In our latest interview, the GMTV fitness instructor reflected on his humble beginnings, including where the name “Mr Motivator” originated! From inclusion in fitness to his top tips for mental resilience, he revealed several candid experiences from his life.
Learn more about Mr Motivator’s return to British television, his take on inclusion and what inspired his signature neon outfits, below:
Q: What made you return to television in 2020 to appear on HealthCheck UK Live?
“The BBC saw in me something that other stations didn't, something I've always known. They knew I could dress up the pill of wellbeing, I could sugar coat it, so people don’t think of it as work.
“It's a bit like our parents, you know? If they want you to eat vegetables, they make a pie with vegetables. They wouldn't say, ‘this is your broccoli, eat it otherwise I'll break your legs!'.
“It is the same with health and wellness. The doctor beating you with a big stick, saying, ‘you must, you must’, or the government saying, ‘here's the policy… you must, you must’, is not the way to go.
“It was a great opportunity. And what it did was, it rekindled the public perception of me and made them understand exactly where I'm from. That's why I've been climbing ever since.”
Q: What does inclusion mean to you?
“Everybody should be included, not excluded. There should not be a situation where you're fighting to be represented, you should be represented, and so therefore it's a bit like a building.
“In every building, there should be a ramp so if someone comes in one leg or they're in a wheelchair, they can get up easily. There should be a rail they could hold on to, the steps should be at a certain height, there should be a lift that takes people up the different floors. That's inclusion.
“I do these free classes every week, and the mix of people in there, incredible people - especially tonight, there'll be at least 40 or 50 people from the Down's Syndrome Association.
“And people say, ‘it’s so great to be all included, that you haven't isolated anybody’. That is the test of whether you're a good instructor. Because the point is, if you do it right, every single person should all be able to take part in what you're doing.”
Q: Famed for your positive personality, what do you do to stay motivated during times of hardship?
“When I was homeless and I wasn't sure where the next meal was coming from, I knew what it felt like to be really sad, hungry, sometimes angry.
“But I learned from those days that for every minute that I'm sad, I'm missing out on 60 seconds of happiness. And so, when I was about 35, I decided that from now on, every single thing that happens to me, I'm going to turn it on its head and look for the positivity.
“I visualise my life as a white sheet of paper.
“And in the corner of the paper, there's a little black dot and that little black dot is what we always see, that's the thing that actually upsets us. But it's a huge, great big white sheet with everything so good in your life.
“So why am I going to let that little black dot in the corner devour my life? It’s not blotting paper. It's not going to spread. It's only going to spread if I allow it to.”
Q: Where did the name “Mr Motivator” come from?
“So, I wanted to go into shopping centres and get people moving while they're doing their shopping. And This Morning loved the idea.
“One day, the presenter turned to me and I said, ‘well, I've got Mr Jones here…’, and I remember hearing in my ear the presenter saying, ‘I think I'm going to call him the motivator’.
“And I thought, ‘you know what, I like that’. And so I registered it straight away, Mr Motivator. And that's how the name came about, simple as that.”
Q: Best known for your bright colours, what is the story behind your iconic neon outfits?
“When I looked at the way television featured fitness people, I couldn’t remember anyone except the Green Goddess. And why did I remember the Green Goddess? Because she wore green.
“So I had to find a way of marketing myself so people would always remember me. And I thought, there's a couple of choices ahead here, how do I get the colours and stuff?
“I’d just gone to America and bought this suit which has had stars and stripes down one side, and everybody kept commenting on it - that's how it was born. I found a guy who was down in Brighton, and he started making these unitards for me based on the same pattern.
“And then the bum bag came along because every time I sat down my mic used to be in my back. And every time I went on the floor to do sit-ups, the mic was in the way.
“So I created this bum bag with little holes in the back so you could put the mic in it. You wouldn't even notice I was wearing a mic.
“Next was the socks and the different coloured laces.
“I remember Reebok complained and said, ‘look, we don't do coloured laces’. So I said, ‘why must you always do black and white laces? Why don't you have a stand in the shop with all these multicoloured laces and let people choose the laces they want when they buy their shoes?’.
“'No, no, that would never work’ - but they are doing it all now, right?
“They’re all doing bright coloured trainers and stuff like that now. That's how it was born.”
Having completed a Masters degree in Creative Writing, Megan joined Champions Speakers in 2019. She is found regularly contributing to the company blog where she discusses everything from the latest news to self-improvement, as well as contributing t... Read more
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