Episode 13 – Psychology & Supplementation With Charlie From Neat Nutrition
01:16 – Charlie is a former Team GB swimmer and a co-founder of Neat Nutrition
06:22 – What the supplements market looked like back then
09:23 – If you’re going to be consistent, it has to be something you enjoy
13:15 – The journey is as important as the destination
16:12 – What inspired the founding of Neat Nutrition?
22:42 – Things to look out for when shopping for a supplement
26:41 – When should you consider supplementation?
29:18 – Quick and easy ways for a healthy routine
32:56 – Find your tribe because you need it
36:16 – Recent developments and future plans for Neat Nutrition
38:44 – Specific and actionable goals
Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad podcast where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat, and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym. Here is your host, Darren Kirby.
Darren: This is Episode 13 of the Fitter Healthier Dad podcast. Today, we are going to be talking about the psychology to achieve your fitness and nutrition goals, and how you can apply that to your training. We’re also going to be discussing supplementation, when you should use it, and what supplements you should use. Joining me on the podcast today is someone who is very qualified to speak about both topics. It’s Charlie Turner, who is an ex- Great Britain swimmer and the co-founder of Neat Nutrition. Hi, Charlie, thanks for joining me on the podcast
Charlie: Hey, thank you very much for having me. Looking forward to talking today.
Darren: Yeah, perfect. I’ve become a massive fan of you guys and very interested in your background and your former life as a Great Britain swimmer. I would imagine most of the people on the podcast have not come across you before, so can we get a little bit of an introduction into Charlie and your previous life and how you’ve come to start Neat?
Charlie: Absolutely. I guess the story starts, I don’t know, 10, 15 years ago. As you said, I was a professional swimmer for the best part of my 20s. That started with going to Loughborough University and then progressing into the national team from there. For reference, I was a sprint freestyler, so one of the quick guys in the pool. I was very, very lucky to, I guess, travel around the world, train with some fantastic people, have some great friends that have come out of the back of that as well. And was able to swim for Great Britain, swim for my country. For the best part of kind of five or six years, I went to World Championships, European Championships.
Sadly, the Olympic dream never quite happened for me. I got injured before 2008 and 2012, which at the time was very difficult to deal with. But looking back in hindsight, actually, all these kind of failures along the way, if you want to call it a failure, they actually kind of change your mindset and give you some resolve and you don’t end up where you end up without things happening. So no regrets in terms of that.
And then transitioning from swimming, I find it fairly difficult, I think actually, because you have this real sense of purpose when you’re an athlete and it’s a very kind of… Not sheltered, but you’re almost living in a bubble because the only thing you really concentrate on is being good at whatever sport it is, normally wanting to go to the Olympics or the World Cup, or whatever the pinnacle of that sport is, and that becomes your real singular focus. And when you leave that environment, it’s a really weird transition to then have this all-encompassing thing that you think about every day to then not really knowing what it is you’re getting out of bed for, what your identity is, because everybody’s known you as a swimmer for the last 10 to 15 years.
And it’s a really bizarre one as well, because… And this is the part I’m not proud of, but you go from a position where people are genuinely very interested in what you do because it is not a normal profession–and it is elite, if you want to call it that–to then not having that about you and it’s very hard to deal with. I found that very difficult and it took me a while to find that sense of purpose again. I went and worked in the film entertainment industry for a while and looked at commercial partnerships there for some of the biggest studios in the world and it was great. It was a fantastic job and I’m sure a lot of people working would give their right arm for but it wasn’t where my passion lay in. I knew that I had to find what that was in order to be happier day to day.
I’d always said I wanted to start business at some point, just needed the right opportunity or the right idea. And it became very clear that I wanted to get back into something to do with fitness, health, wellness. And so after a couple of years of working a normal job, if you want to call it that, I was having lunch with one of my best friends who’s also a former GB swimmer and now co-founder of the business. And we just said, look, we don’t need this big idea; we just need to know we can do something better. And we looked at the fitness industry and the growing curve of class parts and boutique fitness and really felt like nobody in the nutrition space was talking to that audience in a way that would resonate well, but also had a product that would sit behind that. And at that time, it was solely products that were aimed towards guys reading Men’s Health. There was nothing really aimed towards women, certainly in a non-patronizing way.
So we wanted to create a product that had better provenance took out all the artificial ingredients, take it to the market in a slightly different form. And really create a support system around that business so that we could become kind of an entry brand for people that perhaps had some misconceptions or were scared about why they should be taking a supplement or how they should be getting into health and fitness, and offer that support system. Not only in terms of nutrition, but in terms of that broader arena.
Darren: There’s loads there that I want to pick up on really. Just to step back, just one step and around the nutrition and supplementation. I definitely agree. I think when I started to get into fitness and health about six, seven years ago, the tables had started to turn. But the big kind of supplement brands that are around now weren’t around and it was very much aligned with: you went to the gym, you lifted heavy weights, and that’s why you took protein, because you wanted to bulk up and you wanted to get bigger. There was no real alignment around protein, for example, and the benefits of protein just in everyday life and the fact that our bodies actually need it. So yeah, I completely resonate with that. And yeah, it was kind of these massive, great big plastic tubs wasn’t it? You would go to a supplement shop and you would buy and kind of… It was almost kind of like underground, wasn’t it?
Charlie: It’s really weird, looking back. You know those before and after pictures you see all the time? If you saw the before and after picture of what the supplement industry looked like five, 10 years ago to what it looks like know, I think it’s unrecognizable. As you say, it was a handful of brands, it was always a guy who was fairly well-oiled up doing a bicep curl. And it was always big ungodly tubs with millions of promises, scientific words associated with them. I think that was my frustration. I came from a background of professional sport and I was really, really lucky that I worked with some fantastic nutritionists over the year and had a fantastic kind of knowledge base to go on to the rest of my life with and made the assumption to start with that other people have that knowledge and realized very quickly that other people don’t. And so that was that was an interesting point.
And, yeah, I found it a really weird kind of thing that protein powders, as you say, it’s a nutrient that’s important for everybody to have and nobody really had enough knowledge about it. It was positioned in a very weird way. So that was a big part of why we wanted to start a business and try and make a difference there.
Darren: Yeah, absolutely. I completely agree. But just stepping back quite a few more steps. When you were talking about when you were in this, as you call it, the bubble of professional sport and being a professional athlete, a couple of the things that come out in our community is people being able to be persistent and consistent with their training. And I often talk about this ‘why.’ And sometimes when you talk about why it kind of seems a bit, you know, woo-woo, and all the rest of it. But you obviously talked about a sense of purpose. So, I feel that you have to have that sense of purpose, more than just fitness and nutrition in order to stay consistent and persistent. So when you were in the world of professional sport, was it that your purpose particularly was to get to the Olympics, or what was your kind of higher purpose when you were in that that world?
Charlie: I think it’s really important to understand that most people don’t get into sport, initially to be an Olympian or a world champion. They get into sport because they enjoy it. And if you look at, I guess, most people’s backstory, they started when they were kids and they did it purely for the love of sport. Be that football, tennis, golf, swimming, whatever you want it to be. And I think that’s the real important thing. That you have to find something that you’re passionate about, and you enjoy, and your hobby turns into something you do more and more and more.
I love swimming. Both my parents were former international swimmers. I was thrown in a pool at a very early age, it was something I loved. But I was equally very good at a lot of other sports as a kid–and athletics being one of them–but I didn’t have the same joy and passion for athletics as I did for swimming. And that’s the reason, really, that I carried on with swimming.
I think if you’re going to be consistent, it has to be something you enjoy. But also, as you progress down that journey, you have to be able to set goals as well. And I think a lot of people, they think they’ve set goals, but potentially haven’t. That’s slightly controversial. I think it just stays in a dream until you write it down and give a deadline on it. So, for me, you have to make very actionable points. Rather than just saying ‘I want to swim faster,’ it’s ‘I want to swim this time by this date.’ And then it’s what are the actionable steps I’m going to do to do that? My stroke rate isn’t quick enough, or I’m not quick enough off the block. So again, if I’m not quick enough off the block, I need to get more power in my legs. And you start building it down with actionable steps.
Then I think it’s also really important to have someone who’s going to keep you accountable. And that doesn’t mean having a coach or a PT, it can be as simple as your friendship circle and your partner. And then creating a kind of network of people who are going to support that. So whether that is going to a mentor or having somebody you can sit down to coffee once a week, or actually having a PT you can speak to, I think it’s important to create that ecosystem around there as well.
And looking at the day to day training as well. I think too many people get caught up with ‘I have to go to the gym, that’s how I get fit,’ right? And there’s so many people who don’t enjoy going to the gym or can only go when it’s busy and really hate that. So again, change your stimulus; you don’t have to go to the gym or you don’t have to go when it’s busy. If you’ve got a garden, you can go and buy a big bag of sand from B&Q and have that in the garden where it’s your reps and just do some body weight stuff. You can go into class, you can get a bike. There’s a million different kind of ways to get that stimulus around health and fitness and I think it’s not getting caught up in, ‘Well, everybody on Instagram is going to the gym, so I need to go to the gym.’
Darren: Yeah. I definitely agree with that. And I think that’s another area of the fitness industry that is constantly changing at the moment. Going back again to the example that we used earlier around the big protein tubs and going to the gym and lifting big heavy weights. That’s kind of shifted as well now where you don’t actually need to go to the gym, and that’s something that I promote, is that you can actually do a really good workout in 20 minutes without even needing to go to the gym, just using your own body weight. And I think that’s an area that’s shifted.
The other thing that you mentioned there is about having actionable goals and I think that is really valid and something that’s not talked about and many people have this dream, and I think you’re absolutely right. And again, some people listening to this might think this is a bit over the top, but unless you write it down, and like you said, put a deadline against it or a time against it, you’re not going to do it. It’s just fact; you just won’t.
The other thing is the enjoyment element of it. And I know before I got into triathlon and Iron Man, I’d gone to the gym for 15 years and I went to the gym for the exact reason you said, because you feel you have to go to the gym. Yeah, I was still hugely overweight and still hugely unfit. And it was not until I discovered triathlon that it clicked and it was something that I absolutely loved. Like you said, the end goal was not to do Iron Man; the end goal was literally just to finish one triathlon. And that was it, that was all I had. And then it’s just gone on from there.
Charlie: And I bet you, looking back, it wasn’t doing the triathlon that was the thing you enjoyed; it was the journey getting there that you enjoyed the most.
Darren: Yeah. And that is so key as well. You have to enjoy that journey. You have to enjoy it. I did a Facebook Live last year at half past six in the morning on a Sunday when it was raining. and I opened the front door. I did it because I thought people need to see this. Because if you open that door at half six on a Sunday morning, it’s dark, it’s raining, and you’ve got to go for a run, if you don’t enjoy it, you’re not going to walk out that front door. And the thing for me, Charlie, is the feeling that I get once I’ve completed it. So yes, it might be cold, yes, it might be wet, but when I walk back in that front door when I’ve finished, I get this massive sense of achievement, I feel better, you know, more clarity. So I think that’s a very valid point that you make there around you’re not looking to become…
Charlie: I look back now at my swimming and (remember) being so consumed at the time with wanting to achieve X, Y & Z. I don’t look back at any of the international meets I swam at. It’s always the little kind of intangible things along the way that would not have even resonated at the time, but I look back now and those are my fondest memories.
Darren: Yeah. I highly recommend people go to your website and watch your about video. I only watched it yesterday just before this podcast and I found it very profound for me. It really hit the spot for me because in that video you talk about when you get to an event, that’s kind of secondary. You’ve done that 50 times over, that event. You’ve played it out in your head through training, the event is just the event. It’s like you say, it’s the journey leading up to that. It’s all the tough training sessions you do leading up to that. And I don’t want people to think that–listening to this–that you have to train like an Olympian or a professional athlete. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that, like you’ve just said, enjoy that journey. If you don’t enjoy going to the gym, don’t go to the gym. There’s many other things you can do. Exactly, no need to punish yourself.
I want to just go into supplements and supplement companies in the market. Now, I know we’ve touched on it around the old-fashioned muscle building type protein supplements, but I’m really keen to kind of get into the detail around what you and your partner decided to do when you started Neat and why Neat is different. Because as you’ve rightly said and identified, this supplement market, I would say for the last five years, it is very different. If you’re looking from the outside, you would probably say, ‘Well, why do we need another supplement company?’ But there are lots of niche supplement companies popping up now that are making a real difference. So, what caused you guys to create Neat and what do you think is different about it?
Charlie: When we started five years ago, the market looked entirely different to what it looks like now. So when we launched, I guess our frustration was: being consumers rather than athletes, we were getting confused on what to buy. We would search protein powder, for example, and across 10 different websites, you’d get 10 different descriptions of the same product at 10 different prices and it was just very, very confusing as to the promises they were offering, why they were at different prices and where to start. And I was looking at that as someone who’s been involved in sport in some capacity for pretty much my entire adult life and thinking, ‘Well, if I’m confused, the rest of the population must have no idea where to start here.’ So that was almost the starting point for it. And nobody was doing that at the time. So that was what we wanted to do.
So we had a really simple product range. We didn’t offer 100 different lines. We offered under 20 at the time, I think. For example, we had four different protein powders and we put them all at exactly the same price because we didn’t want people to choose based on cost; we wanted people to choose based on what they actually needed. And I think that’s a really important point, to make a quick segue. Don’t go and start looking across supplement sites and go ‘Oh, that sounds good. That sounds good. That sounds good.’ Do you research before you go on, know exactly the reasons you’re looking to buy a supplement, and then stick with those reasons and buy something. Rather than I think there’s a danger of going, ‘Oh, I didn’t know this was going to improve this by 1%.’ And really? Do you need to improve that by 1%? And do you need to spend all this money on doing these things? I’d say for most people try and keep it fairly simple.
I think that’s what we’ve tried to do. We’ve tried to keep a really simple process for buying our products. We’ve got definitely better products. There’s a very strong provenance chain behind everything we have. We’ve removed all of the artificial ingredients that were there five years ago and, in fairness, a lot of other brands have also done that. But I think what we do really well is we have a great support system. So, if you go on to our website, we’ve got in excess of 300 recipes on there now, be it protein shakes, balls, hummus, pancakes, whatever it might be. There’s probably the same amount of blog content on there and that’s from a range of experts from new moms to Pilates instructors to fantastic PTs to a guy working a 60-hour week. So there’s a touch point for everybody there.
I think the other thing that we’ve managed to do very well is we have a very convenient offer. So there’s not a whole 200 products on our website where you have to sift through. We purely offer a very, very good protein, whether that be plant based or whey based. That’s the only product that we now offer. A very simple journey, you can set up on subscriptions so it means you’re not going to be missing any deliveries. It comes through your letterbox rather than having to be signed for at the door, so you’re not going to miss it coming. I think we made that easy so for a lot of people who are time short at the moment as well, we hopefully tick that box.
And then I think the other thing is that there’s still, in spite of this kind of vegan revolution, there’s still lacking kind of really good plant based products and our vegan protein is our top seller. And I think it’s a fantastic product in a market where there aren’t particularly a huge wealth of options compared to people who aren’t on a vegan diet–I think we offer a fantastic offering there, too.
Darren: Yeah, I would agree with that. And I definitely would agree with what you said there around don’t over-analyse all of these different elements that go into–as an example–protein powders. Because nine times out of 10, you won’t understand what they mean and you won’t understand the science behind it. And I think where you guys, where it really works is exactly like you said. You just diluted it down and kept it simple. And the massive benefit, I think for you guys, is that–and we spoke about this earlier prior to recording the podcast. And that is the ease of the way that you package your product is you can take it anywhere. I’ve lost count of the amount of times when I’ve gone on holiday and I’ve had to measure it out and put it in a bag and all the rest of it. Whereas you’ve just got individual packets. You can take it on the move when you go to work, when you go on holiday and all the rest of it. So I think, like you say, you have made it really simple.
And one of the other points I want to make is particularly around the vegan product. It’s very, very difficult to get a vegan protein powder to taste nice without putting crap in it. And too many people do do that. They put too much. Because we’re facing this whole vegan revolution, because it says vegan, you say, ‘Ah it must be healthy.’ Actually, no it’s not. Nine times out of 10, if you look at the packaging and what’s in it, there’s some not great stuff in there. So I think, yeah, you guys are really simpled it down. And it’s very clear on your website as well. The process that you go through in order to create the powders and the process you go through with creating it and then putting the flavours in it as well. It’s very, very simplified.
Charlie: Some people will have a need for some of these other supplements. If you want mushroom coffee and you have a very specific reason for needing mushroom coffee, go for it. Have that. But I think majority of people, boiling it back down to our products, if you’ve gone on and said I want a protein powder, then don’t get swayed by the one that’s got three different berries in it and this blend and that blend. Because it reads great and you’re like, ‘that’s amazing,’ but actually you just came in looking for a protein powder. Are those other things that’s going to cost you another 30% on top of the normal cost, actually going to benefit you in any way?
Darren: Yeah, definitely. On that, then just talking about the kind of supplement market in general. When people are choosing supplements, like I’ve mentioned, there can be some pretty nasty stuff that goes into these things to kind of fill them out, box them out and make them taste nice and all the little rest of it. In your opinion, what would you say people should look out for as a general rule of thumb when they’re looking at supplements and supplement brands?
Charlie: The first point is, know what you want and stick with what you want. Once you’ve decided that, I think the recognizable brand names, they haven’t been around this long by producing a bad product so a majority of them will have a pretty decent product offering. It’s very easy now to go on to Google and get lots of advice and reviews and you can quickly weed out the better products. I think also once you’ve decided, again, using a protein powder as an example, just because it’s the closest to home for me and the easiest one for me to talk about. But if you look on the back of the package and you’ve gone, ‘I’m buying a protein powder,’ and you turn the back round and there’s 17 ingredients on there, at that point I’ll be questioning, ‘Well, I came to buy protein. What are these other 16 things in here? And why are they there? What do they do?’
Then also look at the yields. What I mean by that is if you look at the per hundred grams, if you’re turning a protein powder over and it says 40 grams of protein, what’s the other 60 grams? And you’re very rarely going to find one that’s 100% protein and you probably wouldn’t want to because it wouldn’t taste fantastic at that point for most people. But I think you want to be looking certainly above 65 grams up to the range of kind of 85, anything in that ballpark. I think that’s normally a pretty good indicator of what’s in there as well.
Also, even on the plant based options, is it soy you want to be taking? Is it rice? We use hemp and pea because we feel like it offers a very good blend that offers some of those essential amino acids as well. Particularly high in lecithin so people who are perhaps deficient on that on a vegan diet will be getting more of that from the pea in our protein. So again, doing a little bit of research before rather than just saying, oh it’s plant based, as you said, it’s good. Looking at what those sources are and which are the most beneficial for you.
Darren: Yeah, definitely. Because I think, and I’m not going to mention any brands, but some of the bigger brands where you can buy in volume, some of the stuff that they put in there, particularly around the sweetness side of things is pretty harrowing, to be honest, and shouldn’t be in there and is not probably doing you any good. So, yeah, I think that’s something to be aware of. But it is a minefield and generally, I think a lot of the products are picked based on what it just says on the front. Ah, that looks good, I don’t really know much about it but I’ll try that. Either bulk up or diet down or that kind of thing. Whereas, I believe, it shouldn’t be used in that context. It should be used as an addition to a balanced diet, as opposed to dieting down or bulking up because you can do all of that with proper nutrition.
Charlie: That’s the reason we don’t use a weight gainer because ultimately, that’s just oats that have been put into a protein powder. And I think it’s easier for people just to buy oats for 80p at home and put them into their shake in the morning and they’ve made their own weight gainer.
Darren: Yeah, definitely. Absolutely. And much, much more healthier. So when we’re thinking about supplementation, while I advocate–in our community and in our guide as well–eating a well-balanced diet, I do use elements of paleo or keto and all the rest of it. But essentially, when you break them all down, they all are elements of a well-balanced diet. Getting your protein, your carbohydrates, your fats and things like that in there.
But when would you suggest that people consider supplementation? When do you think is the right time to consider it? Would it be based on volume? Would it be based on lifestyle in terms of time available? What would you say?
Charlie: Both. And I think the important thing to remember is that it’s called a supplement. So it’s there to supplement the balanced diet. And I know that’s a really weird position for somebody who owns a supplement business, but I firmly believe that that’s the reason it’s not a meal replacement. And that wasn’t something we were ever interested in. I think what supplements do is they offer a great convenient solution. So number one, I think, looking at lifestyle. If people are time short, it’s a great way to get in whatever it is 10, 15, 20 grams of protein in a very quick amount of time without having to go through the process of cooking a chicken breast or boiling an egg.
We’re pragmatic enough to know that probably the meal that most people skip is breakfast in the morning. And as much as I don’t advocate that and would prefer people had a balanced breakfast in the morning, I also know that getting a croissant or a Danish pastry with a coffee isn’t a great solution. A better solution would be to have your magic bullet on the side and putting some coconut milk, a scoop of protein and some frozen berries. It’ll take you less than a minute and you can drink on the tube into work and you’ve got a much better solution there. It’s just as a quick swap that provides you with a better option, I think and so that’s almost how we pitch it.
On the lifestyle side of things, again, if you’re the kind of person that three o’clock in the afternoon knows that you’re going to walk down to the shop underneath your office and buy a kicker, make some protein balls the night before and leave them in the fridge because it will take you five minutes to make them. And again, you’ve got much more nutritious option that will satiate hunger for longer.
I think in terms of the volume piece, and again, tying in the lifestyle, I guess a little bit, if people are going to the gym a lot more and are doing weight training or endurance training or whatever it is they might be doing, they are going to need more protein in the diet. That’s a fact. And the most convenient way to get that probably will be from a supplement and certainly after a workout, knowing that that’s the most important time to get protein back in the diet to help repair the tissues you’ve damaged from the exercise you’ve done. I think again, that’s probably a pragmatic way of looking at it as well. If you’re going in your lunch break at work, or you’re trying to get home or whatever it is actually just having a sachet in your bag–as you say most of our products are in sachets now and you can just rip and go and it’s in your shaker with some water from the gym–it’s a lot easier than having to worry about getting to the supermarket cooking, etc, etc, etc. So that’s the way I view it.
Darren: I agree. And I think one of the biggest things is having that awareness. And having that information and I think your site, particularly around the blog, there are some really quick and simple and easy things that you can do. You just have to be aware that it’s there in the first place and just put a little bit of time and effort in. Obviously, a lot of people don’t like it when they have to change things, but you shouldn’t necessarily see it as restriction. It’s just a different way of thinking about your nutrition and your diet. And I always use the analogy that we’re kind of conditioned by the marketers and by the supermarkets that whatever they put on the shelf is good for us, and it is actually not. In most cases, I think. And if you just take that time to do a little bit of research, and like you said, there is so much information out there now.
Pretty much within the space of 15 to 20 minutes, you could actually create yourself quite a nice little quick and easy diet plan that would replace some of the stuff that you perhaps eat and use today. And your example of the shake in the morning is perfect. You can actually mix it out whilst you’re getting ready to go to work, grab it on the way out, and that’s it. You’ve got a really good nutritional base to start your day with, as opposed to having a pint of caffeine, and a load of pastries which are going to spike your blood sugar and then give you a nice crush at 10 o’clock in the morning.
Charlie: Exactly. And a protein in the morning is going to satiate hunger for a longer period of time as well. So it’s more likely that you will make it to lunch without needing that ‘pick me up’ halfway through. And I think actually, the other thing that I forgot to mention was that we don’t necessarily just see our product as supplements; we see it as an ingredient. In the same way that flour or eggs would be used as ingredients, there’s so many ways you can add it to different things. And again, all these things are on our website.
But I look at our client list of people we supply the product to and I think if I’d said four or five years ago that some of the top five star hotels in London would be some of our biggest clients because they use it in their kitchens to create high protein recipes for a consumer that increasingly is looking for healthy options while they’re traveling, because they don’t just want to go and travel and have bacon eggs and cheese burger, I think that’s a really interesting kind of shift in the market there as well. Actually, it has become an ingredient there, too.
Darren: Absolutely, I agree. I use it a lot in my breakfasts and, like you say, snacks and things like that. So, yeah, I think that’s a great example. Obviously, we’ve talked about purpose and mission. In your video, on the website, you talk about your mission and how you’re inspired every day to jump out of bed and just go into Neat because it’s kind of like you’re taking yourself back to when you were a professional athlete. And we’ve talked a little bit about that. But how important do you think it is for people to have that when they’re first started on their fitness and nutrition journey? Oh, do you think that that’s perhaps complicated?
Charlie: I don’t think there necessarily needs to be a mission but I think it has to be something that’s enjoyable. I know that’s really over simplifying things but I think certainly within health and fitness. I touched on it earlier, but people get martyr’s syndrome, where I have to be up earlier than everybody else to train, I have to train harder, I have to be seen to be doing this, that. And actually, that’s just not sustainable. At some point, you’re either going to break your body or you’re just going to be fed up and not want to do it anymore.
So I think it’s really important to do something that you enjoy to–a bit of a cliché–but find your tribe, find the people that you enjoy spending time with doing it. Because again, even going back to swimming, I had a point where once I left university, I had to go and find a new club programme and I went around a couple of different places and there just wasn’t a fit for me. Whether it be there weren’t other senior swimmers there, or I didn’t like the area or whatever it might have been at the time. I wouldn’t have carried on going as long as I had had I not really got hold of my coach and enjoyed his company and the way he coached me, and also were there not a group of swimmers around me that again, I could have as part of my support structure and people I was going to spend ultimately probably more time with than my family and with anybody else.
And I think it’s the same with whatever it is–health and fitness, work. And for me, that’s the thing that I really enjoy now that I get to work with a group of my best friends, doing something we all really enjoy with some very specific goals in terms of what we’re trying to achieve and it’s exciting and it’s fun again. The point we touched on earlier: if you don’t want to go to the gym, don’t go to the gym. Go swimming, go and play football, go and play rugby, go and do at-home workouts, whatever it is, but find the thing you enjoy. It might not happen straight away but you will eventually find it.
Darren: Yeah, I know people use this word tribe a lot now, and again, it can sound a bit cliché, but I think it is very important because we’re increasingly living kind of solitary and sedentary lifestyles. And what I mean by that is that we’ve pretty much got everything that we need in the palm of our hands in terms of our smartphones now. And so, for example, you can order whatever you want off the internet, you can get it the next day and you can have all your friendships online.
Whereas if you find that tribe, and you get that personal interaction, you get that support network, you get people kind of bigging you on or egging you up when you’re feeling a bit down. Because let’s be honest, we all go through that period within training, exercise, it doesn’t matter what you do, you always get the yin and the yang. You’ll always have good days and then you’ll have bad days. But if you’re surrounded by people who share the same mission, vision purpose, or whatever it is that you have, it kind of brings you along on this journey that we talk about so I think that’s very important.
Charlie: If you take a look at the five or 10 happiest moments in your life, are they when you’ve been sat on your own on your phone or watching TV, or are they with a group of people? I know that’s over-exaggerating a little bit, but I think it holds true. I think those people will also provide some accountability as well. Because, again, just going to the gym on your own every day is fairly solitary and it’s pretty easy to not go to a session or be half hearted in one of them. And it’s not that these people are on your back going, ‘Come on, you’ve got to do X, Y, Z’ but equally if you’ve said to somebody, ‘Yeah, I will go for a run tomorrow morning,’ and don’t turn up, you feel like a bit of an asshole for not going. Yeah, absolutely.
Darren: Yeah. Letting them down. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, cool. So what are the future plans for Neat? You’re going on five years you said?
Charlie: We’re about four and half years in now. We went through quite a big change at the turn of the year where we changed a lot of our product offering. We actually kind of got rid of a lot of our offering because we felt like it wasn’t necessarily needed for the majority of people and the product that we always enjoyed selling the most and was our halo product, and the one that was most well received was our protein powder. So we solely sell the protein powders now.
As you said, they’re available in sachets as opposed to big bags. And again, that was part of our listening to our customers. People were so fed up with missing delivery so we created something that goes straight through your letterbox. As you said, people didn’t want to scoop it into little kind of cellophane bags or into the bottom of a shaker and so the single serving sachets are great to either go in your work bag, your gym bag, or for traveling–as being the biggest one, I think. And also, I think, really stupid things. Like people don’t want a two-kilo bag sat their desk at work because it just doesn’t look cool. So having a couple of sachets in your drawer… And I know it’s a perception thing but it’s been a really big kind of turning point.
We launched the business in the US at the turn of the year and that’s been fantastic. It’s been a lot of learnings with it but a market that actually is really, really receptive to what we do. The product’s growing very, very, very quickly over there. And I think moving forward, it’s going to be dual path between what we’re doing in the UK and the US, but also listening to our customers constantly. So what we’re doing, as we speak, is a big round of customer listening in terms of, how do people use the product? Where do they use it? Are we offering something convenient? Is there something more convenient we could be doing to help people’s lives?
I think looking probably more of the plant based side of things, but again, how can we improve that? What new products would people like to see? Are there innovative ingredients that we can use? Are there new flavours we can bring out? If it’s not a powder, what does convenience look like for our consumers? I think keep an eye out. I can’t reveal too much at the moment but there’ll be hopefully some new and innovative things coming towards the beginning of next year.
Darren: Fantastic. Okay, so before we wrap up then, Charlie, is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you feel I should have done that would benefit the listeners?
Charlie: I think the most important thing is around the goal setting. I think you touched on it but I know it sounds really silly to write down your goals. I was certainly a cynic the first time I did it. And I think the first time I did it after swimming was actually when I started doing some work with Lululemon. They preach a very similar mentality that you have to make your goals specific and actionable.
To reiterate that, it is setting a very specific goal. So let’s just use the example of the gym because it is very easy. I want to bench press 100 kilos before December 2019. So you’ve got a specific goal, you’ve got a time frame on it, otherwise it just remains a dream. And then it’s putting some micro bullet points underneath that as to how you’re going to achieve that. Then bring your network around you, have those people who can support you. And I think if people do that, they’ll all see a huge difference in what they’re trying to achieve.
Darren: I definitely agree. We’ve touched on it a couple of times now. People might think it feels a bit odd when they first start doing it but I can definitely say from experience, since I’ve started to do it particularly around where I want to get to, I’ve definitely seen the results. There’s a saying called ‘you treasure what you measure,’ or measure what you treasure or something like that–I can’t remember what it is now! But definitely, once you start to track it and measure it–and it doesn’t have to be detailed–you actually start to realize that you can achieve whatever you set out to do. I really appreciate your time today, Charlie, and it’s been great having a conversation with you and hearing about your background and Neat. How can listeners connect with you and with Neat?
Charlie: They can go to our website. Hopefully if you put Neat Nutrition into Google, you’ll find it but otherwise it is Neat-Nutrition.com. You can go and have a look at our social pages which on Instagram is @neat_nutrition. If you want to follow me personally, it probably won’t be as exciting but my handle is @MrCSTurner. And then for anybody that would like to try the products, we’ve set up a code for all of your listeners. So if they do go to the website and they put in the code FHD50, they’ll get 50% off their first box as well.
Darren: Perfect. All right, I really appreciate that, Charlie. Thank you very much. I highly recommend listeners go over and just try it out. Like we’ve already said it’s the ease of actually getting the product which I found the best and I’m going away on holiday in the next couple of weeks so I’ll be getting my order in so I don’t have to take this massive, great big bag through customs. It’s been great talking to you, Charlie. I really appreciate the time and I look forward to catching up with you soon.
Charlie: Perfect. Thank you so much for having me. Have a great weekend.
Darren: Thanks for listening to the fitter healthier dad podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please hit subscribe and I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes. All the links mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes and a full transcription is over at FitterHealthierDad.com.