There’s a good reason to trust Mr Motivator when he says that he’s standing behind The Big Issue during hard times, and it’s this – he just interrupted a workout to take this interview. “You guys are special mate, I don’t do this for just anyone!” he laughs, pausing a usually sacred daily morning session to answer the phone, sounding not remotely out of breath (as if Mr Motivator ever gets out of breath). He does 67 push-ups every day, one for every year of his life.
When asked if he was up for becoming our new home fitness guru, the erstwhile star of Nineties breakfast telly, famed for his retina-searing spandex unitards, didn’t hesitate to say yes. At a strange and frightening time when we’re all stuck inside sorely in need of stimulus to keep our minds and bodies in shape, Mr Motivator (real name Derrick Evans) more than anyone is ready, willing and able to spread the message as to how easy it is to stay fit within the confines of our own homes. And more fundamentally, to spread the message about how important it is to feel good and feel positive when it would be so easy to feel down.
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“You’re all around each other’s feet all day,” he says. “Home life is gonna take on a new dynamic and that can lead to a lot of stress. And when it comes to being healthy and well, your emotional and mental health is all important. So first of all to everybody I say this: it’s important to find that happy place in your mind.
“Focus on you as the individual,” he continues, “and make sure you’re OK, because how can you look after anybody else if you’re not OK? Put on music in the whole house, that will get your feet tapping and make you want to move. If you’ve got trainers, wear them all the time. Get in the frame of mind of wanting to move.”
The first step towards developing a regular home fitness regime is often the hardest, he admits, but it needn’t begin with anything complicated. “Practice just getting out of the chair or the sofa without using your arms,” Evans suggests. “It takes all the muscles in your body to do that. That’s already a starting point.”