As a busy professional, you may feel that losing weight and staying fit can be very challenging.
And if you travel a lot for business or leisure and have an active social life, it can be even more difficult.
So, when you try to find the solution, you get confused by all the internet misinformation.
In this new episode, Ted Ryce sits down with renowned executive coach Oliver Anwar to discuss the health and fitness challenges that executives and other high performers with an active social calendar face and what to do instead. Listen now!
Oliver Anwar is a body transformation coach for professionals & executives, he helps them make fitness a lifestyle around their careers. He is the founder of The Worker Coach.
He believes that busy people need the right tools and systems so they can implement fitness around their lifestyles. He realized this while he was working 9-5 when he understood how difficult it can be for busy people to stay in shape, especially when there is a lot of conflicting information all around us.
So, he created this business to inform, inspire and educate people to live healthier and happier lives by revealing practical ways to stay on top of their health.
Now he is a full-time online personal trainer, nutrition coach, and health consultant. He helped hundreds of clients transform their bodies and become better versions of themselves.
Linkedin: Oliver Anwar
Busy Professionals Fitness Handbook:
- Oliver’s background and his journey to becoming a coach
- How Oliver started coaching high performers
- Nutrition and fitness mistakes Oliver did in the past and the lessons he learned from those
- Popular nutrition myths busted
- What do Oliver’s clients struggle with?
- Finding a sustainable way to lose body fat or to gain muscle
- How people in the UK think about investing in coaching compared with how people in the US do
- How did Oliver come to a flexible approach in nutrition
- Mistakes Oliver’s clients make when they try to get in shape and lose weight
- Differences between influencers and coaches
- Why do you gain weight while eating healthy?
- Practical steps to get in better shape
- Some of the places that Oliver visited and had an influence on his coaching?
- The most impactful country or city that Oliver visited
- The importance of lifestyle for our overall health and happiness
- Oliver’s most important takeaway from this conversation
- And much more…
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Podcast Transcription: Nutrition Myths Debunked And Effective Strategies To Get In Your Greatest Shape with Oliver Anwar
Ted Ryce: Oliver Anwar, thanks for coming on the Legendary Life podcast, man. I was on your show, had a lot of fun and had to get you on mine. We’re both coaches, but you’re from across the pond. And now it’s my turn to turn the tables and to hear a little bit about your story and what you do, and also, more importantly, to help out the people listening, because we work with very similar clientele. So, man, thank you for being here, and how’s it going today?
Oliver Anwar: Ted, I really appreciate you having me on, man. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, especially after having you on my show and things like that. And yeah, my day has been great, man, just a day of coaching clients, a day of working, it’s been great.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. And so that’s great to hear. And I want to hear a little bit about your story. Now you’re based in the UK. But I remember seeing on Twitter, which is where we connected, that your father is Indonesian. I’ve lived in Bali, but I didn’t go to...Indonesia is full of different islands. Can you just talk a little bit about your background?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, for sure. So, my mom’s English, my dad’s from Indonesia. And if you don’t know Indonesia, Bali is basically the main place that people go to, right? So that’s where you’ve been like, that’s a tourist Island. But Indonesia has thousands of islands. So, my dad’s actually from Sumatra, which is leading up towards Malaysia, like the one a little bit to the west of Indonesia.
And Sumatra is beautiful, because there’s not many tourists there, it’s beautiful beaches, great food, and you get all this beauty without it being packed, so it’s like, unspoiled. So yeah, it’s great. And you get to see the local Indonesian culture and yeah, people drive around on motorbikes and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, it’s great, man.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I’ve got to check that out. One of the—I don’t want to call it a regret—but one of the goals that I’ve made for myself after going to Bali and seeing how like people...at least when I was in Miami Beach and just, “Bali, oh my gosh!” Then you go there, it’s all these Australians in Chengdu, it’s just a party place. And it’s like whoa, nobody is even Indonesian here, Balinese here.
And then you start learning, oh, well, there’s a lot of different islands here—Sumatra, all these different places to explore. So really looking forward to that. And Oliver, how did you get into this game of coaching of helping high performers get their health...? Usually it’s getting their health back, isn’t it, is what we do?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, really good question. So, I started out pretty healthy as a young kid, like very into sports, so I played a good level of football, which you American guys call soccer in the UK. So, I was very active, I was very fit. But I got to16/17, I didn’t actually make it as a professional, which was really disheartening for me.
I’d spent my whole childhood having this dream of becoming a professional, and it didn’t quite happen. So I get to the point where I’m 16/17, I’m a short, skinny footballer, and I want to start going out and meeting girls, right? And unfortunately, I was in the camp of going to a college with loads of big rugby players, these guys were big, they were strong, they were massive, six feet.
And I was like the short guy, so I was like, “I need to have some muscle.” So, skinny kid goes to the gym and starts trying to get some muscle. That’s kind of the story. And then, yeah, I made so many mistakes when it came to my own training, I injured myself, went through some really bad diet phases, some very bad mental places through not knowing what to do.
Finally, I kind of got this down, started developing myself. And then I said, “You know what, I need to start teaching people what I’ve learned, because I went through so much trial and error, other people could kind of learn to not go through the pain that I did and have a quicker process.”
So yeah, I started coaching people online at university so I could make some money. Realized after a couple of years, this was amazing, I love doing it. I worked a corporate job alongside running my business, realized that corporate guys and high-performance execs, like these guys have such a challenge with trying to stay fit. And there’s so much myths out there and so much real BS in the industry that these guys are doing all the wrong things. And I was like, “These guys need help.”
So, I created a business called The Worker Coach, which helped busy workers, high performance professionals, and execs to get fitter, healthier, and stronger. And yeah, I’ve been doing that for the past five years. It’s now my full-time thing. And yeah, that’s how I got to where I am.
Ted Ryce: Brilliant, as you’d say in the UK.
Oliver Anwar: I love the accent.
Ted Ryce: Brilliant. Brilliant. Yeah, that’s super cool. And I had a similar journey I shared on your show. Let’s dive into this because you and I, we connected on Twitter. Twitter and social media in general is where a lot of people go, and podcasts like this, a lot of people go there, they want to make changes with their health. They’re like, “Let’s see who’s saying what on Twitter about getting in shape.”
And it’s keto, it’s carnivore, you know, all this craziness. You just get rid of seed oils and sugar and just never eat anything that is somewhat kind of delicious ever again. And probably the main thing that I get from people and I’m curious too, I’m sure it’s the same but I’m curious to hear your experience with it is just like,
“I just don’t know what to do. I’ve tried this, I’ve tried the fasting, I’ve tried keto, I lost weight, and I went carnivore, but then I gained weight back and I was just going crazy.” So, what do your clients say with…? What were they struggling with when they first come to you?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, that’s a really good question. I think the main thing that clients come to me with is the issue with nutrition, right? It’s finding a sustainable way to lose body fat or to gain muscle, or I think maybe even before that is decided on which one they want to do, right, having the goal of what they’d like to do, and then having a sustainable way to eat to cater for that.
Because a lot of the guys—I mean, you work with their high performers—they can blast themselves in the gym, they can blast themselves for workouts, but the hard part is like, “All right, how do I eat around this crazy schedule I’ve got? How do I optimize for my training? And how do I make sure that I feel full throughout the day?” All of these things are important. And how can I do it around like a 70-hour week? So, I think nutrition is definitely the biggest one.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. And are most of your clients in the UK, by the way?
Oliver Anwar: Most of my clients are actually based in the US. So, I have clients based in the US mainly and then the UK would be second.
Ted Ryce: Interesting. Yeah. I’ve had a few UK clients too and Canadian clients, and a couple European along the way in the past few years, but mostly in the States. It’s interesting. We definitely have a major problem there. I’m curious, do people in the UK just think differently about investing in coaching? What do you think the differences there? I’m just curious, personally.
Oliver Anwar: Yes. So, I’m glad you brought this up. I was talking about this with somebody and I was saying to them, “Well, all my clients are from the US, mostly. I’m a British guy, don’t know why am I not training British guys.” And I think, especially when it comes to investment, America—It’s like the American dream, right? Like, there’s a mindset that when you invest in yourself, that you’re going to get a good return and it’s a good thing.
Whereas British people, they’re very kind of reserved, they’re very kind of skeptical, and they like to question things a lot more. So, like, when you’re trying to pitch them something or sell anything to British people, they’re kind of like, “Hmm, I don’t know about that.” There’s a lot more objections.
And it’s kind of like the culture that British people have, they’re just a bit more like, they just can’t be sold as well. Whereas I find with America, because of like the culture, American guys, they just really like to invest in that. And that’s just been my kind of experience from it. I don’t know what you think.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. The guys from the UK that I’ve worked with, have been from referrals from other entrepreneurs so they were kind of on that type of mentality, but I don’t get a lot of British people reaching out to me, it’s mostly Americans. And it’s kind of interesting, because you say that British people are skeptical, I feel like Americans are as well. But there must be like a just a little bit more of a skepticism.
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, yeah.
Ted Ryce: And different mentality. I think also the British culture—your culture is much older than... I mean, we’re a former British colony, right? And I think that one of the things about—not to go down too deep of a rabbit hole on this—but one of the things I really like about the US, even though I’ve been living outside of it for the past few years, and much needed break, right, is that, it’s such a new country that in some ways, we feel bad, we’re disconnected from our roots.
But the positive side of that is like we’re not hindered by the past. It’s not like, “The British, queening country!” and, you know, the Empire from the past and whatever people think about that, because you’ve got a deeper history, and so we feel like anything’s possible. And then somehow, like, I don’t know, we invest in all this Tony Robbins stuff and hire people like you and me. It’s great.
But yeah, cool, man. And let’s talk about this because we both deal with high performers. You mentioned the number one thing that people come to you with is eating around this busy schedule. You and I, we both take a flexible approach to nutrition. How’d you end up on that? Did you go through like the keto? What was the journey there behind the dietary choices that you made that led you to take a more flexible approach?
Oliver Anwar: That’s a great question because I was one of the guys who kind of made all the mistakes when it came to nutrition and went through all of the fad diets, all of the crash diets before I came to where I was. So, I started out doing keto, very low carb, just eating lots of protein, lots of meat, which was never sustainable. I would lose weight or lose fat for maybe a couple of weeks, few weeks, and I’d go on this big binge, right?
And it was this vicious cycle of like, restrict, then binge, restrict, then binge. And that doesn’t do good for your mental state, right, because you just think that you’re a failure, because you keep going through the cycle, which is never good. But then started doing macro tracking, which I still think is very important, but I was obsessed with it.
So I would macro track everything to the ground, right? Their sauces, vegetables, and I would just live on My Fitness Pal, because I would think I need this to be perfect. And it stopped me from going out to eat, it stopped me from drinking alcohol. It just made me live at home and just eat and live like a robot because I was so obsessed with this food tracking and just looking a certain way.
Then after a while, I realized you know what, there can actually be a healthy balance where you can 80% of the time, track your food, have potentially healthy nutrient dense foods that can be formed. Don’t be obsessed with food tracking, and 20% of the time, go out and enjoy yourself and have a pizza or go and have a burger and enjoy an hour night out with friends, right or whatever you’ve got on.
And I found that having this intuitive approach, as well as kind of food tracking and selecting the right foods to keep me full, that really helps sustain me because I was never hungry. I never felt like I needed to binge because I was getting like, you know, my nights of pizza or when I wanted to. I didn’t cut out carbs or do any of that stuff or worry about insulin and all that BS that you see people post about, right?
It was just a nice simple way to eat. And, for me, that works for my lifestyle, because I like to travel, I’m very sociable. And it doesn’t restrict me, my ethos is diet should be inclusive, not exclusive. The more that you can be inclusive, the better sustainability you’re going to have.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, that’s such a next level sort of thinking, at least for me it was, where you go from like, “Oh, if I’m really strict, I can see these changes, they happen fast.” But then I, like you, I was a low carb for a long time, and then I would just break down and then get a pint or two of ice cream or get more things. So it just, I would break down eventually, I couldn’t maintain it.
And you said something really important where a lot of people go through that. Now I’ve never personalized it for some reason. But a lot of people have told me as well, like, “I feel like a failure, or maybe I’m addicted to food, or maybe have a real problem here.” When the reality is it’s just this restriction thing. It’s just kind of what happens to everybody eventually. Maybe not everybody, but most of the people who try strict diets, we all end up giving in.
Oliver Anwar: Yeah.
Ted Ryce: What are some of the misconceptions you have to help your clients with when they come to you and they’re like, “Okay, so I have to stop eating carbs, right, and just eat vegetables and chicken breasts?” What are some of the misconceptions?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, so definitely one of the misconceptions is around carbohydrates, is that they can’t consume carbohydrates if they’re dieting, right, especially if they have a fat loss goal. We know that when you don’t eat enough carbohydrates, it’s going to really negatively affect your mood, it’s going to affect your training performance, all that kind of stuff.
So, they’re very kind of anti-carb, and I’ve already always been told that you need to stay away from this kind of stuff, because it’s bad for me. They’re also told, you know, the myth of eating carbs after 6pm is going to make you fat, as well. That’s one that people have, so they’re like, “I don’t eat carbs after 6pm.” That’s another one that they have, just one of the common myths.
And another big one is like, “I just eat clean” without the understanding of calories. I think this is really important because when it comes to weight loss, you can eat as much food as you want. But it doesn’t matter how clean it is. If you’re not eating the right amount of calories and you don’t have the right macronutrients, you’re not going to get the results you want in regards to fat loss and muscle building and the other bits in your body like hormones.
So saying like, “I’ve just eat clean, like I eat healthy all the time. I don’t know what’s going on,” without understanding the calories at all. That was a big thing that clients came to me with because, yeah, that’s a big mistake I think a lot of people make.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I made that. Let’s talk a little bit about that one, too. Because, yeah, I’ve had people come to… I remember someone breaking down, they’re like, “No, well, today I had a green juice and then I had this...” were telling me I’m like, “Dude, you’re obese, you’re not even overweight, you’re obese. Whatever you’re doing, you can tell me what you’re doing, but it’s not right.”
And so how do you start to help them when...? And let me back up for a second because this idea that gets perpetuated on social media, at least I’ve seen it, right, where people are just like, “No, if you’re fat...” you know, I’ll just kind of be rude about it, right? Because that’s kind of how the way they say it. They’re like, “if you’re fat, you’re eating like shit. You know, you’re eating like shit.”
But my clients, I can... you know, and I’m curious about your experience too here, because my clients are high performers, they might drink a little bit too much alcohol, but they’re not like, “Yeah, I like a little Debbie’s cakes.” I don’t know if you have those, but if you know what that is....
Oliver Anwar: I know what they are.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, right, you get a lot of American clients. So, eight little Debbie’s cakes and like 30 Twinkies, people aren’t doing that. They’re eating ribeye steak, potatoes, cheese, they’re eating these “Whole Foods” or minimally processed foods, but they’re still struggling. How do you start to have the conversation there about what really matters for fat loss when it comes to food choices and the whole calorie thing?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, it’s a really good question. So, what we talk about is kind of like the portions that they’re having. So, if they say to me, “Okay, I only eat this.” I say, “Okay, well, what size of the portions do you eat when it comes to like your potato or how much cheese you’re putting on?”
And if they can’t quantify it, I say, “Okay, cool. Next time you have that meal, I want you to eat exactly like you do, but the weigh it or show me a photo of it.” And when you actually see like the size of the portions, then the frequency of the food, you’re like, well, if you’re having like these big meals, like four or five times a day, even though they’re healthy, that’s going to add up to a lot of calories.
And I tell them that could be maybe 2500 to 3000 calories. Once they have that understanding of like, “Okay, I’m eating 3000 calories, I didn’t even know, I thought it was less,” you then start to find what the calories they need, and start to widen that down a little bit.
So, you’re like, “Okay, cool. How can we reduce this down a little bit?” So you’re eating the foods that you like but within the right portions and within the right calorie requirements, because, you know, they’re not doing too many bad things, they’re eating the right foods just in the wrong amount, potentially the wrong frequency.
It’s giving that big bit of self-awareness and then helping them track their food, is really eye-opening for them. And then it helps them understand too what’s in foods and how much calories those foods contain.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, so you start helping them get awareness about it. Yeah. And I think that’s what we all do, right. But I like how you’re describing how you talk to them about it, because, yeah, it’s a tough conversation sometimes when someone’s eating all the right foods, right? “Well, I’m eating all the right foods, I’m eating clean,” like you mentioned, the whole eating clean thing.
I’m curious. So, the way I look at it, or in my experience doing this, there are two things I help people with. There’s like that initial what you’re talking about what we all talk about, right? We’ve got to get awareness about the calories, we’ve got to make sure we’re lifting weights in the gym, we’ve got to make sure we’re either doing cardio, you’re getting up and getting our steps in, whatever it is.
And then there’s the, okay, you’ve educated me on what to do, but I’m having a hard time doing it. Tell me about, do you experience that? And what are the things that stop your high performers from following through with what they’re supposed to do? How do you help them through that when they come up into those challenges?
Oliver Anwar: For sure, that’s a great question, because especially with the guys that we work with, they’re very busy, there’s lots of responsibility, right? It can potentially feel like a chore, right. So, they have all of these things, like it’s just another thing on their to-do list of millions of things to do that day.
So, I try and break it down really simply, I say, “Look, we’re going to set three non-negotiables for this week.” And I say to them, “don’t worry about anything else, I just want you to focus on these three things.” And this basically takes the focus from looking at everything and worrying about all these small things, to three really important things.
So it could be: I want you to hit three workouts this week, I want you to eat a certain amount of calories and protein per day, and I want you to get eight hours sleep, or aim for seven to eight hour sleep.
Now when you break it down like that, you only have three things to focus on there. You don’t have to worry too much about the details, right? It’s focusing on the principles that are going to give them kind of like the highest return.
And when that happens, they’re like, “Okay, I can manage that. You know, I can maybe… I can get three workouts, and these are the days I’ve got in boom, okay, cool. Food, I understand how many calories that...” and it just becomes a lot easier because you’re simplifying it for them, and you’re not over complicating the process. And for these guys, they don’t want complicated, they want simple, they want easy, and that will get them results as long as they stay consistent
Ted Ryce: What that brings up for me when you say thinking about some of the questions I get like, “Oh, well, wait a minute, are these any inflammatory foods?” Or, “Wait a minute, is coconut...? Should I be using coconut oil or should I be using olive oil? Or is protein, does it cause cancer if I eat it now? If I eat a high protein, will it cause cancer if I do this in 10 years?”
And people are concerned about all these details, some of them, know, right? And that’s kind of a world we live in. And it’s just fascinating how like... I don’t know, I’m curious if you get feedback about this, but I think people have the idea that, oh, you’re a coach, so what’s the complicated biohacking nutrition supplement optimized workout routine that’s going to be so complicated to follow would give me these great results. And then the reality is like what you said, like, make sure you eat this much protein, get three workouts and make sure you’re sleeping, right?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, that’s it. And workouts as well, you know, it’s not about having the most fully optimized crazy workout or to biohack your way to health, what it is, it’s like looking at someone situations and saying, how much time commitment do you have? What are you willing to do? And how can we fit this in?
And I think this is why, you know, me and you we charge for what we do is because everything we do is customize and personalize to people’s life, we make sure that it’s not outside of the restrictions that they’ve got, or their capabilities, because most people that are high performers, they’ve got so much on, they can’t train six days a week, some of them, and eat chicken, broccoli and rice six days a week, it’s just not realistic for them.
So, it’s kind of finding ways to work out around that that they enjoy, while sticking to a few key principles. And as long as they stick to those principles within that framework, that then they’ll get results. I think that, you know, doing what you’re able to do not what you think you can do is also a really important point.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, doing what you’re able to do. And so many of us, we try to take on more than what we... we have these big ideas about what we can accomplish. And then in the context of everything else, it gets a little tricky.
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, for sure.
Ted Ryce: I want to change directions a little bit. Both you and I, and a lot of our clients, I would imagine, your clients as well, definitely my clients, love to travel. What are some of the places that you’ve been that have had an influence on your coaching?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah. Oh, that’s a great question. So, I would say I think definitely going to Asia has given me some really good influence on my coaching. Because when you get to Asia, you realize that like, food is a tough one, because there’s like all these nice curries. There’s like all of these amazing dishes, and you’re kind of like, “Well, if I’ve got clients that are based over there, or they’re traveling, it’s going to be hard for them to stick to maybe a calorie target,” right.
So, in this respect, it taught me to maybe like teach clients how to skip breakfast in the morning, teach them how to increase their activity levels to kind of counteract the foods, that kind of thing. And in these climates, it’s all very warm. It’s nice and hot, so you can do this stuff. You can be outdoors a lot, you can surf. So, actually increasing potential activity when clients are away in these places to cater for the food can be one thing that I’ve learned. I’d say that’s definitely the biggest.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. So, in Asia, and what place in Asia, by the way, is there one country?
Oliver Anwar: Thailand, I think. I think Thailand, especially Indonesia, where my dad’s from, there’s all these nice curries and dishes and food. And the Asians as well, my dad’s an Asian cook, and they tend to put a lot of additional sauces into these foods that you don’t know about. So wherever you think there is, whatever they cooks it in, there’s going to be way more fat in there, there’s going to be like, way more sauces, maybe you don’t know how many calories of extra stuff.
CUT from 24:05 – 24:09
Yeah, so you’re always eating more calories than you think you are when you’re in these places.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, that’s so true. And yeah, I would love to try some good Indonesian curries. That sounds delicious.
I know you want to get to South America too. But as far as like the influences on coaching, I’d have to say Bali and Thailand. probably Thailand the most is…Well, it’s kind of interesting…
Oliver Anwar: Why is that?
Ted Ryce: Thailand can change your life. I would say that the way they... Wow, that’s a good question. I think one of the things there that I really like is the food is delicious and it’s very full of spices. And it was very easy for me to get lean there and really enjoy doing it, eating out two meals every single day. I would cook breakfast at my place. I would have like protein shakes or scrambled egg whites with some veggies, and I would just go out and eat, you know?
And I think there, the food, it’s just very flavorful. All the spices and everything have additional benefits for your health, and compare that to a place like Brazil, where there’s some great meat here, but you know, it’s just a different situation. Also, I think people have a lot of misconceptions about Asia. I’m interested in your thoughts on this too. Have you been to Hong Kong, by the way?
Oliver Anwar: I haven’t, no, not Hong Kong.
Ted Ryce: Okay. And I mentioned Hong Kong… I mean, I lived in Thailand for a long time, but I only spent a week in Hong Kong. But you know, of course, the Blue Zone, Dan Beuttner, and it’s always about Okinawa. And I bring up Hong Kong because the life expectancy in Hong Kong actually beat Okinawans, right?
Oliver Anwar: Really?
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I don’t know if it’s still the same, because you know, the life expectancy changes every year, but it beat Okinawa. And if you read some of the stuff about the Blue Zones and the meals, it’s like, when you go to Hong Kong, they’re all smoking cigarettes, and they’re eating a ton of rice. And there’s this special kind of disgusting dish that they have that’s a mixture of like Western macaroni, and then like, pork, Chinese broth.
It’s not that good, man, but it’s like a Hong Kong thing. But they’re living a long time. And if you see what happens there, people don’t stay indoors, because the places are so small, it’s so expensive. So, they’re just constantly out, constantly walking, and it’s like, who knows how many steps they’re taking every day?
I think there’s just a lot of misconceptions about Asia and why people are living so long there, you know, especially when we read about the Blue Zones, but then you actually go to some of these places and you’re like, “Hmm, I think it might be something different.” I think there might be more nuance, at least. What do you think?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, I definitely think there’s more nuance, and especially when you look at the climate as well, like, a lot of Asian people, they spend a lot of time outside, like a lot of time spent walking. In the third world countries, a lot of them work in markets, and they do a lot of labor jobs and heavy lifting and that kind of thing.
So when you take that into account, they’re actually probably more physically active than Westerners that kind of sat at a desk 12 hours a day, right, in a cold cubicle. That’s kind of like what I think sometimes. They get access to sunlight and moving. Their diet might not be great, but just the fact they aren’t moving and getting access to that daily vitamin D can be a big difference.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, just a totally different lifestyle. Yeah. Do you get people...? Because I think one of the things in Western society, I get a lot of people like, “Hey, how am I going to...” I get a lot of people are concerned about longevity. And I think the answer really is like, go live a life like that, move to Sardinia, right? Like, move to a Blue Zone and live that lifestyle or move to Okinawa and live that lifestyle or wherever.
But the question people are really asking is, how do I watch Netflix, how do I work in my stressful job where I don’t get outside very much, how do I spend a lot of time on Instagram and argue with people about politics on Twitter or whatever or dietary ideology and live to like, 120? Do you get a lot of people asking you about that? What’s your take on it, the whole...?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, so that’s a great question. I mean, you know, when you live this natural lifestyle where you’re outside, you’re in the sun, you have less access to technology, you’re working out, you’re eating like naturally organic food or homegrown food, you don’t care about the other stuff because you’re enjoying yourself, when you’re present, you’re feeling great.
Whereas when you’re like, super stressed out, you’re locked in a cubicle, or you’re eating junk food, it makes you feel bad about yourself. And then when you feel bad about yourself, you get into bad habits, right, whether that’s watching Netflix, watching porn, or all this kind of stuff, and you just go in this downward spiral of bad habits.
And that’s what makes people overweight and unfulfilled is because they’re stuck in this vicious cycle. And they haven’t had that extra experience of somewhere different or somewhere new to kind of reset themselves or get a new perspective of, “Actually, my life can be different.” Or even if it’s not my life for a whole time, I can enjoy this two week away and like reset and get back to good habits before I go back.
I feel a lot of people stuck in that, kind of like their own cage really, which is quite sad to say, but like their own cage that they haven’t got out of yet. Once you start experiencing a lot of the world and you travel, which I’ve been very fortunate to do, you have a different view on things and different perspective. And I think that’s really important.
Ted Ryce: Where’s the place that...? I asked you about the place that made the most impact on you as a coach, and you mentioned Sumatra where your dad’s from and then Thailand, what about the most impactful country or city that you’ve been to that made a big personal impact on you, and what was the impact?
Oliver Anwar: Yes, so I actually spent the last...Well, in May, a couple of months ago, I spent a month in Lisbon, which was the capital of Portugal, down in the Mediterranean. And obviously, we had a chat about this before. There’s a lot of crossovers between Brazil, and Portugal.
The thing about Portugal that’s so beautiful is the culture of the people that like, it just hit me like, you go into central London, or New York, one of these big cities, you get people pushing each other through the tube, people shouting at each other, people angry, right? All uptight, eating rubbish food in this cold weather, like this complete stressful environment that would make you so stressed.
And then you go to somewhere on the Mediterranean, like Lisbon and people are like, girls are in sundresses, guys are out having coffee with their buddies outside where it’s nice and warm, people are singing and dancing in the street. And there’s like this whole different life that people are living. And these guys, they look great, man, they’re tanned, they’re smiling, they look happy, they look half their age.
And you think, you know, lifestyle plays such a big difference. And for me, like, when I saw that, I was like, “Well, when I get older, I’m going to be moving to Portugal and Lisbon, you know, getting a nice Portuguese wife, man, and living there because, man, that lifestyle was great.” And I think if I can sustain that and then get older with that, that’s going to make me grow up a lot healthier, I think, and a lot more happy.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, that’s something I’m kind of thinking about, contemplating, maybe even struggling with. I’m going back to Miami in a few weeks and I’m very curious. Now it’s more like that than other places in the US, but it’s not…Brazil, I’m like the awkward American who walks too fast, you know what I mean? Like, I’m like, “Well, I’ve got to slow down, chill out.”
In Brazil, you’re not like, “Hey, what…? Tell me, do you have this? Can you get this done?” No. It’s, “Hey, how are you? How is everything going?” Oh, by the way, like, easy, don’t move too fast. Have some pleasant exchanges. I was in the UK when I was 17 so it’s been quite a few years. But I assume is somewhat similar to US where it’s like, “Yeah, I don’t care about you. I don’t care about what’s going on. I don’t care about how you feel. I need this done. Can you give me this?”
Or, you forgot my almond milk and my latte, like you’ve literally ruined my day, you know? And I’m kind of struggling with this. And I think it’s an important question that everyone needs to ask themselves, because what we’re really talking about is the environment, the impact of the environment.
And I feel like in the online space, we’re all like, “Hey, what’s the one magic superfood that I can add to my…? Can I just add some acai powder to my smoothie and maybe some spirulina and then like, it’ll make up for the fact that I live in New York? I hate the cold and people are mean to me here and I don’t like my job. It sucks my soul out every day, even though I make a lot of money.” What are your thoughts? I mean, you just kind of shared some of your thoughts on it, but do you have anything else to add?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, I could definitely add to that. I think you get trade-offs, right. So, when you get to places like Brazil and Lisbon, you get this laid-back lifestyle. It’s very, like relaxed. Like you said, people want to ask how you are, it’s slower paced. And maybe like where you are, and if you’re listening to this, you’re a high-performer, maybe you need to be in a big city for your career. And you need that speed, right? And you need like the hustle and bustle to do that.
And that’s why I kind of like the city because you need the infrastructure, it’s nice to have that buzz around and kind of that energy, right, but that’s not to say that you can’t go to these places, even if it’s on a holiday and take something from the culture that you’re going, right. And I always say this: you should go to a place, take something from the culture and bring it back.
So, a simple thing is just like the way you treat the waitress at the coffee shop, right? Take how you’d speak to the waitress in Lisbon, very relaxed, very, very chilled out, to the lady in New York or in London, right? They’ve probably had a day of loads of guys shouting at them, telling them they’ve forgotten their milk. Relax, smile, ask them how their day is, don’t ask them for anything.
And you know what, that will make their day. But that’s also you learning about other parts, like bringing it into a new environment. So that’s probably the one thing that I’d say is, you know, you can take parts from other countries and introduce it to where you are, whether that’s food, whether that’s mannerisms, culture, all of that kind of thing.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, that’s such a great point. It reminds me, I was in New York after coming back from Asia, and I was in a coffee shop there, and I forget where, Chelsea Piers, maybe, I forget, I don’t know New York that well, but I was like, “Hey, how’s everything going?” This was at night. She’s like, “You’re the first person who’s asked how my day has been all day.” I felt so bad for her. It was kind of awkward. I was like, “Well, okay, have a good one.”
But I felt really bad. And, yeah, it’s something that…Yeah, I don’t want to get off on a tangent here, but definitely the vibe of where we are and how we interact with people. Even if you’re just a selfish bastard, and you only care about your health, it’s still going to be better for you, because adding more stress just makes it harder to accomplish everything that you’re trying to accomplish.
Yeah, that’s a great…I love your advice there. When you go someplace, take something back from the culture. Well said. Well, let’s wrap up here. And before we do, I’d like to ask, where would you want someone who’s listening who connects with what you’ve said here today to learn more about you and what you’re up to and perhaps what you do coaching wise?
Oliver Anwar: Yeah, for sure. So you can find me, I’m most active on Twitter. My tag is @roanwar. That’s where I’m most active. You’ll also find my website, which is theworkercoach.com, where you can find out about the work I do with clients and things like that. I mainly work with busy professionals and execs, busy people that don’t have much time, but want to find a sustainable way to build a lean, high-performance body.
So yeah, shoot me a DM on Twitter, connect with me. I’d love to chat. Any questions, feel free. I try to tweet a lot of actionable advice on my feed, too. So even if you just follow me, you’ll find some nuggets in there. Hopefully, that will be valuable to you.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. And you’ve got a great Twitter thing going on, really enjoy what you put out there. So that is @roanwar, that’s @R-O-A-N-W-A-R, and then your website is theworkercoach.com. Cool. And what is one thing that you’d want someone to take away from this podcast today to make their life better?
Oliver Anwar: For sure. I think the one thing to take away from this podcast today is the importance of sustainability, right? I can’t talk about this enough. It’s the fact that it’s less about speed of trying to get these quick results. And it’s about building long lasting habits and a lifestyle that you can sustain, so that after you finish with working with a coach like Ted or like myself, you can finish and go, “I know how to have the tools to eat sustainably, I know how to work out effectively and carry this on without feeling that I’m going to crush the next week.”
If you can do that, you’ve got the perfect system to be healthy. So always look at the long term before kind of the short-term speed of wanting to get quick results. And although it takes a bit of patience, it will pay off in the long run, and it will make it so much easier for you to get results.
Ted Ryce: Oliver Anwar, thanks so much for coming on the show. It’s been a pleasure, man. And looking forward to doing it again.
Oliver Anwar: For sure, thank you for having me, Ted.
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