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  • Community
  • Zack Seamons: Representation and Staying Sane in Lockdown

    29th June 2020

    29th June 2020

    By Robyn Schaffer

    Zack is a qualified osteopath but he has also been passionate about health and fitness his whole life. When he’s not helping patients, you can find him running, cycling, in the gym and travelling the world (well, before lockdown anyway). We sat down to talk to Zack about this month’s theme of Representation, what it means to him, and his new project ‘Hustle for the Muscle’ that combines fitness with fundraising. 

    “Keeping active and being sporty has been important to me from a young age. I was always encouraged to partake in sport by my parents, who were my biggest fans, and would support me in everything from Judo competitions in the Netherlands, to those cold, rainy football matches in December. My father used to always tell me that practice makes perfect, and that every professional out there had to start as an amateur at some point. It requires great courage and determination to be able to learn from your mistakes and continue to strive to succeed. Growing up, I put myself in good stead for any challenge, whether it be the London Marathon, the London to Brighton cycle, or even trying out the keto diet for a month. Discipline is key.” – Zack

    Hey Zack! What does representation mean to you?

    To me, representation is acknowledging that I am the end product of my ancestors. I like to think I’ve been shaped and sculpted into what my ancestors would want me to be, representing all their teachings that have been passed down to me.

    What do you represent?

    Inspiration, motivation, determination and dedication.

    What role does identity play in what you do?

    I try to remain humble and open-minded. There’s always going to be someone who is different to you depending on their experiences. As an osteopath, I come across people of all different races, religions and backgrounds, but at the end of the day it’s important to remember they’re all humans with their own identities. We have to treat them all the same.

    What can be done to increase representation and diversity within the health and wellness space?

    It comes down to everything from posters and marketing to social media. There should be diversity in the people who represent the brand; different skin colours, skin tones, ages, ethnicities, religions. It should all be incorporated into a brand’s ideology.

    It’s been highlighted recently by the #BLM movement that we don’t have enough black people or ethnic minorities in the wellness space. Moving forward, I think we’ll start to see it more. If you see someone who looks like you, you’re more likely to engage with that brand so it's beneficial for everyone.

    Anything you’ve read, watched or listened to lately that’s inspired you?

    I try and educate myself through social media but there’s also lots of great documentaries out there to watch at the moment. When They See Us on Netflix is particularly moving. It’s about five black teenage boys who were wrongly convicted of assaulting a white woman in New York. It shows how, despite the fact that we have justice systems in place, we still need to question whether justice is being served.

    Zack Seamons on London Bridge repping Innermost's energy booster

    What’s your hustle?

    My day job is working as an osteopath, but I also try to train four or five times a week. I love putting my body to the test. I love cycling and I’ve done the London Marathon before. I’ll go for any opportunity where I can challenge myself. I’ve recently started a charity fundraiser too called ‘Hustle for the Muscle’ which provides workout classes like HIIT and yoga to raise money for the NHS.

    What does #liveinnermost mean to you?

    Making the most of what’s on offer to you. Whether that’s your physical wellbeing, mental health, diet, nutrition, or lifestyle. Innermost is creating links to all of those. I think I resonate with the brand because as an osteopath I also aim to treat people holistically.

    Favourite Innermost products and why?

    I’ve been loving The Energy Booster lately. The flavour is as close to a pineapple juice as you’re going to get. I’ve taken fruit juices out of my diet so it’s nice to have the Energy Booster as an alternative. It’s also really effective taking it pre-workout.

    Why is fitness important to you?

    It’s a crucial part of my routine. Football and cycling, on top of training in the gym, gives me structure, and it’s also a great way to see friends. But back in October I broke a rib playing football and was in a lot of pain for about six weeks. I wasn’t able to exercise while injured, and so I lost that structure and ended up feeling quite down.

    How have you been keeping active and healthy in lockdown?

    I had a period at the start of lockdown where I didn’t really do much. I found that I was putting on weight and it had an effect on my self-esteem and mental health. I was slowly slipping back into that headspace I was in in October after I got injured. 

    I started doing a couple of classes with some Instagram trainers. There’s a guy called @wozldn and his classes were great for routine as they were daily and free, and it created a nice little community. I would message a few of my friends and get them on board and it was nice to know they were doing it as well.

    But I started thinking I could do my own thing and that’s when I started the NHS fundraiser, Hustle for the Muscle. It was a way to give back but also a way to create routine and structure for people who need it. It wasn’t just for friends either, I got my dad into it too and he’s never been that into fitness. It’s great to see him promoting it.

    I do free HIIT classes which vary day to day and feature collaborations with other fitness instructors. And it’s also an opportunity for them to promote what they offer. It’s been really successful, and we have people tune in from all over the world.

    How have you been looking after your mental health in lockdown?

    Keeping active keeps me sane. But I’m also big into making lists. Even ticking little things off makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something and makes you feel good about yourself.

    Zack Seamons on London Bridge repping Innermost's energy booster

    How have you had to adapt in your day job over the past few months?

    There’s been a lot of video calls and consultations. People would demonstrate their problems over video. It was so difficult but at the same time I was able to help so many people. One lady had a cycling accident, so I was able to give her some exercises to do and it gave her a lot of help and reassurance. Now the restrictions are easing and I can start to see clients again it’s going to be lots of hand sanitiser and masks on and being very careful.

    What are you most looking forward to doing after lockdown?

    Socialising! As much as it’s been good to focus on me and my own path, I also feel like I’m missing the friendships in my life. FaceTime and texting just isn’t the same. Again, it’s something else that helps with mental health.

    Have you learnt anything new/any new hobbies?

    I started learning the guitar through YouTube tutorials but that’s been put on the back burner whilst I’ve been doing the fundraiser. Maybe I’ll start up again in the future.

    Any exciting projects coming up in the near future?

    I’m focusing on Hustle for the Muscle at the moment but later in the year I’d like to start working in a number of different clinics as an osteopath. It’s an opportunity to see different types of people, whether it’s in a gym or in a clinic in the City.

    Current obsession?

    I used to work as a chef in London and Switzerland. I am obsessed with cooking yummy foods and trying out new recipes, whether they’re perfecting/alternating methods or trying/substituting different ingredients.

    Best words of wisdom you’ve received?

    My father is white, and my mother is black. All of my friends were white in primary school and apparently at age five or six I touched my dad’s arm and said to him: “I want to be like you.” And he didn’t understand. But I was referring to the colour of his skin.

    It broke his heart, and he said to me: “Everyone is going to want to be like you. You should be proud of who you are and the colour of your skin.” That reassurance made me confident in my identity and who I am to this day.

    Advice you would give?

    Don’t be afraid of failure. Be afraid of not trying in the first place. We’re all human, and no professional was born with the ability to excel without practice and hard work.

    If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?

    Tokyo. love visiting different countries and understanding different cultures. Tokyo is like London but 10 years in the future. When I’ve been in the past it feels like there’s a lot more respect among their people. They greet you upon entrance and thank you when you leave. It really impressed me. I’d booked for my dad to come with me, but unfortunately because of Covid we couldn’t go. But I always recommend trying new countries.

    Any current goals, fitness or otherwise?

    My initial goal for the NHS fundraiser was £5,000. So far, we’ve raised £1,000 and I realise in hindsight we were very ambitious, considering many people don’t know where their next paycheque is coming from. But it’s still something I want to achieve, so fingers crossed.

    Personally, I just want to try and maintain mental equilibrium and not go back to the headspace I was in around October/November last year. I recently had the chance to go and stay with my dad in Surrey and go on lots of runs and cycles, and I try to disconnect from social media for a few days each month too which all helps.

    Who or what motivates you and why?

    Both of my parents. My dad is a very generous person, even though he didn’t have the best childhood. And then my mum basically raised my brother and I almost alone (we saw our dad on weekends). She made sure we had everything we needed and so I’m glad she’s now enjoying her retirement in Miami!

     To see and hear more from Zack follow him on Instagram @zackerydaiquiri.

    Other Insights

    Growth And Goals With Innermost Insider Amy Costello
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It’s definitely a longer term goal, but everything in our foreseeable future is now driven by this end goal. We’re focused on a future of beach walks, BBQs and puppies!  What are the benefits of having a growth mindset? The opportunities! Personally, I didn’t do too well at school. I didn’t get the point of learning for the sake of learning. But I’m pretty proud of the fact that through hard work, applied knowledge and a lot of determination as an adult. I now own two businesses, work for myself and get to travel the world.  Natural talent or academic intelligence is one thing, but a growth mindset allows you to experience success, build resilience and overcome challenges, all through a simple shift in your perspective.  To keep up with Amy, follow her on Instagram and on Salt Escapes.  Read more
    Editorial of Neev Spencer looking to the side
    Innermost Insider, Neev Spencer, is probably best known for her positions as a television and radio broadcaster, having found success in her multiple broadcast roles, including her notable award-winning shows on popular UK radio station KISS FM. Having spent years of her career supporting industry-giants on tour, hosting for some of the world’s biggest brands and being the face of some of the UK’s favourite TV programmes, Spencer is also known for making waves with her advocacy for mental health, particularly following her own experiences with postpartum depression since becoming a first-time mum. The subject of mental health is one that Spencer is hugely passionate about, combining her wealth of industry experience with the topic to interview A-List celebrities such as Ed Sheeran on the topic live on air. 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As a result of this desire, it’s very important that you keep your physical health up there. It’s also really important for our hormones, and our mental health. It’s good to feel proud of yourself! As women we have high pressured jobs – many of us whilst juggling being a mother, being able to create that time for yourself and your preferred exercise method is you and that thing – and that is important. It is for you. What is the one piece of advice you would give to our readers regarding their fitness journey? Listen to your body, and what it is telling you. Don’t just think of fitness in an aesthetic way. I’d love to be able to fit into my jeans before I had children, but you need to take your time. You’ve got to nourish the changes you are making and cultivate it – that’s where Innermost comes in. Those supplements supporting your goal, keeping you maintained and on the right track. What is your greatest life accomplishment? First and foremost, my children. But, I am also immensely proud of the fact that I was the first British-Asian woman to ever get a commercial mainstream radio show. How did you know that you were ready to become a Mother? I had always wanted to be a Mum. I’ve always loved children and after I met my partner I knew that was a priority. We are so grateful that being a parent was able to happen for us – there were many years when this dream seemed very distant, and this struggle really opened up my wellness journey. Being a parent and having gone on that natural journey is a blessing. Can you tell us a bit more about your mental health campaign work? I use my own lived experiences to help relate to other people and help them through what they’re going through. These range hugely – from domestic abuse, to personal struggles: I lost my best friend to drugs and alcohol when I was in my 20s, I suffered depression in my teenage years, and again, as a first-time Mother, when I was separated from my little one, this took a huge toll on my mental health. I’ve found that being honest and sharing how I got through those moments is what drives me to help other people, and that’s why I make it my mission to do as much mental health work as possible. Do you think ‘optimism’ is something that we can learn? Absolutely. It’s something that we have within us naturally – children are very optimistic, they are innocent and joyful. Life really wears us down – experiences, loss, trauma and grief, all of that plays a part in where we begin to lose that optimism. For me, optimism really is faith. I am Sikh, but this faith doesn’t necessarily have to be in God, if you’re not religious. It’s a faith in the greater good. Faith in humanity – that something good is out there. It is the most important thing you can have as a human. What are your top three life tips for staying optimistic? I think the place we are in as a society with the pressures of social media can lead us to forgetting how lucky and fortunate we really are. When you focus on where you are in comparison to someone else, this can be really powerful. It’s important to ground yourself. Get a blessing box. This comes from Tibetan culture and is a way of looking ahead towards your dreams and never give up on your fantasies. This allows you to really focus on what is important. Allow yourself to see the positive sides of life, don’t focus on the negatives. Do you think that optimism affects our physical health, as well as our mental health? Absolutely – without being optimistic you can begin to feel lost. Optimism gives us direction, and we need this grounding to feel at peace. This allows us to feel less anxious and in control. Being able to look ahead to our dreams is a way of us constantly motivating ourselves. Small practices like setting an intention everyday and using this as motivation to keep this together is a great way of keeping your mental health in check. Optimism is the line that lies beneath all of this – regardless of what your intention is.  This is hugely important for our psyche. You can’t have good mental health without good physical health – they work in synergy. Finally, who are your role models? I’d have to say my parents. They are just wonderful. They’ve been through so much, they care for my little brother who has special needs, and even though they have been dealt with unbelievably difficult cards in life, they have always taught me to persevere. They taught me that you must remain kind and compassionate and have really instilled those morals on me. I’m very proud to be their child. Other than that, I would have to say Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Muhammed Ali – anyone that uses their platform and voice to help motivate and change the whole world we live in. That’s what a role model is to me. To keep up with Neev, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.  Read more

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