Running down the path to health with intelligent effort.
Javeno Mclean is a no-nonsense powerhouse, both physically and mentally. He is a busy man offering down to Earth advice on his J7 Instagram page and running massive health and fitness classes in the facility.
We talked with Javeno about the benefits of exercise on mental health, inspirational books and how there is “no such thing as barriers, only hurdles”.
Hello Javeno, what did you do before J7?
I have played sport all my life. I excelled in cricket where I went on to play for Lancashire, Worcestershire and also went to play in India. Cricket was my first love but not my true love. After years of being an athlete I became bored, and more interested in training others. I realised I had been blessed with the ability to fully motivate people and transform people’s mental approaches to health and improve people’s self-esteem, confidence and well-being through the beauty of exercise.
I worked for the council for many years as their head exercise specialist, giving me the platform to convince the Manchester public to fall in love with exercise, and find true emotional, mental and social happiness. I wanted to change the landscape of fitness in my city. I always believed and witnessed the power of a community/family-based approach to health/fitness and well being.
Why did you want to create J7?
My plan was always to have a facility that caters to all Manchester residents. To create a menu of exercise that every single person in the family can look at, and think, “Yes, I can and want to do that”. Exercise is the first domino in a queue of many. I want to have a community full of mentally happy, socially confident, self-empowered young and older people.
How does physical exercise benefit mental health?
Over the years I’ve worked with so many people, young and old, including so many who looked after young children with mental health issues. Exercise is an escape and a catalyst for so many things. It benefits your personality and improves your aptitude as a person that transcends outside of the gym. Exercise teaches the individual to repeat and practice character building drills. It teaches discipline, dedication, confidence, persistence and in my opinion, it’s the single most powerful therapy tool available.
I’ve seen first hand how exercise builds confidence, self-worth and self-belief.
On the J7 Instagram you provide short no-nonsense videos about work-ethic and decision making, do you have some advice for young people who’re thinking of using exercise to aid their mental health?
My advice is simple. Understand you are a King! You are a Queen! And you are supposed to be here, you deserve happiness just as much as anyone else.
Be selfish! Make sure every aspect of the exercise you choose is catered to you; the music, the gym, the class, the route you run, the clothes you want to wear, the people you want to be around. Everything needs to be approved by you, you’re the captain. This fitness ship belongs to you! I tell my young people daily, ”Everything they are going through is just preparation for what they truly asked for”. They are asking and want to be happy, confident, successful, and beautiful; so when them dark days come, be cool! It’s just preparation for greatness and soul-shattering happiness because nothing in life comes easy
What are you reading right now?
I’ve been reading The Hero by Rhonda Byrne for two years now. I read it over and over again because I find it so motivational. I love hearing about successful people as it drives me to work harder. It reminds me that I dictate my life, my success and my well-being. And when I read about people 100 times more successful than little old me, but with the same views, strategies, philosophies and opinions as me; it just clarifies that I’m doing okay.
What has been your biggest life challenge and what did you do to overcome it?
I’ve had many challenges but none that I consider big because I don’t let them get big. I’m the captain of my own ship! I love challenges, I embrace them. I don’t believe in negativity. I’ve always believed in one saying: “No such thing as barriers… Only hurdles.” I will never let a situation or circumstance define my life! I learnt this from a public figure in America called Inky Johnson.
So all the challenges in my life have been handled in the same way; 4 steps:
1. “Ok… How can I fix this?”
2. “See and acknowledge the badness and realism of the situation quickly… but don’t absorb none of the negativity”
3. “This doesn’t define or dictate how my life is going to be”
4. “I will deal with this now and be happy tomorrow”
What would constitute a perfect day for you?
Being happy. Waking up and absorbing the phenomenal miracle of life. Appreciating that I’m a human with a beautiful family. An amazing little baby boy who’s three years old with the best baby afro you will ever see. Going to J7, training myself and then training the amazing residents of my community.
Complete this sentence, “Ace mental health for me means…”
Ace mental health for me means being able to smile every day and feel that you can always be you, and show gratitude. Being grateful is a sign of appreciation and being appreciative of your life is so empowering.
Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
I make it up as I go along. I’m at the age where I listen to my body and do what it tells me. When I was younger I had a routine but now I train harder than I’ve ever done in my life the only difference is I do what my body tells me. It could be heavy Olympic lifts one day, resistance band work another day, isometric and plyometric work, boxing, sports conditioning, bodybuilding work.
What three songs lift your spirits?
1. Justin Beiber – Sorry
2. Bon Jovi – Living On A Prayer
3. Prince – Raspberry Beret
What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?
The first is my own: “Being the most dedicated is the only option to me…being the most dedicated will justify my success, growth and happiness.” The second quote is by Aristotle: “Excellence is never an accident, it is always the result of intelligent effort.”
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
Slow down sunshine! Regain the speed of your life. We live in a world that forces us to live fast. Modern society is social media obsessed, fashion conscious, desperate to be liked, and so nosy! Sometimes slowing down and having some me time in your world is all that’s needed to relax, re-focus and enjoy the day. Slow down and stop doing a million things in one day, stop thinking about a million things at once and stop trying to please a million people.