga was on my radar when I was in my teens and early 20s and, but even I went back to Wales recently and saw that, you know, yoga’s popping up everywhere there, and it was changing there, too.

So, why do you think it’s growing? Do you think there’s a need for it, you know, because people are so stressed out?

Duncan Peak: You know, people believe people go to yoga to stretch. That’s sort of a common belief out there. They might turn up for those reasons, but they stay because of the mental health benefits. It’s that there’s something that occurs for them in the asana practice or whatever style of yoga that they’re doing that they don’t get out of normal exercise or other activities, and it’s just a clarity of your mind. It’s self-awareness. You’re getting to know yourself better.

I just think with the mounting stress that we have and the generation of, “Just suck it up and deal with it,” is sort of slowly passing, and our generation who are having children are a bit more open to spiritual ways and alternative ways of thinking. I think that’s just, sort of, you know, started to create a newer generation who’ve grown up with yoga being accepted. The middle generation, like us, who are like, “Okay, well, it is acceptable,” rather than not off the radar, and then our parents who, you know, not so many of them even had opportunities to understand what it’s all about. So, I think it’s just the education within the world, and then the quality of what it is compared to anything else out there. It’s just, it’s common sense, so people they need to do it if they want to be happy and peaceful in this world.

Guy Lawrence: I have to say, as well, like, I, my girlfriend drug me on a yoga retreat in Thailand not too long ago, and, you know, it was the first time I ever did yoga six days straight, and it was two-and-a-half hours in the morning, I think. It was a half-hour meditation and then a two-hour practice, and I felt something shift by the end of the six days, and it was hard to explain. I was trying to explain it to Stewie, and, yeah, it was amazing. Unless you actually put yourself through that experience, it’s hard to actually get that across, as well. You know?

Duncan Peak: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I say that about yoga experiences is that words will never do it justice, you know. Words always imply a limited perspective on the experiences that you can have, and that’s really what yoga, you know, it’s hard to describe yoga, the experience of yoga, but once you experience it, it’s just obvious. It’s like, “Wow, that’s a state that we should be in at times.” A state of consciousness that we should experience.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Hey, I’m just checking. Stewie, you there? Hang on.

Duncan Peak: We lost him?

Guy Lawrence: We lost him. I’ll bring him backÉbecause I went toÉHe’s back.

Stuart Cooke: I’m back, mate. I’ve signed up. I’m good to go.

Duncan Peak: Yeah, I thought you’d rushed down to the studio then. Or freaked you out. One of the two.

Stuart Cooke: I was interested, thinking about the things that you’d said, where would somebody like me start? With, obviously, the different types of yoga that you’ve got, with meditation, and all the movements, where would I start?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, good question.

Duncan Peak: It’s hard to answer that question. It depends on you as a person. To really know that, yeah, I’d have to know you really well, but I think for, just generally, people should just rock down to their local yoga studios, maybe try three or four out, and if they feel, when they walk in the doors of a yoga studio, that they feel like they belong there, that it’s a place where they’re comfortable, and they enjoy the teachings that are there and the process that they go through, then just stick with that one and start to learn from them and, you know, over time, you’ll meet the people that are meant to teach you, soÉ

There’s that way. There’s a lot of online yoga, where you can watch it, but I think, for me, and our business, especially Power Living, it’s the community aspect of the experience is so important, and to have, you know, likeminded people and that positive energyÉWe always call our studios the House of Positivity, you know? Because you walk in there, and it is, it’s just constant positive energy, and you go there, and that’s just good to have that top you up every day.

So, I just think people should try and find places like that, and they exist. Yeah. And then just wherever they’re comfortable. It’s not that important what style you’re doing, in the initial stages. You can refine that, once you start to understand yoga a little more, and what you think benefits you. That was what the original process of a guru was, was to tell you what style of yoga would best suit you to deal with the character that you have. These days it’s not so much like that, but you can have people help you out with what you should be doing.

Stuart Cooke: Okay.

Guy Lawrence: Do you think yoga is for everyone, Duncan?

Duncan Peak: I think there’s a style of yoga for everybody, but I don’t think that there’s one style that fits everyone. I think everyone is going to benefit from being mindful, you know? Anyone whoÉour human condition is self-reflective consciousness, and there’s issues that come with being able to think about what you’re thinking about.

You know, if you think about, we ‘ve constantly got a conversation going on in our head, and there’s no one there, so it’s sort of insane, you know? And we’ve got to learn to understand that and quiet that and be able to just experience the world without having to interpret it and always have a conversation about it. So I think anyone who does that is going to build more self-awareness and that’s going to be beneficial. So, yeah, I think it is for everybody. But I’m not a preacher that says, “You have to do this. You have to do that.” It’s up to them on their own what they do.

Guy Lawrence: Everyone has to discover it for themselves, right?

Duncan Peak: Yeah, I really believe in that, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: It’s funny that you mention that, because that was going to be my next question, was because the health and fitness industry focus a lot on nutrition. They focus on, you know, physical appearance and the physical strength of it, right? For which, and sometimes, it seems to be all physical aspect, but how much do you think mindset and, you know, our daily thoughts actually affect our health?

Duncan Peak: Well, I think it is your health. I mean, I go and do demonstrations at health and fitness expos and things like that, and get up there in my tights and tie myself into a pretzel and do all fancy handstands and, you know, all the bodybuilders walk past and are like, “Wow! Look at that! He’s flexible and he’s strong.” And it’s a nice way to be able to connect with those guys.

But I see I lot of that world, the fitness industry, and they look amazing, but they’re not healthy. They have so much attachment to their body and their ego, and that’s how they judge their sense of self-worth. There’s people who aren’t like that. Who are very balanced, and they’re awesome, and they’re in that world, and they’re great examples, but the industry as a whole is so much about what people think about you, and that’s something we need to get away from, is what people think about us and develop what we believe about ourselves and develop that self-love. So I think that mindset is, that’s how I would judge well-being.

And then with the nutrition you put into your body, it’s obviously going to have a huge impact on what your thoughts are and what your character is, so, yeah, for me it is how I judge well-being as opposed to how much do I think it has an impact on well-being, I think it is what well-being is, is the way you think, or the way you’re attached to your thoughts.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely. And then you can see why yoga is actually then helping so many people, you know, that do it.

Duncan Peak: Yeah. Having said that with yoga, to be really raw and honest, I used to have a saying when I started the business, was “Market to the ego, and teach to the heart.” You know, there was a reason why we’re successful, it’s because we recognize that people do want to lose weight. They want to look good. They want to be flexible. They want to do the fancy poses.

And for some people, that’s what they want, and so we’re like, “Okay. Let’s tell them that’s going to happen. Let’s bring them into the classes and while they’re in there, we’ll just mention a few of these philosophical points.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Just whispering, right?

Duncan Peak: Yeah, exactly. You know, rather than preaching it, because it turns people off. And so, let’s do what the world needs, or not needs but people really want, this desire, and then let’s teach them about what desire really is and the suffering that can come from, you know, so desirous. We have this other saying, “A constant search for pleasure is the root cause of your suffering.” That’s like one-on-one yoga. The constant search for pleasure is the root cause of our suffering.

And, so, yeah, we probably get them in through pleasure, but then we teach them about what that doesÉ

Stuart Cooke: What it really means.

Duncan Peak: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: I’ve noticed that you’ve released a new book, as well, Duncan. Would that be a great place for someone like me to start? Or is it a little bit more advanced?

Duncan Peak: No, I mean it’s written for a first-timer who’ll pick up the book, and it’s got a little bit of my story in there, and it has just so much about the mental side of it and understanding the character and that aspect. Everything that we’ve just discussed, and then it goes right into the physical practice, and how to align your body and how to keep it very safe, and it gives two different styles, a dynamic style of yoga and then more the yin, sort of, gentler, not gentler, but just slower, holding poses for long periods and working on different connective tissue within the body. Working on fascia as supposed to muscle and tendon. So it goes into a lot of that, but it’s not too technical that it’ll turn people off. We made it so it’s a coffee table book, as well, so it’s nice to be able to look at and just visually be able to learn from it, as well as get in there and study, if you’d like to. So, it’s called Modern Yoga. It’s available on my website. You know, it’s something that’s taken me three or four years to write. That really is what Power Living is. You know, we use it for our teacher trainings as our manual because it’s really what we’re trying to get out there.

Guy Lawrence: I was going to say, you must be a busy boy.

Duncan Peak: Well, it’s started to slow up for now, since that’s been done, and it has been ten years this year. Yeah, I’ve given everything I’ve got for ten years.

Guy Lawrence: You hold retreats, as well, right? Are they retreats just for yoga teacher training, or are they for peopleÉ

Duncan Peak: No, anyone.

Guy Lawrence: They can just come on and do it?

Duncan Peak: We have, a lot of our retreats we have are teacher training and the retreat running at the same time. We just separate groups and do things together. Because there’s so much community focus that it doesn’t matter who you are, teachers training or just a student, we can join and do a lot of the community activities together, and then we can do more technical stuff for the teacher trainers.

We have, I don’t know, we’re up to about six or seven retreats a year, and we do about eight or nine 200-hour teacher trainings around Australia and New Zealand. It’s pretty busy, but it’s not just me anymore. There’s, I don’t know, maybe 80 people employed in the company. We’re nearly up to our eighth studio now.

It’s kind of crazy. One of the things about our business is that there are six owners in the business. Not just myself. That’s been one of our successes is using our senior people that come up through the business and then allowing them to open a studio with us, and they love it, and they’re there, and yes.

So, we do retreats for everybody and teacher trainings, as well. I think within the industry, we’re known a lot for our education, so our teacher trainings are very popular, because we’re probably one of the first to do contemporary styles of yoga. We certainly do the retreats. I like them the most. They’re the fun ones.

Guy Lawrence: That could be a good place to start for someone, as well then, if they wannaÉ

Duncan Peak: Yeah. For sure.

Stuart Cooke: You’re thinking me, Guy, aren’t you?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Duncan Peak: XXWe want to run one in Bali for an excuse. It’s a good place to come hang out.XX [0:26:07]

Guy Lawrence: We’ve got the foam boards, as well, Stewie, you know.

Stuart Cooke: I’m good for boarding.XX [0:26:10] Absolutely. I’ll book the tickets, Guy. I’m just thinking, Duncan, with all that you’ve got going on, surely you’d then be using your yoga and meditation to quiet your mind in order to actually get some sleep, right? Cause you’re a busy boy.

Duncan Peak: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I’ve got a very agitated mind, you know, I think one of the reasons I’m so into yoga and meditation is because I’ve needed it, you know, since I’ve been a young boy. I don’t ever profess to be this really calm and peaceful person. I’m not like that. I’m a pretty big personality and I need to center myself or I sort of lose myself, you know?

So, yeah, it’s a daily practice, you know? Like this morning, I woke up. The first thing I do is an hour of yin practice up here in my lounge room. Sit for 20 minutes or a half an hour and meditate and then go and have a surf. That’s pretty much how every day starts for me, you know? I’m pretty lucky in that way. Yeah, I sort of need it, you know? I need it. Especially beingÉone of the hardest things is being a CEO, you know, and having so many people work for you and doing all that side of it, and then you’re in a meeting that’s like intense and there’s millions of dollars being discussed and then you have to leave that meeting and then walk into the yoga room and start to teach people, you know?

Stuart Cooke: That’s right, yeah. There’s that switch.

Duncan Peak. It’s a funny skill, you know? Not everyone that works for us has that skill. They belong on the facilitations side or the business side. That’s probably one of my biggest challenges and meditation is the only way that I’ve been able to achieve, be able to do that.

Stuart Cooke: I think I would benefit from that. Just thinking about all the things we have going on in our business, as well, and a busy family, busy business. Definitely, you’ll be doing a bit moreÉ

Guy Lawrence: Definitely. We’re fortunate to do what we do. We have, you know, we get to do some cool stuff and we did some DNA testing, and what gene was it? You had a COMT gene, was it?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I had a COMT gene and just some, which affected my cortisol levels. So, you know, I’m very busy, and I’ve got lots going on, but my cortisol levels don’t clear. So, like clearance pathways were blocked with this particular gene, so just about ways to lower cortisol and, of course, thinking about meditation and considering yoga, as well, as a told for that.

Duncan Peak: Cortisol is one of the biggest neurochemicals of the moment that’s causing us to not be in health because at night time the body’s got to clear that, rather than focus on rejuvenating the tissue.

You know, one thing you bring up, Stu, is meditation is sometimes is very hard for people just to sit and go, “All right. I’m going to mediate.” People aren’t ready for it, and so getting into just mindful movement, whether it’s yoga, tai chi, chi gong, it can engage people so that they’re able to at least do something and enjoy that before they’re actually, “Well, okay, now I’ll start meditating.”

I do encourage a lot of beginners to get into the asana practice, you know, however they want to do it, dynamic or gentle, or a tai chi, or a chi gong, and then allow that to bring you into a more still mind. Sitting becomes just a natural evolution.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right, that makes a lot of sense, because from a, you know, meditation perspective, it almost seems impossible to sit there and just zone out when you’ve got this chatter, constant chatter, left and right. It’s definitely a skill, or it’s a muscle, I guess, that needs to be built.

Duncan Peak: Yeah. Definitely.

Guy Lawrence: I find that while we’re in the surfs, though, as well, that helps keep in the moment, you know? I’m constantly just there, and you know, that’s my excuse. I’m going out to be present.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. So just think a little bit about exercise and nutrition as well now. Do you do anything else outside of yoga, exercise-wise?

Duncan Peak: I surf every day. Sometimes two or three times a day, and so that’s pretty physical in itself. I probably go to the gym once a week, I suppose, but when I train there, I train very much, not so much CrossFit, but more in that world where it’s power-to-weight ratio, body work, lot of Swiss ball work, and a lot of core stability work with cables, rather than lifting heavy weights. I really don’t do that anymore. I did years ago and my rugby-like days, but I don’t really do that sort of stuff. Yeah, it’s just because I enjoy it. I would, yeah, I think it’s, yeah, I’m just a man who enjoys that stuff.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly. You mentioned CrossFit, and we got quite heavily into CrossFit last season, last year, and found that a lot of the CrossFit athletes and participants were really connected to yoga for flexibility and mobility. Do you get a lot of CrossFitters coming your way?

Duncan Peak: Yeah. We’ve got a really good relationship with their communities, and a lot of our teachers teach at the local CrossFit gyms, just to make it easier for them, because, you know, people only got a small amount of time a day to exercise. Yeah, CrossFit, I think, is an amazing evolution. I think it’s a very sensible way to train the body, but there’s also, there’s risk involved in training the way they do. It’s pretty heavy and it’s hard on your joints, and if you’re not somebody who’s grown up athletically, it can be a little bit dangerous.

I think yoga will just help bring people into a postural development that’s going to allow them to get better alignment in their lifting capacities within CrossFit, and also allow them to have recovery a lot quicker, so they’re not turning up to do their next session so sore with fascial adhesions and knotted up muscles. There’s more of that fluidity in the body. So yeah, I think they’re great, you know, great complement to each other and, yeah, it’s cool to see it allÉ

Guy Lawrence: I guess any sport, really, wouldn’t it? Yoga complements, I imagine.

Duncan Peak: We trained the Waratahs and the Sea Eagles for many years, you know, big rugby teams over here. The guys, as much as they hate it, because they’re doing something they’re working against so much muscular resistance. They, every single one of them, yeah, are an advocate for it and straight after the game, like Monday morning, or a yoga session on Tuesday, it restores them to be able to go out there and train as hard as they would, like as if they were to start a new season, so the rejuvenating aspects of doing it are phenomenal.

Guy Lawrence: I go a question that just popped in, as well. When I go to a yoga class, it’s normally just me and a couple of other guys and just full of females. And after doingÉ

Stuart Cooke: Poor you, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: Yes, it’s pretty tough for me, and after doing CrossFit, throwing weights around, you know, thrust those shoulder presses, God knows what, like I get into a downward dog, and I’m the first one to drop to the floor. You know? And normally the other guys, as well. Why is that?

Duncan Peak: Well, you’re working against muscular resistance, so you’ve got a range, you know, if you go to here and depending on how tight, you know, a lot of the muscles under here, your subscaps and your lats and things like that, is, like, people who’ve got range or who don’t have the muscle bulk, who just naturally have that range can just do these really easilyÉ

For people who are tight, through a pec or minor lats, etc., to go from here they’ve got to engage a lot of their muscles on the back of their shoulders that help extend the shoulder joint, or flex the shoulder joint to be able to work. So, they’re working muscular very hard just to hold their arm at that place, because of the tightness that’s being built in the tension in the muscles to get the power that you’re looking for.

Your biggest strength becomes your biggest weakness. You’re working against your own muscle tightness, and not everyone has that muscle tightness. It’s like me. I’m pretty flexible. I can hold downward dog forever, but I’ve got the muscle bulk but there would have been a time where I, where it was very difficult to hold downward dog, because of the tightness. Yes. It’s interesting like that sometimes. You’re biggest strength is your biggest weakness.

Guy Lawrence: I’m really glad to hear that, because I’ve now got an excuse, because my tightness is terrible.

Duncan Peak: And, also, you’ve got, it’s a stability way that the muscle is working as opposed to a contraction, an eccentric, concentric movement, you’re moving more of that isometric hold, and CrossFit is more movement rather than hold, and that’s one of the things that makes the yoga asana practice, again, very well-rounded is because you’re doing contractions and, the eccentric and concentric contractions. You’re moving muscles under load both ways, but then you’re holding, and you’re stabilizing through joints and things like that, and there’s not so much of that in a lot of other, you know, gym and CrossFit and physical work, and so that’s another thing is you’re just building up the endurance to be able to hold, as opposed movement fit.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Keep at it, Guy. It’s a work in progress. I was wondering, Duncan, what your typical daily diet looks like. How do you, you know, healthy body, healthy mind kind of thing. What do you eat?

Duncan Peak: First thing is a green smoothie in the morning. I make a green smoothie, you know, with your coconut waters and your greens and get that into me pretty early in the morning. That usually lasts me up until mid-morning, and I might have some fruit and some nuts and a little bit of a snack, and then lunch, it just depends where I am and what’s going on.

I try and get a salad wherever I am, and then night time, it’s usually, you know, fish and a salad or something like that, or I have meat occasionally, as well, and have a salad with that. Try and stay away from lots of breads and a lot of those, sort of, complex carbs, but I must admit I do love them. I was a baker when I was a young kid. I love my bread, but you know, I’ve found that for my body type it’s not the exact thing I should be eating, soÉ

I must admit, I would love to be perfect in my diet, but when you’re working so much, it’s one of the first things that you let slip, so I make sure that I do my green smoothie every morning and get all my nutrients that I need for that day and then I really just focus on trying to be as healthy as I can throughout the rest of the day with what I eat.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: That sounds good. It is tricky, especially when you’re on the road. Very hard to try and keep on top of your diet.

Guy Lawrence: Big time. Big time. Mate, we always finish with a wrap-up question, and it can be non-nutrition, anything really, but what’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Duncan Peak: That’s funny. I’ve written that before. It’s pretty simple. My mom always used to say to me, I’d tell her everything that I was doing, and I was a ratbag as a kid, and the cause of so much heartache, even though we’re best friends now, you know, and always have been, but she used to say, “Duncan, I don’t care what you do, as long as you’re happy.” And she’s always been like that. Whatever I’ve chosen to do, whether it was military, whether it was yoga, whether it’s everything else that I decide to do, she’s like, “It’s up to you what you do, just as long as you’re happy and follow your heart in that way.” And I believe that’s the best bit of advice I’ve ever been given. I’ll always go back to it.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That makes perfect sense to me.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, definitely, and how can we get more of Duncan Peak? So, if anyone listens to thisÉYou’ve obviously, we know you’ve got a bookÉ

Duncan Peak: Yeah, It’s called Modern Yoga which is available on the website www.powerliving.com.au. We’ve got studios in Neutral Bay, Manly, Bondi Beach, South Melbourne, Fitzroy. We’ve got two opening up in Perth, and we’ve got another one at Bondi Beach. So getting to any of them, and then there’s over 1000 teachers in Australia that I’ve trained that are out there teaching for other studios and their own sort of stuff, so, yeah, you can get along to any of them and you’re going to get a little bit of what we’re doing. I teach mostly Manly and Neutral Bay and Bondi Junction. So you just check out our schedules, or come along to the retreats. You know, I run all the retreats and all the teacher trainings, so, yeah, but everyone in our business is so well-trained, just get along to a Power Living school andÉ

Guy Lawrence: I noticed, as well, only just yesterday you had an online program, as well. Is that right?

Duncan Peak: Yeah. We have some online course, some online yoga, which is where you can just sign up and get on video, basically, our classes. People in remote areas, you can do that. We also have some stuff on TV. XX?XX [0:38:59] Yeah, there’s a lot going on in that world, so, yeah, lots of opportunities. We have the DVDs you can purchase as well, and audio CDs for meditation, all available on the website, yeah, there’s lots of aids out there to help people get involved and get into it.

Guy Lawrence: No excuses. That’s awesome, right?

Stuart Cooke: You’re pointing your finger at me, Guy, when you say that.

Guy Lawrence: You know, mate.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you very much. That is awesome. Thank you so much, Duncan.

Duncan Peak: Thanks, Stuart. Thanks, Guy. It’s been great.

Stuart Cooke: You’ll be seeing me sooner than you think.

Duncan Peak: All right, mate, well if you’re going to come along, let me know. We’ll set you up with a VIP pass and take care of you guys.

Stuart Cooke: All right, thank you, mate. That’s fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Bye, guys. Awesome.

Stuart Cooke: Take care. See you, buddy.

Is coconut oil the ultimate fat burner for weight loss?

coconut oil for weight loss

By Guy Lawrence

Eat fat to burn fat, sounds counter-intuitive right? But coconut oil is a staple in my daily diet and it’s one of the first things I’d recommend to anyone if they are looking to burn fat for weight loss. I can also recommend watching this video interview with Christine Cronau on the benefits of natural fats when you’ve got some spare time… It really cuts to the chase!

When I was working in the fitness industry, the amount of people that would ask me about fat burning and fat blocking products was unbelievable (think high caffeine and guarana). They generally speed up your metabolism which will come with longer term side effects. The reason for this is that they elevate your heart rate which will end up raising cortisol levels. If you know anything about cortisol then you will understand that this prompts the body to hang on to body fat (hint: I feel this is why stressed people struggle to loose weight).

Why coconut oil for weight loss?

Without trying to get technical, coconut oil is a saturated fatty acid that is predominately a MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides). This is very different to most of the vegetable oils on the market today.

The short and medium-chain fatty acids which can be found in coconut oil (and grass-fed butter which I use too), are sent directly to our liver and used directly for energy. So this means:

  1. It does not get stored in fat cells as easily as long-chain fatty acids, and produce ketones which gives us a steady source of energy
  2. Enhances thermogenesis which increases fat burning
  3. Helps eliminate food cravings with increased feelings of satiety

According to Christine Cronau’s book the Fat Revolution, there are studies of participants that were fed the same diet which was not designed for weight loss. But some of them were fed medium-chain fatty acids and they lost weight, whilst the weight in the rest of the group remained the same.

It also compared diets with three types of fat intake. Low fat, monounsaturated fat and coconut oil. There was a 60% reduction in fat storage for the groups consuming coconut oil.

So what’s the magic dosage?

If you do not consume many natural fats including coconut oil, start in small amounts or the toilet may come calling. Add a teaspoon to a smoothie, or if a sugar craving comes calling eat a teaspoon straight from the jar as this will kill those cravings. Cook with it or just start adding it to things where you usually wouldn’t. I have it in a high fat smoothie most mornings.

I consume up to 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil a day. But I eat a low-carb and natural high fat diet, especially after getting my DNA results back.

So if you are on a weight loss plan, eliminate sugar, grain, soy and all processed fats & oils. Increase your coconut oil up to 2-4 tablespoons a day for your steady source of energy and over time you will feel the magic happen!

Do you use coconut oil? Are you worried about saturated fat? Are you a weight loss plan but are frightened of fat? Would love to hear your thoughts… Guy

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

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

Enjoy a High Fat Smoothie Here

Is barefoot running dangerous?

barefoot running

By Guy Lawrence

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

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

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

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

Exercise proven to help IBS syndrome

If your body is having a hard time getting things moving, so to speak, it may be time for you to get moving. A new study suggests that regular physical activity may alleviate irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.

Irritable bowel syndrome, which is characterized by intermittent constipation and/or diarrhea, affects as many as 20 percent of the adult population, or one in five Americans.

In the study, there were 102 patients with IBS. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to a physical activity group and were told to increase their exercise. The other group was told to maintain their lifestyle. Those that remained inactive experienced more severe IBS symptoms than those in the physical activity group.

So increasing your physical activity may improve IBS, but this is hardly unexpected. The health benefits of regular exercise are tremendous, ranging from lowering blood pressure, maintaining a healthy body weight and preventing heart disease and diabetes. It’s even good for your brain, so it’s not too surprising to learn that regular exercise is good for your bowels, too.

Improve your digestion naturally with 180 Superfood.

Read full article here.