Functional Nutritionist Certification Interview With Dr Bob Rakowski

Dear CHFI reader,

Ahead of the first ever tour by internationally renowned functional medicine and nutrition expert Dr Bob Rakowski heading to Australia to teach his Functional Nutrition Certification Level 1 to personal trainers and nutritionists in Australia for the first time ever, we figured it appropriate to have a chat with him.

Check out the interview below to find out a little bit more about one of the world’s leading health educators!

CHFI: Dr Bob, how did you get into functional medicine? Tell us a little bit about your background with sports coming into adulthood.

Dr Bob: My journey into natural medicine began with a football injury in 1985.  After medicine failed to help me I sought the help of Mike Wichgers, DC. Dr. Wichgers helped me rapidly with my health but I was most impressed with the philosophy of chiropractic and natural healing. After a few years in corporate America as an electrical engineer with General Motors and then Texas Instruments, I decided to put all my efforts into Chiropractic with a specialty in Kinesiology and Nutrition.

In 1993 I attended a Jeff Bland seminar. I was amazed by the science and the evidence and immediately started reading nearly all of the 100’s of references in Dr. Bland’s Syllabus. By 1995 I started teaching functional medicine and from 1998 to 2006 Dr Bland and I taught nearly 100 tag team seminars. He spent the first day introducing the hard science and I taught the clinical applications.

My background in sport was mostly casual. In high school, I played football, wrestled and was the captain and MVP of my tennis team. For the last 7 years, I have trained mixed martial arts. I will complete testing for my 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo before Australia.

CHFI: Who are some of the highest profile and interesting clients you have worked with?

Dr Bob: I have been blessed to work with professional athletes from nearly every major sport. To date Evander Holyfield impressed me the most as a great humanitarian and a dedicated athlete who would always do exactly what I told him to do. I was a back-stage chiropractor for World Wrestling entertainment for local events in Texas for 3 years. I enjoyed tuning up the athletes and making an instant difference in their performance.

Dr Bob with one of his clients, the legendary Evander Holyfield!

Dr Bob with one of his clients, the legendary Evander Holyfield!

CHFI: Who have been your biggest mentors in the industry whom have helped you and why?

Dr Bob: In Chiropractic and Kinesiology my top mentors have been Dr. George Goodheart and Dr. John Bandy. Both doctors treated a range of patients from the critically ill to world champions. I loved their passion, their skill and their success. In Functional Medicine Dr. Jeff Bland is at the top of a long list of people that I have learned from. Dr. Bland taught me how to dig into the science and connect it to clinical practice.

Charles Poliquin has also been a great mentor. I love his no-nonsense approach and his love of the science. I was also the training subject at one of his seminars. I was intimidated to train in front of such a strong and fit group. Charles gave me on of the best workouts of my life and constructed a weight and rep scheme that allowed me to succeed.

CHFI: What are the top three things you have learned in the last year alone that help helped you achieve better results your clients?

Dr Bob: Well firstly, I love Melatonin as a mitochondrial specific antioxidant and a direct buffer of cortisol. I often dose patients with 1-3 mg of melatonin every waking hour for 7 to 10 days. This is a great strategy to help people and buffer stress and normalize immune function. It also helps to normalize sleep rhythm.

Secondly that the microbiome is powerful and amazing. Some consider this one of the largest and most diverse “organs” in the human body. Creating a healthy microbiome helps people to lose weight, control inflammation and become happy and calm. Everything that we eat either enhances or impairs the balance of our microbiome.

Finally, that meditation is incredible. I have played with meditation for over a decade and it has taking me that long to look forward to the process and to see the benefits. The science is overwhelming. Meditation builds a stronger, healthier and more functional brain and nervous system.

CHFI: When it comes to optimising health and performance, why is the functional nutritionist certification so good at what it does and how will it help personal trainers whom are attending your first ever teachings of this all new program you are teaching in Sydney and Melbourne this August?

Dr Bob: I love that the program is the blend of solid science and extensive clinical experience. I teach protocols that have evolved over 25 years of deep research and application. My recommendations and strategies are proven. In the time that we have together I will provide enough information that everyone can immediate apply the tools and strategies and improve their patient / client outcomes.

CHFI:  Tell us one thing about you nobody would probably guess?

Dr Bob: Most might not guess that I am an introvert. I am very comfortable presenting to crowds of thousands but I prefer a quiet evening of reading. I love to go to bed by 8:30 and start my morning hour (or 2+ hours) of power at 5 am.

As you can see Dr Bob is a well-rounded and highly knowledge practitioner whom we can’t wait to have out here in Sydney and Melbourne this August! For a full course outline and to register please click the links below or you can contact us on +61 2 9882 2778 or

Course information and registration can be found below at:

  1. Functional Nutritionist Level 1: 11th-13th August, Sydney
  2. Functional Nutritionist Level 1: 18th-20th August, Melbourne
Click the links above to register for either Sydney or Melbourne!

Click the links above to register for either Sydney or Melbourne!

Yours in health,

The Clean Health Fitness Institute

Business Tips 101: Top 3 reasons you are not earning $100,000 per annum as a PT

Dear CHFI reader,

We hope you are having a great week. This article is for the personal trainers out there who are wanting to take their careers to new heights and is from our founder Daine McDonald.

The topic is on the top 3 reasons you are not earning $100,000 per annum as a personal trainer. Click the picture below to read it now!


Yours in health,

The Clean Health Fitness Institute

Top 5 Tips To Stay In Shape Over The Christmas Period!

Dear CHFI reader,

We don’t know about you, but for us the thought of the Christmas season sends us in two directions. On one hand, we are looking forward to having some time off, seeing some old friends that we haven’t had a chance to see, sleep in and switch off.

On the other hand, we tend to think ‘crap, we know what’s going to happen. You will go to this party and that party and before you know you have consumed some starchy carbs, loads of alcohol and wake up the next day feeling like crap!


It’s a dilemma…. So what to do?

Well, here are few things to make sure you can have your Christmas pudding and still have a wardrobe to fit into in January:

  1. Training does NOT stop. You must accept that if you want to party and let your hair down, you will need to earn some brownie points.  Over training yourself is a fantastic tool; you deplete the body, smash it, exhaust it and then have a nice big fat weekend of joy and love afterwards. The calories consumed will act like fuel for your metabolic fire that is burning, thus helping you become leaner – not larger!
  2. Detox!  We all go a little overboard right about now right?  Sweat the crap out, literally!  Find a health centre or high market fitness center likes ours that have an authentic infrared sauna. Sit in there for as long as you can take it (aim for full heat for 30mins), you should see the remnants of your gluttony speckled across the towel when you finish the session.
  3. Follow an 80/20 rule.  If you know you are going to be very, very bad, you need to make up for it by being very, very good.  Good 80% of the time, 20% down right dirty.  Your new year’s resolution should be at the forefront of your mind, commit yourself to a training program from the 1st of January either with a friend or for the real deal we would invest in a good personal trainer to help you undo the damage.
  4. Keep up the H2O. When we say H2O, we mean a minimum of 3 litres of water per day, no exception, no excuses. Water should be filtered and purified. If you can’t remember the last time the drink bottle hit your lips I dare say you’re not drinking enough! Sounds very simple and we know a lot of personal trainers preach this time and time again but there really are so many people who don’t even hit the 300ml per day mark, it astounds us.
  5. Just move! Even if you don’t want to go overboard with training while you are having a holiday, you should still try and do something every day.  Let yourself have a few days of couch-loafing or bum-sitting but if you are lucky enough to be at some sort of holiday destination there are loads that you can do i.e.; hire a bike, go for a bush walk, visit the local gym and do a casual class, swim in the ocean. Just about anything will do, and anything is better than nothing!

Merry Christmas from all of us at the Clean Health Fitness Institute and if you want to find out more about our industry leading personal training programs heading into the new year, please visit out testimonials section or CONTACT US here!

Train Like A Pro Part 6: Rest Periods

By Stefan Ianev, Head Of Educational Development, Clean Health Fitness Institute

Welcome to the 6th installment of train like a pro. So far we have covered exercise selection, volume, intensity, type of contraction and tempo. We have learned how to manipulate each of these variables from the beginner to advanced trainee in terms of how to optimise hypertrophic adaptations. Before we delve into this month’s topic of rest intervals let’s do a quick recap of what we have learned so far;

  1. Beginners should generally perform 1-2 exercises per body part for 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps each using a controlled tempo
  2. Intermediates should generally perform 2-3 exercise per body part for 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps each with a combination of fast and controlled tempos
  3. Advanced lifters should generally perform 3-4 exercises per body part for 4-5 sets doing anywhere between 3 to 30 reps and using a combination of fast and controlled tempos

This month’s topic of rest intervals refers to the length of period between working sets. It is an important piece of the equation and needs to be looked at in context with all the other loading parameters because it determines whether the adaptations will be primarily neural or metabolic.

It is generally accepted that longer rest periods are optimal for strength development while shorter rest periods favour hypertrophy and fat loss. This is because complete recovery is required to lift maximal loads thus favouring strength gains while metabolic stress due to incomplete recovery is a key factor for fat loss and hypertrophy.

When determining optimal rest periods for a specific goal both neural and ATP recovery need to be considered. The nervous system may take up to 3 to 4 minute to fully recover between maximal efforts. Maximal efforts are generally considered sets of 5 reps or less taken to failure. When sets are not taken to failure neural recovery is a lot faster.

In terms of ATP recovery, the initial resynthesis is very rapid then begins to taper off. For example, after 1 minute 75% of ATP is resynthesised and after 3 minutes nearly all the ATP is resynthesised. This is demonstrated in the graph below;

Rest (sec) ATP Replenished (%)
30 50
60 75
90 87
120 93
150 97
180 98.5

For maximal strength development, we already discussed that a full 3-4 minutes may be required for complete neural recovery so that already takes care of ATP recovery as well.

For hypertrophy the general recommendation is to keep rest periods down to 60 seconds or less. This is based on previous research that showed a greater growth hormonal response occurs when using shorter (1 min) vs longer (3 mins) rest periods (1).

Recent research however seems to suggest that the acute hormonal response from training may only play a minor role in the hypertrophic response (2). In fact, a recent study conducted by world leading hypertrophy researcher Brad Schoenfeld showed that longer rest periods not only led to greater strength increases but also were associated with a greater hypertrophy response (3).

We must be must be careful however when interpreting this literature as the subject were only matched for volume not volume load. Given that the longer rest periods permit the use of greater loads, the total work would be greater than when using shorter rest periods. In the real world, shorter rest periods allow for greater total volume to be performed for a given period so that could very well skew the data in favour of shorter rest periods since hypertrophy is largely a function of the volume of work performed.

Shorter rest periods are also associated with a greater metabolic response, which has been identified as one of the key factors for increasing hypertrophy (4,5). My personal recommendations for rest periods to maximize hypertrophy are as follows;

  1. For beginners, I generally recommend 60 to 90 seconds between sets unless they are very de-conditioned. Since they are generally not lifting very heavy or pushing to failure and beyond neural recovery is of far lesser concern. A moderate rest period will allow them to lift relatively heavy while also accumulating some metabolic fatigue but not to any excessive degree.
  2. For intermediates I may allow up to 2 minutes between their heaviest sets. As they are now much stronger those heavier sets start to take a much greater toll on the body in terms of both neural and metabolic fatigue. For example, squatting 120kg x 10 reps is much more demanding on the muscles, nervous system and cardiovascular system then say squatting 60kg x 10 reps.
  3. For advanced trainees, I usually limit the rest periods to 45 to 60 secs up to a maximum of 90 secs between their heaviest sets. Often advanced bodybuilders are not that much stronger than an intermediate but what sets them apart is their capacity to repeat high intensity efforts with minimal rest periods.

For example, even early on in his career the great Arnold Schwarzenegger was extremely strong because he trained more like a powerlifter using longer rest periods and maximum poundages. Later, when his physique was a lot more developed and refined he wasn’t all that much stronger but he had the capacity to repeat those heavy lifts with minimal rest periods. Arnold reported that even between his heaviest sets he only rested 1 minute and often he performed supersets, trisets and even giant sets.


A young Arnold deadlifting 710lbs at 21 years of age. Although he was very strong he didn’t have the same level of development as latter in his career when he started training with more reps and shorter rest periods.

Ronnie Coleman was another example of a highly successful bodybuilder who started out as a powerlifter. The heavy strength work with longer rest periods build his foundation of strength and mass early on but it wasn’t until later in his career when he started training with higher volume and shorter rest periods that he developed the freaky mass and conditioning that earned him 8 Mr Olympia titles. He was still freakishly strong but his strength increase wasn’t proportional to all the extra muscle mass he had accumulated from the higher density training.


The evolution of the great Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie had freakish strength from his powerlifting background even before he won his first Mr Olympia contest. However, it wasn’t until his later years that he displayed his most freakish size and muscularity even though he wasn’t that much stronger.

Another benefit of shorter rest periods aside from allowing you to do more work for a given period is an increased expression of mitochondrial enzymes. Mitochondria are the cells where energy produced therefore recovery and fat burning are both enhanced. This not only makes it much easier to get lean in the first place but also to stay lean in the off-season with very little effort. This is one reason why Arnold and the bodybuilders from the 70s who used very high volume and short rest periods did very little cardio.

That about wraps up this segment on rest periods. Tune in next month for the final installment as we look at frequency.


  1. Kraemer WJ, Marchitelli L, Gordon SE, et al. Hormonal and growth factor responses to heavy resistance exercise protocols. J Appl Physiol. Oct 1990;69(4):1442-1450.
  2. Schoenfeld BJ, Postexercise hypertrophic adaptations: a reexamination of the hormone hypothesis and its applicability to resistance training program design. J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Jun;27(6):1720-30.
  3. Schoenfeld BJ, et al. Longer Interset Rest Periods Enhance Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance-Trained Men. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Jul;30(7):1805-12.
  4. Schoenfeld, BJ. Potential mechanisms for a role of metabolic stress in hypertrophic adaptations to resistance training. Sports Med. 43: 179-194, 2013.
  5. Schoenfeld, BJ. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. J Strength Cond Res24(10): 2857-2875, 2010

Diet Tips 101: The Cheat Meal Myth

By Stefan Ianev, Head Of Educational Development, Clean Health Fitness Institute

So, you have been dieting hard all week and busting you’re a** in gym. The weekend is just around the corner and you know its nearly time to smash out a big nasty cheat meal. After all you are feeling tired and flat as a pancake, and you know your metabolism and associated hormones are starting to tank. This is not the time to hold back now. The almighty cheat meal is just what you need to give your metabolism a boost and kick start fat loss once again!

Or is it?

There are no doubt chronic dieting leads to a decrease in metabolic rate and associated hormones such as leptin and thyroid hormone. In fact, studies have shown that leptin levels can decrease up to 39% in 4 days and up to 54% in a week (1-3). There is also a marked decrease in anabolic hormones like testosterone and IGF-1 (4-6). What this means is that not only does fat loss stall with prolonged dieting but you also start to become increasing more catabolic in muscle tissue.

Now, while studies that have looked at re-feeding over a prolonged period have shown an upregulation in metabolic rate and associated hormones (4-7), there are no studies to date to support that acute refeeding has the same effect.

In fact, it may take up to 24 hours of re-feeding just to replenish energy substrates like muscle glycogen and intramuscular triglycerides, and 48 to 72 hours minimum to up-regulate metabolic rate and anabolic hormones. As you can see a single cheat meal will have very little if any physiological benefit. The main purpose of a cheat meal is simply for psychological purposes.

Given that adherence is the single most important factor for long-term dietary success (see The Big Picture Article), this cannot be overlooked. Knowing your favourite food is just around the corner makes it much easier to follow your nutrition plan indeed.

The Rock... Enjoying a massive cheat meal to maximise his anabolism!

The Rock… Enjoying a massive cheat meal to maximise his anabolism!

The question now becomes how much and how often is it acceptable to deviate from your plan?

The most common approach is to go all-out once every 5 to 7 days with no restrictions in terms of foods and portion sizes. This was the approach that I previously used to recommend. Based on experience and the latest available scientific evidence I now believe that approach is far from ideal.

Consider that a typical cheat meal for the average person is something like pizza and ice-cream, with some beer or wine. That can easily amount to 2000 to 3000 calories in a single sitting. That is sufficient to wipe out the entire weekly deficit.

Not to mention when you have been dieting your metabolism is suppressed and your lipogenic or fat storing enzymes are up-regulated. In essence your body in an energy conserving state.

What do you think will happen when you slam down 2000 to 3000 calories in that state?

Your body will simply hold onto the excess energy in anticipation of another bout of famine. And the worst part about it is that there is no impact on metabolic rate so the next day you are right back to square one.

A much smarter approach is to only create a small calorie deficit in the first place to mitigate metabolic down regulation as I discussed previously in my article ‘The Undereating Controversy” [link article]. Cheat meals should then be factored into your daily caloric intake. As a rule of thumb, I recommend that 90% of your calories come from whole, unprocessed foods. This has the benefit of improving satiety and providing your body with vital micronutrients.

The remaining 10% of your calories can come from less healthier alternatives. How you spread that out is totally up to you. I usually prefer to spread it out over the course of the week.

For example, I normally eat 6 meals a day, which equals out to 42 meals per week. That means 4 of those meals will typically be composed of foods like pizza, chocolate or ice cream that are not normally on the menu. The caloric content of each of those meals however will be close to that of my normal meals so my weekly caloric intake does not blow out.

If you prefer having your cheat meal in one bolus dose that’s fine also. Just make sure you reduce the calories in your other meals so it evens out.

In the revolutionary iNutrition Pro software that I created, clients can redistribute calories between meals so they can plan when having a big cheat meal and control the damage, which In the end that leads to much better dietary compliance and consistency!

Now go forth and cheat guilt free!


  1. Jenkins, A.B., et al., Carbohydrate intake and short-term regulation of leptin in humans. Diabetologia, 1997. 40(3): p. 348-51.
  2. Mars M, Graaf C, Groot CP, van Rossum CT, Kok FJ. Fasting leptin and appetite responses induced by a 4-day 65%-energy-restricted diet. Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Jan;30(1):122-8.
  3. Keim, N.L., J.S. Stern, and P.J. Havel, Relation between circulating leptin concentrations and appetite during a prolonged, moderate energy deficit in women. Am J Clin Nutr, 1998. 68(4): p. 794-801.
  4. Korbonits, M., et al., Metabolic and hormonal changes during the refeeding period of prolonged fasting. Eur J Endocrinol, 2007. 157(2): p. 157-66.
  5. Chan, J.L., et al., The role of falling leptin levels in the neuroendocrine and metabolic adaptation to short-term starvation in healthy men. J Clin Invest, 111(9): p. 1409-21.
  6. Friedl, K. E, Moore, R. J, Hoyt, R. W, Marchitelli, L. J, Martinez-Lopez, L. E, & Askew, E. W. (2000). Endocrine markers of semistarvation in healthy lean men in a multistressor environment. Journal of Applied Physiology, 88(5), 1820-1830.
  7. Davoodi, S. H, Ajami, M, Ayatollahi, S. A, Dowlatshahi, K, Javedan, G, & Pazoki-Toroudi, H. R. (2014). Calorie Shifting Diet Versus Calorie Restriction Diet: A Comparative Clinical Trial Study. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5(4), 447.