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Scotty Farrell: The Natural Athlete


Scotty has had a life full of sport.  From surfing, to water polo, rock climbing to his most recent passion triathlon, he has played it all at a competitive level.  Scotty considers himself to be a naturally fuelled athlete, choosing to fuel on whole foods only.  Through his studies as a Dietitian, his knowledge of the body and what fuels it the best, he has quickly become a respected age group triathlete, who has no ambitions of slowing down any time soon.   He started triathlon 5 years ago and hasn’t looked back.  Qualifying for Kona on his second attempt, he hopes to train and race well in order to give back to the Island and all his supporters, what they have given him.  Once the goal is set and the mind is made up, he believes anything is possible.  Priding  himself on good old fashion hard work, coupled with smart coaching and training to get there.  No secrets.

Tell us about your philosophy and goals as ‘The Natural Athlete’.

The Natural Athlete is all about creating a brand and community of people/athletes who choose to #jerf (just eat real food). It’s not about assigning to a particular diet per se, but there are certain foods I recommend staying clear of or minimising, in order to create a healthy system and happy lifestyle. Nutrient density is what its all about in the Natural Athlete Community, meaning whole, natural foods, as close to the source as possible, become the focus of our dietary intake. I like philosophies such as Hippocrates’ “Let food be thy medicine” or Michael Pollan’s “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

the natural athleteSecond to this, it’s my goal to eventually race endurance events using whole foods (currently a work in progress). This will involve minimising the use of heavily processed sports drinks and using more home-made style concoctions. I still feel there is a place in endurance sport for the sports gel as at high intensity the ease of intake and absorption becomes a key factor, however, for the most part, in training, there are no reasons why whole foods should not take centre stage. This will ensure faster recovery times, improved results and better long-term health.

To sum up my ethos, Natural Athlete is about exploring the world of natural fuelling and the impact this has on performance on and off the racetrack. As I finish my studies in Nutrition and move into further studies as a Naturopath, I’ll be looking to work with people on a case-by-case basis to enhance general wellness.

How did your interest in nutrition develop, and what are some of the sports diet tips you could give to others trying to clean up their sports nutrition plans.

My interest in nutrition began together with a couple of major life changes. The first big change was when I found out I was going to be a father. There’s no bigger moment in a person’s life when they find out they’re going to be a parent. My whole world changed and what was a pretty selfish life up to then, suddenly became all about this kid and how best I can guide him through life to be healthy and happy. We’re doing okay so far ;-)

Secondly, I jumped straight into the world of endurance sport, in particular, Ironman triathlon. The days of sipping an electrolyte drink and a gel over a 2.5 hour shorter race, soon became, “how best am I going to fuel myself over 9-10hours of an Ironman”. So I got on the net and delved deep into the world of nutrition and here I am today; currently 3 subjects (1 semester) off finishing my Bachelor of Nutrition before continuing on to study Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy). I love it and while the passion is there to learn more (with reluctant permission from my beautiful wife) and help people to understand and enjoy natural, real foods, I’ll keep on trucking.

What do you consider your biggest achievement as an athlete?

kona hawaiiTo date, my biggest athletic achievement would be the commitment I made to qualify for the Ironman World Champs in Kona Hawaii. I trained my backside off to qualify over the 2013/2014 summer and managed to win my age group at Ironman New Zealand and book a spot to the big dance in Hawaii last October. [you can read a recap of Scotty’s Kona experience here]

You must have a very hectic schedule, with training, study, work and a young family. If you have a day that you could call typical, tell us about it. How do you fit it all in?

Great question. I like to look at things as a privilege. I’m pretty lucky to be able to do the things I do and live where I live, so I just try to be as grateful as I can for what I have and not get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of the ego-driven rat race.

A typical day for me involves a training session early in the morning, brekky at the table with my family and a chat about the day ahead, then it’s off to Uni or work for the day or dad duties while my wife works or goes to her courses. We always sit down together at night for dinner then after dinner I hit the books for a few hours before passing out.

A couple of key things enable me to do this without trouble: I don’t watch TV, we don’t have it hooked up and haven’t for over 2 years now. We occasionally sit down and watch a DVD but for the most part, my kids have never seen an advert, which I think is cool. I think removing TV has freed up loads of time, I sure don’t miss it that’s for sure.

Second, because I’m busy, I’m reasonably productive and have learnt to prioritise well. I make a point of taking ten minutes each night to go through my to do list, which can get lengthy at times, and prioritise one or two achievable things to get done the next day. This way, I don’t have to make decisions the next day, I just get it done. This 10mins is well worth it for an organised day the following day.

What do you like to do ‘when you’re not doing anything’?

Read a book that’s not a uni textbook, watch a movie with my wife (when the kids are out for the night) or just hang out and watch my boys grow.

We hear that you’re a bit of a ‘backyard farmer’. Can you tell us a little about your gardening pursuits, why you do it and what you grow?

Novice would be the key word here, although my tomato plants are off the charts at present… might be due to our chickens’ manure and all the rain we’ve had lately, but they’re on fire. But yes, I’m a bit of a wannabe backyard farmer. Since moving to the Sunshine Coast (Palmwoods) 2.5 years ago, I made a goal to slowly convert my backyard into a big veggie/edible garden. It’s a work in progress but what I have now keeps me busy.

I’ve tried my hand at growing nearly everything… we have a good sized patch with a wide variety of greens, carrots, beets, shallots, chillies, all the herbs, pumpkins and a stack of fruit trees. A palm tree goes, a fruit tree replaces it.

We have even started to contribute a little to our local co-op where we take in some produce and get store cred in return, it’s super cool. And best of all, my older (2.5year old) boy, can list off nearly every herb, veggie or fruit in the backyard… that’s the coolest.

With the hectic lives that we all tend to lead now, we sometimes find ourselves just surviving rather than thriving. What are some of the things you focus on in order to be at your best day-in, day-out?

It’s about prioritizing the things in life that really matter and everything else comes second - or at least making an effort to head in this direction. For me, I focus on being productive with my time and finding a good balance of down time with my family, training the house down, eating quality produce as local as we can, limiting sitting time and technology and getting a good solid night’s sleep (hard with kids, but sleep is so important).

 Being organized allows me to put forward the effort required to gain quality results across life. Like everyone, I get carried away and procrastinate (I’m a day-dreamer) but I just try to be grateful for what I have and search for balance.

To find out more about Scotty, check out his website here...

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