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


The above video is 3:15 minutes long.

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

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

Ruth Anderson Horrell
 

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

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

Ruth Anderson Horrell Full Interview:

In This Episode:

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

Get More Of Ruth Anderson Horrell:

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Full Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:Hello, mate.

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

Stu:As always.

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

Ruth:Hi, Guy.

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

Ruth:Yeah, that’s good. Yeah.

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

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

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

Guy:Many balls in the air.

Stu:Busy. Crikey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:Yes.

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

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

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

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

Stu:Great.

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

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

Stu:Fantastic.

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

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

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

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

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

Ruth:Yeah, absolutely. I think …

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

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

Stu:Yeah.

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

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

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

Guy:Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Cronulla?

Ruth:Yeah. Yeah. Is that eight years?

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

Ruth:Yeah.

Guy:Long time ago.

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

Stu:Wow.

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

Guy:That’s amazing.

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

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

Guy:[00:18:00] Right.

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

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

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

Guy:Okay.

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

Stu:Wow.

Guy:That’s awesome.

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

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

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

Guy:Right, yeah.

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

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

Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

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

Guy:It’s a huge commitment, isn’t it?

Ruth:Yeah, yeah.

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

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

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

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

Ruth:My target’s 9. 

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

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

Guy:Yeah.

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

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

Stu:Okay, okay.

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

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

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

Stu:Yeah.

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

Stu:I could have done with that last night.

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

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

Ruth:I think it’s called diglycinate?

Stu:Yeah.

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

Stu:Right. Got it.

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

Stu:Okay.

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

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

Guy:Right.

Stu:Right.

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

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

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Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Do you get any takers?

Stu:Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Yeah, yeah.

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

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

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

Ruth:I’d like to see that.

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

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

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

Guy:Yeah.

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

Guy:Yeah, I mastered it. Mastered it.

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Yeah?

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

Stu:All over the place.

Ruth:Yeah.

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

Ruth:It starts February 28.

Guy:Okay. 4-5 weeks?

Ruth:Yeah.

Stu:yeah, about 5 weeks away.

Ruth:Coming up.

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

Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

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

Guy:Can I add to that?

Ruth:I love fresh vegetables.

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

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

Guy:Yeah.

Stu:Yeah.

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

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

Ruth:It’s only about 180.

Guy:That’s a good number.

Stu:Yeah, that is a good number.

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

Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Ruth:Yeah.

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

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

Stu:Yeah.

Ruth:Just not something that happens.

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

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

Guy:Right.

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

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

Stu:Yeah, it’s just easier, isn’t it?

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

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

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

Stu:Right. Okay.

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

Guy:Yeah, yeah.

Stu:Sure.

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

Stu:We do.

Guy:It’s true, though. It’s true.

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

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

Guy:That’s individualize for you?

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

Stu:Right.

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:That’s right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:Yes.

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

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

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

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

Ruth:Yeah, they’re like this big.

Guy:Oh, really?

Stu:Oh, they’re huge.

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

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

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

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

Ruth:Okay, sounds good.

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

Stu:We have.

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

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

Guy:You’re already there.

Ruth:You’re already there.

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

Guy:Fantastic.

Stu:That’s what we could say.

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

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

Guy:You’ve got a website, too?

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

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

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

Stu:Thanks, Ruth.

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

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

The above video is 3:49 minutes long.

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

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

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

Keegan Smith

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

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

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

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

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


In This Episode:

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

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Full Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:Hello, mate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keegan:Sorry?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keegan:-definitely different.

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

Keegan:It’s a good mix, yeah. 

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

Keegan:Yeah, very useful. Very useful.

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

Keegan:Okay.

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

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

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

Keegan:Yeah, exactly.

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

Keegan:All right, all right. Cool. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:Got it.

Keegan:-a difference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Fiji, Stu. Did you hear that?

Stu:Oh Fiji. I’m coming, mate.

Keegan:Sounds like I’ve got a-

Guy:We’ll be there, yeah. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:Hear me out. Hear me out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Did you say a treadmill desk?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Yeah.

Keegan:Being in that position and then-

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

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

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

Keegan:Yeah.

Guy:Easy. [00:36:00]

Keegan:Don’t underestimate him. 

Stu:I never do. I never do.

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

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

Stu:What is a back bridge, Keegan?

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

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

Guy:Yes.

Keegan:Without the walking, right?

Guy:Yes.

Stu:Yeah.

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

Stu:Yes.

Keegan:-between hands and feet.

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

Keegan:Yeah.

Stu:I don’t-

Keegan:In gymnastics, it’s back bridge. 

Stu:I don’t have the-

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

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

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

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

Guy:Absolutely. 

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

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

Stu:Please, after you, my friend.

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

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

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

Guy:Sorry, how much?

Keegan:211 kilos.

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

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

Guy:How heavy are you, Keegan?

Keegan:How heavy?

Guy:How heavy?

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

Guy:Wow. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Yeah, no. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:This is the high end?

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

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

Guy:They won the premiership that year?

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

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

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

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

Guy:Good answer, yeah. Absolutely. 

Keegan:-broken system.

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

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

Guy:Sonny Bill-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:What sort of things did you do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keegan:The most valuable part.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keegan:I did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stu:That’s right, yeah.

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

Guy:It’s massive.

Stu:It’s proximity, isn’t it?

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

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

Guy:I appreciate it, Keegan.

Stu:That’s awesome. 

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

Stu:It was nothing, was it?

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

Stu:What sort of tea did you have?

Keegan:-some level.

Stu:Green tea?

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Then introduce the foods back.

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

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

Guy:Are they pretty accurate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy:Great answer, mate. Perfect.

Stu:Wise words.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keegan:Great speech. Really appreciate it.

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

Keegan:Awesome thank you guys.

Guy: Thanks, Keegan.

 

 

 

 

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.

Mobility: Being a Supple Leopard James Newbury Style

James NewburyBy Khan Porter

(Khan) Two weeks into the 2013 CrossFit open and undoubtedly everyone’s bodies are feeling a little beat up.

But fear not as 180 Nutrition sponsored athlete has the low-down on how to keep in fighting shape with mobility as the season continues!

After crushing 13.2, James Newbury is currently sitting comfortably in 3rd position in Australia/New Zealand.

He looks set to continue crushing the CrossFit Open and it’s likely he will be a serious contender to make it to the Games this year!

Over to James… More