We thought that January was a great time to talk about exercise, basically because everyone does don’t they? Our approach to exercise is - it’s essential in maintaining our mental and physical wellbeing, and we’re here to explain why that is where it should begin and end.


It’s an age old theme, the diet starts in Jan, I’ll join the gym in January, but did you know that of everyone that joins in Jan, 80% will quit within five months and 14% quit before the end of February. It feels as though the New Year brings in ideals of a healthier you, and whilst we love the step towards health we should all remember that our motivations help mould our dedication and we want to make sure that you are thinking about your health and wellness in a sustainable, mindful way.


One of the reasons that we have the Jan influx of gym memberships is because we all overindulge at Christmas. Which is fine, it’s great, it’s one of the best things about the season! What isn’t fine and great is the amount of shame that comes with it. The media floods us with the idea that you need to shift any weight you may have put on, and that the New Year new me mantra is based on physical appearance rather than inward happiness. This has been going on far too long, why have we been conditioned that a certain size, shape or weight is inspirational rather than a certain level of joy or happiness. We are both very privileged to be of the weight and build that is perceived as acceptable or even inspirational and whilst we work hard at the gym our motivation has never been a certain aesthetic and we really want to make sure that everyone adopts healthy practices for the right reasons.


We have both always been quite active. Jordan gained a sports scholarship to college, I was a gymnast and we both represented our schools and uni’s on teams. Movement is almost in our DNA but we recognise how privileged we are to be able to move daily with no barriers or complaints. It is perhaps because of this that we love exercising. A lot of people see exercising as a chore, as something that has to be treated as a punishment for gluttony, or something to groan through. The ability to move and exercise is a blessing, something we should be grateful for rather than bemoan. The narrative that exercise is a punishment or a means to an end for a type of aesthetic is something that needs to end. Exercise is a way of thanking your body for the ability to move freely, building your strength and your movement to make sure you remain healthy and freeing your mind so you can gain clarity. Maybe if we reframe exercise from a vehicle to look a certain way, to a blessing that supports your incredible body we would all enjoy it a lot more.


One of the major reasons that I love exercise is because I love seeing what my body can achieve. If you’ve ever tried to walk on your hands, you may feel like the mere act of walking, of supporting our entire body and moving in perfect synchronicity is an unbelievable skill that we take for granted. Our bodies can do incredible things and I love the challenge of seeing what else we can achieve. During the first lockdown, we became interested in Crossfit. The brand and the Company are nothing we believe in, but the types of exercise were so interesting to us. Combining strength, cardio, and often gymnastics; these new workouts gave us new skills to learn and new ways to measure improvement. Going from barely being able to lift a barbell, to doing snatches at half my body weight was such an incredible feeling! I started in May barely able to string two skips together to being able to smash out fifty double unders without missing a step. The improvement and growth that exercise brings is such a key to why I love it so much. The 1% improvement I can see every time I’m trying to learn something new makes me feel so satisfied that I want to keep learning and trying more.


Another reason why weight has never been my motivation for exercising is that I see more change in my mental state rather than my physical appearance. My best ideas come when I’m running, my best moments of clarity come when I completely nail a new move and when I’m at the gym I’m focusing on exactly what I’m doing, being completely present in the moment. There are some days when I don’t get to the gym, but I find that if a few of these days pass, my mood shifts. I’m less productive, slower, a little bluer. For me, exercise gives me so much more mentally than physically and I think more people should see exercise for what it is, a way to grow mentally and physically, not a means to alter the way you look!


And so to the main point. Hopefully we have gone a little way in shifting your perception from a way to lose weight to a way to boost your wellbeing; but whilst that is great in theory, in practice it is harder. Exercise feels like a chore rather than a privilege because getting started is the hardest thing. Going for a run takes effort, staying on the sofa doesn’t. Getting into some leggings and going out in the cold feels like torture over staying snuggled in bed. The worst thing to do is to try and do everything at once. Don’t grab your trainers and try and run a 10k today, make small, sustainable changes. Exercise for 5 minutes, or 10 minutes. Try out a new youtube video on morning yoga, start doing the couch to 5k. Make small changes in how you move your body – rather than focusing on the amount of calories you burn. Moving more each day will get your body fired up and yearning for more. Small steps will gradually build up over time and that 10 minute video will turn into a 45 minute flow before you know it. And remember exercise is fun! On one of our many walks we noticed our local park had a basketball court. Cue a quick £10 and delivery time later we were on the concrete playing for over two hours! Thousands of calories were burned but most importantly utter joy was found. Jordan hasn’t played basketball since school, and aside from some games of Horse on a surfing trip, I’ve never played. The different moves and different skills kept us so entertained and happy, that couple of hours flew by and we were back on the court the next day.

So don’t think of exercise a box to tick off, take it as an opportunity to try something new and find even more joy!