Chief works with the best, from regen farmers to distributors. We choose to stock our products in stores from people who share our vision and wish to positively impact you and the ones around you. Our stockists, including Bulk Butcher Mildura, are an integral part of our mission. Without them, the fight for the planet’s health and yours will be even more difficult. We invite you to get to know them and visit their stores.
This week, we sat down with Brent, co-owner of The Functional Joint, to dive into his passion for exercise, nutrition, and low waste, low tox, low carb, and minimalist products.
Please tell us a bit about you and your business?
I'm Brent. I love real meat, movement and music. I also enjoy a good laugh (at myself), long romantic walks around our gym (because we basically live here) and a good Dad joke. "My wife accused me of stealing her thesaurus. I'm upset, disproportionately displeased, exasperated and astonished!"
I am one of the co-owners of The Functional Joint, in partnership with my wife, Kimberley, and my brother in-law Greg. The Functional Joint came about by sourcing products for our clients that promote and support the lifestyle that we live, it also houses our other two businesses - our gym The Weight Buffet and our clinic Simply Remedial. The products that we stock are Australian where possible, ethically and sustainably sourced/produced and align with our values of low waste, low tox, low carb and minimalist.
When did you start at TFJ and why do you enjoy it?
The TFJ was created in 2019, the year that we moved our other two businesses into the one premises. We enjoy it because we really enjoy seeing the changes in people. The opportunity we have to create change in our clients is enormous and when this happens it's like an electric buzz! The client is happy at seeing change & progress, less pain, more gains and we are happy for them. All we want is to teach people how to move well and be well. When they support us by shopping with us this makes us happy too.
It's been a tricky few years, how did you adapt to the challenges and what aspect of your business has come out stronger.
Indeed it has. We had only been in our building for 9 months when the first of the lockdowns occurred (8 in total). There was much swearing and head in hands moments but we had plenty of time to work out a game plan. Fortunately for us our gym clients were very supportive and our community rallied behind supporting small, local businesses like ours. Sending gifts to friends, buying our toilet paper and subscribing to our online workouts. We even loaned out our gear so our clients could continue working out at home. It wasn't something we would like to do again but we made it through. The Functional Joint did really well, as online shopping picked up so too did running and our sales of VIVOBAREFOOT shoes shot up very quickly. We had to learn on the fly how to adapt to this increased popularity online and the shop has been improving month to month ever since.
One of our core values is living your Chief life. How do you live your Chief (best) life? What gets you motivated day to day and where do we find you when you’re not at TFJ?
I make time to exercise regularly by taking part in our classes. This keeps me honest and a part of our gym community, building rapport with our clients and 'trying' to make friends (I tell my clients that I don't have friends so they try to prove me wrong) I also make sure I eat well. When I don't my body let's me know! My motivation is the endorphin rush, pushing myself to new limits, setting an example for our clients, learning new things! I have just done my first unassisted frontsault - from the ground, at 38! Being a good role model for our children, showing them that movement, clean eating and a healthy sense of self are all valuable things. We can't expect our kids to have healthy self esteem if we don't. Monkey see, monkey do! When I'm not at work you will find me either at our local Bulk Butcher or at home in full Dad mode preparing steak for dinner.
Best advice for people trying to learn about supplements, training, movement or the body?
Don't try too hard. Start small, change is hard and gradual. By seeing success from small changes it is easier to make more changes and gain momentum. Start with the easiest thing that you can change and maintain. This might be getting up at the same time each day or going to bed at the same time each night. It might be eating steak every night, or booking your classes for the week on Sunday night and rewarding yourself with a big juicy steak after class. Keep an open mind when researching, there is a lot of information on the internet and a lot of misinformation and out dated information. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Eat real food, move daily, stay hydrated and sleep. I wish I was getting more sleep but our kids have other ideas. If wanting advice on supplements we suggest seeing a health professional like a Naturopath (we have one of those as well!) We do what we can and don't be too hard on yourself when things don't work out. Start again tomorrow.
How do you think eating habits are changing, have they changed for you?
I think in general, nutritional advice can be summed up in a word, SAD - Standard Australian Diet.
When a client tell me of the advice they have been given, regardless of the source, I like to pose questions to help them reason it out, I don't give advice but want people think for themselves. Here are a couple of common ones.
Cholesterol - Is my liver is trying to kill me, why does my liver make most of my cholesterol and why does my body store this on my arterial walls?
Fibre - I can't poop! Are more cars on the road really the best / only way to resolve a traffic jam?
The problem as I see it is a lot of research is done with predetermined outcomes in mind. I'm yet to see a study of health outcomes for an extreme comparison, say, a vegan vs carnivore diet where all refined or processed foods are excluded - would these warring groups actually be healthier than those who have the regular 'healthy' diet full of carbs, refined sugars and vegetable oils?
How processed are your meals? What are you actually eating?
I have found through trial and error that intermittent fasting (16-48hrs) with a low processed food content works best me at the moment, I eat a fair bit of grass fed scotch fillet, make my own grass fed mince, grow onions, garlic, tomatoes and beetroots plus some greens. We have chooks for eggs and I cook mainly with butter or ghee. I suffer from mild facial skin irritation and the above has kept it the most manageable - several docs have suggested cortisone cream as the best option, however, I found this only manages my symptoms.
I recently started to add essential electrolyte salts to my water daily. Interestingly, since starting this my heart rate during cardio workouts has dropped around 20 BPM for the same output. I track all my workout and heart rate data for the purpose of comparison.
What’s next for you?
Catching up on sleep, mastering my butchering skills, carving up my bulk rump! haha! Aim to use our non specific training to improve a specific skill, such as running 5km. Oh and row a marathon on our concept 2 rower. You know, for fun.
Where can we find out more about you and TFJ?
If you're on the interwebs follow us @thefunctionaljoint on instagram and facebook/meta whatever it's called now, I don't actually use social media myself. If you're ever in regional Victoria you will find us in our big shed at 1/251 Benetook Ave, Mildura! Our website of course is www.thefunctionaljoint.com.au we sell VIVOBAREFOOT shoes, Chief Bars, Beauty Food Cookies and Butters, cold brew coffee, salts, we have a lot of salts - Ancient Lakes. Franjo's kitchen, Wili heat bags, MOBECO, Silver clove balm, toe sox and Archie toothpaste!