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The Power of "Slow" HIIT and Killer Ways to Optimize Your Sleep: Joovv AMA with Alex Fergus

Joovv AMA with Alex Fergus

Blogger, personal trainer, online coach, and lifetime natural athlete. Alex Fergus has trained and competed in various sports ranging from rowing to powerlifting to bodybuilding. He has played on the international stage and his competitive desire continuously pushes him to learn more about the human body. His passion - seeking to optimise his clients and his own health & performance through diet, supplementation, and training.

We were honored when Alex agreed to participate in a Joovv AMA.  So without further ado, here are his answers to your questions…

What is the one fitness activity that you hate doing the most, but yields the best results?  

Super slow, high-intensity training.  This type of training is the best “bang for your buck” from my point of view and is hard to beat.  Ten to fifteen minutes a week is all you need to improve strength, bone density, and cardiovascular fitness.

I first heard about this style of training from Dr Doug McGuff, in his book, Body By Science.  When I first read that book, I thought the only way to build muscle and strength was by lifting heavy weights for multiple sets and training at least 3x per week.  So much has changed since then. The super-slow lifting method is all about maintaining tension on the muscle for an extended period (1-3 minutes), while using controlled, slow movement (5-10 second tempo). You should do this until you literally have nothing left in your tank.

What is something you enjoy that most people would be surprised to learn?

Well, I occasionally listen to Taylor Swift and I love ice cream.  But before you think I'm a hypocrite, let me clear things up, I am very picky about the brands I trust.  I follow a simple rule, the ice cream I eat must have less than 5 ingredients. Cream, sugar, egg yolks, and a flavoring.

If you had to teach a class on one thing (outside of health and fitness), what would it be?

I used to teach an “information systems” class at a university, so I would most likely resort back to that.

I also have a passion for business. I've been creating and running businesses since I was 15. Some have failed, some succeeded, but more importantly, I have gained valuable knowledge.

What’s your favorite healthy, high-fat meal?

Ice cream is high-fat, right?

Otherwise, a fatty, grass-fed, scotch-fillet steak with a side of sweet potato chips (baked in coconut oil and butter), washed down with a cup of full-fat raw milk.  #Drooling

You’ve had the opportunity to coach and train so many people.  Are there 1 or 2 stories that really stand out?

I am fortunate to have a job where I help people. It’s very rewarding and has led to many “stand out” moments.

One of my favorite moments was helping a friend turn his health completely around.  When he came to me, he was a hormonal wreck, had high estrogen, and extremely low testosterone levels.  After 6 months of working with him, he had follow-up labs done. On the day he got the results, he messaged me saying, “You've turned me from a woman back into a man.”  His testosterone numbers had skyrocketed and his estrogen was back to the normal range. It was a great moment!

You’ve written a lot about sleep in the past. What are some tips to improve sleep that most people are unaware of?

I love my sleep.  Simply put, good sleep + good health = happiness!

As for tips on sleep, ditch the TV, get off Facebook, don't procrastinate, and be efficient with your time.

For those looking for more technical tips, block blue light at night by wearing blue-light blocker glasses. They're not a gimmick, they actually work. And make sure to get lots of sunlight in the morning.

What intrigues you most about red light therapy (photobiomodulation)?

I'm still really new to the world of “red light therapy”.  But as I learn more about alternative health, and the importance of the sun, I see how certain wavelengths of light impact our health and body.

I'm exploring red light. It helps that I already understand how powerful light is to our body, so I am over the first hurdle. Now I'm more curious about the specifics - what wavelength, what intensity, when do I use it, how long for, and of course, what to use it for.  I work with a lot of clients who have poor thyroid function.  I believe red light will be able to help them. I recently read some informative information showing the beneficial effects red light therapy has on hypothyroidism. The evidence was solid, there is definitely something too this therapy.

What person(s) of influence are you closely following right now?

I have been a long time fan and follower of Ben Greenfield. He has opened my eyes to so many things. I continue to follow him with fervent interest.  I'm also going through a Joel Saltine book at the moment. Joel writes about “rotational farming” and other “holistic” farming practices.

You live by the beach, have an organic veggie garden, fish, write, etc.  Sounds amazing!  What does your typical day look like?  Do you have any daily routines?

I do have routines. I have a very particular morning routine that I follow 6 days a week:

I wake up at 7am.

I take my temperature, sync my oura ring, and read a chapter or two of a book.

I then fill out my 5-minute journal, while drinking my baking soda, salt, mushroom extract, and creatine concoction.

Then I'll spend 5 minutes doing some Turkish getups and a few other body movements.

After that, I go for a 15-30 minute walk barefoot without glasses of any kind. When I get back, I will make my breakfast (usually a smoothie of some sort), plan out my day (I use the pomodoro technique for this), and then finally switch on my phone to connect to the world. I avoid connecting with the outside world until I have done all of these tasks.  Otherwise I will get distracted and not do them.

My day is then spent on my computer or reading books. I break it up by using the "grease the groove" training protocol (doing some KB swings, deadlifts, or chin-ups every 1 or 2 hours).

I'll take some time off for lunch, then go outside again and maybe do some more reading.

In the late afternoon, I will aim to wrap up my work and do something around the house, or some form of training or cold swim.  The evening is then spent relaxing with my partner, reading again, or watching a documentary before bed.

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Thanks again to Alex Fergus for being a part of the Joovv AMA family!  Also, don't forget to check out his blog when you get a chance.  It comes highly recommended!

If you missed the chance to submit your question for this AMA, stay tuned for the next one.  We'll let you know in advance on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter