Right time right place basically. It was perfect timing when I met Cliff, right when I was looking into Online nutrition courses and he told me about his HPN course. It was perfect because it was online but also we had just become a client of Nuzest NZ and so I would be able to build a relationship with Cliff which was a lot better than other courses where I probably would never have met those behind the scenes.
What did you get out of the HPN course/ why would you recommend it others?
I was very new to Nutrition, there is only 1 nutritionist in the Cook Islands that works for the Ministry of Health, so I was looking for any courses that could teach me the foundations of Nutrition to give me a good starting knowledge base. The HPN course gave me more than that. You learn a lot of the basics to nutrition but it also encourages you to look deeper into what is the latest research and teaches you to keep an open mind about the changing beliefs around nutrition. The other online courses I had looked into around the world I believe would have just taught me stock standard old school basics behind nutrition with no reference to what is new or even a holistic approach to nutrition which arguably is the best way to get people to change their bad habits around eating, especially here in the Cook Islands.
What was your background experience in nutrition?
I had absolutely no background experience in nutrition before the HPN course. My partner and I started running some Health & Fitness groups to try and start getting people active in groups of 12 at a time for 12 weeks. As part of that service we offered some advice on nutrition which was just what I found online on nutrition mostly around the Paleo diet. I may not have had any certificate behind my name but because there was no one else here it was still more than what they could get from anyone else. Following the Paleo diet was a simple way to teach people initially because to eat cleaner diets was always going to make a huge impact on their health, especially because we were/are the fattest and most obese nation in the world.
What are you up to now as a graduate of HPN?
I didn’t wait till I got my certificate before practicing what it taught. I started making changes to the content I taught immediately and kept revamping it as I learnt more from the course. To give some perspective on how my content has changed, I started with teaching people about what has always been commonly believed around nutrition e.g. Calories In should be less than Calories Out; Follow Paleo and you can’t go wrong; Fat was bad. To now running an initial workshop with a presentation that educates people about our dire NCD statistics, why we get fat is not as simple as Calories In vs. Calories out, and why fat is not all bad. I then teach them about Paleo and why it is a great starting point but to truly get the best results from your nutrition we need to tweak it to be more high fat low carb with a holistic approach to change some bad habits that got them in that situation in the first place.
However, I only ever ran these workshops and challenges in house (I co-own a CrossFit gym). I didn’t promote it to outsiders as I wanted something behind my name before doing so. Now that I have a Certificate I can now start announcing workshops / presentations to the wider community and can actually write articles for the newspaper, which hopefully will create more awareness about proper nutrition and good habits to make some lasting changes in peoples lives.
What's does your ideal day off entail?
Spending the day at the beach with our kids and family. Our lives get very hectic and busy throughout the week with long hours from 5am through to 8pm at night. Our kids get very limited time with us and so a day at the beach takes you off the grid and disconnects you from the online world and everything else in life that causes stress. There is nothing better than spending the whole day in the water or sitting under a coconut tree on the beach talking to family while watching your children enjoy themselves playing and having fun all day long.
What is your favourite way to nourish your body and what is your biggest food weakness?
I swear by Nuzest’s Good Green Stuff and recommend it to absolutely everyone and anyone that live a busy life. It is so hard to get all the nutrition you need from the food we eat today, and GGS is the perfect nutrition insurance to give you a good head start every day. Since taking GGS my daily performance and output has doubled, and that is probably an understatement. Coconut oil is my other must have, I can’t go half a day without having some sort of dose of coconut oil whether it is in a cup of coffee or cooked in my meals.
I don’t really have a food weakness as I have never had a sweet tooth or had a food item that I couldn’t resist. My main problem around food is that I get really busy and to cook food sometimes I view as a chore and time waster that I quite easily fall to convenient food because it is quicker. My attraction to those foods is the time it saves me as opposed to the enjoyment I get out of them which isn’t much anyway. So because of this I have created an armoury of meals that are really quick for me to pull together that require minimal preparation time. There are always healthy nuts and fruit all over our house as well. The funny part to all this is I actually find cooking therapeutic and should do it more often.
What does your weekly fitness routine consist of?
This is an area of my life that I am working on. Since starting up our CrossFit gym and taking on nutrition clients on top of raising a young family of 3 boys under the age of 8 and a full time job as an accountant with 5 busy clients, I have had less and less time for exercise. I have tried to get into a routine to find that I start off enjoying it because my body needs it to actually resenting it because it is stealing to much of my time which I need to get through my mountains of work that I am months behind in. I always preach to everyone that regardless of how busy you are you need to make time for exercise, and because I am a firm believer of leading by example this is an area that i really need to get sorted in my life. So Yoga and stretching for 20-30 minutes a day is where I will start as a desk job can have a lot of detrimental effects on your body.
Favourite piece of nutritional advice?
“YOU CANNOT OUT-TRAIN A BAD DIET”. There is a common misbelief that if you train hard you can eat whatever you want because you earned it, there are some that believe that you can go for an easy 30minute walk with a friend and you earned your dessert for dinner. Some people train so hard and wonder why their body composition doesn’t change, when all they need to acknowledge is that what they are eating is the culprit. In a way, the fact that I don’t have a fitness routine helps me hammer this message home as I get many compliments from people that I look good and fit. They believe that I do CrossFit to look like this and are surprised to learn that I actually don’t train and that I look like this because of how I eat and not how I expend my energy. I manage to get their attention when I tell them this and they become more interested in what I have to teach