Today, I’ll be talking about the conventional approach to health and wellness, that I used to undertake (and I know a lot of you probably still do the same), compared to an alternative approach, a primal lifestyle approach which I now live by and which has turned my world upside down.
Okay, let’s get started now, I don’t want to waste any of your time. I’m
honoured that you’re here today, so thank you very much.
When I think back to when I was a young kid, I was always interested to get out and do stuff
My family and I had moved out to a farm and so this was heaven for us as
kids, living and growing up, we were always outside doing stuff, building cubby houses, making things, we had a pet sheep, we had a seagull, we had all the farm animals as most farm people used to do, had some old trikes and a whole range of other things, so we’re always active, always out doing stuff.
I used to play a little bit of soccer, did a bit of body-boarding, played a bit of golf with my grandmother and a bit of tennis with my sister, so I was always doing stuff but I was always the tubby kid, I was not all that good at sport, I liked doing it, I was out there having a go but I was just not all that crash hot at it.
For me it was a bit of fun, a little bit of competition along the way… but even
back then it just felt great, I wasn’t really good at it but it just felt great,
There was no real plan behind it, it just happened and I got out and enjoyed myself while I was doing it.
But as I got older I started to read a little bit more about getting out, doing a bit and looking after myself, I read a bit, I researched a bit and I tested a few things on myself,
The first thing I had a look at was healthy food, or as I used to understand
what was healthy… and I tried a few things, Then I tried a few exercise programs, tested them again on myself to see how they all went and then I got hooked, I got hooked on the runner’s high, on the buzz of exercise and I was doing lots of it.
The old conventional approach was that if a little exercise is good well then
lots must be great… I was part of that group and I was out doing heaps of
exercise whenever I could. I did a little bit of running, was doing a bit of
surfing then and a whole range of other bits and pieces, again just because I loved it.
And then I found when I stopped because of study or work, I just didn’t feel as good, things just didn’t flow all that well and I started to put on a bit of weight.
When I met my wife over 20 years ago she got me into cycling, because living on a farm where we had lots of hills we didn’t ride bikes much back then, but my wife got me back into it. I progressed to mountain biking, did a bit of triathlon… and adventure racing. I triathlon off-road, so for me it’s lots of fun.
I love the outdoor stuff and I love the off-road stuff.
All this was with a little bit of competition but all for fun… and I knew it was good for my body, I knew it was starting to make a change to
myself…because I was always keen to live a long, healthy, happy life.
But most of all I knew it was good for my mind. As I mentioned I love the
outdoors and more importantly for me the bush or the ocean. Just getting out and doing those things, enjoying being a part of the bush and in the ocean, swimming, was a real chance for me to disconnect… disconnect from a phone, all the hassles and stresses of study and work, that sort of thing,
It was freedom… escape. It cleared my mind, it was like being a kid again
where you could just focus on what you’re doing… that little adventure for the day, and that was it, that was the first and main thing on my mind and I found I used to get this from exercise as well, years and years ago.
I couldn’t find anything else that would give me this sort of a buzz… and it was a real buzz!
I used to go out and have a few beers with my mates as a comparison and we had some great times, studying, that sort of thing, on the pub scene bands, I had an absolute ball.
But then you have a few too many drinks, you sleep in a little bit late, you
wake up feeling a bit lousy, a bit groggy, and the day’s not all that flash… and so I would then be a bit annoyed with myself that I’ve missed the opportunity to get out and do a bit for myself.
As time progressed I started to think more about healthy eating and I really
focused on that.
A typical day’s food for me back then would have been –
Breakfast, weet-bix, half a dozen or so bits of toast, always whole grain toast, bit of orange juice to kick start the day.
Morning tea, might have a muffin bread roll, muesli bar, that type of thing, a cup of tea, something like that,
Lunchtime would come around, heap of sandwiches, some fruit loaf, heap of fruits and fruit juice, all those things,
Again afternoon tea, bit of a snack here and there
Dinner, meat and three vegetables, always been a meat and three vegetables man, a bit of ice cream or something with custard to follow up on and I thought my life was going pretty good.
I thought I was eating healthy and ticking a lot of boxes. We’ve been told we need to eat healthy and a lot of those things that I was eating was in that realm of good healthy food,
I was busy working but I was juggling all this to make it all happen. I thought things were going okay, then I fell ill and things started to go pear-shaped.
As part of my treatment for recovery, a few questions started to come up…
what was the food that I was actually eating?
One of my doctors suggested I needed to try a low inflammatory Paleo diet
because along with falling ill with a chronic disease, I was also diagnosed
obese, and I could not understand for the life of me, how could this actually
I was exercising a lot, I was eating “healthy food” as I was led to believe and
as most of you were probably told over decades.
I remember that little triangle on the side of the cereal box, I believed what it said and I thought this is what the gurus are telling us, this is the way it should be.
But this illness, this obese diagnosis that I had, raised a few questions in my
mind, so I was prepared to research a little bit more, understand a bit more
about what a low inflammatory diet was and then I made the call to change.
I said okay, in line with my illness I’ve got to make a change, if that’s what the doctors are telling me. I had tried a whole range of other things and they weren’t working.
I read a lot about Paleo diet, what it is and what it means, so I moved towards that treatment with a whole range of antibiotics and supplements, together with my diet and a little bit of light exercise and I started to see a change And then over the weeks, the months, the years, there was a massive, change, to the point where I’ve taken that progression to a paleo diet a little further, that I now live by a primal lifestyle which, in a lot of ways is similar to paleo, a few little changes here and there which I’ll talk about at a later time.
But primal, it gets back to how our research has shown our ancestors used to live and eat hundreds of thousands of years ago,
It’s a very basic, very real approach to eating and also general lifestyle,
That’s how I’ve stuck with this and I’ve reworked my exercise and my
approach to exercise to suit, and that is a whole lot different to what I did in
the past. As I said before I used to go out and exercise and I’d exercise hard and often and in hindsight I didn’t let myself recover well enough, I didn’t get enough variety in what I was doing, and basically I’d plateaued,
I didn’t progress much, I had a reasonable level of health and fitness and I
thought that was OK.
Now I do as much low heart rate exercise as possible and whether that’s a bit of mountain biking, whether that’s paddling on my kayak or walking with my wife or a very light easy job, very low heart rate stuff, it might be for 15 minutes, it might be for half an hour, it might be for a couple of hours but low heart rate.
Again I’ve mentioned this before, there’s a quite a complex formula that was put together by a Dr. Maffetone that calculates maximum heart rate.
An easy way for us to interpret the formula is this: 180 minus your age, so for me 180 minus 47, my age, gives me a maximum heart rate of 133 beats per minute and that’s the maximum heart rate that I get to in most of my exercises.
In the past I didn’t think I’d be able to achieve this, and I didn’t understand the benefits of doing it.
Having done it for some time now, I can see I’ve built up a really good solid,
base level of fitness… and that I can maintain those forms of exercise for long periods of time, certainly without over stressing my body, without really taxing my energy systems.
I’m not burning glucose on in there that lower a heart rate level, which is predominantly burning fat which is a more consistent burn of energy, a more consistent fuel for energy.
And in conjunction with that exercise I do a little bit of strength training, so for me now I do CrossFit training on a Tuesday and a Thursday morning for an hour each… but they’re not solid hours.
The sessions that I go to with my local CrossFit gym, thats CrossFit
Highjacked, is effectively broken up into thirds –
First third is a bit of warm-up, bit of stretching,
Second third is bit of technique and a bit of fine-tuning of understanding what the actual exercises are and getting the most out of them and really focusing on improving and perfecting your technique.
And then the last is the real workout! It’s where you’re doing you the real
exercise for the morning and it may be for 15 or 20-minutes.
It’s right in line with my philosophy for exercise, which is not over stressing your body too much and it’s certainly fits in line with the strength training that I like and it’s an all-over strength training exercise approach that only goes for 20-minutes or so, it’s not overly taxing, twice a week, gives me plenty of recovery on the other side of those sessions
And in addition to that I do sprint training one session a week, half a dozen
sprints 15 to 20-seconds each sprint with about a minute rest between, just to let your heart rate calm down, and I found that has really, really stepped my fitness up to a whole new level.
I do running sprints, because I’ve been doing a bit of running for a number of years now, but if running is not for you, you can do sprint training in the pool if you’re a swimmer, you can do it on a stationary bike in the gym or at home… or even just a really brisk walk up a steep hill, that will give you a similar boost, and a really quick intense session like that will boost your fitness and also boost your metabolism as well.
So, a really different approach to what I’ve taken before with my exercise and a far more intuitive approach.
I now listen to my body. When I get up I have an idea of what I feel like, I might have what I have in mind to do for the day but I’m not set by that, I’m not driven by a program that has to happen, day in, day out, week in, week out.
I’ve got a rough idea what I want to do, if I don’t feel like doing it I skip it, I
always try to get in some very easy slow movements, like a walk, at least once a day.But not always… as an example this morning I got up and had in mind to do a few things, but I didn’t really feel like it, had a bit of a late one last night, did a catch up with some family friends. Had a great night, out a little bit late, so I just canned my usual routine and went for a walk on the beach. It was magic.
And that’s all I plan to do for the day. My initiative and my intuitive approach, means just listening to my body tell me what it’s ready to do for the day… and it feels absolutely incredible.
I no longer feel absolutely flogged or drained or run down… and then following on from that start to feel a little bit grouchy, a bit moody and a bit snappy to my family, my friends and it’s not their fault that I’ve run myself down as I did in the past. I don’t do that anymore, my energy source is predominantly fat- burning now.
I’ve moved from a high carbohydrate burner which I was in the past to
predominantly burning fat for fuel and as I mentioned it’s a far more consistent and even burning of fuel for my exercise, for my living and it feels sooo much better!
I have far more consistent energy, I’m not tired during the day, I feel great all the time rather than only feeling great sometimes.
My mind is much clearer, I’m fitter, leaner and stronger than ever before and it gives me that much more energy to get out and do the things I want to do, to get out enjoy the time with my kids, my family and get out and ride the bike, have a swim, have a paddle, have a run and just live life.
I think that’s the real thing for me, it’s a lifestyle that I live now and it’s
something that I coach my clients.. that they can live for their life… and they’re doing that. It’s not a quick fix, it’s not a quick in-and-out, or something you can apply. I understand the parameters of what is good health, good food, good exercise and I apply that for life as I’ve been doing for years now and I’ll never turn back.
So, if you love to talk more about lifestyle coaching with me being your coach, drop me a message, we can have a chat.