Duncan Rock is a nutritionist who specialises in promoting good health for performing artists, a registered exercise professional, a member of the Royal Society for Public Health and a professional baritone who has been touring internationally with numerous opera companies for many years. After a life changing event, Duncan decided to transition into the health and well- being field.

In this episode, Duncan shares his depth of knowledge as well as his inspiration for wanting to help others improve their overall health and wellbeing. He explains the significant physical and mental health benefits of exercise and describes the perfect exercise regime as a balance between cardio, core strength and weight training. He stresses that an exercise regime accompanied with an appropriate nutrition plan not only promotes a healthy lifestyle that can enrich our lives, but it is the best way to defy all-cause mortality.

Duncan states that we are currently living in an obesogenic environment in the western world and that the impact of over nutrition in our society have surpassed the impact of malnutrition, and this epidemic of obesity is directly linked to mortality rates. There are many other pearls of wisdom as well as some myth busting regarding exercise and nutrition for the singer and beyond. You cannot miss what Duncan has to share with us in this interview and we invite your questions around any of the key concepts relating to health and wellbeing for Duncan to respond to in the next few weeks during our live AMA (ask me anything).

In this episode

01:08 – Introduction

17:30 – Duncan’s transition from performing to nutrition

31:42 – The benefits of physical exercise

37:36 – Is it important to have a balanced exercise regime?

46:09 – Where to start if you’re a beginner?

59:58 – Are there exercises singers should avoid?

1:23:26 – Duncan’s three pieces of advice

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:10

Hey, it’s Dr. Marisa Lee Naismith here and I’m so honoured to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you. Listen and you will be inspired by amazing healthcare practitioners, voice teachers, and music industry professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialised fields to help you live your best life every day. As singers, our whole body is our instrument and our instrument echoes how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally. So don’t wait any longer take charge and optimise your instrument now. Remember that to sing is more than just learning about how to use the voice, it’s about A Voice and Beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:08

Duncan rock is a nutritionist who specialises in promoting good health for performing artists are registered exercise professional, a member of the Royal Society for public health and a professional baritone, who has been touring internationally with numerous opera companies for many years. After a life changing event, Duncan decided to transition into the health and well being field and in this episode, Duncan shares his depth of knowledge as well as his inspiration for wanting to help others to improve their overall health and well being. He explains the significant physical and mental health benefits of exercise and describes the perfect exercise regime as a balance between cardio core strength and weight training. He stresses that an exercise regime accompanied with an appropriate nutrition plan not only promotes a healthy lifestyle that can enrich our lives, but it is the best way to defy all cause mortality. Duncan states that we are currently living in an obesogenic environment in the Western world, and that the impact of over nutrition in our society has surpassed the impact of malnutrition. And this epidemic of obesity is directly linked to mortality rates. There are many other pearls of wisdom as well as some mythbusting regarding exercise and nutrition for the singer and beyond. In this episode, you cannot miss what Duncan has to share with us. And we invite to your questions around any of the key concepts relating to health and well being for Duncan to respond to in the coming weeks in our live ama. So watch out for that. But without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:14

So thank you, Duncan, and welcome to a voice and beyond. It’s such a pleasure having you on the show. There’s so many things that I’m really excited to talk about, in this episode, things that I absolutely love geeking out about, and a lot of things that are relevant to everybody, whether they’re a singer, a voice user, a voice professional, these things relate to everybody. And even though some people may think they’re doing really well in a lot of these areas, we can all do better. So yes, welcome to the show. How’s life in the UK? 

Duncan Rock  04:06

Hey, well, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to chat to you, um, life in the UK is is is good, you know, we’re still sort of in the tail end of of COVID related lock downs but you know, we seem to be coming out of it which is which is great and things are opening up again so um, yeah, there’s a sense of optimism in the air which is which is great. I have a almost one year old daughter, she turns on, Fourth of July, beautiful name. Names Evelyn, Evelyn Evelyn are stunning name. It was hard to find a name because my obviously have an unusual surname rock, you know, a quite a masculine surname and so to find a feminine name that goes with that, it was quite It was quite important to us that we had sort of a lilting name with with quite feminine with with lots of syllables to go with rock otherwise you know she might sound like a cave cave baby.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  05:11

Well, seeing as you’re in that room as I said prior to the interview starting I don’t mind you being in there under one condition and that is that you don’t spit the dummy. And what was the and what was the other one that I thought okay that you don’t kick the Kim bees kick the Kim bees I love it, it can be. And for those people that don’t know what the Kim bees are they’re a nap it can be is a nappy. So it’s an Australian thing to say spit the dummy and kick the king beats. Kim bees. Yeah, so Oh, sorry. And so the reason I’m in here, I’m sorry, if there’s a tiny bit of noise in the background, we’re having quite significant house renovations. So it’s a it’s a bit crazy, where I’m at the moment. So this is this is the safe the safe zone?

Duncan Rock  06:01

Well, you know what, I’m always up for something different. And this is certainly different. And I’m very excited about all.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:11

So, Duncan, you are a singer and nutritionist, a registered exercise professional, a member of the Royal Society for public health. And you have so much to share on topics around self care, and I have millions of questions for you. But let’s start with your journey and your journey. You were born in Edinburgh in Scotland. Your mother is Brazilian,

Duncan Rock  06:42

from Rio de Janeiro.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:45

And then you lived in Perth in Australia. So tell us about all of that because it sounds kind of like a Dalmatian or something like the dog. Well, what do we call it? Well,

Duncan Rock  07:03

a stray. Okay,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  07:05

well, maybe a little stray. That’s with the surname rock

Duncan Rock  07:09

with his surname right now, I would definitely be a rescue dog. If I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t be fitting top dollars. pedigree. Yeah, well, I mean, it’s not it is, I suppose a little bit unusual. But it kind of follows a clear path. My my father is English. My mom’s from Brazil. And they were both lecturers. They’re both academics. And both lecturers at the University of Edinburgh in different fields, but they met at a social gathering for university. And that’s where they got married. And that’s where my brother was born. And then I was born. And then when I was about two and a half, my father was a professor of geology. Wow. So he, obviously in Perth in Western Australia, there’s a very substantial mining industry. And he got this wonderful job, sort of partly working with mining companies. But also he set up and worked at the geology department at the University of Western Australia. And yeah, so that’s which is actually where I ended up studying law. So yeah, so that’s how we ended up in Australia. And I did my all of my schooling in Australia and my my first tertiary studies, my first university studies, and then the opportunity came up to come to the UK. And that’s what brought me back here.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  08:33

So from what I know, you were actually in a rock band, which is really fitting. We come back to that surname, Duncan Brock is in a rock band, not that you were probably teased about that. But then you were playing guitar. And you didn’t start singing till later on. So how did that come about?

Duncan Rock  09:01

Well, you know, music has been a consistent thing in my life. When I was a boy, I sang in like a in a choir and like a church choir. So you know, it’s sort of like, how people know if they can dance or not people know if they can sing or not, is it there’s a sort of a Nate said innate ability in there. Yeah. But then, you know, when I became a teenager, it you know, it wasn’t cool. So I stopped for a while and I but I play guitar and had a lot of fun doing that. I played bass guitar in a school jazz band, like the Jazz Orchestra. So music has sort of been there. You know, the rock band is is it was a just a little fun thing we did, you know, basically did it to to meet girls. And you know, you’re not very good if you’re in a rock band and you still can’t get a girlfriend. So I think that says Good, you know, my talent in that field. And then so, you know, finished high school and went to law school. And then I started to discover more classical music, and particularly opera. And just sort of, by chance, I guess, I mean, it’s a bit more to it than that, but and yeah, the more I did law, the less I enjoyed it. And these opportunities kept on coming up in the world of classical music. I started doing singing lessons at, at Whopper web Academy. Yes, no, well, yeah. And there weren’t that many guys at the time. And because I’ve done a little bit of acting stuff in school, I, I feel like I had a bit more competency on stage. Like, there are a lot of guys, but not voices, but they weren’t too confident. actors. So opera, of course, is that is the combination of theatre and music. So I sort of get, I guess, I was given more opportunities than I deserved, you could say, because of that, and then I finally ended up singing for the West Australian opera company, they came to something I was doing, and they sort of got in touch and said, Look, we would like to have a chat with you and come have a sing, and we want to have a conversation. And they, so I went to his majesty’s theatre and, and sang and had a conversation and Richard Mills, the wonderful Australian composer and conductor said to me, you know, you could be a singer, if you wanted. Well, that’s Yeah, yeah. And I just thought I didn’t even really know what that meant. It hadn’t really. For me, you know, I was a law student, and I sang for fun, you know, and it was the first time that it honestly, it was almost the first time that thought it entered my mind that this is something I could do as a job because, you know, in Perth, it’s not like, you know, all the offers that were happening in Perth, I was in, in some capacity. This is so little volume of work, you know, it’s all here in the UK with just tonnes and tonnes of, of classical music and art. So he explained, you know, what it what it would take and what it would mean. And he said, you know, you’d probably have to go overseas and study maybe to the states in New York or London or to Berlin and study. Music like you’re studying law now. And then you you work, you go from the Royal Opera House, to the Metropolitan Opera to TRL, whatever. And it sounded very appealing. So they put me forward for this wonderful competition that happens every year, called the the Australian seeing competition, the Maryann Marty award, right. The year I did it, it sort of hops around. Sometimes it’s in Melbourne, sometimes it’s in Sydney, sometimes it’s in power for the year I did it. It was in Sydney, the final was in Sydney and I was lucky enough to win. And it was really a free ride. I mean, I’ve walked away with prizes and scholarships worth about. I don’t know, maybe $70,000 like a lot of money.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:18

That’s incredible. Yes. I mean, so generous. What he was that?

Duncan Rock  13:24

Oh, my gosh, I’m showing my age 2006 it was,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:28

okay. Money.

Duncan Rock  13:32

A lot of money. Particularly. I mean, I didn’t have any money. I was a student, you know, it was more money than I. Yeah, well, you did. And, and it was great. You know, I want to I got actual just money to pay for things, apartments, flights, blah, blah, blah, and, and a scholarship to the Guild Hall in London. And it felt like a free ride because I, I hadn’t taken any time out. I went straight from school to university. And so I always thought, Well, if I go to England, and I’m not good enough, or I don’t like it or whatever. It’s just a year of my time, and I was pretty young. Yeah, I’ll just get this adventure. And then I’ll come back and be a lawyer. And it’ll just be this funny thing I did. When I got to the UK, and I just loved it. I immersed myself in the sort of art and culture scene in London. And I mean, gosh, in the first two weeks of being in London, I saw more offers than I had in 24 years in Perth. And, you know, causing that I started to run out of money. So I had to, like make friends with the ushers at the theatres so they could sneak me in and all that kind of stuff. But I loved it. I loved it. And then it sort of went from there.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:44

And what you haven’t shared with the listeners was that you are a baritone. You discovered that you are a beret, you were a baritone at the time, and you had a very poor perception of what that was,

Duncan Rock  15:01

yeah, yeah, I mean, I was just really ignorant. It seems ridiculous now but I mean, I, I just didn’t know about you know, it’s like, like I don’t know about the world of, I don’t know, equestrian horse, right. I didn’t know about the world of singing of opera singing and I think, I guess because particularly, I don’t know, 2015 years ago, this is just before Pavarotti passed away. He was like the opera icon. You know, he is one of these humans that becomes more of a sort of transcends what they do and becomes like a cultural figure like, like Mike Tyson or Arnold Schwarzenegger. They become the icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger is the bodybuilder Mike Tyson. Muhammad Ali is the boxer. Pavarotti is the opera singer. Yeah, to be nearly an opera singer, you know, it almost becomes a caricature of oneself. And he’s a tenor, obviously. So I guess in my mind, I thought it was maybe like a ranking system. Like, and it was the best. I guess some tennis still probably think that. But um, yeah, I feel like China was the best and baritone was the second best. And, you know, the truth is in a lot of the very iconic opera repertoire, like we’d call the standard repertoire. lebeau m. Carmen La Traviata, the lead male role is a tenant. So I guess that helps to enforce my perception of of this ranking system. But then, of course, I looked into it a bit and realise, oh, no, this isn’t the case. It’s just about the range, you sing the timbre of your voice. And then of course, there are plenty of leading baritone roles that like the role of Don Giovanni, which I’ve sung many times and Macbeth and Nobuko and, and you know, Billy birds and you know, so it, it was just part of my tremendous education, very quick education into the world of opera and classical music.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:09

I understand that. So you thought you were you were ranked very poorly in the world of our problem, then you found out it wasn’t such a bad thing. After all, it’s like the 10. Like in tennis, you have the world the rank those that are ranked really highly and you thought you were ranked?

Duncan Rock  17:30

No, I mean, maybe I am. Thanks very low, but I married in general.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:38

Okay, and you had a massive career all around the world. Yeah. And it’s true. And then you decided to transition and leave that career path? Or did you include that next phase of your career and your interest in health and well being did that align with what you were doing? Or did you leave that life behind you completely.

Duncan Rock  18:08

So it like music generally. The world of fitness and health has also been a consistent thread. Throughout my life. I always loved to play sport. I love the gym. I am, you know, for a while spent, you know, a lot of time as a beach boy, and you know, Cottesloe beach and working out and, you know, hanging out by the beach. So, this is something that’s, that’s been in my life, in various entirety. And, you know, I mentioned my mum’s from Brazil, very strongly interwoven into Brazilian culture, is this idea of healthy living, enriching your life. You know, they sort of talk about, you know, why wouldn’t you want to eat healthy food and be fit and look good, and go to the beach and get some and this sort of thing, and it’s, this is reflected in the bodies of the people and the health statistics. It’s a sort of just interwoven into the culture. You know, I train Brazilian jujitsu, which obviously, a lot of Brazilian people flocked to that sport. And it’s very obvious that this is this is part of the culture. And I think to a slightly lesser extent, is also in the Australian culture at least when compared to a you know, I know it’s not we speaking generally not universal, but yes, this idea of wanting to be healthy and fit because you know, it’s going to enrich your life in in a multitude of ways. Absolutely. In the UK, it’s a bit different and I you know, be a traitor to my my new people. I love the UK, but in this sort of sphere. more prominent is the notion of, you know, adherence to healthy living being a chore, oh, I guess I should go to the gym today, I guess I should eat more vegetables, I guess I should quit smoking or drink less or whatever. That’s a much more prominent attitude. It’s, it can be more difficult to even though of course, everyone knows it. It people are very resistant to the idea that a healthy lifestyle will will make your life better. So I guess my my Australian and Brazilian influence in my life has played into that quite significantly. But you know, I had this, as you say, quite intense Korea from about 2010 when I graduated to 2020, were another quite significant world event happened in sort of March, April. And it was wonderful. And as you say, you know, I sang in New York, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Madrid, Berlin, Frankfurt, you know, every Paris, wonderful travelling sort of 678 months of the year. And I loved it. But in 2018, actually, I was in Australia, I was in Brisbane, in fact, singing Don Giovanni, with opera Queensland, a wonderful, wonderful company in well, and having a wonderful time. But it was around that time that my then girlfriend now wife, and I, were talking about getting married, starting a family. As you can see, we,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:48

we have the court, we have the

Duncan Rock  21:52

bags under my eyes as well as. And I recognised, it’s not that I was trying to run away from that life, because I did like it. But I recognise it wasn’t compatible with the life I would want to have as a father. So I started looking into ways that I could potentially essentially travel less, which I guess meant singing this. So I wanted to be able to turn down jobs. So I wasn’t going straight from Barcelona to New York, for example, and being away for a chunk of five months, because I just something is due. And that’s absolutely fine. And I respect that. But for me, I just knowing myself, I knew that wouldn’t work for me. And I, I kind of knew I wanted to do something in the realm of the health sciences, health care kind of world. And I was walking Surprise, surprise to the gym One morning, listening to I think maybe my 10th ninth or 10th nutrition podcast that week, you know, I was devouring information on nutritional science healthy eating. And it just sort of hit me like maybe this is something I obviously have a fairly considerable knowledge base that I’ve already accumulated. Maybe this is something I could do professionally. And I looked into it and I found a wonderful course at Deakin University that I could complete majority majority remotely because I still had this is 2018. I, I was going to in fact, I was going from Brisbane to to the match to New York. So I needed a course that I could study from wherever Glasgow or from home in London or from wherever I was in the world. Yes. So I continued my life as normal, all these contracts, while slowly slowly slowly completing this master’s degree in human nutrition. And, you know, it was tough. It was a lot of like, early morning lectures. And you know, I had to do tutorials at bizarre times, because they were Melbourne time. You know, doing assignments, got into performance, and going home and finishing a 10,000 word assignment. And it was hard. I like because it was all enjoyable. But yes, it was a lot of work. Yes. And then yeah, and then finally finish that and, and sort of set up shops started working from with my own clients in my bespoke nutrition consultation, which I do entirely remotely, entirely online. And I thought I was being very clever, and I was very pleased with myself, because I had sort of, I felt like I nailed this slightly odd plan. And then March 2020 came along, right. In March 2020

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  24:48

I guess. Wait.

Duncan Rock  24:52

So you know, this is a fairly significant and of course, you know, I was I was singing it at the Met when this is all kicking off and in fact, I was chatting to someone about it just the other day, somewhat embarrassingly, such as our ignorance at the start of this pandemic, where I was doing a show called agrippina at the Met with a very famous meta soprano, Joyce didonato. And in the final performance, we were making sort of handshake and coughing jokes are on stage to rapturous thunderous laughter from the New York audience. No. world we were living in, you know, he was ever heard about it, but no one was taking it seriously.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:31

Yes, yes, absolutely.

Duncan Rock  25:35

And but then I came home, and it all kicked off. I mean, within two weeks, the world changed. And, of course, I was supposed to go on to make a recording with the London Symphony Orchestra cancelled. I was supposed to go and sing lebeau em at the Royal Opera House cancelled. And I was supposed to go back to the Mac to do Julius Caesar. cancelled. And I you know, waves and waves of cancellations well into the future. I mean, I’ve had contracts because of the knock on effect. I’ve had contracts cancelled in 2023 singing contracts.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:09

Incredible. That’s so sad. Yeah, it

Duncan Rock  26:13

was it was tough. And then of course, my daughter was born in July. So I decided to take the opportunity to lean more heavily into the nutrition side of my work. Because obviously, there was nothing I could do about the singing it theatres are close, they close this can’t beat my head against a wall. I’ll you know, I have to work around this. And I got approached by a wonderful gentleman called Stephen King. Yeah, who is the owner of the London voice care centre, who he’s an extraordinary guy. And he created this multi disciplinary clinic that treats people with vocal with health issues that are affecting their vocal health. So we have a lot of Western Performers. We have obviously a clinic in London and we work with West End performance. We work with presenters, TV presenters, couple of pop stars, you know, TV actors, theatre actors, and so forth. And this is how the worlds combined, because he said, Look, I need we have an osteopath. We have performance psychologists, we have speech therapists. We have an EMT, obviously on call. He said he came to me. So I need a nutritionist that understand understands singers. And I think you’re the only one who thinks

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  27:40

Yes. And that’s how I discovered you. Through that programme, the vocal First Aider vocal healthtrust. Yes, through that programme there. And I thought what you the information you had to share was fantastic. And I thought more people need to know about this. But you didn’t just talk about nutrition. You also did an exercise and fitness said segment as well, because that’s where you first started was in fitness. And then you realised that good health started from the inside out. So yeah, yeah. Yes. I know what you’ve been doing in your past. I think stalking you

Duncan Rock  28:31

keeping tabs. Yeah, I have.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:35


Duncan Rock  28:36

Thank you. You’ve you’ve sort of touched on actually something, I guess a quite significant event that I skipped over in my, you know, the life story that I seem to have decided to give you. But it it Yes. If fitness was really my first foray into this world, I did my sort of personal training certification at the Training Institute of fitness and, and until I was in my mid 20s. I have to admit, my relationship with health and fitness was largely superficial. I wanted to like have big biceps and a six pack and be the strongest guy at the gym and, and that kind of thing, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s superficial. In my mid 20s, I suffered extremely ill health, which ended up in a three month hospital stay. Wow. Well, basically, I basically broke my back. And in the surgical, I got an MRSA infection systemic. And I mean, very serious. I almost died. Yeah. And then I was young, and you know, until then, I’d never really been sick. Besides, you know, a cold no bye Yeah, it’d be like colds and flus and like, maybe a couple of stitches after a bar fight or something, yeah, nothing, nothing major. And suddenly, I was faced with the reality of, of mortality. And I realised I wasn’t invincible, surprise, surprise. And so that that caused me to look deeper. So this process of going from external, inside, outside in health, you know, the superficial to the deep to nutrition inside out health was really spurred before it became a something that, you know, paid my mortgage. It was, it was something for myself to try and find the way to get me out of this ill health and into lifelong, you know, I’d like to be healthy when I’m 80. Yeah, yes, I’m here. So that’s, yeah, so that was sort of part of the journey. In this process,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:59

yes. And you talked about the COVID journey. And I think for people who are in lockdown, it’s very easy to just stay indoors and, and not go outside and not exercise and to become nocturnal and really develop some very poor health habits. And I think it’s brought out the best and the worst in people in terms of the way they’ve taken care of themselves. And I read somewhere that the sedan tree lifestyle is as dangerous to our health as what smoking is. So in terms, let’s start with the physical side of things. So what are the real physical mental benefits of exercise? And this is for every body that’s out there, whether you’re a singer or not, what are the benefits that you believe are true?

Duncan Rock  32:01

Yeah. I mean, fortunately, it’s it, we don’t need to go to sort of my beliefs. I mean, we have the data, it’s just as you’ve sort of already touched on, you make a great point, it, sometimes people just either don’t accept it, or choose not to act on it, which is, which is unfortunate. And we have seen that in people’s reaction to the to the COVID. No matter how much data comes out that shows for example, people who are class to obesity have a sort of, you know, eight, eight times more likely, or I forget the exact statistic of suffering extreme mental health, from becoming infected with COVID. Some people just put their hands over their ears and, and choose not to accept this very clear information. But in terms of just general health outcomes, and the benefits. Exercise specifically, yes, will increase your muscular strength, which I realise that people tend to map that onto like young bros who want to, you know, like, like I was have big pecs. But of course, a really significant issue in particularly older populations, but anyone over the age of 40, is hrs age related sarcopenia, which is the gradual loss of muscle mass as we age and effects. Yes. And it’s actually it’s associated with all cause mortality. Really, yeah, the the higher the rate of ers in an individual in an individual, the easier it is to predict suffering from, or sort of all cause mortality, mortality, dying of any cause. It’s a really, really significant, serious issue, particularly in an ageing population. Exercise, particularly strength training, is the best way that you know, obviously accompanied by an appropriate diet is the best way to fight against this. So that’s the first one muscular strength and size particularly as we age. Yes, then of course, bone mineral density is accompanied by by an exercise regime, particularly important in women. But but important for everyone, you know, as we age, once again, the more brittle our bones, the more likely they are to break. What happens to a lot of elderly people, they’ll break their leg, go into hospital, never come out. It’s it’s a really once again, a really serious, significant consideration. metabolic health is also really important in all individuals. Exercise is very good at improving your insulin. sensitivity. That basically is your body’s ability to react appropriately to carbohydrate and sugar intake. Right, I’m going to go into a bit more detail with with this or So basically, everyone, there’s a spectrum of insulin sensitivity on one side to insulin resistance on the other side, insulin resistance past a certain point, we call type two diabetes, right. And the more we research this, the more we realise, fighting against insulin resistance is very beneficial for a multitude of health outcomes. But if you become insulin resistant, it basically means you ingest X amount of carbohydrates your body needs, so you ingest carbohydrate, your blood glucose goes up, you need to release insulin to lower your blood glucose, a very simple system, yes, when an individual becomes insulin resistant, it means they become resistant to the effects of insulin. So that same carbohydrate intake, let’s say it’s a banana.

Duncan Rock  36:21

They need then more and more insulin release, to bring that to normalise their blood glucose levels bring their blood glucose levels back down. So this becomes an issue because insulin doesn’t just tell us to lower blood glucose, it tells other things to the body, including store fat, it’s a fat storage hormone. So the more insulin you have circulating in your system, the more your body is sending this fat storage hormone. This is why people with diabetes will often complain of easy weight gain. It’s not because they’re being greedy. It’s not because they’re being lazy. It’s because they have elevated insulin. telling their bodies is still fat. So hopefully before one gets to that point of type two diabetes, where obviously, the game changes, and it becomes an illness that needs to be dealt with. But if you can get yourself to that point of of best insulin sensitivity, this will put you in very good stead in overall general health. Wow. Um, oh, gosh, sorry, I feel like I’m rambling.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  37:33

No, there’s so much isn’t there? There’s so many benefits, but through what you’re saying, I’m getting the feeling that it’s important to balance the way that we exercise as well, that do so do we need to have a regime of cardio as well as strength training? Is that what you believe is the ideal I have heard somewhere? The two by two rule that it’s twice a week doing cardio twice a week doing weight training? What do you believe to be right? Or is it individual?

Duncan Rock  38:14

If there will be some into individual variants based on your physiology? And and your goals? You know, what is it you want to achieve? But actually notice, I think that what you’ve just articulated is really good. The two by two foot for your as a general starting point, yeah, two, maybe three strength training sessions per week would be optimal whole body. As you know, I put the majority of people I wouldn’t recommend a sort of split where you do you know, chest one day, arms, one day legs, it’s not necessary. And yeah, cardio. I mean, your heart and lungs are pretty important. I hear. So you know, best to keep them healthy, you know, that the strength training is is as valuable as the cardio and I think this is something that culturally people get a bit wrong. I think people think strength training that’s for young men who want to get buff. It’s not true. It actually has more value. You know, young men don’t need much to put on a bit of muscle. Yeah, it’s older. In fact, I think women should focus more on strength in the gym. You go to your average commercial gym, and you’ll see all the girls. It’s obviously a complete generalisation, but it holds. You’ll see the girls on the treadmills and the dudes lifting weights. Actually, ideally, they’d swap.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  39:37

Yes, yes, I’m probably one of the oldest females in my gym. And yes, and I do weight training. I tried to, I haven’t done so because I’ve had like a tennis elbow injury. But um, weight training is something that I’ve been doing for a number of years now. And I find it really beneficial, but I do. People had the wrong perception about exercise too, because you talked about going to the gym and being on a treadmill. But it’s just as okay to go outside and go for a walk, isn’t it?

Duncan Rock  40:18

Yeah, I mean, I’m not against the treadmill. But if I have the choice between walking outside and walking on a treadmill, I’ll pick outside. Yeah, I have a dog that helps. But, you know, Australia, why people are walking on the treadmill. Beautiful and the weather’s so good. I think so just generally. Most people, in my experience, gauge the effectiveness of a workout by how tired and sweaty they are, at the end of this is completely understandable. However, it’s not a great gauge of the effectiveness of the workout. The best gauge is overall progress Are you getting from point A to point B, where you want to be? And this sort of current, I guess, craze or all popular workout system of doing hit training, oh, my God, you know, you hear people coming out, oh, my God, I could barely breathe at the end of that workout or, you know, doing CrossFit doing Olympic lifts followed by sprinting up a hill followed by whatever it is they do. This is unnecessary and suboptimal for for the majority of the population. And in fact, doing something like getting your 10,000 steps a day, in terms of overall longevity, health outcomes, and sustainability. You know, staying injury free. He, you know, hopefully, this is more important, you know, as someone walks 10 15,000 steps a day, then kills it in a CrossFit class.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:02

Yes. My theory is because like, I don’t actually love exercise, but I do exercise. And I’ve always played either a team sport or gone to the gym. And at the moment, my routine is this. I get up every morning and I do six minutes of planking. So I split that up into three minutes sessions. And I have done that for a number of years because it’s something you can do anywhere and I do that for core strength, but also to give my body a wake up call. Quite often, I may wake up with a little niggle somewhere. And after I’ve plant I feel amazing. You know, I believe like motion is lotion. Just getting yourself moving and doing something. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Duncan Rock  42:52

Yeah, I will. I would agree with that. That’s that’s Firstly, that’s quite impressive to know,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:57

right? Oh, we need to have a planking competition. We need a plank off.

Duncan Rock  43:06

You know, I will warn you, I will warn you. I once won a free month of gym membership. Because I won the plank competition. I held a plank for 12 minutes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:17


Duncan Rock  43:19

I was quite impressed.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:20

You know what, I would want to have a competition against you. Just because I’m so stubborn. And I’m so competitive. I would do it. We knew at some stage

Duncan Rock  43:34

we’d better not because we might we might both just cock out. So but that’s the thing I won through sheer belligerence. I mean, I was shaking, I was in pain. But I’ve committed you know, once. Once you get past like, six, seven minutes, you’re like, Well, I have to win half.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:51

And, and so the other thing is to that, because I’m not a fan of exercise. If I do go on the treadmill, and if I can’t talk, I’m going too fast. So I have to slow it down. So I paced my exercise level by whether I can speak or not.

Duncan Rock  44:17

That’s no, that’s great. I mean, this is the thing. It’s called the talk test. It I mean, look, I’m not saying this. It’s terrible to touch, high intensity exercise. Briefly so your body feels that you get your heart rate up. But I in general, for a lifetime of fitness and sustainability. In exercise, you know that sort of 60 to 75 zone percent of your maximum zone is really where you want to live this. There’s a wonderful trainer, a guy who trains mixed martial arts fighters a guy called for as a hobby who I am a huge fan of. And he talks about a lot about flow state training, and never being sore from workouts. You know, he thinks he talks about this example of, if you can do, let’s say you can do, you’re doing pull ups, and you could do 10 pull ups gun to your head, million dollars on the line, you could not do 11 pull ups. 10 is your max, right? He says, I would never do 10 I would do six or seven pull ups. But do a few sets accumulate volume. Yeah, but you never get to that zone where you’re like straining and you know, you, you feel like you might fall off the bar. And this is a guy who trained he trained George St. Pierre, who was one of the greatest UFC champions, he trains, high level combat sport athletes. So you know, these, these guys are fit, you know? Yeah. And I subscribe to that, you know, he’s his gym is known for having the least percentage of injuries for their athletes, because he trains in this intelligent, you know, smart training, not? Not more.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:08

Yes, yes. So if someone’s never exercised before, what would you suggest that they start doing? because hopefully we can inspire people to start moving? What would you say, this is a great place to start.

Duncan Rock  46:26

I would probably I know it might sound easy, but but the consistency is key. 10,000 steps a day. No, don’t worry about the gym workout. If you’re not doing 10,000 steps a day, you burn more calories in an hour of walking, then you do in an hour of working out that most This is something people tend to get wrong. We massively overestimate the amount of calories we burn at the gym. So I would say 10,000 steps, but every day, you know, not not 10,000 on Monday, Tuesday, and then 3000, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, gentlemen has to be every day I would do three strength training sessions a week. Whole body doing, you know focusing obviously, this is assuming an able bodied person, right? focusing on big sort of compound moves. So don’t worry about sitting on the machines and doing bicep curls and things like that, to do a squat, even if it’s with just your bodyweight squatting to the floor and back up, do some sort of pressing a benchpress trying to push up maybe you could do push ups, some sort of pulling exercise. So you know, each each workout should consist of at least one lower body exercise, a squat, a lunge, a deadlift, something like that. Some sort of upper body pushing exercise, pushing forward like a bench press or a push up or pushing our puts like an overhead press. And then some sort of upper body pulling movement like a ride. Or on you know, sometimes for pulling exercises, you do need to resort to machines, you know, the machine rowing, or you could do rowing with a dumbbell or a barbell. And that would be enough and that would be enough for strength. And then maybe some sort of core exercise like a plank or an anti rotational exercise, like a pile of press or something if people can Google that if they’re not familiar with that exercise. And then maybe five to 10 minutes of something more high intensity cardio, sprinting up a hill. No, some people like doing burpees I don’t I’m not necessarily that much of a fan.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  48:50

I don’t love burpees. But I do them if I have to in a Pilates class, because I do reformer Pilates twice a week that incorporates cardio and we do burpees and I don’t love them, but I do them. Just because I have to and I and there ain’t no way I’m not gonna do anything. That and then fail.

Duncan Rock  49:19

I’m sensing I’m sensing a pattern here. You know, it doesn’t really matter. The modality doesn’t really matter. It’s just to get your heart and lungs going. Yeah, it could be on on the on the bike on the rower, whatever. But, but once again, not a 15 minute hit class. Pick an exercise that you enjoy. That is safe for your physiology. You know, if you’ve got low back problems, don’t do it on the rower. You’ve got knee problems, don’t sprint on the pavement, you know that sort

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  49:52

of thing. So listening to the body. Exactly. Listen to your body and every day is different. Like if I I go to the gym and I’m feeling tired or I’m not feeling my best, I just lessen the workload, if I go in there and I’m feeling good, then I’ll do my proper workload, because the worst thing is having an injury and then you can’t go for three months. And then you undo everything that you’ve just done.

Duncan Rock  50:21

Well, and this, this is surely alongside other things, but surely how you’ve managed to maintain obviously a really high level of fitness throughout your life. Which is, which is amazing.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  50:32

Yes. And what about the importance of overall fitness and strength to the voice?

Duncan Rock  50:41

Yeah, so obviously, all of those benefits I articulated before, you know, muscular strength, fighting against sarcopenia, bone density, metabolic health, immune health, you know, simple. Oh, smoke, actually mean health can snap onto a singer, but all of these things improve mental health. These are beneficial for the general population. But of course, singers are people too. And they can reap the general benefits of exercise just in everyday life. So that’s, that’s really important to to lock down. In terms of singer specific benefits. Yeah, I, I slip, slip of the tongue earlier. immune health, obviously, in health is an essential element in the life of a singer, any any vocal professional, you don’t want, you know, in the opera world, if you don’t go on that night, you don’t get paid. So like, sometimes, it could have been a couple of times in my career, when I’ve got a cold for two weeks and lost 10s of 1000s of dollars. What happens to fall when you’ve got like, yeah, it’s, it’s, it sucks, but it’s reality. So you, there’s a direct link between physical fitness and immune health, or perhaps the better way to say it, although it’s not as positive is there tends to be quite a strong link between being unfit and particularly unfortunately, being overweight and obese and reduced immune functioning. Right. We we don’t know the exact mechanism likely is something to do with chronic levels of inflammation that, I humbly admit, but it seems that the jury’s still out on the mechanism. We just know there is a connection. somewhat related to that. One issue I constantly come up against at the voice care centre, you know, if I have six clients today, at least one of them will mention it sometimes all six reflux.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  52:48

Yes, that dirty word.

Duncan Rock  52:51

That dirty words that singers, you know, love to utter, you know, obviously, digestive health. It can be improved through fitness, moreso nutrition, but you know, obviously, they’re all related. And we now know, obviously, when we talk about reflux, we start talking about things like coffee, dairy, spicy food, whatever everyone’s got. Everyone’s got their solution, their old wives.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  53:20

And we are going to get to those. Oh, sure. Okay, right. Getting off this podcast without talking about some of those things. You ain’t going anywhere.

Duncan Rock  53:33

Just to be just in this context, it seems from more recent research that the biggest exacerbated of reflux is central adiposity body fat around the midsection. Oh, exerting pressure on the stomach. back. Yeah, and in fact, incidences of reflux have increased almost directly with increase population, obesity. You can sort of map the the the increase of both next to each other and they follow a very similar.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  54:13

I didn’t know that. No, no, I didn’t know that. And what about lung capacity, and exercise building lung capacity.

Duncan Rock  54:26

lung capacity is something I’ve looked into. But if I’m honest, I’m less I’m less convinced by in a singer specific context. I’ve not seen much evidence of a relationship between, you know, someone’s, whatever, 100 metre freestyle swim time and their ability to sustain a long phrase as like an opera singer. I think lung capacity as a singer is in the absence of medical conditions. Obviously you’ve got emphysema, it’s going to affect it, but It’s a technique thing, it’s a breath control thing. It’s not like doing hundreds of burpees is going to make that you better at singing that long difficult phrase in my this is my opinion I might be wrong but however, functional task abilities that then relate to your stage craft can be improved by fitness. So, just to give a personal example, one to illustrate one role I’ve sung a lot I think I mentioned the role of Don Giovanni the Mozart Opera in Boston, I’m saying in a guy born in Brisbane all over the place the very first scene of Don Giovanni it’s a fight you’re fighting with this woman who sort of wronged and then her father comes out and you know, traditionally will have a sword fight while singing and thin it’s very active running normally running around stage and I’ve I start I’ve done it with a sword fight I’ve done it where I’ve had a sort of punch up and then shot him I’ve done it where I’ve got picked up a brick and beaten this guy. All these all different productions I’ve done but needless to say it it’s physical. tends to be physical work.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  56:16

Do you get paid danger money for that? Now I feel like I should do yeah, I think you should. Maybe

Duncan Rock  56:23

the guys I go up against get paid.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  56:26

Oh, you ain’t gonna beat me.

Duncan Rock  56:31

I see one once. In fact, when I was doing it against blind boy, I Glyndebourne. The man, the commendatory is the role you have to the guy you murder. He was this giant Eastern European guys, six foot nine. Tank, absolute tank. I mean, it made me look tiny.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  56:54

So yeah, it’s the neighbor’s brother.

Duncan Rock  56:56

Exactly. But but bigger, but bigger. Yeah. Anyway. At that point, when you’re most out of breath, you have to sing this very quiet. trio with the dying man and and you and your friend, your sidekick and suddenly goes, the heart attack, the action stops. And you sing this very quiet, sustained trio. If you’re out of breath, through lack of fitness from the running around, you’ll struggle to sink. So if there’s a breath capacity, I think fitness helps in that regard. I’m just not I don’t think it maps specifically on to the ability like lung capacity and the ability to sing along phrase. I think that is almost entirely a technical thing. And just one other element that you might find interesting. Some very new research that suggests we know that increased cardiovascular capacity in an in an individual can improve recovery time from tissue recovery time, either from exercise or from an injury for healing yourself, you cut yourself. Improved cardiovascular health can increase recovery time because blood nutrients are circulating around the body more efficiently. We know now that that also specifically maps on to the vocal tissues. So one recent study tested cardiovascular fitness against vocal recovery time after performing of musical and Opera holiday of talking. What are those in the study group that had the highest level of cardiovascular fitness? Had the fastest vocal recovery time? So if you’re a singer, particularly musical theatre singer doing eight shows a week? Yes. You benefit you to have good cardiovascular fitness simply to recover your vocal.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  59:00

That’s incredible. And what about Beyonce? Beyonce, apparently, she sings on a treadmill to help her on stage with her dancing, and her singing at the same time. Is that something that works? Or is she kidding herself? I mean, we are talking Beyonce. We don’t want to say

Duncan Rock  59:24

no, I wouldn’t say no. coming after me on Twitter. Um, look, it’s I don’t know, I have to is the honest answer. But it seems to be working for her.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  59:40

Well, let’s just say it works for Beyonce. And we don’t recommend that everybody goes and tries that one.

Duncan Rock  59:48

Yeah, yeah, I think it’s probably not necessary.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  59:54

Okay. That says, Yeah, okay. So are there any exercises that singers should avoid. And is it okay to exercise on performance dates?

Duncan Rock  1:00:11

work backwards. One mistake I’ve made in the past is assuming I have multiple batteries for the multiple facets of my life. So I’ve got a performance battery, a hanging out with my friends battery, a working out battery, a study battery. I mean, I, we have one battery, neurological system for everything. Yeah. So in terms of working out on a performance day, I think it’s probably fine. And for some people, maybe even beneficial, but I would be cautious. You know, this is definitely a day when you should be sticking in that 60% zone. Because you of course, you know, I always say exercise should enhance your life, you know, the Brazilian mentality. If you’re working out so hard that you, you know, don’t perform as well. If you feel tired for performance, well, then it’s not enhancing your life. It’s taking away from your life. And it’s just, it’s just unnecessary in that capacity, so yes, it’s absolutely fine. But just make sure it’s feeding you energy because exercise, of course, can take away your energy or give you energy it depending on the intensity. In terms of exercises, singers might consider avoiding. There are a couple Yes. Oh, okay. Firstly, I think crunching movements, particularly done to excess, are potentially detrimental for a singer. With regards to conscious I personally think crunches are unnecessary. Anyway, I took a great exercise.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:02:04

Right? Yeah, also for my neck.

Duncan Rock  1:02:07

Yeah, that well, that’s one issue. But you’re what you’re doing is just shortening the rectus abdominus, you’re basically bringing your ribs towards your hips like this. If you do this, in absence of training, the opposite muscles, the muscles of the spine are at a lower back, you can develop a sort of pattern overload where these muscles, these muscles become more and more tense, more and more tonic more or more tight. And for some people, I’ve seen evidence that this might impede their ability as a singer to do what I would call a splat breath like a you know, you have one long phrase, I did this man. This is a term used Beautiful, beautiful,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:02:51

yes, but also to when I started having my voice lessons at the Conservatorium as part of my postgraduate studies, I was told to stop doing abdominal work in the gym, because it was impeding my my ability to engage those breathing muscles.

Duncan Rock  1:03:11

That’s right. But there’s nuance that, in my experience, gets entirely lost in this context. So when I say crunches, I mean, crunches, I don’t even call training, right? singers can and should train the core musculature. Yes, through either functional movement, doing squats, doing pull ups, going for a run, you know, whatever these things, of course, train the core, because it’s full body movement, your core has to be engaged. planks and anti rotational movements are very, very good for the core musculature, some obviously like a plank, like we talked about all, you know, an anti rotation or something where it’s, you know, there might be a weight pulling you in one direction and your fight against it, but it’s like a static hold, okay, doesn’t seem to have any negative impact. It won’t shorten or create tension in the musculature. He just works the musculature in the in the manner it’s supposed to work. So core training isn’t bad, but I just specifically crunches, they’re just it’s not bad exercise. Anyways, the main mistake in in my experience with respect to all the wonderful singing teachers out there, I’m here to speak to one who quite gets this right. There’s no relationship between the visibility of the rectus abdominus to abs, the six pack and the rigidity of the rectus abdominus. So what I often see singing teachers do with all good intentions, but they just they don’t get it they don’t understand the physiology. They’ll see a singer Who’s slim. So the the visibility of the rest of the dominance of the six pack is entirely a function of how much body fat is present. A lot of singing teachers will see a singer with a six pack or a four pack or or just a Oh, just a tone stomach. And assume that means the stomach is rigid. This is not true. And also, the opposite is more likely. That is to say that there is quite a lot of evidence to suggest that a rectus abdominus, a six pack muscle that’s covered with that central adiposity, that excess body fat around the midsection is actually more likely to be rigid and inflexible than one that isn’t because it makes sense because of the extra force and pressure being exerted onto the muscle having to stay rigid to fight against that excess weight. So one huge misconception, at least in my world, in the singing world, is that what I see a singing teacher do is it’s it’s ridiculous if you know physiology, but they’ll take their hand, maybe not anymore, because you might get sued or something, but and they’ll press against the singer’s stomach. Really. Yeah, and if the this if the stomach is, if the person who has been overweight has a lot of Central adiposity, of course, the stomach will feel soft, because what they’re touching is adipose tissue, which is soft. And they’ll assume that that means that the musculature underneath the adipose tissue is, is nice and loose and pliable. The truth is the opposite is more likely. So I’m sort of on a bit of a I’m hoping to start disseminating this information to the sort of singing teacher community. It’s just one big mistake, that that we make an end. Look it, it doesn’t mean that every singer who has a six pack has a lovely supple rectus abdominus. It doesn’t mean every singer who is overweight has like a rigid, but, you know, rectus abdominus it just a false Association has been made and it’s simply not true. Wow. And

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:07:25

what about? Yes, when you train abs in the gym, a lot of instructors will get you to work on your obliques as well. Is that okay?

Duncan Rock  1:07:39

Once again, I wouldn’t do a sort of Side Crunch. Again, is that movement shortening it’s just honestly you’re taking a muscle this like this and just going just shorting it. Sorry, people listening to this, what I’m doing but I’m doing funny things with my hands right now. But this is this, you know, because also the thing about AED training is he you wind up when you get really fit, you’re not having to do hundreds of reps, you know, you know, to know to repetitions or crunches or whatever. I would train the obliques with anti rotational exercises sorry I’m repeating myself but yes, yes, that makes sense. But the core musculature has a special role in the body different to your biceps different to your pecs different to your quads different to your glutes, they’re slightly different skeletal muscles. They aren’t just meant to like contracts maximally and then release they are postural muscles is have a slightly different composition. So postural muscles are well trained with sort of static hold postural kind of exercises like the plank.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:08:48

Wow. Okay.

Duncan Rock  1:08:52

Sorry, that was the longest answer ever.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:08:53

Yeah, yeah. No and a lot to take in as well. Look, I didn’t mention before but one of the reasons why I go to the gym is as I said, I don’t love exercise, but I love how it makes me feel. And for me, it is the best thing for stress and anxiety relief. So so it’s more for my mental health and just helping me cope with day to day living. So has it What about some of those feel good? endorphins and drugs and hormones that we feel throughout our body? How do they help us with with a lot of like mental health issues or anxiety and just coping mechanisms?

Duncan Rock  1:09:50

So great question I once again it will differ into individual in terms of just those feel good hormones. I feel that this this match on to this idea of like Healthy Living enriching your life, it’s nice to wake up in the morning, go for a run and just get that that runner’s high. It’s nice, it enriches your life. It’s pleasurable, physically pleasurable. I won’t lie in terms of anxiety, I don’t really know, it’s not something I’ve researched massively is sort of on the list of the ever growing list of things to do. But I have given lectures on the relationship between diet and depressive symptoms.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:10:32

Okay. That is a good segue.

Duncan Rock  1:10:35

Yeah, there is a really strong correlation between certain dietary patterns patterns and lower and what both in both directions both the right kind of diet can lower the into the both the severity and incidence of depressive symptoms, and the quote unquote, wrong type of diet can increase the severity and incidence of depressive symptoms, it looks, obviously something like depression is a complex, multifaceted illness. So I’m not saying, hey, depression is going to go away? Of course, not yet. But evidence is clear. It seems to once again, they’re not 100% certain, but it seems most likely that it has something to do with chronic inflammation. In fact, you can map you can sort of compare incidence of depressive symptoms severity, particularly depressive symptoms, against chronic inflammation, and they tend to correlate well. So that’s something to consider, you know, obviously, it’s not a replacement for lifestyle change. It’s not a replacement for pharmacological interventions, should people use them and eat them. But a healthy diet will help will absolutely help.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:11:54

And I also read that not only can it help with enhancing your mood, in terms of what foods you eat, but what you eat can change your, your gene expression changes your hormones, your brain chemistry, your lymphatic system. And yet, people still continue to eat badly. And we can’t 100% though blame the population, because food companies have become very clever from what I understand. Firstly, in terms of their marketing, I read somewhere that there were 5 billion ads on Facebook last year alone, that were relating to junk food. And so there’s all this propaganda out there. And that’s what we’re dealing with every day. And that also food companies creating foods that we are becoming addicted to. And they’ve set up laboratories where they have I can’t think of the word but anyway, they have testing stations to see what what foods that we are most likely to become addicted to in terms of taste, in terms of the highs that we get, in some foods have been like sugar, those quick, high sugars had the same effect as cocaine and heroin on our body. So what do I mean? That’s a lot that I’ve just said there, but what are your thoughts around all of that?

Duncan Rock  1:13:34

Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot in there. I mean, sort of going back. This, I realised culturally, this is often the case, but from my perspective, as someone who works in the field of healthcare works helping individuals or communities or groups improve their health, there’s never any, there’s no blame. There’s no like, you’ve been bad. You’ve been naughty. We’re not children, you know. And as you’ve touched on, you know, we live in what has now been coined this term, the obesogenic environment, everything, you know, in the Western world, although, to be honest, the effects the ill effects, including death, of as I think of don’t quote me, but I think since 2011, maybe 2010. And the who announced No, no, the United Nations health announced that the ill effects of over nutrition, so overweight and obesity actually have passed under nutrition worldwide as a global issue, so more people die from over over nutrition than under nutrition now, which is, look, it’s an achievement of sorts. Great, but it’s sort of, in some ways, obscene actually. Unfortunately, and once again, I don’t mean that against an individual, but no, the culture is obscene in a way actually. It The culture of excess. But it’s not, it’s not the individual that’s to blame. We live in an environment that is that wants us to be sedentary, sedentary. Increasingly, even more. So now after COVID, we all work from home, we don’t have to walk to work anymore, we all be encouraged to do less with our bodies. Our food system is geared towards the consumption of low nutrient density, high caloric density foods, junk foods, which as you’ve not touched on, are quite literally designed to keep you hungry and wanting more. You know, most people are aware that, you know, people who are addicted to chocolate, for example, you can turn off a certain part of the brain, that’s the chemically responsive to chocolate, and they’ll just stop eating. They’re not eating it because of the taste. They’re eating it because of a critical response in the brain. But most people are aware

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:15:59

work well, they’re actually not aware. A lot of people aren’t aware in all fairness.

Duncan Rock  1:16:06

Yeah. And I would say, because this is something I’ve experienced in my life. And like I say, every day, I work with people going through this. It’s not that there’s something wrong with your body or your genes, you know, you have great genes, the ability for us to store hundreds of 1000s of calories of stored energy for a period of famine is extraordinary. It’s an extraordinary characteristic in human physiology. It’s one of the reasons we are here today, you know, because yes, will you eat whatever, an elk and then not eat for five days, you know, it’s how it was, in some, some depends on where you grew up, or where our ancestors grew up, you know what I mean? So the, the genes for fat storage are valuable, they’re just in the wrong environment. So it’s, it’s no one’s fault, you just one just needs to recognise this reality and accept it. And then use the hacks that are Now fortunately freely available, to fight against it, do things like lift weights, to increase your muscle mass, improve your insulin sensitivity, so when the only option when you’re at the train station at nine at night, coming home, late from work, and the only option available to you is a Big Mac, or whatever your physiological response will be optimal to that, to that food that you might have to eat. You know, if you’ve gone if you’ve gone through 5678 910 2030 years of poor habits, you’re just setting yourself up for failure, you’re your ability to process these foods, you know, you one should be able to go to you know, as I mentioned is my daughter’s birthday in a couple of weeks. We’re going to make a big cake, and I’m going to eat a lot of that cake. I want my watch. Yeah. It’s It’s fine. Because yes, it’s not after a month of eating cake. It’s

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:18:16

it’s one cake episode. Yeah, it’s like a,

Duncan Rock  1:18:22

the general habits. You know, we talk about often the 8020 rule in nutrition. And if you do the right, quote, unquote, right thing, 80% of the time, the other 20% will look after itself. It’s no problem. Yeah, it doesn’t. It’s not a purity test. It’s an all or nothing response. It’s not your naughty, it’s not your bad. It’s not your greedy, it’s not your lazy, none of this stuff that seeps into people’s mindsets. It’s just, it’s difficult because of the environment we’re in. And you just need to know what to do. And do it. And it’s Sorry, I’m ranting again, but the three elements that tend to be missing when people have the right advice, adherence one, are you actually doing it? Or are you telling yourself you’re doing it, you know, with those 10,000 steps are you doing everyday? Or are you doing to three days a week? consistency? Yes. How you know, is it day in day out? How often you actually straying from the path consistency. So are you following the plan? Are you doing it consistently and time and the third time, unfortunately, health outcomes and changes to physiology improvements or detriments to physiology are measured on the timescale of months and years. You know, I could go eat McDonald’s for a month. And I you know, I probably wouldn’t look that much different in a month. But if I did it for three months, yes. If I haven’t do it for three years, yes. Same with a gym programme. Go to the gym for two weeks. You know, you’re not going to see much change do for two years. Consistently work. But unfortunately, we live in a culture. Even worse now because of social media and obviously social media, fitness and health and nutrition is really taken to social media. Unfortunately, I think it’s a bad thing. Yes. Social media is that one everything yesterday culture, two weeks, financial security, two weeks, you know, yes. eight minute abs. If I got a month, that sort of thing. People want to measure these outcomes in days and weeks. Sorry,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:20:30

I haven’t heard that for a long time. The thigh gap. I got Oh,

Duncan Rock  1:20:38

get it out of your life. Don’t worry about this gap.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:20:42

Look, there’s so much that to unpack even further, that I think what we should do is have you back, because I have like a trillion questions on nutrition and diet and foods, like so many questions. And I really would love to know all your thoughts on on all of these, plus some of the myths around foods, hydration, caffeine for singers. So there’s a whole bunch of other things, too, that we haven’t even started to scratch the scratch on.

Duncan Rock  1:21:19

There’s a lot in the world. Perhaps anyone who might listen to this podcast, might send you an email if they had a particular question, you know, particularly voice related question they might want to go on. Yeah, and happily to any point. And

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:21:35

I’ll also share all your links as well. So people want to reach out to you they can but let’s do ask Duncan rock. We’ll put it out there. around food and nutrition. All the myths. Yes, asked Duncan rock, we’re going to have an episode called that.

Duncan Rock  1:22:00

But you know, I, I, one promise I made to myself was I will never pretend I know the answer to something. No, I think that’s become evident, I think. Yes. It’s really important to if somebody asks a question, I don’t know, I’m not going to give you some nonsense answer. It’s only if I have read it, studied it, you know, read the research, that sort of thing. I think that’s quite important when we I’m trying to revive the Lost Art of not having an opinion on absolutely everything. Yes. Yes. So I’m sorry, if someone has a question. I don’t know the answer. I’m sorry.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:22:41

That’s okay. I’ll answer it and I’ll make up the answer. Does that sound like a deal?

Duncan Rock  1:22:51

With my competition? Oh,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:22:53

yes. Okay, we’re going to

Duncan Rock  1:22:57

I’m nervous. Now. You know, when I did my 12 minute plank, I was this is before I was a dad, you know, dad bod might get a way.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:23:06

I need to. Alright, that’s okay. Well, any see, you’re giving me excuses already. Okay, so we’re just going to wrap this up, because we’re going to have you back again, I’m not going to ask you all about what you’re doing in the future, because I want to have you back as soon as possible. What is one piece of advice you would like to share in regards to physical activity?

Duncan Rock  1:23:37

One Piece?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:23:39

Well, I think you’re going to give three and because I’ve been listening.

Duncan Rock  1:23:47

If regards to physical activity. Yeah,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:23:49

let’s just because that’s ultimately what we’ve been talking about most of this episode.

Duncan Rock  1:23:56

Joe, I’m going to reiterate because I don’t want to just give something new just for the sake of it. Okay, gay, gay 10,000 steps a day, strength train full body to maybe three times a week, and engage in some sort of restorative, stretching, mobility, yoga ish type exercise. You know, if you can do that, you’re 90% of the way that yes, this won’t get you onto the Olympic sprinting team. But it will get it will make you healthy when you’re 75.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:24:27

I’m perfectly fine with that, because I don’t like running. And I don’t want to be on that sprinting team because I think running was was invented so that you could get away from someone that was chasing you with a gun or a knife. Otherwise running is totally pointless.

Duncan Rock  1:24:48

I I haven’t recently been chased by.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:24:54

Well, that’s my excuse

Duncan Rock  1:24:55

pretty gentrified, where I live.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:24:59

Okay. It’s been an absolute pleasure. You’re a great sport. And I was going to ask you about the Scottish men. What they were under the kilts because you did live there for two years. And we didn’t get over to that one. Well, we’ll deal with that question next episode.

Duncan Rock  1:25:20

It’s not gonna be an ask Duncan. Rob.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:25:23

All right. No, thank you so much. You have a great rest of your day. And we’ll look forward to talking really, really soon. Thank you. All right. Take care. Bye.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:25:47

Hey, I hope you enjoyed this episode have a voice and beyond. Now is an important time for all of us to spread positivity and empowerment in our singing voice community. It’s time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow. So you can show up for your students feeling energised, empowered, and ready to deliver your best. Be the best role model and mentor you can possibly be and watch your students thrive as you do. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please make sure to share it with a friend or a colleague who you think will be inspired by this, copy and paste the link and share it with the people you think will enjoy listening to this show. Please share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. If you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would love to know what it is you enjoyed the most about this episode? And what was the biggest takeaway for you? I promise you there are many episodes to follow as I’m committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one. I’d like to finish up with my final thoughts. Remember that to sing is more than just learning how to use the voice. as singers. Our whole body is the instrument and our bodies echo what we feel physically mentally and emotionally. So singing is not just about the voice. It’s about a voice and beyond. Please take care of yourself and I look forward to your company next time.