There is almost no one who hasn’t been affected by the challenges this year has presented, which is why it’s so important to keep in touch with your mind and body, and listen to your needs.
Here at Incu, we’re huge advocates for mental health and wellbeing awareness, which is why we’ve teamed up with our friends over at Sydney’s Paramount Recreation Club. We caught up with James, the club’s Head of Health and Fitness, to chat about how Paramount approaches wellness, the importance of physical activity, and how to keep motivated as we slowly get back to normal life.
Tell us a little about yourself and your role at Paramount Recreation Club
My name’s James Jackson, I am head of health and fitness at the Rec Club. I look after everything fitness related and manage as well as work alongside some of the best trainers in Sydney. I'm from the North of England where I grew up with a very active family, revolving around rugby league so health and fitness has always been something I have focused on. I played rugby league at a professional level for a few years and decided to study sports at university, alongside my personal training certificate.
After university I moved to London, working out of health clubs and started my own personal training business before emigrating to Sydney a few years ago. When I first moved I had a meeting with the business owners of Paramount. I was really on board with what they wanted to do and understood their vision of making people healthier from an all-encompassing, wellbeing perspective.
Paramount Recreation Club focuses on wellbeing. Can you tell us how your club approaches this differently to other clubs and gyms?
The whole business has been created with busy city people in mind. It brings together elements of physical, mental and social health for a holistic approach. We want our members to perform better, but most importantly feel better.
The Rec Club is on a sunny, open rooftop terrace full of greenery. We want our members to spend time at the club, there is no pressure of rushing to work. Our club is designed for them to relax and engage with the community.
Our health program covers all bases designed around three pillars of strength, conditioning and movement. I believe everyone should have a well-rounded approach to their physical fitness. There are so many benefits to being strong, but why not be flexible and fit at the same time? We host monthly members events which I love planning. There will be a physical element to the event and after we reward ourselves with either an alcoholic or non alcoholic beverage social on the roof.
You provide a holistic approach to wellbeing with your wellness food packages. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
We have a Kiosk which is open each day of the week from breakfast onwards. We want to connect our fitness offering with our food. Our Kiosk menu is nutrient dense healthy food that replenishes the body with all its macronutrient needs after a class. If our members have a meeting straight after their session, our protein shakes are always popular to get the necessary protein fix.
At Incu we are also advocates for mental health and wellbeing within our own community and staff. How important is exercising to someone’s overall mental health?
Mental health to me personally is a huge contributor to our overall health. There are many physical and neurological benefits to training. Exercise helps with anxiety and stress whilst improving sleep, confidence and mood.
Fitness classes are also a great way to meet new people and connect with others on a regular basis.
What simple steps can people take during this difficult time as we come out of quarantine and isolation to stay mentally and physically strong and healthy? What classes would you recommend that are available at Paramount for individuals trying to cope with anxiety and the stress of quarantine and isolation?
For relaxing at a slower pace we offer Yin and Vinyasa yoga along with our new breath workshop class which has become very popular. If we are looking to relieve a bit of stress, Boxing 101 or a Paramount High will get those endorphins pumping.
What’s some advice you can give people who have let their fitness regime slide? How can people get back on the horse?
Just get back on the horse… I like to plan my week on a Sunday night and prioritise time for myself to be active in some way. I think variety is key to keeping it fun. Mix it up with yoga, running and strength training. Grab a buddy to keep you accountable!
How have you found motivation at a time when our schedules have all been forced to adjust?
I personally understand how important exercise is to my mood and all feel good factors. At the beginning of the shift, I made some new health goals which I would recommend everyone do. Prioritise, have a vision and reflect routinely every week.
What’s something you’ve been grateful for at this time?
I have been very grateful to be working and adapting at the club, along with being able to spend more quality time with my beautiful partner at home.
As part of our community series Mental Health & Wellness week, Paramount Recreation Club is offering a complimentary in-person class at their club for a limited time only! Simply use 'RECCLUBXINCU' via their website or in person at their club.