He’s a health and fitness industry leader and has coached thousands of clients from across the world on improving their nutrition and training.
The Northern Irishman – currently based in Amsterdam – has featured in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, the BBC and was also a writer for the MyProtein website.
Introducing Ru Anderson, owner of Exceed Nutrition and author of best-selling book High Performance Living.
In the first of a two part series, the fitness and nutrition expert speaks to Weight Training Is The Way about….
“I was overweight, felt pretty horrendous and my performance in day-to-day life wasn’t much better…”
Not the kind of thing you’d expect to hear from someone like Ru Anderson. He’s in amazing shape – and has helped countless clients to transform their bodies and health.
But that was the situation over a decade ago as the health and fitness expert first went down the bodybuilding road and made the mistake of listening to the mainstream advice in fitness magazines and online forums.
Dodgy diet advice, overtraining and crappy supplements all fully focused on muscle and size…
But with little thought towards digestion, energy levels and overall health.
Ru said: “In my mission to add large amounts of muscle, lean up, and build my strength, I forgot about two other major components: how I felt and how I performed.
“And I didn’t realise how they would radically affect me.
“I was so focused on changing the outside of my body, that I neglected (and ignored) how I was feeling and performing on the inside.
“I was doing a lot of hard ‘bodybuilding’ training and following the typical magazine nutrition advice.
“The result? I got overweight, felt pretty horrendous and my performance in day-to-day life wasn’t much better.
“I was constantly fatigued from the intense training, lacked concentration throughout the day, and had little energy left for any other activities.
“Aside from my dedicated ‘gym time’, I was pretty damn useless.
“To top it off, the mainstream nutrition advice I was being told to follow by magazines and forums was actually destroying my health, giving me IBS symptoms and skin issues like acne.”
He added: “It was clear I had to find another way.
“So, armed with my new goal, I decided to study and experiment with a huge number of nutrition and training protocols.
“After throwing out the rubbish (which was most of it), I was left with a surprisingly powerful yet pretty simple set of principles.
“I’ve since gone on to prove them time and time again. These principles allow me and my clients to create and maintain healthy, lean, strong and energetic bodies.
“The biggest benefit from these changes is that I was able to achieve the body and health I had initially set out for.
“This also enabled me to complete at national level in Natural Bodybuilding competitions, which was an incredible experience.”
Through his company Exceed Nutrition, the Northern Irishman has coached many people on improving their nutrition, health and lifestyle.
Men and women of all shapes, sizes and states of health have gone on to great success after introducing Ru’s dietary principles.
I asked Ru what common mistakes he sees people making when they first sign up for help in improving their diet.
He said: “A lot of my clients are motivated for change, which means they jump straight in and go ‘all out’ from the start.
“This usually leads to burning out and all of the extra effort is not usually so quickly rewarded. This can then result in a drop in motivation and interest.
“Changing your body can be a slow process, so trying to use every trick or strategy from the offset is not usually a good idea.
“So instead we start with the least amount of changes we need to achieve weekly results and progress.”
Here at Weight Training Is The Way, the number one goal is to help guys who struggle to gain muscle get in the best shape of their life.
I asked Ru how guys can not only look great on the outside, but feel amazing and perform at the top of their game too.
#1 Focus on recovery
“A big factor to bigger muscles and greater strength is the ability to fully recover from your training efforts. Train hard, but ensuring you can recover from it is key.
“Many magazines and programs can push your recovery abilities too far, because they have been created by athletes or those using assistance.
“Find a program that you can train hard with, but recover fast on.”
#2 Focus on sleep
“Understanding the power of sleep and how to get as much high quality sleep as possible is one of the healthiest things you can do.
“We can all relate to how loss of sleep can take its toll on our energy, mood, decision-making and ability to handle stress.
“Sleep should therefore be your top priority. Many people try to sleep as little as possible, but just as exercise and nutrition are important to look and feel your best, so is sleep.
“No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort. Sleep has a direct correlation to the quality of your waking life. A must for me each night is 8+ hours, and I find most people do well on this too.”
#3 Remove food sensitivities and intolerances
“In today’s busy society, it’s our lifestyles, nutrition and environment that hold us back and put negative strain on most of our body’s systems. The digestive system is one of these systems.
“There is a strong argument from alternative medical practitioners that the food we eat is a frequently overlooked origin of disease.
“With a food allergy or sensitivity, the problematic food can set up a cascade of immune and chemical reactions in the body, usually within days (if not minutes) of ingestion.
“If this food is continually consumed over time, it can cause an on-going inflammatory reaction on the lining of the intestines, which can result in the lining becoming unhealthy.
“Our gut prevents dangerous toxins and compounds getting in whilst the foods and water we consume to enter the body.
“When our gut is not working optimally, or is in a state of distress, these dangerous compounds can enter our system, yet the body will not fully absorb key nutrients from food.
“Basically, look after your gut in every way possible.”