- I always had an interest in athletic performance and what influenced the human body
- I have worked full-time as a nutritional therapist since 2006
- I spent years suffering from metabolic issues, fatigue and brain fog (with 2012-2014 the low point)
- I’ve since used my own experiences, client feedback and continual audits of my results to build a comprehensive model of the human metabolism
- Now clocking in at around 17,000 hours of research with 9,000 test results from 2,000 individuals… and the most useful thing I’ve learnt is not when nutritional interventions work but when they do not
- “Data, not dogma”
Me as a person
I was always interested in health, mainly because it represented such as exquisite combination of science and function. I had never the slightest bit of interest in physics, biology or chemistry at school, so the 16-year-old version of myself would be shocked to consider how many books I then consumed on each subject in order to understand the human body.
Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I had competed in various sports (football, swimming, thai boxing) and various questions had burned in mind. It was therefore an easy choice to move into this area and I began working full-time in this profession in 2005. I have spent my entire adult life working on and refining the my model of the human metabolism.
When I don’t have 20 different Pubmed windows open, I like playing football, exploring Europe on my motorbike and empty pistes. I also really like sleeping. But enough about me…
I initially focused on sports nutrition and, in the first few years, I combined this with personal training to work one-to-one with clients. This ongoing access to clients (together with their trials, tribulations and their results) was invaluable and allowed me to determine what truly worked. While initially hit-and-miss with my results, I soon got into my stride and was happy with my growing reputation for burning fat at a rapid rate (in most clients, anyway). My clientele tended to be competitive athletes aiming for improved performance or busy executives wanting to burn fat, with plenty of different types inbetween. It was equally satisfying to get the results in both types of client, and always just as frustrating when I could not.
My intended pathway changed in 2007 when I experienced my first ‘adrenal crash’. At the time, I was financially stretched from my new venture, sleeping less than I was recommending in others and engaging in some brutal training ahead of upcoming Muay Thai bouts. An injury to my ear was the ‘straw that broke the camels back’ and, the next day, I woke up weak. What followed was a search for answers. This was a search that provided more questions than answers but one thing was clear; modern medicine had no answers for me. It also made clear how vital the adrenal function was to well-being and supporting all organ systems.
Once I was back on top function, I began to spot adrenal issues in others. This would allow ‘resistant’ clients to get the results that they previously found elusive. Their results made them a walking billboard for others. Each time I oversaw spectacular results in anyone suffering complex issues, they’d send another half-dozen people to me, each with even more complex issues.
In the years that followed, the complexity of issues that arrived in my office increased. This saw me iron out my approach to many specific areas; these included the complexities of the hormonal cascade, the bountiful subtleties of the digestive cascade and the cerebral quagmire that is the methylation cycle. I measured every response. I combed the scientific literature for clues. I trialled many upgrades to each protocol.
There came a point where ‘impossible’ clients were now seeing spectacular transformations. The success of these protocols demonstrated time and time again that, no matter how many years these individuals had been ill or how many ‘world-renowned’ specialists they had seen before me, fantastic results were possible. There was just one problem: there were still some clients that simply did not respond. Pressing questions remained: what separated the clients that responded from ones that did not? What undiscovered obstacles lingered in this population? And how to piece things together when the specific issues involved called for ‘opposing’ protocols? I indulged in one research binge after another, digested the best advice from the best people, and constantly cross-referenced all new ideas against my growing client records. Such endeavours shed more and more light on this but a Unified Model of Human Metabolism remained elusive.
What happened next was as harrowing as it was useful. I experienced a second crash. The initial trigger was when my shoulder was dislocated while on holiday in Croatia in late 2011. In the months following this injury, I saw the emergence of central nervous system symptoms; nothing major, but just enough that my sleeping went from ‘great’ to ‘OK’. Then came a traumatic week for my spine, a short window in which I sustained whiplash and then, just days later, suffered a heavy fall on wet rocks. This final hit left heavy damage to my sacroiliac joint. This occurred while I lived in a mouldy flat. Not recommended.
Days later – and only a few months after being featured on Sky Sports as a ‘sleep expert’ – I began to suffer intractable insomnia. While I compensated for the downstream effects of this on the adrenals, immune system and elsewhere, I did not then have the matured strategies to swiftly dismantle inflammatory cycle. I was naive to the effects of limbic activation (regardless of the obvious clues staring me in the face). I lurched towards a inelegant balance that just about allowed me to get through each day, but one where the metabolic chaos needed constant management. It took all my effort to maintain a ‘normal-ish’ life but I made lots of mistakes. I was able to carry on working but I was constantly compensating for brain fog.
While it helps me to remember the suffering I experienced, hindsight frames this as the most unique of opportunities. Rarely do the stars align in such a way; if I had not experienced a serious derangement of my metabolism, I would not have been the perfect guinea pig. If my model of the human metabolism was any less complete going into this storm, I would have had no chance at making further connections and discoveries.
Instead, I had access to all the data I wanted, could conduct any trial I saw fit (and the usual ethical restrictions were now removed from the picture). The implications of this were not lost on me at the time. I noted every response from every intervention, and then set about the impractical task of explaining every single change.
So when I talk of crushing insomnia and overwhelming brain fog, I can speak from personal experience. Yes, I know first-hand what 20 years of sporting collisions will do to a spine and the overnight improvements when the right manipulation is made. I also recognize the relief of that first good sleep when mast cell issues are fixed. I have personal experience of waiting month-after-month for oxalate dumping to finish. I’ve struggled to get my haematocrit levels where they should be. I know the difficulty in managing a low-sulphur diet in social environments and what the immune system responses feel like when we push methylation up a notch. I’ve been there.
Fortunately, this misery has left a positive legacy, which is an approach that unifies and incorporates a full view of the metabolism as a whole, acknowledges the intricate interplay between various organ systems and focuses on the right areas in the right order. Since this enforced upgrade, I have worked with a further 900 individuals. I am delighted with the results but I will continue to upgrade my model wherever I see fit.
I work directly with clients around 40 hours per week, which leaves nowhere near enough capacity to handle the demand. This is why I am committing my spare time to educating other practitioners via The Academy. I hope to have a small army of practitioners familiar with my methods in the coming years, which should provide much better access to these methods for all those with metabolic issues.