Featuring Jamie Patterson
What does being healthy mean to you?
I think health has two main components - mental health and physical health and that they're far more closely linked than people believe. Physical health is far more simple to describe; providing your body with the food sources it needs to function optimally (getting good healthy energy sources/vitamins and minerals etc), as well as maintaining a healthy weight and body composition - and of course exercising regularly. It's far easier to tell when your physical health is deteriorating, whether that's seeing a difference in the mirror, or being able to feel that you're less fit than you have been in the past (getting out way too of breath walking up library hill after a few too many nights out - we've all been there!)
Mental health is far harder to quantify, and often far harder even to identify its decline. However, I would describe being healthy mentally as being able to keep a positive outlook and enjoying life for the majority of the time. It's also unhealthy to expect everybody to be happy and smiling 24/7 - you can't be happy without being sad every so often, one can't exist without the other! For me, a large part of maintaining good mental health is making sure I eat well and hit the gym regularly and studies have shown that even as little as 2 mins of exercise can begin the release of endorphins that make us feel good!
Tell us about your new venture, 'The Session Plan'.
The Session Plan was born out of my experience whilst I was at university. I've always been really into fitness and training, but when I came to university that fell by the wayside as partying and going out took over. Although it wasn't the only component, being unable to find the balance of keeping healthy and partying contributed to me feeling pretty unhappy at uni and dropping out after second year. I decided I would instead pursue something I had always enjoyed - fitness and training - and qualified as a personal trainer to be able to share that passion with others. I was, and still am, very close to the friends I had made at university and as a result started making training programmes for them to follow. Word started to spread that my programmes worked and I started getting people I didn't even know messaging me to see if they could get involved. It seemed that there was a pretty big gap in the market for people who want to party but still want to look good and feel good - so as a result, I've created The Session Plan. It's a workout programme that combines my knowledge of the challenges of a party lifestyle, with my knowledge as a personal trainer to counteract these challenges. It's specifically designed for young people who want to go out and party 2-3 times a week, but are still keen to stay fit - and is the first fitness programme of its kind.
Why do you think it's important to factor in someones social life to your plan?
I think where a lot of people really fall down when attempting to follow workout programmes is that the programmes expect you to forget about everything else other than training and eating out of tupperwear. For someone coming from a relatively 'normal' lifestyle, its just too much of a shock to the system and ends up being unsustainable. As well as the that the first thing you're told to cut out is alcohol - which is pretty boring.
Have you found that maintaining regular exercise and having fun has helped with your mental health?
Absolutely - without exercise I can feel my mental health getting far worse and I find myself a lot more unhappy. It always amazes me the extent to which training changes my outlook on my day, and how intrinsically linked the training and my mental health are! I'm no mathematician but this equation definitely applies to me: 'A bad day = a bad day. A bad day + gym = a good day'.
What advice can you give to someone who is struggling to find the balance?
I'd say that knowledge is the key - if you can learn about what it takes to stay fit (diet/training) as well as know what kind of bad effects your lifestyle is having on your body then you're well equipped to start finding that balance. Going in blind and just hoping to wake up hangover free and hit the gym without really knowing what you're going to do when you get there doesn't really cut it.
To find out more about 'The Session Plan', please visit his official site: https://www.thesessionplan.com/ or visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SessionPlanJamie/