Your body is constantly adapting to change: Martin Sharp
We spoke to Martin Sharp, the founder of SHARP Fit and a business consultant, enterprise architect and strategic thinker. Martin combines the rare ability of relying on lots data and coming up with unusual insights.
He is also an unusual combination. He’s a multi-Award Winning International Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Author. He also helps busy and overweight entrepreneurs, consultants and business owners obtain the fitness and lifestyle that makes them happier. And of course, a devoted husband and father.
Martin’s personal story is very interesting as well. As recently as December 2014, he weighed 154 kgs and had a 54" waist.
But instead of permanently succumbing to obesity, he worked hard to and worked his way out of it.
Soon Martin obtained recognised qualification in health and sports science
After personally succumbing to obesity and working his way out of it, Martin obtained recognised qualifications , was mentored by the world leading online physique and lifestyle coach and became a member of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity.
How much is weight gain a function of what we eat? And how should we address that?
Function wise, weight gain occurs due to an in balance between what fuel we take in from food and what we expend. It is quite simple, the more we take in then the more we have to use.
Which brings rise to the old mantra of eat less and move more. I fundamentally disagree with this mantra as it leads to the wrong behaviour. I know because that was the trap I fell into.
Downloading My Fitness Pal (other tracking apps are available), following the calorie deficit it recommended and feeling worse and worse for it. The kicker was I didn’t even see any amazing results.
What I found worked for me and many of my clients, who are time poor, busy business owners and consultants, is that by performing resistance training as part of a healthier, happier and fitter lifestyle it build muscle.
Muscle is more metabolically active than body fat, which mean that the amount of calories your body needs to just exists increases. Therefore, you no longer have to starve yourself or place yourself at risk by not being able to consume the nutrients and building blocks your body needs.
Weight and obesity is a growing problem worldwide, and they’re often seen as the problems of the rich. How serious is the issue?
I believe this is the greatest pandemic to hit humanity that is not being talked about in the mainstream. Being overweight or obese is linked to so many physical and mental problems, along with being a cause (or at least significant contributing factor) of many non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) published in 2010 their report stating that 1 billion people across the globe were overweight or obese, this figure grew to 1.9 billion.
Nearly 1/4 of the planets population by 2019 was overweight/obese.
And with Covid-19 restrictions, the average person’s body mass increased by, probably, 15lbs.
With the COVID 19 restrictions increasing the average person’s body mass by what some report as 15lb, it is unsurprising that the initial figures from the WHO in their 2022 European fact sheet now now 59% of all adults as being overweight or obese.
And the thing is the fastest growing demographic (no pun intended) is those on middle incomes, professionals like doctors, engineers, business owners, consultants, etc., they are more likely to be busy, stressed and overworked with limited or no physical outlet, potentially grabbing what ever food that they can and sacrificing their own sleep and health in the process.
Paradoxically, teenagers — who are otherwise blessed with great metabolism and energy — are also one of those categories with health and fitness challenges today. And that’s in no small part due to changes in food, lifestyle, stress and all that. Given a choice, what changes would you like to bring in the lives of teens?
Getting them to explore their own bodies and working out what is right for them and ensuring they know how to continuously do this throughout their life. The idea of an ideal diet or fitness plan that keeps you at “maintenance” level is ludicrous. Your body is constantly adapting to change.
Better education would be my gift to teens and the world.
That being your age, the stimulus you give it, the environment around it and everything that impacts it makes a difference. Therefore having the skills to identify the changes, assess them and come up with a plan, then implement the plan is the best way to ensure they can live a long, happy and healthy life.
A friend of mine Dr Alka Patel showed me evidence that a million hour life (that is 114 years) is well within the reach of all if they adopt an active and healthy lifestyle.
A million hour life (that is 114 years) is well within reach of all.
What roles do natural raw, foods (veggies, honey, nuts, fruits) play in my fitness journey?
Like with most things everything is in moderation. I much prefer to gain my own nutrition from real food, though what isn’t monitored can’t be managed, so understanding what I am eating, when, what quantity and the effects they have on my body.
Some fruits and veggies can spike your insulin as much as chocolate) has been crucial in my personal transformation and that from those I’ve helped. This includes having some nuts, some fruits and some raw veggies.
We understand that most crash diets without a plan or supervision can be disastrous. But supervision and expertise isn’t that easy to get, so how can an average person watch what they eat? Can they really devise a plan for themselves?
“Knowledge is power” as the saying goes and knowing how your body works is certainly a powerful thing to have. It is easy to track what you are eating, even when on the go. Many fitness trackers, diary apps or old fashioned pen and paper can help you do that.
The thing is knowing what your goals are and what body needs to achieve them, then planning accordingly. This will include working on your mindset, movement, meal planning, moderating activity and devising a method that works with your lifestyle and isn’t a “canned” response. One size does not fit all, as everybody’s body is different.
Yes, they can devise a plan, though I wouldn’t advise it. After 5 years trying and failing, it wasn’t until I started working with an online coach who could help devise the plans, provide accountability and most importantly feedback and adjustments, that my progress really started to sky rocket.
Many people struggle to hold themselves to account or include things in their plan that they know they need, though don’t always like the thought of. Plus having someone’s objective view is very powerful.
It is unsurprising that the most successful people in life have coaches to help them.
We understand that being busy is no excuse for not exercising. But if someone travels for work for, say, 10–15 days a week, how can they be careful of what they eat?
I love this question. Prior to the pandemic I was at home for a maximum of 5–6 days per month, travelling for work around the world and the thing is I reduced by body fat by over 40kg, and my waistline by 22".
If you know what you value in life, and link those values to what you are doing to improve your health, fitness and lifestyle, then anything is possible. If you are incredibly busy, possibly not with a lot of spare money, the probability is you’d still find away to go on holiday, because this becomes your highest value. If you can do that, why can’t you do that for your health?
Is weight and fitness as much a mental function as physical? How does that really work?
It certainly is. Consistency, perseverance and patience are needed to see results. There is no magic pill or get fit quick scheme that will get results and keep them there. It is a lifestyle change and you need to be able to sustain it, where possible even love the process. So finding something you can stick to, is crucial.
With a lots of our food loaded with fat and sugar, what kind of things you would suggest avoiding almost totally? Why?
Processed food, fast food, ready meals and junk food. Now I hate and never advise denying anything, that is almost a sure fire way to get someone to crave it, like the forbidden fruit, it will keep it in the forefront of your mind. Your mind cannot process negatives.
For example don’t think of a blue elephant. I bet you just thought of a blue elephant, because to process the “don’t” you have to have the elephant in your mind.
Now why do I suggest limiting processed food, fast food, ready meals and junk food? Mainly because of the fat, sugar and that you don’t know or can’t control the combination of ingredients, meaning with these you cannot monitor or manage your nutrient intake. Plus personally many simply aren’t filling and leave me feeling more lethargic, with brain fog and impacting my performance.
In some professions, it’s critical to manage your weight and look all trim and fit. But for the rest of us, what kind of fitness goals should we set up? And how do we really measure how fit we really are?
Happiness has to be the goal. When you are happy, resting and at peace, your body is in a better place and responds accordingly from the hormonal responses, to the repair and rebuild processes to the improvement in physical and cognitive abilities.
When you are unhappy, stressed or constantly on the go, your body responds the same way as it did thousands of years ago getting ready for the wild animal attack. Pausing repairing and building, breaking down and storing, just in case it is a drought or famine. So aim for happy, healthy and see yourself achieve even more.