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Episode 23: Interview with Swiss 8 Founder Adrian Sutter

by Shaun Kober
July 6th 2020

Swiss 8 is a proactive mental health model designed to provide the tools required to deliver high-quality content around their 8 pillars of health and wellness, to allow you to be "Better At L... More

I wanted to be a soldier for life that life itself had other ideas as an infantry soldier. My purpose in life was to be a protector. To do what others wouldn't in our country's time of need. My older sister lost her battle with cancer in 2011 on her 28th birthday. My family needed me now more than my country. So army life was put on hold when I left the army, I had a few issues, most of which were easy to hide and often took a lot of reflection before I even realized there was a problem. A lot of these issues, I didn't know where they were coming from and it was only when I started researching evolutionary psychology that a lot of the issues started making sense. Sebastian Junger's book. Tribe hits the nail on the head for a lot of what I experienced. There was a time when I lived 48 shit and breathed in close quarters with a group of men who I trusted with my life. I had my tribe. The pursuit of excellence was highly regarded within our circles, discipline, fitness, mental fortitude were all valued traits. Then I went cold turkey into civilian life. I cut myself off from my tribe.

For the best part of three years, I jumped straight into a society where discipline is not needed nor encouraged. How could it be when excess is king warrior traits are more and more frowned upon. Teaching courage, loyalty and honor has been pushed aside to make way for safe spaces and gender neutrality. Even pursuing excellence is no longer embraced to win means someone had to lose. And heaven forbid we let our Children lose anything, something had to change. I had to get back to my tribe, I had to start reconnecting with the disciplined man. I used to be, I needed to reignite my pursuit of excellence. Those are the words of Adrienne Sutter, who is the founder of the Mental Health Charity, Swiss eight, which focus on eight pillars of health and lifestyle to allow you to be better at life. Mhm mm. All Right, Adrian Soda is the founder of Swiss eight, which is a proactive mental health program. Adrian welcome to the podcast. How are you, mate? Well mate, how are you? I'm good man, I'm good.

You look a bit cold over there Now, I'm in thread by mate, it's snowing outside, it's actually it's pretty warm in here, but it's about -2 or three out there for good times, Good times. Alright mate. Um Let's get started, man. We'll start off with um What's we say it is, we'll dive into a little bit of your background, how swiss it came about where you guys are at right now, The direction you're taking it, what the principles are, and uh we'll kind of go from there. So, mate, what is suicide made by definition? It's a suicide to health promotion charity. Um which is any charities, it's registered in Australia health promotions is any charity that promotes and improves the health of Australian citizens, but in reality, um it's a veteran organization, the next service organization, it's founded by former soldiers, uh and and we built it to build so that we could create proactive mental health tools, um rather than, I mean, I know we can go into this deeper, but what we wanted to get into mental health space for a bunch of reasons, and rather than becoming another one of the reactive model mental health organizations, well, okay, let's build some tools to give to people before they start spiraling and get proactive about the whole mental health scene.

Yeah, I love that, and I think that's a big problem with the mental health space is. You know, it is a reactive model where, you know, People wait until they get to a point where they are out of control, and they have lost their self identity, their purpose, their direction, and, you know, they lose their locus of control and they get to a point where, you know, everything feels like it's too much, and, you know, by that stage, it's fucking it's too late, man, it's very difficult to, you know, it's very difficult to turn that ship. So, um, as we all know, prevention is better than cure. So, that's basically what the Swiss eight model is. Yeah, 100%, man, there is um, I mean, there's a need for reactive tools and reactive interventions, obviously, when people get to the point where they're super depressed or anxious or don't really know what to do or have an out, there needs to be someone there to catch them if they're about full, but um at the same time, especially with blokes, and especially with blokes who are veterans military background, there's there's a lot of issues with stigma and people not wanting to put their hand up and they've got problems.

Um so that reactive model, we're kind of waiting for people to get to the point when they're so bad that they desperately need to put their hand up and if they're in that demographic that we just talked about, they probably won't uh and by the time you get that depress you, you kind of don't see any option out other than pulling pulling the pin and punching out of life early. So yeah, getting getting proactive means that we can get to people, we can wrap mental health in a model that it's all about being what we call better at life. Obviously it's our tagline, but getting people involved in healthy lifestyle and healthy living without the need to wait for them to put their hand up or we don't ask dudes to admit that there's a drama because we're trying to get to them before there is one. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I like that man, and you know, I know where you guys are coming from, and I've been Ambassador for you guys for a year and a half or two years or something like that and you know, I am an ambassador because I fucking love what you guys are doing. Um but you know, we've, we've all as veterans, particularly like combat veterans and infantry soldiers, you know, the heavy hitters, the foot soldiers on the ground.

A lot of these guys or when we were in the army were in this highly strung state where we're in this highly stressed state where you know, we're constantly under threat and we're constantly highly alert and then transitioning from the military and trying to go from that space that mindset into transitioning back into the civilian world, man, It's a fucking, it's a difficult process and a lot of the guys have struggled with that transition and I've gone through my own struggles with that as well and I have used a lot of the Swiss eight principles to kind of get myself back on track and pushed me in the right direction. But can we talk about you for a moment and your military background and then your transition process and um you know, basically the processes that you went through that essentially led you to this point where you felt the need to provide this proactive mental health model. Yeah man. Um So I mean, I was in the army full time for six years, I was a Taco after that for about another six years.

I was in an infantry soldier, posted a one hour for my entire career as a full time soldier. Um I'll get him when I was 20 and and kind of the army for me was was it? That was my career, that was that was me done for life, that's all I wanted to do. There was so much career progression um and so many things that you could do to challenge yourself and that's kind of what I was craving when I was younger. So that was, that was meant to be me for for good. Um Then when I mean I deployed to Afghan uh in east timor and um I mean I'll do a full circle back to this but things that I didn't saw overseas have little to no impact on my mental health at all. Um but I came back after afghan, I was in for another year and then I was getting ready to do a selection to attempt s a selection. Go to Perth. My sister got cancer and it was a pretty quick um run for her. She was, she was dead within six months and and after she died um I when I tried to get a compassionate posting to stay in the army but go back to Newcastle do the family thing.

Um I mean and that that kind of stems back to obviously when when you lose a family member, you kind of want to be around family but also on the oldest son there is that whole protective instinct kind of thing that that drives most of us to join the army, you kind of want to help other people more than you want to help yourself. So originally that purpose was fulfilled by the army but now I kind of needed to get home, do the family thing and I thought a year on a compassionate posting in Newcastle would kind of sort allow me to do the family thing and then go back into full time gig with one hour or do sf selection again. Um And I got one area signed me off, I was all good to go pack up my shit, started moving in Newcastle 2.5, 3 months later schemer being the office bound people, soldiers in Canberra kind of sent me an email saying nope yeah they don't know who you are but you're a number on a piece of paper and they said no we need uh corporals back in Townsville, head back up and so I just rang my season and and said mate I'm not coming back up.

So what are the options, is this going to be like me going AWOL or is this can we can we sort something else out? And they said the other thing to do is get out so they fast track to discharge for me which was at the time I thought was wicked like it meant I had one box, I need a ticket and that was staying Newcastle with family and that, that tick that box um but what it meant was my transition process, like I just didn't have one, I was, I was in the army one day, then I was in Newcastle the next and two months later I'm discharged from the job that I was thought I was supposed to do forever, so I kind of, I didn't have a transition process and I think there's a, there's probably a lot of people that can resonate with this but my, my kind of personality is that if I'm busy and if I'm, If I got shit, especially as a 25 year old kid, like I've got stuff that I don't really know how to process, I just go full speed into work and get buried into training or whatever and I started a couple of businesses as soon as I got to Newcastle and that was magic. Like I was distracted for three years, didn't have a drama at all, but at the same time, looking back at it now, I can see that I spent those three years um completely disconnected from the boys.

So I had, I had this tribe of people around me that you trust with your life that are kind of, it's not just your mates from work, it's, it's like that is your tribe, they're your people uh and then completely cut myself off from them for three years and then I was okay because I was distracted and focusing on businesses. But then I sold these businesses and my wheels fell off real quick and I was like, what the fuck is all about? Like I had no, I didn't know what was going on. I had no, I had no life lessons to teach me that the shit that I was going through was like anxiety and depression. Um so another three, why do you think, what do you think the wheels fell off? Is it because you kind of just went from like, you know, no transition period to throwing yourself in, like bearing all of that shit and throwing yourself into work and distracting yourself and then all of a sudden like why did you sell the businesses? I mean, well to answer the first, because the words fell off, like there was a lot of emotional baggage that I should have processed, that I just didn't, I basically ignored it and kept myself busy and distracted and then when I sell the business is I got a lot of spare time, a lot more time to think and and she just gets rocky and I'm like, I mean, a whole bunch of stuff goes through your head.

But um, why I sold the business is the first one. So I started a restaurant, the first one, Anyone listening don't ever start fucking restaurants a bad idea. Um It talk, I mean looking back, it taught me a lot of good lessons, a lot of expensive lessons around businesses and how to run them, but because because restaurants are pretty cutthroat, you have to learn quickly. I ran the first restaurant ran it for two and a bit years. Um and it was doing well in the first year, so again, when, when, when it starts doing well, you feel like you can um do 100 things at the same time. So I started another one, the second one was like a meal delivery business, like all health and nutrition. I mean I got into this stuff and started researching nutrition sells what my sister was into. So um, it was kind of like a legacy carry on kind of thing. And the second one went gangbusters. Like we started fitting freshest meal delivery business back in 2013 when it was the competitors, it was us in light and easy and new foods had just started and like at the time there is no other real competitors, like now there's hundreds of these meal delivery companies.

But when I, when I focus all my energy on the second business, getting it up and running, I put a dude, I won't go too deep into this story. I put a dude who I grew up with in charge of the restaurant, find out later, six months later that he's pocketing half the cash every day and I'm wondering why this restaurant that was going really well, slowly going downhill. Um Again, no grudges, but definitely lessons learned. So that one we sold as soon as, as soon as we realized that the dollar figure was going down and that in order to keep it running, I'd have to work there seven days a week. That wasn't gonna happen. So we got rid of that one um around this meal delivery business for another couple of years. And again, we, it was going well, we had it in Newcastle, we started, we opened um started delivering in Sydney, we're prepping to, to to open up in Melbourne when the kitchen, like the factory kitchen in Newcastle got flooded. Um And then after that it was like an insurance shit fight for six months and I was like, I just don't have the patience for this stuff. We had essentially a business that couldn't operate for six months and we just sold everything, sold the business, sold the building and um did nothing for a little bit.

Uh that was on top of all mate fucking stealing money from you as well. That's harsh man. There's a couple of years gap. I mean, but yeah, I mean it's, it's shit happens in business. And we, I mean the lessons I learned, I just wasn't prepared for it. We weren't, I didn't have contingencies for stuff like that went wrong, I was kind of young to just go and hey, we're going all right, let's just keep winging it. Um and so there was some expensive lessons there but they're definitely lessons that I've taken away and gone. Now I understand how if we're going to have a business, it's got longevity, you've got to put plans in place. That account for almost. It's like having actions on mate, you need actions on for every possible thing you can think of so that if something hits you, you don't get blindsided like you can survive. Yeah and again that's that proactive model of, you know, I talk about S. O. P. S all the time is one of the biggest lessons that I learned from the armies have standard operating procedures. If this happens, I do that and if that happens I do this and you know that means I don't need to spend too much time thinking about shit and fucking worrying about stuff.

It's just like well if this happens, I really thought about what I'm going to do in that situation and then that kind of gives you peace of mind to be able to move on and actually deal with the shit that comes up in front of you. So um interesting what you just said about the nutrition side of things there now, obviously your sister had cancer. So I'm assuming your you guys were looking through the nutrition side of things and looking for maybe some alternate therapy and the effect of food on um on you know potential treatment therapies. Is that, was that the case? Yeah, she was so she was doing a PhD in sports in sports science. Um she was a triathlete and she was like, so, I mean, what, what really got me into the nutrition side of it was, was she was what you would consider a subject matter expert on, on health and nutrition and um when she got cancer and died so quickly, like she did just before she died, she was going to a clinic to try and treat this with nutrition. But I started looking into her diet and looking into what she used to teach clients and teach people as part of and learn as part of her studies and the dietary model just didn't make sense at the time, this is what, 10 years ago, just under 10 years ago and they're still preaching the old food pyramid with your whole diet is made up of grains and carbohydrates at the bottom, cranes at the bottom and that's what she ate.

She ate just a shitload of carbs because she was an athlete at the same time, which I know like, athletes definitely need carbs, but I was looking into the types of food she's eating and I'm like, I'm not convinced that this is the optimum human diet and at the same time, that was, this was like the birth of the paleo kind of boom and everyone's starting to talk about the fact that grains aren't that good for you and you need to have a look there if your body is actually able to process dairy properly. And so I just went kind of balls deep into two dietetics research, working with a couple of dietitians at the time. Unfortunately they were still preaching that same old model. Uh and then I just myself and and my brother and feel the people that work with us just started doing personal experiments on um testing different diets, like a lot of high fat zero cars for for a while. Um And a lot of these experiments we did on yourself just worked like high fat low carb diet for me is the the perfect diet.

Like I'm not an athlete, I don't need to get a lot of carbs for competition. So just for health and longevity, high fat, low carb was amazing. Um and obviously my research into food went a bit deeper over time and looking at a different quality of food as far as like not just looking at what food you're eating, but what food your foods eating and making sure that we're eating grass fed meat and and ideally it's meat that's never seen hormone shots and they've never had any kind of what Any bacterial shit in their food or I mean there's 101 things that farmers have to do to raise beef these days to make sure that they can keep food on their own table. So yeah, you really got to look into what your food is eating and make sure if you can afford to eat organic foods and then a lot of that is good to um But I mean, again, this man, that's that's super the super interesting, isn't it?

Um and and nutrition is, you know, one of the principles of Swiss eight um for me, um like I said affair earlier, um this is gonna be the first episode, is this interview, and then I'm going to go through the eight principles of Swiss eight and then bookend it with tristan on the other side, but sleep is my number one. Um you know, precedents than nutrition, You know, so those things are so interrelated man and the gut health has a massive impact on your immune system, your ability to perform your ability to recover, you know, the entire health of your system. So um nutrition's a massive thing. Is that something that kind of um lead you down the path of Swiss 8? Was that kind of like a segue for that or what was the, what was the thing that kind of push you towards suicide after selling the businesses? I mean, well one when I started writing this roller coaster, not really sure what was going on, when I was getting anxious in the press. Like this can't be the best way to, to live for the rest of my life.

Um and then I started talking to the boys, a lot of the boys that when you catch up like back then it was like once, once a year for bucks parties or weddings or whatever. Um We started to look at these like what are you going through these anxious anxiety and depression roller coasters as well if so when um I started to document like what my lifestyle was like and I just started to notice that there's, there's patterns like when I was, when I had, at the time it wasn't a conscious decision, but I just realised like if there was something coming up that I was training for and so I was in a proper routine with training and, and I started eating properly for that. Like I was doing a bit of crossfit competed a little bit back in the day. Um I just found that I was never, I was just wasn't anxious ever. Um and I had the whole depression thing just didn't pop up. Um and then obviously something that happened like 40 season, end of season just started smashing pierce, not training anymore and then a few weeks after the season gets super anxious, super depressed. I'm like, this is not just a coincidence like this is all interrelated.

So I mean the fitness is always the first one, especially with the boys, like when your military, like fitness is kind of the baseline of when you're going to set yourself up into a good routine is when you start training for something and then I have nothing to do with the army. You have to work and you parade and get your name called out. You're gonna do pt the first thing you do. Yeah exactly. And then died obviously the stuff because of the shops. I I've seen a few research papers on um different types of foods and how it affects your mental health. And there's a lot of research. I mean Mex is doing a lot more now. There's a lot of research on um you got bacteria and how that impacts um your mental health. But I mean in short there's neurons in your stomach. So it's essentially it is a second brain. And if if you got it's not a lot of people talk about that that if you have negative thoughts it can affect your body weight and how you get it. But I mean we're still I'm still digging into this stuff but all the research I'm seeing it it's far more impactful the other way around.

So if I put shit in my body and I kill my gut flora, I'm getting depressed. I'm going to get anxious. Uh and vice versa. If I'm concentrating on eating a lot of good got back like healthy bacteria. Um And I'm not killing it every weekend by smashing pierce. Then then I'm generally happier. And I mean from there they were the two originals fitness and nutrition. And then I started looking at the whole sleep thing. There's plenty of research out there now showing that two nights in a row of bad sleep can trigger your body to start putting on more weight. It starts your mood obviously falls apart, you can't regulate your mood properly. Uh If you're not getting stable eight hours of sleep at night. Um And we're like it's I mean and then there's obviously the mindfulness and meditation that that works both as proactive and preventative as well as if you're having dramas, Metzler knowing how to meditate. Obviously a great tool to pull yourself out of that state. Um And so that's the primary four categories of suicide. And and basically what we looked at was you can all all research back in the day was focusing on one key area.

So you can only really have one variable. Everything else has to be controlled for PhD should go away and do a study. And so they would look at does sleep impact anxiety, does fitness impact depression and anxiety or does nutrition X. Y. Z. Types of diet impact anxiety, depression. They're only looking at that one thing at a time. So all of their their sample group for their candidates can be doing X. Y. Z. Fitness routines based as per the study, but they can be going home eating cheeseburgers smoking dot he's not going to sleep. And so that's all going to impact the data that comes out. So we kind of put this thing together and said, yes, all of this stuff. Individual has been proven now we need to look at how it works holistically like altogether because there was it's all anecdotal, all the stuff all the boys were reporting that when they eat properly and sleep properly and trained properly and do a bit of meditation, they are healthy and happy. Um so now we we've reached out to a few units and were like, hey, can we do a study on this?

And they're like, not a fucking chance mate, you can't do a study on all this stuff. It's way too complex. Yeah, that is the problem. That is the problem with research, right? I mean, you spoke about it before, where you said you spoke to some dietitians and you know, that was still preaching in the food pyramid. The thing with research and study man is it takes a long time for those studies to or for the research to come back. And then for that to be like internationally or nationally recognized and accepted by academia to then be put into textbooks. So sometimes a research that these fucking students are going through like 15, 16 years old man, they are out of date, they're not up to state, not up to scratch, right? It's an interesting concept, but may I never really thought about what you just said then about, you know, where they're looking at these individual variables like sleep, nutrition fitness, mindfulness, etcetera. I didn't like it never really crossed my mind. It fucking totally makes sense. But it never really crossed my mind that they weren't controlling those variables or they were controlling all of the other variables but they were only focusing on one thing.

But as we know man, like everything is interrelated right? Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. And that's that's why we started that Newcastle unions come on board and said, hey we'll have a look at it, we'll use the app as the control so that every candidate is using the app and we'll give them all the same programs and we'll test. I haven't seen the layout of how the studies, what's going to vary for different candidate or different sample groups. But yeah, I mean it's it's your right like it takes they reckon it's about 10 year turnaround for someone to get like what is fringe science to then prove it, Get a peer reviewed. Then they go that's one study, sweet, we need to get a bunch of people to do similar studies, have the same result, get all those peer reviewed and obviously redone and in test and then once that's done even today with the internet and everyone's got their own opinion, you can have offshoot groups. Yeah, I mean you have offshoot groups of scientists that come up with results. That that makes sense. Um But it contradicts another group of researchers who have spent their entire life researching to prove that carbohydrates should be at the bottom of the food pyramid.

And unfortunately we've got to accept that Ego and money have a part to play in this. So no one wants to spend 50 years of their life proving one point only to have some 22 year old PhD candidate come along and come up with a theory that the then proves that that makes all of your life's work kind of irrelevant. I mean it would suck but it's that's science. So we have to accept it and we have to kind of play around with it and see what we can, What we as we can move forward. Like what we can come up with it is the most up to date valid information and they put a ballpark number on it is about 10 years from from some of the first person to say, Hey this is This is new data. We need to start changing their textbooks about 10 years later. They if you're lucky and they've got enough support then they'll start teaching it at universities. So and and they call like diet dietetics, it's like a soft science which means um there's there's never going to be a one size fits all model like humans are just everyone's going to have a very diet.

Yeah. And the more and the more we learn about you know what, 10, 15 years ago we didn't even really know anything about the gut microbiome. But you know, that's an emerging science and the human genome project which is basically mapped out the fucking human genome which talk like 20 years or something like that man. It's crazy. And we're starting to understand like how much what we ingest, not just food but you know, the environmental factors, external stimulus, blue light and all that sort of shit. We're only just starting to see that stuff now and it's going to be crazy to think in five years time what technology we've gotten and how much information we have right now that we take as Um you know as truth, how much of that is going to be changed or um you know, different or on the other end of the spectrum in 5 to 10 years time. It's crazy man. I always think about like a marketing degree, someone who got a marketing degree, you know, 10 years ago mate, that's fucking it's null and void now. You spent four years at university to get a marketing degree and it's pretty much null and void now because it fucking technologies move so fast man.

And our lifestyle has pivoted so quickly. 100% man. And that's um that's what kind of frustrates me these days with with all the fake news and all the bullshit that floats around the internet and social media especially people do get on a high horse and go no, that's just like with diet diets in particular they say that's just a fad diet, like paleo keto, that's just a fad diet. I listen to the science. I'm like whoa, hang on a minute, you listen to the science As at what date, because like 50 years ago scientists were telling you and doctors were telling you that smoking diaries is good for you, You need to be careful because because science is going to evolve. So the science that you're referring to now, um if someone comes up with a new way of eating or a new way, a new data set to show that you need to sleep in X. Y zed way or training, you need to be prepared to take that in and look at it and go, hey, this might be read the research or at bare minimum go does that make common sense? That's that's how I just put my bullshit filter to everything and go, there's a new concept out and it's backed by science and like everything I do, I kind of revert back to like evolutionary biology and go, does that make sense in the way humans have evolved?

If yes, then I'm going to dig into it and have a look at these studies and see if they can kind of work to bio hack X Y. Z. But if someone comes out and goes I know this is not a bit of research that says you should eat this superfood, it's going to be fantastic. I'm like it doesn't really make sense with the way humans have evolved. So I'm going to stay away from that and I'll let someone else be the canary in the coal mine for the next five years before we dive into that one. Yeah, no good stuff. Make excellent conversation. Can we circle back for a moment because you obviously obviously didn't just go straight into developing an app, The Swiss eight app. I know the background, but if you don't mind, would you, would you care to share some of the other models that you were thinking about previously before you ended up falling onto developing an app? Yeah, Yeah. So I mean, carrying on from that story, like I said, I was cut off from the boys for a few years and and then only catching then eventually after that three, like I started catching up once or twice a year for taxpayers whatever. And then when I did, would throw these ideas around with, with my group of mates around what was working and what, what was causing what we thought was causing anxiety, depression, etcetera, etcetera.

And we started a list of this stuff and we're like, hey, this is, this has taken us a few years to figure out why don't we put this stuff down and get the research behind it and start making some kind of basic training platform to teach all the younger boys or even teach our generation of boys that haven't kind of worked it out the hard way yet. Um so let's let's build a training model and build something that we can just give to the boys so that they don't have to spend 3 to 10 years of going through shit basically. And we can just go, here's a blueprint. It's worked for us. It's backed by a fair bit of research. Roll it out, making the same mistakes that were made. Yeah, there's no point in waiting and watching other people make the same mistakes me, not when it's an easy fix. So we started putting ideas down and um the original model was that we all, I mean most veterans have this idea in the fact that they love the idea of getting a farm and getting away from society and I was like, well that's, that's not a bad idea, let's let's look at getting a property and we can get bunches of veterans on there for a few weeks at the time, we can take them through fitness and lifestyle kind of retraining, um teach them all the lessons learned that we've learned the hard way and I just started to build a business case around it and I mean it was about $2 million bucks that we needed to raise and that's kind of a a massive obstacle that needs overcoming.

So this thing became like we'll do it one day, like we always talked about it for years were like a side project that will slowly add more pieces to, and then one day we'll raise some cash and we'll kick it off, and unfortunately for us, one of my best mate's birdie jesse bird was one of those boys that caught up with us every, every couple of times a year and was talking about this shit, and he ended up killing himself a couple of years ago, and that was, I mean, that was the catalyst. Unfortunately, we waited for that catalyst to come along, but that was a catalyst for me and a couple of boys to go, enough's enough, like having, having a job or basically anything else in life, trying to make money, nothing is really important, um if if our mates are going to start dropping off and and I guess there was, you could kind of feel it, that jesse wasn't gonna be the last one, I mean, from one area, there's been at least for the blocks in our circle now, then there's there's plenty, plenty more, Obviously, the stats in the veteran community are way too high, but we could feel that that wasn't gonna be the first one, sorry, there wasn't gonna be the last one like that, no one gives a fuck if we're poor forever.

Um we've got to figure out a way to put this thing together and get it out to people like now, um and and I guess my wife or ex wife kind of now is um was a digital designer. My brother is a software engineer and I don't really know what the fuck I didn't think of this earlier. We need to put this information in that it will cost a bit of money upfront. But once it's on there and that it's the content on the platform, it's, it's pretty low cost to get it to people and you can get it to people anywhere. So we pivoted straight away from Trying to figure out how to raise $2 million bucks to trying to figure out how to get a couple 100 grand together to build this app and get some content on it and get it out to people. Um and that's what got us to kind of today. We, we ended up raising the money myself and just, well ex wife, me and rent mortgage the house and raise a bit of money from family and um slowly started getting, we've got a few little grants from from ourselves and got it off the ground.

I mean the grants came after that was ready, but that's where we got to today, so we've got an app um it's in the process of being kind of rebuilt so that we have now, I mean in the last two years since we've been running this thing, we have gained a bit more support from a few different companies in Australia a little bit more from some of the, the rsl's around new south Wales so that we could get a team of guys who can develop properly and design it so that we can keep it all in house and Within the next couple of months, like I said earlier before off camera mate, we'll have a few announcements in about 6-8 weeks. That will we pumping this thing hard going forward. Yeah. Nice man. Can you just touch on, you already spoke about the four principles or the main principles of Swiss eight? Can you go through the eight principles for us? For the listeners? Yeah. So the top four, I mean we call the top four, bottom four. So the top four is fitness, nutrition, mindfulness and sleep. Uh, and that we call those the top four because they are the holistic health lifestyle principles, um, that we, we asked, we try and get people to start with first build a routine around those four principles and then once you're happy and you're comfortable that all that, that has become habit and it is a routine.

Then we've got minimalism, discipline, time management and personal growth and they are basically life hack kind of principles. So I mean, where, where we came to these, we did a bunch of surveys and we reached out to all the boys and try to figure out what was causing mental health decline once they left the military and there's a few different key areas that came back. One of them was routine, like the military gives you a strict routine and then as soon as you get out, you almost deliberately fuck the routine because you like the ones, I don't know. I yeah, that's it. You repel, I'm not fucking getting out of bed, I'm not shaving, I'm not doing this for. Exactly. And then, so routine failure was one um lots of, lots of tribe was, was a big one. Um loss of identity, loss of purpose. Uh, so we needed to figure out a way to, to the tri part in the isolation part. We had to figure out a way to reconnect people and we had to figure out a way to get routine. Um, and the routine, the big one around those holistic health principles, the top four, then the bottom four identity and purpose were like how everybody, I mean everyone we talked to, they, no matter how long you been out of the military, like being a veteran is a big part of your identity and and we found that if you can keep like if you leave the military and for the rest of your life, you're looking back and that is the biggest part of your identity, then unfortunately the more you look back, the more that is linked to depression because you're going, the best parts of my life behind me, that was the heyday, Everything else is going to be worse, shitter and shitter.

So we need to get personal growth is the massive one for us because if we can on the app we can teach people new skills, get people out of their comfort zone. Again, learning whether it's just a hobby or hopefully the idea is you can turn that hobby into something that becomes part of your identity, so it might be learning how to bow hunt or learning how to fish or learning how to sail or whatever, learning new languages, Just just learning, continuing that growth pathway is a massive part of fixing the problem because it helps to re identify who you are and what your skill set is. And then, I mean if you Are passionate enough about one of those hobbies, you can turn it into your purpose, you can use that thing to go right, this is now going to become my focus in life moving forward. Um and you take the identity and purpose box and I think you're far 50% of the way to solving the mental health problem because the military gives you such strong identity and strong purpose. Uh and if you take that away without finding what your new identity and purpose is going to be, it's a big hole.

Yeah, yeah, absolutely, man. Um so which principles have you found to be the most useful for you? I mean you did speak about the wheels falling off, so to speak. Um what was like the biggest two or three things that you identified that once you started putting back into practice, like just made a huge world of difference to you. Um nutrition is obviously, I think that is the biggest, nutrition is the biggest principle that I that I want to follow fitness. I mean, it's hard, right? So fitness is a massive because it's always the first go to like if I can get my training program on track, that sets because I always trained first thing in the morning. So that sets my entire day up, if I train hard and trained properly in the morning, mental clarity, everything like I've ticked the box, I've achieved something. Um So that that I guess should be one of the biggest, and that is why that is the first thing that you'll see on the app, but at the same time, if I know with fitness, nutrition and sleep at the top, if I keep training, but my diet goes to shit.

I noticed it a lot more than if I eat healthy and don't train. Uh So interesting. So that's where it gets hard, it's hard to know which and then sleep, mate when I get to sleep. This is a fucking analogy, I got out of a book the other day, It's like fitness, nutrition and sleep. Other three primary things to get your life back on track. Um If you don't change for a week, they're also the first things to go out the window when you get fucking tired when we're under the pump man when we're under stress when we're going through adversity and things like that, you know, we typically lose our fitness first, we stopped moving, stopped going to gym, don't have time to go to the gym and then we don't feel very good. We make poor decisions when it comes to food. You know, we're stressed out our ability to manage our manage our stress and our autonomic nervous system that affects our sleep and then that has this this fucking vicious cycle man. So it's like everything is interrelated. But yeah, yeah, so that's yes, that's when individually I would say nutrition and sleep would be the biggest too. But like sleep, I'm reading this book at the moment after bring the title of, I kind of remember the front cover of it.

Um and then the quota gave in the book was finished nutrition and sleep is what everyone focused on to get their life on track and he goes and they always put sleep last. Everyone tries to get their food and their fitting squared away first and then they start thinking about sleep. But if you don't train for a week, how do you feel if you don't eat for a week, you want to feel good survival. If you don't sleep for a week, you are fucked, fucked, Bring it back for a day, right? So if you have a day out of the gym, you're good, if you have a day fasting, you're probably even better. But you're good day of no sleep mate. You are in the hurt locker. So realistically I would put sleep at the top but holistically as an individual one sleep at the top. But holistically I know that my diet and sleep are better when I trained. So I mean where do you balance it out if you're going to scale them? Which one needs to be prioritized? And then sorry that go on that I was going to dive into another big long one mate. So you go, I was just gonna ask like obviously that's that's going to be dependent on the individual rights.

So for me, I know that sleep is the number one thing um for me if I don't eat, if I don't sleep very well then that's going to affect my energy level is going to affect my hormone regulation, you know my willpower and my want and desire to get up and train and then that affects my um eating and my decisions and all that other stuff. So but I like what you just said about, you know if you don't you don't sleep for a week. Um And the other thing is I read a research paper recently about um the effect of even just a little bit of sleep deprivation. So they took these um they took these participants from eight hours sleep at night to six hours sleep a night for a total of seven days and what they found was the gene expression, the DNA expression was different man, the immune function. Cell expression was down regulated and then inflammation and all of these other inflammatory markers and stress responses. That cell expression was up regulated.

And also these killer cells which are basically like immune assassins that go around the body and you kill off create antibodies and kill off all of these um, you know, bad pathogens and things like that uh massively down regulated, which then affects the immune system, which then affects your ability to digest, absorb assimilate food and has an impact on everything else. Man. So super interesting stuff. Yeah, man talking and that's, that's what I'm touching on earlier. I was like, I'm not an athlete, I'm not training to be a high, high performer anymore. Everything I do as far as food, fitness and sleep is all about immune function. Um, I mean, I notice if I have one night, a bad sleep that I will wake up feeling like I'm like flu like symptoms. Um, and I mean you get rid of him in a couple of days, but um, that is sleeps a big one and I think it's such a, such an undervalued under focused area when it comes to health at the moment, but slowly getting out there is a big necessity, but going back going back and we're on the front porch.

Oh sorry. I was just gonna say personal growth outside of the the top three fitness, nutrition and sleep, definitely as far as getting life on track, I don't want to take value away from, from mindfulness and meditation. Um I don't I'm not yet in a habit of doing it every day, I use it more of a, I guess it's a little bit reactive which is a bit shit but I use it if I've got something that I need to prepare myself mentally for or do a lot of meditation or if I'm getting a bit anxious over anything, that's what I use meditation more. But the big one for minus personal growth and that is if I and in like a rat or a holding pattern or I feel like I'm not learning something new or I'm not progressing, I just feel shit about life and so I'm constantly at the moment that I put personal growth as a high high focus area so whether it's reading books or listening to podcasts or um talking to blokes like yourself or or tradition or anyone who's like a subject matter expert in their area and trying to pull like um gems of knowledge from them so that I can continue to learn like it's so important, you can't as soon as you stand still mentally or physically you're in trouble.

So personal growth for me is is a massive one. Yeah, I like that man that that kind of segues into my next question, which is what are some of the resources that you've gone to over the years to kind of build this um proactive model that you've got here. You're obviously covering you know a number of different topics, a number of different principles um where has a lot of your knowledge come from? Most of it starts with podcast. I mean like I mean anyone who hasn't heard of the joe Rogan podcast probably doesn't listen to podcast but Rogan um he's a great podcast obviously, but it's it's the guest that he gets on. So I listen to a lot of his podcast. Um and then if he has a guest on that that is intriguing, I'll listen to their podcast or look most of these guys have got books or whatever. I read their books and a lot of these guys they're not they're not out looking to kind of protect their own I. P. They're just trying to share knowledge and so in their books they're always referencing other people. So I mean Jordan Peterson for example, you read his books and he's referencing 10 other sites and then you'll write them down and I go away and find that that person's stuff and and dive into that and you kind of go down the rabbit hole with half of the people on Rogan's podcast.

But um yeah that's that's where it all started I think with picking up just just trying to go on google and start from scratch, it's hard to know like what you're reading is legit or if this is just a bullshit blog page. Um so everything I get I guess is either referred from someone or referred from a podcast and then over time you develop a trust for the person, you're getting these referrals from whether it's someone you know or if it's the podcast, like you're getting you develop trust. I strongly believe in a lot of the things that Jordan Peterson discusses and so if he recommends a book or recommends another podcast or or a person then I credit that fairly highly and I'll go into reading that person's stuff obviously open mindedly, but also with a base line assumption that they're going to be pretty legit? Yeah, I mean that's what, yeah, that's that's pretty similar to my philosophy as well is you know, um on the head strengthening edition coach at Tiger and I run development sessions with my coaches and um you know, one of the, one of my coaches the other day, I was sitting down, having, having breakfast with her and going through some online coaching um protocols and um you know, lessons learned and things like that and she was like who are your mentors, like what mentors if you had rattled off a number of mentors that have had in person and via podcasts and courses books and things like that and you know, my philosophy is exactly what you just said.

Find someone that you trust in a specific field. So with Jordan Peterson for example he's a psychologist. Is he? What is he focused on? Yeah. The psychological component. Right. So yes. Sorry. No I was just gonna say. Yeah so it was a couple of half a second delay. Yeah as a psychologist um focus on cutting the stupidity out of the universities. Yeah. Yeah but if I'm looking at strengthening conditioning then I'm going to go to another specialist. If I'm looking at shoulder health and I'm going to go to another specialist. I'm looking at hip health and spine health. I'm going to go to another specialist and I've got these kind of mentors in different areas of my life that you know that I refer to and if they refer to someone else and they've got some knowledge from another person like you said I'm going to go down that rabbit hole, I'm going to explore that and and you know, see where that goes. So no that's cool man, I like that. So How can people get in contact with you if they want to um partner up with Swiss eight or um make donations or just get in contact with you guys and kind of help out where they can.

Yeah I mean websites are primary platform um Swiss eight dot org and just like swiss number eight dot org. Um People can make donations or they can Yeah. Nice. Um or there's a contact form on on different pages there. There we are in the process of building a little bit of new stuff for the website, but um there's parts on there where we are trying to fatten out like a health network, so it's our, the stuff that we can refer so that we can allow people to go, hey if these boys are we got chicks on your team to, but if these people have recommended it and I trust them, then these guys are obviously good to go. Um and a lot of those resources on that page are veteran owned businesses. So there's a little web form down the bottom if you want to get in touch to recommend something or if you want to become one of the businesses that we work with, but we're definitely looking for more predominantly veteran businesses in the space of one of these eight. So if you've got a gym or subs company or health food restaurants, if you have anything, if you manufacture kit that the boys could use or um anything that aligns with the values of what suicide is trying to put forward.

We want to have a look at your staff, obviously check it out, we're gonna make sure that it's high quality because we are about promoting high quality stuff. Um and and then work out a way to kind of work together and use this charity to not just deliver mental health tools but to promote veteran businesses because that's taking those boxes to write like those veterans that they're starting businesses and we can help them be successful then that gives help assist with purpose and identity and all that kind of stuff too. So yeah, primarily through the website. Make Yeah. Nice mate, I'm going to put you on the spot now buddy, when is obviously the apps in a rebuilding process at the moment? When is that likely going to relaunch again? Yes, so we've got the, has had in mind, so two weeks after this drops. Okay, so it's probably starting to snow outside and cut me off me. But yeah, so a couple of weeks after that we we are in the process of rebuilding the whole app. We've we've we had an external team that helped build us start obviously super low budget, but we did get to the point where we like, we want to go higher level of this thing.

Um Do we spend six months fixed, putting patches over over bugs and fixing problems or do we just go blow it as a blind and stuff? So from scratch which we decided to do, so the teams rebuilding at the moment, um there is still the up is still in the ups or it'll just mean that on the day that the new model, the new, the bones of it rebuilt it will go live as an update. So people just updated and it will be, you won't notice any difference really. Um there's a few features that we're gonna cut away to get the base model perfected. So um we're in, yes, it Probably two weeks after this goes live, there'll be an update available. It will be all the programs or the calendar, the ability to build a routine around all this programming will still be there. A few of the minor things like shopping cart and um some of the points, the leaderboard stuff will not be visible for another couple of weeks after that. Um but yeah, it's one of those things, we want to be a brand that it recommends high quality products, so we have to make sure we're high quality as well and to do that at the moment, the quickest way to get from where we're at two extremely high quality is to do a complete rebuild.

Um yeah, call me um so how can people get onto the app? It's in, it's in both apps also Apple and google play store. Um or if you, if you're struggling to find and navigate your way around, there's always links on our website as well to find the app and get the download links, perfect for those listening at home can just give a brief overview of how the app works. So once I download the app, I fire it up, like what happened from there. Yeah, so you downloaded basic, gradually normal onboarding stuff for any normal lab, then you'll land on the dashboard screen, which I'll give you the version for the two weeks post this podcast because the dashboard will change a little bit. We we kind of made it similar to the best way to explain, it's kind of like netflix, so you've got eight categories of health um and they'll just scroll across like with netflix, you've got comedies and dramas and whatever. So you have fitness, nutrition, mind from the sleep, then all the way down through the eight. Uh and then as you scroll like the dashboard will have all the programs that we've got in those categories, for example, um codes program will be in there um in the fitness section and then there's a couple of other veteran pts, it will have their programming in their um then in the mind from the stuff you've obviously got blind tiger yoga and the different styles of the different routines of yoga that tristan's put forward.

Um and you simply click into those and you have this little preview video talking about. I mean obviously I'm talking to your audience, you're in the video when we shot this thing. So um your codes will explain in a quick kind of teaser, this is what my program is, this is, this is how it works and um this is how many days a week you should do it and then there's a button at the bottom that just has added to my calendar. Uh and if you want to do that when you add it to however many days a week you want to train And that will populate your counselors, calendar screen populates your calendar with um all the workouts for the day. And then from your calendar you just click on all the tiles. Um and it will open up and this is what you work out is and explain, explain your way through the workout. Yeah. So it's basically, people can look at these tools and prioritize what's going to be important for them. So sleep for example, they click on a sleep toll and it comes up with some meditation or yoga need a or something like that to help people get to sleep And they schedule that in if they want to be asleep at 10:00 for example, then they scheduled that in at 9:00. They go through that process, they get sleepy, you know, um down regulate central nervous system and then ideally fall asleep at 10 o'clock.

And then the next day they get up they go click on nutrition. Um And then, you know, under nutrition, there's a heap of different um uh meal meal plans and things like that. And then, you know, using pretty pretty basic foods, right? But you know, high quality foods. Um And then you can, you can log that in for say seven o'clock, 12 o'clock, five o'clock, et cetera. Um And then, you know, what's, so what's the deal with that? Can people put in calories, macronutrients and things like that will come up with a meal plan or they're pretty preset. No, So that is, I mean we, we actually had this conversation three days ago is when we're going to start bringing into in macros, um, I don't want to for at least another three months because the, the idea is this is the focus of this happens to build routine. So it's, yes, I mean, your, your fitness program will tell you exactly what the workout of the day is and the nutrition programs will give you recipes. Um, but the idea is not to get people to wrapped around the axle is going, how many calories in my burning, what is my workout intensity?

How many, what are the macros and my food will get there later. But the idea to start with is to go, I just want to train at six in the morning every day and then do that for a few weeks ago. I'm now in the habit of getting up and training at six AM every day or whatever that time maybe. And the sleep stuff. It's, it's, there is some tools in there to help you get to sleep. But as important as that is, I am going to bed at nine o'clock every night? And the idea is on your calendar, you will be told you're going to bed at nine o'clock every night. So you're building a routine around these habits. Um and over time obviously as with any business we're going to progress in what the capabilities and tracking biometrics, like plugging into wearables and tracking macros and stuff like that is on the cards. Um there's plenty of people, plenty of that's out there doing that already by area. Our focus is mental health primarily. And then to improve that, we want to get people's lifestyle into a structured routine first. Yeah. Yeah, I like that man, I like that. So you could essentially um structure and you get up in the morning, you schedule in a workout at six o'clock, you go on, click on my training program that walks you through all of the exercises, what the focus is.

Then you've got breakfast scheduled in at 7 30 you've got a meal plan there, then you've got um you know, it might be some mindfulness at lunchtime or something like that for 10 minutes and then you can kind of schedule in all of these different principles of swiss, say it throughout the day and then once you have those, those habits built in, then you can start layering on top of those. Yeah, correct. Yeah. Yeah. Nice man, I like it, I like it, I'm excited to see the new version and uh you know, I'm very happy to be on board. I'm honored to be an ambassador for you guys and I love what you guys are doing mate. So I'll be keeping a close eye on everything that's going on and um providing as much support as I can. Adrian. Is there anything else that you want to finish with mate? No, that was good. Thanks for having me on. I mean not to blow smoke up your mate, We love having you as an ambassador and as a content provider, The stuff you do is obviously high level and that's what we're all about. So it's good to go awesome, appreciate it. Legend, the western world is in the middle of a mental health crisis and our veterans have taken action.

Swiss its team of combat veterans have built a proactive mental health program that is delivered through a mobile app. The app offers users programs in eight categories of health and lifestyle, all proven to reduce anxiety and depression. This holistic model forms your daily routine, aiding you to build structure, improve discipline and take ownership of your life. Once these habits are formed, the app will teach you new skills, skills that can form identity purpose and encourage physical interaction to rebuild your tribe and reduce isolation

Episode 23: Interview with Swiss 8 Founder Adrian Sutter
Episode 23: Interview with Swiss 8 Founder Adrian Sutter
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