To the outside world, Rich’s 12-pack may make him seem unrelatable (Rich’s Instagram handle is richy_fitat40…..).
But Rich has an amazing story which has led him to his advances in his own health. In short, Rich’s stress levels and anxiety led to seven debilitating gut parasites and as a result, he struggled to find the energy to work, train and enjoy life. He subsequently began to suffer from multiple niggles, the most serious of which turned into chronic back pain lasting several years.
Rich not only takes very careful stock of his diet these days, but he has also gone to great lengths to educate himself on the best mobility and rehab protocols for training under intensity. Rich can talk for hours about the importance of your nutrition on your health, so we’ve cut it down to a few minutes of reading for you.
Rich, how important is your food to both your mental and gut health?
My food has a massive impact on all aspects of my health. If I am not “eating clean” (predominantly meat, vegetables, non-processed carbohydrates), I notice a large negative shift in my mental health. I experience brain fog and a lack of concentration. Physically, I feel extremely lethargic and immediately become more aware of aches and pains that aren’t usually present if I am taking care of myself.
How does your food support your training?
I need to make sure I am getting enough carbs in first and foremost, especially after training. If I don’t get that in, I will start to feel the symptoms above. Some of my favourite staple foods to support my training and my body are oats, bananas, chicken, berries, sweet potato, nuts and vegetables.
What was your experience with your gut parasites?
I had to cut ALL carbs for four months. This was incredibly difficult, but it finally sorted me out (I can finally keep my food in)! I have been able to reintroduce some carbs, but I still try and stick to cleaner versions.
How hard is it for you to stay on track?
It was obviously hard initially completely cutting carbs, but it is now easy. I know what’s at stake, and I am well past the craving phase. I allow myself a few “cheat” meals a week, but that’s mostly when I am out and about being a social butterfly.
Have you found your strict diet worth it?
ABSOLUTELY! My food is what keeps me mentally and physically well. Without it, I know all to well how quickly things can go south for me. It takes time for people to turn the corner with cravings, but once you realise that certain foods do nothing to add to your health and you make your health your priority, you will feel like a new person! For me, the 20 seconds of pleasure for eating that food is not worth the 2-3 hours of pain I go through as a result.
What is your advice for members who find it hard to stay on track?
You must prepare. If you want to stay on track, you do not have a choice. Once you make the commitment to yourself to prepare your meals, you are already well on your way to better health. Either a big cook up on a Sunday or making double dinner to take for lunch – find what works best for your schedule. The other point I want to make is that healthy food does not have to be boring! Do your research, ask the coaches and other members for recipes, but don’t use that as an excuse because it doesn’t have to be that way! Finally – do not eat pre-packaged foods. If you follow this rule, you can’t go wrong.