About Us

Good health is built into our DNA. The human body didn't evolve to be a junk food eating desk jockey, we thrive as a high input, high output species with a diverse diet and well rounded capabilities.

Somewhere along the line this has been lost in the noise of pills, potions, fad workouts and miraculous cures.

Everything we do is affected by or enabled by our health:

  • The drive and mental clarity to get that promotion at work.
  • The energy to complete that marathon or triathlon you want to do.
  • The reduced stress and confidence to enjoy happy social lives.
  • And let's be honest, the increased muscle and lower body fat to look good naked!

Health can be either a force multiplier, helping you level up, or it can be the limiting factor that drags you down.

The Natural Edge brings together MINDSET, SLEEP, NUTRITION and TRAINING  in a high performance ecosystem, giving you the tools to maximise every area of your life.

How It Began

Simon and John are former elite soldiers who have made health and fitness their life’s work. Their journey into human performance started 10 years ago and is now embodied through The Natural Edge.

Both former Royal Marines, they came together in 2008 when serving with UK Special Forces. The practical applications of working in this world fueled an already strong desire to find the best strategies for optimum performance.

The Natural Edge is the culmination of the lessons learned in a job that required success at multiple and diverse challenges, whilst placing huge demands on the body and mind. Being strong, fast and agile, with the endurance to perform repeatedly, and on demand, was essential in ever-changing, dynamic environments where second place could result in serious injury or death.

What began as a deep interest in maximising human potential, has evolved into a philosophy that enables anyone to move beyond their limitations. TNE started as a passion project in 2017, in the form of an Instagram account to show that there is an alternative to the conventional wisdom that fails so many people.

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What We Stand For

The world of health and fitness has some brilliant people doing amazing things and changing lives. It is also full of misinformation, half truths, and complete rubbish that confuses and over complicates things.

One ‘right’ way to achieve health does not exist. The fact is many approaches can work, but you have to find one that fits you!

The Natural Edge stands by the following guiding principles:

1. Health First

Health & time are the true currencies of this world. Everything you do is affected by or enabled by health, and putting it first gives you the best chance of living the most fulfilling life you possibly can.

The choices around eating, drinking and training that you make today are the foundations for long term health or lack thereof. And the further you get down the line the harder it is, and the more work is required to reverse damage.

The better physical and mental health you have the better you are going to perform, you have one life and you can either live it to your full potential or battle every day to just survive.

2. Broad Principles & Specific Actions

A ‘one size fits all’ solution simply does not exist when it comes to health and fitness. There are broad rules and principles which everyone can benefit from, but they must be applied in a specific way. If you attempt to copy exactly what someone else is doing the chances of getting the same results are slim.

Your starting point (level of ‘health’ right now), combined with your personality type, personal circumstances, level of motivation, genetics, etc. will dictate how this process will look.

We are all individuals and should be treated as such.

3. The Body Follows The Mind

The belief that meaningful change is all about willpower is a myth. Habits are where the true power lies, because what you repeatedly do ultimately forms the person you are.

Small, consistent actions are the key to achieving your goals, in health and elsewhere in life. Becoming the type of person you want to become is about the daily process you follow.

If you're serious about making real change focus on lifestyle, not life changing.

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4. Our Evolutionary Template

We do not need to go back to the days of living in caves, but as biological beings we are physiologically adapted to run, to play, to hunt, to be active. It’s in our DNA.

Today many of us live in a way that jars with our natural instincts. In unambiguous terms, we are genetically wired to:

  • Follow the natural rhythm of the day by sleeping in the dark, and waking with light.
  • Eat a wide range of plant based whole foods most of the time (foraging and gathering), with some animal products (hunted when available).
  • Move regularly (a mix longer based endurance, with short high intensity bursts and the lifting of heavy things).
  • Be outside as much as possible (in natural light).
  • Have strong social bonds (community).

Living this way 100% of the time is neither practical, or appealing, but there are simple day to day actions you can take to get the same benefits.

By combining the advantages of modern living, with the evolutionary habits which make us strong, fit, and healthy you get the best of both worlds.

5. Reconnect With Nature

For most of human history, people chased or were chased, turned dirt over, planted seeds and took in vitamin D from the sun. But now millions of us have completely decoupled ourselves from the natural world.

Reconnecting with nature allows us to be more mindful about the food we eat, the products we consume and the way we treat the planet we all cohabit.

It also offers the opportunity for adventure, to get out there and make stories! From the green city spaces, to the untamed wilderness, the simplicity of the great outdoors allows us to grow and become our best selves.

6. Critical Thinking With Integrity

Being human makes us all susceptible to cognitive biases. Approaching subjects with rational and flexible thinking counters this as much as possible. Add a dose of skepticism with the requirement for evidence, and you move away from emotional speculation and closer to science.

Authenticity through actions, words, decisions, methods, and outcomes, regardless of circumstance or environment, make us who we are.

There is not a single word on this website or elsewhere that does not emanate from that belief.

Who We Are

John Sykes-Popham

Hi, I’m John, the analytical side of this team! I was lucky enough to grow up on a smallholding running around outside with my two brothers and sister, which instilled a deep love for everything in the outdoors.

After spending some time figuring out how to cheat the eyesight test (I was too short sighted) I joined the Royal Marines in 2007. My 10 year career saw me deploy to Afghanistan twice and spend the last 8 years working in the Special Forces group. This was also the period that Simon and I pushed the boundaries of what we could achieve with fitness, always looking for that extra edge.

The last few years of my life have been marked by a fight with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. But having the condition has further fuelled my passion for finding the best combination of training and nutrition for optimum health. In many ways I am a canary in the coal mine, as I have to have as many health interventions as possible in place to get close to leading a normal life. I've tried many things but following TNE system is the best thing I have found to support my recovery.

I love a good British TV comedy, have a rescue Bali Heritage dog called Seseh, and have a passion for anything involving strength and fitness.

Simon Jeffries

Hi, I’m Simon, the networker and reluctant face of TNE’s Instagram account! A childhood spent growing up on a farm taught me the values I hold today around food and nature, and the power of exploring the wild.

Joining the Royal Marines after university saw me travel and work across the globe, from patrolling under humid jungle canopies in Malaysia, to skiing the icy snowfields of Norway.

Passing selection and serving with Special Forces was the culmination of a lifelong passion, but three tours of Afghanistan later I decided to strike out for something different.

A brief interlude working for a consultancy in London coincided with a fresh look at every area with the potential to boost my performance. Things such as when and how often I was eating, the real effects of coffee, how to get the most benefit from sleep and how I should be eating for gut health. Firing ideas and research back and forth with John, and through trial and error we came up with a system that made sense and worked.

With better results than ever before, and a realisation that our passion was in helping others make the same breakthrough, we realised we needed one complete resource if we were going to make a difference beyond friends and family.

I am happiest in the mountains on a pair of skis or hanging off a rock face, but equally love time amongst friends, and the occasional Netflix binge watch!

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