The former England rugby league captain is calling on his own experiences in elite sport to address mental health and wellbeing.
Jamie Peacock has launched Be a Champion, a programme focused around simple daily actions that create long-term habits.
“It’s all about small changes, which add up to big changes and long-term habits at the end of the 30 days,” Peacock tells Men’s Fitness.
“The programme focuses on four areas: a positive mindset, sleeping well, eating healthily, and being physically active. Simplicity equals behavioural change, so the idea is that in each of those four areas you make some small changes – and use the book as a journal.”
To prevent people from falling off the wagon, the book comes with a QR code so you can download a weekly presentation by Peacock himself.
“In the sporting world,” he says, “you’re either dealing with real negatives or real highs: you’re winning, or you’re losing.
“One of the key things for me was to surround myself with positive people. As I progressed throughout my career, I spent more and more time surrounding myself with optimistic people whose opinions I valued.
“As a leader of a team, I couldn’t walk into the dressing room after a defeat all downbeat and feeling sorry for myself – I had to be positive and believe that we could change things around. Being in sport allowed me to develop that.”
Now Peacock is hoping that positivity can rub off on anyone who wants to follow his lead and Be a Champion.
The 43-year-old is also supporting home learning for children in the UK during the current lockdown, by offering a free virtual wellbeing session and copies of the book to children aged 11 and over.
Here are some simple daily actions Peacock recommends to help you stay fit, healthy and happy.
1. Surround yourself with positivity
“Ignore negative influences for a whole week,” says Peacock. If news notifications are making you anxious, turn them off. If scrolling through Twitter is making you panic, stop!
Practice positivity and make a conscious effort to create a happier environment to live in.
2. Moderate, don’t overhaul
If you want to eat better, make small daily changes. “Don’t try to live like a monk,” says Peacock.
“It’s about everything in moderation. Start with one healthy meal each day, six to eight glasses of water, and swap one unhealthy snack for a healthy one.”
3. Create a sound-sleep setting
“Sleep is absolutely fundamental to feeling good about yourself,” says Peacock – who admits his playing days involved caffeine and adrenaline-fuelled evening games that made proper rest hard to come by.
“It’s taken a lot of trial and error for me to get into a good sleeping routine,” he adds. “Now I always try to go to bed at the same time – 10pm – and wake up at roughly 6am each morning.”
Peacock also recommends black-out blinds, and the big one: don’t look at your phone in the hour before bed.
4. Set fitness deadlines
Now he’s no longer an athlete paid to keep fit, Peacock – a keen runner who completed an ultra marathon late last year – sets himself hard deadlines to keep motivation high.
“I enter races, and give myself achievable goals to aim for,” he says. Although he’s also keen to stress that you need to cut yourself some slack if life gets in the way.
“A lot of people get into a training routine, they miss a day for whatever reason, then they just give up. But you’ve got to forgive yourself for slipping up every now and then. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just pick it back up the following day.”
£2 from every sale of the programme will be split across two charities that are close to Peacock’s heart: MNDA and Greenhouse Sports. Peacock’s ultra marathon last year raised over £50,000 for MND, in support of his former teammate and close friend Rob Burrow, who has been diagnosed with the disease.
More information about the programme, which is now available, can be found at jamiepeacock.co.uk/30-day-wellbeing-programme