Interview with England touch rugby star Healthy Jon

Healthy Jon / Sep 26, 2016

New #TeamVITL ambassador, Healthy Jon takes a moment out of his intense training schedule to tell us about his top healthy recipes and how a series of injuries lead him to play for the national team in a new sport altogether.

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So Jon, tell us a little more about yourself…

I play Touch Rugby for England, run a health & fitness blog, and love peanut butter far too much!

That’s quite an achievement! How did you get into Touch Rugby?

I used to play rugby union and somehow managed to dislocate my right shoulder once and my left shoulder twice all in one season. I needed surgery on both and was told that I can no longer play contact sports for the rest of my life. Great news, I know! After some time I took up touch rugby, a year later I was playing for England.

The training regimen must be quite intense?

You could say that. In touch rugby there are only six players per team, on a full width rugby field. So there is an awful lot of room to run, so you need to be in good shape. Certainly, when we are training towards a national tournament the cardio routine gets very interesting!

Where and how did your wellbeing journey begin?

About 4 years ago - When I started getting selected for England and realised that I would be playing in international tournaments I knew it was time to step up my fitness levels and really start pushing myself. Part of that was learning as much as I could and implementing it into my training. That is where my fascination with the health and fitness industry began.

What has been your greatest health and fitness achievement?

Representing England at the 2015 Touch Rugby World Cup in Australia.

Do you have a favourite healthy go-to meal?

For breakfast; poached eggs and porridge (separately of course).

For lunch; a quinoa salad with lots of greens, nuts/seeds and a piece of meat or fish.

For dinner; I am a sucker for a good curry so I make quite a lot of healthy curries at home. This is my favourite, Chana Masala 

Do you have any particular healthy cooking hacks or top tips? You mention your Dad sometimes on your blog – did you learn your cooking skills from him?

Definitely not, my dad steps into the kitchen once in a blue moon but somehow always manages to produce something delicious. My mum, on the other hand, cooks every day and has absolutely no idea where to start when it comes to pairing flavours. No, when I was little I used to love watching the food network and particularly Jamie Oliver. His imprecise methods and quirky delivery really got me hooked. I have loved cooking ever since.

What does your morning routine look like?

I don’t really have a routine, but I am definitely one of those people that needs breakfast the very instant they wake up. Don’t try and get me to do something before I have had my food, you won’t get a good response.

Who do you look up to in the world of fitness and health and why?

Steve Cook and Shaun Stafford. When I was getting into health and fitness these were the guys I looked to for information and arguably more importantly, inspiration. I am a loyal follower of theirs not just because they know their stuff and they are in incredible shape, but they both seem like really nice, genuine blokes. So many fitness or health icons aren’t. For my female fitness inspo I look to @cleaneatingalice and @iamcelialearmonth for the same reasons.

What is your favourite way of staying in shape (aside from Touch Rugby!)?

Well, I love lifting weights, I do 6 weights sessions a week regardless of what I am working towards or what else is going on in my life. After that, I obviously need to do a lot of cardio to stay in shape for touch but I hate running, so I have learnt to love short distance sprinting. My typical routine is 20x 60m sprints, with no rest, just sprint one, walk back and go again. It’s a killer! It also takes just 15 minutes so it’s great if you are short on time.

With such an active lifestyle, what would your favourite lazy day look like?

I like to remain fairly active on my days off. Nothing too taxing, just a long walk or slow bike ride, but I will always do something to keep the blood pumping. Once I have done that, plenty of peanut butter, dark chocolate, and porridge consumed in front of an open fire (can you tell I am looking forward to winter), and a movie or two.

Do you have a particular motivational quote or motto you live by?

“To achieve all that we are truly capable of we must first regard ourselves as greater than we are”. - To me it means go into every situation with confidence or you are doomed to fail. Far too many of us lack confidence; we need to trust ourselves a little more.

What is one thing you would like everyone to try, remember or know?

Everything! An open mind is the best kind of mind. How can you pass judgment on something unless you have tried it for yourself? Don’t be that guy! (or girl).