typical day Archives | 180 Nutrition

Tag Archives: typical day

I Ate 5,000 Calories of Saturated Fat a Day. This Is What Happened…


The above video is 3:49 minutes long.

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


sami inkinen
We chat to Sami Inkinen, a world class triathlete and tech entrepreneur. Whilst we don’t encourage anyone to eat 5000 calories of saturated fat a day, we feel it’s a very important message that Sami shares with us.

Sami and his wife Meredith recently did a phenomenal achievement, where they physically rowed from California to Hawaii. It took them 45 days straight rowing, up to 18 hours a day, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.

Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, as they did it without the use of any sugar and sports gels, pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete.

So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it.

Full Interview with Sami Inkinen, World Class Ironman


downloaditunes
In this episode we talk about:

  • How he ended up being involved in the documentary Cereal Killers Two – Run on Fat
  • Why he decided to embark on his toughest challenge yet, rowing to Hawaii from San Francisco
  • How they prepared for their meals. Sami was eating a whopping 8,000 calories a day!
  • The effects of eating 5000 calories of saturated fat a day whilst rowing
  • What he uses instead of sports drinks
  • What Sami eats in a typical day
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Get More of Sami Inkinen Here:

Sami Inkinen Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Sami Inkinen. Now, Sami has achieved some remarkable things in life, including he’s a world-class triathlete, he’s a tech entrepreneur, and him and his wife did a phenomenal achievement recently which is they basically physically rowed from California to Hawaii. Took them 45 days rowing up to 18 hours a day straight, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.

Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, because they did it without the use of sugar and gels and basically pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete like that.

So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen, obviously, to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it. He also shares many other things as well, which is fantastic, and it was an awesome podcast. I have no doubt you’ll get lots out of this today whether you’re an athlete or not. It was just brilliant.

Of course, if you are listening to this through iTunes, hit the subscribe button, leave a review, all very appreciated. A, it’s nice to know that you’re enjoying our podcasts, but B, it helps spread the word by simply subscribing or leaving a review more people can find us and more people can listen and more people can benefit from the message that we are putting out there to the world which we feel is very necessary.

And, of course, come back to our website, 180nutrition.com.au, where we’ve got a heap of resources including a free ebook which is a great place to start if you find all this information a little bit overwhelming. Anyway, enjoy the show. This one’s awesome. Cheers.

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

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Sami Inkinen. Sami, welcome to the show.

Sami Inkinen: Thanks very much. Excited to be a part of your show.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, mate, that’s awesome. Me and Stu have been very excited today, because it’s certainly a topic I think we thrive on, especially when it comes to sports as well, and it’s clear that you’re a guy that doesn’t do things by half-measures, you know, and just to, I guess, for the people who are listening to sum it up in a short way, you’re a world-class athlete, you’re a tech entrepreneur, and you’ve just gone and done something with your wife recently which is a phenomenal achievement and which I’m looking forward to getting sucked in with everyone.

But just to kick start the conversation, mate, would you mind just sharing a little bit about your background? And even, you know, how you ended up in San Francisco in the first place, because you’re from Finland.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so I was born and raised and brainwashed in Finland. Grew up about 200 miles, so 300 kilometers, from Helsinki on a farm, a chicken farm, but I wasn’t really a farm boy, I was more into computers, so as soon as I got out of the farm, I studied physics at a university in Finland and got into software and computers early in my life. Started on company in Europe and then in 2003, which seems like a long time ago now, about 12 years ago, I came here to San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. to attend Stanford Business School and, you know, I’ve been here ever since.

Guy Lawrence: Are you missing the cold weather? I’m assuming it can get quite cold in Finland as well, right?

Sami Inkinen: You know, there’s a reason why I stayed here.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. You look like you’re going to say something.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so we’ve been following a little bit of your background, Sami, as well, and realized that you did extremely well in the triathlete Ironman scene as well, but then made it to the big screen. I was just wondering how that happened? What happened there?

Sami Inkinen: Big screen as in…

Guy Lawrence: Cereal Killers 2.

Stuart Cooke: The movies.

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I have, quite honestly, zero interest in promoting myself for the sake of promoting myself. However, given that I thought that I was kind of a poster boy for healthy living because of my crazy amount of endurance training and, what I thought, healthy living, regardless of that kind of lifestyle, I found out that I was pre-diabetic a couple of years ago, and I got ridiculously frustrated that, “How is this possible that it happens to me? And if it happens to me with that kind of lifestyle and a focus on exercise and, what I thought, healthy eating, what are the chances that an average person can avoid that sort of health issue?”

And the answer is, “Fat chance.” There’s no chance, so I wanted to do anything and everything I can to promote the message around healthy diet and healthy nutrition and, therefore, I was more than happy to lend my own crazy adventures and experiences for the benefit of others.

And I think that was the reason why I ended up teaming up or helping Donal O’Neill who has produced these two movies, Cereal Killers and Cereal Killers 2, so that was the background story. So I thought whatever I do and what I did with my wife, if it can help other people to avoid what was happening to me health wise, it would be worth the embarrassing exposure on the screen.

Guy Lawrence: Did it take you awhile? Was that the wakeup moment? Because I know you mentioned, like you said, you were going to be prediabetic and did you instantly look into increasing fats? Like, how did that message sink in to you, because there are so many people resistant to that message to this day and don’t even, won’t even consider it, you know? How did it work for you? Who did you discover to make you think differently about that?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I, obviously, it was almost like driving a car to a rock wall 100 kilometers an hour when I really thought it’s impossible that I would get sick or, more importantly, it would be impossible that someone like me would become diabetic or prediabetic with the kind of lifestyle that I was living, so it was really kind of a stopping moment for me.

And, of course, as a computer scientist, the first place that I went was online, so I started reading a lot and, unfortunately, spending time on, kind of, research databases like PubMed isn’t a very effective way of educating yourself because there’s so much science as well as bad science that you could spend the rest of your life reading research reports and still just be confused.

So I think the best sources for me were books and, you know, there’s a number of books, but I think one of the better overviews was the book written by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Sami Inkinen: You know, it was just one of the information sources that I relied on and we talked with a number of physicians and scientists directly, but that was definitely one of the more transformational books for me.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s a very in-depth book, too, and certainly recommended to everyone, yeah. So, let’s, talking about the challenge, can you explain a little bit about the synopsis and what you and Meredith achieved? What you did?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: And, as well, who came up with it? You know? Why that challenge?

Sami Inkinen: Well, yeah, first of all, Meredith, my wife and I, we decided to row completely unsupported with no past rowing experience in a, kind of, special adult rowing boat from California to Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean about 2400, 2500 miles. Well we ended up rowing 2,750 completely unsupported this past summer, so we just finished a few months ago.

I’d love to blame my wife for the crazy idea, but I think I was the person who initially got inspired and got this idea and the initial inspiration came from the book called Unbroken, which actually it was just turned into a movie about six months ago, but in this book a second World War Air Force pilot was shot down above the Pacific Ocean and he floated across the Pacific Ocean in a life raft, and I just thought that experience was so amazing and I didn’t want to be in a life raft, but just to experience the wilderness of the Pacific Ocean, so that was kind of a seed in my mind, and I thought, “For once in my lifetime, I want to experience the craziness of the Pacific Ocean.”

So that was the initial inspiration, but then we wanted to turn this crazy expedition into something that would benefit others as well, so we wanted to combine it with this message of, “Sugar is dangerous and more likely than not the processed carbohydrates are dangerous to you as well,” and so we wanted to do this adventure, an expedition, with absolutely no sugar and practically no carbohydrate as well, and that’s what we did.

Guy Lawrence: It was amazing. Was it harder than you thought? Or was it what you expected, you know, or, like, especially if you’ve never done something like that before. I can’t…I struggle to envision being on a boat for 45 days like that.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So I grew up in Finland not far from lakes and we had a small summer cottage by a lake, but I have to say I know why oceans are called oceans and not lakes. It’s a completely different environment, and, as you mentioned, neither Meredith nor myself had any experience with oceans. We aren’t sailors. We’ve done nothing related to oceans and we weren’t rowers, either, so to answer your question, we really didn’t have any expectations, because we had never experienced this environment before and we went from zero to sixty miles an hour in many ways in six months.

So six months before the launch, we started to train rowing. We started to train about survival in ocean environments, so we did massive amounts of survival training, navigation training, seamanship, and all these things that you really don’t worry about when you don’t know about sailing boats or anything, getting radio, you know, license and certificates, and understand how you use radios and all these things, so it all happened in six months.

Quite frankly we, I think we had, we didn’t really expect much because we had no idea what this is going to be like, and this may sound really crazy, but we didn’t even spend a single night in our boat until the first night. We slept in the boat, but we kind of slept in a very, sort of, calm condition, so for better or worse, we had a lot of first time experiences once we got out there, which may not sound like the perfect way of preparing for something like this.

Stuart Cooke: Tell us about motivation. With all that prep work that you did for the other elements of the boat, I mean, what, direct, physically stay motivated for that length of time, how is this possible?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, the motivation for this draw was really twofold. One was, we both think that pushing your physical and mental limits is just kind of a full human experience, so we like pushing ourselves beyond what you would expect to be normal, and we find that it’s a very rewarding way of living your life, and you learn all kinds of interesting things about yourself and human life.

And then the second thing is really this motivation to bring awareness, build awareness, around the danger of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Those were kind of driving forces for us. But once you’re out there, the good news is, there’s no turning back, so the only way to get out is to freaking keep rowing.

And we kept rowing up to 18 hours a day, so you can’t really turn back. You really simply can’t, because of the winds and everything, so the only way to get out of the boat is to row to Hawaii, which we thought might take two months.

But then on a more practical level, you really have to focus on the process at the very moment, and you know, this applies to other things is life, but you can’t let your mind get into, kind of, “What is it going to be when we finish? Or what is it going to be…?”

You may be able to think that when you go for a sixty-minute run or a three-hour bike ride, but when you’re there for two months rowing eighteen hours a day, you have to focus on the moment, otherwise, you’ll mentally fall apart and you’re on the ground in pieces, so you focus on the moment and then, you know, like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time.

Guy Lawrence (simultaneously): One bite at a time.

Sami Inkinen: Yes, you really focus on these micro small milestones, whether that’s your two-hour shift, and you take a five-minute break, maybe it’s a little drinking or maybe it’s your lunch break or something like that, so those two things, like, focus on the moment and then, you know, you have this, sort of small bit-sized chunks that you focus on as opposed to, “Oh, in a month’s time we might finish.”

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Guy Lawrence: Well, that’s just getting done, isn’t it? Do you meditate outside or, as in outside the rowing, do you do meditation…?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, I actually…yeah, I started mindfulness meditation practice about two years ago and so did my wife, so I do a couple of minutes every morning the moment I wake up, and frankly we had plenty of time to practice activity-based meditation on the boat. It was actually interesting and powerful to try that during the row, which really helps you to focus on the moment and the sensation and this kind of related to how can you stay focused? It’s obviously uncomfortable for the most part, you know?

Your ass is hurting, your hands are hurting, you’re tired, but there’s nothing more powerful than embracing that pain and discomfort, because once you, sort of, give in and embrace and recognize that feeling, nothing can break you, but as long as you keep, sort of, fighting and bitching to yourself, like, “Oh, my god, my ass is hurting. Oh, my god, I’m tired,” the feeling just sort of escalates in your brain, but the moment you’re like, “I’m hurting. I’m feeling it. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m in it and I’m embracing it,” it’s like, “All right, so what’s worse? It can’t get any worse. You’re in it.”

So, there are a lot of mental lessons that I think are applicable to…

Guy Lawrence: Day-to-day life. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Day-to-day life at your office or your exercise, so, you know, relationship with people and all other things.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. Yeah. Something else occurred to me as well, because they say traveling with your partner is the best way to test the relationship, you know, and being in a rowing boat would certainly test that, you know, for me, but obviously it went good, you know? It’s incredible. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, we’re still married, so… You can see I still have the ring, so all went well, but, no, absolutely, it’s a… Not only was it an amazing test, but also an amazing experience that we’ll share for the rest of our lives, and fortunately it turned out positively from a relationship perspective.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. Go on.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I was just wondering how you felt when you got off the boat, I mean, what were your feelings and how did you feel?

Sami Inkinen: Well, emotionally, I, and I think my wife as well, we cried a lot immediately after, so it was just, kind of, a big emotional moment to come out. Physically, so we had a doctor who did a quick checkup right after who actually has worked with a number of ocean rowers and her immediate comment was, “I can’t believe how healthy you guys look.” Like, nothing crazy, no crazy inflammation going on.

I had blood work done just a couple of days after the row and, like, we were incredibly healthy from the perspective of inflammation, hormonal markers, and other things, so other than, especially with myself losing a lot of, or having a lot of muscle atrophy in the muscles we didn’t use, which is completely natural, nothing to do with your diet, it’s just if you don’t use those muscles…Other than that, I was feeling incredibly well and within just a couple of days I felt like I was completely back, too.

It took several weeks to build the muscle mass back to some of the muscles that were really… because I didn’t really even stand, I didn’t do anything weight-bearing for two months, so other than that…

Guy Lawrence: So, just upper body, yeah…

Sami Inkinen: Yeah and, you know, rowing is, you do use your legs and low body, kind of like a squat movement, still, you don’t even stand or carry your body weight. There’s a lot of muscle and soft tissue that’s completely unused, and I lost a lot of that, so, like, walking was difficult coming off the boat.

Guy Lawrence: Just to touch back on the diet, because, you know, obviously you’ve changed your diet dramatically. Could you explain what your diet used to look like as a triathlete and what it looks like now, especially preparing and on the boat? The differences you made?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So, first of all, I did start changing my diet quite significantly before the row and I’ve raced as a triathlete following graphically similar diet I followed on the boat, but for almost twenty years I followed what I thought was a perfectly healthy diet and the diet that’s promoted by, you know, most governments, including the United States, including Finland, which, to me, was anything that was low-fat or no fat was healthy and, you know, I tried to eat fresh foods, but I ate a lot of packaged foods as well.

So my diet was extremely low fat. I tried to eat whole grains, obviously, not crap, and just a very low-fat diet. Low-fat, I thought it was good, and if it said no fat, it was great, so whether it was bread or skim milk or low-fat cheese or low-fat mayo, you name it, that’s what I was eating. And then, you know, the more I read about sports performance books, it was always, like, “Oh, you have to carb-load and that’s high-octane fuel,” you know, to put it simply, I was on an extremely high-carbohydrate diet, mostly whole grains, grains, vegetables, and all the meat that I was eating, it was super low-fat, so chicken, turkey, no skin, low-fat beef, that was my diet, and I followed that about twenty years.

I kept myself reasonably lean and my race weight low, but it required a ridiculous amount of willpower. We’ve seen what a lot of athletes are capable of doing, but 99 percent of the population just can’t do that and it’s not fun to apply 95 percent of your willpower 300 days a year to just always eat less than you would like to eat.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah, and then moving to the boat, because we watched the documentary a few days ago and what was clear is you were meticulous about, you know, the amount of calories and the amount of fat you ate and the way you set your meals up. Would you mind explaining a little bit about that for us as well, because that was fascinating I thought.

Sami Inkinen: On the boat?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, for the boat, yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, first of all, obviously, when you’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean there’s no eat stations like in a triathlon race, so there’s no convenience stores or grocery stores that you can stop by when you get hungry or realize that, holy crap, you don’t have enough protein or this or that, so we had to be careful, and even our diet, at least by traditional standards, was very extreme, we want it to also be very scientific about preparing, because we knew that if something goes wrong, whether it’s food-related or something else, we just can’t; there’s no way, no helicopter is going to drop us extra food or extra sodium or extra this or that, so that was one of the reasons we were very, like, everything was calculated, measured, weighed, and we knew then what we have on the boat is sufficient.

But what we ate at the high level, we only tried to pack and eat real whole foods, so in as natural form as possible. That was one. Two, it was extremely low-carbohydrate diet from a macronutrient perspective, so caloric-wise my carbohydrate calories were somewhere between five and ten, around maybe nine percent of calories was carbohydrates. Protein, I think, was about fifteen percent, up to fifteen percent, so it leaves 75 percent to 80 percent of calories from fat, so, you know, I ate probably 5000 calories of fat every day, of which most was saturated fat, so if you want to shock a cardiologist, that’s a pretty good line, “Yeah, I ate 5000 calories of saturated fat for two months, almost two months.”

Stuart Cooke: So, a typical meal for you on the boat would’ve been what?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so, and we packed pretty simple, not too much variety, so consequently I was practically eating the same stuff every day. So my breakfast was often salmon or tuna with craploads of olive oil and maybe some macadamia nuts.

My lunch was typically freeze-dried beef that was maybe like 70 percent fat calorically and 30 percent protein mixed with a little bit of freeze-dried vegetables and then I just mixed with water and it became like, you know, like a fresh food, and then I threw in, again, crazy amounts of olive oil into it and salt that had extra potassium and then some seasoning, maybe some olives, so it was kind of a… wasn’t very appetizing-looking necessarily, but I loved it, so that was the reason why I keep so much…

Guy Lawrence: And it was practical.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, very practical, and we didn’t have to cook anything. We didn’t have to boil water. I didn’t boil water. I boiled water a single time just as an experiment in the first few days, but that was all. So that was kind of my lunch most days.

And then I wasn’t, because we ate very high fat, we were very fat-adapted, so we didn’t have to be eating every 45 minutes, every hour, so sometimes I’d have five, six, seven, hours between meals, but nuts were my favorite snacks. Nuts, coconut butter, and then different nut butters, so macadamia… I had plenty of macadamia nuts, almonds… so that was kind of a typical meal kind of setup.

Guy Lawrence: Were you, do you know if you were in ketosis the whole time or coming in and out? Did you have a doctor on that at all or…?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. I did measure my ketones along the way. With hindsight, I overate a little bit protein to be in optimal ketosis, so that’s my understanding, that I ate a little bit too much protein, which flipped me out of a perfect zone, but I was definitely on ketosis. I don’t know deep I was, because I didn’t measure that frequently and my personal experience is that if you measure your ketones right after workout, I notice that my ketones actually go down right after the workout, so you give it a couple of hours after that and then they kind of come to the equilibrium of whatever they are and, you know, I was, usually when I measured it was right after my rowing, so…

Guy Lawrence: Do you still eat this way, in terms of the proportions, fat and carbs, or do you…?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: Every day, training or not?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.

Sami Inkinen: The only difference is I have way more fresh food, so, and the fresh food is mainly green leafy vegetables, which weren’t available and I really missed those, so I eat a lot of those, but in terms of the macronutrient composition, I’m, let’s see, yeah, probably five percent carbohydrates, maybe ten, fifteen percent protein, and the rest is fat.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. And do you think that this way of eating is beneficial for everyone?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, people look for shortcuts and for simple sound bites like…

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: One size does not fit all, so my recommendation when people come to me is, unless I have time to spend, like, two, three hours with someone to talk about XXtheir ???XX [0:26:21] is buy real, whole foods and cook at home. You’re probably better off not buying grains and, yeah, lots of carbohydrates, so that’s my advice to everyone, and if you buy real, whole foods and cook at home, you can’t go wrong, and if you limit carbohydrates, you’re probably better off. Beyond that, it’s kind of an individual situation and it depends on what your health standard is. If you are completely healthy now, you exercise a lot, you’re very carbohydrate-tolerant, insulin sensitive, you may be able to lead a happily healthy life with reasonable amount of stuff that might kill someone else.
So, I don’t, like, one size fits all in this kind of a one sound bite, it just, that’s for people looking for shortcuts and simple answers. There’s no simple answers other than eat real whole foods and cook at home and everything else after that you have to be quite nuanced…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. A lot of self-experimentation.

Stuart Cooke: I’m guessing then if you retired from sports tomorrow, you would continue to eat this way.

Sami Inkinen: Oh, absolutely, yeah. The way I eat, well, first of all, I think a healthy foundation in your body is an absolutely foundation for sports performance. So, you can’t start from the performance angle first and say, “Hey, why don’t I eat something that makes me somehow, like, really good at sports.” Well, that’s somehow that makes you really good at sports is something that optimizes your general health, because then you recover best, you can train hardest, so I don’t really see those as mutually exclusive, sports performance and health.

Then race time eating or race time nutrition might be different, because you may not be able to, you know, take a plate and take a frying pan and start preparing meals if you’re in the middle of a race, so a race is a different situation but in terms of health and sports performance, it’s tough for me to make the case that they would be mutually exclusive so the answer is, “Yes.”

I want to be as healthy as possible, because that makes me the best possible athlete as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because that’s a focus you don’t see a lot, but athletes do, like, you know, the health sort of becomes a far distant second and that’s all about how can I perform better and achieve more and consequently health would suffer. Like, even with yourself, the change the diet now, have you noticed differences with injuries and things and just with the body itself? Can you put more demands on it the way you’re doing it?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, this is kind of an n equals one experiment so this is just a personal. It’s anecdotal and those who want to rip apart everyone’s opinions and comments will certainly rip apart my comment, but the thing that I don’t have, which is a good thing, one is, I have much less, knock on wood, but I feel like I don’t get sick at all now. So I used to have my sore throat and sinus and this and that all the time. That’s one.

Two, I don’t have, like, sort of inflammation nagging injuries. I used to have Achilles and shoulder and this and that, lower back and this and that, all the time. I don’t have those at all.

And then anecdotally, I feel that I recover much better, so those are the things that…It appears to me that have significantly improved when I got off the super high-carbohydrate, low fat diet, and then just overall feeling is like, you know, I’m not thinking about really food much at all. I’m not obsessed about always trying to eat ten percent less than I wanted, so I can focus on life rather than, “Oh, I need to be on this athlete diet which sucks all the time.”

Guy Lawrence: I know, we now a few, I mean, you know, a good endurance athlete as well, and they get ravenous, like, you know, they’d eat a loaf of banana bread in seconds, you know, and then they come out and it’s like, “Wow. That can’t be helpful.”
Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve touched a little bit on food, I’m interested to know your thoughts on sports drinks.

Sami Inkinen: Sports drinks?

Stuart Cooke: Sports drinks, yeah. So I guess, what did you drink while you were on the row and perhaps, historically, what did you used to drink when you were training as to what you might drink now?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So our sports drink of choice on the boat was water which was made out of ocean water with our desalinator, so we, you know, carrying the amount of water that you need for two months when you are sweating, rowing eighteen hours a day, obviously, which people used to do, the few crazy individuals who did this before, solar panels and desalinators, the rowing boats were gigantic because they had to carry all their water through the whole thing.

Guy Lawrence: All their water. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: So, we were drinking ocean water, which was desalinated, no sodium, and we had zero electrolyte solutions whatsoever on the boat which probably could be surprising to people. So our sports electrolyte solution of choice was table salt.

Guy Lawrence: Plain old table salt.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. We had table salt that had, you know, added potassium, but you know, it’s a grocery store product that you buy. That was the only thing that we had. We also had a magnesium tablets, but the only reason we had that was because all the beef that, and the meat, that we ate was dehydrated and it was treated in a way that it had lower amounts of magnesium that you would otherwise find, so we had that just in case that we wouldn’t have muscle cramps, but that’s all.

And, like I said, we had no aid station, we had no sports stores, so we were absolutely confident that the real whole foods based diet, regardless of our eighteen hours of exercise a day, is completely efficient, so I guess long story short to answer your question, we were able to exercise eighteen hours a day with zero sports drinks and eighteen hours a day, I burn about the same amount of calories as running two marathons each day for 45 days non-stop.

Guy Lawrence: That’s amazing, man.

Sami Inkinen: That doesn’t make it science, but it’s not a very good headline for a sports drink marketer.

Guy Lawrence: Do you ever get people just going, “Oh, that’s rubbish, “or disbelief or…what’s the reaction being… for you achieving this in the sports fraternity especially, you know? Like, because it’s so against everything we’ve told.

Sami Inkinen: I don’t know. I don’t really care. I mean, I let others judge and form their opinions and, if somebody doesn’t believe in what we did or that might be the right way to eat or drink or hydrate yourself then that’s their choice. Yeah, but your question of what do I have now, so if I go to a four or five-hour bike ride, I just have water in my bottle, but I usually try to make sure that I have, like, lots of salt before. I might throw in some table salt into my water bottles in my bike, and then, once I finish, I have extra salt to swallow.
So you certainly need the sodium, but I’m just conscious of that if I do something that is more than two hours and it’s hot and I know that I’m going to be sweating, yeah, I kind of buffer a little bit, but I don’t run out of sodium.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. And just one question that I really wanted to touch on while we’ve got you on the show, Sami, is just for the listeners out there regarding your training, could you share with us now even when you’re leading up to an event or something what a typical training day and a typical training week would look like? The amount of volume you would do in that?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, it obviously depends on what I’m preparing for, but looking at the last five, even ten years of my training log, it’s… overall volume is the same, the content just changes, but weekdays, I usually work out between 50 and 90 minutes per day. You know, maybe an average of an hour a day, and then the weekend, either for training or social reasons, I do a longer, usually it’s a bike ride that’s anywhere between three and five hours, more often three to four hours, so if you do the math, I mean the second day might be another one or two-hour bike ride or run or something, but you know I end up training about ten hours a week, week in, week out, and you know, I love exercising so that’s one of the reasons.

It’s my way of, like, clearing my mind, and if I’m training for an event it’s much more focused, so there’s more high-intensity and that’s sort of thing, but the hours I’d say… eight to eleven hours a week. It’s difficult to find a week that’s out of those parameters for less than eleven hours, and then you know, I might sometimes more strength-training, sometimes less, but that’s kind of the setup.

So when I say one-hour day, so it could be a recovery workout where I go and ride about a bike for 50 minutes. Super easy, so that’s almost like doing nothing for me, but it counts as a one-hour workout, so another one-hour workout might be ten times one-minute all out, warm out, cool down, so once again it’s one hour, so it’s again, it’s an hour, but you know, it really depends on what I do there, but I’m so used to exercise that I kind of end up spending the one hour every morning just to get out there and do something and, yeah, but what you do within an hour makes a huge difference.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.

Stuart Cooke: It does, it does. One question as well, Sami, that we ask everybody, and I know we’ve got thousands of people that would love to know, a typical daily diet for you. What have you eaten today?

Sami Inkinen: What have I had today? Probably the most dangerous, no question about, answer, because everyone always asks, “So what do you eat exactly?” I always try to avoid going into details, because then people either want to copy, they’ll want to rip it apart, so I’ve always tried to avoid, like, posting somewhere, like, “Here’s exactly what I eat.” Not because there’s anything scandalous or anything, but, again, people are looking for this, like…

Guy Lawrence: Magic fix?

Sami Inkinen: …sound bite, like one size fits all, but typically I eat, before workout, I probably have, like four or five hundred calories of fat and, practically speaking, that’s usually coconut butter or coconut oil in a tea or coffee or butter so that was the case this morning as well, so, I mean, I don’t count the calories, but just to give you a sense of, like…

Guy Lawrence: Guestimate, yeah.

Sami Inkinen: You know, a crapload of fat with a drink, and you know it’s pretty fast to digest and it doesn’t feel like it’s in your stomach if you go and work out, so that’s… Then right after workout, I usually have a little bit of a protein, so this could be three to five eggs, fried with top fat again, butter usually, in a pan, depending how busy I am. My lunch is usually a salad, so it looks like it’s lots of salad, but it’s lots of greens and then with a little bit of protein, so that could be a salmon or ground beef and then a lot of olive oil or butter or some sort of mayo.

Snacks oftentimes it’s some sort of meat or sausage or almonds or macadamia nuts and then dinner is even a, you know, a bowl that you would usually feed a horse from. That kind of size full of greens that I may sauté in a pan with a bunch of butter or just like put in, like, it’s gigantic and then again with some kind of protein. It could be shrimps or fish or grass with beef or more butter. I usually drink water, but I might have almond milk, just for the heck of it, maybe some frozen berries after that, like blueberries or something like that. Nothing too scientific.

Stuart Cooke: Sounds delicious.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we’ve got one more question that we always ask everyone on the podcast as well and it can be related to anything, but what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Sami Inkinen: That someone has given to me?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Oh… happy wife, happy life. It sounds like a cliché, but once you’ve been married for a few years you realize that it’s so true.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That’s a great answer.

Stuart Cooke: I hear where you’re coming from, Sami, with that one.

Guy Lawrence: Just to wrap it up, what does the future hold for Sami Inkinen? Any more challenges ahead or anything in the pipeline?

Sami Inkinen: Well I’m working very hard on my MacBook Air, just kind of on the technology side of things, but athletically I’m doing the eight-day mountain biking stage race in South Africa in March called Cape Epic, so it’s, you know, five to seven hours on the bike each day for eight days. So that’s coming up in less than two months, so two months’ time. Excited about that, so that’s my athletic in the horizon, so I’d better get myself on the bike.

Stuart Cooke: My word, I’ve been a mountain biker all my life, I would shudder at the thought of undertaking something like that, so I would… We’ll keep an eye on that one, for sure.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely! And for them listening to this, Sami, if they want to, you know, track your progress or follow you, do you have a website or a blog they can check out at all or a URL?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, well maybe a couple of things, the row, if you’re interested in learning more about the row, we have a website called Fat Chance Row, fatchancerow.org, so you can go there and read a little bit about the background and we raised money for a non-profit and we are still doing that, so if you want to support, none of the money comes to us, it goes directly to the non-profit. So that’s one, and then, if you want to follow me on Twitter, one way to follow what I might be up to, is just my first name, last name on Twitter, so S, A, M, I, I,N, K, I, N, E, N, Sami Inkinen on Twitter, and you know I sometimes blog on my website, but it’s not too frequent so…

Guy Lawrence: No worries. We’ll put the appropriate links to that on the show anyway and help spread the word. Thanks, Sami, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was awesome and I have no doubt everyone is going to get a lot out of that today.

Stuart Cooke: I think so, very, very inspiring. Really appreciate the time, Sami.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. My pleasure, so thanks so much, guys.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Sami.

Stuart Cooke: No problem.

Guy Lawrence: Appreciate it. Cheers.

Stuart Cooke: Cheers.

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:

Listen to Stitcher

  • 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:

ruthless.co.nz Facebook Instagram

Shop now

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.

available in the USA

usa shop – click here

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. 

available in the USA

usa shop – click here

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.

available in the USA

usa shop – click here

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

Probably the Most Amazing Example Of Endurance Athleticism You’ll Ever See!

The above video is 3:55 minutes long.

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

meredith loringI have a new hero… and her name is Meredith Loring. If you need a big dose of inspiration and want to know what the human body is capable of with the right nutrition, mindset and training, then you really must watch this video!

Meredith, along with her husband Sami Inkinen rowed from San Francisco to Hawaii. The row took them 45 days straight, rowing up to 18 hours a day and yup, they did it with no sugar or gels.

We also cover her own incredible journey from dealing with cervical cancer, then switching to raw food and then the slow transition into a high-fat, low carb’ diet. All this along with achieving some of the most incredible accomplishments in the world of serious adventurous endurance sports.

Full Interview with Meredith Loring: Raw Food & High Fat Diet Fuelled For Inspiring Jaw Dropping Adventures



downloaditunes
In this episode we talk about:

  • Why her dealings with cervical cancer made her look at her nutrition closely
  • Why she embarked on two of her toughest athletic challenges of her life within 10 days of each other
  • The highs and lows of rowing 45 days straight from California to Hawaii
  • How she fuels her diet daily to perform
  • What her diet and exercise routine looks like whilst 8 months pregnant
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Get More of Meredith Loring Here:

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

Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. The one thing we are very proud here at 180 Nutrition is when we look for podcast guests, we search high and low for people that we feel will have something truly to offer with their stories, their journey, their inspiration, their health message, all around nutrition. You know, questions that we want to answer ourselves.

And I have to say today’s awesome guest, which is Meredith Loring, is certainly inspiring and I guarantee that you’re going to get a lot out of this today.

Now, if you’re wondering who Meredith is, we had her partner, Sami Inkinen, on the show last month and as a couple they rowed from San Francisco to Hawaii. The row took them 45 days straight, rowing up to 18 hours a day and yup, they did it with no sugar or gels.

Now, if you’ve heard Sami’s podcast, you’d probably know a little bit about the background. But if you haven’t, you’re in for an amazing treat in today’s podcast.

And not only that, Meredith’s own personal journey is phenomenal. She discusses how she contracted cervical cancer at a young age and how she then looked into nutrition to help combat these things and then come into, you could say, eating a higher-fat, low-carb diet and she’s an exceptional endurance athlete as well. And she’s heavily pregnant at the moment, eight months, ah, eight and a half month I think.

So, we cover all these topics from her perspective today and you know, whether you’re a guy or girl, listening to this, you will take absolutely a lot out this and even as a couple too.

As always, I know I ask, let us know these podcasts inspire you, if you’re enjoying them. What guests you’d like to see come up in the future. Simply leave us a review on iTunes. That would really be appreciated. You know, just by subscribing, helps us get the word out there; we’re determined to do it and I think this message should be heard by as many people as possible.

Drop us an email to: info@180nutrition.com.au., too and let us know your thoughts on the podcast and if they are affecting your life in a positive manner in any way. It would be great to hear from you.

And of course, go back to our website, 180nutrition.com.au, there’s a wealth of resources there too and also, of course, these are shot in video, if you are listening to this through iTunes.

Anyway, let’s go over to Meredith. You’re going to really enjoy this one. Cheers.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: I always get this feeling every time, you know, it’s like just before you go on.

Anyway, hi this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke today, as always. Hi Stuart.

Stuart Cooke: Hello mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Meredith Loring. Meredith, welcome to the show.

Meredith Loring: Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: I hope I pronounced your surname correctly, as well. I just thought about that then, but I’m thinking I got it right.

Meredith Loring: Yeah. It rhymes with “boring,” as my husband likes to say.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. So, we’ve had your husband, Sami Inkinen, on the show. We’ve had moviemaker Donal O’Neill on the show. We were all talking about Cereal Killers 2.

And we actually just held a screening for the documentary here in Sydney a few weeks back and it was sold out. We had a Q & A and it was just an awesome response.

And the one thing that was evident, especially with the females after the show and everyone was buzzing, was: We want to hear more of Meredith’s side of the story. So, yeah, fantastic; so, thanks for coming on.

Meredith Loring: Who knows what they were saying when I wasn’t there.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

So, we always start the show to get a little bit about the guest’s background and things like that, so, if you could share a little bit about yourself, because I’m guessing you’re not from Finland, like Sami.

Meredith Loring: Not from Finland. I’m from the East Coast. A pretty normal background, I guess. But I guess what’s revenant, for you guys, is probably fitness and nutrition stuff.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Meredith Loring: And yes, so, I’ve been kind of a competitive athlete my whole life. I was a competitive gymnast until I was in high school and then I started running in my 20s and really latched on to running and trail running in particular and started competing in trail running when I got out to California about four years ago, which is when I met Sami, my husband. And then …

Guy Lawrence: I recently read as well, is it true that you guys went on your first date in a kayak?

Meredith Loring: Weirdly, weirdly enough our first date was in a doubles kayak and I’d just come from New York City, literally the day before, and for me any kind of active date was really weird, because in New York you’d meet for drinks or coffee. So, I was very weirded out by the whole thing and then he wanted to have a captive audience. So, he stuck me in a kayak for a couple of hours.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: So, you’ve always been obviously a competitive, well, it looks like sports and athleticism has been in your blood from day dot. Because we’re going to talk about the row especially a little bit further on as well.

So, I’m guessing now, to see you go ahead and do that; was it a major shock for you to find yourself ending up in a boat or did you…

Meredith Loring: It was shocking, like the sport was shocking, because neither one of us had ever rowed before and actually neither one of us was into rowing at all. So, just the sport choice was fairly shocking, but we try to do kind of big adventurous stuff on a regular basis, nothing quite that adventurous.

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

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Go for it Stu.

Stuart Cooke: You’re interested in, obviously, you come from an endurance sport background, as well. How much of your dietary beliefs have changed over the years from obviously the endurance stuff to the crazy endurance stuff in the boat that we’ve just heard about?

Meredith Loring: Yeah, that’s a good question. So, actually, when I was 24 I had cervical cancer and I started looking at, like, alternative treatments. I didn’t want to go down a chemo route. And so I kind of decided after looking into all of the research way back then, this was like 2004, that our nutrition guidelines were all fucked up, pardon my French and …

Guy Lawrence: That’s the best way of describing it.

Meredith Loring: And so, I had totally cut out sugar and carbs and stuff from my diet and I went on actually a raw food diet pretty strictly for about six or seven years.

Stuart Cooke: Okay.

Meredith Loring: And then when I met Sami I started introducing things like salmon and fish, but I’ve been fairly consistent about my diet since then, just because of my health concerns and then from all of the research that I read. And also, my body responds really well to plants and responds very poorly to sugar.

Guy Lawrence: So, even when you were, because it’s the first thing that springs to my mind, even when you were on a raw food diet so that your carb and sugar intake were quite low? Is that correct?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I was not eating a lot of fruit. I was eating mostly vegetables and nuts and, like, avocados and things like that. Lots of olive oil, but very few fruits, maybe one piece of fruit a day or two max.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because I think that’s the one common thing, mistake, I see, Whether it be raw food, vegetarian, vegan; everyone seems to have a hell of a lot of carbs.

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: One of the main things I read, counter to me wanting to go on a raw food eating plan, was all of the tooth decay that happens from most raw foodists because they’re eating so much fruit. So, I was really conscious of that from the beginning because I didn’t want that to happen.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And how did the cancer go? What happened?

Meredith Loring: I’ve been cancer-free and completely healthy. So…

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: I don’t know how much of that is due to my diet, but it certainly made me feel like I was having a hand in treating myself. And also, after I read all of these studies that you can’t go back eating the way you were eating before. It’s so just; it so grosses you out that you can’t go there.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow, that’s phenomenal. That’s amazing.

So, when you were doing the endurance events before, was it all about carbs and sugar and gels before you had the cancer?

Meredith Loring: It was, and actually I reintroduced at least gels into my eating after I met Sami, because Sami had been pitching to me for so long, that if I wanted to really compete in trail running and cycling, that I had to be eating gels and carb-loading.

Yeah and I fought him for a really long time, because I knew how it made me feel. And I would call him before a race and be like, “Ah, this is so terrible. I’m never doing this again.” and he’d laugh really hard. But he had read the Lure of Running and read all the nutrition studies out there that pointed towards carb-loading and so he really urged me to do that. But I naturally gravitate towards not doing that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah and I guess with Sami, because he spoke about being almost a Type 2 diabetic …

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: … at one stage, would have had a shock and changed the approach altogether.

Meredith Loring: Yeah and for; I mean, I always knew what worked well for me, but I never try to impose my beliefs on other people. But the truth was, I wasn’t really looking at it from a what’s a typical American or a typical person worldwide facing until we found out Sami was pre-diabetic. And then I was really, I really started to noodle on. Like, okay, if Sami, who spends so much time and energy trying to figure out nutrition and athletic performance, if he can’t figure it out and he’s pre-diabetic, what chance does a normal person have.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That’s such a good …

Meredith Loring: And it really made me kind of upset. And so we really just decided we’ve got to do something about this because we can’t just keep talking about it without any action.

Guy Lawrence: That’s phenomenal. And look, being involved in the documentary, with Donal as well and getting the message out there, it’s; I don’t know what it’s like in America, but there’s definitely a bit of a movement coming on here in Australia. More and more people are hungry for this knowledge because they’re all pissed off and confused. I mean, in the cinema itself there were so many light bulbs going off within that evening and the Q & A panel, we had; the cinema basically kicked us out at the end, because there was just not enough time. Everyone was hungry for more.

Meredith Loring: That’s exciting.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Well, it is, it’s fantastic. So, I’m taking when you do your endurance now, you know, no gels, no glucose, because there will be people listening to this that are doing that very thing, you know.

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I actually think it depends on what distance you’re doing. If you’re doing something that’s really short and high intensity, you’re definitely going to be burning carbohydrates. And so, that can give you kind of a mental break from fatigue and also give you some kind of a physical boost.

If you’re doing a really long event, I don’t think; you certainly don’t need to be eating the way you’re taught to eat. Like a huge pasta dinner and then eating carbs for all of your training.

What I do is I train practically zero-carb. I mean, I eat carbs from vegetables and stuff, but in my training I try to eat no carbs, if possible. And then in a race environment I’ll have some carbs. You really feel the difference if it’s a shorter event.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, what’s; when you’re talking about the race environment, so, what does your typical kind of pre-race or weekly exercise regime look like? What do you do?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. So, before I was pregnant I was running about 10 miles four times a week and then doing a long run once a week, like 15 or 20 miles.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: And then a four- or five-hour bike ride one day a week and then cross training one day a week. And that’s a lot; that’s a lot of exercise, but I would never have a gel during; like especially the runs. It would never even cross my mind to have a gel. In fact, I wouldn’t have eaten breakfast before an event.

And I’m still working out. Now I have to do mostly cycling, because I’ve broken my foot. But I still, even pregnant, I don’t need to eat breakfast before I do a workout. It’s just not necessary.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because I know Sami said he did the same thing as well. It was literally …

Meredith Loring: It trains you to be a better fat burner and then once you’re in that mode you’re just not hungry and it feels better to have a more empty stomach, I think, when you’re doing hard workout.

Stuart Cooke: It does. And what about hydration during those prolonged periods of exercise?

Meredith Loring: Water.

Stuart Cooke: Just water, right.

Meredith Loring: Water, maybe some salts, depending on how long it is, I’ll have salt tablets or something or just put salt in my water. When I go for a bike ride I absolutely add salt to my water.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Right. I’m guessing that pre- that kind of way of eating it would have been sports drinks as well as well as the gels as well? Would it gravitate to …

Meredith Loring: No. I was never; I never touched sport drinks.

Stuart Cooke: Okay.

Meredith Loring: They’re just so low-quality and it’s just sugar water. It never made any sense to me.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. No, it’s true; like low-quality, but high promise. You know, they really do promise the Earth with all of their wonderful benefits, but yeah, sugar water.

Meredith Loring: I always thought it was bullshit. I mean, it’s total bullshit.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We hear ya man, we hear ya.

That’s another question that just popped in there; do you train with groups of other people? And do they follow the same philosophy as you or do you see all over the place or what?

Meredith Loring: No, I do train with groups of other people and people are usually fairly shocked to figure out I haven’t had breakfast or that I’m not going to have gels during our runs or our rides. Rides in particular, for some reason the way that Sami and I eat pre-enduring rides, is fairly shocking to people. It’s becoming more accepted here in Northern California now, but up until probably six or seven months ago, people would just fight and argue with us the entire time. Like about us not eating or just think that we’re crazy or have some kind of issue.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, exactly like …

Stuart Cooke: But I guess the results speak for themselves, don’t they, if you’re performing.

Meredith Loring: Yeah, I mean, absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely, I mean, I live on a cycle route, as in there’s always groups of cyclists every morning, flying past my place here, to down at the beach. And the one thing that is evident and I never want to be judgmental of people or anything, but a lot of them are overweight. Like, I see them, and I’m thinking, they must be clocking up to, I don’t know whether they’re doing 20, 30, 40ks in the morning, most mornings. And yet, I don’t know why the penny doesn’t drop. You know…

Meredith Loring: Yeah. For some reason people still don’t understand that exercise isn’t going to make you lose weight. It’s all in what you’re eating.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s massive. We certainly push that word. Definitely.

So, can we talk about the row, Meredith, and one of the things I only found out last week, because thanks to Donal, mentioned that you competed in an Everest Marathon, which is the world’s highest marathon, weeks before you did the row. Is that right?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I don’t know how smart it was, but I had signed up for it a couple of years ago, because it’s fairly difficult to get into and it was about 10 days before we left for our row. So …

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: … you have to get to the base camp, basically and then you run from base camp, a marathon. And I had to continue, because I had a flight to catch the next morning, so I had to run to the airport. So, I did break a 50-mile run. And I was the first non-Nepali female. So, …

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: I won my category.

Guy Lawrence: That’s insane. What height is Everest base camp?

Meredith Loring: I think it’s like 18,000 feet; something like that.

Guy Lawrence: That’s insane, because I only think about it, because I did trekking in Nepal and …

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: … I know Stu has done some there, but I got to I think 4,100 meters at one stage, because I did the Annapurna and I was just walking. But when I got there I was crawling. I was so exhausted. I was just wiped, I mean, there were runners passing me at the time and I think, “How the hell do you do that?”

Meredith Loring: Yeah, it’s brutal. It’s brutal, and my lungs at the end of that day, my lungs were in such pain and it really felt like I had flipped them inside out. You’re just gasping for air the whole time and the air is so thin up there.

Guy Lawrence: That’s unbelievable. Are you working your way down the whole event?

Meredith Loring: Not the whole event. I mean, it’s a net elevation loss, but there’s a lot of flat and there’s even uphill sections that are like, I don’t know, 10k long or something.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. And did you do any altitude training before?

Meredith Loring: No, just the hike up there. It took about 10 or 11 days to get up there.

Guy Lawrence: Got it.

Meredith Loring: Which isn’t enough. It takes about two months for your blood volume to increase. And there were other competitors there who had spent two or three months on the mountain, practicing and trying to acclimatize, which is way too much time for me to dedicate.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah and just because I’d expect it from anybody listening to this, a 10- or 11-day hike prior to a marathon is pretty massive is some people’s books. Like I’d be looking at it going, “Right! That’s a mission.” And then to do a marathon after that is unbelievable.

Meredith Loring: It was so much fun. I’ve been trying to convince Sami that we should do it in November if we can figure out what to do with the baby.

Stuart Cooke: I guess you were lucky that you had that nice row to recover from your marathon.

Meredith Loring: Yeah. Well, the good news was that I didn’t have to do any running. So, as beat up as I was from running, my upper body became totally beat up after that.

Guy Lawrence: Unbelievable.

Stuart Cooke: Oh my word, that is just craziness.

So, just for all of our listeners that haven’t heard about the row, I wondered if you could just tell us what you did during that time; that crazy period.

Meredith Loring: So, my husband, Sami, and I rowed from Monterey, California to Hawaii over the course of about 45 days. In a rowboat, unsupported. So, we didn’t have anyone picking us up after a shift. We were sleeping in the rowboat. We carried all of our own food. We carried all our water. And we did it to raise awareness about the dangers of sugar.

So, we didn’t have any sugar or processed carbohydrates on board. We only ate real whole food, like macadamia nuts, salmon, dried vegetables, some dried fruit. And we were rowing about 18 hours a day each and then sleeping six hours a day each. So, there was someone constantly on the oars …

Guy Lawrence: Got it.

Meredith Loring: … when the weather was okay.

Guy Lawrence: Wow! What was the total distance between the two?

Meredith Loring: I think we ended up rowing something like 2800 miles.

Guy Lawrence: 2800, there you go. And …

Meredith Loring: Yeah. We went a little bit out of the way. We thought we could go directly, but the weather was really bad when we left California.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: So, we really got pushed off course and had to do a bunch of extra miles, unfortunately.

Guy Lawrence: And I think, if I recall, it ended up being 45 days straight rowing like that, right?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. It was 45 days, which was the record for two-person crossing.

Guy Lawrence: Unbelievable. So, what was your; I’m fascinated, what were your biggest challenges on the boat while you were doing it?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I think getting into the boat, like mentally getting into the boat when we left, was quite a challenge, because we did not do a lot of preparation in our actual boat. In fact, we had only slept in our boat one time before we left and we were docked in a marina to another boat. So, we really had never been in the open ocean on any boat.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: And so, just coming to terms with the fact, like this is going to be our home; we thought it would take us 60 days, so this is going to be our home for two months potentially. And just being able to be like, “Okay, I’m going to stop thinking about getting off the boat and I’m just going to deal with this, and this is my life for the next two months.” That was pretty difficult.

Guy Lawrence: That’s massive. Did anyone tell you, “You’re crazy. Don’t do it.” or were you just …

Meredith Loring: Everyone. Everyone told us we were crazy. I mean, I don’t think most people believed that we were going to do it, because like I said, we had zero rowing experience and we had never even been in sailboats or anything. So, I think, most everyone just thought we weren’t going to make it. In fact a lot of people were commenting on articles that were posted about us in the newspaper that, you know, “There’s no way they’re going to make it.” And, “What are they thinking even trying.”

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: Which motivated us even more.

Guy Lawrence: I know Stu’s itching to ask a question, but I’ve got to ask one more. How big did some of the waves get out there?

Meredith Loring: The waves were crazy big when we left. There was ridiculous bad weather. They were like 25 or 30 feet tall and they were crashing on the boat. And I’m pretty small, so I was actually getting pushed off my seat, which is why Sami and I were rowing together in the beginning.

We never planned on rowing together. We always planned on having separate shifts. But it was way too dangerous for either one of us to be out there alone, because if one of us got washed off, like, there’s really no hope of getting back on the boat if you don’t catch it right away.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: Were you scared?

Meredith Loring: Yeah, I mean, it was scary.

Guy Lawrence: I’d be terrified. I go on a boat in Sydney Harbor and if it picks up I get nervous, let alone …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: It was scary, but it’s kind of amazing how fast you adapt to what your view of reality is. Like after a couple of days of having this weather, maybe it was more like a week and we knew it wasn’t going to end, we got used to it. It just became the new normal.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s incredible.

Stuart Cooke: So, how; I’m intrigued about the food side of it and you mentioned that you pre-prepared all those other foods, but how did you structure your eating? I mean, I’m guessing that you didn’t sit there, opposite Sami, underneath a kind of beautiful moon and toast the row with you know; how, was it; did you have packages for breakfast, lunch and dinner or was it just grabbing kind of handfuls of stuff as you went?

Meredith Loring: Yeah, we did; we put quite a bit of thought into packaging our food before the row, because you don’t want to be spending time, extra time, on the boat doing anything because over the course of two months, it adds up to be days and potentially longer than that.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: So, we worked with Steve Phinney when we were preparing so that we knew kind of like what our background nutrient profile should be and then what kind of supplements, if any, we should be taking and how much salt we should be taking.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: And then we packaged kind of daily rations and then we packaged like an add-on. So that if we needed extra calories, we could just grab something else. And then we’d grab that first thing when our rowing shift started, each of us, and then you would just work through that bag all day long.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: And we actually ended up throwing out a lot, because you think about when you’re leaving, “Oh I get to eat 5,000 or 6,000 calories a day. This is going to be awesome, because I can never eat that much.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: But it’s ridiculously hard to eat that much food, real food. It’s a lot of volume.

Guy Lawrence: Right.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, absolutely. And do you still enjoy those same foods today or are you sick to your hind teeth or something?

Meredith Loring: No. The funny thing is, we were eating the same thing before we left, you know, like salmon and nuts. Dried; well, not dried, but fresh vegetables and fruit and I’m eating the same things now, like every day.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect.

Meredith Loring: Because it’s fulfilling and it’s a variety of vegetables, it’s good food.

Stuart Cooke: That’s it and it’s nourishing and I guess if you’re getting that nourishment then your body’s accepting of it.

Meredith Loring: Yeah, that’s kind of an interesting thing. So, when you’re pregnant, everyone’s like, “You’re going to have these weird food cravings and you’re going to be eating all kinds of junk food and stuff like that.” But I’m really convinced that you’re cravings are based on you’re deficient in. Like your body knows you’re deficient in something and so you crave weird things.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Meredith Loring: I don’t get any cravings. Like, I’ll get cravings for raw salmon versus cooked salmon.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: Or potently some dairy product. But I don’t have cravings for any sweets or anything weird like pickles. My body is very well-nourished.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Absolutely. No tons of ice cream, watching movies late at night.

Guy Lawrence: So, Sami mentioned that he was eating 70 to 75 percent fat on the boat. Was that the same for you?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. If, I mean, when you looked at the volume, if it was like 98 percent vegetables, but then calorie-wise …

Guy Lawrence: Got it.

Meredith Loring: … it was much more fat, because we were adding, just to get the calories, we were adding olive oil and nuts in everything that we’d eat.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Meredith Loring: And coconut butter. At the end we did like a week-long stretch, where we were pushing as hard as we could because these hurricanes were coming to the Hawaii.

We knew they were coming, they were kind of; we had like a one-day window to land or something.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: So, we were rowing really hard and all we were eating all day long was coconut butter and cacao nibs. Like, it was ridiculous.

Guy Lawrence: That’s amazing and …

Meredith Loring: And we were totally energized. It was awesome.

Guy Lawrence: Were your ketones measured as well?

Meredith Loring: No, we didn’t, I mean, the boat honestly was so disgusting I would not have wanted to puncture any skin unnecessarily.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Stuie’s just disappeared. He’ll come back in a sec. I don’t know what’s going on over there.

Yeah, that’s amazing, that’s amazing. And the other thing that was evident in the documentary as well, because Dr. Steven Phinney said that when you got off the boat as well, that your results were in some ways even better than Sami’s, in the fact that you didn’t really show much atrophy in muscle or …

Meredith Loring: Yeah. Well, I was definitely aware of the weight. So, Sami and I went into the row pretty differently. I had just run the Everest marathon. I was not at a body weight where it would have been acceptable for me to lose weight across the journey.

Guy Lawrence: Got it.

Meredith Loring: Like, Sami had bulked up in preparation for the row and had been able to keep all of that bulk. But when I went to Everest, kind of all of the mass that I had put on before came off. So, I was very conscious every day. Like, I need to eat; I need to eat a certain amount and I need to do kind of exercises to make sure I’m not losing too much …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. Amazing. And the one last thing while we’re talking about the row as well, that became evident in from the movie screening as well, was how a lot of the couples got inspired that you did something like this …

Oh, he’s back. Hey, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Hello. I’m back.

Guy Lawrence: … that you did this together. And so, the question that I was going to ask you is, they say travel is a great way to test the relationship. How did you guys get along, generally, on the boat and did you have any tips and tricks to keep it all together?

Meredith Loring: It was really interesting. We thought that in itself, crazy to say, we really thought there was a very good chance that we’ll get divorced during this row. Because in normal life there’s some level of friction between us, especially if we’re in a stressful environment.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: But when we got onto that boat and the weather conditions were really scary and tough, we were just so focused on working towards the same goal and making sure that we were both safe and that we were moving, that there was literally no friction between us entire time. It was shocking. It was so shocking. And in fact, we were working so well together that about the same time, within a 48-hour window, we both had this epiphany that we should have kids, which is completely contrary to anything we’ve ever said. We’ve always been like the “no kids” people.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: So, we were like, “Oh, we should have kids.” And then we started trying on the boat, which I would not recommend to anyone.

Stuart Cooke: Well, maybe it’s a strategy for marriage counseling then. Like, I’m moving forward, just throw in the odd crazy endurance event and everything will be fine.

Meredith Loring: We heard some serious horror stories from other people who had rowed oceans, like it does not always work out that way.

Guy Lawrence: That’s right. It’s not always that romantic.

Meredith Loring: There’s plenty of people who don’t talk to each other once they land.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve got; sorry I keep going off at times and sorry, Stu, and I’ve got one more question regarding the boat and this topic always fascinates me around mindfulness and being present. How did you cope with that? Is it; was it something you just got into rhythm?

And I only raise it, because a good friend of mine who came to the movie screening. He’s a sailor and he sailed from Curacao, which is off the top of South America, back to Australia, and he had one stretch that was 30 days at sea and there was three of them. And he said he found that really challenging, just being on a boat. But he wasn’t exercising and he saw what you guys done and was just blown away from that.

How did you find it?

Meredith Loring: Well, we have done a significant amount of meditation and mindfulness training over the last three years. So, I think mentally we were fairly well prepared for the monotony and the pain and just knowing that it’s going to be ridiculously boring and you can’t get out of that situation. And it was an excellent opportunity to practice that skill.

Because, you know, when you have these, like, nagging pains all the time and then it hurts even more with every stroke you take, you tend to be, “Oh, I wish I wasn’t here. I wish I was home” and thinking about all the things that you can’t have, which really just makes the situation that much worse. And if you can just be like, “Okay, this is my reality. This is what I’m doing. There’s no way to get off.” And the pain becomes more manageable when you do that.

So, we had plenty of opportunities to practice it, but you know what it’s like, constant battle. And then there were times where the boredom wasn’t so bad. Like when we first left, because it was so scary and you always had to be looking out for large waves and grabbing on so that you wouldn’t get knocked off the boat, your mind is constantly focused. But then once the weather calmed down it was really boring. All of our electronics broke during the first week, so we didn’t have music or anything.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, nice.

Meredith Loring: Yeah. We had conversations that you should just never have with your spouse, because there was nothing else to do. Sami and I were rowing for 12 hours together straight everyday. So, yeah, we talked about everything.

Stuart Cooke: A thought popped into my mind as well. How did you sleep on there? I mean, was it, was sleep quality good, given that you were doing so much exercise, but you’re in such crazy environment, I guess with the rolling and everything else. What was your sleep …

Meredith Loring: So, our sleep, I would say relative to other people who have rowed oceans, was amazing. Because almost everyone who has rowed in oceans goes with this sleep pattern, which is two hours rowing, two hours sleeping. And then they do that 24 hours a day.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: But you can’t get any growth hormone and repair your body or even dry your skin out, if you do that, and we were sleeping in six-hour blocks, so we would row 18 hours straight each and then we would each sleep six hours. And then the cabin, of course, was moving around a lot and you have alarms and stuff going off that wake you up. But you are so exhausted that the six hours is just like, it’s a miracle. It is a miracle to have that six hours.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: And so we would wake up being, I think, very refreshed considering what we were doing.

Stuart Cooke: That’s fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: It’s incredible. I’ve just in awe.

Meredith Loring: I think out of all of the things that we did differently, the sleep pattern is going to be what all ocean rowers do going forward.

Guy Lawrence: Got it.

Meredith Loring: Based on our results. Like, we walked off of that boat not having any real injuries, not really being sick, not really having any skin damage. And it’s partially our diet, because we’re not eating all of that total crap freeze-dried food.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Meredith Loring: And then I think a lot of it had to do with the sleep.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah and how many hours do you sleep now, like on a normal day? Do you still do six to eight hours? Do you find …

Meredith Loring: No. I need at least eight hours of sleep. And now I try to get even more. It’s tough. Like I’m in the bed for nine hours.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: And then maybe seven and a half to eight and a half is sleeping for me now.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: I need more, but it’s just hard to sleep now.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Just find what’s right for you. I wanted to touch a little bit on your pregnancy as well, which is fantastic news and you spoke before about your lack of crazy pregnancy cravings, food cravings. But have you tinkered or adjusted the way that you eat in any way?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I try to be more moderate. Not shut down; if I’m feeling like I want to have cheese or milk, I will eat that stuff now and before I wouldn’t touch dairy with a 10-foot pole.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Meredith Loring: And also, the meat. I would never eat meat, other than fish, before and now if I want to have chicken I’ll eat chicken.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: But my eating habits are remarkably similar to what they were pre-pregnancy.

Guy Lawrence: Okay.

It’s kind of unbelievable, given what you hear from mainstream media and anecdotal stories from friends. I have a friend who’s as pregnant as I am to the day and I got in her car the other day and she’s a pretty healthy eater and there were cheese doodles and goldfish and sugary cereal and I’m like, “What are you doing?” And she was just like, “Well, I’m craving this stuff all of the time.” In my mind you crave that stuff after you start eating it because it’s full of sugar and it’s addictive.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah …

Meredith Loring: You don’t start eating it, you’re not going to want it.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Exactly.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Just out of curiosity then, how much vegetables do you eat a day, because that’s obviously the main staple. What does your typical day look like in a meal?

Meredith Loring: Well, I have like a; so, I wake up, I work out first thing in the morning. I come home, I’ll eat an apple or something after my workout and then I’m eating salad or sautéed spinach or something like that, massive quantities of it, with olive oil or some protein on it. And I’m eating that two major times a day.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: It’s a lot of volume. If you look at my stomach at the beginning of the day versus the end of the day, I look like I’m two XXmore pounds?XX [:36:46.3] at the end of the day. But that was the case before I got pregnant, so at least I have an excuse now.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly.

Guy Lawrence: Another question, because even when we spoke before we started recording the broadcast, about your broken foot.

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: How has your exercise regime changed during pregnancy? It sounds like it hasn’t changed that much, because, you know …

Meredith Loring: I’m definitely working out. I’m trying to workout almost as much, like at least doing it cadence-wise as much. And I had been having the same workout program up until three weeks ago when I broke my foot. So, I was still trail running and I was still doing a lot of hiking and cycling and now I’m kind of only doing cycling.

So, I’d do higher intensity cycling during the week indoors and then I go for a long ride on the weekends, like 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hour ride, a group ride, on the weekends, in which I get a lot of really weird looks.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I can only imagine.

Meredith Loring: I think the Spandex bike kit on a pregnant lady, it’s not the best look.

Guy Lawrence: You know, you don’t hear many 8 months, 8 1/2 months people pregnant breaking their foot out running, you know. It’s …

Meredith Loring: Yeah. Well, actually my podiatrist said he sees three or four women every week that are in their last month of pregnancy that have fractured their foot. Because your body is just not used to extra weight. I think I definitely accelerated the process by trail running.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: But it’s more common than you think.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. Okay. There you go.

Stuart Cooke: Thinking about food again and where baby and toddler and children are concerned, have you gotten any plans where food is concerned? Because historically, baby and toddler food is generally quite highly processed and full of crap, really; what are your thoughts on feeding on feeding your kids?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. Actually in the U.S., 98 percent of food for kids, like toddlers and small children, has added sugar or processed carbohydrates in it. So, it’s nearly everything.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: It’s, yeah, it’s pretty shocking. For adults it’s 80 percent. And I was really appalled to see that for kids it was even more. It’s disgusting. So, there’s not obviously a lot of good options for, like, convenient packaged stuff out there, So, I mean, I’m going to do what works, but I’m totally dedicated to having a kid that’s eating real whole food.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: And that probably means we have to spend the time to make it, because it isn’t available.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah, there you go.

It’s like, you know, Stu’s got three girls and you’re always up for the challenge of preparing food.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Well, that’s true. Well, we have the twins as well. So, I remember when they were born, it was all about food preparation and we were just, well, my wife was in the kitchen making up these huge like fish lyonnaise, fatty, buttery meals and then freezing them and then bringing them out and that was really the staple. I mean, it was just; the freezer was our savior, because we could just make huge amounts of food and then just come back to it knowing that we’ve cooked it.

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: And it’s just; preparation is the key, I think during that period.

Meredith Loring: I think so much of our taste is developed at a very young age.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, definitely.

Meredith Loring: And whose knows what else, genetically speaking, that we’re not going to fool around with it and take chances. And, like, I just don’t want it to be part of our kid’s life. That they’re eating the stuff, like, we know it’s poison; why on earth would we feed it to any children?

Stuart Cooke: That’s actually right.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, exactly.

So, Meredith, we always finish up the podcast with a wrap-up question that we ask everyone.

Meredith Loring: Okay.

Guy Lawrence: And that it’s, what’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Meredith Loring: Actually, Sami, gave me a really good piece of advice that was really relevant on our row, but then it; it actually is relevant every day of my life. And that’s not to set goals that aren’t 100 percent within my control.

So, don’t set outcome-based goals, like “I’m going to win a race.” Set goals that are more like, “I’m going to do 10 hours of training,” and, “I’m going to do training at a certain intensity.”

Stuart Cooke: Got it.

Meredith Loring: Because you’ll always be disappointed or almost always be disappointed if you’re setting goals that are outside of your own personal power.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You don’t set yourself up …

Meredith Loring: … and during the row it helped, like, we were getting devastated, because we were setting these arbitrary goals about, “Oh, we’re going to row 60 miles each day and that means we’re going to land on July 15th.” and then, you know, we’d have a day where we either went backwards or we didn’t come close to that goal and we’d be so devastated that we wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.

So, we were constantly learning that. And I’m, it’s still something I have to remember.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: I think it’s pretty …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s great advice. Don’t set yourself up for failure essentially, you know.

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic.

And if people listening to this and they want to find out more about you, is there anywhere they can go? Would the Fat Chance Row blog be the best place or?

Meredith Loring: Yeah, the Fat Chance Row blog is a pretty good place to find out about our journey and we recently launched a package food company, actually, called: Native Life. And that’s where I do most of my blogging now.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Meredith Loring: It’s grain-free, no sugar added cereal. So …

Guy Lawrence: Awesome, that’s awesome.

Meredith Loring: That’s what I’m focusing my attention on now.

Guy Lawrence: Good on you. We’ll put links to everything on the show notes as well …

Meredith Loring: Yeah, awesome.

Guy Lawrence: People are definitely find out about that.

Look, Meredith, thank you so much for coming on the show. That was, that was awesome. That was really cool and I have no doubt a lot of people are going to get a lot out of that.

Meredith Loring: Good. Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: No worries.

Stuart Cooke: Thanks so much, Meredith.

Guy Lawrence: Thank you, Meredith. Bye, bye.

Stuart Cooke: Take care.

Should Everyone Be Low Carb? End the Confusion Now with Dr Peter Brukner

The above video is 3 minutes long.

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

peter bruknerOur awesome guest today is Dr. Peter Brukner who is currently the team doctor for the Australian cricket team.

His impressive resume includes being team doctor to four Australian national teams – swimming, hockey, athletics and soccer. He has also worked with professional AFL and English Premier League teams such as Liverpool FC, experienced US college sport at Stanford and been part of Olympic, Commonwealth and World Uni Games as well as numerous World Championships.

The Full Interview with Dr Peter Brukner of the Australian Cricket Team


downloaditunes
In this episode we talk about:

  • Peter’s journey from a low-fat to a high-fat diet
  • Why many of the Australian cricketers have adopted this style of eating
  • How it’s reduced injury risk and improved recovery
  • Why starving yourself to drop weight is not the way forward
  • When we should be applying a low carb’ strategy to improve health
  • Peter’s appearance in the documentary Cereal Killers 2 Movie: Run On Fat
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Get More of Dr Peter Brukner Here:

Dr Peter Brukner Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey. This is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our awesome guest today is Dr. Peter Brukner. Now, he’s recently been the head of sports medicine with the Liverpool Football Club, which is pretty awesome, and he’s currently the team doctor for the Australian cricket team.

Now, I first met Peter at the Low Carb Down Under event a few months ago, where I got to share the stage with him, and it was; he’s just a top guy and we’ve been very keen to get him on the podcast since we met and fortunately we were lucky enough to have him on the show today.

So, we cover all sorts of topics from obviously eating low carb and high fat, but how that’s influenced his life. He talks about the Australian cricket team and also the movies coming up. The documentaries of Cereal Killers and Cereal Killers 2, Run On Fat. So, we dig deep into those.

Now, I will say the Skype audio does drop in and out slightly, but sometimes there’s not much we can do about technology. But ultimately the information’s there and you will certainly still get a lot out of it, so, just to give you a heads up on that.

And of course, if you are listening to this through iTunes, a simple just subscribing to our podcast and a little review, leaving a review, does wonders for us because it helps us get the word out there. We really appreciate it and we’re getting a lot of people listening to our podcasts now, so that will just continue to help spread the words. It’s always appreciated.

And of course, you can come over to 180nutrition.com.au and yeah, hang out there as we’ve got a wealth of information, including a great free book. It took me quite a while to write actually and that’s a great place to start if you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed with all this information.

But, yeah, of course, go through the other podcasts. We’ve got much more awesome guests and we some very exciting guests lined up for the future. But for now enjoy the podcast with Peter and we’ll see you soon. Cheers!

Guy Lawrence: So, hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie; as always.

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Dr. Peter Brukner. Peter welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.

Peter Brukner: XXunintelligibleXX [:02:11.6] My pleasure guys.

Guy Lawrence: Ah, there it goes. Frozen. Great start to this show. There we go. He’s back. Excellent.

So, just to get the ball rolling, Peter, would you mind just sharing to our listeners and ourselves a little bit about yourself and why we’re super happy to have you on the show today. I’m very much looking forward to this.

Peter Brukner: Well, I don’t know why you’re super happy, but I’m a … ;)

My name is Peter Brukner. I’m a sports and exercise physician. So, I’m a medical doctor who is specialized in sports medicine and I’ve been practicing sports medicine for 30-odd years, and obviously I started when I was a baby, and I’ve been working, both in a medical practice in Melbourne; I’m born and bred in Melbourne; a medical practice in Melbourne at Olympic Park. I set up a sports medical there about 30 years ago and that’s still going strong. And over that period of time I’ve worked with a number of sporting teams; AFL teams, various Olympic sports.

I’ve done, I think, five national teams now. I’ve done swimming, hockey, athletic soccer and cricket. The last few years I did the Socceroos, the Australian soccer team, for the South African World Cup and the three years leading up into that.

From there I went to Liverpool in England to be the head of sports med XX technical glitch[:03:36.3 to :03:40.1] and after a couple of years there I went to the Australian cricket team and I’ve been the Australian cricket team doctor for last two years.

Yeah, obviously we’re in the middle of a busy summer of cricket, which has been pretty emotional and stressful, I have to say, but, anyway, we’re getting there and the guys have been terrific and we’ve had a pretty successful summer so far.

Guy Lawrence: Excellent and the World Cup’s just around the corner.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Yeah, we’re gearing up for that now. The test series is finished and we’ve done colour for the players, on the colour clothing now, and we’ve got Tri-Series against India and England as a sort of warm-up games really and then the real business is the World Cup in February and March. Gives us a few weeks off after that and then we go off to the West Indies and then to England for another extra series. So, it’s a big few months ahead for the Australian cricket team and for their doctor, I guess.

Guy Lawrence: Wow! That is a busy season.

You’ll have to forgive Stu a little bit when it comes to cricket, because I think he gets confused between cricket and baseball. That’s how much he knows.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, thank you. Thank you for that, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: That’s all right.

Stuart Cooke: Always good. Always good. I wasn’t lucky enough to be born in Wales or unlucky enough to be born in Wales; one of the two.

I was interested, Peter, in the questioning of diet, as well and how does that come into sports medicine? I always thought nutrition was almost a kind of, another route completely.

Peter Brukner: Well, I mean, we like to sort of adopt a holistic approach really. I mean, I think as sport medicine physicians we’re responsible for the complete health of the athletes and so obviously nutrition is an important factor in that. I mean, I wouldn’t say, you know, all of my colleagues are interested in nutrition, but certainly some of us are and I’ve always had an interest in nutrition.

In fact, I wrote a book, I co-authored a book with Karen Inge, a well-known Melbourne dietitian, about well, the late ’80s, I think, called Food for Sport, it was only the first of a specialist sports nutrition book in Australia.

So, but in a way I sort of; for a long time I sort of lost a bit of interest in sports nutrition really. Because it became a bit; well, I won’t say “dull” but I mean, basically it was just: Eat lots of carbs and drink lots of sugar-based fluids and that was it. And for 30 years that’s basically what we’ve been doing until more recently. We’ve been challenging that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. What made you first question it, Peter? Because when we met at the low carb talk and spoke, you certainly had a change of thinking around that over time.

Peter Brukner: Yep. Yes. Yeah. Well, I think sometimes you’ve got to re-examine your ideas. Someone once said that 50 percent of everything you get taught in your medical course later turns out to be wrong. You’ve just got to work out which 50 percent that is.

Stuart Cooke: Oh boy.

Peter Brukner: But, no, I guess I first started to question the whole nutrition thing when Tim Noakes came out, sort to speak; no he didn’t come out in the normal way, came out that he switched from being a carb-dominant advocate to being a XXtechnical glitchXX [:06:56.4] … and adopting a low-fat, high-carb, I meant, sorry, a low-carb, high-fat philosophy. And Tim Noakes, as you obviously know, is a very world-renowned sports scientist, sports clinician from Cape Town and I’ve known Tim for 20 odd years and we’ve spoken at numerous conferences together and so on; and Tim was someone I always admired as having a great mind. And he always challenging, you know, a lot of traditional beliefs and in most cases he’s been proven right.

So, when he sat us down to talk about this, both from his own experiences and from those of his patients, I sort of “Oh, gee, you know, that’s interesting.” I… normally I would totally ignore… I mean, like many people I hated the idea of fad diets and celebrity diets and you know, this actress or singer or sportsman is on a particular diet now and I just XXtechnical glitchXX [:07:51.7 to :08:03.8] … to make me think, “whoa, I need to XXtechnical glitchXX [:08:05.2 to :08:08.1] …

I bought Taubes book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, and read the book and it was the most interesting book, I think, I ever read. I just couldn’t believe what I was reading and it just blew me away and I was sort of XXtechnical glitchXX [:08:21.8 to :08:29.1] …

… interesting thing about that book and talk XXtechnical glitchXX [:08:31.1 to :08:32.8] …

… Taubes book and so on, is that they, the low-fat, high-carb arguments, but they also explain the politics of how the low-fat argument basically won out 30 years ago for reasons that were not particularly based on science, but more on politics and economics and so on and so on. And you start to understand, you know, maybe that’s not right and I finished reading that book and I just sort of couldn’t believe it. I thought, “We couldn’t possibly had this wrong all this time, surely? All these great minds and so on couldn’t have gotten this so wrong.” And I certainly XXtechnical glitchXX [:09:10.8 to :09:15.4] …

So I just decided to try it out myself. So, I decided to go a low-carb diet. So, at that stage I’d just turned 60, which was the age that my father had developed type 2 diabetes, so it was in the back of my mind that I didn’t particularly want to go down that track because he just died earlier this year and I’d seen all the problems that he’d had over 20, 25 years or so. And I was, you know, I was supposedly healthy, I had eaten what I was supposed to eat. I would do low-fat this and low-fat that and didn’t have too much in the way of fatty foods and yet probably over a period of 20 years I’ve put on 10 kilograms, 12 kilograms, about half a kilogram a year just steadily and the kids started to, you know, poke me in the guts and say, “Dad, how about it?”

So, I was a bit overweight, probably not morbidly obese, but I was certainly overweight and XXunintelligibleXX [:10:16.5] and I was about sort of borderline overweight/obese. So, I thought, “Well, what the heck, let’s see, let’s see how it goes.”

So, I started. I did a whole lot of blood tests the day I started just so I could follow my progress and I’m went pretty cold turkey low carb for 12 weeks and XXtechnical glitchXX [:10:36.7 to :10:38.5] …

So, I was basically losing pretty much a kilogram a week, which was very rewarding. I mean, you know, you eat this way and you sort of have your doubts and your concerns and so on and then you look at the scales every week and you lose another kilogram. You think, “Wow!” That’s pretty reinforcing and pretty good. So, that made it it quite easy to do in a way.

And then after 12 weeks everyone started to say, “You’re looking a bit thin in the face and you know, maybe you’ve gone too far.” So, I sort of just backed off a little bit and wasn’t quite as strict with my carbs, and so, now I’ve basically maintained that over the last couple of years. Pretty much, you know, not really having many carbs at all and not totally obsessing about it, but basically not eating …

Guy Lawrence: Keeping away carbs. Yeah.

Peter Brukner: … carbs …

Guy Lawrence: And Peter, how do you feel since like …

Peter Brukner: I feel great. Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: You know, I feel really good XXunintelligibleXX [:11:31.7 to :11:34.4] …

… and I’m certainly keeping the weight off. I’ve put on maybe a kilogram or two since then. I kept the same weight and I’ve been feeling really good. I’ve found it enjoyable eating. You know, it’s a sustainable diet. So, I’ve managed to keep eating XXunintelligibleXX [:11:50.8] …

And the other thing that you really notice, is that you’re not nearly as hungry.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: I mean, in the old days I had my cereal for breakfast, you know, like everyone else, I’d get to about 11 o’clock in the morning, you know, and start feeling, “Oh, is it lunchtime yet?” I was starved. But now I don’t even have lunch, you know. Most of the time I just grab a handful of nuts or a bit of cheese or something during the afternoon. But, basically I don’t feel hungry until dinnertime.

So, that’s made a huge difference to my energy levels. I’m much more level during the day. I don’t have the ups and downs that I would have had in the past. So, yeah, I feel very good about it. My bloods have all improved and my triglycerides, which were quite high, have come down enormously. My insulin’s come down. My HDL cholesterol is going up.

So, you know, all the things that I think are important, particularly triglycerides and HDL, have improved significantly. I had a mild case of fatty liver that had been picked up in a blood test some years previously that I hadn’t worried too much about, that all of a sudden that’s disappeared too. They’ve gone back to normal, my liver test as well. So, all aside, I’m pretty positive about it.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Would you say, are you fat-adapted while still eating smaller amounts of carbohydrates, so would you say that you’re operating in ketosis?

Peter Brukner: No, I’m probably not in; I’m probably occasionally ketosis. But, I think I’m one of these people who struggle to get into ketosis, because even when I’ve been pretty strict, my ketones have not, when I’ve measured my ketones, they haven’t been that high. So, I think I’m just fat-adapted; I’m running mainly on fat …

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Peter Brukner: …probably have a little bit of carbohydrates in vegetables and nuts and some dairy. But I don’t get obsessive when I measure the amount of grams of carbohydrates, but I guess I’m somewhere around 50 grams a day of carbohydrate. But everyone has their own sort of ideal level of carbohydrates. I think most young people can probably tolerate significantly larger amounts of that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: I think a lot of us in mid-life should become insulin resistant to a certain degree. We’re the ones who really benefit from reducing the carbs significantly.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That’s fascinating.

Guy Lawrence: And thanks to people like yourself and Professor Tim Noakes, as well, you’re starting to see this being questioned in the sporting fields.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Well see, carbs have been dominant in sport and all athletes have been obsessed with carbs now for a long time and I think that’s being challenged. I mean, I think; firstly let’s look at an endurance athletes and even ultra endurance athletes, I mean, fat is a very good fuel and the problem is that it burns slowly, if you like, XXtechnical glitchXX [:14:51.3 to :14:52.2] …

Stuart Cooke: Yep.

Peter Brukner: … so, it’s almost unlimited resources and the problem with carbs, obviously, is you’re going to XXtechnical glitchXX [:14:57.5 to :15:00.9] …

… I think for endurance athletes who are not; needing to work at a very high intensity, a high fat diet is very, very good, and I think a lot of ultra endurance athletes now have switched to a low-carb, high-fat diet and gained a lot of benefits from it. Especially the sort of ultra marathons; you know all the guys doing these crazy hundred XXtechnical glitchXX [:15:23.5 to :15:25.6] …

… steaks and things like that. But I think; I’m pretty sure that for an ultra endurance and endurance athletes, you know, Ironman, triathlon types, marathoners, that a low-carb, high-fat diet is quite appropriate.

Probably… The feelings is it’s very individual. I mean, there are some people who are absolutely fine on low-carb and high-fat and others who just need to supplement a little bit with carbs.

Stuart Cooke: Yep.

Peter Brukner: But I think by and large; I think most people will, well, not most people, but a lot of people now agree that for endurance, ultra endurance athletes, that it’s XXtechnical glitchXX [:16:04.0 to :15:07.4] …

There’s no doubt about that in my mind. The interesting one is the sort of ultra-intense exercise. Particularly the sort of high-intensity intermittent activities, like in football, basketball, and so on. And that’s very interesting because there are certainly some anecdotal studies and reports that a number of these type of athletes, particularly in basketball in the States and the AFL in Australia, are starting to use the low-carb, high-fat diet, some of them are supplementing. So what a number of teams are doing, individuals are doing, basically going low carb during the week and then come game day they may supplement with some carbs. So, it’s the XXunintelligibleXX [:16:55.5] high philosophy.

But again, that’s very individual. There are other people who don’t seem to need carbs who can still do this high-intensity intermittent activity at full bore, without any carbs at all. So, it’s a little matter of experimenting a bit.

But there’s something happening, especially in the AFL, which I’m quite familiar with, and I know a couple of clubs that are playing around with this. Melbourne is being quite open about the fact that their players have all gone low-carb in the pre-season and seem to be doing well. So, it will be interesting to see they go. They’re a pretty terrible team, so they can only improve. So, whether they XXtechnical glitchXX [:17:31.6 to :17:33.4] or not, I don’t know.

So, I think the jury is still out and as I said, I suspect it’s an individual thing. But I think there are benefits to be gained from training on a low-carb, but I think you need some carbs for the high-intensity actual sporting activities.

Stuart Cooke: What are your thoughts on, the performance aside, the recovery aspect of adopting high fat over high carb?

Peter Brukner: Well, I mean, you know we’ve always had this philosophy that you’ve got to replenish your carbohydrates reserves after exercise, but it’s relevant if you deplete them or if you’re using mainly carbs as your fuel, if you’re using mainly fats that’s obviously not as important,

I still think the protein aspect is the key to recovery. You know you obviously have a lot of muscle XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:20.5 to :18:21.7] …

… for your exercise XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:21.1 to :18:24.2] …

…muscle and I think adequate protein XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:25.8 to :18:27.2] …

… you know, certainly there’s plenty of protein XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:29.2 to :18:30.1] …

… and high fats and a bit of high quality fats and XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:33.0 to :18:35.1] …

… thinking in recovery.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, because I know we; you know you mentioned a couple of times, it’s been helping a few of the Aussie cricketers as well, hasn’t it?

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Well, essentially, I haven’t sort of pushed it at all, but I guess my first two tours with the cricket team coincided; it was in the middle, between those two tours, when I lost all the weight. So, I turned up in India a couple of years ago and I had one say, “Oh, doc. What’s happened to you? You’re half the man you used to be.” So, they took an interest in that. A number of them sort of just took me aside and said, “Look, tell me about it and I’d like to try it please.”

The interesting thing is despite these guys being full-time athletes and high levels of exercise, a number of them used to struggle with their weight; which was really against this whole theme of calories in/calories out. I mean, they’re working, training every day, playing five-day test?[:19:28.1] matches, etc. and still having problems with their weight.

So, a number of them were keen to try and lose some weight, so they decided to adopt the diet and then people like Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson and Steve Smith and Dave Warner and a couple of the others have all taken on board the diet and all had immediate, sort of good responses to it. They lost some weight; obviously they didn’t have huge amounts of weight to lose, but they all lost between 3 and 5 kilograms fairly quickly and felt very good about it and again, they all vary in the amounts of carbs, from very little to small amount of carbs, particularly on XXtechnical glitchXX [:20:12.0 to :20:16.1] …

… low carb, high fat and they all seem to be XXtechnical glitchXX [:20:21.8 to :20:23.7] …

Shane Watson is a classic example. He’s always had trouble with his weight and I can say it’s the best thing that’s happened to him and the only way he used to be able to drop weight was to starve himself and he could only do it in the off season, because when you’re playing you can’t do that. So, he would sort of be miserable when he was not playing, because he just wouldn’t allow himself to eat and Shane loves his food. So, this has enabled him to still eat and enjoy his food and drop his weight and certainly, you know, at the moment he’s doing pretty well. So, it’s encouraging.

Davey Warner’s the same. He arrived and met with me a couple of years ago, quite overweight. He’d been injured and hadn’t been doing as much as usual and had put on quite a bit of weight and he managed to trim down a number of kilograms. We measure their skin folds regularly with the cricketers and his skin folds have dropped about 30 points in that time, which is a remarkable achievement.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: And now you see with all those guys having very successful a couple of years now, I’m not sort of saying that’s the only reason, there’s a lot of factors, but I think it has helped them.

Guy Lawrence: With the way you’ve witnessed as well, like a question that just popped in there in terms of inflammation and injury, have you noticed anything, any relationship between increasing the fat and reduction of inflammation?

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Look. I think there’s a fair amount of that evidence now that there are pro inflammatory agents in your carbs and in particular sugars are one of those agents. We certainly had one player who had a very dramatic response to change. He was on quite a high level of medication for an inflammatory-based joint problem and he was on medication that was costing him about $15,000 a year and just controlling his symptoms and he switched to a low-carb, high-fat diet, a pretty strict diet, and within a week he was able to get off all his medication that he’d been on for some time and he’s not had a problem since and he’s been able to double the amount of training he’s done and I saw him the other day and he’s not XXtechnical glitchXX [:22:34.1 to :22:36.2] …

… I saw him the other day and he said, “Yeah doctor, I’m still on the diet. It’s fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Wow!

Peter Brukner: XXtechnical glitchXX [:22:42.5 to :22:45.9] …

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome.

Peter Brukner: XXtechnical glitchXX [:22:46.4 to :22:48.5] …

… inflammatory arthritis can be cured by that, but I think you know there are certainly some areas around that it reduces people that have excessive inflammation in some sort of form. So, you know, he’s a big guy, we could have obviously have done the whole diet thing.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s fantastic and I guess it certainly doesn’t hurt to try this either, does it? Just to see how you how you get on for a couple of weeks.

Peter Brukner: Well, that’s what I suggest to people who come and say, “I’ve got terrible arthritis or some sort of inflammatory disease.” That you give it a go and it’s not going to help everyone, but if you can get off some of the drugs that you require and you get symptom relief with a simple change of diet, then that’s a fantastic result.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Excellent. So, from a medical perspective now, your thoughts on sport drinks, given what you know about carbs and everything we’ve spoken about this morning.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Look, I think sports drinks have been incredibly well-marketed over the years and they’re basically just sugar and water, and with a few electrolytes put in. I think; I don’t think that sugar’s a good thing and I think we’ve got now a whole generation of kids who think that sport drinks are healthy and all they’re doing is putting sugar in. You know, I think that this generation is eating and drinking far too much sugar and I think really the best sports drink is water and that’s maybe with some electrolytes if you need them. But by and large, 95 percent of the time water is what you require to rehydrate you and you don’t need any extra sugars.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: It doesn’t sell too well though, does it?

Peter Brukner: No, it doesn’t.

Stuart Cooke: It actually does Guy, if you look at the price of bottle water …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So true.

Peter Brukner: That’s another of my pet annoyances. What’s wrong with tap water?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Maybe if you XXunintelligibleXX [24:52.9] it would be different. But everywhere else has got pretty good tap water I think. So yeah, I’m a tap water fan.

Guy Lawrence: Fair enough. Fair enough. The next topic we wanted to cover was the Cereal Killer movies and …

Peter Brukner: Ah yes.

Guy Lawrence: … the documentaries which, you know, you’ve appeared in both Cereal Killers, too. We’re not talking about, as in murders; we’re actually talking about breakfast cereals.

Peter Brukner: Yeah, that’s right.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Tell us; how did you get involved?

Peter Brukner: It’s alleged that’s my movie career, but you never know.

Look, it was bizarre really, because I heard about the movie from Kickstarter, which is sort of a web-based funding for small projects such as movies, and I just liked the sound of what Donal O’Neill, that crazy Irishman, was doing. He was basically making a movie about cereal killers, as you said.

So, I contacted him and offered my support and a small donation and then I said, “Good luck with it all.” I said, “If, you know, some of our cricketers are one it and are very supportive and if we can help in any way, you know, let us know.” So, he contacted me and said, “Do you think some of the cricketers would be happy to sort of say a few words to promote the movie?” And I said, “Well, I can ask them.” They were only too happy to do it.

So, Donal came over. We were in London at the time, it was during the last Ashes and he came over and interviewed a few of us; myself and three of the players, and he rang me the next day and said, “Oh, that was so good. We’re going to put it in the movie.” I said, “Why? I thought you had finished the movie?” He said, “Ah, well we decided to reopen the movie for that.” So, they just added a bit to the end of the first movie with a few of the players and myself and so on.

So, that was a bit of a laugh and quite nice. But it’s a, I thought it was a great movie. I mean, he’s a remarkable man, Donal, and he’d never made a movie in his life and all of a sudden has put together a very professional, you know, one-hour sort of movie-cum-documentary. It was entertaining. He’s a funny guy, but a passionate guy with a message to get across.

So, that’s been enjoyable. I’ve been fortunate enough to sort of attend various premieres of the movie around. We had one in Melbourne and then we had one in Cape Town that Tim Noakes was there and Donal was at as well; we had one in London.

So, it was great and it’s been very well-received. It’s not been out in the movie theaters, but it’s available online and I see people have found it; both entertaining and informative.

So, Donal’s just done another one, Cereal Killers 2. Not a very imaginative title, but it covers a lot; a number of things and both Tim and I are in it again.

The main story is about a guy called Sami Inkinen, who is a legendary figure in sort of an Ironman circles, former world champion; bit of a crazy guy. He decided that; he had become passionate about low-carb, high-fat, and he decided one of the best ways to test it out was to do a bit of rowing. And most of us go for a row on the river and we decide to row a kilometer down the river and back. He decided to; he and his wife decided to row a boat from San Francisco to Hawaii. So, which is not exactly your lazy afternoon row. And so, they both did that on a completely low-carb, high-fat diet and broke the previous record by a number of days and got there and yeah, he went.

So, I won’t tell the whole story, but Cereal Killers 2 is a lot about Sami’s story, he was assisted by Steve Phinney who is one of the sort of legends of research in the low-carb area and he was his advisor for the trip. Steve was out in Sydney recently and I caught up with him.

But it’s a great story and Donal’s a great storyteller. I haven’t seen the whole movie. I’ve only seen, probably like yourselves, the highlights. I think it comes out next month and I’m looking forward to seeing it. But again, it’s that combination of entertainment, but it’s a pretty interesting message, as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: So, he’s a remarkable guy, Donal, very talented.

Stuart Cooke: It’s certainly a great mixture there and I’m intrigued as to whether it will ruffle a few feathers in the sporting world. Because Sami, specifically with his tri-athlete and Ironman heritage, it really does throw open the world of or move in the world of gels and sports drinks and goos and high carbs. So, I’m wondering how that will be received for that particular little circle of sports. What do you think? Do you reckon it will stir; cause a stir?

Peter Brukner: Oh, absolutely. It’s already and it has been for the last 12 months or so and I know that people have been passionate defenders of it. I mean, one of the very prominent sports dietician has said publicly that I should be in jail and Tim Noakes should be struck off and all of that sort stuff …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: … so people get very XXtechnical glitchXX [:30:02.4 to :30:04.6] …

Because there’s a lot of people that have got an awful invested in high-carb industry. Both from what they’ve been telling their clients and their patients, to the money they’re making from products and so on. So look, I think it’s, it is such a radical change and I can understand why people are reluctant to embrace it and are very resistant toward it. But overall all I would hope is that people have an open mind; they look at the scientific evidence and they talk to people who have experienced it and you know …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: XXtechnical glitchXX [:30:35.7 to :30:39.3] …

… high fat diet, whether it be for weight loss, for health reasons or for performance reasons have, hope, basically stuck to it, which is very unusual for a diet. Most diets people will do, I mean you can lose weight certainly on any diet really, but XXunintelligibleXX [:30:54.1] this is a highly sustainable, because you enjoy the food and you’re not as hungry and you have all sorts of other health benefits, like the triglycerides and the various XXunintelligibleXX [:31:08]. and so and so.

So, I think, certainly it’s people feel challenged and we need to have good healthy debate. We need better research and we need independent researchers, because so much of the research is done by the drug companies or by the food industry or the drinks industry that obviously have a vested interest it. So, we need some independent research to; you know, I personally, I think there’s enough research out there now, but I still think we need some more convincing evidence that this is the way to go.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fair enough. What if; if an endurance athlete stopped you on the street tomorrow that was a carb loader and you had two minutes, what would your advice be to him if he was looking into this? Just go cold turkey? Do it out of season? Or?

Peter Brukner: Yeah, I’d say, “I wouldn’t be doing it, you know, the week before my major competition and like that.” But I’d certainly say, “Look, I think, you know, you might well benefit from it. I don’t think, but it’s going to take probably a month. You need to, you know, it takes you somewhere between two and four weeks for the average person to become fat-adapted, so don’t worry if you do go, you know, ‘cold turkey,’ so to speak and turkey’s good on this diet; but do decide to go, you know, hard on the low-carb, high-fat diet, you know. Don’t worry if you don’t feel great for a couple of weeks, because there’s certainly some people who feel a bit, you know, ‘washed out’ as they adapt from a carbohydrates source of fuel to a fat source. Give it a month and see how your training is coming. How you feel yourself and how you cope with the diet.”

And nine times out of 10 I think people will find that they have positive response to the diet and they’ll continue on it.

And then as far as competition goes, like I said earlier on, it’s a matter of the individual finding out what’s right for you. Whether you do need to top up on some carbs on race day. Or whether you can manage perfectly well without, and that’s up to the individual.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Good advice. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, what do you think the future holds for the medical industry where nutrition is concerned? Because there is still a huge amount of advice that tells us that we should eat lots of carbohydrates.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Yeah. Look, I think it’s going to gradually turn. I think I said on Cereal Killers that it would take 10 years, but I think we’re now XXunintelligibleXX [:33:23.5] down the track and I think we’re actually made more miles than I would have expected. I think it’s going to be a gradual process. As I said, there’s a lot of people, I mean, if you’ve been told something for 30 years, I mean, and then you’ve been telling people something for 30 years, it requires a lot of sort of well, courage really or humility in a way to actually admit that, well, maybe we haven’t been entirely correct on this.

So, I, with my medical colleagues are always; they think I’m totally lost and I’ve gone loopy and going over to the dark side and so, hey, they’re probably right; but I buy them a copy of Nina Teichnolz’s book; I’m very happy it’s just come out in paperback, I’m getting it cheaper now, Big Fat Surprise, and I say to my medical colleagues, “Well, look, you know, okay would you read a book?” And some yeah, “Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I’ll read a book.” And I give them that book, and so far 100 percent of them have been converted after reading that book.

So, look, I think it’s going to take time because obviously there’s enormous money invested in the sugar industry and the processed food industry and the pharmaceutical industry and statins and so on.

So, you know there’s going to be a lot of resistance from industry and a lot of resistance from the medical profession as well, because, again, it’s hard to sort of change in midstream. But look, I’m convinced it’s the way to go and, again, I want to make the point that low-carb is not necessary for everyone. I mean, most young people metabolize carbohydrates perfectly well. I think it would help them to reduce them and reduce their sort of sugar intake, but they’re probably fine with a reasonable amount of carbohydrates.

It’s really the sort of the middle aged, pre-diabetic metabolic syndrome, overweight, you know, just likely to develop… I mean, the rate of obesity and type 2 diabetes in our society. It’s just skyrocketing.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: And if you look at the graph, it’s more or less a straight line increase which started exactly 30 years ago, which is exactly when we told everyone to go less fat and all the dieters replaced that with more carbohydrates and it’s been a disaster.

I think people will look back in 50 years and say, “What on earth were they thinking?” And you know the damage that policy has done over 30 years is remarkable and we need to turn that around and we need to turn it around quickly. Because the diabetes epidemic in this world is costing Western societies enormous amounts of each and you know we’re always looking for fancier drugs and fancier medical equipment and so on. There is a one of the big solutions is just in diet and we better get that message across.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And I do think the industry; the word is definitely getting out there again, aren’t they? We see more and more people, even dropping us emails, asking questions and people at least talking about it, whether they agree with or not, it’s definitely on the radar now, where it never used to be, I don’t think.

Peter Brukner: I think a lot of people take notice and, like, Tim Noakes and so on are doing a fantastic job. He’s much vilified in South Africa, but he’s very XXunintelligibleXX [:36:56.6 to :37:02.1].

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Has your family adopted this way of eating, Peter? Or is it just you?

Peter Brukner: Um, there’s mixed; I’ve got four kids; a wife and 4 kids. Wife’s been very supportive and we eat pretty much the same foods and one of the boys is a tri-athlete, sort of, just about a diet half on and building up and he’s pretty much adopted it as well. A couple of the others, their XXtechnical glitchXX [:37:33.7 to :37:36.3] she’s struggling with that, but they all think their dad’s crazy, but you know, I think XXunintelligibleXX [:37:40.4 to :37:41.8] doesn’t really make much difference.

Stuart Cooke: So, just for our listeners, Peter, and we always ask this question as well; can you just give us a brief outline of what you ate yesterday?

Peter Brukner: Well, my typical day is XXunintelligibleXX:37:55.2] good, because I’m on the road a lot with the cricket team, so I tend to try have a big breakfast. So, I’ll have for breakfast, I’ll have a combination of some full-fat Greek yogurt. I make up my own mix of some seeds …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: Some almonds and macadamias and walnuts and pumpkin seeds and chia seeds and so on. I carry that around with me in a little box with me wherever I go. Take that down to breakfast with me when I’m on the road. So, I mix that all together with the berries in the yogurt and make it my own sort of breakfast cereal, if you want to call it that. And then I’ll have some eggs and some bacon or smoked salmon or avocado or something with the eggs. So, XXtechnical glitchXX [:38:39.8 to :38.43.1] …

Then as I sit down, really, to eat during the day, I don’t each lunch. If I get a bit peckish mid-afternoon I might have a handful of nuts or a bit of cheese and then for dinner I’ll have, you know, the old meat and three veg or fish and three veg. So, I’ll have some meat or fish and leave the fat on, not the way I used to sort of trim all the fat off the meat, and then lots of green veggies, broccoli and beans and you know, all that sort of; cauliflower and so on. I don’t usually have dessert. If I do, I’ll have berries and cream …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: I drink a bit of coffee during the day with full-fat milk and then that’s pretty much it. If I need to drink, I’ll drink water, but mainly coffee and water and that’s pretty much it. Yeah, I enjoy; I enjoy every meal I have and, you know, everyone goes off at lunchtime and they go have lunch and I just sit around and do all the things, and I don’t feel at all hungry …

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Perfect.

Peter Brukner: It’s very different to how I used to feel. I’d always been the first running out for lunch otherwise and so, it’s very different. Like I said, I’ve been able to maintain that regime and my bloods are all good and triglycerides are good. So, yeah, I’m pretty happy with the way things are.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Perfect. It sounds like the proof is in the pudding, or not.

Peter Brukner: It must have been in my pudding anyway, that’s for sure.

Stuart Cooke: Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: It’s such a good feeling though. Like I’ve adopted the high-fat diet now for five or six years. You know, generally I still have a little bit of carbs, but not much and the biggest thing that’s changed my life is the fact that my energy levels are steady every day and it’s just made a massive difference. I just, on a low note, definitely recommend at least trying it.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. I certainly, obviously, you know, a lot of people ask me about it and I’ve started a lot of my friends and colleagues on it and really it; particularly the middle age and overweight guys. I have a lot of guys and every single one of them has lost a significant about of weight. Males better than females and more consistent result in men than women. Women’s results are a little bit less consistent, but certainly in males who need to lose some weight. I mean, it just falls off you. It’s a very satisfying diet to be on when you get the rewards you get.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely. We’ve got one more question for you, Peter, before we wrap up and it’s another one we ask everyone. And it’s, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Peter Brukner: East real food.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: I like it. That works.

Guy Lawrence: It works very well.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, we do. We use that phrase quite often.

Peter Brukner: I think that’s the best advise. You can talk carbs and fat and so on, but I …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: … when you get down to it if you just eat real food rather than processed food, I mean, you’re going to be right.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: You’re going to be a lot healthier.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Spot on. And that; for anyone listening to this, Peter, if; where can they get more of you?

Peter Brukner: More of me? XXunintelligibleXX [41:56.0] I’ve got a website and I’ve got a little sort of brochure on that website, “All You Need to Know About Low Carb/High Fat.” So, it’s just PeterBrukner.com. The Brukner is “brukner,” Everyone wants to put a “C” in there , but it’s just PeterBrukner.com and there you go.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, we’ll send out the link for that. We always do and so they can check it out.

And what does the future hold? Anything? Obviously the World Cup; that’s very exciting.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Look, cricket is sort of my full-time job I guess, so we’re going to be ahead with the World Cup and the Ashes and then; but I write a text book of sports medicine, so we’re revising that, we’re at our fifth edition at the moment, so that keeps me; keeps me busy. I’ve got my practices in Melbourne. I’ve got really passionate about the whole nutrition aspects, so I’m doing everything that I can to promote that and I try to see the family as well. So, that’s about it for me.

Guy Lawrence: That was awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming onto the show, Peter. We really appreciate your time.

Peter Brukner: My pleasure.

Stuart Cooke: Yes. Thank you so much and enjoy the rest of the day.

Peter Brukner: Thanks a lot guys.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Thanks Peter. Cheers, mate.

Peter Brukner: All right. See you guys.

 

Food, Schools, Choc Tops & Night Vision – What the Experts Eat with ‘That Sugar Film’ Damon Gameau

Damon Gameau of That Sugar Film shares with us what he eats in day, school screenings, cinema choc tops & night vision!You can listen to the full interview here: http://bit.ly/17ixelZ

Posted by 180nutrition on Monday, March 30, 2015

Damon Gameau, the man behind ‘That Sugar Film’ shares with us what he eats in a typical day, along with his mission to get the movie screened in all schools across Australia. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, make it a must! Learn more about That Sugar Film here.

You can watch the full interviews here
You can listen to the full interview on your iPhone here

That sugar filmGuy Lawrence: We’ve got a few questions we ask everyone on the podcast every week, and one of them is: Can you tell us what you ate today or yesterday?

Damon Gameau: What I ate today? That’s a good question. What did I eat today? Well, just before you guys I made this kind of muddle in the fry pan. It had halloumi. It had chicken. It had mushrooms. And it had broccoli. It was like a weird kind of mangled stir fry.

For breakfast I had a smoothie and I had a bit of coconut water with the flesh in it. I had cucumber. I had some spinach. And a little bit of coconut yogurt. And that’s pretty much all I’ve eaten today. And I had a handful of almonds.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Real food.

Guy Lawrence: It’s not hard to do either, is it?

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Damon Gameau: Delicious. Absolutely delicious.

Stuart Cooke: Food that our grandparents would recognize.

Damon Gameau: I know. That’s right. That great quote about; that says “Organic: what your grandparents used to call food.”

The same goes for schools.

And then my goal is to get it into every school in Australia by the end of the year. And so far we’ve had an incredible amount of schools that have signed up that are really interested in it. And I think, again, as the film’s actually out there, you guys have seen it, you know that it will generate its own discussion and people will want to; they’ll be talking about it.

So, that’s my hope. Then we do the same in the UK and the U.S. And, again, I think because the film will be out and about this year, that hopefully it will kind of generate a discussion and more people and it will kind of have a snowball effect. And then it will release on television at the middle of the year. We’ve sold it to one of the networks and then DVD, of course, and iTunes.

And so there’s a real chance that we can spread it out as far and wide as we can and I’m also gonna be pushing it and doing anything I can, going to screenings and doing all the Q and A’s, because, like I said, I’m very passionate about it. I’m very proud of it. And I want as many people as I can to see it as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Good on you, man. That’s just awesome.

Stuart Cooke: I’m just thinking about the audience at the time, with their Choc-tops and their Coca-Cola. At what point do they put down…

Damon Gameau: I did actually think; early on I thought it would be great to actually have a hidden camera that had night vision. And then just watch their faces like suddenly put it down about 10 minutes later. You’d see this cup disappear. Ah!

 
Discover more interviews here

Food Diaries Of An Elite Crossfit Athlete with Chad Mackay

Elite Crossfit athlete and all round great guy, Chad Mackay shares with us what he eats in a typical day of his life including pre and post workout.

chad mackayStu: You know, you do a huge amount throughout your day. What does your typical daily look like? What are you eating and how much do you eat?

Chad Mackay: Well, in the off season I’ll tend to eat a little bit more. During the season, I try and weigh and measure most of my meals. Otherwise, I just feel like I can overeat quite easily. So, I just need to be quite strict on what I do eat and at what times.

A general day would be five meals, and those meals would be spaced about four hours apart. Breakfast will be about a quarter past 5 in the morning where I’ll have a shake, a banana, and a handful of nuts. About an hour before training in the morning I’ll have just a really small snack, kind of pre-workout, and then post-workout I’ll try and have a full meal, whether that will be chicken or lamb. So, some type of flesh. And then a big salad, sweet potato, and that will be kind of drenched in olive oil and avocado. And I’ll have a piece of fruit after I work out.

Normally something specific before, pre-workout will be normally banana. And I’ll probably have about a third of a banana before; exactly an hour beforehand. And then I’ll have about probably 40 grams of weighed protein, so that’ll be chicken or lamb or beef.

And then, post-workout will be a healthy shake, a 180 protein shake, and then a piece of fruit as well and a whole meal. So, that’ll be straightaway. I’ll normally still be breathing pretty heavy to get that meal in.

Guy Lawrence: Where do you get your carbs from? So, mainly sweet potato and fruit and veggies?

Chad Mackay: Sweet potato and fruit and veggies.

And then, post-workout will be a shake, a 180 shake, and then a piece of fruit as well and a whole meal. So, that’ll be straightaway. I’ll normally still be breathing pretty heavy to get that meal in.

Guy Lawrence: Do you eat any grains?

Chad Mackay: No grains at all.

Guy Lawrence: Good man.

Chad Mackay: No grains at all.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, because I only raise it as well because there’s a common myth that you need, traditionally, if you’re a high-end athlete that grains are one of the main sources of energy.

Stuart Cooke: Hmm. When did you eliminate your grains, Chad? And, I guess, why?

Chad Mackay:  I personally eliminated grains, it would have been around about five years ago. I looked into, when I first started CrossFit. The initial two weeks I lost probably three or four kilos in that initial two weeks and then I slowly tapered off after that. And then I kind of got introduced to the Paleo Diet.

So, my stomach definitely isn’t as bloated anymore and that’s probably one of the biggest things that I found is that I didn’t have that bloated feeling.

Stuart Cooke: Do you have dairy in your diet, or much, or little, or?

Chad Mackay: A little bit of dairy; not too much. Like, at the moment, I’ve cut most of the dairy out. I might have a little bit of milk in a coffee in the mornings. But when I’m trying to drop back in weight for the season, I’ll try and cut out milk. But in the off season I will add a little bit of milk occasionally.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, fair enough. Fair enough.

Shop now

Rowed 45 Days Straight Eating 70% Fat. This is What Happened…

The video above is 2 minutes 55 seconds long.

cereal killers two run on fat

We welcome back Donal O’Neill to the show, the creator of the Cereal Killers Movie with the fantastic message; Don’t Fear Fat.

This time Donal is here to chat about his new movie and sequel to the original; Cereal Killers Two – Run On Fat. We dive into the world of elite athleticism and performance where world class triathlete Sami Inkinen and Dr Steve Phinney challenge the efficacy and safety of “carb loading” for sports performance.

If you like the idea of eating whole foods instead of sugar gels and processed carbs as your main source of fuel, then this episode is for you!

Full Interview: Cereal Killers 2 Movie – Run On Fat with Donal O’Neill


downloaditunes
In this episode we talk about:-

  • How two people rowed 45 days straight on a high fat diet
  • How to become a ‘healthier’ athlete on top of performance
  • The best sporting disciplines that are more suited to a low carb diet
  • The steps an athlete should take if wanting to adopt this style of eating
  • A glimpse into Cereal Killers Three
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Get More of Cereal Killers Two:

Cereal Killers Two Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. We welcome back today, Donal O’Neill. Now you might remember we had Donal on our podcast roughly about a year ago discussing his movie Cereal Killers. Now, Cereal Killers actually went on to be viewed several hundred thousand times, which is pretty remarkable considering that it was Donal’s first movie.
It was featured on the world’s largest health website. It’s also been on the BBC, national newspapers and it was deemed one of the top 10 independent movies of 2013, which is awesome. So, if you haven’t seen that and you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can check out our podcast and just type “Cereal Killers” into Google, because it’s a fantastic documentary on fat adaptation. (Let me get my words right.)

So, he’s now back with his brand-new movie, which is Cereal Killers 2, called Run on Fat, and I must admit I was very excited when I saw this because I think it’s a movie that just needed to be made and at least put that into the mix out there.

And it’s exactly that. It’s about fat adaption and sports performance and elite athleticism and it actually follows the progress of Sami Inkinen who is a World Ironman champion and his wife Meredith and they both decide to row from San Francisco to Hawaii nonstop. I think it took them 45 days, of course, using fat as the primary source of fuel, and they were also monitored and given guidance by Dr. Stephen Phinney, of course, who is a low-carb legend himself, so make sure the movie, check it out. It’s a must, and you’re going to thoroughly enjoy the podcast today, because we get to chat on and on about, yeah, everything that’s within Cereal Killers 2, so I have no doubt you’re going to enjoy it.
If you are listening to this though iTunes, just a simple subscribe to our podcast and also a review would be fantastic. Just helps us get found easier on iTunes and spread the word out there, and, of course, if you are listening to the and you want to come over and see our pretty faces on video or watch these in video, come to 180nutrition.com.au, and we’ve got a heap of resources there to include our free e-book, which I’m very proud of which I wrote. Yeah, it’s a great place to start if you find all of this information a little bit overwhelming.
Anyway, I’m going to stop talking and let’s get into the podcast with Donal. Enjoy.


Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined today with Stuart Cooke. Hello, Stewie, as always.
Stuart Cooke: Hello.
Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Donal O’Neill. Donal, welcome back to the podcast, mate.
Donal O’Neill: Morning, guys.
Guy Lawrence: So, mate, it’s good to have you back on the show and obviously talk about the new movie, Cereal Killers 2, but I thought just before we start getting into that, can you just bring yourself up to speed for anyone that might not have heard of you or the first movie, Cereal Killers?
Donal O’Neill: You mean there are people down there who haven’t heard about us?
Stuart Cooke: I think there were two. There were two that I found, last week.
Donal O’Neill: I thought our last podcast had addressed all of that, well for those that haven’t come across us yet, I’m the producer of Cereal Killers, which was a movie I made with a bit of a personal quest into the whole area of health and wellness and particularly metabolic disorders after my dad who was a, sort of, seemingly fit, healthy sports man took a heart attack.
So I got busy researching why that happened and I was stupid enough to think I could make a feature-length documentary about what I found out and that went kind of okay, so…
Guy Lawrence: You did a fantastic job.

Donal O’Neill: We lost the plot… We’ve done it again, so, here we are.
Guy Lawrence: I remember we were talking to you on the podcast last time and you said this thing just grew and grew and grew, and you ended up getting Dr. Peter Brukner and the Aussie cricket team at the end of the movie and everything, you know, it certainly wasn’t a two-week project by any means by the looks of it. What inspired you to do a second one with Cereal Killers 2 – Run on Fat?
Donal O’Neill: Well, a really interesting thing happened when we ran the Kickstarter account in for Cereal Killers 1. Sami Inkinen contacted me after that campaign and, I’m a big believer in the power of the internet, obviously, you guys would be, too, and Sami just contacted me out of the blue from California. I did not know who he was. He said he wanted to help pump the movie in North America, and Sami is also a tech entrepreneur, so he’s very familiar and capable in this biz, but a long story short, Sami sponsored a screening tour of North America for Cereal Killers 1.
The movie was already made, at that point, and I met him really this time last year for the first time, and we hit it off, got along very well. He’s a World Ironman age group champion, phenomenal athlete, so the bulk of our discussion was around sport and performance and whatnot, and then when we hooked up in San Francisco, we talked some more, and I got to understand really what he himself had done, and I realized that he probably has more data than anybody else on the planet in terms of his journey to fat adaptation in an elite performance model, so I was absolutely fascinated by that.

And he engaged Steve Phinney who came to the premiere in San Francisco last year. It kind of rolled from there. I went and spent some time with Steve Phinney who’s a remarkable man, and the idea for Cereal Killers 2 was born because Sami and his wife Meredith had decided they were going to row across the Pacific. It kind of struck me as a nice story arc with a fantastic scientist center stage, because Steve was advising Sami on his dietary aspects. Yeah, it all just knitted together. It struck me, “This is a strong story,” and the guys agreed to participate and, you know, Steve Phinney in particular had never done anything like this and I just think he’s a man whose time has come and Sami was a wonderful manifestation of his principles, so I just thought the story was strong and the people were interested and willing and finally we got it done.
Guy Lawrence: Great job. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Are you expecting any grief from the sports or science fraternity at all?

Donal O’Neill: Well, I absolutely hope so. Yeah, the debate has already started, Stu. Some of them have got a little bit animated, shall we say, about what we’re talking about, and, of course, people look at the title of cereal Killers 2 – Run on Fat and they take that very literally and whatnot, but, listen, what’s going to happen, I have no doubt that Steve Phinney is going to be vindicated and everything he’s been saying for 30-plus years XXaudio glitchXX [0:07:47]
I’ve seen Sami firsthand. I’ve watched this guy train. I’ve watched him go through the motions and this is very, very real, and Tim Noakes makes one comment during the movie which I think it’ll pass a lot of people by but he’s really summed up where sports science could and should be going and it’s certainly where he’s taking it and that’s, the sports scientists in particular, they look at performance from a very acute perspective and that’s if you’re doing a four- or five-minute row or whatever then they’ll assess that particular window which clearly is a very, very short period of time, but note they’re saying that they need to start looking at the performance model much more holistically.
You take an athlete like Sir Steve Redgrave who’s type 2 diabetic, you know, practically while he’s standing on the Olympic podium and it doesn’t make sense and Noakes is saying, “You know, we can do things and we can use the principles of fat adaptation to make athletes healthier.”


And you don’t get the career switch…has a huge monetary impact for many athletes and Phinney touches on that because he knows that a lot of athletes are doing this, particularly older athletes, and they’re using the, you know, the lowered inflammation that they’re seeing in their bodies for quicker recovery and they’re adding one to three years to careers that would otherwise come to an end.
So there’s a lot in this and, obviously, a couple of the Aussie XXrowing? Drill?XX [0:09:21] teams have come out publically that they’re doing it, and one would not really anticipate that, but we can see the switch coming and it’s real and, you know, the argument will be, “Well, you know, fat isn’t an efficient fuel, you know, 70 percent VO2 max performance level.”
But what it’s doing up to that point seems to be creating some pretty dramatic XXaudio cuts outXX [0:09:49] for athletes around the world.

Stuart Cooke: It’s interesting, as well, because where athletes are concerned, you know, power and performance and endurance are buzzwords, but you mentioned healthier, and that just resonated to me for athletes to become better and healthier, as well, because as you said, like, Steve Redgrave being type 2 diabetes is crazy and just hadn’t heard that term before which it just makes you think deeper, I think, into a little bit about what the film is actually about.
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, I mean, I myself, I had a brief and very average international athletics career, but I broke down. I was overtrained and I got very, very seriously injured and, you know, sport at the elite level is, you know, “there’s nothing healthy about race days” is what they say and it’s true, but there’s really not a whole lot healthy about professional sport per se, because, you know, athletes, they get damaged all the time and, you know, we understand that and we’re quite happy to go through that, and if you ask any athletes, “Would you place much emphasis on your longer-term health, or would you rather go to the games?” You know, seven, eight out of 10 are going to say, “I want to go to the games.”

But, you know, that’s the athletes’ temperament, but surely there’s a duty of care there somewhere as well for these sports scientists and nutritionists who are advising them to at least open their eyes to this growing phenomenon because, you know, Sami was contacted by one of the British Olympic rowing team, and one of their mentors, I can tell you, was very vocally against what we’re doing here, but yet there’s somebody on that squad contacting Sami directly saying, “I want to take sugar out of my diet entirely. I can see the benefits of this, etc., etc.” so it’s happening and it will be led by the athletes because there’s XXno defined sightXX [0:11:45]

A vast majority of research comes from carbohydrate interests and, sure the research isn’t there to support this, and that’s what the scientists say, but it’s coming, and it’s coming through some very interesting channels. They’re not traditional channels. The U.S. military are going to be involved in that, and it’ll probably be three, four years down the line because that’s how long these things take before some real heavyweight research hits, but it’s starting to creep out already, and Tim Noakes is on it. He’s, I think, just got some funding for a major study XXhere in ?XX [0:12:21]
It’s coming, but the athletes are getting the benefits and they are not hanging around.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I mean, people are certainly going to have to take notice of what Sami and his wife have just achieved, you know. Had that row been attempted before?

Donal O’Neill: It’s been done, but obviously they broke the world record. The remarkable thing is that it’s not only what they achieved but what happened to their bodies, because we didn’t have time to go into it, but what other ocean rowers have experienced is that they get off a boat and they’re like ravenous animals, I mean, they’re literally just, they’ll eat anything. And in some respects, Meredith’s performance is even more remarkable than Sami’s because we know that he was an Ironman and all of that, but she got on that boat and got off of it at exactly the same weight. She showed no XX?XX [0:13:17] of any sort.


I mean, I saw a picture of the guys at a concert the day after they got off the boat and you’ve got, like, thousands of people in the shot and you’ve got these two, like, health beacons, and it’s just remarkable. That shot, for me, said more than a lot else. It’s not in the movie, but…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I think we should explain for listeners, as well, that it was 44 days straight rowing from San Francisco to Hawaii. Is that correct?
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, 45 days, and they pushed out from Monterey, Guy, and they averaged probably 12 to 14 hours a day, but for the last week, they put in about 20-plus. They weren’t even getting any sleep, but they actually covered…Their best day, in their day they covered more than any other boat in the race, including the four-man crews, and that was in the last week, so it was just astonishing, and, you know, but the test at the end of it, I mean, you’d sworn they come business class to Hawaii. There was no break out on the body. All the enzymes that we see that signal inflammation and breakdown, they just weren’t there, I mean, it was just the protective aspect of the diet was remarkable.
Guy Lawrence: That’s incredible, isn’t it, when you think about that?

Stuart Cooke: We did wonder why you XXaudio cut outXX [0:14:45] as well, Donal.
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, I mean, I was XX?XX [0:14:50]
Stuart Cooke: Maybe CK3.

Donal O’Neill: No, I was behind the camera all the time. I just, I couldn’t come out from behind it, you know, I was, I was, I was with them in spirit. But actually the guy you see in the movie…Sami was due to do it with a buddy of his Patrick Sweeney who was, he rowed in the ’96 Atlanta Olympics. You’ll see him in the movie briefly, and he kind of decided, well, or perhaps Meredith decided, “Listen, I think I should maybe do this with you,” so Patrick he got dumped out of the boat in favor of Meredith for marital reasons, and I’ve met Patrick. He’s about 6-foot-4 or 5 and built like your typical rower, so, probably less interesting, to be quite honest with you, because Patrick wasn’t doing the diet.
Stuart Cooke: I’m just surprised that they managed to stay in that little capsule for that long and go through that amount of exercise and pain and they’re still together. I mean, that’s a triumph in itself. That’s amazing. Crikey!
Donal O’Neill: Well, they’re still together and they’re expecting their first child, so, it’s all going along swimmingly.

Stuart Cooke: So think about sporting industry, I mean, what will they learn from Sami and Meredith’s triumph? I mean, is there, you know, how far reached does this journey touch everybody in their industry? I mean, is it a talking point? Will things change?
Donal O’Neill: They will change through customer demand. You know, we did a lot of research into the energy drinks market and the supplements, these Gu-type supplements, and it’s just a massive industry. They’re not going to go anywhere any time soon, and when you strip all that away, the layers to which they’re involved in sport is quite staggering, because events are sponsored by them and, you know, they’re marketed to just about anyone in the States by Time magazine, as marketed to kids, you know, so they’re very, very aggressive, they’re very, very good at what they do, and if you’re somebody who’s sugar-fueled, you need them.
So you’ve got that magic mix in there, so, it’s something that will take education and it will take time, but you don’t remember that the sports drinks, they’re probably consumed by, 99.9 percent of the people consuming them have nothing to do with sports, they’re probably just a teenager or somebody with a hangover, so, it’s a tough one, and there’s a lot of money, you know…


Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I was going to mention talking as well with Dr. Stephen Phinney, cause, you know, he’s been doing this kind of work for 30 years and is mentioned in the movie as well and you could say he’s only now starting to get recognition for all the work he deserves. I mean, what do you think? Do you think that will happen for Dr. Stephen Phinney? Is he getting the recognition he deserves?

Donal O’Neill: Well, I think you just need to look at the tour he’s just done of Australia, Guy. I think it’s starting to happen, and I thought it was very poignant when he made one of his addresses in Australia, he said it was the biggest crowd he had ever addressed. I think there were over 600 people there, but to me it’s shocking that he has encountered what he’s encountered, but it’s remarkable that he stuck with it.

I asked him about his fellow researchers on his very first paper and what happened to them, where they went, and they’ve all gone on to have stellar careers in places like Harvard, because they decided a few years into this journey that they weren’t going to get funding and they realized they were coming up against brick walls, and Steve Phinney decided he was going to follow the data and, you know, do what he believed in.
So, he’s a remarkable, remarkable person for that. I think that his time is absolutely upon us.
Guy Lawrence: Yes. Fantastic, and it’s fantastic to see him in the movie. I mean, we met him when he came to Sydney and we had dinner with him on the Friday night before the talk, and one of the first things he showed us was Sami’s achievements. He was so proud and so happy to be a part of it.

And he’s such a nice guy, too. He’s so humble and down-to-earth and…

Donal O’Neill: You just know there’s an astonishing intellect. He’s got…and he reminds me of the first time I met I met Tim Noakes, I mean, they’ve got this child-like fascination, and they’ve got this absolutely cutting edge scientific brain and, you know, Steve, he just…A lot of people have fed off his work and have used it for their own, for their own benefit, but, I mean, he’s the guy. It all starts with him, and, you know, I think Jeff Volek is really going to carry through with the faster study, which is over very soon.
We got a glimpse of that. We could only show so much of that in the movie, but it’s, I believe, it’s been published sometime around now, and that’s the first big study that’s going to really rattle the cages. Keep it going.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, any other sporting disciplines you think that are adopting this way of eating, from what you’ve seen? Have you planted any seeds elsewhere?
Donal O’Neill: Well, the XX?XX [0:20:53] sports were very interesting because they’re, you know, the scientists always refer to cycling trials or runners or whatever the steady-state, endurance-type events, and Tim Noakes says that they’re looking at these parameters in performance in a very acute fashion, because, you know, what about things like concentration? What about the mistake at the end of the game?
I know from playing Gaelic football, you know, after 55, 60 minutes of that, you’re taking hits. You’re knackered. You make a split decision and it goes the wrong way. You could lose the game. Same goes for soccer, Aussie rules, so the athletes in the field sports who are adopting it are, and they’re kind of cycling carbs a little bit, what they appear to be benefitting from as well as physically is an increase in mental performance because their ability to make a split-second decision is enhanced.

Sports like golf, tennis, I mean, Mardy Fish was a great example of this. He used it to lose a considerable amount of weight and extend his professional tennis career at the very top level, so that’s the part that people are missing. I think golfers would benefit enormously from it. Again, one slip up and your round’s gone in that sport, so, I think it’s going to keep up. There are a lot of athletes using it we don’t know about, and I think it’s going up.
Guy Lawrence: It’s mainly just endurance sports, though, isn’t it? Anything that’s long duration. Do you know of any doing high-intensity shorter stuff for this kind of…?
Donal O’Neill: One of the things that the sports scientists have been unable to answer me on is a sport which involves weight categorization or weight-dependence. I mean, I myself was a high-jumper, and if I could’ve dropped even half a kilo or a kilo and maintained physical power, my strength-to-weight ratio would’ve improved, I would’ve been a better specimen for high-jumping, so I XX?XX [0:23:17]
They’ve done this study, one of the studies has shown with a lead gymnast is that over a one-month adaptation period, and this is the problem, you know, scientists point to these trials and say, “Oh, it doesn’t work,” but they don’t fat-adapt the athlete long enough, and that’s a huge, huge issue in this, so with a lead gymnast, they discovered that after one month there was no loss of power, everything was pretty much the same, but their weight had dropped slightly by half of a kilo.
And I know if you do that with a long-jumper or a triple-jumper, you know, pole vaulter, you’re going to have a very significant benefit because those are events where one centimeter is the difference between winning and losing or a world record or not, so there’s something in this for some niche little areas. I know some MMA fighters who are using it, and they’re doing it because when they go to cut they will drop ten kilos plus in some cases to get to their fighting weight, but they can walk around comfortably even one to two kilos less then it means the cut they’re down to losing eight kilos.


Because for them it’s about getting into the ring as powerful as possible after that weigh-in, so it’s a pretty dramatic impact on the body and if they can take the edge off that in the end it’s, you’re talking small margins but that’s what professional sport is, it’s about these really small margins.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah. I think a very foreign concept to think in, to increase your fat to drop your body weight, when you go and, like, it’s a far cry from counting calories. Or do you think an elite, like an MMA fighter or an elite athlete would still count the calorie of the fat that they’re eating, or do you think they’ll just play it by ear a bit?
Donal O’Neill: I think, you know, athletes are so tuned in to their bodies, I think they’ll find their way if they dedicate themselves to it, but there’s also this idea it’s not going to work for absolutely everyone. I mean none of these things are one-size-fits-all, but it’s a tool, but I think the athletes are in a position to listen and understand pretty quickly what’s happening in their bodies, so I think they’ll find their own way.
I don’t know that there’s a computation or a, you know, equation that you can use and just throw it out there. I think they need to listen to what’s happening.
Guy Lawrence: …find their way a bit.
Donal O’Neill: The one guy to watch in this space who I think is going to become one of the biggest names out there is Dominic D’Agostino at the, let’s see, he’s in Pensacola, Florida, and he’s been financed by the U.S. military for over the last nine years researching the whole area of ketones and performance and, you know, the military have gone on a bit of a solo run on this. They’re trying to create the perfect war fighter, and they’re not interested in, you know, double blind trials.
They’ve been using ketones to, Dominic’s been researching, you don’t need to use exogenous ketones to combat some of the interruptions they’re getting during deep diving training maneuvers, so the Navy SEALs, they tend to get epileptic fit-type scenarios, and they’re just worried that there’s something in exogenous ketones that proffer a protective a protective element on the soldiers.

So they’re doing some astonishing research and Dominic himself is a part of it. He’s a huge, powerful man, but he’s looking at ketones in performance as well, so powerlifting is an interesting one because Jeff Volek was a competitive powerlifter who used a ketogenic diet to maintain body weight and, obviously, that strength to weight ratio we’re talking about again, so he was able to compete at a lower body weight without any loss of power.
So in a sport like that there’s a huge explosive element and it seems to me that the explosive part required not such that it depletes the glycogen stored entirely, so they’re somewhere between. I asked Phinney what the, you know, where is the magic number and they don’t really know. They know that it’s not a suitable approach for a 100-meter sprinter, but it works well for your gymnast or your powerlifter and, you know, they don’t know where that ends, but it strikes me that, in its purest form, the very explosive literally split-second events where there’s weight dependency, they can really, really benefit from this type of approach.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. There you go. With the military, will that, will they be releasing any sort of studies on that in the near future or is that something that’s going to be ongoing or…?
Donal O’Neill: Well, Dominc’s doing some research that I know will become publically available in due course, but clearly with the military they’re not going to be putting out posters any time with results, but I spoke to him recently for the first time and he’s a remarkable guy. I think you should try and get him on the podcast, actually, because he’s…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, sounds awesome, yeah.
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, if you want to get to the center of the ketone universe, he’s the guy in the loop.
Guy Lawrence: Another question while we’re on all of this. If an athlete, like a higher-end athlete, who carb-loads stopped you on the street tomorrow and wanted to improve their diet and performance and asked you questions, what would your advice be to him in a nutshell?
Donal O’Neill: Well, that actually happened quite recently with one of the MMA fighters here, so my first advice was, and again, I got back to something that Noakes said. He believes no athlete requires more than 200 grams of carbs a day, respective of what you’re doing, and I think if you can dial back on the carbs that there certainly seems to be longer-term benefits to be accrued from doing so, but if you can take away the fast, cheap fuel in favor of real food and a higher quality fat content, there are benefits in that.

And I think it’s paramount that athletes start to look at the longevity of their careers or rather their coaches do, because it’s very difficult to ask a 22-year-old kid to think about putting another year or two on the back of their career. They’re not interested. They just want to win now. So that’s why I think the whole circle of influence becomes important, but any athlete who pulls out the fast, cheap fuels, I think is going to see, they’re going to see a benefit when they look back on their career.
If that’s going to be, you know, immediate, I don’t know, but for some it is. For others it won’t be, but I know long term there will certainly be benefits to be had from forgetting the conventional carb-filled approach.
Guy Lawrence: I often wonder about, you know, athletes that are prone to a lot of injuries, as well, and how much their diet would be affecting that outcome, as well, you know? And adopting a higher fat diet for endurance is like a preventative measure for injury, as well, you know?
Donal O’Neill: I mean Peter Brukner has spoken about the benefits to some of the Aussie cricketers and he’s told me privately he’s seen things that have just astonished him as a doctor and he’s embarrassed almost that it’s taken him this long to arrive to this conclusion, and again the scientists will say, “That’s anecdotal.”
Well, you know, the L.A. Lakers are one of the highest profile franchises in world sport. And they don’t do things with anecdotal returns. They do things because of return to the scoreboard and the XXbank balls? 0:31:55.000XX. So, equally, the pro Aussie XX?XX [0:32:00] teams that are doing this, they’re doing this because it works. That’s just how it is and that’s how it’s going to roll.
And I think athletes are kind of like, if a member of the general public gets sick all of a sudden they tend to start looking at their diet and get very concerned about it, athletes don’t really give a shit if they’re winning and they’re healthy. They’re not going to change anything, but you get an athlete that is starting to maybe feel the pinch or picking up a few injuries, they will, and that’s why I think the older athletes have adapted and adopted this much faster and I think that’s going to be the way in and it’ll trickle down slowly.
But it’s there, and I think the big term you’ll hear, because the scientists won’t want to stop talking about fat adaptation, you’ll hear terms in metabolic flexibility and this type of thing and the interesting thing for me is that sports science has never defined what a low-carbohydrate diet is, so they’ve done studies where somebody’s on a 150 grams a day and they perceived that to be low-carbohydrate. Now that may be low-carbohydrate against five, six hundred that some athletes are taking at the moment, but I know some of the field sport athletes in particular, they’re doing maybe 50, certainly less than a hundred grams a day and they might go up to 150 on match day. So over a week, you know, they’re taking maybe 20 percent of the carbs they once were or less, and yet sports science says, “That’s not low-carb,” because they’ve gone to 150 or 200 on match day.

And I tell them, “Well, why don’t you XXlay down your markXX [0:33:43] you’ve yet to actually define what a low-carbohydrate diet is, so your research really ain’t worth shit to me.” And that’s how I get, but Gatorade ain’t going to sponsor that research anytime soon, are they?
Guy Lawrence: No, you’re exactly right, you know, but it is great, mate, and I was so excited to see this movie being made and come out, because it’s a topic that nobody seems to delve into. It’s very hard to find and almost considered taboo, but it’s totally not, you know? To me, it makes a lot of common sense, you know? Just to touch on the topic, I remember, you know, working as a fitness trainer at the university in Sydney for a long time, and I got exposed to, like I mentioned before, charity with cancer patients and they were all about using a ketone diet, increasing their fats, and it was the first time I heard about that and it was about eight years ago and I was like, “What is going on?”
And then actually coming back into the sporting facilities and trying to find more information, because I was then lost, I’m like, “Well, how do I apply this?” Because everyone’s all about carb-loading, preparing for these games and sports day and eating X amount of carbohydrates in the week, and it was just like this torture for a while because I was clueless what to do. And then I was slowly chipping away and investigating, so, yeah, I think it’s, I just think it’s excellent, and every bloody athlete should at least watch it and be an open mind, you know?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it’s certainly opened my mind, that’s for sure.

Donal O’Neill: That’s all you can hope for, people to take a look and make their own conclusion, you know? Try it, but…something for everyone. I think it’s a different movie than Cereal Killers. It’s obviously totally focused on performance, but, you know, athletes will drive this. A big-name athlete who’s endorsing real food is an incredibly powerful statement, and too many of them are endorsing Gatorade and Powerade, you know, using whatnot.
It’ll be a big statement when they start to emerge and I think if your cricketers win the World Cup down there, then that would be a great starting point.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Time will tell. How are you eating now, Donal? because on Cereal Killers 1, like, you were, really pushed the high-fat to an extreme where you were into ketosis and saw the benefits from that. Are you still doing that? Or have you dialed it back a little? What are you doing now?
Donal O’Neill: I do cycle in some carbohydrate. I’m probably two kilos heavier than I was at the conclusion of Cereal Killers, which for me is a difference between looking kind of ill. I’m keeping my wife happy, so I’m not somebody who strives to be in ketosis all the time, by any stretch. I cycle in some carbohydrates when I’m training and on the weekends, but it’s still, I still eat a very low-carbohydrate diet with an emphasis on fats. I’ve introduced some MCT oil and stuff like that.


I researched ketogenic diets that bit further on the cancer angle is astonishing for me and that’s something I researching at the moment. When you go all the way back to, I think, 1934 when Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize. It’s strange to me that so many things went wrong around the middle of the last century. We’ve got a duty to open the book on them and, perhaps, revisit them, but I mean, my health since I started eating this way, I haven’t been sick for a day. It’s been remarkable.

Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. How long have you been eating this way, Donal?

Donal O’Neill: It’s probably been a good four or five years now.

Stuart Cooke: Okay, and just for our listeners out there, and we might even have asked you this before, but just could you outline what you ate yesterday? Just very briefly so we can get a handle on what high-fat really means to us all.
Donal O’Neill: Yesterday wouldn’t be a typical day because, as you guys now, one of the things about eating this way is that you wake up some days and you’re; you’re just not hungry. Yesterday was one of those days. It was an unexpected fast. I didn’t eat very much at all, but a typical day, so this morning I just had, you know, my coffee with some MCT oil, some coconut oil and heavy cream, so that’ll be my kickoff to the day. We find the good thing about being in Capetown, I mean, it’s like, surely, you’ve got some amazing food resources here which are by international standards are very cheap, so we get some fantastic pastured hen eggs here, and pasture-raised bacon and grass-fed beef and ostrich and all types of stuff, so I’ll have a couple of eggs with avocado.
One of my favorite breakfasts is a little coffee shop across the road. They do an avo breakfast which is going to become world-famous I think, man. They take half an avo, they stuff it with cream cheese and a bit pesto and then throw bacon on top, and it’s magnificent.

Guy Lawrence: Wow!

Donal O’Neill: So, that’s one of my favorite breakfasts, and at lunch time I make quite a few smoothies, but I throw in, I’m just about to throw out a blog on my smoothie of the day, but again I have half of avo in there, an egg, if I’m feeling heavy I’ll throw in a banana, berries, MCT oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut butter, and stuff, a bunch of stuff like that, so that’ll get me through the afternoon, if I’m hungry, and then typically I train late afternoon and then dinner is just, yeah, it’s a high-quality protein source and then lots of veg cooked in coconut oil or butter. Dark chocolate off the back of that, glass of red wine and you’re done.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect, perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Smoothies are a Godsend, right?
Stuart Cooke: They are, yeah.
Donal O’Neill: I got one of those little NutriBullet devices there for Christmas, so I threw in the nuts and everything right into the smoothie and they’re great, but…Great device, but I have to say you should read their dietary recommendations. I think they’re pumping veganism now. You’re only allowed four eggs XXaudio cuts outXX [0:40:25] nutritional advice, but…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, we had a question about eggs, didn’t we, Guy, on Instagram the other day. Do you remember?
Guy Lawrence: “How many eggs can you eat a day?” That’s right, and Shane, who I actually, who I know chipped in, and he said he for six weeks had 180 eggs a week and had his bloods done before and after, and he said they were exactly the same.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. I certainly didn’t expect that answer.
Guy Lawrence: I know. It was great!
Donal O’Neill: I think the self-experimentation has gone the way of the ultra-runner. It’s no good to run a mile, I think, anymore you’ve got to run 100 miles without stopping, I think…
Guy Lawrence: Exactly, yeah, yeah, yeah. So what’ve you got planned for the future? Anything exciting coming up in the pipeline?
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, well, we’ve actually been approached about a third movie. Obviously, every time you do this, you kind of take a six-figure risk, and I’m taking the risk, so you just need one bad day at the office and it’s XXaudio cuts outXX [0:41:33] So we’ve been approached about a very exciting concept for the third movie which is actually cancer-related. So I’m researching that at the moment, and I think it would be…I just lost my godfather to cancer very recently and if there’s something we could do in that space and do it well, I would love to give it a shot It would be a remarkable project, but it’s early days, but that’s something that I’m just getting into researching quite heavily at the moment.
Beyond that, I think it’s just going to be the case of getting Run on Fat out there. We’re going to do the worldwide premiere on February 2nd in San Francisco. So we have Sami and Meredith, and Steve Phinney, and some of the other folks in the movie coming along to that. So that’ll be a little bit of fun, and we’ll drive it out from there. Then we release online. It’ll go through the same channels as before.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Is Sami rowing back from Hawaii to see you in San Francisco? Is that what he’s doing?
Donal O’Neill: No, I’m rowing over. I’m actually in tomorrow, so I’m rowing over to see him, you know…
Guy Lawrence: From Capetown, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, we’ll Skype you. That’s awesome.
Guy Lawrence: So what’s the best…For anyone who wants to check out the movie, what’s the best URL to go to, Donal?
Donal O’Neill: They can go to RunOnFatMovie.com.
Guy Lawrence: Excellent, and we’ll share all the appropriate links and send this out anyway, and, yeah, help get the word out there. You’ve done a fantastic job again, mate, and…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, brilliant.
Guy Lawrence: Brilliant, and really appreciate you coming on the show.
Donal O’Neill: Well, thanks for having me. We’re looking forward to growing the audience Down Under. We’ve had an incredible reception in Australia thanks to you guys, and Rob Taylor, and Peter Brukner, and everybody down there. So, it’s just been amazing, and I think there’s a lot of good stuff happening in Australia, and I think you need to export some of that message to Ireland in a hurry, boys, because the country of my birth is in trouble and nobody’s listening, but I really think there’s something happening Down Under.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. We should do just that.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome.
Donal O’Neill: Excellent.
Stuart Cooke: All right, okay, well, we will talk to you soon, hopefully.
Guy Lawrence: Very soon.
Donal O’Neill: Thank you, guys.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Donal. Cheers, mate.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you, buddy.
Guy Lawrence: Bye.
Donal O’Neill: Have a good one.

Ruth Anderson Horrell: Food diary of a CrossFit athlete

Ruth-Anderson-Horrell

By Guy Lawrence

Guy: Whether you are a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, there are great clues here to what one should and shouldn’t be eating to feel awesome and be at your best fighting weight!

We asked 180 Ambassador and Crossfit athlete Ruth Anderson Horrell what a typical day of eating looks like and to take some pics (there are a few questions in there that I was curious about too). You won’t find any wheat, gluten, processed sugar or packaged food here. But do note how much good fats she eats! Over to Ruth… More

Food Diaries from a Sports Model

Angeline Norton Sports Model

By Stuart Cooke

Stu: We’ve been friends with Angeline (pictured above) for a couple of years now and are always intrigued to hear how she tackles her diet. You see, Angeline is a sports/fitness model who doesn’t prescribe to the misconceived notions of sipping water and nibbling low-fat crackers in order to stay lean. She has a real passion for nutrition and plans her meals with the upmost precision.

We asked here what her typical daily diet looks like and she was kind enough to run us through her mealtime options with not a cracker in sight:)

Over to Angeline… More

Chad Mackay (CrossFit Athlete): How I Eat, Train & Recover

chad_mackayFor those of you that CrossFit, Australian legend Chad Mackay needs no introduction. For those that don’t, I would best describe him as one of the finest athletes in the country!

It was an awesome pleasure to be able to have an in-depth interview with him. So no matter what sport or discipline you are into, there’s so much to learn from the big man.

- You can follow Chad Mackay on Facebook here.

- If you are interested in being coached at Chad’s gyms click here.

chad mackay
 

downloaditunes
In this weeks episode:-

  • Who is Chad Mackay & what is CrossFit
  • What a typical day looks like for Chad
  • What he eats, including pre/post training
  • The hurdles people face when starting CrossFit for the first time
  • Why mobility is important (learn more about mobility here)
  • The fine line between training and over training
  • and much more…

You can view all Health Session episodes here.

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

Chad Mackay Transcript

Welcome to The Health Sessions podcast. Each episode we cut to the chase as we hang out with real people with real results.

Stuart Cooke: I hope Guy hasn’t been boring you, Chad.

Chad Mackay: No. No. No, buddy. He just told me that you must have been perming your hair or something like that.

Stuart Cooke: Mate, you know what I’ve been doing? I’ve been working out on a trigger-point grid.

Chad Mackay: All right!

Stuart Cooke: Are you proud of me? I’m rolling out. That’s what I’m doing. I’m getting back to 100 percent.

Guy Lawrence: He’s getting there. I’m still in shock that he’s got a blue t-shirt on like last time. We interviewed Christine the other week and we ended up; but I got in theme today, see? I’ve got my CrossFit t-shirt on.

Stuart Cooke: All right. OK. That’s really good.

Guy Lawrence: Fair enough. All right, so, we might as well start. Anyone listening to this, I’m Guy Lawrence. We’ve got Stuart Cooke and a very special guest, Mr. Chad Mckay.
Chad, welcome. Thanks for dropping in and joining us, mate.

Chad Mackay: Cheers, guys. Very excited.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, so, what we thought we’d do was, obviously, you don’t need any introduction within CrossFit, you know, but we have a lot of listeners as well; a lot of non-CrossFitters as well. And we were kind of just chatting yesterday about how we can, because, as far as I’m concerned, you’re one of the best athletes in the country.

You know, you’re a coach as well and there’s so much more to get from you than just CrossFit. So, we thought we’d divide it up into two parts. So, we’ll chat a bit more broader first and then we’ll delve into WODs and Fran times and all that kind of stuff afterwards, because people are wondering what the hell we’re on about.

Chad Mackay: Sure. Sounds good.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. So, mate, just to start, then, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself for the people that have no idea what CrossFit is or what you do?

Chad Mackay: Yeah, sure, sure. So, CrossFit’s basically a combination of kind of gymnastics movements, Olympic weightlifting, and strength and conditioning and also kind of hybrid movements using different kind of apparatus: kettle bells; stuff like that. And we put them in workouts and we try and use those different elements to try and pretty much become competent across a whole broad range of exercises and movements.

And yet, it first started off over in the States back in 1996 and it was basically started by a guy called Greg Glassman, and he was a gymnast and then he got a couple of serious injuries and he wanted to start his own kind of athletic performance gym and that’s how, kind of, CrossFit came about. He started training clients and athletes in his own garage back in LA and it’s kind of grown from there.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. I didn’t realize it went that far back: ’96.
Chad Mackay: It’s been around for a few years, and it’s slowly evolved over time and, obviously, sponsors and the like have been involved over the last couple of years and the sport’s just taken off.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, OK. Because, like, we’ve been involved probably, I think Homebush was probably our first real experience of it, which was, I think, three regionals ago.

And we’ve seen that growth unbelievable, you know, just within that time. It’s quite a; it’s a unique thing because when we turned up, like, I knew CrossFitters before that but I’d never been to a regional competition, and it’s really hard to describe for your first experience if you ever see it, you know. We kind of talked about it like being WODstock.

Chad Mackay: Yes!

Guy Lawrence: Or Woodstock, but now it’s WODstock. So, we had all these sort of interesting characters looking around that are absolute fine specimens eating whole chickens and the only thing that was missing was the music festival at the same time, you know?

Chad Mackay: Yeah, absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: So, you coach as well, don’t you, outside?

Chad Mackay: I’ve got a couple of gyms over on north shore of Sydney. One’s in Waverton and the other is in Artarmon. And there’s myself and a couple of other business partners.

And we take care of most of the coaching classes there, so, you know, the class is broken up pretty much into, like a general warm-up for the class and every round there will be either one or two coaches on in the class and we’ll have somewhere between five and 15 to 20 people. We’ll get through the general warm-up, some mobility, normally some kind of skill, and then we’ll do a strength component and then a conditioning piece as well. So, that’s what a lot of people mainly know CrossFit and kind of the generalization is we only really do a hard workout and it’s like a circuit-style training, but there’s a lot more involved than just the WOD, so to speak, or the Workout Of the Day.

So, the athletes get a little bit more exposure to a whole bunch of different movements rather than just a conditioning piece in the workout.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. I mean, the one thing I just want to say as well is that, because you’re a competitive athlete, you know. You go into the World Games. That achievement in itself is gynormous. And so, what I’m interested in is, what does your typical day look like, because, A, you’re a professional athlete, even though it’s probably not recognized as a professional sport. You know, you’re doing all this coaching, it’s a full-time gig, like, what’s a typical day for you?

Chad Mackay: A typical day would be, let’s take yesterday, for example. I started work at 6 a.m., so the alarm was set for 18 minutes past 5. And then I’ve got 12 minutes to quickly have a shake, get out the door, get dressed, get to work by 5:45, coach two classes in the morning, and then I’ve got admin work to do until about 11 o’clock.

And then I train from 11 until about 1 o’clock, so a two-hour session. And that session goes pretty much back-to-back, going through a similar structure to our classes, kind of like general warm-ups and skill, some Olympic lifting, and some strength.

And then I had clients from 1:30 until 4:30. And then I coached three classes and then I had another client at 7:30 and then home by about 9 o’clock.

Guy Lawrence: Wow. I’m tired listening to you.

Stuart Cooke: Straight to bed.

I’m interested about your clients, Chad. Tell about their diversity, because I have seen, just within a CrossFit-type gym, youngsters to the elderly as well, which wouldn’t be your typical, kind of, gym junkie.

Chad Mackay: Absolutely. My clients that I train one-on-one range from, I’ve got a Paralympic swimmer that I train; his name’s Matt Levy. So, I train him a couple of times a week. I train Lynne Knapman. She is a master’s competitor who has competed in the last three CrossFit Games in the category of 50 to 55. So, she’s doing really well. And then I’ve got just some athletes that just want to try and improve their general strength; they may be fairly new to CrossFit.
So, there’s just a broad spectrum of, kind of, ages and abilities there. But regardless of who I’m training, everyone just really has the same kind of consensus of: Let’s try and improve and see what our body is capable of doing and you see those small little improvements and I think that’s why people kind of really find that CrossFit and the kind of strength and conditioning that we do at the gym is really beneficial to people’s bodies.

So, it’s not only the people who are training, whether it’s an elite athlete going to the Olympics or the CrossFit Games, but we have the normal Joe Blow off the street who just wants to improve their flexibility, so to speak. They might sit at a desk for eight hours a day and they’ve got really tight upper body; thoracic. So, yeah, just some general, super-general flexibility issues that we can kind of address during classes or whether they come to see one of the coaches for a one-on-one session.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. What are the most common issues you’d see with clients when they first start training? Do they come there for, like, weight loss or muscle gain and then they’re opened up to CrossFit and their mindset will completely change around it, or. . .

Chad Mackay: Oh, there’s a whole; it’s probably more along the lines of: People hear about CrossFit and it’s normally from a friend or they’ve heard about the community and what’s involved in the community at the gym. So, it’s a lot of word-of-mouth. But the general issues that we have coming to the gym is people sit down at a desk all day and they’re in a flexed position where the hip’s closed off, the shoulders are closed off, and they’ve got a really forward head tilt. So, they’re the main issues.

So, we may get a fairly strong person that comes in that can’t overhead squat a broomstick just because their body is holding them back from being able to hold a bar overhead and do a simple movement like an overhead squat.

Guy Lawrence: We got a question here about mobility, so we’ll touch on that first while we are on it.

Chad MacKay: Sure.

Free Health Pack

Guy Lawrence: The first time I ever, because remember I mentioned I used to work with Lynne, who you know as well, and she was fabulous CrossFitter. And I’ll never forget the day about, it must have been about four years ago where she was overhead squatting in the gym I was working at. And I went down, I started chatting, and it was 60 kilos, I think.

And it was the first time I was exposed to an overhead squat and she’s like, “Yeah, go on. Let’s see you do it.” And I’m there, you know, all ego, throw the bar above my head, and I move about two inches and I couldn’t do it. And that was my first exposure to mobility, and probably CrossFit as well.

And I think mobility is something that’s overlooked by everyone, and only CrossFit seems to embrace it. Like, I remember working in a gym. You know, you traditionally warm up, you might do a bit of a stretch, and then you get into your exercise. But you walk into a CrossFit gym, you’ve got people who almost look like they’re grinding the floor because they’re rolling out in something.

Stuart Cooke: It is a bizarre sight; I’ll give you that.

Guy Lawrence: It’s amazing. And so, could you just tell us a little bit more about, I guess, mobility, the importance of it, and why so many people suffer from it? You know, I think it’s so untouched outside the. . .

Chad Mckay: Absolutely. The main issue is when people sit down, it obviously closes off the front of the hip and over time you will find yourself sitting at a computer, and, like I said before, that forward head-tilt, that decrease in kind of range of movement at the shoulder joint, everything’s pretty much facing forward and there is no real posterior chain, so. . .

Posterior chain is everything pretty much at the back of your body, so glutes, hamstrings, and kind of the rectus. And when you’re setting down on a chair, it just promotes you to sit forward and use everything in the frontal plane and, over time, eight hours sitting in that position, and then people normally go to the gym and they’ll normally train what’s at the front, so: chest, biceps.

So, how CrossFit differs from that, it pretty much tries to tell you to pretty much work everything in that posterior chain. Dead lifting, squatting, and doing things like pull-ups and overhead squats is going to develop that posterior chain, and over time, hopefully, get people into a more of an extended position; a more upright body posture and shape.

Stuart Cooke: Do you think there would be anything that we could do at home, outside of a gym environment, that would just help loosen us up? You know: stand up straight, shoulders back, anything along those kind of lines?

Chad Mackay: Well, there’s some simple things where you can lay flat on the floor and there’s just a basic movement called a glute bridge where it opens the hip up and it gets the butt and the hamstrings nice and strong. And that’s just a simple hip raise up off the floor.

Also, another very simple exercise is just stretching out in front of the sides of the neck and also possibly laying on the floor again and just pulling the chin down to the floor to kind of lengthen out the back of the neck. Just some really simple things to kind of loosen up and not let the body get in this position. So, yeah. The glute bridge, the side of the neck stretch, and then the kind of back-of-the-neck stretch on the floor.

Guy Lawrence: Do you mobilize every day, Chad?

Chad Mackay: Pretty much every day.

Stuart Cooke: Every minute, I think, Guy. Not every day.

Guy Lawrence: I still keep coming back to the fact that you can snatch 130 kilos. Mobility must have, you know, played a big part in being able to do that.

Chad Mackay: Man, absolutely. If I go to the movies with my girlfriend, I’ll take a small little golf ball and put that golf ball on the ground and I’ll just get some release on the bottom of my feet. So, I’ll spend 45 minutes on each foot and it does make a big difference. It’s like going for a massage. I had a massage this morning and my body feels like it’s already improved a little bit and I can feel the difference already. So, if I can get 45 minutes on each foot while I’m going to the movies, buddy, that’s perfect.

Stuart Cooke: That’s a top tip.

I’ve got a question about your diet. You know, you do a huge amount throughout your day. What does your typical daily look like? What are you eating and how much do you eat?

Chad Mackay: Well, in the off season I’ll tend to eat a little bit more. During the season, I try and weigh and measure most of my meals. Otherwise, I just feel like I can overeat quite easily. So, I just need to be quite strict on what I do eat and at what times.

A general day would be five meals, and those meals would be spaced about four hours apart. Breakfast will be about a quarter past 5 in the morning where I’ll have a shake, a banana, and a handful of nuts. About an hour before training in the morning I’ll have just a really small snack, kind of pre-workout, and then post-workout I’ll try and have a full meal, whether that will be chicken or lamb. So, some type of flesh. And then a big salad, sweet potato, and that will be kind of drenched in olive oil and avocado. And I’ll have a piece of fruit after I work out.

My meals are basically the same for the rest of the day, so brekkie and post-workout meal and then that post-workout meal is the same for the next three meals throughout the day.

Guy Lawrence: Where do you get your carbs from? So, mainly sweet potato and fruit and veggies?

Chad Mackay: Sweet potato and fruit and veggies.

Guy Lawrence: Do you eat any grains?

Chad Mackay: No grains at all.

Guy Lawrence: Good man.

Chad Mackay: No grains at all.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, because I only raise it as well because there’s a common myth that you need, traditionally, if you’re a high-end athlete that grains are one of the main sources of energy.

Stuart Cooke: Hmm. When did you eliminate your grains, Chad? And, I guess, why?

Chad Mackay: I personally eliminated grains, it would have been around about five years ago. I looked into, when I first started CrossFit, I looked into a diet called the Zone Diet and that’s basically portion control and how much protein, carbohydrate, and fat we should have at every meal. But with the Zone Diet, that’s structured a little bit differently where, if you want to have a Big Mac for a meal, you just need to take the top of the bun off and eat kind of the bottom layer of the bun and the ingredients through the middle and that will keep your blood sugars at a certain level so you don’t have a spike in insulin.

And that didn’t really sit well with me, so I decided to stick with the kind of favorable carbohydrates and the kind of clean meats and veggies. So I stuck to that, pretty much religiously, for about three months, and I went from being 116 kilos and I dropped down to about 105 kilos in three months.

Free Health Pack

Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Chad Mackay: The initial two weeks I lost probably three or four kilos in that initial two weeks and then I slowly tapered off after that. And then I kind of got introduced to the Paleo Diet, which is basically anything that had a face, you can eat, and anything that falls off a tree or grew in the ground you can have; it’s also known as the caveman diet. So, the last couple of years I’ve been doing that.

Guy Lawrence: When you first made your adjustments and, you know, you dropped down 10 kilos, did you performance and strength remain the same?

Chad Mackay: Well, as I transitioned between kind of bodybuilding style and kind of CrossFit movements, so I couldn’t really gauge the feeling of performance or strength. I think my strength actually dropped back a little bit initially, just because I was having that transition to a new sport.

But definitely energy levels and also a feeling of kind of being sustained throughout the day. I used to have quite large meals, so “quite large meals” would be four or five sandwiches for lunch, a liter of milk. Also, bread, rice, and pasta at pretty much every meal. And unless I felt like I was full I didn’t really feel sustained or didn’t feel like I had much energy.

So, my stomach definitely isn’t as bloated anymore and that’s probably one of the biggest things that I found is that I didn’t have that bloated feeling.

Guy Lawrence: Do you have dairy in your diet, or much, or little, or?

Chad Mackay: A little bit of dairy; not too much. Like, at the moment, I’ve cut most of the dairy out. I might have a little bit of milk in a coffee in the mornings. But when I’m trying to drop back in weight for the season, I’ll try and cut out milk. But in the off season I will add a little bit of milk occasionally.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. Fair enough.

And; go ahead, Stewie.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. So, just getting back to your season and your training, how do you turn into the fine line between optimum training and overtraining?

Chad Mackay: For me? Hard question for me. Because I’ve been doing it for a few years now, I just need to listen to my body. There’s a couple of young guys that train at the gym and are kind of coming through the sport in their early 20s and. . .

Stuart Cooke: Gung-ho.

Chad Mackay: Yeah, absolutely. I think if I was in my early 20s I would probably just be going 100 percent and just going flat-out every session, trying to have the thinking that, you know, more is more. For me, at the moment, I need to listen to my body. I’m a little bit older than most of the guys. If I’m feeling tired and a little bit lethargic, I’ll make sure my nutrition and sleep is spot-on. And if I’m feeling good one day, I might train for a couple of hours and do kind of two or three conditioning pieces in a day.

But at the moment I just need to listen to the little needles and just take it nice and easy when I need to. So, overtraining for me doesn’t really come into play. I’m pretty smart when it comes to that type of thing.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, fair enough.

Guy Lawrence: Talking about your training, I saw that little Facebook post the other day and I just glanced at it and there was something about you walking around like a Michelin Man. What was that about?

Chad Mackay: I’ve heard whispers that at the CrossFit Games there’s going to be a weighted vest run, and it could be a longer-style run. We got some new, weighted vests. They weigh 20 pounds each. So, I put all three vests on. I did a 400-meter sprint, came back into the gym, took one vest off, did another 400 sprint, took the other vest off, so I was left with a 20-pound vest on, ran 400. And I went through that three times. So then I would come back in, load the three weights back on, and then away I would go. So, by the end I was more like a power walker; a little shuffle. So. . .

Guy Lawrence: Carrying 60 pounds on you! Fair enough. Good one.

What I thought we’d do as well, because obviously we put out the Facebook questions as well, and your response was enormous, by the way. I don’t know if you’ve checked them all out. And there’s some funny ones in there, too. So, we thought we’d go through some anyway.
So, we got a question from Paul Hilton. “If you hadn’t found CrossFit, what do you think you would be doing now?”

Chad Mackay: I still think I would be training in a gym, doing some kind of strength and conditioning in the gym. Be surfing a little bit more. I grew up, kind of, surfing, and whatever sport that I did play or that I was involved in I’d pretty much engross myself in that sport and try and get as good as I can. So, whether it be training in the gym, trying to push myself in the weights room, or whether I was down at the beach surfing or running the soft sand down at Bondi, I’d kind of always be looking at the clock or. . .

Guy Lawrence: That competitive nature.

Chad Mackay: It’s always been there. I think it’s one of those things that’s in the blood and evolves over time. So, whatever it would be, I would just be trying to do it the best that I can.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. Harrison Matra wants to know what you think of the CrossFit drug-testing model. Should it be more frequently tested in local comps to hopefully find athletes who are cycling throughout the year?

Guy Lawrence: That’s assuming if they are, I guess.

Stuart Cooke: If they are, of course.

Chad Mackay: Yeah, sure, sure. Look, I think that, regarding the local comps, those local comps are more about people wanting to have fun and get involved in the community. Those local comps are my favorite days, just to go there and see the people that have been doing CrossFit for six months and they go to a local comp.

I remember my first local comp, and it was just the most fun I’ve ever had. Driving home, the buzz that I had, you guys have experienced the same thing, you know. And if we start to get too serious about things and drug-testing people to go in those local comps, I think that’s a little bit over the top. But when it comes to the open regionals and the CrossFit games, I think if you’re going to go into the open, you should be held responsible for, obviously, if you’ve taken any performance-enhancing drugs, because it is a worldwide contest, I think that things need to be looked at a little bit more seriously there. But regarding those local comps, just get out there and have a bit of fun.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough, mate. Yeah, we remember our first local comp very well, up in Hornsby. And it was almost like, it was bizarre, because it was almost like when we first arrived it was like a scene from Fight Club or something, because we were in this underground car park and there was no one above and as soon as you go down it was just hundreds of people screaming, you know.

Yeah, the camaraderie and the buzz from it is amazing. Like, it was a lot of fun.

Chad Mackay: I had the hill sprint; I had the hill sprint in that comp.

Stuart Cooke: Yes. I remember I did.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it was a 600-meter run up the hill and back and there was a 10-minute time clock and whatever time you had left was burpees. I remember just thinking, “You’re kidding me.”

Chad Mackay: How many burpees did you get out?

Guy Lawrence: I got out 98, I think.

Stuart Cooke: I got 115 and that was my first exposure to burpees.

Guy Lawrence: I’m ashamed.

Stuart Cooke: Thanks for taking me back there, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, no worries, man. No worries.

All right. Next question. Katrina Stewart says, “I loved watching you come out of the water last year. Do you train in the water much at all? If so, how often does your program look like?”

So, I’m assuming she’s talking about the Pendalay, is it?

Chad Mackay: The Pendleton, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Pendleton, sorry, yeah.

Chad Mackay: Yeah, I’ve been in and out of the water since I was 5 or 6 years old, whether it be surfing down the beach with my dad and then I had a couple of buddies that were competitive swimmers, so I would jump in on the occasional swim session with those guys and get a little bit more advice on, kind of, technical help and stuff like that.

Buy, yeah, growing up in the surf really helped with that and just being confident in the water. And kind of always competing in school events. You know, I always had a bit of help and technique advice from their coaches.

And then I worked in a leisure center up on the Central Coast as a pool lifeguard, so I’ve always kind of been around the water. And regarding how much I do it in training, because I know I can swim quite well, I kind of focus my energy on other things; more weak areas. So, I might jump in the water once a fortnight, just to do a few laps and I’ll normally go down to Bronte and swim in the ocean bars down there.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s beautiful down there, isn’t it?

Just for those that are listening, can you explain what the Pendleton was? Because you crushed it like the swim. You were out and gone.

Chad Mackay: Yeah, it was; we had to firstly start off with a 700-meter soft sand run and then there was an 800-meter ocean swim. And the transition onto a bike and there was an 8-kilometer trail bike ride and then an 11-kilometer trail run. So, the trail run, for me it was more like a power walk up the hills and then sprint down the hills. And it was a two-hour event.

Stuart Cooke: I think that shook a few people up, didn’t it, as a first event? Because historically I think, you know, everyone’s thinking of heavy lifts and gym movements. But to throw in something completely out of the ordinary, almost triathlon-style, really shook the boat a little bit.

Chad Mackay: Yeah, absolutely. The event after the triathlon was an obstacle course; an army-style obstacle course. There were guys that were kind of left on the balance beams or any kind of apparatus that were cramping up, just because they either hadn’t eaten food or didn’t supplement properly throughout the event. And they were suffering pretty bad from cramps, so, yeah, it absolutely shook a lot of the athletes up. And the soreness that was going to develop from that two-hour event was felt for the rest of the Games for the next three days. So, it was good one to kick us up.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. You never know. Shake it up, I guess, is the way to go. It’s the true test.

Thinking about those, the very nature of training in the games, I’ve got a question from Matt Gray, who asks that, “When you’re exhausted, where does your mind go when you need to dig real deep to find that extra strength and keep pushing through the pain?”

Chad Mackay: There’s a few different things that I think about. I’ve normally got a game plan to a workout and I’ll try to stick to that game plan. And then if things start to really hurt, I’ll just take my mind back to other times that I’ve hurt much worse. There was a time in the Games in 2010 where there was a rope climb at the end and I was struggling pretty bad. It was the last event. We have probably three or four minutes to climb a rope and then move back across and jump over a wall. And it was just kind of as many rounds as you could do that in the last piece. And I climbed the rope once, came down, got back down about halfway, and my grip just went and I slid pretty much from the top of the rope to the bottom and tore every single finger pad on my hand off on both hands.

Every time I start to hurt, I take myself back to there. It was 45 degrees and I had no skin left on the pads of my fingers. I always think back to that and just tell myself nothing can kind of compare to that.

And the other thing I think about a lot is I think about my family when it starts to hurt, and rather than kind of doing it for myself and trying to block out the pain, I think about them and that’s a big motivator for me as well. Just to think about family and how much support they give me and I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. So, my mind wanders to my family when I start to hurt as well.

Free Health Pack

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, man. A question that just occurred: When you’re out there, do you think it’s the mindset things that differentiate a lot of the outcome? Because, like, when we looked at the open, just for the regionals, and even the regionals it was so tightly contested, it’s incredible, you know? And do you think that’s a factor about that point; being able to overcome that?

Chad Mackay: Yeah, absolutely. Like, there’s the 10 domains of fitness in CrossFit, so you need to be competent across all those 10 domains. But I think there’s definitely an element where the mental aspect of the sport is where it’s really at as well, and if you see an athlete lose it out on the floor, and they kind of lose that focus, it’s pretty hard for them to get that back. So, definitely that mental component is what kind of develops over time as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. Fair enough. Wow. All right.
Well, next question. We’ve got Doug Evans. We touched on it a little bit earlier, I think: pre-workout and post-workout meals. What do they consist of? Would they be crucial meals?
So I guess; do you just generally eat the same or do you eat something specific before and after?

Chad Mackay: Normally something specific before, pre-workout will be normally banana. And I’ll probably have about a third of a banana before; exactly an hour beforehand. And then I’ll have about probably 40 grams of weighed protein, so that’ll be chicken or lamb or beef.

And then, post-workout will be a shake, a 180 shake, and then a piece of fruit as well and a whole meal. So, that’ll be straightaway. I’ll normally still be breathing pretty heavy to get that meal in.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, OK. Fair enough. That’s a good point, actually.

Stuart Cooke: So, another question from Lach Mac, again, on food: “When the mood hits you, what, if anything, is your go-to cheat meal?”

Chad Mackay: I think the last time I would have had a cheat meal would have been after the Games last year. And I’ll normally go for pizza or ice cream for me. Normally, when I’m at home I’m quite good. I won’t have a cheat meal every week or every month. It’ll be pretty much after the CrossFit Games I’ll go out and let my hair down.

Last year, we finished off in Vegas and they’ve got these incredible buffets in Vegas and, yeah, I went to town.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I think they’d be in trouble if you went to town on a buffet. It’s like I’ve seen on The Simpsons.

Chad Mackay: Yeah, they didn’t make any money off me, that’s for sure.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: How did you feel? Like, we eat pretty clean. If I eat something that’s cheap meal it knocks me for six. I mean, it’s not the easier thing, even though it sounds great, you know?

Chad Mackay: I get a; after the Games, we have a fair bit of time to relax, so I had friends send over some ice cream and the ice cream was just waiting for us in the room when we got there. And so we polished off maybe a tub of ice cream that night, or that evening. And then the next morning up I woke up and it’s like you’ve got a sugar hangover, and, you know, you’re a little bit cloudy in the morning and it takes a bit of time to get going. But, yeah. . .

It’s not something I look forward to anymore, definitely. I much more look forward to, like, it sounds quite boring, but like a chicken salad. A chicken salad for dinner every night is perfect rather than a big bowl of ice cream.

Guy Lawrence: That’s fair enough. I mean, they say 70 to 80 percent of performance is nutrition, and if you want to perform at the top, you’ve got to fuel yourself the right way. Otherwise, forget about it.

Stuart Cooke: Unless, of course, you’re in an ice cream eating competition. That would be a little different.

Chad Mackay: You’d do that, Stewie, right?
Stuart Cooke: I’d give it a go. I’d give it my best shot.

Guy Lawrence: All right. We’ve got Dean Glendall-Jones. “What is your favorite thing to do on a rest day?”

Chad Mackay: A rest day; I kind of don’t really take rest days. If I’m on a rest day, I like to go to yoga, go surfing, spend time with friends and family. Do some mobility roll-out. Still trying to improve on a rest day. Even if it’s something light, I know there will be some kind of improvement there. So, on a rest day, it’s mainly spent by still doing active. . .

Guy Lawrence: An active rest day.

Chad Mackay: Absolutely. Yeah. An active rest day, for sure.

Guy Lawrence: Does that go right through the whole year, pretty much, or would you, after the games you stop for a month or do you just keep chipping away or?

Chad Mackay: I think I took about a week off after the Games last year, and that was just total rest. And I’ll probably do that again.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, right. Amazing.

Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve got a couple of short questions left. This one has been getting quite a lot of press: Jared Smith is very interest in how big your calves are in centimetres.

Chad Mackay: So, Jared’s a good buddy of mine, so he calls me “Calves,” actually, so he’ll send me a text or an email and it will be, “Hey, Calves, how are you doing?” So, he’s a character. He’s a really good athlete as well. Jared, I’m not too sure how big my calves are. They’re definitely bigger than your biceps, buddy.

Guy Lawrence: And do you know who Gary Cousins is?

Chad Mackay: I know Gary Cousins.

Guy Lawrence: He said: Do you have a man-crush on him?

Chad Mackay: He’s a serial pest, Gary Cousins. He’s a lovely bloke. His son trains at our gym, and he’s actually in the team that’s gonna go over and represent Active at the games this year. So, Dean’s a really good athlete and he’s keeping goals in training at the moment. But Gary’s a really good guy.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. The Active support at the regionals was hilarious. Like, it was awesome to see everyone in orange jumpsuits, pretty much.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that’s right. The orange men in the crowd.

Chad Mackay: Yeah, that was great to see. And I think the CrossFit headquarters was calling us the “Orange Army,” which was pretty cool.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just remember walking in one day and they have the rowing competition that was going on outside for the fastest 500 meters and all I saw was this guy completely head-to-toe in orange. Even his face was covered, and he was just going for it.

Chad Mackay: Yeah, it’s great to have the support, you know? For all the gyms, even CrossFit Bay. They were getting behind; all the Active guys were out on the floor as well, which was fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, awesome. Awesome.

Well, that’s pretty much all the questions we sort of wanted to cover, you know. Just to wrap it up, I know you’re a busy guy. You run a couple of CrossFit gyms on the North Shore of Sydney, so if people are interested in coming to check out your CrossFit gym and what you guys are about, where’s the best place to go?

Chad Mackay: Just jump onto the website and you can; just jump onto info@crossfitactive.com.au. And get in touch with Patty and see how you can get started at the gym. We’ve also got a free trial class on every Saturday at our Waverton location. So, jump online, check that out, and we’ll hopefully see you around down there shortly.

Guy Lawrence: We can put the appropriate links up, anyway, on the blog.

Awesome. Chad, thank you for your time.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you, Chad. As always, fantastic, again. And for anybody out there that’s at the cinema, keep an eye on the guy wearing the Whites vest rolling a couple of golf balls. And say hi.

Chad Mackay: Awesome to see you. Thanks, guys. See you,

Guy; thanks, buddy.

Free Health Pack