Please take a moment to review Hachette Book Group's updated Privacy Policy: read the updated policy here.

Get in the best shape of your life with The Programme by Jessie Pavelka

Jessie Pavelka is an internationally recognised fitness and wellbeing expert. He has appeared on TV with his life-changing work on Obese: A Year to Save My Life and Fat: The Fight of My Life. He’s motivated the masses on ITV’s Motivation Nation and is an ambassador for Cancer Research UK Race for Life. Jessie’s unique approach has already changed the lives of many. Here he outlines what makes his 21-day plan different, and how it can help you, taken from his new book The Programme


Jessie Pavelka


My work as a trainer gives me the privilege of helping people take charge of their bodies and their lives. Over the years I’ve trained many people, with a diverse range of goals. Some clients are already pretty fit and looking to take things to the next level or to slim down for a specific event. Other clients have been starting from tough places, maybe recovering from injury or illness, or have a significant amount of weight to lose. But my experience has made me realise that losing weight is just part of the story. True fitness is more than just physical. People who commit to improving their health don’t only get in better physical shape, they often become more optimistic and engaged. That’s because we’re just plain happier when we’re healthy. And when you’re happier, it’s easier to make healthy choices and take care of yourself. The amazing part is that anyone can make profound and dramatic improvements in their lives by taking a few small steps, over and over. My plan shows you how. You’ll need to move more and eat well, but you also need to be mindful and connect with others because that really matters too.


Here’s what The Programme means in practice:

  • Eating nutritious, delicious food. This means eating whole foods that fuel your workouts, promote your health and make you feel good.
  • Moving more. This involves improving your strength and endurance, your agility and flexibility, and boosting your metabolism.
  • Living mindfully. You need to take time each day to breathe, relax, reflect and remind yourself of what you want and how much you already have.
  • Connecting with people who care about you. It is crucial to cultivate some key relationships – including the one you have with yourself – as this will help sustain and inspire you to be your best self.

I sum up these elements in four simple words: Eat, Sweat, Think and Connect.


EAT: The food that I recommend you eat on The Programme will help you meet your nutritional needs, maximise your performance when you work out, aid your digestion, and improve your health and your mood. Many weight-loss plans will tell you that a calorie is a calorie, no matter where it comes from. But the reality is that most, if not all, of the food you eat should be nutritionally dense and aimed at increasing your health. This means that most processed foods, which have generally been stripped of their nutrients, vitamins and minerals, should no longer have a place in your cupboards and on your table. It’s not only what’s missing from these foods, but how your body processes them that’s problematic: white flour and sugar promote inflammation in the body, which is associated with so many disease risks.


In addition to cutting down on processed foods and sugar, the collective wisdom on dieting also tells you to eat more vegetables and drink more water. This is all good, basic advice but we’re taking it to the next level, because I don’t want you to eat just to lose weight, I recommend whole, real, powerhouse foods in combinations that fuel your inner athlete and help you become healthy and well.


SWEAT: It is possible to be a healthy weight and follow a ‘perfect’ diet and still not be physically fit. As human beings, we were all designed to move, and if there is a better way to improve your overall quality of life than moving more, I don’t know what it is. When I don’t work out regularly, I honestly miss it. You may not like the gym – and that’s fine – but once you stick with a workout routine and find a type of exercise that you enjoy, it really changes you. Everyone I have ever worked with who has done this has got the bug. You have to commit to your workout and keep trying exercise options to find what you like, but it’s well worth it. You need to make a daily sweat as routine for you as eating and sleeping. Believe it or not, once you’ve done The Programme, you’re going to look forward to it and feel great.


THINK: Getting fit is not just about how you move and what you eat, but also how you think about your body. From the very beginning, it’s important to think about your ‘why’. What’s your ‘why’ – your real heart-felt reason for wanting to get leaner and healthier? That requires you to take time to pay attention to yourself, accept where you are, and figure out how to get where you need to be. Staying focused on that ‘why’ will strengthen your commitment and increase your energy to succeed, and will also make it easier to stay on track.


CONNECT: The stronger the relationships in your life are, the better you’re going to feel, and the more likely you are to achieve success, however you define it. In The Programme I ask you to work on the relationship you have with yourself, to get to know yourself better and be kinder to yourself; to connect with a higher power, that is whatever makes you feel elevated, calm and connected to something greater than yourself; to connect more with friends and those who support you; and lastly, to get involved in your wider world, whether that’s joining a work sports club or volunteering. Cultivating these connections will take time, patience and some trial and error. But make it a priority to take one action each day to connect via one of these relationships and it will pay big dividends.


When you do these things, your body will get faster and stronger than it is right now. You will sleep better at night and be energised and empowered as you move through your day. You’ll have more patience and compassion for the people around you. And you’ll look better. But, more importantly, you are going to feel good – and be happier. And that’s the secret – it isn’t just about losing weight but about becoming the strongest, happiest best version of yourself.