A year on from his jaw-dropping Men’s Health magazine cover shoot, Lincoln Lewis is still just as dedicated to the health and fitness routine that saw him shed an impressive 12kg in 12 weeks.
“I rebuilt myself as a person,” the former Home and Away star tells Yahoo Lifestyle of the way he overhauled his diet and exercise regime to achieve his cover-worthy physique.
Prior to that, a career lull and a bout of depression saw the 32-year-old slip into poor eating habits — his “vices” were chocolate and cookies — and neglect his physical health.
“The last couple of years when things haven’t been the best, when motivation is lacking sometimes you look for a pick me up and for me it would always be shitty food like chocolate or chips,” he says.
“It just spiralled into me being unmotivated and undisciplined and unhappy with where I was at.”
A chance meeting with the editor of Men’s Health, Scott Henderson, at a golf game turned out to be the wakeup call Lincoln needed.
“Scotty and I were having a chat at dinner later about our mindset and goals. I remember talking about inspiring, fit people like Michael B Jordan, Chadwick Boseman and Tom Hardy who all happen to be former Men’s Health cover stars. Then Scott said, ‘We’ll get you on the cover, mate.’”
“I strongly believe that meeting Scott was a complete life-changing experience. It was the motivation I needed to flip me out of my mindset,” he says.
So began Lincoln’s herculean effort to return to the trim, taut and tanned Summer Bay surfer that viewers fell in love over a decade ago. He paired up with celebrity trainer Jono Castano — the man behind Rebel Wilson’s transformation — who not only put him through his paces in the gym but also introduced him to the world of organic food.
“My trainer ate nothing but organic and I think that’s the first time I took notice,” he says.
Working with nutritionist Jordan Hartley also helped Lincoln deepen his understand of food and set him on a path of eating healthy, fresh produce.
Today, Lincoln remains passionate about what he puts into his body, so when Australian Organic Limited, the nation’s peak industry body for organics, asked him to become an ambassador for Australian Organic Awareness month, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to learn more – and what he discovered blew his mind.
Put simply, not everything that claims to be ‘organic’ actually is because the rules around the use of the term are so loosely defined. To brand their products as ‘organic,’ Aussie manufacturers are currently required to ensure that it contains just a single ingredient from organic origins.
Many manufacturers never become ‘certified organic’ by a body such as Australian Organic Limited because the process is entirely voluntary, however, Australian Organic Limited is pushing for better regulation around the term ‘organic’ this year.
“This journey has been very eye-opening and informative because there’s so much that we as consumers don’t know,” Lincoln says.
“As I learned more I was a little bit frustrated… as a consumer you feel a bit let down,” he admits.
To make shopping a bit easier he keeps an eye out for Australian Organic’s official Bud certification logo which ensures a product has ‘gone through stringent testing and is certified organic’.
Lincoln was given the opportunity to travel throughout his native Queensland meeting passionate certified organic farmers and producers, many of whom were following in the footsteps of their great-great-grandparents. Back then, there was no use for the term ‘organic’ as avoiding pesticides or hormones was just par for the course.
“They’ve done the research and paved the way which makes it easier for newer producers to adopt organic practices,” he explains.
Lincoln recalls a particularly moving moment with a wheat farmer who opened up about his personal connection to organic produce.
“His voice started to shake so we had to take a second, then he said that he and his wife’s struggles to conceive a child saw them switch to an entirely organic diet,” he says.
The couple now has a daughter and, even though there’s no scientific correlation between the two, they’re inclined to say that the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.
For Lincoln, choosing to go organic makes him feel good on multiple levels; he feels physically ‘less sluggish’ but also gets a kick out of using his buying power to support Aussie farmers and ethical, sustainable farming practices.
With everything he’s learnt over the past year or two, Lincoln now wants to pay it forward.
“With the platform that I have in this industry, that’s the main thing that I want to use to encourage and motivate others,” he says.