Ryan Carter is a British nutrition and lifestyle health coach. Find out more about Ryan in our in-depth biography
Ryan Carter is a well-respected British nutrition and lifestyle health coach.
Ryan has a vast array of knowledge and is a critical thinker when it comes to understanding the complex and emerging fields of health optimisation and prevention.
He has worked with world-famous athletes from around the world but he also coaches high achievers or anyone who wants to reach their full potential, both online or in person.
Ryan’s education, along with the network he has created, allows him to rub shoulders with the leaders of the health and fitness industry. This has helped him to expand his wisdom and inform his practice with the latest research, enabling him to offer a bespoke service to his clients.
Ryan is a registered nutritionist, personal trainer, breathwork practitioner and health coach. He also has additional qualifications in other courses and subjects.
His extensive knowledge and generalist outlook make him an authoritative figure in bridging the gap between science and day-to-day real-world situations when it comes to achieving optimal health.
Having been a client on his own health journey and experiencing numerous health issues, he learned first-hand some of the pitfalls of the reductionist approaches taken by many health and fitness coaches.
This experience allowed Ryan to open his eyes to the potential of designing his own coaching model and service to deliver an incredibly unique experience and journey for his clients.
He works one-to-one with clients on a three, six or 12-month basis. Additionally, he delivers cooperate wellness talks and private cooking.
Ryan’s impressive Instagram account (@livevitae) has more than 430,000 followers. His audience follow him for his nutrition and lifestyle advice, nutritious recipes and meal preps.
• Date of birth: 16 September 1986
• Age: 33 years old
• Place of birth: Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, UK
• Nationality: British
• Height: 179cm / 5ft 10in
• Weight: 100kg / 220 lbs
Ryan was passionate about sports growing up. He was an avid footballer and played for school teams and Corinthian-Casuals. He also played cricket for Malden Wanders. Ryan represented his borough, Kingston upon Thames, in both swimming and athletics. He also completed the children’s London marathon.
Ryan surfed his way through secondary school, collecting 11 passes in GCSEs with an A in food technology. He then moved onto Esher College, working his way through A-Levels in Geography and Business Studies. He dropped out of Physical Education and Psychology because of workload pressure and not being the best with academic discipline.
During that time, Ryan was interested in Grime music and started a music crew who featured on a number of private and online radio stations around London. His grime crew, Front Line Soldiers, even had one of their songs played on the well-known radio station Kiss 100 in London.
During this time, Ryan got mixed into a difficult period from others’ influences. He also lost his way in terms of motivation and career while his college friends were going to university.
Being lost in his ways, he got involved with drug dealing, but not using. He attracted some unwanted attention from local gangs and other dealers, who had heard about Ryan’s movements and tried to raid his family house at knife and gun-point. This resulted in Ryan being kicked out of home. He lost all 25 years of social connections and roots in the area, and was transferred to live with his uncle for his own and his family’s safety.
Thankfully, no one was harmed by his actions, aside from them having created a fragile family relationship for a few years while Ryan lived with his uncle.
Whilst living at his uncle’s house in Kensal Rise, he had a horrendous experience with whiskey. This caused him to reevaluate his relationship with alcohol. From that point onwards, he became teetotal. He no longer wanted to need alcohol as a stimulus, and instead sought to have clarity in his decision making, starting on a new path of health and wellbeing.
Ryan was allowed to start working in his family business in an antique shop, located on the world-famous Portobello Road in Notting Hill, London.
He worked there for several years and started buying and selling antiques – this time for himself. He was particularly fond of antique Louis Vuitton trunks and had an eclectic collection of modern vintage antiques.
Ryan then moved out of his uncle’s house and lived with his girlfriend at the time. This sparked his interest (and now passion) in cooking.
Ironically, his earliest inspiration came from television cooking programmes such as Masterchef, Great British Menu, Jamie Oliver and other popular series. He invested in several recipe books and started learning how to create practical ways of replicating their masterpieces.
At this point, the only exercise he was doing was walking his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Demon, and doing cardiovascular-based exercise (typically running and using the cross-trainer).
Ryan’s partner at this time moved away for a job opportunity, leaving him feeling slightly abandoned and isolated.
Having more more time to himself, he became more enticed by the endorphins of cardio-based exercises. He began developing an obsession with a routine of training fasted, with the goal of burning 1,000 calories on a trio of equipment each morning.
At the same time, Ryan’s nutritional intake became extremely high carbohydrate and lacking in protein and fat. He started to control the majority of situations with food, exercise and routine. He was becoming obsessive-compulsive.
He next started to weigh himself daily with the intention of achieving a lower weight each day. Lacking communication, personal support with friends and any role models in his life, from his own unintentional blinded vision, he got down to 55 kilograms, which would most likely be classified as anorexic with an eating disorder.
It reached a breaking point where he finally came to the realisation of the damage he was doing to his body and to the people around him. He found it incredibly hard and difficult to accept and understand what he was doing to himself and break the habits of restriction, excessiveness and chasing the endorphins and weight on a scale.
He was already training at a gym, and he decided to reach out to a personal trainer who he had been impressed with. The trainer took Ryan under his wing. He educated him from the ground up about the basics, with a focus on strength training, diet and lifestyle. This personal trainer dramatically transformed his life and opened the door to a new world of health and fitness that had previously been unknown to him.
After around one to two years of functional strength training and eating a paleo diet template, Ryan crept up in weight and approached 80 kilograms.
His dietary intake dramatically changed to eating ‘nose to tail’ and nutrient-dense with a large amount of protein. He drew inspiration from the popular “Bulletproof Diet” by Dave Asprey and Mark Sisson’s “Primal Blueprint”.
All was going well – but then a stressful period with his relationship and work was followed by a solo holiday trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar on which he contracted a nasty stomach bug.
He took the conventional approach of taking antibiotics, which only temporarily relieved the gastrointestinal symptoms of bloating, food sensitivities and indigestion problems. A few weeks passed and Ryan experienced shingles – an extreme immune response to a dormant herpes virus.
This was the first sign of that Ryan’s internal health was not as great as it appeared on the outside. He suffered from histamine problems, forgetfulness and libido issues for a year or so.
He began digging deeper into health books and podcasts. Ryan worked with a number of nutritionists, who helped to a degree but ultimately lacked the ability to pinpoint the root cause.
Then, Ryan made two substantial discoveries about what was contributing to his poor health.
Firstly, whilst working for his family’s antique business, he learned that ‘damp building syndrome’ and mould in the indoor environment is extremely hazardous and can have damaging effects on human health. He had to leave his job and family business…
Secondly, as an avid bodybuilder, he knew that building muscle requires an abundant supply of protein daily. This led Ryan to a weekly consumption of one to two kilograms of bluefin tuna sashimi. Bluefin tuna is notorious for containing potentially high levels of mercury, which again like mould, is a potentially severe human hazard and associated with brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, kidney damage and much more.
These two discoveries were a ‘lightbulb moment’ for Ryan. After making these key breakthroughs, he enrolled on a nutritional therapy diploma to become a nutritional therapist, for which he has just completed four years of further education.
“I had one hell of a journey. It enabled me to gain first-hand experience in the complicated and saturated health and wellbeing industry,” Ryan explains.
“I feel grateful for my own personal experience and now can offer my expertise, knowledge and wisdom as a powerful positive to someone else.”
When Ryan was beginning his nutritional therapy diploma course, he qualified as a health coach and personal trainer. This enabled him to get a foot in the door in the health and fitness industry, working one to one with clients and building an understanding of how gyms and other clinics operate.
He worked part-time for London’s and UK first functional Hyperbaric oxygen therapy clinic, located in Mayfair, with his good friend Tim Gray.
He began to showcase his creative and simple recipes and wisdom in nutritional and lifestyle medicine on his Instagram page Live Vitae (@livevitae), which means to ‘Live Life’. If you’re not living your life to the best or with a purpose, then what are you doing?
The Instagram account was extremely successful and Ryan is grateful to have a voice and platform on which to share ideas. The daily positive messages he receives from people are touching (although there are also the odd few which require deleting and laughing at!).
He was extremely clear with his intentions and knew his vision early on about being a nutritionist. He set up Live Vitae as a brand and an identity to have a bigger meaning than your typical nutritionist’s Instagram account.
Ryan’s approach to nutrition and health is also radically different to most other nutritionists. He thinks outside of the box and explores areas which are beyond just eating your ‘five a day’, counting calories and steps, weight loss, and taking a probiotic.
Health is an extremely complex subject, and Ryan has a unique way of sharing this knowledge to others in an insightful and straightforward way.
Ryan works with a limited amount of clients, enabling him to spend quality time with clients weekly, so he can dig deeper into research which is always evolving.
“When I talk about mitochondria and the epigenetic influences of environmental signals, outdated practitioners have no understanding of how these powerful factors might be more important than just ‘eating the rainbow’ or going on a juicing frenzy,” Ryan explains.
He has also worked with several well-known brands in the health industry as an ambassador and advisor. He also offers cooperate wellness talks for companies who want to build a health-promoting culture at the workplace.
Diet and Nutrition
As Ryan has tried and tested probably all diets out there except veganism, he explains that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ model to diet and nutrition. What he eats could be radically different after factoring in his training, time of year, or even where he is in the world.
However, his basis of the diet is around eating seasonally, locally and as close to as nature intended as possible.
He is a big fan of animal sources for their nutrients and the satiety effect which has shown to improve fat loss whilst maintaining or improving muscle mass.
He promotes a ‘nose to tail’ eating approach, which includes delicacies such as heart, kidney and liver or even bone broths daily. There is either a carb or fat source which is dictated on the time of year and his current location in the world.
Seafood is also a favourite of his, with oysters, mussels, crab featuring heavily.
He is more specific and cautious with the so-called “superfoods” such as matcha, moringa, broccoli sprouts. He explains that these foods have several built-in defence mechanisms which are present to protect them from being ingested or to help for reproduction purposes (so-called ‘anti-nutrients’ such as oxalates, lectins, sulforaphane etc.) Ryan explains that these foods are not bad – but they need to be applied with context and logic to the individual.
He tries to incorporate an intermittent fasting window, typically eating his biggest meal of the day at breakfast, and then not eating again until he is hungry, which is typically in the late afternoon. From then, he rarely eats again until the next day.
He is not 100 per cent strict with this approach, as his day can change with meetings and travel – but the majority of the time this effective method seems to work and is also backed by research.
Ryan explains that the notion that intermittent fasting needs to be a specific time-controlled parameter can actually become a stress-promoting problem.
Additionally, skipping breakfast or an early meal can mean that you miss the best opportunity for more naturally-improved insulin sensitivity.
This approach has been taken up by busy people in their modern lives who are ‘go go go’ and love the idea of not eating but in fact, it could cause cortisol issues and long term, may trigger cortisol dysfunction and stall weight-loss efforts.
Ryan has a pyramid approach to his training regime.
At the bottom, we have walking, ideally at a moderate pace to get your heart rate elevated, but not so hard that you’re sweating or require gym wear. Walking should be a fundamental exercise for all training regimes.
The next level in his approach is functional strength training, which is Ryan’s favourite. Not your typical bodybuilding splits and exercises – it includes looking at biomechanics and engaging the nervous and cardiovascular systems, in addition to various energy systems, all of which will dictate the time of exercise.
He describes it as a ‘hybrid of Crossfit and bodybuilding’ and it sends powerful signals to every single cell to make adaptations for optimal health.
On top of strength training in the pyramid, he suggests more moderate cardiovascular exercises such as running, cycling, swimming, rowing – essentially steady-state work which brings your heart rate higher.
He does not believe that this should be a daily ritual and promotes the idea of being outdoors as much as possible whilst doing this.
Next up, more movement-focused exercises which promote flexibility, such as yoga, pilates or bodyweight movement such as callisthenics.
This is slower-paced but extremely skilful and demanding or relaxing for the nervous system.
The top of the pyramid is about explosive exercises such as high-intensity interval training like sprints or anything which is going to allow maximum effort from a large number of muscle groups. This would typically be done one to two times per week.
He has no rules in terms of training – it’s about doing the best you can. Investing in a personal trainer to help you in the early stages will pay dividends later on in terms of avoiding injuries and maintaining proper form to build muscle (not grow the ego).
A typical week would invove walking around 20,000 steps each day, strength training three times per week, yoga and bodyweight movement one to two times per week, moderate cardio two to three times per week, and high-intensity training one to two times per week. Different types can also be integrated into the same session so it flows in your day.
Health Optimisation Philosophy
Ryan’s health optimisation philosophy is about nurturing health and stripping back all of the unnecessaries. It’s about removing the obstacles and confusion, giving the body what it needs and allowing it to heal when it is ready.
He explains that human health has dramatically changed along with our modern lifestyles. We live in a completely different world from 100 years ago and on the grand scheme of things in human evolution, that’s a tiny amount of time.
Ryan promotes nature as the greatest healer because it improves our adaptability and signals to our brain, allowing for greater empowerment.
His philosophy involves simple practices such as: breathwork, grounding, being in nature, optimising daylight and sun exposure, maintaining a consistent circadian rhythm, temperature variations from the sauna and cold exposure, movement, food from mother nature and social relationships to create a tribe-like family.
He believes we are in a state of ‘information overload’. We have supplements and biohacking gadgets galore, yet these do not really address the root cause of somebody’s health issues.
Ryan explains that there is no ‘silver bullet’ for anything related to health. Instead, there is a cumulative effect of all the integrated systems of the body. The brain and the nervous system are the most important, as they govern the response to every intervention, change or adaptation.
Essentially, it’s about doing less, not more – and using the powers of the environment from mother nature together with our remarkable human bodies.
Idols and Influences
Ryan’s biggest influence is his circle of close friends and the family he surrounds himself around. They encourage him and provide confidence and support, while also motivating him with their own success. This goes back to health optimisation philosophy of building a ‘tribe’ around you.
In terms of influences in nutrition and health, the top one would be Dr Jack Kruse, a neurosurgeon from New Orleans, in the US. Although Ryan has learnt a great deal from a number of other people in the industry, he feels that Dr Kruse is different in the way of his thinking and consideration of how humans evolved and the environment we live in, both previously and now.