Quarterly Insights of the Hitman, Part Three

Quarterly Insights of the Hitman, Part Three

It’s been an interesting quarter. I had a very abrupt ending to a photoshoot preparation, a 4 day trip to Ibiza that highlighted the difference between having the ability to connect and feeling connected, and a trip to America that shone light on what’s needed going forwards to address many personal deep rooted issues.

In Episode 99 of the RNT Fitness Radio, Akash and I dive deep into the current state of affairs, and the struggles that I’m facing with addressing these problems that came to light during my most recent dieting phase.

I Should Have Listened To Maslow

When I originally started out this NOMADIC adventure, I thought I was invincible. I thought I didn’t need anyone else to provide anything for me. I was self-proficient, independent and prided myself on providing for my needs in any situation.

I spent periods of weeks with no contact with another human. And some weeks I would have an overwhelm of human interaction when I’d be staying in hostels, or I’d have one of the RNT coaches come on the trips with me. If I’m honest, I didn’t even consider Maslow’s hierarchy of basic human needs in my decisions – I was completely arrogant and blind to these factors being in play.

As the year progressed, each new country I visit is now considered ‘normal’ to my system. The dopamine hit from being this amazing travel adventure has now reduced, and I can see that this NOMADIC way of life completely ignores huge elements of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (MHN). There’s no wonder why in this ‘dip’ phase of 9-12 months which most long term travellers go through, I’ve struggled with multiple issues.

Recently I heard a statement that because we have so many forms of communication now, it’s impossible to feel unconnected and not feel a part of something. Businesses are now moving digital to allow people to work from all over the world, people are taking jobs in different cities away from their families in search of more money and better career prospects. And it’s all with the whole premise that they can still drive the same level of communication and interaction over Facetime, WhatsApp and infrequent visits.

I’ve learnt more than ever that we as humans need connection, and something fellow RNT coach Ivan said to me on a recent call really hit home for me. He said that as babies we need human touch to survive, and those babies that do not receive touch / close attention in the beginning stages of life have higher rates of death later on, and essentially need touch for a quality of life.

As we now move into the digital age, we experience higher rates of non-face to face, non-touch based forms of interaction, with very limited non-verbal communication. Therefore, we can’t expect to get the same level of response from these interactions, and thus, we get less from our hierarchy of needs. We can see that from a lack of fulfilment in these hierarchy of needs creates issues, and we tend to struggle in some facets of our lives.

A trip to Ibiza with some of my closest friends for myself highlighted this importance of filling the physiological needs of safety, belonging and love.

It made me realise that over the course of the dieting period leading up to Ibiza, I wasn’t filling so many of the basic human needs. I was of course restricting energy and food intake, very little structure with my travel schedule, and most importantly, I had not seeked out intimate relationships with friends to the level in which I needed to fill that need. This Ibiza trip allowed me to get a lot of these things all in one go, and it obviously helped when I was in an environment that for me is a happy place: my favorite DJ’s were playing, and the lights and days at Ushuaia just makes everything feel better! Despite this, there was a clear distinct level of togetherness with myself.

The take home point for me here is to regularly revisit and look critically on my MHN, and see how where I may be fulfilling, and where I may be lacking.

100 And 1 Ways To Diet When Travelling

Whilst the diet for the elusive photoshoot on Venice beach never actually materialised, every diet or time that you put yourself in a position of a calorie deficit you will learn new things about yourself.

I know Akash talks a lot about what his diet leading into his most recent shoot gave him perspective on, which you can read in his Quarterly Insights here.

In my case, and in order to cope with the travel schedule I had to be very intuitive with my attempts to stick to a diet.

I travelled 7 countries with 18 flights over a 8 week period whilst managing to drop accumulatively around 10% of my BW – which worked out to be around 7kg. 

Travelling is one of the biggest factors for non-compliance on diets when we have new clients – the scheduling, the food choices and the decisions overall is all encompassing but it can be done. 

Below are the key take homes from what it’s like to diet over 7 countries, 18 flights whilst working 50+ hours a week:

  • Low meal frequencies allow for greater control over eating out
  • There’s no city I’ve been to that doesn’t have a gym
  • Steps are steps, just get out and do them (not walking about Rio at 5:30am is the big nugget here though!)
  • You can always get salad (ask for sauce on the side)
  • The scale weight will lie to you if you travel a lot.
  • Altitude is great for hunger; appetite is reduced at altitude – just don’t make the mistake of training or doing cardio before acclimatising like I did.
  • Don’t eat plane food, it’s never worth it even in business class. (the research on taste bud receptors in a flying / plane setting doesn’t allow us to taste food as effectively so any food will not taste as good – it’s not worth breaking your diet for sub adequate levels of taste)
  • Hotels / Apartments with kitchen are a high class ticket to success – I wish I would of done this more often.
  • Eating at the same restaurant if you find a good one that caters for your needs is a must.
  • Dealing with the FOMO of being around others having ‘holiday mode’ activated will be a tough pill to swallow.
  • Supermarkets will always allow you to follow the ‘can of tuna and a salad diet’ if worse comes to worse.
  • Supplement are not an issue to get through customs.
  • Don’t get suckered into the free inclusive breakfast – Find what serves you. If in doubt take your own. The oats and whey diet for breakfast is super easy and tasty.
  • Take your accountability measures and do them even though it sucks: body weight scales, food weighing scales, check in weekly and take photos – it’s all too easy to hide when it’s hard.
  • Prior research is necessary to avoid decision fatigue.
  • Take control of food choices and scheduling if travelling with others – be accommodating but be firm with your non-negotiables.

La progresso de Espanyol.

It’s now three months since I started my assault on becoming fluent in Spanish. My aim for quarter two of 2019 was to master the art of showing up with learning Spanish. I got myself a tutor and went to town on putting an hour a day into this goal.

I’m really pleased to have progressed, review this goal and I’m excited to report that in the space of 21 lessons and three months with a tutor, I’ve gone from no clear idea of any words apart from ‘hola and amigo’, to now having 30-45 minute conversation in Spanish with my tutor. I now feel confident about having small interactions on my travels, and I now actively look for Spanish speakers. In fact, I’ve even had some very interesting conversation on my travels with Argentinian and Spanish ladies!

My final quarter of 2019 goal is now about continuing to do more lessons, and moving further into the development of my Spanish. With this mentality of doing things daily and mastering the art of showing up, I’m adding a new skill acquisition coming into Q4, which is learning how to skateboard.

I’m going to rinse and repeat the same element of the Spanish skill development and just do something everyday – although this skill may involve a few physical trips to the hospital in my failures ha!

For those wanting to develop new skills, the trick is build in something very small everyday, even if it may seem trivial or insignificant – the compound interest will always reap a reward.

Coming Back To The Source

Whilst I’ll leave most of my talking about my current struggles for you to listen and digest in Episode 99 of RNT Fitness Radio, it’s worth noting that there’s always going to be things to overcome and adversities to fight against. We all have them. And I’ve learnt that it’s OK. We all seek for coaching and mentorship in areas like fitness, business and the like, but very few of us actively look for guidance when it comes to mental health, and dealing with the internal struggles.

At the start of September, I had the luxury of been guided by someone that has really helped me with the current struggles I’m facing. For a long time I was blinded by my ego and my genuine interest to ‘fix myself’, or ‘letting time be the healer’.

However, if I was to make a direct comparison to body transformation, without having any prior knowledge on how to do that, it would be the equivalent of myself just going to the gym every single day for hours on the treadmill, drinking shakes and not eating. Whilst it might work for a bit, it more than likely fail in the long run.

Like with any professional coaching, they are the expert in that area, and I’ve learnt now that there’s so much in terms of mental health and balancing states of emotion that the majority of us haven’t got access to, or accessed yet. After my experiences, I’d urge anyone reading that may be struggling with deep rooted, internal issues to seek an expert – there’s no shame in it at all.

Related Articles

Ep 71 – Akash & The Hitman: Quarterly Insights in the Amalfi Coast

Ep 99 – Akash & the Hitman: Meal Hygiene, Self Awareness & The Secrets To Successful Lifestyle Solutions

Quarterly Insights of the Hitman, Part One

Quarterly Insights of the Hitman, Part Two

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Akash Vaghela is the Founder of RNT Fitness, where his mission is to see a world where everyone experiences the power of a physical body transformation to act as a vehicle for the greater good in their lives. Akash has produced 200+ blogs, 100+ videos and hosts the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, which has amassed over 110,000 downloads in 90+ countries across 100+ episodes. Alongside this, he's been seen in Men's Health, BBC, T-Nation, Elite FTS and the PTDC, while also regularly speaking nationally and internationally on all things transformation.