Chris Kelly, co-founder of Nourish Balance Thrive, joins the show today to talk about the things that need to take place outside of the gym in order to optimize your life and your performance inside of it. This includes “how to win at angry birds”, a 4 quadrant model for intervention, behavior change, and the SEEDS acronym for making meaningful change in your life.
Chris was brought to the US from London some 17 years ago by a tech company while working as a computer scientist. Although he enjoyed various activities in his life like mountain biking, kiteboarding, and snowboarding, he began to see his health decline as he chased greater levels of performance without paying attention to the finer details of nutrition and self care. It wasn’t until he had experienced some, ahem, trouble in the bedroom when he began to take the deep dive into finding the root cause of some of the issues he was experiencing. Once Chris had his own personal “eureka moment” after making changes to his diet and lifestyle, he wanted to dedicate his life to helping others do the same and started his company Nourish Balance Thrive 6 years ago.
We kick things off by discussing the hardest part of the process when something just isn’t going right: getting started. With the constant barrage of online marketing and sales gimmicks, Chris wanted to help people find the right system to implement so that the barrier to entry was lower and more easily attainable.
Chris discusses “How to win at Angry Birds” and the process of taking something apart vs trial and error when trying to figure something out. Those that decide to just play the game and learn through experience and trial & error are going to beat those that try to pull apart the game and look deep into its roots. This is representative of medicine, looking at how humans have ignored playing the game from an ancestral health perspective and jumped straight to the reductionist approach of playing with enzymes, genes, etc.
This leads us to a 4 quadrant model of intervention. Quadrant 1 includes minimizing environmental mismatch and addressing the fundamental components of being a human (think sleep, diet, movement, stress management). Quadrant 2 includes things that are exploitative of our physiology (strength & conditioning, insulin pumps, meditation, psychotherapy). Quadrant 3 includes nutritional supplements (vitamin deficiencies, etc) and Quadrant 4 includes pharmacology (blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication). These quadrants should be introduced in order, while doctors make the mistake of going straight to Quadrant 4. This model can help you find signals in the midst of all the noise.
This model is important for clients that are constantly reaching towards Quadrant 3 & 4 items when they aren’t hammering down on the basics. Once the client starts to get the basics down, the need for any more usually disappears. In the rare case they still have issues, they now have earned the right to look down the line at more options. We then continue to discuss the effectiveness of trial & error when it comes to health and self improvement. Often times you may need to just try certain interventions and decide for yourself if they are a good fit for your lifestyle, goals, and health concerns as opposed to partaking in the on-going debates.
Chris then segways into behavior change for humans and some resources that he has found useful on this front. The cornerstone of this is self monitoring, followed by implementation intentions (how you’ll do it, not what you’ll do). Chris believes that through using the right system, behavior change is do-able and sustainable for the long term.
This leads to Chris discussing the SEEDS (sleep, exercise, eating, drinking, stress management) acronym by Simon Marshall. This is also a metaphor for planting a seed, watering and nurturing it, and letting it grow into a mature plant. These small things that you can do daily will compound overtime into meaningful change. While these behaviors seem rather miniscule and take 2 minutes or less, they allow us to shift to auto pilot, get some wins under our belt, and build momentum towards the changes we ultimately want to see.
Additionally, Simon also uses a “traffic light system” that enables you to categorize your health behaviors according to their priority and learn to cope when life doesn’t always go your way. A large part of behavior change has to do with the ease of implementation and how those changes fit into your life.
Enjoy and hit that subscribe button if you learned a thing or two.