Colin Aszzopardi discusses health, hormones and beyond

Podcast Highlights

 

3:20 - Breakdown of Colin’s disciplines

5:06 - Polycon Method Insider

8:36 - Colin’s point of assessment

13:00 - Ketosis

20:27 - Colin’s Training and Nutrition Diet

 

Paul

Alrighty guys here we are again at My Wellness Wishlist, thank you for joining me on such a lovely afternoon or at least it’s a lovely afternoon when I’m recording this.  What isn’t so lovely however is the nature of this next wellness titbit and that is something about something that we all know to be a nutritious part of our diet in fact I have it most days of the week.  I call it an wellness titbit, really it’s an un-wellness titbit, I’m talking about olive oil and the amazing benefits associated with it, however it appears that many in our olive oils in our grocery stores and supermarkets are not quite what we think they are, that’s right people they are impostors.  After a 2010 report they found that 69% of imported olive oil in the USA alone failed to meet international standards.  The stuff they’re selling over american counters is rancid and particularly past the use by date, now one of the explanation for this is a because the american palette may not be able to tell the new answers between an olive oil that has therapeutic value and that one that doesn’t and b an odor rancid olive oil actually has less bitterness to it than a fresh therapeutic one.  I haven’t been able to get the statistics or the testing for Australian olive oils but I am very interested to know so, when I dig an update on that I shall let you peeps know.  On to my guest for today, Colin Aszzopardi is a gentleman who I met a couple of months ago when I was hosting a wellness seminar in the Melbourne CBD, he was a guest speaker there and he spoke beautifully about his take on holistic health and wellness well being.  I thought it will be a valuable exercise getting him on the show because he really does have a vast amount of knowledge when it comes to exercise physiology, nutrition, stress management and many other things.  Colin is a lovely guy who is truly earnest about his profession and his life’s work so much that I advised my father to go and see him, good luck with that Colin without any further due here is my chat with Mr. Colin, enjoy.  Colin thank you so much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to have a chat to me.  

 

Colin

Welcome Paul, thanks for having me on

 

Paul

It’s my absolute pleasure.  Colin we made contact a few weeks back when I was chairing a wellness seminar at your place of work at the Grand Hyatt.  We kind of gone talking, your philosophy on health and wellness is quite a keen to mine and I really, really enjoyed the way that you broke down the various different components of it, I know you are limited for time at the wellness seminar, I thought this could be an excellent opportunity for you to be able to break it down a little bit more about nutrition movement and various other aspects about health and vitality.

 

Colin

Sure

 

Paul

So, Colin  it seems like you are a student of a few different disciplines.  Do you want to breakdown what it is that you have started in the past?  

 

Colin

Yes sure.  So, I’ve studied a 3 year degree in fitness leadership and got in to the industry through that door and you know, when you’re training people it’s inevitable that people are going to get injured so I wanted to learn more about how to treat people’s injuries so I did the study the 2 year diploma in remedial therapy and that kind of kick things of with formal study and from there it’s just being applied in that knowledge and continuing more in a self directed path of study.  So that’s been the main forms that have shaped, you know, my base.  

 

Paul

And how do you found dealing with peoples injuries has helped you as a preventative measure for people getting injured in the future.  

 

Colin

So, I suppose having that knowledge up my sleeve and giving me a lot of confidence when people do get injured and I suppose it fits me up so I felt a lot more confident in exploring people’s physical capacity, not feeling limited for fear of potentially injuring them if you like.

 

Paul

Yes, great

 

Colin

Yeah I suppose it’s allowed me also to build up a good base in people and foresee injuries before they happen.  So, very much having that preventative approach and you know, really preventing those injuries from happening while still pushing people to the their limits.  

 

Paul

That’s amazing.  You ever really holistic take on health and vitality, you touch on it and you started to explore it in the wellness seminar a few weeks back.  Can you kind of give the audience back at home a little bit of an insider to where you started, I know you had a little bit of a insider to the polycon method and the holistic nature of the way charles approaches health and vitality.  Do you want to talk a little bit about that?  

 

Colin

Yes sure I suppose my background kind of stems from being an athlete myself, so you know, I started playing soccer or football if you like when I was 7 or 8 years old and I continue to play right until I was 30 years old and I’ve played at may different levels of sport, so in terms of that holistic of being able to deliver a holistic model of fitness and health, that was a huge base for me to call upon, you know when you’re asking people to extend men’s health and to make commitment, you know having done that myself has really helped to assist people along their journey as well.  Yes, you mentioned Charles Poliquin and the Poliquin Institute.  I think that was a big milestone for me or a big turning point I should say in terms of understanding the body more on a hormonal level.  That really opened up a lot of doors of education in understanding the body more and the actual effect of I suppose everything we do and how it combines and ultimately what role that plays on the balance of our hormones in the body

 

Paul

Let’s breakdown the hormonal system a little bit, so many people believed that there is just one to get fit and look healthy and that is eat less, exercise more, you touched on this a few weeks back.  I want you to just breakdown and discuss the way hormones can have an effect on your:

  1. your athletic performance

  2. the way you look

 

Colin

Hormones are very complicated thing so to simplify it is really difficult and if there is one thing that I’ve learnt about hormones it’s the many different hormones that we have in the body are all interrelated.  So, you can’t really segment one hormone from another that everything we do ultimately has an effect on how these hormones are responding with each other.  So, the way we eat has a big influence on how our body regulates, blood sugar, insulin, our lifestyle has a big effect on how our body regulates as again blood sugar’s an insulin but also cortesol stress hormones.  The way we train has a big effect as well on blood sugars, insulin, cortesol, stress hormones.  So, everything we’re doing, in the way we live, the way we train, the way we eat is having this ultimate fluctuation in all the different hormones in the body.  

 

Paul

And for somebody that perhaps has been battling with weight for a number of years and they come to see you, what will, and they’ve tried all the low fat diets and the excessive 45 minute runs, 5 days a week.  What will be the first port of core for you to be able to sit them down and say, listen this is the approach we’re going to take, obviously you’re going to have some form of assessment of them.  What will be your point of departure?

 

Colin

I think when working with a set of people there’s a set of basics that are revert back to so my approach with people is, you know we meet first.  I get them to fill out a nutrition in take for 5 days for example, they bring that in and then I got a good idea of what they’re eating and what they’re drinking and how they’re sleeping.  And then we start to ask questions about how they’re training.  So, in terms of nutrition we’re looking at how they balance their macro nutrients, their protein, (inaudible) and carbs, then we’re looking at how they train, so is this person doing a lot of cardiovascular exercise, are they doing resistance training and then we look at you know, how this person is living their life.  So, are they highly stressed person when they’re working very long hours everyday of the week and on top of that are they training very hard when the body is already stressed from all the activity that they’re doing during the day.  You know, going back to basic model that I try to encourage people to follow, it’s a basic exercise routine of strength training with some high intensity interval training.  In terms of nutrition it’s a basic nutrition in take of protein and then we’re looking at including some healthy fats with that and then a big variable is the carbohydrate intake and a lot of that depends on how much body fat that carves and is initially presenting with but also how much energy expenditure they have in their day that requires carbohydrates as a fuel source because most of our energy expenditure during the day requires fat as a fuel source because it’s low or moderate degree of intensity and it’s really only those people that present very little body fat and those people that would be putting themselves through moderate to high intensity activity for a minimum of 30 – 45 minutes that really require carbohydrate as a fuel source.  

 

Paul

Right, what

 

Colin

The base is, the base is fats, healthy fats, protein and abundant mixed vegetable intake and then carbohydrate is the variable there

 

Paul

And what would happen to somebody if they did go through that intensive experience on a daily basis or 3,4,5 days a week and they didn’t have adequate carbohydrates to reintegrate in to their system.

 

Colin

Well in some ways this might try to, you know drive the car without fuel, carbohydrates are the fuel source for moderate intense activity of you know, medium to long duration, if the body is not getting carbohydrates, again it reverts back to whether that person’s lean or whether they have a lot of body fat initially.  You know, if someone’s presenting very lean then I’m generally encouraging them to have more carbohydrates and I often find that people are under eating their carbs, so for the once that come in that are super lean or relatively lean and doing a lot of high intensity activity, it’s really trying to promote them to eat more carbs they find that works better for their body type but if someone’s, you know got a lot of body fat then it’s on carb minimization.  So, for that person that’s got a lot of body fat, you know they’re not insulin sensitive so it’s about creating an environment where their body is using carbs in a righ way.

 

Paul

I see have you done much exploration into ketosis or that form of nutrition?   

 

Colin

Sure yes, ketosis is depriving the body of carbohydrate and the body has to find it’s own means to produce energy particularly with that type of activity and I find that works really well with people who are generally overweight to begin with particularly well with them, yeah.  

 

Paul

Ok, cool and do you have like a loading period for example where you’ll deprive them of a certain amount and they’ll be somewhat of a maintenance period once they have achieved a certain goal?

 

Colin

Yes, again there is no hard and fast rules everyone presents differently and I really work with people on their individual basis and how they’re presenting.  So, you know again the more body fat that person has, the more we pull away from the carbohydrates.  

 

Paul

Yeah, sure I see

 

Colin

And then as their body starts to get weaker and depleted then their bodies pretty much crawling for a re-feed basically just to stimulate that metabolism and then we go on that low carb stretch again.  

 

Paul

I see, I see.  Very cool, let’s pull away from nutrition and exercise for a moment and let’s have a look at other aspects of health and what you may have been exposed to through education like sleep, hydration, stress, external stress factors, what have you learned in your educational expiration about these factors?  

 

Colin

Yes, good question, I think the more I learn the more I realize that things need to be in harmony.  So, we don’t operate like a switch where we’re either on or off, there’s a balance that’s required so we’re at different times called upon to be working hard and to playing hard and in response to that we need to rest hard and the body needs that balance to function at its best and I find that as a sweet spot.  So, the more we can keep our lifestyle nutrition and exercise balance at that sweet spot the more we’re going to perform better and have better health and have better composition.  So, people are fined around these either end of this sweet spot very often and they’re just trying to return back to what’s that sweet spot is and from the people that I’ve learned from, the research that I do and the reading and videos that I bring infront of myself, the people that are wise are constantly referring back to maintaining this balance and restoring this harmony if you like.

 

Paul

And I think that the gold points are constantly changing because we are fluid beings, it’s very difficult to be able to achieve a goal and then say that is the way I need to achieve it all the time for the rest of my life because we are constantly changing and we have different external stresses, internal stresses in our lives I think that aspect of self awareness needs to be such a primal part of our day to day functioning life.

 

Colin

For sure

 

Paul

Have you, so if somebody presents, I know you’re working the business district of Melbourne and I would imagine that you are presented with a great number of people that work pretty stressful jobs, long hours and they come to you and they have this element of, you know, kind of stressed, worn all over their face and their bodies.  Have you found that there had been certain common techniques that you can apply to be able to correct or balance out these types of issues in these people’s lives?  

 

Colin

Yeah definitely, find that, we have a sympathetic and a para-sympathetic nervous system so the sympathetic nervous system is that fights like nervous system so it’s the adrenalize part of the nervous system and then we have the para parasympathetic nervous system, which is the rest and digest part of the nervous system.  So, for people who are constantly in that fight flight mode it’s about recreating that balance where it’s doing things that are calming and relaxing for them so for these people and I often suggest these types of clients get out during the day and go for a walk or sit down in your chair and take five deep breaths in the morning, in the afternoon and at night, it’s about trying to, for these people who are on the go all the time, it’s about trying to, you know, relax, calm the body down, recreate the balance that way and even when it comes to training it’s not about pushing these people to the point of throwing up, it’s about pushing them but not to hard just a enough to stimulate the activity of the muscle and of the metabolic system by then letting the body relax for those people it’s more about being able to relax because in terms of that sweet spot they’re overdoing it.  So, to give them more activity to give that through there over does it, it’s not doing their body any justice and in this location center of the city people are switch in to the mentality of more is better, faster is better and it’s the antis us for them to be able to pull back and realize that what they need to do is a little bit less.  I’m forever suggesting to people to train less so that the quality of those training sessions that you are having are better and for these people, really to get to their goal doing less is going to get them to their goal a lot quicker but they’re so switch in to that more is better, have to do more mentality that it’s detrimental.

 

Paul

Yeah, look I completely agree a function of today’s society in a broader sense that everybody believes that more is more having to sit in front of your computer for a longer period of time and even you aren’t busy, look busy not to anyone really around but just to prove it to yourself

 

Colin

Absolutely

 

Paul

That I’m busy and being, being busy is not necessarily being productive and I think that can be really pointing at metaphor for their training systems

 

Colin

Absolutely

 

Paul

I want to talk a little bit about your training and how you integrate your systems to your training.  Have you had, I take it like myself, I’ve gone through various different periods where I’ve been more a tuned to training in a particular style and now I’m training in a different style.  Where are you at now at your training?  

 

Colin

So, at the moment I’m enjoying lifting heavy and doing some performance based training so my goals are about being able to master certain lifts and reach some certain amount of weight in those lifts.

 

Paul

What lifts are you focusing on?

 

Colin

I’ve come out in the phase of doing dead lifts and squats and trying to reach some personal best in those lifts and at the moment it’s snatch, it’s such a complicated movement and it takes a lot of time to master and you walk in to the gym and you’re not switched on everyday, so it’s about being patient and some days you’re really good and going with that flow and hitting that session hard and other days not feeling so good and just letting go of the ego and just backing off (inaudible) doing what your body can do.

 

Paul

Absolutely, look I myself come from Olympic lifting background and coming to the gym and just acknowledging that you may not hit some heavy lifts or the numbers you’re anticipated on a daily basis because the demands on Olympic lifting is so much greater than, you know or let’s just use the dead lifts for example, you know.  Yes, there is technique involved in the dead lift, you know, but the snatch is such a complex combination of technique, flexibility, your nervous system needs to be firing at such a awareness.  It can be a very challenging and frustrating period of your life if you’re not, when you’re, specially when you don’t nail numbers on a regular basis it can be quite challenging but it’s good to see that you’re a, you know getting into the snatch and Olympic lifting it was a very, very passionate time in my life, so I’m big into that as well, wonderful.  Look Colin I’m really aware that you’re in between client so I don’t want to take up too much of your time.  Last question, what type of nutrition do you really subscribe to?

 

Colin

It’s not any one particular model, I don’t subscribe to any particular models of nutrition it’s really based on what my body needs, so there’s times when I might feel depleted and it’s just about hammering those macro nutrients and micro nutrients and just getting them into the body and then other days I feel like you know, and at other moments I feel like I’m over eating, so I’ll just have to pull back, if I’m training well and consistently then that regular flow of carbs is important but if life takes over and I’m not able to get to the gym so often then I’m not deserving of my carbs so I pull back on those.  So, over the years I’ve just been able to listen to my body and know what it needs and it really does fluctuate, I mean the laws of progression, the biggest myth is that progression is linear that it’s so untrue and it’s just an undulating journey towards your goal.

 

Paul

Absolutely I couldn’t agree more and I think being able to listen to your body is once again and excellent metaphor for life that self awareness is something we can all learn  a little bit from and you know, your body is a very tangible thing so it’s something that a lot of people can wrap their heads around and then you can kind of take a little bit further but I want to take you so much for taking the time out and having a chat to us.  Are there any aspects or words that you can leave with us or any things that you can leave with your clients or potential clients, people that wanted to take action today that they could do this very day that could give them a greater sense of wellness and vitality?

 

Colin

Yeah, good question I think in terms of nutrition is to eat cleanly and to go with what has nature is providing so no sticking away from those processed foods it’s not the way nature originally intended with training is to get into resistance training and lifting those weights and that doesn’t have to be a massive amount of weight it’s all relative but it’s keeping yourself honest and really pushing yourself to your limits and then in lifestyle it’s being respectful of that balance so you know when you are encore all the time it’s respecting that and resting a little bit more or taking that time out to rest but if you’re being slothful then it’s about getting off your butt and getting yourself moving and just listening and feeling what the effect is of everything that you’re trying to implement if it feels good, go with it and if it doesn’t there’s a sign there that’s something is not quite right and to always aim for that sweet spot, I think that’s so underrated.

 

Paul

Absolutely, wonderful, thank you so much Colin, I appreciate your time

 

Colin

You’re welcome Paul, thanks for having me on the show.

 

Paul

Colin, lovely, lovely man, thank you sir, so, my core challenge 9 minutes of heaven is been going along just swimmingly.  I do hope you guys have been jumping on board and enjoying the fun in getting the strong core and getting our beach back has prepared for the summer if it ever comes that is.  Thank you so much for listening once again, if you enjoyed what you heard please jump on leave a review I will be truly grateful and that the people this is placed in front of that have never heard of us will be truly grateful to you as well for making this podcast available where it may not have been.  Thank you once again guys.