Personal challenge saw trainer find the balance

AFTER completing a mammoth fitness and mental wellbeing challenge through January, a personal trainer has reflected on what it taught him.

One of the disciplines Joe Collenette challenged himself to complete daily throughout January was to swim for 10 minutes in the sea.
One of the disciplines Joe Collenette challenged himself to complete daily throughout January was to swim for 10 minutes in the sea.

Joe Collenette is the director of One2one training and set about running 10km, squatting 100kg for 10 sets of 10 reps, meditating for 100 minutes and swimming in the sea for 10 minutes every day.

He decided to push his body to the limit and encourage people to donate to Guernsey Mind, a charity close to his heart.

Having had his own battles with anxiety and depression, he is aware of the value in all of these activities for cultivating mental and physical wellbeing, as well as building resilience against mental illness.

‘I’m curious as to what the mind and body in harmony are capable of, and how far can you push yourself,’ he said.

‘I was expecting it to be harder than what it was.

‘I found that once I was in a routine, physically and mentally I adjusted pretty quickly to what I was doing.

‘Although having said that, the last couple of days I was limping the last couple of 10k, I could barely walk down the stairs and I was relying on some “big set tunes” to get me through the squats.’

Pre-lockdown he was able to encourage groups of people who were supporting him to join him on the swims, which turned out to be his favourite part.

Having initially found the swimming and meditating the hardest, by the end he could not wait for the natural ice bath and found meditating helped switch off his mind and body.

‘The support physically I got from people was amazing, joining in for running swimming and occasionally squats,’ he said.

‘After lockdown that changed but that’s when my family members stepped into their own and were truly fantastic at getting me over the finish line.

‘Also, the donations and kind messages I got from lots of different people provided further inspiration and energy for me to continue.’

One of the most interesting things he learned from the experience was from the meditation.

‘I realised sitting there in your own space for that long is not healthy for me, so I evolved it to include mindful yoga and that was a game-changer for emptying my mind and recovering.’

He has vowed to continue training his body with each of these activities three times a week.

‘My attitude towards life and my business has always been to find a balance, I’ve had to learn that the hard way.

‘I have a very addictive personality, but I think everyone does, and the real challenge is finding a lovely balance and blend in all sorts of areas in your life; this one being how I look after my physical and mental health.

‘It’s a Buddhist approach finding the middle way, and I believe it to be a “truth”,’ he said.

Recognising that all bodies and minds are different, he hoped to encourage people to discover what types of activities work well for them.

‘I recommend taking a step to discovering what you need for mental and physical wellbeing and having an open mind about it.’

Mr Collenette’s body undoubtedly changed throughout the month.

Previously he was keen on the aesthetic value of exercise, sculpting his abs and getting a bigger chest and shoulders.

But this challenge served as a way to reconnect with some of his inner values, like pushing himself to an extreme.

‘It’s funny, I lost my upper body bulk and maybe “aesthetic appeal" by the end of it, but I was completely cool with that.

‘I knew my core, my mind and my legs had gained immense strength and that felt awesome.’

Overwhelmed by the support, he has managed to raise nearly £9,000 and hopes to push the funds over that figure before the JustGiving page closes.

He has now started a ‘Swim 10 Donate 10’ trend to encourage more people to have a dunk in nature’s ice bath for 10 minutes and donate to Guernsey Mind so others can see and feel the benefits of the cold.

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