Dragon Door: How did you get started with health and fitness?
Elliot Newman: Ever since I was about 15, I’ve been very interested in training and health. Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of different things. From a training perspective, I started out with bodybuilding but discovered it wasn't fulfilling for me, so I moved onto powerlifting a few years later. I've also tried many different approaches to eating.
In the past few years I’ve educated myself greatly on the subjects of nutrition and health, and found an approach which makes it nearly impossible to be fat, creates great energy, improves digestive function, makes the hair, skin, and nails strong and generally builds health. My approach is very different to the modern Western diet, which destroys health.
A few years back, I constantly ate junk food and was very stressed from a rough period at work. Soon, I ended up with a stomach ulcer—but the experience forced me to educate myself. With the help of some very clever alternative doctors and health practitioners, I cured myself with food and lifestyle, instead of having to resort to prescription drugs. The regular doctor who diagnosed my ulcer thought I was mad to refuse the drugs, but I proved the doctor wrong.
After this experience I started sharing the information I’d learned with others suffering from typical 21st century afflictions—afflictions that people now think are normal, things like low energy, bad skin, hair and nails. The more people I talk to and help, the more I realize most people really need help with their digestive health. When I shared what I'd learned, I started to see that my good results were not unusual. These simple nutritional lifestyle principles helped other people feel great, look great, and perform better than ever before, mentally and physically.
Dragon Door: When we were talking earlier, you defined yourself as a strategist. How does that make you different?
Elliot Newman: Many people know a lot about one particular aspect of health or fitness. And I noticed that even though many people have all the scientific answers, they're often so fixated on one aspect of a nutritional approach that they don't always get great results with their clients. I use a bigger picture understanding to actually help a client start from their current health or fitness level.
I’m good at teaching someone—whether they’re 20 or 50 pounds overweight—how to improve, starting from the very beginning. Some people will ask what they should optimally be doing on a daily basis, and will follow very specific instructions right away. Others will experience greater success with more gradual changes, spending three to six months making one big change a week.
The first thing I ask most people to do is just develop the habit of drinking a lot of clean water every day for one week. It might not sound like much, but the impact is often huge, since they'll usually simultaneously stop drinking as much soda, bottled fruit juices, coffee, or tea. They usually start feeling better, have more energy, and their skin usually looks better too. All of a sudden, this one simple habit created over the course of seven days has made a big enough impact that they’re willing to do the next step.
When I say that I’m a strategist, I mean that I focus on creating an individual method or strategy to help someone to achieve their health goals—as opposed to an expert who might just repeat facts without seeing the big picture.
Dragon Door: How did you originally create your specific approach in the Lean Machine Master Plan?
Elliot Newman: There are seven steps I feel everybody needs to pay attention to if they want optimal health and everything that comes with it. Health isn’t a very sexy word, but with health comes energy, looking good, feeling great, a healthy libido, and making better gains in the gym. So, health is actually a really sexy thing. I came up with the seven steps by experimenting on myself and seeing what worked, then sharing these steps with many other people and observing what worked for the majority of them.
Dragon Door: You also mention a few unusual techniques like dry-brushing, green juices, edible clay, etc. How would you explain the value of these practices to someone who might be skeptical or think some of the practices might be a little strange?
Elliot Newman: I like to live in a way that makes people raise their eyebrows and ask questions. I remember Charles Staling once saying that if you want success, you have to do the opposite of what the average person does. Because of lousy lifestyles, most people are on a crash course with type-2 diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. I approach unusual practices by doing my own research and sometimes experimentation. Of course, the Internet provides an abundance of free information, not all of it is good, but it is a good place to start.
We need to accept that everything we’ve been told by the powers that be, and from for-profit companies, might not be optimal for us as individuals. It's important to do our own research, and always keep an open mind. If you keep an open mind and after research, still think something isn't useful, then fair enough—don’t use it.
Summarizing the dry-brushing, green juices and edible clay practices:
Green juices provide an abundance or vitamins, minerals and enzymes and make you feel very ‘alive’. That might sound a little woo-woo, but once you drink green juice on a daily basis – you soon understand
- Dry-brushing gets rid of all the dead skin cells on your body and helps to keep your perspiration detoxification pathways open.
- Green juices provide an abundance or vitamins, minerals and enzymes and make you feel very ‘alive’. That might sound a little woo-woo, but once you drink green juice on a daily basis – you soon understand.
- Edible clay is a simple way to pull heavy metals out of the body. It’s a detoxification aid
One thing I’m experimenting with right now is fermented foods, and the effects have already been beneficial. It’s always good to try new things.
Dragon Door: Absolutely. I love kimchi and sauerkraut, what did you try?
Elliot Newman: I bought a mixture of raw fermented foods from a company who I trust. I haven't tried the full repertoire of fermented foods, but I’ve got to start somewhere. With fermented foods I pretty much know they're beneficial because they nourishing the digestive system, which is basically the key to health. Because so many people take antibiotics—which ruin digestive flora—they need to pay attention to their digestive health.
Dragon Door: What are some of your personal goals in terms of nutrition, fitness, and general well-being?
Elliot Newman: My personal goals are to live to be 125-plus, maybe older. I want to be healthy, day-in, day-out. I want balanced energy levels, good skin, strong hair, and I want to maintain a low level of body fat. I want to feel good and be extremely productive when I work, and when I train. In terms of my powerlifting goals, next year I want to finally bury the three times body weight deadlift.
Dragon Door: It's cool to see a long term approach to your goals. This concept is very important for everyone, especially fitness professionals.
Elliot Newman: Pushing the body to an extreme isn't ever really healthy. Many people involved in the fitness industry—particularly those obsessed with aesthetics—sometimes do some really unhealthy stuff. We all know of people who've achieved unbelievable things in competitive bodybuilding and strength sports, but then they’re dead at 35 or 40. I don’t want that. Who in their right mind would want that? But, as human beings, we always think bad things won't happen to us, or that we can somehow put off consequences.
In my upcoming book, The Lean Machine Diet, I talk about the concept of stacking the odds in my favor. I originally got the idea from David Wolfe. Someone had asked him a question he genuinely didn’t know how to answer, so he didn’t try and answer it. I love that, because most experts act like they know everything and will just come up with an answer—whether or not it's correct! He replied, "If you don’t know the answer to something, even after you’ve done your research, just trust your instinct and stack the odds in your favor." Which is what I always try to do.
One of the big things with nutrition is that we don’t have to be 100 percent perfect all the time. We don’t have to eat a perfect diet all the time to be healthy and be lean. It's okay to have a treat every now and then. But, don’t keep junk food in the house, because sooner or later it will be eaten. Again, the idea of stacking the odds in your favor.
There are three categories of foods—regular foods like fruits, vegetables, meats dairy, and fats, then superfoods, and superherbs. It doesn’t matter whether someone is vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous, everyone must get their regular foods right first. Since adding super foods and super herbs this year, I feel like I’m a different person. My brain works so quickly now that I literally think I’m 10-20 times more productive than back when I had a stomach ulcer. When you nail your nutrition, and begin adding superfoods and superherbs, this seems to increase brain power, energy levels, and mental capacity. It’s unbelievable.
Dragon Door: In the very beginning of the book, you talk about self respect, and how someone with self respect has an easier time sticking to a plan.
Elliot Newman: Exactly. I see a lot of people who eat foods that are not good for them, and who drink beverages that aren't healthy—and they actually know these things are not good for them. Most people might not know what the best choices really are, but they know that fast food isn't good, and they know alcohol isn't good either—and yet they still do it. I see the same thing when someone has a job to just to pay the bills, that provides them with no satisfaction whatsoever—yet they go and do it, Monday through Friday, every week, 9:00 until 5:00. That’s a third of every day, 5 out of 7 days.
Many people are also in bad relationships for similar reasons, they stay with the other person simply because they've been together for a while and might be afraid they wouldn't be able to find someone else. Most of these issues seem to be caused by a lack of self respect. Simply said, with self respect, most people wouldn't do or tolerate those situations.
When I had the stomach ulcer, I had to have a tough conversation with myself. I realized that I’d let my self respect go down the toilet, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been eating what I was eating. I became a sugar addict, and I’m glad I experienced and conquered it. Chinese medicine says that until you've overcome adversity, you'll never gain true health. I realized that, so I don’t look back on any of my experiences in a negative way.
As soon as I cultivated my self respect, I suddenly had to make big changes. Now, I found a way to do work that I love, which also pays the bills. I started to only eat the best foods, superfoods and herbs—because doing anything else would just be ridiculous. Do you see what I mean?
Dragon Door: Absolutely.
Elliot Newman: That’s my number one point, when I cultivated my self-respect, all of a sudden I was virtually powerless to stop myself from changing and improving my habits.
Elliot Newman is a Powerlifter who has studied, worked and trained with some of the best - including legend of the iron game Andy Bolton.
Elliot is an expert in using nutrition to quickly and easily improve health, drop body-fat and gain muscle and strength. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.