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Celebrating 40 years old – as a better version of me

Thank you to our Pod Lead and Frontend Developer, Dwayne Codling, for writing and sharing this inspiring story!

The backstory

I was in the best shape prior to my wedding day – February 17th 2020 – looking forward to a new chapter in life and exciting times. 

A month later… well, Covid happened. Like many others I had to be in isolation, as my family had vulnerable people that would be affected – so I stayed home. 

Thanks to JH, I was able to do this – I could work from home, look after my family, pitch in and do my share of the childcare and housework. Kids don’t always stick to a schedule, so being able to step away from work and put them first in these hard times was amazing. As a family, we helped each other through a strange and stressful time, by being together.

But the lifestyle change wasn’t all great; I was just in the house, everyday; that led to not eating the best, and not exercising as much. It was inevitable that I would get to a place where I physically, mentally and emotionally was not where I wanted to be.

It was now January 2021, I wanted to change my current state.

I made a decision early in the year, I wanted to look and feel the best I ever have in my life. Little did I know what that statement would mean in a pandemic with no gym or a personal trainer.

A resolution to change

So January the 4th is when everyone makes a new year’s resolution. My resolution was, for 360 days of the year, to do at least 20 minutes of exercise every day. I used my JH personal wellbeing budget – everyone working here gets their own, to spend how they wish – and invested in workout plans and equipment to get me going.

What I have learned in a little over half a year, is that discipline is without a doubt the hardest skill to master. 

Commitment is about showing up everyday, no matter what. I get up at 5am before the kids and Mrs wake, get in a session, and update the 360 Fitness Challenge support group and repeat. (Simplicity is the key)

This has been a fitness journey and I have enjoyed the phases of getting stronger, the wonder of not seeing the scale move a pound, the disbelief from not seeing any change then the joy of suddenly looking like a slimmed down version of your former self.

Every goal needs a support network

Support is required to achieve any goal that you set yourself – doing it alone often times leads to failure.

The best thing throughout was that I did not do this challenge alone. Jamie, my company CEO and long time friend decided to join in for the ride. Having someone there with you at the start, making that commitment alongside you – it made the resolution so much more powerful.

We created a JH 360 Fitness Challenge WhatsApp group, and committed to sharing our exercise every day. A walk, a run, yoga, a class, a workout – whatever it was, and screenshots and sweaty selfies were welcome.

Jamie and I have stayed committed over the last 6 months, and our group has grown too, and now encompasses 9 people in total. As more of my colleagues from work join for the ride, the support network grows.

We all cheer on each other, and it’s just a great vibe, full of banter that encourages each of us – despite our fitness levels – to get in at least a 20 minute session, everyday. There’s something about knowing your friends and colleagues are along for the ride with you – speaking to them every day, it brings another level of accountability, as well as all those ‘well done!’ messages making you feel doubly good about yourself and your achievements.

The flexible working JH offers to all staff makes fitting in exercise so much easier for everyone. We have 5am risers and people who roll out of bed at 10 – people who work out in their lunch breaks, and people who do it after their kids are in bed. When you set your own hours, you’re not limited to workouts that fit around the 9-5, which opens up so many more interesting and varied options for exercise.

Is it crazy to think that if you want something and put the work in, you can achieve whatever it is. In the world of instantaneous gratification and quick wins, hearing the words might seem like a relic talking from the past.

Change your mindset – nothing that lasts for a long time is ever rushed. 

Gaining so much more than I imagined

The changes I have experienced are not just physical but mental too – you can clearly see what it takes to achieve success. Battling everyday at 5am to get out of a warm bed to find a program that pushes you to exhaustion, breaking through it, and recovering from fatigue: it all changes your concept of what is achievable within a fixed time limit.

Setting goals and achieving them, and then surpassing said goals leaves you in a place where you are far above anything you could have imagined – and you are just levelling up more and more, pushing more and more for higher gains.

To realise success and to see changes, you have to change what you do. Doing the same thing day in and day out leads to reaching a plateau. 

I’m grateful that JH knows this too, and works so hard to help us make those changes – the wellbeing fund, the flexitime, the remote working (with the office always as an option, for those who need it) all come together to put the power to make changes in our hands.

I myself love my Jamaican food, but realised that opening my palate, and stopping consuming meat for 3 months was a game changer. That combination of exercise and eating healthy was effectively a ‘cheat code’ to getting where I wanted before turning 40.

Luckily I have a wife that loves to experiment and cook, my meals were never boring and RG Vegan Jamaican inspired recipes were a game changer – I genuinely did not miss consuming meat! I would say that now I am mostly vegan.

Having just celebrated my 40th birthday, and feeling physically and mentally better than ever, I am now on a journey, and looking forward to seeing where it takes me. I learned that discipline, commitment and support are necessary to achieve any goal. 

So no matter what your goal is – get that in place and you will be sure to attain it.

My exercise regime:

My subscription to Beachbody on Demand (weight training and cardio programs) and weights were paid for with my personal JH wellbeing budget – a benefit available to every JH staff member to spend how they wish.

And with thanks to my support network:

  • The wonderful Mrs Codling and her amazing Jamaican vegan cooking 👌🏿
  • JH’s wellbeing budget initiative for making the investment in exercise guilt-free
  • The 360 fitness challenge group: Anastasia, Andy, Emma, Jamie, Joyce, Polly, Ofe, Oli and me, and always room for more..!