Below, I share my incredibly insightful and inspiring health story. But if you're just wanting to know a bit more about my credentials and my website, here goes:
Alex Fergus Credentials:
AlexFergus.com is all about helping you transform your health and body to not only look amazing but to feel amazing as well!
On this site, you will find all the tools and resources you need to boost testosterone, lower body fat, improve your sleep, regain health and increase performance.
Through my blog articles, resource zones, podcasts, ebooks, e-courses and my coaching program, I will help you look and feel amazing! To get started, click HERE.
For my incredible personal story, read on:
Born in New Zealand, I grew up on a small farm with two younger sisters.
I was always extremely competitive and found myself playing many sports throughout school. Basketball, athletics, cross country, volleyball, and rugby to name a few.
If there was a chance to do something physical and outperform my peers, I was into it.
Rugby was my main focus as a youngster. Being the national sport of New Zealand, every boy in the country wanted to be the best rugby player. It was just our culture.
Unfortunately, despite making a few decent teams, my future as a rugby player seemed limited to the social game.
One of the last games of Rugby I ever played. (We lost by the way!)
As rugby fell to the wayside, I increased my training at another sport I was toying with.
Rowing. In particular, indoor rowing.
Competitive indoor rowing was established as a way for outdoor rowers to train and compete when the weather was bad.
I never got this memo and continued to train and compete in the sport all year round.
My competitive drive combined with my infamous "Fergus legs" brought me great success in this sport.
I never had a coach and did all my own training programs.
All I knew was that I had to work hard, and push through the limits of pain. This included many times where I was training in my garage and my mother would come home and see me crawling around in the garden vomiting after a hard interval session.
Despite the lack of coaching and no idea what I was doing on the programming front, I went on to win numerous New Zealand titles and even broke a few records too.
The funny thing was that I was beating all these rich-kid rowers from elite rowing clubs. When they asked who I rowed for, I would respond with 'myself!'
It was all a lot of fun.
And fun combined with a competitive drive and a solid backing of lucky genetics leads people places.
For me, I ended up on the world stage. Representing New Zealand at the C.R.A.S.H.-B World Indoor Rowing Championships in Boston, USA.
Me (with hair!) competing at the World Championships
With all this success I was having on the indoor rower, I figured I may as well try the real thing.
Especially since the real thing was an Olympic sport, and that meant opportunities for sponsorship and funding which meant being able to get paid to train and compete!
Ending high school, I shifted up to Waikato, New Zealand to start my four-year business degree. A combination of scholarships and a good business school helped with the decision.
But the icing on the cake was the fact that Waikato was the home of New Zealand rowing. With rivers, lakes and gyms aplenty, studying was always going to be a side project compared to my sporting goals.
After a few rocky sessions in a boat, I was finally racing in a crew. And boy what a blast that was!
Me stroking a Club 4 at Lake Karapiro
My spring and summers were spent eating, rowing, sleeping and doing a little bit of work to pay the bills and get by at school.
Seriously, my life was all about training.
At one point I was doing 12 training sessions a week. And these were big sessions. Over two-hour rows followed up by extremely intense sprint intervals in the evening, before doing it all again the next day.
I was a rowing machine! My resting heart rate got down to the low 30s. My body was sculpted in a way that every ounce of muscle was there for one purpose—to make a boat go fast.
Even though I was still a newcomer to the sport of outdoor rowing, I must have done something to impress my new coaches.
I was soon rowing in the senior boat and had started leading crews on some events.
Whether it was my determination or the countless hours I'd spent on the indoor machine developing my rhythm, I'm not too sure.
It could also have had something to do with my weight.
Speaking of weight, I forgot to mention that I rowed as a lightweight.
I was always under 72.5kg (160 pounds).
Given that I sit around 97kg/214 pounds today, without any serious training or eating, 72.5kg for me was very light.
Heck, it's light for any guy who stands 5'10.
If you're wondering why all the background on sports when this is meant to be a story about health, you may have picked up on a few clues I've left you.
Here's a hint—12 training sessions a week.
Hint two—a body 25kgs/55 pounds lighter than what is now my 'natural weight'.
I'll spell it out—overtraining and under-eating.
We'll get back to this shortly. I want to first explain the lightweight thing.
I never knew about weight divisions when it came to rowing.
It's just that when I turned up to my very first indoor rowing meet there was a compulsory weigh in at registration. I got off the scales and the official put me down as a lightweight rower.
Ok cool, I thought. I'm a small fry.
In that competition not only did I beat all my competitors, but I also set a national record as well.
I thought to myself, I kinda like this lightweight thing!
But that was when I was 16-years old.
Weighing 72.5kg/160 pounds at age 16 is fine.
Still weighing only 72.5kg at age 20 is not so fine—especially coming from a family with legs as thick as tree trunks and necks not much thinner!
Not quite a muscular fitness magazine model body, huh?
The problem was, for the next five years, I embraced the fact that I was a lightweight.
And that meant through all my prime developing years, I was starving myself.
I was always paranoid about getting fat. (How one would get fat doing 40+ hours of training a week as my testosterone levels were at their peak, I wouldn't know! But back then I was young and dumb!)
I was always worried I'd lose my spot in the boat or start losing races.
Here I was, going for two-hour rows on an empty stomach. (I was well and truly fat-adapted.) I'd be getting home and having a small bowl of skim milk and low-salt cornflakes, before going to classes for four hours.
Looking back, these years laid the foundation for my future health woes. In fact, even during these years, I started to suffer from health issues.
Low body temperature, lack of morning food, a libido that was much lower than my peers, and susceptibility to illness, which I never understood as I thought I was doing everything right from a health point of view—lots of exercise, no sugar, no salt, no fats...
My word, how things have changed.
My days of rowing were a blast. And I did enjoy some grand achievements.
But it didn't last.
After one promising season, where I sacrificed all the pleasures of university life in the summer (fishing, beaches, babes, beer and relaxing), my dreams of being an Olympic-level rower came to an end.
Now you're probably thinking I had a horrible injury or nearly drowned in a training accident or got terribly sick.
Nope, it was nothing like that.
It all ended because we lost.
Simple really. We were on our way to the very top but at the final hurdle, we stumbled and stumbled bad, so we didn't even finish in the top three.
I was devastated. Given that this was the last event of the year, I welcomed the upcoming break from the sport.
In fact, my body, no doubt, needed a break as well. Unfortunately, it never got one.
I never returned to serious rowing after that event.
It was probably a good thing, as it allowed me to explore other things in life.
Like student parties and booze. Only kidding. Well, there was some of that.
Two interesting things happened after my rowing ended.
Firstly, my weight jumped up to 80kg/176 pounds. I put on eight kilos/18 pounds without much of a thought. I wasn't trying to put on weight, and I was still eating well and exercising. But now, I was no longer worried about staying within a weight class.
Secondly, I started going to the weights room at my gym.
Yeah, the scary, loud, torture room filled with meatheads. (I can say that, as I now consider myself to be one!)
Previously, if I went to the gym it was to go to the cardio section to row or the stretching area to do some stretches.
I vividly remember one of my first weight sessions. I was in my late 20s, at the time, with my buddy taking me through the workout. We were doing bicep curls. ("Curls get the girls." He told me).
And he was in total awe. Not because I was lifting a big weight since it was embarrassingly light, but because of how lean I was. "Look at all the veins and fibers in your arm!" He kept saying.
Even after putting on eight kilos/18 pounds, I was still incredibly lean.
My body truly had been in a starved state for so many years.
It wasn't long before my competitive streak was out again. I learned about the sport of powerlifting: three lifts, a squat, bench press and deadlift. Three attempts at each lift. Whoever lifts the most wins.
Within a few months, I was at my first meet, and I did rather well.
Me pulling well over 200kg/441 pounds in a sumo deadlift. My thighs were bigger and my hair shorter!
I still find it rather amusing. In less than a year, I went from an endurance sport with two-hour long training rows, to the opposite end of the training spectrum—competitive weight lifting, where a lift only takes a second or two!
For me though, it was an awesome change.
There were new things to learn, new people to meet and my body was changing so fast.
Oh, and I could eat a lot more food!
My time powerlifting may in fact have been one of the best periods for my health.
I was training less. Five sessions a week was all I needed. Any more than that and my numbers got worse. I was playing more since I finally had more free time! I could sleep in now because I could train during the day on my own if I wanted. And eating more food was not only allowed, but it was also required.
My powerlifting days lasted for two years. In that time, I broke two national records and won a few competitions.
My best numbers as an 80kg/176-pound junior (lifting raw) were a 245kg/540-pound squat, a 130kg/286.6-pound bench press and a 250kg/551-pound deadlift.
These figures qualified me for the world championships. And that was my new goal.
245kg/540 pounds on my back. I squatted down and got it all the way back up again!
Lots of changes happened during my powerlifting chapter:
I thought bullet points may save me a few paragraphs of writing!
The corporate world was not for me. I knew very early that being in an office, wearing a suit and working for a giant faceless corporation was not what I was meant to be doing.
The crazy thing was, I quit only a year or so after the GFC. I was one of the few who got a job related to my degree. That job flew me across the world, paid very well and had so many opportunities.
But I quit it to train and welcome gym-goers at five o'clock in the morning! My friends and family thought I was making the biggest mistake of my life since some of my friends still couldn't find a job themselves!
As one door closes, another opens.
I think that's how the saying goes.
Anyhow, after stumbling around directionless for a few months, things started to pick up.
I started to get work as a Personal Trainer at the gym I was working at.
For some reason, customers wanted me to train them. This was such a foreign concept for me because I was still figuring out fitness myself.
But in relative terms, I was light-years ahead of your average Joe who was busy raising a family and paying a mortgage.
Nevertheless, it was an opportunity I wasn't going to turn down. It meant doing what I love in the place I loved!
Me doing personal training in Sydney. My client squatting 100kg/220 pounds for the first time!
Suddenly, a new itch occurred.
All this time hanging out in gyms introduced me to the world of bodybuilding.
I was fascinated by how people could change their bodies using weights and diet. This was something that had always interested me.
But to do it as a sport was all so foreign.
Of course, all it took was a few Arnold Schwarzenegger books and I was hooked. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding needs to be on the bookshelf of any gym junkie!
So I started eating. Lots.
I had always wanted to be healthy. I figured, if I was healthy, I would perform better.
Though looking back, a lot of the decisions I made and the foods I ate were far from being healthy. Also, I should mention now (after two years of bodybuilding) that bodybuilding as a sport is extremely unhealthy.
But I was young, and I needed a challenge. Plus, I had seen what this body of mine could do from a fitness and strength point of view, now it was time to see how big I could get.
So this meant even more eating. It was lots more than back in my powerlifting days.
Plus, it meant using the mirror as a measuring stick. No more stopwatches to track a rowing performance or power meters on a bike or kilograms on a bar. The new yardstick was the mirror.
I managed to pack on a ton of size during my 'bulk'.
I think I tapped out at around 106kg/234 pounds. Maybe a bit more, it was quite a while ago.
The hardest thing for me was putting size on my upper body.
Years of sports dominated by lower body strength, combined with strong genetics for leg strength, combined with two serious shoulder injuries—one was a rugby injury, the other a moshpit injury—caused my arms, shoulders and chest to lag behind my quads.
My quads on the other hand just exploded!
I'd like to say a quick word on bodybuilding and drugs.
I mentioned above, I have always been passionate about health. When I decided to compete in bodybuilding, the only way I was going to do it was to compete as a natural, drug-free competitor.
Using steroids or any other performance-enhancing drugs was simply not an option.
As an athlete in rowing (which is an Olympic sport) there was always the possibility of a random drug test.
As a powerlifting athlete competing in a sport that wants to get Olympic status, I had to meet strong drug-testing criteria. I had to list my place of residence and place of training. I could have been tested at any time of the day. And most meets involved drug testing.
Cycling was another sport that was closely monitored from a drug use point of view.
All my serious years competing had been in sports where drugs were a big no-no. For me, it was simply the way things were—if you took drugs and not only would you be messing with your health, but you would also be banned from competing.
Sure my desire to win was strong, but I was never that desperate. I guess having good fortune so far in my sporting life, I knew my body was capable of great things naturally. Or maybe it was good parenting to scare me away from dangerous and illicit chemical substances!
As you know doubt know, drugs and bodybuilding go hand in hand. But fortunately, there is an ever-growing world of bodybuilding called 'natural bodybuilding'. This is a drug-tested competition. Though I must admit, there are many loopholes and shady characters in the space and this was a bit offputting.
For me, given my morals, my ambition to be a successful athlete, plus the reputation I was building as a coach, not to mention my health concerns, staying drug-free was a no brainer. Heck, I wouldn't even drink tap water because of the fluoride in there, let alone inject god-knows-what into my body.
Despite all this, there were many haters. People would see my legs and immediately say I was on the 'gear'. I heard it at competitions, in the gym and even online. It was very frustrating.
If these people met my dad and uncles, they'd see they all have thick legs despite no gym training! Even my sister has solid legs! Then if they saw how I trained, and how hard I trained, and followed me around for a few days watching how serious I was about my goals and health I'm sure they would soon realize that their beliefs were flawed.
That being said, maybe they wouldn't. Maybe they would have still thought it was all scam. But at the end of the day, I know I am, and forever will be, a drug-free athlete.
Finally, if you're reading this thinking, 'Look how big you look. You must have been on drugs.' Then I would ask you to do a quick Google search for professional bodybuilders (who use drugs) and then compare their size with mine.
Nine months later, I'm painting myself in oil and flexing in front of a crowd on stage.
This was totally not me. It was so different from all the other 'competitions' I had been in. But hey, this was the game. And I wanted to win!
Can you spot me? I'm the orange dude in the middle.
I ended up winning my class at both state champs and then national champs.
It's pretty cool, I must admit.
Not only did this give me a new sport (with new dreams) to focus on, but my personal training business exploded.
Now I had all aspects of fitness training on my CV: endurance, strength, muscle building, conditioning and dieting.
Things were looking up.
Now I will talk about my health woes.
Because it wasn't long after my first year of bodybuilding that things got bad. Really bad.
You see, dieting for a bodybuilding show is tough. Very tough.
You're still training hard and practicing your posing (which is a workout in itself), but you're doing all of this on very little food.
Everyone in the sport knows that the typical 12-week cut is painful. Worst of all, the sacrifices you make are huge.
No going out partying with friends. No birthday cake on birthdays. No skipped workouts. No tasty food.
This cutting phase separates recreational bodybuilders (people who just train to look good) from the competitive bodybuilders.
Towards the end of this cutting period, I was in a world of hurt. So much so that I just wanted the whole thing to be over with.
I would go to bed hungry. I would salivate as I walked past food joints.
I was cold. For the first time in our relationship, I needed more blankets than my girlfriend.
I had no energy. I literally couldn't do any more than two back-to-back coaching sessions without a break.
And that strict training schedule I was following—that required large amounts of caffeine and stimulants to get into workout mode.
Towards the end of the cut, I was consuming the equivalent of 12 cups of coffee a day. All in the name of 'hanging on'.
Oh, and my sleep was appalling. Sure the caffeine wasn't helping, but neither was the lack of nourishment, the inability of my body to warm itself (always waking up cold during the night) and the aching joints as a result of the heavy workouts and work recovery was all taking a toll.
Finally, sex was a non-event. If you want to experience life as an asexual being, diet for a bodybuilding comp!
I used to joke—even if I had the ability to 'get things going,' I wouldn't have the energy to do anything with it.
Despite all this, I knew there was an end to the journey. After the competitions were over I would be back eating, sleeping and training 'normally' and everything would be better.
But that didn't happen.
For me, the problem wasn't too much training. The body can handle all sorts of physical stressors.
The body breaks when it can not heal and recover from these stressors.
My year of bodybuilding was simply too much of a stressor without enough recovery: lack of food, lack of sleep, lack of relaxation, intense training, early mornings, late nights (the life of a personal trainer), too many stimulants (artificial energy) all on top of numerous years of doing the same.
But I didn't realise this. I just thought I was a little under the weather.
I thought with time things would come back to normal.
And given my success (I had won the bodybuilding titles as a novice), I figured I would definitely have to do another show next year.
So I continued to train. But I also continued to suffer.
Seriously, it was bad.
I was now addicted to caffeine. It wasn't an 'I want' sort of addiction. I hated the taste of the coffee. But my body demanded it.
If I went half a day without caffeine, my joints would seize up. My hip would ache to the point where I couldn't walk, and I would get a killer headache.
It was two weeks after my show when I realized there was a problem. I would wake at two o'clock in the morning with an extremely painful ache in my hip joint.
There was nothing I could do to alleviate it: stretching, hot showers, cold baths, warming creams—nothing. It was so painful that I would toss and turn until my alarm went off at five o'clock.
One night something clicked—maybe it's caffeine withdrawal. So I got up and made myself a double shot of instant coffee. Within minutes, my pain was gone. And within 20 minutes, I was fast asleep!
It took me three months for my body to come off the coffee. That process was nearly as hard as the 12 weeks of dieting for the show.
The caffeine issue was just the start.
I started having gut problems: lots of farting, undigested food in my stools, bloating, etc.
Then skin problems—acne like I was a teenager.
My energy was pathetic. I would literally spend my free time on the couch. If I went for a walk, I couldn't go more than a few hundred meters without needing a rest.
My brain seemed like it was in low gear all the time. I couldn't think clearly.
My temperature was still very low. Despite eating more and having more fat, I was always cold.
Remember, I was in my early twenties, I was a health and fitness professional and I had a body most guys would love to have.
Worst of all, my love life was pathetic—libido was non-existent.
But I never knew it.
Well, I knew something wasn't right, but given that I was leading a so-called "healthy lifestyle." I was exercising frequently, not drinking or smoking, eating a low-fat diet, avoiding salt, drinking lots of water, staying out of the sun, etc. I thought everything would fix itself.
But it didn't.
Somehow I managed to do a bodybuilding show in my second season.
I had to pull out of the first show as I wasn't in condition. And even at the second show, I wasn't as lean as I needed to be.
But my lower body size and back thickness got me 3rd place at the Nationals (Men's Open category).
For me though, the show was a big achievement in the sense that my bodybuilding days were done.
The day after the show I immediately turned my priorities to something else—fixing my health.
After years of following all the recommended training programs and eating a clean ‘healthy’ diet, never doing anything wrong from a health point of view—I was horribly sick.
And I don’t mean vomiting and fever sickness. I mean deep-rooted hormonal sickness.
I had no libido, poor gut health, chronic fatigue, my sporting performance was dropping and I was putting on fat. My goal to be an ultra-healthy, super athlete was crumbling. The life I dreamt of was disappearing from my reach.
To make things worse, I felt terrible—depressed even. I was meant to be in the prime of my life. I was a 25-year-old male. I was known as 'the healthy fit guy' among my friends, family and clients.
I felt even worse about the situation because at the time I was working as a fitness trainer. My job was to help people improve the way they looked and felt. People paid me for my advice and expertise. They looked up to me as 'the healthy fit guy.' I felt like a failure as an athlete, a coach and a businessman.
I was becoming too sick and lethargic to work. I had to cancel clients as I was so exhausted. And I was embarrassed about how I looked. My body and health were meant to be my marketing. There was a disconnect.
It was a truly dark period of my life.
I was driven to succeed and to be the epitome of health.
Yet I was suffering, in the sporting arena, with my health and with my business.
I was confused and frustrated. Why me? I was 'the health guy.' I followed all the health guidelines. I ate clean. I exercised daily.
I wanted to escape. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted to get back into training. I wanted to have my libido back. I wanted to look in the mirror and feel good about my body. I wanted clients to come to me because I looked healthy.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands.
A few days after my show ended, I went to my doctor.
This doctor was extremely overweight and looked miserable. But she was the health expert.
I told her my problems and asked to have some blood tests done and perhaps a stool test.
She said no. I couldn't believe it. I explained my symptoms. She told me I probably had a virus. I said I would pay for the tests myself. Reluctantly, she said she'd do a basic array of tests.
The results came back. I head back to see the doctor for her to review them with me.
There was no virus. Instead, I had extremely low levels of, well, everything. Everything except estrogen—my estrogen levels were through the roof!
My testosterone, on the other hand, was rock bottom!
When I asked what I should do about this, my doctor started writing a prescription for hormone replacement therapy.
No way I thought. I'm a 25-year-old guy who works in the health and fitness industry. I was proud of my sporting achievements—all done without drugs. There was no way in hell I was going to start taking synthetic testosterone.
I asked the doctor for a copy of my labs and told her I would get back to her on what I wanted to do.
I never went back to that doctor again.
Weeks went by and I hadn't made any changes to my diet or lifestyle. Then one day I saw a quote pop up on my Facebook feed:
Usually, you read quotes like this and go on about your life. But this quote struck a chord. It resonated so deeply in me that the room turned into a blur.
I was insane. Not clinically insane, but I realized that what I was doing was not getting the results I desired. Rather than recognizing my health and fitness problems, I was simply doubling down on my current beliefs. If fat was bad, I ate even less fat. If performance and weight loss required more exercise, I trained longer and harder.
But at this moment, I knew I had to change something. I couldn’t continue doing what I was doing and expecting different results. I literally would have gone nuts if I continued that way.
It was now crystal clear to me how to turn my health around. I had to change the way I viewed health and fitness.
Not wanting to go back to my doctor, I went to 'Dr. Google.'
Haha, I know, the worst thing to do. But hey, I didn't want to take drugs and I didn't like the idea of taking health advice from an overweight, depressed doctor who is really a glorified pill pusher.
I started researching hormonal health. I learned about the importance of hormonal balance. My testosterone to estrogen balance was really bad, so I discovered ways to correct them naturally.
I learned what affects hormones and the impact that diet and lifestyle have on these markers.
Down the rabbit hole, I went.
I had to start with a clean slate. I threw out old beliefs. I had to go back to the books.
But this time I wanted to learn the truth. The mainstream education I had around health and wellness was a lie. It broke me. It destroyed my health and made me sick.
I read books on the human body, alternative health, natural diets... Books that I previously would have laughed at.
I started signing up for alternative-medicine health courses. I experimented with new diets. I went beyond conventional health and diet recommendations.
After I did that, I started changing what I ate, how I trained and how I viewed health. I started eating foods that I used to think were 'unhealthy' while avoiding foods that I once thought were healthy.
I now ate saturated fat, lots of it. And I covered it in salt. I now know that these foods aren't going to cause me any health issues.
My new way of eating—red meat, egg yolks, butter and bacon!
Within a few weeks, I noticed the change, I was feeling more energetic, my libido increased and my body-fat levels dropped.
That’s when I realized that I was onto something.
I discovered that our food is more than just energy. It is nourishment. It changes our biology.
It changes how we look and feel.
I continued to read, to experiment and to listen. I started talking to other 'health gurus'.
I learned about the power of hormones. I discovered that our hormones are the true drivers of how we look and feel.
I learned to use natural methods to correct hormonal imbalances. I knew I was on to something.
I realized that the body wants to be healthy. It wants to have energy, a strong libido and look sexually attractive.
Our body naturally desires a high metabolism. It wants to be agile, slim and strong. It tries to be free of aches, pains and disease.
I realized that the body is like a garden. Plants want to grow, to thrive, to produce fruits and reproduce. Plants don’t want to suffer from poor growth, to succumb to disease and illness, and most importantly, a plant doesn’t want to die without reproducing.
With this new outlook on health, I realized that all I had to do to improve my health was to work with the body and provide it with the resources it needed.
Give the body what it needs and let it take care of the rest. It's just like how a gardener works with the plants—protecting them from frost and fertilizing them when they’re lacking nutrients.
My view of health was no longer limited to calories and exercise.
I now know that counting calories hoping for fat loss had been a fool's way to lose weight. (You can read more in my article The Problem With Counting Calories For Fat Loss.)
I learned how our health adapted to the food we eat, the activity we did and the environment we lived in.
All this new knowledge was amazing, life-changing and profound.
But there was a problem.
I had learned and changed so much—not only was I healthier, happier, but I was looking and feeling better than ever. Yet I had a big problem.
My diet, training and lifestyle had drastically changed. I went from being the health nut to the health nutter because I was doing the opposite of what conventional wisdom believed. You can read my article Why We Need To Be Weirdos To Be Healthy for more on this topic.
And my peers and personal training clients noticed this. They noticed how my diet had changed. I was eating foods that I once told them to avoid. They noticed how my training volume was significantly less (even down to one 15 minute session a week for a few months!)
I was spending less time exercising, yet looking and feeling better than ever.
I knew my old diet and training beliefs were flawed. They had ruined my body and health.
My new approach to health and wellness worked remarkably well, but I was torn. I had studied conventional health and diet. I had spent thousands of dollars, done the exams and received the official government-approved certificates. But now, what I was doing was the polar opposite to these prior teachings.
I had clients coming to me for health and diet advice. What was I meant to tell them?
How could I simply tell them to forget everything they had been told about diet and training and do the opposite?
What better way to share this wisdom than through a blog.
I knew how to research and had done many literature reviews during my degree.
Why not crawl through the scientific literature and research these health topics like it was a university paper.
Science would reveal the truth. From there, I could share these articles with clients.
And so began my website, AlexFergus.com.
My first blog articles had a decent reach. In fact, they continue to perform great today.
A sample of those include:
With the publication of these articles, I could now start sharing scientifically proven insights with my personal training clients.
They then shared this with their friends and family.
The return to health was a tough road. It meant breaking down many old belief patterns.
For example, reducing my training load was terribly difficult. I had been a regular exerciser for most of my life. But to cut it back to nearly nothing so that my body could heal was challenging.
I didn't want to get fat. Plus I enjoyed training.
But the change was worthwhile.
Likewise, changing my sleep habits required a lot of discipline. My sleep never recovered from my bodybuilding days. But the more I learned about sleep, the more I realized it was so darn important for health.
So I set about learning how we sleep and reverse-engineering the 'perfect sleep' so that I could also sleep deeply.
Today, I sleep extremely well. My Oura ring reveals over 30% deep sleep a night. I wake up feeling refreshed instead of groggy.
Another solid night's sleep with my Oura ring wearable: no wakings and three hours of deep sleep!
In fact, I learned so much about sleep that I ended up building a program to share all this info with others. You can learn more about that HERE.
With this newfound health, I decided to enter the three-day, nine-event Real Fit competition at PaleoFX®, one of the world's biggest natural health conferences.
To many people's amazement (especially mine), I won this event! I beat serious athletes from all corners of the world.
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🏆So you may have seen me posting a few random workouts over the past few days while at @paleofx 🏋🏽 Well it was for a wee competition they were doing to find the fittest male and female at the expo... With @realfitscore Anyway, I ended up winning it 🙌🏽😜 What exactly was involved? Everyone had to do: 🔸40 yard dash 🔸8lb medicine ball throw 🔸20yard agility drill 🔸body weight deadlifts for reps - 2mins 🔸vertical leap 🔸Chest strength test 🔸Leg strength chest 🔸Pull-ups - in 2 mins 🔸500m row repeats Some how I came out on top... A lot of these things I have never done in my life.. In fact, over the past ~6 months I have only been doing 1x 15 minute strength session (super slow training) a week with the odd interval session thrown in here and there. Now I don't mean to brag, instead I want to reinforce the 'less is more' approach to training. I don't train much any more - maybe 15-45minutes Per WEEK total (blog on this coming soon), but I train smart and extremely hard when I do train. It is really fascinating because I come from a #powerlifting and #bodybuilding background where volume is key. In fact, due to how little training I have done this year (I haven't done a set of deadlifts since mid 2015) I wasn't even going to bother entering this comp... But I thought I'd do a vertical jump as a laugh, ended up with a solid number and next thing you know... My point here is simple - you really don't need to slave away in the gym day after day to simply look and feel great, in fact, you may not even have to slave away in the gym day after day to PERFORM great. Something to think about 🤔 #pfxfitscore #pfx16
With this success came great exposure. Many asked what my secret was. My answer—focusing on health!
From all this exposure came a huge surge in website traffic and many appearances on health and fitness podcasts (which you can listen to HERE).
As my number of blog visitors increased and my exposure grew, I found myself getting coaching requests from people all over the world.
I offered hour-long consultation calls, but this wasn't enough.
People wanted my coaching. They wanted programs, protocols and plans to follow.
This lead to a three-year project—building the ultimate health and wellness program.
In fact, I explain this program in a webinar that I will be showing this week. Just enter your email below to register (or click HERE to go directly to the program page).
My Health Reset Program has gone on to help hundreds of people improve their health naturally.
This program is the result of the lessons I learned during my years of recovery. And no matter your health goal, I'm sure you will find tremendous value in it.
As my website continues to grow, with over 200,000 visitors a month reading my material, I decided to pull the pin on my personal training business and focus on my online business.
Even bigger than that, my fiancée and I decided to leave Australia and move to New Zealand.
The goal—to settle on some land and start a family.
This was a dramatic change for both of us. I won't lie—there were many times when I questioned my decision. With my partner no longer working and us relying solely on my new business venture to pay the bills, things were stressful at times!
But if I feared taking risks, I wouldn't have left my corporate job all those years ago.
These few years were extremely eventful. In fact, there was so much going on I decided to do a short VLOG series. I called this my #AuthenicAlex vlog. You can watch the 12-part series HERE.
Or you can click the images below. I have listed the first four episodes for you:
If you don't want to watch my vlog, here's the plot summary: everything worked out extremely well. I proposed to my fiancée, and she said yes! We purchased some land and integrated into a community with like-minded health and wellness families.
I continued to learn about health, write blogs and help people from all corners of the world.
During these years, I returned to PaleoFX to defend my RealFIT title. This time I did a bit of 'sport-specific' training for the competition which I documented in my article Training To Be The Best All-Around Athlete.
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Training Day 💪🏽 Doing a lower body Neuroset. It's a 3 part continuous set: ➖Time under tension grinds (here in doing 150kg controlled tempo non lockout back squats. Yes they burn. And yes the video is double speed. Real speed was slower than this. ) ➖explosive reps (here I do squat jumps aiming for max height. Legs are piss weak at this stage) ➖isometric / static hold as a finish (here I do weighted wall sits. Legs are screaming now). And that's it. I do one set to failure. 1 neuroset for each body part (chest, back, quads and hammies). 1 session a week. Job done. #AuthenticAlex
I won again.
But the competitive fire in me had died off.
No longer was I determined to be a professional athlete. Nor could I justify all the time and energy on training for a sport.
My focus was now on health (versus pure performance) and my family.
Plus, I wanted my future children to learn where their food comes from, and even better, help produce it themselves.
So began the change of focus from performance to health, longevity and self-sufficient living.
Having control over my environment and the food my family and I eat is now my top priority.
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But of course, that also meant the small task of starting a family!
My wife and I did a lot of work to boost our fertility. We both suffered from health issues in the past, so we were a little nervous about how things would go.
I cover what we did to boost our fertility in my article '21 Effective Tips To Increase Fertility Naturally'.
These changes obviously worked, as we had no problems conceiving!
As I write this today, our firstborn is now 12-weeks old.
And our family lives on a 50-acre plot of land in rural New Zealand.
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We are free from non-native electromagnetic fields (nnEMF). We live in what I call a 'dumb' home: no Wi-Fi, no Bluetooth, no 'smart' devices, etc.
We produce 70% of our food—all organically grown including grass-fed beef and lamb, free-range chicken and eggs and a huge vegetable plot and orchard.
Me on my farm in rural New Zealand
I continue to perform health and fitness experiments while learning about health, diet, training and supplementation.
My time is split between Dad duties, household duties, farm duties, garden duties and of course research and writing as I aim to publish one new blog a week.
Training is unstructured at this very moment. I do a lot of infrared sauna sessions and my physical activity mainly consists of outdoor farm work.
Being my own boss, working from home and being able to spend time with my family while helping others is truly amazing. I wouldn't change any of this for the world!
So that's my story. I truly hope you enjoyed reading this and maybe learned a thing or two.
If you're wondering what's in store for AlexFergus.com and my own personal journey then I can reveal a few things I'm working on.
From a personal point of view, I will continue working the land to grow my own healthy food. And I will continue diving into the world of health and fitness.
As for the competition and training side of things, I won't rule out competing again. All I know is that if I do get into serious training, health will always be top priority!
Please drop me a message if you would like to know more or simply leave a message saying, 'Hi' and where it is you are reading this from.
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