In college JJ wanted nothing more than to pursue rugby and to try and make a career out of the sport he loved. Unfortunately he suffered a major injury to his knee and decided instead to become a personal trainer through studying at NZIS while working as a gym cleaner. After becoming a fully qualified personal trainer, his next goal was to get back into rugby. In his first game back, however, disaster struck again as JJ tore both ligaments in his ‘good’ knee.

“As soon as that happened, I felt like my life was over. All I ever wanted to do was play sport,” he says. It was a huge blow as he couldn’t do anything but sit at home recovering for the next three months. “I felt like my life was crumbling at my feet. I developed anxiety and felt that I didn’t know who I was or where I was going with my life.” At his lowest point JJ realised that his mindset was affecting him more than anything else and from there the idea for Mindset Fitness was born.

After being told by doctors and specialists that he would be lucky to run again, let alone become a personal trainer, JJ launched Mindset Fitness in June of 2015. While working at his first gym, JJ had discovered a passion for working with people to achieve their goals and inspiring others through his own past experiences with injuries.

“You build really strong relationships. Seeing people come from either being overweight or lacking confidence or not being able to run to achieving their goals and excelling in their own lives was really cool for me.”

Mindset Fitness not only offers personal training for the body but also helps clients to achieve their goals through building the right mindset. JJ believes that the human mind can overcome all things and through his experience with anxiety is continuing to teach and educate others on how they can overcome their own obstacles and live happier, healthier lifestyles.

“I thought the fitness industry was kind of missing the whole wellness side of things and the holistic approach. I wanted to create something where people can enjoy having an active lifestyle but at the same time show them that they can still go out and enjoy icecream and have takeaways once in a while. Everything in moderation, of course!”

Now Mindset Fitness is growing into a large community dedicated to the healthy lifestyle movement. One of JJ’s clients has also recently won a New Zealand weight loss competition after losing over 50 kilos in six months. “That’s the best part of doing what I do – helping people to achieve their goals, especially when they never used to believe they could do it.”

If JJ has any advice for those who are unsure about what to do after school, it would simply be not to put all your eggs in one basket.

“All through school I was really one-dimensional. I still did my work but I only really concentrated on sport and later in life I realised that was a big mistake, and that you should never take anything for granted and take as many opportunities as you can.”

For those aspiring to be a personal trainer or even a business owner, JJ says you’ve got to believe in what you are doing.

“Have a purpose. I think mine is to help people through bettering themselves both physically and mentally. But if you don’t know what your purpose is, look at what you enjoy doing and start brainstorming from there. It’s important for young people to study and be educated but also to make sure you’re doing what you enjoy and what you love, ‘cos that’s where you’ll excel the most.”

JJ has big plans for Mindset Fitness, and himself. At the moment he’s working on an application to further the reach of the business into the community and continues to push the message of living with both a healthy body and a healthy mindset.

“There will always be setbacks and people who might doubt that you can come back from things but the hardest part is when you start doubting yourself. Once you overcome that, there’s no stopping you. It’s always at your darkest moments that you see your true colours, so push through the hard part and you’ll be sweet.”

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