After recently chatting to the Baker Boys (full interview below) it appears that some brands of fish oil shine over others. Learn how to put your brand to the test above in this short video clip.
Brothers Michael & Christian Baker are nutritional advisors & professional speakers. They have also collected a massive amount of experience over the years within the supplement industry. They were one of the first guys to setup a major supplement store franchise from the USA here in Australia. Strap yourself in for this one as we dig deep into the world of supplements. Join us and find out what actually goes on in one of the most confusing industries out there!
Full Interview: Insider Knowledge & Truths About the Supplement Industry[ebook] In this episode we talk about:-
- If supplements actually make you healthy
- The biggest mistake people make when choosing supplements
- How to know if your fish oil is any good
- Why some supplements are simply expensive urine
- The damaging effects of artificial sweeteners (yes they are in many so called ‘health foods’ & protein powders)
- The best post exercise supplements to take
- And much more…
Learn about the Baker Boys HERE
Truths about supplements transcript
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of The Health Sessions. Today you’re in for a treat as we dig deep into the truths, or what we feel to be the truths, about the supplement world.
Our special guests today are the Baker Boy Brothers, Michael and Christian Baker. These guys were the first franchisees in Australia of probably one of the largest companies in the world, supplement companies, and they’ve been in the industry a long time. They certainly know their stuff.
They’re in the firing line, if you like, of the end consumer, and, you know, they’ve seen a lot of things. Well, as you can imagine, we had so many burning questions, from supplements to “Do we need them?” to the quality and grade of them, you know, “How effective are they? What ones should we be looking for? What ingredients are in them? Is there anything we should be concerned about?” And what to check when looking for them in general, you know?
There are so many gems of information in here. It’s not funny. I certainly learned a lot from this episode, and I’m sure you will, too. So sit back and enjoy it. You’re in for a treat.
Also, if you are listening to this through iTunes, we’d really appreciate the review. That just helps our rankings and helps us get the word out there as we spread the good message about food and health and what we believe. So, yeah, enjoy!
Guy Lawrence: So, hey, this Guy Lawrence, and I am joined today, as always, with Mr. Stuart Cooke. Hey, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Hello!
Guy Lawrence: And our special guests today are the Baker Boy Brothers, Michael and Christian Baker. Welcome, lads!
Christian Baker: Thanks for having us.
Guy Lawrence: So, we are on all four corners of Australia: Coogee, Maroubra, Bondi Junction, and Newcastle.
Michael Baker: Yes, nice.
Stuart Cooke: Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: First of all, I wanted to just say, you know, you guys are at the firing line, if you like, of the end consumer in retail and working in the supplement industry a long time. It’s going to be fantastic to get your insights on that today. We’re excited to have you.
Michael Baker: We’re glad to be sharing.
Guy Lawrence: We’ll start with you, Mick. Tell us how long have you been in the industry and how’d it all begin for you lads?
Michael Baker: Sure, well, being the older brother it is appropriate, I guess, that I start. I’m probably about six to eight inches shorter than Christian, but it’s okay. I usually get, when people come into the store, and we’re side-by-side, they usually call Christian the older guy and then I’m his younger brother, but it’s not the case.
I’m the one with the beard here.
Yeah, basically, as far as my memory can go back, I used to come home from school, from high school, year 11 and 12, and see Christian on the lounge playing video games. I was like, “Christian, I just come from the gym. I feel amazing. I’m starting to get muscles and, you know, I really enjoy this. You’ve got to get off your lazy bum and come join me one time.”
And, being the stubborn young brother he is, he would always pretend like he wasn’t even listening, just totally ignored me. And I think after about two years or so of drilling him with this, “You’ve got to get to the gym. You’ve got to get to the gym,” he finally, one day, just joined at the gym and literally went, I think, every single day for a whole year straight. He became obsessed with it.
And that’s pretty much what got us into health and fitness. We then went and did our personal training qualification and dabbled into, you know, nutrition a little bit, but we didn’t really know that much, and then, to the point where we are now, which is being in the industry, the supplement industry, heavily for five years.
It’s been some interesting insights and learnings.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I can imagine. Did you have any, you know, you’ve been doing it a while now. Obviously, we know you guys well and know the industry pretty well. Did you have any preconceived ideas before starting? Christian?
Christian Baker: Yeah, obviously, being more of a gym background than a nutrition background, at least in the beginning, I didn’t really know what to expect from the supplement side of things other than what I’d seen in magazines, and I had all these ideas of supplements being magic and all this good stuff, so, yeah, I think going into the industry, in terms of the nutritional supplement side, I had really high expectations and a lot of them weren’t met.
I realized certain corners were being cut, certain claims that were being made, a lot of things, yeah, weren’t quite what they seemed.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I know. It’s intriguing, because, obviously, I started out as a fitness trainer ten years ago and, from the outside looking in, is a very different perceived…perception to when you start getting amongst it.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it’s certainly a big world out there. Say someone ate a balanced diet, okay, so a reasonably healthy, balanced diet. Would they get much benefit from taking supplements?
Michael Baker: I think, absolutely. I guess most people’s idea of a balanced diet, even a healthy person could be shopping at Woolworths or Coles, you know, big name grocery stores, and if you’re buying, whether it be chicken, steak, fish, usually it’s always grain-fed or, you know, soy-fed, or just corn-fed, again, something terrible, which show up inside the animal. They’re also going to pump it with hormones. You guys know this already. It’s shocking what they actually feed the produce.
And then the vegetable side of things, I mean, it’s one thing to eat vegetables, but if they’re not organic, you’re not really going to get much from them, so I think supplements can really fit in well. A probiotic can really come in handy, especially to anyone on hormones. It can help put the good bacteria back into your gut just so you can actually digest these proteins and foods properly.
Stuart Cooke: It’s a good point. I mean, we also say we are what we eat, but we are kind of what our animals eat, as well, and all of that is completely unknown to us.
Christian Baker: If they’re feeding our animals junk food, so, you know, these leftover grains instead of the fresh produce that they’re designed to eat, then what are we eating? We’re eating junk chicken and junk beef.
But, hey, if someone came to me and they had a diet that was spot-on with huge amounts of green veggies, colored veggies, nuts, fruits, grass-fed meats, and all that stuff, in most cases they wouldn’t really need much else, but you find me a person who does that in all of Australia and then you’re not going to find many.
I think everyone can do with a top up of a few extra things on top of what they eat.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, but, you know, from what I’ve seen, and I’m sure you’d be able to highlight this more, there are a lot of people out there that think, you know, no regard indiscriminate to what they eat, if they take a vitamin pill every day or supplement, say, then they’ve given themselves insurance.
Christian Baker: Yeah, exactly. A lot of people like to use it as an excuse to eat crap, because they are using the vitamins for damage control. Which, you could use that strategy if it’s a holiday or something like that, but as a daily strategy, you just can’t, you know, you can’t do that.
And you’ve got to think about that, as well. How many new micronutrients and, on a deeper level, phytonutrients, they’re the tiniest little things, are becoming revealed over these last few years? If you say, “Cool. I’m taking a vitamin instead of eating a bunch of veggies and then we find out there’s something in veggies that we haven’t been putting in the vitamins, then you haven’t been getting that either. So you really don’t know what you’re not getting if you’re not having enough veggies and fruits in real food.
Michael Baker: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, good point.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, from your experience with people walking into the stores every day, you must have seen, like thousands of thousands of thousands of people now. What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when choosing supplements if they, you know, are not under any guidance?
Michael Baker: Personally, I think, and Christian would probably agree, it’s like most things in life, people want things fast. They want fast results and when you say fast, people want to lose weight fast, and it’s…it’s just…we want to pull our hair out sometimes. They come in drinking a juice from a well-known juice company, full of sugar, and we look in their shopping trolley, maybe they’ve got some chips and some white bread in there, and they’re like, “Hey, do you have a fat-burner? I’ve got a wedding coming up in two weeks. What’s the best thing you can get for me?” And, like, they need to lose weight really fast.
We feel like honestly saying to them, but you can’t really say it like this, “Look, you’ve been putting crap in your body for ten years, and you’ve got ten years of damage, and now you want to heal it, you know, fix it within two weeks. It just doesn’t work like that.”
Most people want short-term results. They’re not willing to actually make the proper changes that may happen a lot slower, but they’re going to live a lot longer and benefit from it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Right. Marketing play, I mean, you know obviously we all work in the industry, marketing plays a lot in that, as well, I think.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. well, every supplement claims to be the best out there, and if I went into a store, I could find, you know, a whole range of supplements that do exactly the same thing, but do they vary in grade or quality, or even effectiveness?
Christian Baker: Oh, god, so much. Australia’s got really good laws for protecting consumers when it comes to making sure that we’re having, you know, decent ingredients, safe ingredients.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Christian Baker: But what we don’t regulate, and what I think we really should, is the grade and the quality of ingredients. So, for example, if you get something like zinc, lots of people taking it, there’s about ten, twenty, or thirty forms of zinc. You can take what’s called a zinc chelate or you can take what’s called a zinc gluconate, they’re two different things both providing you with zinc at the end of the day.
Your body can absorb one of them almost entirely, which is the gluconate, but the other one your body can barely absorb at all, and that’s unfortunately more commonly used, because it’s cheaper. If you check the same man taking, you know, a zinc supplement every night, he thinks he’s taking the same amount, but he’s not actually keeping the same amount. His body can’t absorb it.
So, that’s a big concern with where we’re heading in terms of quality of supplements. They’re becoming more varieties out there, but we just don’t have the facts for the quality.
Stuart Cooke: Would it be safe to say that the more I pay the better quality of product I would be getting?
Christian Baker: In most cases, yeah, but…
Guy Lawrence: Not all?
Michael Baker: Depending on the brands. I mean, just, back on that in terms of quality, there’s a lot of products that they’ll have all these claims and everything and then you check the label and there’s what’s called proprietary blend on the back, and it’s so commonly used in the supplement industry, and it’s mainly used in the U.S. where you’ll have this product that’s perfectly branded, has some amazing claims, contains some awesome ingredients, right? XXdistortedXX [0:11:33] The actual doses of the good ingredients versus the lesser ingredients…you have no idea.
Yeah, people are just so used to seeing it, they don’t even question it. Why? Because, it’s like, “We will give you five good ingredients with 20 terrible ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right.
Guy Lawrence: What about fish oil? Because fish oil, you know, you see in absolutely every single chemist, stacked mountains of it, you know? What are your thoughts on the grading of fish oil?
Christian Baker: Well, fish oil, for starters, is one of my favorite things. I think it’s somewhat of a controversial topic. Everyone’s got their opinion, but I think, if people are taking fish oil…but, yeah, not all fish oil is created equal. Some people take the extra step of processing it an extra step to keep its freshness. Other people just do the minimum required by the government and that does have an impact.
And even when you open the container and smell it, you can tell. A friend of mine, actually, what she does every time she buys a batch of fish oil is pricks one of the capsules with a pin and, if it’s good quality, it’ll smell a bit fishy. No worries.
But, if it’s bad quality, it’ll smell rancid, and it’ll smell terrible, and you should throw the whole container out, and, unfortunately, most…I’ll save you buying fish oil from a supermarket. You should reconsider that. It’s better to go to a health food store or somewhere that is specializing in fish oil rather than just storing a generic brand on the shelf.
Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome take. You do realize that everybody now is going to be rushing to the kitchen and pricking their little tablets of fish oil. Me included.
Christian Baker: Please do it over the sink and get ready to wash your hands, because…XXdistortedXX [0:13:20]
Michael Baker: It stinks.
Stuart Cooke: That’s good to know. Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s excellent. If there’s one thing that I’ll spend money on, it’s fish oil. I’ll never, personally, buy from, straight from the shelves like that.
Michael Baker: Which one do you take, Guy?
Guy Lawrence: Hmm?
Michael Baker: Which one do you take? I remember you saying a really high quality one you’re taking once.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I buy, actually, Metagenics fish oil.
Michael Baker: Yeah.
Christian Baker: Good brand.
Guy Lawrence: Moving forward, what’s the biggest misconception then? Like, claims that won’t die, you know, people must be coming in with a perceived idea.
Michael Baker: Really? That’s so tough. I mean, we could talk about carbohydrates. We could talk about getting big quick. I mean, there’s so…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Big quick’s a good one. I had to deal with that all the time as a personal trainer.
Michael Baker: Yeah.
Christian Baker: You guys would get that all the time with your product.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Christian Baker: I think, yeah, there’s so many misconceptions and also things that won’t die, like, such as, don’t take vitamins because it’s expensive year-round, or vitamins don’t work, blah, blah, blah, blah, but the one that’s the most relevant at the moment, just because the fastest growing market of people purchasing protein is not body-builders and fitness freaks, it’s typically normal people who just want to be a little bit healthier and maybe want to lose a little bit of weight and are starting to realize that protein powder is just food. It’s just like chicken or beef. It’s nothing magical, but when they tell their friend to get it, or their friend’s friend or whatever, straight away if they’re a woman or even, a lot of time, with guys, they’ll go, “Oh, my god, I don’t want to take protein, because I’ll get too big.”
I’m like, “Well, I tried to get big for a long time.” So, you know…XXdistortedXX [0:15:08]
Michael Baker: When was the last time you ate chicken? You’re not huge.
Christian Baker: Yeah, exactly. So, like, protein, you don’t see when you go to the supermarket and go to buy a chicken breast, there’s not some big muscley dude on the front, even though chicken breast is the most commonly eaten food by bodybuilders. It’s just protein, and protein powder’s the same.
And I think, over time, it’ll probably get better, but, we got to clear the misconception that protein is for making you huge. Protein is just protein.
Stuart Cooke: Got it.
Michael Baker: You’ve got to get your calories from proteins, carbs, or fat, so, if you want to eat carbs all day and eat plenty of processed carbs and sugars like most people do, you’re going to get fat. You want to eat protein, you’re actually going to probably lose weight, but to try to explain this to the average consumer sometimes takes a good half-an-hour just to do it.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it’s, I don’t think it’s, it’s certainly not an easy topic to broach, especially when you’re in your shop.
Michael Baker: People have feelings, too, you don’t want break that. If for the last 20 years their great-grandmother taught them to do this, and they’ve got all these ways of eating and living and now, you know, you break their heart. You tell them they can’t have fruit for, you know, fruit for dessert with yogurt before bed, you know, you want to have a lean protein shake instead, they’re like, “What do you mean? Fruit’s good for you. Low calories.”
Stuart Cooke: That’s right, yeah. Nature’s dessert. That’s what we like to call fruit. You mentioned sugars, as well, Mick. Now that brings me on to artificial sweeteners.
Michael Baker: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: These are to, you know, the general public could be seen as a very good thing, because they reduce the amount of sugar in there which is a great thing, too. You know, are they a good thing, or are they a cause for concern?
Michael Baker: Both Christian and I, fortunately and unfortunately, have asthma, and I mean we’re, I’m 30 now, and I’ve still got asthma. It just hasn’t gone away, but I know, I basically know how to control it. So, for me, it’s mainly environmental and what I’m putting in my body, and you know, from dust and some pet hair, but mainly from putting bad foods in my body.
Like, if I have, right now, if I had a diet Coke and then, maybe, even a protein shake with artificial sweeteners, I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I literally wouldn’t be able take part in this podcast, because my lungs lock up and it’s game over for me.
Like, for many years when Christian and I first went into the industry, we’re like so keen to try everything, so we’re pre-workouts, during workouts, post-workout, bedtime, and like a million different shakes, and we’re taking all the top brand names, but yet, we used to finished a workout, we’d have massive anxiety and we’re like, “Oh my god, why can’t we breathe right now?”
Like, we’re really struggling with our breath, and it was funny enough because of the shakes we were taking. They’re fluff, you know, something called Ace-K, sucralose, sometimes aspartame, all of these hidden nasties that reduce the calories but just really don’t do good to you.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because, from my understanding, there are still a lot of companies suing them, I mean…
Christian Baker: They’re pathetic.
Michael Baker: A majority.
Christian Baker: Sweeteners, god, they’re such a controversial thing. I think, especially going back to what I said before about the growing market with people trying to be a little bit healthier. You know, a lot of people don’t realize that health and fitness are, in fact, two very different things. You know, you get them both right they’ll complement each other, but if you’re only pursuing one and you’re forgetting about the other, you know, you can get off-track.
Case in point, most people start going to the gym, might even take a protein supplement. They might start eating more chicken and stuff like that, but they won’t back themselves up with extra veggies. They won’t take a greens powder with vitamins in it to offset the protein they’re having, and they wonder why they get sick.
Or maybe they’ll look good, but then their skin won’t look so good, or they’ll have bad breath and all these other things, and they have no idea, because there are so many artificial things, you know, getting put into food and supplements, to reduce calories and to make you in better shape, but not with your health in mind.
One thing I wanted to say about sweeteners is from a vanity point of view, which is probably the best way to get it across to most people, is if you look up any study they’ve done with mainstream sweeteners, especially aspartame sweetener e951 that’s used in diet Coke and diet soft drinks and all those things, in nearly every single study, unanimous across the board, people who drink diet soft drinks eat more calories with their next meal, and usually eat more calories across the board through the whole day.
And it’s like the diet soft drink paradox, because your brain is hardwired to get excited and expect some calories when you give it something sweet. It’s a survival mechanism. And, if you’re having these sweet things, these artificial sweeteners, your brains like, “Okay, cool. Where’s the calories at?” And then it’s waiting, waiting…
“Still no calories? Something’s wrong. We need more calories.” And it keeps telling you to get hungrier and get hungrier until you satisfy that craving, but it’s just all messed up. You can’t trick your brain, and artificial sweeteners, they just mess with the way we work, and there’s so many other bad side effects we could talk about, but that’s one of my main concerns.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and interestingly enough, as well, if somebody is actually having a diet Coke I wonder how conscious they are about their actual, you know, the foods they’re putting in their body, and then the calories that they’re eating more of later are going to be, actually, probably of poor quality, I’d imagine.
Christian Baker: Yeah. Absolutely right.
Guy Lawrence: Escalating the problem. I mean, that’s why 180 started, you know, because, you know, working as a trainer, especially with the people with chronic disease, we couldn’t find a protein supplement without these sort of things in it.
Michael Baker: That’s why we love your protein, because it’s, you take it, you feel awesome after it. Like, you feel like you’ve just had all the nutrients you need. You can go for a run straight after it, whereas the other stuff we used to take, we’d have to like lie down and do deep breaths, like, recover.
Guy Lawrence: And that’s not healthy. I’m just touching on what Christian said, you know, like even from my experience you see a lot of people focusing on their physical appearance and fitness and can look great, but I’d question how healthy they actually really are underneath all that.
Michael Baker: Yeah, Christian and I went to a bodybuilding, a really big bodybuilding event. Last year’s Arnold Classic over in the U.S.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah, that’s right, yeah.
Michael Baker: Yeah, and it was a really great experience, but we could not believe how unhealthy the people were there. Like, it’s meant to be the health and nutrition…
Christian Baker: Industry…
Michael Baker: …industry, but there were people that were in their early 30s, women, that were losing hair, because of who-knows-what they’re putting in their body. You know, just, acne, redness under the eyes, pimples on the back of their delts and their triceps and it was just, stretch marks, yeah, it’s because they were loading up only supplements and then probably some other stuff in the backroom that you don’t know about. They’re not actually eating food. They’re not eating any real food.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, wow. While we’re on the topic of supplements, what are your personal staples? You know, your nutritional supplement routines that you do?
Michael Baker: Christian, you go first. He used to take four to five times as many supplements as me.
Christian Baker: Yeah, how much time do we have?
Guy Lawrence: Cause I know, obviously, quite a few people that work in the industry, and generally the people that work around supplements take more.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. We can always offer your list, as well, Christian, as a PDF download, if it’s too lengthy.
Christian Baker: Yeah, if it’s a small enough file for download. I used to take a lot of things, and I still like to introduce different things at certain times. I’m very much a human guinea pig, but at the moment I’ve cut myself right down to what I think are, you know, the essentials in terms of my lifestyle, so I take a greens formula, so like powdered vegetables with superfoods antioxidants, all those things, wheat grass, barley grass. I do eat a lot of green veggies and a lot of colored veggies, but I take as well just as backup because I do a lot of exercise.
A multivitamin, as well, even though I’m taking already greens, I will take the vitamin as well. I take fish oil, of course, to help with my joints, but also it does help with skin and also help with fat loss, as well. Protein, but only natural protein, I don’t take any sweeteners, so I take 180. I also take two other different ones, as well, which are natural.
I’ll take branch chain amino acids, which are really good for training and recovery and increasing your strength, but also minimizing any kind of muscle loss, if you’re dieting down, which, at the moment, I’m losing weight, so they’re good, but I do them unflavored which tastes terrible, but, also, because I’m avoiding sweeteners, and that’s the gist of it, but then I add other things for small periods of time.
Like, at the moment, I’m taking zinc, just for a good six weeks or so because we are going into winter, and it does help me with the…
Michael Baker: He just got a girlfriend, as well. He wants to increase his testosterone.
Christian Baker: Yeah, zinc does help with testosterone. In a few days, when you take zinc, so, if you’re a guy, definitely take a zinc.
Guy Lawrence: That is a good tip. What about you, Mick?
Michael Baker: I’m pretty similar to Christian. I do all my daily supplement regime is first thing in the morning it’s the greens powder, then usually about an hour to an hour-and-a-half, I usually go for a big hour walk in the morning. I have a nice shot of double espresso, which is not a supplement, but it’s caffeine in its purest form, and, yeah, with my two main meals I have a multivitamin.
At the moment, I’m taking a bit of olive leaf. It’s olive leaf extract for immune system, because I work quite a bit and I just can’t really afford to get rundown. Training-wise, pretraining I take an unflavored XX?XX [0:25:17] . I take arginine, which is,hands down, the worst tasting supplement on the planet.
Christian Baker: It’s fantastic.
Michael Baker: For pumps and vascularity, but it’s, it tastes like chlorinated pool water with tuna mixed into it.
Stuart Cooke: Nice.
Christian Baker: With a seaweed aftertaste.
Michael Baker: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, so I take XX?XX [0:25:39] and arginine before training. After training, I’ll have coconut water with either 180 or just an unflavored protein that I have, and I’ve got a massive sweet tooth, so I usually have one to two XX?XX [0:25:52] bars a day. Even though, it’s my justification, like, the nice little hit of cacao and all that stuff makes it, makes me feel like I don’t want to go for chocolate bars, so it does the job.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. And you guys essentially follow quite a clean diet, as well, don’t you? Devoid of most processed foods?
Christian Baker: Yeah, I think, I don’t get too caught up in exact protocols, like I’ve tried many diets to the letter for a time, just so I can experience it and just kind of take what I want and get rid of what I don’t want.
But, if you had to sum up my diet, it’s pretty much just eating real food, like most of it is real food, real veggies, real fruits, lots of nuts, lots of lean meat. Plenty of fat, too, from good sources, like grass-fed meats, nuts, avocadoes, fish, eggs.
Michael Baker: Are you eating bread these days?
Christian Baker: On the weekend, I’ll have bread, and if I am going to have bread, I’ll have sourdough, because it digests a lot better. Maybe one day a week I’ll have some bread with breakfast or lunch or something like that, because I do like bread, I just don’t want to eat it.
Guy Lawrence: I don’t think I’ve met a person that doesn’t like bread.
Christian Baker: Whoever made bread is a smart man and awesome. Yeah, if you had to match my diet up to an actual diet, I think the closest diet that I eat to would be the Wahls Protocol. Remember Dr. Terry Wahls who you guys interviewed? I’m a massive fan of her, and because her diet works from a fitness point of view as in it helps me train, but it’s centered around health.
Her diet is all about cellular health and giving the body what it needs to regenerate, and I’m a massive fan of that. Even though it takes a lot of effort and a lot of plates of red cabbage…
Christian Baker: The first day that we saw Christian do that, oh, my god, myself and our friend Jeremy was sitting there, all having a steak together, and but Christian had this massive salad bowl full of red cabbage and all this colorful stuff, and we’d finished our steak. We’re pretty much about to just clean and start doing the washing up. Christian hadn’t even started the steak. He’s still eating cabbage.
Christian Baker: I was committed.
Stuart Cooke: Color. Yeah, that’s it. Get some color on your plate. That’s an awesome tip.
Guy Lawrence: What supplements would you recommend, guys, for those that exercise regular? Because I know there have been quite a few, you know…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, we’re talking, you know, male, female, Joe Public.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because we get a lot of Cross Fitters, as well, obviously.
Michael Baker: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, your protein just flies out the door, especially Cross Fitters. They are just obsessed with it. I guess it gives them the perfect blend of healthy fats, some nice quality carbohydrates, really good quality protein, no sweeteners, no fillers or anything. So, I mean, that’s, yeah, your 180 protein is like the perfect protein.
Even for women that come in for weight loss. I still recommend it to them, because I’m like, “Look, you’re not going to have cravings. You’re going to get some healthy fats. Yes, fats are good for you. Slow release carbs. A good quality protein. Instead of having your…”
You know, actually, I won’t say the full title, it’s called Celebrity something, I mean, you get it from my words, and I was, I just said, “Okay, do you actually understand what’s in there? You’ve got vegetable oil. You’ve got soy protein, and you’ve got first ingredient skim milk powder, and you, just so many terrible ingredients, and it’s 100 percent sugar, as well.
So then I, you know, switched her over to the 180. Showed her that it’s actually whole foods and not fillers, and, yeah, so, she’s going to be loving it.
Stuart Cooke: Will you recommend like a general multivitamin, as well, to accompany, you know, to accompany their daily lives, as well?
Christian Baker: Yeah, I think, for Joe Public, the average person who wants to be a little bit healthier and who is eating a reasonably good diet, if you follow good diet protocols from Australia which involves a lot of grains, then I would recommend you choose at least either a greens powder, so powder with fruits and veggies and wheat grass, or a strong multivitamin, or you could do both, which is even better, but at least if you start with one of them that’s a good start.
However, unfortunately, with vitamins there’s a huge variance, so please don’t buy any of the ones you see on TV. They seem to put more money into their marketing than they do their research and development. And, if you’re using cheap forms of vitamins like that, you can take the tablets, but your body won’t absorb much of it at all…
[talking over each other]
Christian Baker: Sorry?
Michael Baker: That’s expensive urine right there.
Christian Baker: That’s where the saying comes from. And then, so, yeah, greens or a multivitamin and fish oil, I think that’s a good start for anyone, and if they do that, given that they drink enough water, as well, at least two or three liters a day, like, really, most people don’t do that, that alone is enough to make most people feel significantly healthier.
And most people just don’t buy into that, but literally a few days of doing that consistently, you feel dramatically different, if you haven’t taken those things for a while.
Michael Baker: Getting protein first thing in the morning, if you can do it within a half-hour of waking up, protein as your first meal instead of sugary cereal with some milk, it’s going to help with the blood sugar, their energy, their body fat, metabolism, everything. So, it’s 180 protein first thing in the morning, don’t need to add anything to it. There’s nothing. It’s got everything you need, pretty much for everyone.
Stuart Cooke: Breakfast like a king, I think. That’s the term, isn’t it?
Michael Baker: That’s it.
Stuart Cooke: Mick, you touched on weight-loss shakes, as well. This is a huge can of worms in itself, but what are your thoughts on weight loss shakes, you know, and he marketing that they use out in the High Street?
Michael Baker: Yeah, it’s, first of all, the marketing works, and that’s scary. It does work. Like people like to see labels that say, “Lose weight fast,” or something with “slim” or something…
Christian Baker: If the word toned is on it, women are for it.
Michael Baker: I know. There’s no real definition to “toned.” You can’t go to the gym and get toned. Yeah, it’s, I mean, everyone’s own personal perception, but, yeah, I mean, weight loss shakes, what I would tell to everyone is do your own research to how you can lose weight and then find your own ingredients to make a perfect shake, or go for a 180 shake or something that has got proper whole foods in it.
Like, a typical weight loss shake is not going to make you lose weight. Maybe, you know, for two weeks you might lose weight, because you’re not having calories from other food, but long term, as Christian said before, a lot of them have got the sweeteners in there, so therefore, you’re tricking yourself into not eating other foods and then you’re going to actually going to eat more in the long run.
And then you’re going to put on weight. You’re body’s bacteria, like good bacteria, is not going to be happening. Your gut health is not good. Your liver’s not going to be good. Everything’s going to slowly deteriorate, but the problem is short-term they usually do work, and that’s why people do want them for the quick fix, but it’s just slowly screwing your insides.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it never fails to amaze me the amount of artificial sweeteners in weight loss products that will have a direct link to your gut health or deterioration of gut bacteria, which is the one thing that you really need to regulate your hormones and weight control, as well, so it’s just a…
Christian Baker: Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: It’s just, it’s crazy, isn’t it? It’s a vicious cycle.
Christian Baker: And, actually, on that point sweetener 950, sorry, sweetener 955, sucralose, was invented by accident when they were all trying to make a pesticide. So, it was originally designed to kill bacteria in microorganisms, so when you take it into your own gut it starts killing the microorganisms, the bacteria, whether they’re good or bad. It doesn’t discriminate.
So, a lot of people experience bloating, poor digestion, and things like that when they’re taking a lot of sweeteners, and that’s often why, because they’re destroying the environment down there.
Guy Lawrence: The reality is of that, as well, if you have been down that path for years and then one day go, “Oh my god, I’ve been doing this to me,” some things you just can’t fix overnight.
Michael Baker: That’s it. Unfortunately not. Yeah, I mean, back on the weight loss shakes sort of things, the best thing you can do, I guess, is grab the product, turn it around, look at the label, try to see that there are no numbers. If you don’t know what the number is, look up the number, and if you don’t understand the ingredients, run, like, do not, do not go for it.
Another ingredient that’s a killer, which is not really related to sports supplements but it’s called MSG, monosodium glutamate, and that, for me, it’s my kryptonite. It just destroys me, because I’ve got and MSG allergy, which is in all Asian food, flavored chips, but it’s in so many different things, and now they hide it under yeast extract, as well.
Guy Lawrence: Is that right?
Michael Baker: Yeah, it’s another hidden thing that’s in so many different ingredients in the supermarket, gravies and soups and…
Stuart Cooke: Flavor enhancer is another generic term for MSG. It really is funny, but I think the great thing about the society that we live in today is that we do have, or most of us have, smartphones, and most of us have access to, you know, so much information, so when we’re out and about we can make these checks instantly.
Michael Baker: Yeah, totally.
Christian Baker: Yeah, and if you Google a lot of ingredients that you don’t understand, it just comes up, and it gives you two or three different alternate names for them and often times, like Mick said with the whole yeast extract thing, it’s, yeah, it’s something that’s a common irritant or problem for a lot of people but it’s disguised under different names.
Like, a lot of people are terrified of trans fat and for good reason, because there’s no justifiable reason to ever eat it, except that it makes the texture of food really good, but that can be called vegetable shortening, so it’s got the word vegetable in it, so you’re like, “Vegetable. Cool.” But shortening is just another long word for fat, and vegetable fat, you know, if you look at, say, olive oil or vegetable oil, it’s always runny and it’s always a liquid, because it’s an unsaturated fat.
If it’s solid, and it’s not a saturated fat, because they’re solid at room temperature, like butter and stuff, but somehow it’s solid, you know it’s been modified, which is what trans fat is. It’s been messed up and hydrogenated.
Guy Lawrence: Hydrogenated, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: I avoid it.
Guy Lawrence: If, for people listening to this, if you were to say what would just like a really simple breakdown, what would you list to say, “Look, just check these in the ingredients. You need to avoid these.” Vegetable oil would definitely be on there for me.
Christian Baker: Yeah, do you mean when looking for supplements or just in food in general?
Guy Lawrence: Probably both. Let’s do supplements first.
Christian Baker: Okay. Well, yeah, I would say, if you can, avoid, well, we’ll go back to Mick’s point with the whole celebrity kind of shakes and weight loss shakes and those things, the ones that are in supermarkets and on TV.
I think, before you even look at those, you should, kind of, make some rules for yourself, which is what we’re going onto now, you know, what to avoid. You should look for certain things that you want and, also, look for things to avoid, and I think the number one things to avoid would be vegetable oil, because there are so many better ways to get healthier fats. Vegetable oil is notorious for inflammation and causing problems.
I would also avoid skim milk powder, because then you know straight away that the brand is using cheap ingredients. You want a protein powder; you don’t want a milk powder. You can milk powder from anywhere and it’s cheap.
Avoid soy protein, because a lot of people can get away with a small amount of soy in their diet, but in its concentrated form soy protein can wreak havoc on both the male and female bodies. It’ll throw estrogen levels really high, cause you to gain fat instead of lose it, and it can, also, cause other hormonal craziness problems, too.
So, yeah, they’re my top three, and then I would say, also, trans fat, of course, which is less common to find in these shakes, but definitely avoid trans fat, which is written either as hydrogenated something, could be palm oil, any kind of oil, or vegetable shortening.
Guy Lawrence: Like the low fat margarine that you see in so many people’s fridge.
Christian Baker: Yeah, if you’re doing margarine, throw that stuff in the bin, please, like seriously.
Michael Baker: Eat butter.
Guy Lawrence: Cholesterol lowered margarine, too. That’s what on the label.
Christian Baker: Margarine is like spreadable plastic. It’s one molecule away from being actual plastic. It’s crazy. It was only invented because there was short supply of butter during the war or something like that, so I don’t know how it even survived after that, but…
Michael Baker: Anything that says fat free or reduced fat is always a worry, because XXtraffic noise drowned his wordsXX [0:39:40] to be safe, but the majority of the time it’s just a no go, because the only way to reduce the fat or to avoid the fat is to put in sugar or sweeteners or something to replace it. So, it’s just, stay clear form that. Full fat is good.
Stuart Cooke: That’s good advice.
Guy Lawrence: Cool. I was just, sorry, I thought he was going to just throw in some in there, Stu. Alright, guys, look, moving on. We kind of covered your diet. Do you have cheat meals, by the way?
Christian Baker: Absolutely.
Michael Baker: You’re kidding. Cheat meals? You’re talking to Christian. Could I please tell them about one of your cheat meals?
Christian Baker: Please do.
Michael Baker: And it may be a few details off.
Christian Baker: Yeah.
Michael Baker: I remember there was a day, not too long ago, Christian had some, I think he made French toast out of croissants…
Christian Baker: Yep.
Michael Baker: As if croissants don’t have enough butter and goodness already. French toast croissants. after he demolished them, probably covered in Nutella and maybe jam and peanut butter, he then proceeded to buy, I think it was the 24-pack of chocolate chip cookies, and a full liter of, it might have been, full cream milk or Cleopatra milk. He poured the milk into a big mixing bowl, poured the 24 cookies into the bowl, crushed them up, and sat there eating them.
Christian Baker: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: How did you feel after that?
Michael Baker: It was like punishment.
Christian Baker: I felt high, like I felt euphoric.
Michael Baker: Were you watching Cross Fit videos while you were doing this?
Christian Baker: Yeah, I was like, “I need the calories.” But, no, it’s, I think cheat meals are very beneficial if you’re doing them right. Like, if you are on a, especially if you’re on a weight loss diet, you’re most likely, if it’s working, then it means you’re eating the kind of calories where your body is losing weight from week to week, and because your body is smart and it doesn’t want to starve to death, it’s eventually going to catch on to the idea that you’re trying to lose weight, and it’s going to try to stop you losing weight, because it doesn’t want to lose weight, because that’s not a good thing from a survival point of view.
So it’s starts to rev your metabolism down, down, down until even the same low-calorie diet won’t burn any more calories, but if you spike your metabolism again, and you give it a whole bunch of food, you go, “Hey, guess what? We’re not starving. There’s lots of food around. You can burn more energy again.” Your metabolism goes up and you’ll burn more fat the next week.
Also, I think it’s a good psychological release, if you feel like, “Oh my god, I can never eat a cookie again, or I can never eat Nutella again,” which Nutella, by the way, is like my favorite thing in the world, if you haven’t noticed. So then it’s a psychological benefit, too, but absolutely it can be abused.
Like, if I did the kind of meal that Mick described, if I did that that every Saturday when I do my cheat meal, I’d probably be really fat. That was, you know, sometimes they’re big like that, sometimes they’re smaller. I’ll go eat, like, smaller for me, so I’ll eat, like, a pizza, and then a Max Brenner dessert, which, for me, that’s a lot for most people, but I can easily do that, like, no worries.
Guy Lawrence: Give it ten years, mate. You’ll a…
Christian Baker: I’m the youngest in this group. I know. But then the next day I’ll be fasting half the day and then I’ll be doing a heavy workout like squats or something, so I burn it off.
Michael Baker: A lot of the time when we do a cheat meal we’ll do it post-workout, so you know we’ve opened up our glycogen, like our muscle receptors are going to put all our glycogen into our muscle. Glycogen being sugar, and other crap, into our muscles, so off putting a lot of the damage.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a really important point, isn’t it?
Christian Baker: Timing is super important. Timing is extremely important.
Michael Baker: Sometimes we’ll take some alpha lipoic acid, as well, to help balance the blood sugar, and we might even have a shot of espresso after to help with gastric empty, to, you know, get all Tim Ferriss style to, you know, make sure you don’t absorb all that food.
Christian Baker: If anyone wants, like, the ultimate way to do cheat meals and minimize the damage and not get as, you know, try not to store much fat from it, or any, check out The 4-hour Body by Tim Ferriss. It’s one of the greatest books ever written on health and fitness, and it’s also hilarious and really fun to read.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome read. Yeah.
Christian Baker: But just one final note on cheat meals, I think it’s not for everyone, like, if from a psychological point of view, I really like doing things in extremes, so I’d rather be super strict and then super crazy, but I’ve got friends who just aren’t into that. They like to, they’re the kind of people who can go to the gym, come home, eat a few cookies with their protein shake, and they use those cookies for good calories, like it goes to their muscles, and then straight away get back on the bandwagon, eat a salad for dinner with chicken. I won’t do that.
If I start with one cookie, it’s going to result in 24 cookies. So I’ll do none, and I’ll do them all on Saturday.
Stuart Cooke: …and then all.
Christian Baker: But, yes, think about your personality and then that’ll kind of help tell you if you are…
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely, and I think body type has a lot to do with it, as well, because I know Stu could have a cheat meal every single meal and not gain an ounce of body fat.
Stuart Cooke: Come on. We put that to the test in Fiji, didn’t we, and it didn’t, and it absolutely worked to treat. I ate 6,000 calories a day for two weeks and lost a kilo-and-a-half.
Michael Baker: What?
Christian Baker: Oh my god. What? You were doing, you were doing, what’s that guy? That awesome guy who’s friends with…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Nate Green.
Christian Baker: Nate Green. You were doing his kind of stuff. He’s super ripped.
Michael Baker: That is insane.
Christian Baker: The calories he eats on some of his programs are amazing, and he’s still super lean, so, yeah. Stu is the Aussie Nate Green.
Stuart Cooke: I’m the skinny version of Nate Green. That’s the problem. But, yeah, I think DNA and certainly our genes have a lot to play in the way that our body responds to food, for sure.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. All right. I was just looking at the time, guys. I’ve got a wrap up question, as well, we always ask every week. This has been awesome.
So, I’ll start with you, Mick. What’s the single bet piece of advice you’ve ever been given? And that can be outside of the nutritional world, as well. Anything.
Michael Baker: Oh, put on the spot, okay, off my gut, it’s, I’m going to have to go with my granddad, or our granddad, he’d always say in his broken German accent…He’d always be lecturing us and…
Christian Baker: Do the accent.
Michael Baker: …telling us war stories, and he’d be like, “Michael, whatever someone can do, you can always do better. Never settle for average, you know. If you see someone, you can do it better.”
That was probably, eh, I mean it’s always stuck with me. It’s very basic. You can interpret it how you want, but it’s just like, go learn from the best and do better.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. There’s truth in that.
Guy Lawrence: 100 percent. Christian?
Christian Baker: Yeah, no, he’s a great man, and he’s a good immigrant success story, as well. The guy came out from Germany after the war and built himself up in Australia, so we love that guy.
Stuart Cooke: He certainly did it better.
Christian Baker: Yeah, no, he did a great job, and he’s still around. One, my favorite piece of advice is one that Mick and I both love a lot. It’s from one of our favorite business mentors, a gentleman named Fergus, and he said, he passed on something to us that his dad told him growing up, and it’s in the context of business, but I think you can put it into any area of your life, and that is, “Top line vanity; bottom line sanity.” So he’s talking about, if a business is making millions of dollars but not keeping anything, well then it’s stupid. You think you’re cool because you may have lots of money coming in, but you’re not keeping anything.
And I think the same thing can be done with health and nutrition. On the surface, you’ve got this awesome program you’re doing six days of training a week. You’re turning up for all your sessions. You’re doing that morning cardio and that afternoon weight-training. You’re hitting all this perfectly written down routine, but then you’re falling short on your nutrition, and you’re not eating enough veggies, and you think you can get away with cutting corners, and eventually it catches up to you until you look at the bottom line, what the actual results are.
You’re not in good shape. Your immune system sucks. You’re not as energetic as you should be. Your skin’s no good, and you’re falling to pieces, and I think that’s what’s happening to a lot of people.
Michael Baker: Adrenal fatigue.
Guy Lawrence: Massively, yeah.
Christian Baker: People burning the candles on both ends, thinking they’re invincible.
Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting with human nature. You tend to gravitate what you love most and enjoy and go, but you can neglect other areas, and…
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Christian Baker: Yeah. It’s hard to control that.
Guy Lawrence: You know, it can fall apart a bit, you know, but I think we’ve all done that at some stage in our lives, as well, you know, and you learn the lessons. Yeah, that’s great, tips-wise. So, where can we get more of the Baker Boys? If anyone who listens to this wants to check out a little bit more?
Michael Baker: At the moment, the best place to get us is bakerboysblog.com.
Guy Lawrence: Right, we’ll have the link up anyway. It’ll be there, so we can support that.
Michael Baker: What about you guys? Just a quick one back on you, I’d be interested to know, like, what’s, well, in terms of nutrition and activity-wise, like, what’s your daily ritual? What’s one thing you do every day? Starting from when you wake.
Guy Lawrence: Starting from when I wake. I’ll go first. What I generally do, because I’m fortunate enough to live right by the beach, I get up, it’s normally by ten past 6:00 a.m. I’m outside. I’ll have a long black and I’ll sit on the beach and then I will dive in the ocean. So that’s how I start the day.
And then, I do that pretty much every day, and if I know me and Stewey are getting into the surfing thing, so if there’s waves and there not too big and scary, I’ll actually start the day with a surf.
Michael Baker: Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: That’s been probably the most addictive thing I’ve got into in a long time, just to be in the ocean and doing that. It’s amazing. And then I come back and I’ll generally have a 180 shake, and then I’ll have a shower and stuff like that and then I’ll tend to have a breakfast a few hours later, so like a late morning breakfast, but I know Stewey’s eaten half his cupboards by 7:30 a.m. If I’m not mistaken, mate.
Stuart Cooke: No, no, I do have a bit of a ritual. So, I start the day every single morning with a big steaming hot water with lemon and ginger. So fresh lemon and ginger. That’s the first that I’ll have, and then I’ll take a multivitamin, some fish oil, and then I’ll get as much color into my breakfast as possible. So I might use breakfast, kind of, making salads, and I’ll just have everything under the sun, and I’ll alternate that perhaps one day with a mega-salad and the other breakfasts I’ll have just a mega-bowl of steamed veggies, and I’ll just drizzle that with oil. I’ll put sardines on the top. I have a 180, you know, a 180 shake is generally my midmorning snack.
Guy Lawrence: And I will add, as well, this is a guy who has to get three kids ready for work, as well, so anyone who’s saying they haven’t got time for breakfast…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: …needs to rethink their strategy.
Stuart Cooke: Our house can get crazy in the morning. We’ve got three girls and getting them ready for school and getting them on the good breakfast, as well, yeah, we just kind of start that way, and I’ll get as much color into my meals every single day as I can.
Christian Baker: All about that color. Just quickly on your, when you have lemon in the morning, because I’ve been doing that for years, as well, do you ever find it makes your teeth enamel feel a bit funny? Sensitive?
Stuart Cooke: A little. A little. You know, strangely enough, I was finding that more with peppermint tea, which is really strange, because I wouldn’t have thought I should’ve felt that at all, because the acidity levels, but, yeah, every now and again, but I just feel so almost cleansed when I do that. That I think it, yeah, it really works for me, yeah, just getting that in there.
Michael Baker: Nice.
Stuart Cooke: How about that? So, a few tips there for you boys.
Michael Baker: It’s great. I’m taking notes.
Guy Lawrence: it’s the first time anyone has asked us questions.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right, but seriously if you’re interested in what we eat, jump on to Instagram and we photograph most things.
Christian Baker: We always follow that.
Stuart Cooke: Just to guide people…
Christian Baker: Breakfast out and about in Coogee and Bondi. It’s always avocado, eggs, everything’s very colorful.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: Keeps us honest when you go public. It’s like I can’t put, oh…
Stuart Cooke: That’s exactly right. Guy does his, Guy addresses his treat meals indoors, I think.
Christian Baker: I’ll never be seen outside of my house eating in public unless it’s like a carrot or an apple or something. Ever. Ever.
Michael Baker: He eats those cookies when the lights are off, and he’s like…
Christian Baker: Yeah, yeah, when the doors are closed, I’ll have cookies, but never, never in front…
Guy Lawrence: Just check if anyone’s looking.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, no, that’s right. That’s awesome. Boys, thank you so much, guys, for your time. Your insights have been invaluable and, as ever, it’s been a blast.
Guy Lawrence: That was awesome.
Michael Baker: Love your work. Love your learnings.
Guy Lawrence: This will go down XX?XX [0:52:52] this podcast. That was fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, awesome.
Christian Baker: It’s an honor to be part of it. I love your show. I listen to it all the time.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, fellas.
Michael Baker: Thanks, guys. Cheers.