In order to get in shape for our upcoming TV project and two and a half week expedition in Peru, Neale and I have been on a fairly rigorous diet and exercise regime for the past 10 weeks. Neale is already a super fit 51 year-old who leads a very active lifestyle. He hits the gym most days of the week, puts in a lot of distance on his road and mountain bicycles, and usually spends at least every other weekend training on dirt bikes, just to name a few of his favorite workouts. However, the pressure has been on lately to turn it up a notch, so that he can not only be a fit host for the camera, but so he can also have the strength and endurance to easily lead a group of motorcyclists on an arduous third-world journey. As the one guiding the training and nutrition plan, I figured it was not a bad idea for me to also push myself a bit, as it could be bad for business if my gut is hanging over my pants when the cameras start rolling.
The diet over the past 2 months has not been anything extreme. However, it has been strict, and what some might call “super clean”. The pattern of eating has been designed to build muscle, while trying to burn fat, as well as promote energy and reduce inflammation. All of these goals can be difficult to attain, but they are far from impossible. The meal plan revolves around foods such as oats, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish and legumes, which are high in protein, fiber, healthy fats and low-glycemic carbohydrates. This anti-inflammatory way of eating leaves little room for processed foods, added sugar, and alcohol.
Other than cutting out nutrient-idle junk, few other foods have been totally eliminated from our diet. Most dairy has been cut out due to its often negative effect on digestion and inflammation. However, Greek yogurt has had its place in smoothies and the occasional slice of good quality cheese has been an allowed indulgence. Gluten is another common allergen that has not been completely eliminated, but it has been greatly minimized. Every couple of weeks, I will use some whole-wheat tortillas to make wraps when we are on the road, or we might splurge with a whole wheat pasta for dinner on occasion, but for the most part, there has been very little flour in the diet.
Most days we do not find that much is missing from the table. However, Neale struggles with the lack of sweets, as he always will due to being quite the sugar addict, and I feel a bit of a void without tortilla chips when sitting down to a bowl of chili or Mexican chicken soup. We are both looking forward to a celebratory beer sooner than later.
As far as the physical training, we have taken cross training to another level. We hit the weight room 3-4 days a week for strength training, working one to two muscle groups each day, while trying to switch up the type of exercise, along with the number of sets and reps from week to week. Cardio often depends on the schedule, but it has included mountain biking, running, brisk walking three miles in the morning and three at night, swimming, elliptical machines and personal training sessions that focus on building core strength, speed, and agility by doing quick sprints and plyometric exercises. We have also thrown in the occasional boxing lesson, as well as a yoga class into the mix some weeks. I’ve even picked up a tennis racket for the first time in 20 years (Yeah, that’s right. I was 10 the last time I played) in order to take a beating that I am not accustomed to taking. An off-day might consist of a brisk walk or a sweat in the sauna or steam room.
In addition to the generic exercise routine, Neale and I have also kept active with other activities. We have volunteered ourselves day laboring with manual work, swinging a pickaxe and hammering nails, and we have spent most weekends riding and training with a mad South African dirt bike champion. Ike is a 63 year old anomaly who still rides a moto x bike like a rabid teenager, and is as lean and gnarly as most 35 year olds. Needless to say he’s pushed us well passed our physical abilities on occasion, and to avoid any more injuries we’ve backed off the past couple of weekends.
The program that Neale and I have been following for the last 10 weeks is nothing totally new to us. Honestly, it is not drastically different from how we live most days of our lives. However, the current regime is a more disciplined and cleaned-up version of how we function majority of the time. One of the many benefits of getting on such a program is that it helps lay a foundation for a healthier way to live. It is similar to any other training one does in life. Once a person gets finished with school or job training, they do not necessarily perform the same exact tasks in the same way thereafter, but they have laid the groundwork and been educated on what will make them perform efficiently. It is much the same with diet and exercise. Once the big event is over, it is likely that the training will decrease in intensity, and the discipline for avoiding indulgence may wane. However, when the bar has been set high, then the slip backs will also likely be much less severe.
While the diet and training regimen of the past 12 weeks has been fairly grueling, it has been totally doable. Unlike many crash diets or “12 Weeks to Rock Hard Abs” programs, our plan is not impossible to remain on in the long term. As stated before, we have incorporated small changes throughout the duration that we plan to continue indefinitely.
Neale and I are both happy with our results. He is by far the leanest and most muscular that I have ever seen him, and he says he feels less of the aches and pains than often plague him. I’m down about 5-10 pounds with more strength and endurance than before I started the regimen. Mentally, we both feel good, sensing improvement in our mood.
Sample Day’s Menu
Oatmeal, with fruit, chia seed, almond milk, cinnamon and half a scoop of protein powder
Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie with, avocado, banana, kale, blueberries, yogurt, almond milk, and protein powder
Bowl of hearty bean or chicken soup or a vegetable omelet
Handful of almonds and an apple or sardines on whole-wheat crackers
Salmon, sweet potatoes and vegetables or chicken vegetable stir-fry with a small portion of brown rice
Sample Day’s Workout
We would usually hit the weight room about 3-5 times a week, splitting it up into sessions focusing on muscle groups such as back and biceps, chest and triceps, and shoulders and abs. We would try to switch the routine every few weeks as to do biceps and triceps, back and shoulders, etc. Some weeks we would go heavy with low repetitions and other weeks would do lighter weight and higher reps. Most of the time we averaged 4 sets with 8-12 reps.
Cardio workouts would vary, but we squeezed it in whenever there was time. Most days started early at 6am with a brisk 3-mile walk, and if the days were nice and time allowed, we would mountain bike for 15-20 miles a couple of times a week. Other cardio workouts included running, swimming, boxing and tennis. Most weeks the workouts were mixed up 5-6 days with the duration and intensity dependent on the amount of time in the schedule.
¼ cups oats
¼ cup water
½ small apple, diced
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon raisins
2 oz plain almond milk
½ medium banana, sliced
- Put the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes (It can also be done on the stovetop, brought to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated).
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together well. Add a splash more water or almond mix for a thinner consistency.
Saturated Fat: 1g
½ cup chopped kale, stems removed
½ cup spinach
1 cup frozen blueberries
½ cup nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 T chia or ground flaxseed
1 cup almond milk
½ cup water
juice from 1 orange or lemon (optional)
Simply mix all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water if needed for a thinner consistency.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Saturated Fat: 1.5g
Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Greek Yogurt Sauce
1 pound white flaky fish, such as halibut or mahi
1 T Blackened Cajun Seasoning
1 T oil
4 whole wheat tortillas
¼ head white cabbage, shredded
¼ head red cabbage, shredded
½ red onion, sliced thinly
1 large carrot, shredded
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 T olive oil
2 T honey or agave
dash hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Greek Yogurt Sauce:
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons lime juice
½ teaspoon dill
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
dash hot sauce
- First, prepare the cabbage slaw by simply mixing all of the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning as needed, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow all of the flavors to merry.
- Season the fish liberally with the blackened seasoning. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. Brown the fish on both sides until cooked all the way through. Finish in a 400 degree oven if the pieces of fish are too thick to cook through in the pan (About 5 minutes).
- In a bowl, whisk together ingredients for the yogurt sauce.
- Layer cooked fish and a spoonful of cabbage slaw on a tortilla. Drizzle yogurt sauce over top and serve.
Some of you may already know that I am currently working on a TV project called Neale Bayly Rides: Peru (originally Kickstart) that will be airing as a pilot series on the SPEED Channel in late May 2013. Neale and I have been friends for many years, and we have worked together on several projects. The show focuses around Neale, who is a professional motorcycle rider and photojournalist, as he takes a group of riders on the journey of a lifetime through Peru. I will have a part on the show as well, serving as a driver, chef, nutritionist and general support for the cast and crew. The trip will conclude with a visit to an orphanage that is funded by a charity that we began a few years back called Wellspring International Outreach (www.wellspring-outreach.org).
The article below is one that I wrote in 2010, and it explains how the story all began. It was published in the now defunct Carolina Health and Fitness magazine, and it got noticed by Emmy award winning TV producer Linda Midgett. Linda and Neale came up with the idea for the show and after one expedition, lots of editing to make a sizzle reel, and nearly two years of proposals to various networks, filming for the series is finally scheduled to begin next month.
Enjoy the story about one man’s mission to do some good in the world while also pursuing his passion for adventure on motorcycles.
Man on a Mission
By Brandon McDearis
Last week Portugal, next week South Africa, the week after that who knows? California, Malaysia, Australia or Japan? Or maybe it’s a relaxing day taking notes at a local coffee shop, or heading into a corner at 180mph on a new Superbike in Qatar. Whether he’s testing the latest motorcycle in the Alps with Rock Stars, blasting round a race track in Spain on world champion Valentino Rossi’s million dollar motorcycle, or joining the 200 mph club, there is seldom a dull moment in Neale Bayly’s life.
Neale moved to Charlotte around the same time I landed here in 2005. As his next-door neighbor at that time I watched with astonishment, as this scruffy, long-haired Englishman would slip in and out of the building from week to week. Juggling luggage and camera gear up and down three flights of stairs in our condominium complex, he would usually be on his way out of the country on yet another wild adventure. Unfortunately for me, we would often cross paths while I would be scurrying off to my own boring, unfulfilled life. However, the quick passing in the hallway soon turned into afternoons of tea, where the well- traveled Englishman (21 years my senior) would become my mentor, modestly coaching me with his insight on life. Turning into informal seminars on the value of frugal living, and the importance of sobriety in a very intoxicated and overspent society, he helped me redefine my goals. Maybe most importantly though, the man who has traveled in 61 countries, forty of them on a motorcycle, taught me how to achieve my burning desire to become a world traveler. He also played an integral role in turning that dream into a reality.
Born in Walsall, England, in 1961, Neale Bayly has been the consummate traveler and motorcyclist since leaving high school at fifteen years of age. After traveling all over Europe throughout his teens, Neale landed in America in 1984 where he spent the next six months hitchhiking around the country. An overland trip through Central America ended in war torn Nicaragua, where dodging bullets and trading money on the black market to survive were par for the course. Back in the States, he came to conclusion “the US is the biggest freak show on earth” so he decided to stay, setting up in Florida. Within six months he was on the move again, this time on a 13-year old Honda motorcycle with his new girlfriend on the back. They made it to Alaska, before hitchhiking to California where they bought one-way tickets to Japan. The next months were spent between main land China, the jungles of Malaysia and hiking volcanoes in Indonesia, before landing in Australia on one-way tickets with $22 to their names. A year later they returned to the US. Over the 25 years that have followed Neale resided mostly on the Gulf coast of Florida, with a short stint in the mountains of North Carolina, and the last five years in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte.
During the early years he worked jobs that included the titles of construction worker, truck driver, motorcycle salesman, and chauffeur, before the high school drop out began his career in photojournalism as the 20th century was coming to an end. Riding to raise money for cancer victims in India sparked a career in writing, photography, and television for the then 38 year-old married father of two. Yielding the first of many cover shots, the trip took him through the foothills of the Himalayas along the Tibet and China border, and it’s been a nonstop adventure ever since.
Ten years later Neale Bayly finds himself in a much different place. The once obscure, penniless foreigner is now a well-established and recognizable face around the world. In addition to being a full-time, freelance motorcycle journalist, Neale is also the motorcycle editor at http://www.speedtv.com with a television travel series on the same network just coming to an end. While hopping flights to far away places to ride exotic motorcycles, and meeting with famous people is all part of the job, there is something that burns within this rugged Brit that is deeper. A passion that drives him harder than anything he has done in is life to this point.
In a remote town in the South Eastern desert of Peru, the now single Brit has found love. She is the most beautiful girl he has ever seen, and as with every long distance relationship there are challenges. Kathleen is brain dead and has no family to care for her, and is one of around 300 abandoned children who live on a farm run by Sister Loretta, a 78-year-old Nun from Canada.
Neale first learned about the orphanage, named Hogar Belen, during a chance meeting with a Catholic priest by the name of Giovanni Battaglini in the high mountains of Peru in 1995. Neale and the priest became good friends, writing to one another regularly for years to follow. However, tragedy would strike the priest in 2001 when he was killed in an accident on a lonely mountain road.
After finding out about “Father” Gio’s death in 2004, Neale made it a priority to return to Peru so that he could visit the orphanage that Gio had supported. In early 2008, he accomplished that goal by traveling to Hogar Belen to perform a medical mission with a Doctor and Father Gio’s sister, Maria Fitzgerald. This trip was one of the few times the kids had ever received any medical treatment. It was also on this trip that Neale met Kathleen and began a close relationship with Sister Loretta, the nun who has fed cared for as many a 300 children at times for the last 40 years. Returning home after the mission, Neale decided to form a charity organization for the abandoned children of Peru called Wellspring International Outreach (www.wellspring-outreach.org).
2008 brought Neale Bayly a wave of success. Work was steady, stories were published, his TV series doing well, the charity organization was being developed and money raised! However, as the year came to an end, the 47 year-old found him self a bit baffled at where to go, and what to do next. While it is a situation that he is all too familiar with, Neale felt a new level of uncertainty in his life at this time. Within months he had dealt with a cancer scare, watched his industry plummet, along with the rest of the economy, and for the first time since entering his career was questioning if he could continue on as a motorcycle journalist. In addition, he was also finding less fulfillment in scribbling about motorcycles alone as he began to wonder as a writer, “is this the best that I can do?”
As 2008 came to an end and 2009 began, Neale and I sat down for an afternoon chat over English tea, as we had so many times before. Only this time, we both contemplated what looked to be a bleak future as self-employed people. While the American economy began to crash, Neale realistically evaluated the likelihood that people would keep paying him to ride motorcycles all over the world as the magazine industry declined. In my case I had to wonder who would be hiring a personal chef to take care of their diet and cooking duties, or who was going to have extravagant events catered in the near future? While I was simultaneously hunting an affordable place to live, while trying to put together travel plans for the year, Neale and I made a pivotal decision. We decided to not worry about it. We were going to keep working, but not on making money. We were going to start working on ourselves as human beings.
So the mission began. We figured out that the best way to kill multiple birds with one stone was for me to move into his spare bedroom. I no longer had to worry about being homeless (which was a relief), and the rent money I saved each month helped soften the blow that would be coming throughout the year. Part of the deal included me setting Neale up on a diet plan and helping with weekly meal preparation. The new and improved diet would include a variety of foods rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Most meals began to consist largely of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fish, while gradually eliminating as much processed and unrefined sugar as possible. Not only was this strict, nutrient dense pattern of eating aimed to make us both lean, but it was utilized to reverse the aging process for the nearly half-century old motorcyclist. Multiple crashes, a couple of them over 100mph, a serious back surgery, too many broken bones and the early stages of arthritis had left Neale with joint pain, and often fatigue. However, instead of surrendering to the pain, Neale’s solution was to endure even more of it. A lot of it in fact, but instead of inflicting pain on himself by crashing bikes, he now began to inflict it through exercise.
The exercise routine was not simply a schedule of 3 days a week for 30 minutes on a treadmill, but rather a brutal regimen of cross training 5-6 days per week, that included cycling, weight lifting, swimming, boxing, hiking and yoga. Most days start around 6am with a brisk 3-mile walk as a warm-up and usually end the same way in the evening. These walks are often used as therapeutic sessions to evaluate progress, discuss new goals, and note areas of improvement. In addition to the clean eating and vigorous exercise, a spiritual component was integrated as well. Religious reading, attending church, meetings with people of other spiritual beliefs and backgrounds became part of the program: As well as regular appointments with a massage therapist.
As the year came to an end, a chance to put the physical component to the test came in Portugal. With a press launch of the fastest Superbike yet built, Neale found himself pitted against his peers as they tested the limits of the new BMW Superbike. Braking for turn one at 180mph, cornering at speeds over 130mph with their knees on the ground, it’s the most physically intense 30 minutes imaginable as they muscle these fire breathing machines around the track. Ending the day faster than he had ever ridden before was the perfect reward for all the hard work.
A physical with his family doctor showed perfect cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart rhythm, while also scoring flawless liver and kidney function. His pain level fell noticeably in 2009, and he had dropped around 12 pounds. However, as good as all of this was, the biggest accomplishment of the year in 2009 was the completion of another successful trip to Peru.
Neale orchestrated and lead an 11-day, 3000 Km motorcycle expedition throughout the country that ended at Hogar Belen. Riding through deserts, crossing mountain passes at 14,500 ft it was a very physically demanding journey. The idea of the trip, which was conceived shortly after the “lifestyle change” discussion, was to complete an adventure ride and create a travel story to document the journey. In turn, the recognition and publicity received from the resulting magazine articles could be used to spread awareness about the abandoned children of Moquegua. The plan was followed through precisely, money was delivered to Sister Loretta, a video was produced, and four new people were brought on as dedicated members of Wellspring.
So, during a year when a lot of people were panicking over a tumbling economy, overindulging in a nutrient idle diet of alcohol and processed drivel, and growing more sedentary by the day, Neale Bayly had pushed himself to the limit while approaching the last half of his life. Not only has Neale’s business survived the tough times, but also he is currently the busiest he has been in years. More importantly, he may be the healthiest and most spiritually aware that he has been too. All of this is just proof to himself and others, that a strong faith, and a strict focus on the positive things that life has to offer does indeed have a beneficial payoff.
Today Neale couldn’t be more grateful for all of the luxuries that he has been blessed with in life. While he stresses the passion of his job, his healthy lifestyle, and his philanthropic efforts, nothing is more important to Neale today, than being a positive, healthy influence for his son Patrick and stepson, Luke. So whether you see him and the boys around Ballantyne hauling dirt bikes or race bikes to the track, or you catch him on TV racing the fastest motorcycle produced, you can guarantee this crazy old Brit is dreaming up some wild new adventure. An adventure you’ll be able to read about here in CFM.