What is Moodi's approach to food and training? Where does his passion for health and fitness come from? What is it informed by?

Most people will tell you that they started training and eating correctly because they were bullied at school, or because they wanted to impress members of the opposite sex. Although there lies a motivation in us all to look good, feel good and appeal to the opposite sex, my deepest motivation was the drive to prove that size would not prevent me from fulfilling my dream, which was to be a successful natural bodybuilder. Now we have weight and even height divisions in some federations that hold natural physique competitions, however that wasn’t always the case. I grew up in an era of natural bodybuilding and drug-free physique contests that did not allow the smaller guy or girl to compete against our peers who were of a similar stature so you can imagine how intimidating that would have been for a young man at 5’6”, 65kg and barely out of his teens to be compared, physically to a fully grown man at 6 foot weighing 105kg. I spent more energy back stage trying to find an excuse not to walk out on stage than I did paying attention to the details of how I would carb-load and pose when my time came to display all the hard-work. It was a combination of being fed-up with the judging criteria, being a realist (something all mathematicians are forced to do on a day to day basis, to think rationally), that forced me to come up with a unique game-plan. The judging criteria in a contest of physical superiority come down to two very significant variables. Muscularity and aesthetics aka symmetry. Being the smaller guy in the competition I focussed on the latter.

I enjoyed looking at the old fitness magazines that were left in the waiting area of the local gym I worked at as a floor supervisor (a fancy name for the dude that told people to put the weights away and use proper technique to avoid injury). I looked at them for motivation however they were outdated and very vague in their description of training technique, nutrional knowledge and supplement advise. Even if I wanted to purchase the latest editions of these magazine I couldn’t afford to. Not with having adopted adopted the responsibility of looking after mum and four sisters after my father walked out on us, a university debt that was growing exponentially and expensive text book to purchase at the start of every new semester. So I opted for the least expensive option, the journals I had free access to at the University of Sydney Library whilst enrolled in my initial degree, Nuclear Medicine. 

If I wanted to know about a particular nutritional claim or how a certain supplement affected weight loss, fat burning or muscle building, I would read countless journal articles. I would look for credible, published sources in the journal of nutrition, the journal of medicine, the journal of strength and conditioning and so on. Even then I would look for criticisms or weaknesses within the study and reflect on any discrepancies to gauge whether or not I would take my limited funds and invest into a certain nutritional claim by purchasing certain foods an supplements. Being the guinea pig in my own experiments is what lead to my optimistic attitude towards the capabilities of food and my passion towards spreading information that has the capability to change lives, literally. Another important variable in my approach was the testing of one theory at a time. This allowed for clarity and a deep understanding of the many wonderful foods we have at our disposal and how they can be used to their fullest capacity within the different contexts of our very different lives.

Initially I felt forced to learn nutrition in order to have an edge over my competition. I sincerely believe that food can create, and cure all illnesses. Whole foods can do no wrong. The biggest myth has to be that you have to eliminate ANYTHING that is a whole food. Particularly carbohydrates such as sweet potato. Rather than eliminate the good foods you love, learn how to use them to complement your health and your lifestyle.

My biggest inspiration has to be my mother, my environment growing up and time. My mother left school at the age of 7 due to poverty and taught herself to read and write. She writes the most amazing poetry. This always reassured me growing up that I could be anything I wanted to be. 

My environment because it forced me to make the decision between a life going down the wrong track or a life of academia. Education was my only ticket out.

Time will pass whether you’re progressing or not. Time waits for no one. I can’t bare the thought of waking up a day without looking back and seeing progress.

You can’t get lean and ripped over night. The good news is you can’t get out of shape over night either. So when approaching nutrition with a specific goal in mind, don’t let anything distract you from that goal. When you’ve reached that goal, reward yourself with the occasional treat. It’s comforting to know that one slip up is not going to destroy all your hard work. Most importantly, enjoy the different naturally occurring foods that are out there. You won’t see your potential, physical and cognitive, unless you expose yourself and take advantage of the vast array of goodness and nutrients that nature has blessed us with. And don’t forget to #countnutrientsnotcalories.