Meet Melbourne model and health expert Reece Carter

Health and fitness role models don’t get much better than Reece Carter. The Melbourne-based model is also a qualified naturopath with a science degree under his belt. A self-confessed nutrition-nut, herb-nerd and gym-junkie, Reece is also a keen home cook who loves creating meals with produce from his own veggie garden.  If all that wasn’t impressive enough, Reece also recently co-founded SUM T. a gorgeous range of hand-crafted herbal tea blends. He also happens to be a seriously nice guy and a new addition to our awesome team of Sporteluxe experts. Let’s meet inspiring man who lives and breathes fitness and wellness.

How do you start your day?

Exercise comes first up. Got to make the most of that early morning cortisol and get stuff done! I usually get an hour in first thing to get the blood pumping then come home to a big, nourishing brekkie. Only then do I feel ready to take on the day!

What does being healthy mean to you?

It’s a cliché, but ‘everything in moderation’ is completely true. Unfortunately, we often use that cliché to excuse ourselves when, deep down, we know that we’re just doing too much of the bad stuff. ‘Everything in moderation’ we cry, as we tear open the third block of chocolate.

But, it really does boil down to the fact that health is balance. Too much exercise can be damaging, just as too little can. Obsession over every calorie that passes our lips is just as harmful as complete disregard.

For my part, I try each day to eat foods I know to be nourishing, exercise my body and work hard. Then I ensure that I leave time each day to enjoy life. I make time to pursue things that are fun, I value my relationships and I allow plenty of ‘me time’ to unwind and reconnect. Every now and again I indulge in foods that ‘aren’t healthy’. I have to remind myself that sometimes a nice meal with friends or family has health benefits for the soul, even if the nutrition-nut inside me objects.

How do you nourish your body?

I like to say I’m ‘paleo-ish’. I still start the day each morning with a smoothie packed with oats. The herb-nerd inside me knows that oats are an incredible ‘nervine tonic’ which means they are strengthening and nourishing for a frazzled nervous system. But, for the most part, I stick to loads of organic veggies and a moderate amount of ethically-sourced meat, whilst dodging refined grains and sugars.

Do you cook? If so what are some of your go-to healthy meals?

I’m a barbecue-nut. I have a coal-fired barbeque at home and in summer my go-to meals always include quality meat and a fresh salad. I do a mean set of coriander, chilli, and honey lamb cutlets and two of my fave salads are a broad bean and radish or an eggplant and pomegranate combo. In winter, I like to warm up with slow-cooked stews. Anyone who has seen my Instagram is probably sick to death of hearing about it, but I love a slow-cooked lamb shoulder with a chickpea, tomato, and cavolo nero stew on the side. It’s my Mum’s recipe and it’s pretty hard to beat. She’s a much better cook (and gardener) than me though, and I hang out for my two trips to Perth each year to steal her recipes!

Any health secrets you swear by?

There is so much advice out there on this already, so I’m going to stick to my strengths here and talk about herbal medicine. It really is powerful stuff, and overlooked way too often. I really do recommend that everyone start playing with herbs a little more.

Stress is something I come across with my clients in clinic every single day. The other one is digestive issues. I have a go-to tea recipe that is so easy for people to grow and make at home. Mint and lemon balm are in the same family and grow like wildfire in gardens even if you don’t have much space. Take a big handful of each and steep them, covered, in boiling water for eight to ten minutes. Between the two of them, they aid digestion and help relax the mind and body at the end of the day. It’s the perfect brew for after dinner to help send you off to sleep.

How do you train?

I focus on weights and high-intensity cardio. If I’m not getting my heart rate up and sweating then I’m not working hard enough! I get to the gym six times a week, because I find it puts my mind in a good place too.  I also love swimming too. For me, it’s as much a meditation as it is working out – the gentle rhythm of it is relaxing.

What’s your fave healthy indulgence?

I’m not much of a sweet-tooth, so I’d have to say that my only real indulgence is coffee.

What active wear labels do you like?

I’m always in Adidas. I have more workout gear than I need because I think that I’ll train harder if I have shiny new clothes. It’s kinda the same logic that makes people think red cars go faster!

Biggest mistake most guys make when it comes to health and fitness?

They think that it only happens at the gym. Nutrition is as important as the exercise, if not more so. If you only do one of them right, you won’t get the results you want.

How do you stay healthy while travelling?

Ok, I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but you know how most people suss out bars and nightclubs to check out in a city they’re about to travel to? I suss out gyms. And if there isn’t one anywhere nearby, I find a beach to jog along and it’s even better. In terms of food, I make careful menu choices most of the time, but allow myself to splurge a little too. I’m on holidays, after all!

How do you beat stress? Any tips for bringing more balance into your life?

I’d love to say I practice yoga six times a week, but the truth is that I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like. The good news is that you can get some of the relaxing benefits from deep-breathing exercises at the end of each day. Big belly breaths switch off the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and switch on parasympathetic (rest and digest) so I do that for ten minutes every night. I also have a “to-do book” and at 8pm anything that I haven’t done that day gets written in it so that it gets done the next day. I have a rule that once it’s written in the book, I’m not allowed to think about it again until I open the book in the morning.

Do you have a personal motto?

Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.

Name things you can’t live without.

My veggie garden, my mates and my fountain pen. Creative writing is my secret hobby and without that release I think I’d go nuts!