Functional Movement & Carnivore Diet with Aaron McKenzie

Have your ever felt overwhelmed by exercise? What is good exercise? What are the benefits of exercise? Perhaps you don’t know what type of exercise there is? Or where should you begin? 

My guest today, Aaron McKenzie from Origin of Energy, brings a simple and achievable message of regenerative health. Aaron has trained people from elite athletes to the elderly. I have trained with him over the years, and he introduced me to functional movement, which informs every workout I do.

Podcast Transcript

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Unstress. My name is Dr. Ron Ehrlich. I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which I am recording this podcast, the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, and pay my respects to their Elders – past, present, and emerging.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:00:21] Well, in this week’s episode, we talk about health, sunshine, making a difference, movement, and much more. My guest is Aaron McKenzie. He is one of Australia’s leading health coaches. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Aaron for almost 20 years. I’ve worked out with him on and off over that time. 

He introduced me to functional movements and which actually inform every workout that I do. And then he also encouraged me to realise that don’t have to flog myself in a workout. It’s about building sustainable, everyday movements of bending and stretching, pushing and pulling, flexing and extending, twisting and turning into your exercise programmes.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:01:05] Aaron’s focus is on the importance of flexibility, stability, and strength. His passion came from a desire to overcome his own health and performance challenges and with his experience of challenging and changing himself, which is a lot about what we talk about, as well as coaching countless clients from professional and elite athletes right through to myself and the elderly. His focus is to spread the message of regenerative health to help humanity achieve optimal performance regardless of age and physical ability. Now, that is a passion we both share.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:01:44] We’ve recorded this interview face-to-face in my office, and in the YouTube version of this episode, Aaron demonstrates some really simple exercises to get you started in the functional movement space if you’re not familiar with it. I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Aaron McKenzie.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:01:46] Welcome back, Aaron.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:01:46] How are you?

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:02:06] Good, good, Aaron. I don’t do many live… You know, face to face. And it’s been kind of fun setting this whole thing up. So I think we’re going to have some fun with this. You sent me something a few weeks ago which reminded me of why I’ve always found you to be so inspiring. I really have. And I’ve said this publicly many times, and you outlined a few things which I thought we’d cover today.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:02:31] Yes.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:02:31] And the first one was sleep, which is a subject very dear to my mind. Tell us about why you know, Sleep. And why do you think it’s so important? What we should be doing with it?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:02:42] Rest for a generation. Just preparing for the next day. I think it’s something that a lot of people don’t invest enough time into. It’s pretty simple, you know. Very underrated. And I think more people are more aware of it than before. 

Whereas before, you know, sleep when you did, you know, this whole thing that I can get away with signing this many hours of sleep. You know, whereas now people are catching on to it. But it’s the quality of the sleep consistency and just the basic thing and preparing for it, the hygiene around it, which you’re very much a big proponent of.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:03:16] Yeah. I mean, you must see this a lot in your clients because I see it a lot in medications, certainly, that people kind of go, “Ah yes, 6 hours, that’s fine. It’s not a problem.”.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:03:25] Yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:03:26] But you know, it’s just incredible the difference that makes. The other one is people with snoring.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:03:34] And breathing patterns.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:03:34] Their breathing pattern. I mean, sleep is just so huge. And you’ve spoken a lot about it on our programme. One of the things that I know we’ve always had, you’ve always stimulated, been pushing me towards. And I’m on the same page as you, more or less. It’s Whole Foods in the way we eat.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:03:52] Yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:03:53] You’ve been exploring the carnivore diet in recent years. Tell me about that progression because I know we were on the Whole Food story.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:04:00] Yeah, well. We obviously we met through our passion for nutrition through the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:04:06] Yeah, we did.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:04:06] So that’s when I first met you. Yeah. I mean, 20 plus years ago. So, yeah, nutrition has always been a big thing for me. Obviously, the results are going to come when people live a complete lifestyle, you know? 

And even then, my focus has been more around the movement side of it, the fitness side of it, and it’s very limited by how people are going to sleep and how they’re going to eat and looking for ways to resolve chronic conditions that people have, myself included, and to get the best results with, you know, nutrition. I’m always searching for more answers.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:04:41] The Whole Foods path works, but then there are more autoimmune conditions than ever before, and a lot of people still struggle. Even though they’re doing a paleo or Weston A. Price diet, they’re still not getting the results that they’re after. And if they’ve got, whether it’s skin conditions or joint conditions or digestive conditions, which are usually all linked, the carnivore diet is just done really well. 

And I’ve watched it for some time. I heard about it a long time ago, maybe, I don’t know, ten years ago, and kind of dismissed it. Thinking I know it’s just too extreme, but I always remember the saying, you know, I just like the cows, they eat the greens for me. And that kind of was in the back of my mind. 

I’m thinking, you know, but still, you need, you know, a certain amount of fibre for the microbiome and all of these things. And the cast just kept coming up. So I thought it was around three years ago. I thought I was going to give this a good go. And went all in, and I just got a whole body of beef, and I got a broken down on my friend on Tom, the ethical farmer. He’s doing a good job.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:05:44] Yeah, he’s doing a good job.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:05:45] And I got that broken down and just got a chest freezer, and that’s basically all I ate for a whole year. It was a whole body of beef, two bodies of lamb, and nothing else. 

And I had, you know, I had around 800 grams of tortilla of meat a day. And I just wanted to see if I just had nose-to-tail organ meats, bones, connective tissue, and everything else. How would I feel, how would I function? And I found the results amazing.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:06:02] The first three months were phenomenal. I had a skin condition, an inflammatory condition, and a low-level autoimmune condition that was there, and that resolved that. I had amazing energy and amazing clarity. You know, I felt pretty good before, but it was kind of next level for about a three-month mark.

And as time went on, there was a few challenges that I noticed. You know, all the things that people say weren’t true, like the digestion was fine, the energy does that kind of keto-adaptation period in the beginning, like a lot of people would explain this, you know, keto flu or just that shift, and you have to have enough salt. 

So that was something I had to make sure I was having enough of at the beginning and water. But then I noticed the electrolyte issues were even with more and more supplementation of magnesium, potassium, more salt. It just wasn’t going away. So I stuck it out.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:07:07] How did that manifest?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:07:08] That was just kind of cramps, right? And then, it went into about six months since I started to feel that my sleep wasn’t optimal.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:07:16] Right.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:07:18] And I had good mental clarity that the higher end of the performance was dropping. And so I noticed that. And I, you know, I just felt, okay, well, maybe I need to add more electrolytes, maybe I need to eat more. 

And I’ve been fairly calorie-restricted because I just kind of wanted to stick to a programme. I’m a bit headstrong that way, stubborn or whatever, passionate. So I stuck to 800 grams a day.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:07:43] What does that equate to you know how they say 0.84 grams?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:07:46] Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:07:46] Per kilo. And I know we had a discussion with a gastroenterologist Dr. Pran Yoganathan.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:07:53] Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:07:53] Who says 1.4 is where you should be at? What are 800 grams… Was that…?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:07:59] Well, in terms of, like if you’re looking at it and I’m having nose to tail.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:08:03] Right.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:08:03] So in order to get the amount of calories that you need, I’m eating a lot of fat. So especially, lambs have a lot of fat. But that was the way the calories up for energy in terms of protein. 

If you’re having something that’s tardy, you’re probably only getting around 20% protein. So, you know, it’s getting 160 grams of protein for an 80-kilo guy, two grams of protein per day.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:08:24] Wow.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:08:25] I mean, for maintaining and for anyone that’s active and training, like that’s my basic recommendation. Go to it. Like if you’re not getting that and you’re training fairly significantly, like at a decent intensity, you’re not going to see recovery, you know, that you’re after. 

And so I didn’t really have an issue with the protein. I was just keeping enough energy up, and the fat was there, and I was doing all I was made use of everything, all the bones, making broth, everything. So and all the connective tissue terms of the fibre part. 

There’s, you know, a whole kind of science around using the connective tissue, the collagen, to feed a different type of microbiome in terms of the body just adapting to, you know, the whole thing which are you need this specific type of bacteria to be healthy I think it is quite a narrow perspective. And the diversity was still there, but it shifts to whatever you’re eating.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:09:14] So the energy was good, the digestion was good, but the electrolyte issue was something that I noticed, and I did all my blood work, and I think you’ve seen that before. I kind of look like a type one diabetic in terms of my insulin being so low. Right. And most people would think, I know that’s bad, but then some people think it’s really good.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:09:34] Yes.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:09:34] And you develop this insulin resistance in the body, in the muscles to conserve the glucose because, you know, you still going to make glucose from protein. So you still got glucose said, but you’re going to prioritise that for the brain. So it’s more of a mental function and the ketones that…

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:09:51] Were you in ketosis…

Aaron McKenzie: [00:09:53] Yeah. Ketosis kind of in and out, you know, and I did all the blood sugar, continuous glucose monitoring and all of that, and I stayed fairly low, and it would just kind of go up when I work out because you have a certain amount of stored glycogen in the muscle and it goes up temporarily and comes back down. 

So that was interesting, but the sleep kind of started to get disrupted, and then just kind of the energy was a bit off. So, you know, I started looking more into it. And then, you know, there are lots of people in the whole carnivore world. Some do, honey. And I said, well, you know, it comes from bees. That’s technically a plant. 

So, you know, you’re trying to live by the ethos. So I started doing that immediately. I feel a bit better, go a bit longer, and, you know, it was okay, but it’s still, I didn’t feel like I got full resolution until I added in. I just did an experiment with white rice.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:10:37] Right.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:10:38] So I did because it’s very tolerated for people with autoimmune conditions. I mean, most people don’t have an issue with just plain white rice in terms of like a grain. It’s much more tolerated in some people.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:10:49] Is that basmati or is it…?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:10:51] Just the plain rice, just the white, I think a short grain, yeah a longer. I need to remember better, was an organic white rice just to see what the, you know, kind of glucose response and how I felt. And then I thought I push it the other way because I’ve been doing kind of keto-carnivore for so long, and I’ve pushed it the other way with the rice, and then I put a lot of weight back on because I had had lost weight during a lot of months. 

I thought That’s great that you know, my whole life’s been more the other way where I struggle to keep weight on. But that was partly due to the amount of food I was eating. But also because you’re so satiated when you’re just eating. That was one thing a lot of people think. I you know, you’re going to be bored eating that. I was never bored, and maybe the first couple of weeks. Yeah, but the taste of salt and fat and meat and everything just enjoying it. 

And I don’t know whether that’s just because I’m stubborn or what it is or whether it’s that I just felt satiated. Immediately though, once I had the white rice, my consumption of meat increased. My appetite went up right away, and the insulin levels went up. The weight, the body fat, came on. Not a huge amount, muscle mass went up, energy levels went up, and then the cramps went away. So all of those.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:12:02] Just from that? Yeah.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:12:04] After a couple of weeks. Yeah. Yeah. There was an adaptation, and I looked at my blood sugar, and it kind of at the beginning, you had this kind of your body’s kind of insulin resistant in the body. But then after a couple of days, it shifts and it regulates, which is quite interesting, and then you just kind of feel better, more stable, strong energy. 

And I think there’s something to it. And the more I read up on it and look into it, it’s this whole extreme kind of keto thing I just don’t think works long-term. I think periodically it’s great, you know, there are so many medical applications of it, you know, for different chronic diseases but as a long-term strategy… I think where a lot of people get away with it, which is good, is that most people aren’t as strict as someone like myself. 

So they say, “Oh yeah, I’m a hardcore carnivore, hardcore keto or whatever.”, but they’re still having their occasional scene here and there, and that’s enough to take them in and out of it. But I have witnessed myself just from working with many clients who have been interested in it, as well as people that are struggling with autoimmune conditions or different, you know, joint conditions, especially. The joint thing is more what I end up with because people come to me for, you know, stabilising their spine because of my history of working with people doing that. 

And then in order to resolve those, if they’ve got this chronic inflammation, inflammatory conditions, then the nutrition part is a big part. So they’re all been fascinated with it. And I’ve seen with some of them, you know, because they’re struggling with a bit of pain or whatever, then they’re more diligent to stay with it strictly. And then there’s the same type of side effects that happened. But you can go on to meet Shawn Baker’s website, which is like the hardcore carnivore. Really cool guy. Amazing, good attitude. Same with Carnivore, M.D.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:13:50] Paul Saladino.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:13:50] Paul Saladino.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:13:51] Yeah, yeah. And he talks about fruit. A bit of fruit.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:13:53] Yeah. So I’ve been doing that as well. And I got into that, and I completely agree with his approach where you’re just looking to have well-tolerated plants. And if you think of the plants like you know that the part they want you to eat is the fruit, you know, that’s the gift to you to spread the seed.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:14:11] Yes.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:14:11] To move their babies around. And they don’t want you to eat the seeds. Yeah. Or the legumes or whatever. And that’s the Weston A. Price side of it where you’re soaking, sprouting, cementing, preparing those. The people have stopped doing, and now we’re just consuming these things in vast quantities without that traditional preparation and getting all of these kinds of side effects from it. 

So, you know, I think there are people out there that can tolerate those things. But, you know, it just seems so simple to me. Like now, my daughter’s, I have mostly meat, I have some organ meats, and then I’ll have fruit.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:14:45] And what sort of fruit? Any, like any kind?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:14:48] Any fruit. Yeah, yeah. Seasonal fruit. And usually, what’s cheapest and what’s in season. Yeah. You know, I love berries and all that, that all year round. Sometimes they’re not around it, and you can get them frozen all year round, which is great. 

But then yeah, I’ll just have the fruit that’s in season, and I’m usually hitting now like I was when I was doing that experiment, I was just gradually losing weight, and a lot of people come to me because I want to put on muscle, you know, the training and I adapt to it. And you have usually two types of people. You have people that want to lose weight and gain muscle fairly easily. And they adapt. 

Adaptation exercise and strength training is quite good, and they can get bigger and stronger, and they always struggle with getting leaner. And then you have another type like my body, where it’s a hard gain of like at someone who, like I have to eat a minimum. I can’t eat under 3000 calories daily without losing weight, but I’m active.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:15:39] You do a lot. Oh, yeah.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:15:40] I’m doing a lot of movement. But it’s still like if I was trying to gain muscle, it’s just impossible, and it’s just physiologically can’t happen. It’s just a thermogenic effect.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:15:49] Yeah, yeah.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:15:50] Energy is going to be spent. You can’t make something from nothing.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:15:52] It’s interesting, isn’t it? The way we were always… I feel you played up with vegetables. I had actually written it in my book. I make vegetables as the foundation. Yeah, with the rainbow. And then I kind of step back and go, “Hang on. Well, like you said, yeah, the plants are protecting themselves.”

Aaron McKenzie: [00:16:08] And the stems and the leaves, they’re quite toxic.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:16:10] Yeah, yeah.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:16:11] And without preparation or cooking or hybridised varieties and domesticated varieties that we’ve, you know, we’ve developed over the years, you know, you try and eat the original version of broccoli or potato is going to kill you if you get the original version.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:16:25] How does that translate? Because I know your son is now six years old or…?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:16:30] So how do you make it practical food?

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:16:32] Yes. How do you do that?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:16:33] Well, my main thing with my son is…

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:16:36] He’s six, isn’t is?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:16:37] Yes. Six years old. He’s getting good meat every day. I’m happy. Yeah. He’s going to eat all the other things, and you know, I did. I survived. If I could go back and be myself as a kid, you know, I did very differently. But I stayed, you know, McDonald’s, Mars Bars. 

In my teenage years, I was just that’s what drove me to this, actually. I was just an extreme, you know, junk food eater. Yeah. Just drinking Coca-Cola every day. Having, you know, McDonald’s every day. Pizza.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:17:04] Yeah, yes. Yeah. Well, what a turnaround. And water is another one that I know we talk about and, you know, tell us where you stand on the water.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:17:12] Well. That’s a challenging one, isn’t it? I mean, I like having a water filter at home. It’s these the simple things everyone can just get a good carbon ceramic fluoride filter, you know, twin one above the sink. So if you’re renting or whatever, you know, having to put in a fully expensive system. 

So that’s the go-to filter that I recommend to everyone and just, you know, have, you know, in terms of the amount depends of how many carbohydrates you’re consuming because that’s hydrated and it depends on how much activity and how much fluid you’re losing and it’s spreading that throughout the day and not having too much before you you go to sleep. 

So there are all the details that go with it. But having that filter water and adding some minerals to it is a simple go-to, really effective. The challenge is, you know, like people drinking out of plastic, all these other things that if you just get your own water filter at home. Yeah, and then you have a good either food-grade stainless steel bottle. 

Glass bottles are a bit challenging. They can break or whatever, those good quality stainless steel bottles – easy and go to, simple, have a whisky like you’ve got behind you right now. Yeah. Makes life easier, and it just keeps that body hydrated with the electrolytes.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:18:20] With the electrons. So just a pinch of Himalayan rock salt.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:18:23] Or the Celtic Sea salt. Yeah, I mean an interesting that’s come up. I mean, it’s been around for a while, and I’m sure you’ve heard of the, you know, the poly tharrow substances in everything. In the water. Everywhere. So how much are you going to get out? I don’t know. It’s in the salt. 

It’s in a place, it’s everywhere and is and even on like a study for those looking it up and just even on the New South Wales Health website, you know, you go through the list and says, okay, avoid eating, you know, fish that you’ve caught from these areas and that hold up and then even sister, you know, if you grow your own vegetables, don’t eat them or eat a limited amount or if you’re killing your own.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:19:02] Because you’re modeling your

Aaron McKenzie: [00:19:06] And then thinking, okay, we’re drinking that, and I’m like, what’s the difference? Yeah, but it’s, you know, they know that it’s out there, but I think it’s too big of a problem, or it’s just one that people can’t control, and you don’t want to make people nervous.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:19:20] And I always feel like I know they put chlorine in the water and actually have just come back from various Northern Territory in parts that’s more chlorinated than others. But I’m kind of grateful that they do that in the sense that at least I know when it gets to the tap.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:19:37] Yeah.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:19:37] It’s clean. Yeah. It’s what I do with it once I. Yeah, yeah.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:19:40] Exactly. If you’ve got a good filter, you get all those things out.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:19:43] Yeah. And reverse osmosis takes everything.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:19:45] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Pretty much. I mean, you’re going to be left with a little bit. The reverse osmosis is great. You can get above-sink models of it. I’ve found this one to be quite practical. The one that I use is just a twin cylinder. You replace it. I think a big thing with water filters. People put them on, they use them, and they don’t change it.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:20:01] You got to change the cartridges. It’s got to be set into a calendar.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:20:05] Yeah. That’s like, you know, every six months, every year, depending on how much flow you’ve got going through just to be conscious of those little things. But you know, that’s a huge step, and it saves you so much more money than buying drinks everywhere. And it’s just water. Like people drinking all these different things.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:20:18] Yeah. I mean, what are your thoughts on alkaline water?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:20:23] It should be salt in its alkaline.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:20:24] Yeah. Well, you know that’s it.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:20:26] That’s it. You know. And once you understand breathing, it’s like, well, that’s the king of acid-alkaline.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:20:30] That’s it.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:20:31] Forget about food, forget about water. Yeah. Just how you…

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:20:34] I always think when I hear someone talk about alkaline water, it’s the most reductionist way of looking like I need to be more alkaline. Therefore I will drink alkaline water, ignoring the fact that on the way through your stomach, it’s sort of pH ot 2 for a reason.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:20:47] For the finger down there, it will melt it off.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:20:49] Yeah, I mean, it’s there for a reason. But then another point, which is, of course what makes a lot of your focus is on is a progressive movement. Yeah. And the thing that’s always you introduced me to the term functional movement. And I notice you using the word progressive movement.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:21:04] Yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:21:05] Tell us about those two.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:21:08] Yeah, it is. And it’s funny because, you know, like people kind of jump on to a way of saying something and becomes popular and exhausted, and everybody’s kind of sick of hearing it all. Yeah, it doesn’t have the same effect. So functional was just, you know, what you use in life. 

So I like functional muscle mats. So muscles that you can use because if you’re on a machine doing a specific movement, your body will mold around that. So if you’re using a machine bench press, for example, you don’t have to stabilise, you just move the weight, and you can make the muscles stronger. But off that machine, there’s no strength because you don’t have all the stability that goes with the core recruitment and the whole body action.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:21:43] Whereas if you took a single arm cable push or even just throwing a ball and even doing a push up wave, you know you’re moving your body over the earth, and that’s a fixed object. Whereas if you’re moving an object with a kind of cable push movement, then you have to integrate your whole body. 

So if I’m just pushing you like we’re standing up and where, you know, in a sports situation where you’re wrestling or whatever, you’re pushing the other person. And so you have to use your whole body. So there’s a functional amount of strength. So you want to train, so it carries over for your life.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:22:16] And functional just means what are your goals and how does the training that you’re doing support your goals now? Now, if your goals are just to have big muscles. Then, you know, lifting using the machine is fine because it’s just going to make the muscles bigger. 

But if your goal is to be an athlete and to play a sport or to throw your grandkids around or to, you know, go and do whatever on your mind, where you have to have muscle, that’s going to translate to that. That can connect the whole chain together and to stabilise all the joints. So in terms of functional movement, it’s just matching it to the person’s goals and then making sure that they’re training in a way that takes them there.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:22:53] Yeah.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:22:53] And progressive is, well it just means that you’re going in a direction. So your movement training might be progressive, or it might be just maintaining, but you don’t want it to be regressive. And at least not for a long time. Maybe you’re injured, and you’ve got a risk on part of your body, and your fitness or your strength in a particular area of your body might regress, but you’re trying to keep the rest of your body as strong as possible. 

So when that part of your body comes back online, you can integrate the system and have it work in the best possible way again. But then sometimes you may not have slept well, may not have eaten well, may not have hydrated, and you’re not feeling that great. So then you have just a maintenance session, or you might even do a regressive session where I can just chilling out, just going through the motions, ticking this off today because I’m not feeling that great. 

I know if I push it, I’m going to feel my, you know, my stress buckets up, and I’m just going to push myself over the edge. And I won’t feel that great tomorrow, you know, whereas if you just take it easy, do a regressive session, come back in a day. Once you’ve had some good sleep some good food, and you’re going to be able to train better. So I, you know, I just try and get clients to give me feedback as to how they’re feeling. You know, these are a great tool, the Oura ring.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:24:06] Yes.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:24:07] We’ve got those for looking at your sleep quality of sleep. Like we said, you know, 6 to 8 hours is great, but how good is it? Yes, you know what you did, sleep, fight, sleep and sleep. Yeah. And how well-rested are you with your hrv? What your heart rate like? And if you’re getting those signals to go in the morning and then, okay, you’ve had a really bad sleep, and sometimes people think they sleep bonus up to late, they put one of these on. 

Yeah, I know that was for me, you know, I’m not thin, you know, I had my eyes closed for 8 hours, but I might only be sleeping six. And some nights you can see, like, I’m woken up multiple times, and other nights you, like, cool. Like, I didn’t realise I woke up. It just kind of half woke up a couple of times, and the rest of it was just solid and and that’s the kind of sleep that you’re after.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:24:48] There’s a balance to be had there, though, because, like people watching over, you can get obsessed. I know that whenever I woke up in the morning, you remember, and then, I mean, how did you sleep? So just to say, and I said, no, no, no, no. You tell me how you slept for you look at your Oura ring because you can get really upset.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:25:06] And you can, like, oh, jeez, I’ve had a bad sleep. It’s going to be a bad day. And you’re right the day off. And so what I do now is exactly because of that, I just check it once a week.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:25:15] Me too.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:25:15] And I have it on. And it’s always in aeroplane mode, so I can never just look at my phone and see it. The only time I see, it is when I sync it again, and then it comes out of aeroplane mode. So then it catches up.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:25:26] Hang on. When you bring this on aeroplane mode…

Aaron McKenzie: [00:25:27] There’s an aeroplane mode, so it’s never transmitted.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:25:29] Oh man, what are you doing? You’re going to have to show me this.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:25:33] When you dock it. Yeah. And then you just go, and it feels is already syncing. Now, if you go on your phone or just have an aeroplane mode sync and you just switch it over.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:25:40] Right.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:25:40] And then the only way to get it out of that is to debris docket instead of reading it.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:25:46] I’ve actually got a new thinking…

Aaron McKenzie: [00:25:47] I see why you’re sleeping so badly.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:25:48] I could be. It could be. No, no, no. I’ve got it.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:25:51] They’re all little things. But, you know, that’s why these guys have done a good job. Just, you know, because a lot of the ones that people are wearing, they’ve got these blue lights, you know, going them all. You know, these are only infrared sensors.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:26:02] Yeah. Yeah, I kind of tried the whip band. Yeah, yeah, I’ve tried that. And I just don’t go to bed with a watch on. So that does not chill a lot. I don’t even go to bed with a wedding ring on.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:26:12] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:26:12] And so this is quite a little bit.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:26:15] A little bit.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:26:15] Yeah, a little bit. Now, the one thing that I’ve always been intrigued by with your movement and your gym work is that you really do, I mean, you train people like me, not an elite athlete, but you have treated some really. Yeah. Yeah. And that, you know, that must be a very big difference in… How do you approach that?

Aaron McKenzie: [00:26:37] Well, everyone’s… And I see it differently because it’s all just dependent on the individual, you know, and where they want to go. Yeah. So someone’s here, or someone’s here. 

Everyone’s taking a step. Yes. And all it is is a progressive step. Yeah. So it’s just, you know, and what might seem trivial to most people might be a huge difference in someone’s life, whereas that same 1% improvement in an elite-level athlete is massive.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:27:03] Hmm.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:27:04] So you just trying to get people to improve regardless of where they’re at in life. And that’s the thing. It’s just understanding the body and anatomy, physiology got all the techniques right. It’s great.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:27:17] But I’m going to get it by osmosis, and I figure if it goes there, they got to get this through.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:27:25] But yeah, like, everybody can improve, and that’s what I love. That’s what I love about the work, you know, it’s just this beautiful gift we get of life, we get this thing, and a lot of people don’t understand how to get the most out of it. 

And that’s all I’ve done is just constantly tried to improve what I’m doing and try to help myself and my clients how to get more out of this life and just, you know, try and find a way to understand or try and develop a user’s manual for this thing.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:27:55] The other, you know, you kind of look at it, I know this because I’ve heard you say it many times about flexibility, strength, core strength.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:28:02] Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:28:03] You know, talk about flexibility because I know a lot about your workout style. Yeah. It’s really interesting.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:28:09] Warm-ups and stuff like that. Yeah. Well, a big part of it is, you know, mobility is having strength through a full range of motion. Yeah. So if you’ve got a range of motion, but you don’t have strength, you’re unstable, you’re weak. So you want to have mobility, stability, and strength altogether.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:28:26] That’s big… mobility, stability, and strength. Okay. Yeah.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:28:29] So if you think of that as like a, you know, the foundation of mobility and then stabilising that and then going into that strength work that’s above and without that foundation of stability or the strength is very limited because you just keep hitting the weak link. 

So if you think of your body as a chain of muscles and joints and tendons and ligaments, so wherever the weak link, if you’re doing a whole body movement, that weak link is going to wear out. So when you’re conditioning someone, it’s like, I wear the weak links, how can I strengthen that? So the whole chain works better. 

And that’s the part of a good coach is to be able to assess the body but make it practical, you know, because you don’t want to give everyone all the little details, but you want to try and find what’s the specific thing that’s going to help them.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:29:11] So if someone’s got back pain, it’s fairly easy because they’ve got a motivator. They’re very inclined to learn and understand it. And so, you know, there’s a great anatomy, an app that I can take people through and take a journey on into their spine and their joints, and they can learn about the system there. 

And then that makes them much more conscious when they’re training to strengthen that weak link. And then you can give them exercises too. So there’s motivation because there’s a pain drive and not that you want to have a negative motivator, but sometimes that’s what gets people started, and then they go further. 

But it’s helping people understand where their weak links are, then how to strengthen the whole structure, and then maintain as much range of motion as possible through life. So, you know, the basic thing of hanging out every day. So you keep that shoulder mobility traction in the spine state, or a very common thing is to get all of that shorter, which is, you know, it’s unnecessary. 

And then the leg strength and health of the hips. So being able to deep squat, get down to the ground, lunge squat deep and maintain the strength through a full range. So when you go down, you’re comfortable coming out of the bottom. Yeah. And you feel strong, feel grounded, and then that course stability. One’s quite interesting. I mean, if you’re doing whole-body movements well and with a variation of different loading parameters. 

So, for example, you’re building through strength endurance, and you’re building muscle mass and lifting heavier, and then you’re doing fast movement so that you know, you’re going through endurance, stability, and then you’re going through hypertrophy, building muscle, then you’re going through maximum strength and then do fast movement. That progression makes the muscles healthy in all those different ways, but they’re all depending on that foundation of stability.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:30:46] So you want to work all of those together to get the body to be super strong in all ways, but take the person to where they need so that that’s where the term functional strength has to come in because it’s dependent on that person’s goals to make them healthier. So it’s designing a programme that kind of satisfies all those needs and keeps them healthy, keeps them aligned, and gets the basics done. 

Now, with core stability, it’s just the core of every joint. So people think it’s just abs, but it’s like your ankles, your knees, your toes, your hips, everything has muscles that stabilise the joint and keep it guided in the right movements. So every joint has a core if you want to think of it this way. But the basics of that are really born out of development. So you’ve got grandkids.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:31:30] Yep. I do.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:31:31] And I’ve got a son, and we’ve got to enjoy that journey, you know, of coming out of the womb, being totally defenceless against gravity. Gravity’s won, you know, in its fluid model that, you know, like a fish in water, and then they’re out of water. 

So now they’re learning how to overcome gravity as all their senses come online, the five senses taking the environment. So they’re going through this full one-year process to get to walking, and they go through, you know, the mammalian phase or reptilian, mammalian, and then they’re into this upright walking thing. So they’re doing the full evolutionary process.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:32:02] Right. Interesting while I’m looking at it.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:32:04] It’s just beautiful.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:32:05] Yeah, yeah. But that process is the best spinal stabilisation joint stabilisation programme. And the baby is bringing everything online. So that’s bringing, you know, all the dexterity in the fingers and the feet and just that sensory awareness, the eyes and how the spine moves by turning our eyes to the how they hear and how they move their neck and all the muscles of the next the core of the neck and the jaw biting, sucking the nipple. It’s just so much going on. But basically, the way I train people, whenever they go to a problem anywhere, don’t tell anyone.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:32:37] No one’s listening. (laughs)

Aaron McKenzie: [00:32:39] You’re just looking at how the baby does it the first time and redoing it. And I don’t think my clients about, you know, sucking nipples and all of that. Maybe they do that but it’s more just a fast-forwarding effect. But it’s like the simplest way to look at it is just, you know, I think a Pilates yoga, swiss ball core conditioning, and you’re doing all these kind of crawling type movements and the baby lying on its back, baby crawling around, and you just emulating that. 

And all that is, is the organism and the thing that we are, this brain with this sensory system and these limbs just moving against gravity, trying to figure out what the hell we are, what are we supposed to be doing, you know, what are you supposed to do? I don’t know. 

And just trying to find love. So how do we better do that? How do we enjoy that? How do we express that? And then conditioning the individual to be able to make the system work in this beautiful balance so that instrument is tuned so it can take in the environment. Express itself is love.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:33:34] Yeah, yeah. What an interesting way of looking at it. But I get it, and I think it’s a really nice way. Exploring it and looking at my grandchildren, which now range in age from ten weeks to six years. And I watch my six-year-old granddaughter. Yeah, hang off the ring. I’ll be so proud.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:33:48] Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:33:51] And watching her on the monkey bars. I’m just saying go for it.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:33:56] That’s probably one of my big base with the whole gymnastics world is there have all these kids going in, and gymnastics is awesome, but it’s kind of well if you don’t commit 4 to 6 days a week, you’re out. 

And all these kids, you know, I just think there’s such a missing component of kids conditioning where if kids could do gymnastics two days a week and a lot of the hardcore doing this kosher. So you’re not going to get any results from that. Well, one of the results of whereafter.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:34:21] Like a lifetime while on at or just a goal 16. No, no.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:34:25] Like, who cares about, you know, all the extreme part of it, but just the basics of that, you know, because so much of my coaching is very similar, but just really like really basic kids gymnastics, but trying to make people balance so they can just take off things that can balance, they can move around, and they can squat down, they can reach, they can fall. I can do all these cool things.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:34:46] Mm. The other… Wow. You know the movement. This is what I mean, Aaron, you know, I get you, you have to re-inspired me always about, about a different perspective on movement. The other one is, is nature time, which we just don’t get enough of. And I’m really guilty of that.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:35:06] Yeah, well, that’s like the way you live, right?

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:35:08] Yeah, I do. I mean, I’m lucky that I’ve got ocean air. But, you know, we just don’t ground ourselves.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:35:15] Yeah. Just getting outside, you know, ideally, every day, if you can get to the park, getting the sun on you, which, you know, it’s got lots of benefits. And just getting that fresh air and doing it when you can, getting around plants, there is, you know, it’s that whole sense of separation that we get trapped into thinking that we’re separate from our environment.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:35:36] Yeah.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:35:36] That it’s really plagued us. Whereas where we are, the environment, it’s all of us connected. You know, the ego is the sense of separation that we have. But, you know, dissolving it allows us to be more childlike and to really take in the environment like it’s brand new rather than just living our programmed responses to everything we see. It’s like already know that already know that. 

Whereas a child is like fascinated with every little thing, you know, it’s getting back into that and being in nature. Sometimes that kind of triggers that for people. And I can smell things, I can see things, I can hear things and they’re really present, and that groundedness to, you know, like getting your bare feet in the earth is just beautiful. I mean, it sounds woo-woo.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:36:20] No, no, I think it absolutely is.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:36:23] And I feel it. Yeah. And people can say what they want, but once you feel the difference.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:36:27] Yeah.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:36:28] Yeah, you can’t. It doesn’t matter what science says because you feel it, and then, you know, science is catching up more and more.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:36:35] I think it is. And I think, you know, we’ve done a few programmes with an Indigenous theme. Yes. I spoke to Tyson Yunkaporta, and I read his book, Sand Talk and Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu

Connection is the lesson I think we have to learn from our indigenous first nations people and making a difference. I mean, you know, that’s something that I know you do every day, and helping people is all about that. Yeah, it’s huge.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:37:02] And like what you’re doing right now, it’s just beautiful, you know, just feeling that energy every day that comes from living with purpose. Hmm. You know, it’s. And that comes from that connection to the world around you, it comes that connection to people around you, and realising that we are in this together and you kind of sacrifice yourself. 

And this is the challenge in the modern world. You know, it’s very easy to kind of get pulled into a direction and be living with purpose and get caught up in other people’s goals or ideas. And it’s so important to kind of take a step back and figure out, well, what do you really enjoy, and how can I contribute, What do I love doing, and how can I be of service and finding that. 

And sometimes people don’t find it, but it’s the joy of looking, and then it’s the joy of just connecting with the people that you love every day around you and just that thing just a priority for you. And then the energy flows and just listening, you know, to what people’s needs are that helps you figure out, you know, how you can help. 

And I learn more every day. Like, I just think, you know, you think you know so much. And as you get older and you learn more, you just find out that you just realise you look back and think that, you know, if I could only.

Aaron McKenzie: [00:38:17] But you can go forward in time and grow better.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:38:18] Well, Aaron, that’s a great note to finish on, and always great to connect with you. And thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:38:27] Now, as Aaron mentioned, when we first met, we both shared a passion for the Weston A. Price foundation, which talks about nutrient-dense foods. And it’s an evolution. It’s a process of discovery because, as I mentioned in this episode and in my book, I placed vegetables as the basis for a healthy diet. 

And I think there’s a certain truth to that. Meat. The colours of the rainbow are all good and well as well. But I think given, and I think Aaron said, Australia is the autoimmune capital of the world, that is the body attacking itself. And what actually happens in that situation in many cases, I believe is that intestinal permeability or leaky gut, as it was called for over 20 years, has played a significant role. 

And by that, I’m talking about the lining of the gut, which should actually have cells that are tightly joined, and the villi that extend from those cells help us absorb our nutrients. But sometimes, when we eat foods that we are sensitive to, not necessarily allergic to but sensitive to, then those tight junctions loosen, and undigested protein then enters the bloodstream. 

That’s what’s called leaky gut, or as the medical profession now prefers to call it, intestinal permeability. And the body sets up an auto-immune response.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:40:02] Now, many vegetables, in order to protect themselves from predators like insects, animals, and us, have compounds which are highly reactive. Things like phytates, salicylates, oxalates, fodmaps, nightshades, gluten, and lectins. 

So there’s actually quite a lot in vegetables, and you may be on what you believe to be the best diet in the world, eating totally natural, organic, and processed foods. And yet still, you’re not achieving the health results that you want. And that’s why it was so interesting to talk to Aaron about his carnivore approach.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:40:43] Now, one could certainly say that a carnivore is a first-world option. You know, we’re very fortunate to have it. And how would that translate into a global population? And one might argue that in the modern world, we are exposed in that first world, exposed to such a huge range of toxins and chemicals and moulds and things that can compromise our immune function. 

Well, for those of us that do live in the first world, in the developed world, many people do have autoimmune conditions. And for many of those people, the carnivore diet mixed a little more nuanced than just eating meat the whole time. As Aaron pointed out, this episode offers some remarkable recovery stories.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: [00:41:30] So don’t totally dismiss that. As I’ve said in many episodes, meat has been part of our human journey from the time we were apes to the present day. And as brain sizes have increased, as nutrient density in our diet has increased, we have developed where we are today. 

So but don’t blame the resource, blame the way the resource is managed, and that gets to the type of meat that you explore. Look, Aaron has an online programme, and this is why I love talking to Aaron. He’s part of our advisory panel on the Unstress Health Platform, which I encourage you to explore and join the community. 

If I had to point you towards any advice about movement, I don’t think I could ask for better advice than Aaron McKenzie, and we’ll have links to his website. I hope this finds you well. Until next time. This is Dr Ron Ehrlich. Be well.

This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. This content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.