Mind power is the biggest weapon in the fight against obesity, says Jessie Pavelka, as he passionately shares his beliefs on how to leave your “fat self” behind for ever.
Don’t just take his word for it. Read what his followers say on his website The Pavelka House, which promotes the Pavelka House Revolution – a new weight loss and fitness programme that promises to be not just a passing fad, but the way to change your life, the introduction into a like-minded “family”.
“Jessie has a gift to help you see the person you want to become. The care, attention and love given to everyone is rare. I’m now part of a wonderful family” – Avril Murphy, age 43, Dublin
“Pavelka Health Revolution switched my head into overdrive and it gave me a sense of worth…turning my turmoil into a positive. I love my new family!” – Rachel, aged 42, Oxford
“Jessie & PHR have motivated me to lose six stone and I have gained a zest for life that I didn’t know existed. Looking forward to continued challenges. Thanks guys – Sharon, aged 45, Cheshire
The website has plenty of images of Jessie looking fit and hunky and I’m cautious how he will come over in the interview. Will he be just another pumped-up body with little or no personality? I’ve come across plenty of body-builder types who apparently have nothing to talk about, apart from carbs, abs and press-ups.
A few minutes into the interview, I relax. He’s OK, this Jessie – a genuine guy, easy to talk to, passionate about his chosen role in life and clearly the gentle, thoughtful type. Just the person to motivate anyone at a low point in their life to take the little steps they need to change their future.
And that’s what he lives by. As he says on the website “I think whenever you’re at your rock bottom, whenever you’re at your lowest, that’s actually a pretty exciting time. It’s when you’re your most creative, you’re most vulnerable and you’re on the verge of something great! So that is your starting point! You can’t truly know what the beauty of life is without knowing what the pain of life is.”
But before we can talk about his motivation as a personal trainer, let’s hear something about Jessie.
My first question is about his heritage and the surname he carries. He reports with obvious pride that his grandfather was from Prague and settled in the United States, where his father was born and raised.
Jessie was born into a farming community in Southern Texas in September, 1982, but moved with his mother to the town of Corpus Christie on the Gulf of Mexico, after his parents split up when he was eight. However, he regularly went to stay at his dad’s farm as a child and loved the country life of hunting and fishing – pursuits he continues to enjoy today.
Jessie’s tips for getting ready for summer
- Get started! It’s easy to think about preparing your body for summer, but the best way to achieve your goal is to get going
- Eat fruit – it will help you lose weight
- Focus on your body and get into a routine of moving regularly •
- Cut back on alcohol – it will help you lose weight
- Move every day, work out a routine and stick to it
- Eat more fish, it contains good fats to help your body
After school, Jessie obtained a personal training certificate from the Cooper Institute – one of the premier colleges for preventative health research in the US.
A period as a personal trainer in a local gym came to an end when Jessie became disillusioned with the “vanity” of bodybuilding. “I guess I was burned out, taking personal clients for training, some days working from 4am till 9.30pm. I didn’t feel I was serving much purpose. I realised there was more to being fit than just doing exercises. It was also important to get good nutrition, to have your mind in the right place and be ready to make a life change.”
For Jessie, this meant focusing his attention on to people with a real weight issue, those for whom the fight with obesity was a matter of life and death, not a question of vanity.
“It’s not just weight that’s the issue here,” he tells me earnestly. “It’s a thought process. It’s not just a question of weighing yourself several times a day and beating yourself up if you’ve put on a pound or two. People who have a lot of weight to lose frequently abuse their bodies. They need to break through that barrier, to take the small, sustainable steps towards their new self, the first steps towards the rest of their life.”
Jessie’s philosophy is infectious. Watch any of his YouTube coverage, including extracts from the TV programme: “Obese: A Year to Save my Life” and you’ll be impressed by his enthusiasm and the gentle way he encourages clients to reach their goals. Forget that strict “show me 50 press-ups” routine, his training relies on kind words, praise and the ability to help seriously unfit and obese men and women to push through their very obvious pain barriers.
The Pavelka Way to fitness began in the States, where obesity has been an issue far longer than here – although the UK is fast catching up in the fat statistics league. According to Public Health England, results for 2014 (the most recent available), show 61.7 per cent of adults considered overweight or obese and that a “substantial proportion of obese adults have a body mass index of well over 30”.
Jessie’s first trip to the UK was six years ago and he is now a regular visitor, dividing his time between Los Angeles and London, where he is considering finding a property to call home, rather than staying in hotels. It will be somewhere to bring his six-year-old son Rowan, with whom he clearly shares a great relationship, despite having split from his wife the Canadian actress Sitara Hewitt two years ago.
I ask how he and his ex get on and how they share childcare. “We’re great. It was a totally amicable split and I call her two or three times a day to discuss what I’m doing. We made an amazing creation in Rowan and we’re dedicated to bringing him up right. I’m a really involved dad. We do lots of cool stuff together.”
So is there anyone else in his life now? “Only my mom and my sisters. I’m busy with my work and happy that way,” he tells me with his trademark grin.
One of the other women in Jessie’s life is Jill Tipping, director of the charity HOOP UK, who now runs his UK business, the Pavelka Health Revolution.
Jill is clearly training Jessie well in the PR role. When I ask what his 2017 Pavelka House tour is about, he reels off the dates “March 6, 7, 8 and 10. There I remembered!” turning to beam at his mentor. So what do the lucky applicants get for their day with the fitness guru?
Visitors to the HG Wells Conference and Events Centre in Woking on 6 March, then Cardiff on 7 March, Birmingham on 8 March and Liverpool on 10 March, will hear Jessie outline his “four elements” concept to fitness and wellbeing – movement, food, mind power and family. Sessions cost £75 for the standard ticket, £159 for a VIP, which includes front row seating, a meet-and-greet session with Jessie, a collection of items from the Pavelka House and a surprise gift. See pavelka.co.uk for details.
As I draw the interview to a close, I thank Jessie for his time out of an obviously hectic schedule. “It was fun!” he tells me. I suspect that’s his whole philosophy of life.
Photo: ©Bradford Rogne Photography