Why Jessie Pavelka runs

9 May 2017 by
First published: 6 May 2017

The fitness expert and TV personality says we should hit the road – here’s why Jessie Pavelka runs, and why you should too.

You’ve probably seen Jessie Pavelka on TV, but his interest in health and fitness started well before the screen. Known for presenting Obese: A Year to Save My Life on Sky1, Fat: The Fight of My Life on Sky Living HD, and the 16th season of The Biggest Loser, the personal trainer and health and fitness expert from the US has helped a number of people shed the pounds in order to live a healthier, happier life. But Jessie’s interest in the field goes back as far as fourth grade. What started out as an interest in athletics was soon replaced by football in senior year and at college, before his first bodybuilding competition at the age of 20, where he took fourth place. His long-standing interest in health and fitness has since amalgamated into a book, appearances in a number of fitness magazines, and a successful The Pavelka Way brand.

Jessie may know nearly all there is to know about the industry, but it’s running that holds his attention these days. ‘I was always someone who lived through my body and the sport I played meant I needed to involve running,’ he remembers. ‘Now I do it for my health. Through sport I gained an interest in running and then having a kid, having people who rely on me, I know I need to look after myself, so now it’s a part of my life.’ But it isn’t only the physical facet of running that Jessie values. Like many, it’s the mental aspect of the practice that keeps him pounding the pavements. ‘It’s like meditation in motion for me,’ he explains. ‘I like the way it makes me feel.’

Open to everyone

Now, as an ambassador for the England Athletics RunTogether programme, he’s on a mission to spread the word. ‘Running is for everyone, no matter what their fitness level,’ he explains. ‘It’s one of the best ways to build condition and endurance.’ And while he recognises the benefits, he also recognises that for those of us who don’t live and breathe fitness, it’s not always as easy as getting out there. His advice? ‘Join a group, like RunTogether,’ he says. ‘It provides accountability, knowledge and companionship. You learn and support each other.’ Having launched in January, RunTogether is designed to help people establish regular running habits. Their inclusive run groups (of which there are thousands) are held across the country for men and women of all ages and abilities.

We’re not arguing – Jessie certainly knows what works. ‘Even on the days that you don’t feel like training you still show up – motivation comes with action. That’s why group running works,’ he explains. ‘Running isn’t only a way to get fit and healthy, it also contributes toward the connect side of health – community. Consistency is key and being part of a group means you are part of that accountability – for you and for the other members.’

‘Don’t feel like you have to jump right into running,’ he assures. ‘Be easy on yourself and don’t forget to enjoy it – it’s your chosen sport – don’t be too hard on yourself. Find a programme that’s comfortable and challenging.’ Whether you’re a beginner who struggles to run for the bus, or a seasoned marathoner, Jessie maintains RunTogether has something for you. ‘I have found that the RunTogether Groups are a great source for that, with options for walk-jog Get Me Started sessions through to Challenge Me for those looking to runner longer or faster.’

Ever a believer in a positive outlook, he’s quick to remind us to pay attention to our mindset, too. ‘If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, do the actions that take you away from that thought process,’ he explains. ‘We call it contrary action – you know what you should do so once you are aware of your native thoughts, take the actions to change them. If you wake up and you don’t want to run and you have a race coming up, simply take the body and the mind will follow – and the thought processes will change at the same time.’

For more information, visit runtogether.co.uk