Transform your health and wellbeing: Will Grant from Ghetto Movement

[This article originally appeared on Twenty Something Humans]
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My alarm sounds at 6:00am. Fuck what day is it? What do I have on? Why am I up so early? It’s still dark outside as I head down to the café at North Wollongong beach to meet up with Will Grant, creator and owner of Ghetto Movement.

 

 

Blessed with a golden sunrise, we settled in for our interview. I ordered a long black and Will ordered a peppermint tea and a bacon hash-brown brekky burger. Yep, herbal tea and a burger, what a perfect way to sum up Will. He’s a newly-wed, a yogi and a business owner with a baby on the way, but his busy personal life doesn’t put a dampener on his ambitions, in fact, he’s hungry for more!

Will caught up with Twenty Something Humans to share his thoughts on health, philosophy, personal growth and working in pursuit of a balanced life, all the while chowing down on his brekky roll as we watched a beautiful sunrise over the ocean.

What were you like after high school and in your early 20s?

I was your stock standard 21-year-old. I loved footy, partying and drinking. I was a little bit chauvinistic to be honest; unfortunately that was the ‘cool’ way to be. From 18 onwards the footy boys and I had the ‘Ben Cousins’ mentality. I had insight into the world of an athlete who could drink, party and then go to a training session. That’s what a lot of us boys based ourselves on, it was so self destructive and eventually it will catch up on you. I guess you could say that my attitude towards wellbeing was pretty non-existent.

Adding to that, I was a tradie and that job really didn’t promote a healthy lifestyle either. We were emotionally, physically and mentally disconnected. There was a lot of mental pressure in that industry, trying to live up to that tough ‘blokey’ expectation while being hazed and picked on. It’s one way to get thick skin but it’s not the type of environment I thrive in.

  

How did you begin dabbling in yoga?

Between the ages of 21 and 25 I had three shoulder reconstructions. Adding to the tradie lifestyle and the ‘Ben Cousins mentality’. I really wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t until after my 3rd shoulder reconstruction in 2015 and meeting Emma (his now wife), that it all clicked and I realised I’m not invincible and that I didn’t want to keep up that unhealthy and destructive lifestyle.

When I walked into my first yoga class it was about 90% girls and it was incredibly intimidating. After I’d got the hang of it, I’d post my flows onto Instagram and one day I received a message from a mate’s Mum who asked if I would teach a yoga class. I thought, why not give it a go?

My first yoga class was an absolute disaster. I kept forgetting my words, I wasn’t too confident and was really embarrassed. I thought that was my yoga career over. Luckily, I had some really supportive people around me who encouraged me to jump back on the horse and my second class went pretty damn well. That’s when I started Ghetto. I started out teaching 2 or 3 classes a week and later this year we’ll start doing 30 classes a week!

 

How was it going into a class that was predominantly filled with females?

It was honestly quite intimidating. At first most of my mates would say things like ‘aw we know why you’re going to yoga!’ and chuckle along. But I promise I was really there for the yoga! I wanted to make sure that guys felt just as welcome in our classes as girls. That gender divide is something I’ve been really conscious of. In fact, we’re starting some jiu jitsu which is predominantly male dominated.  I wanted to flip it on its head and encourage women to get involved. Not only are women feeling stronger and more empowered from it, but it breaks down those barriers that often exist in the health and fitness industry.

Where did the name ‘Ghetto’ come from?

My mate had an old backyard gym that we used to call the ‘ghetto’ gym. Everything was 5th hand a bit rusty. When thinking about what I wanted my company to be, I wanted to be able to incorporate mobility and movement and we thought why not Ghetto? And it just kinda stuck despite some criticism.

When you’re starting out, people sometimes unintentionally give you the ‘best’ advice based on their mistakes, but you need to make your own mistakes, fuck things up and make the wrong decisions so that you’re equipped to make the right decisions later on in your career. It’s hard not to take things personally, but the quicker you realise that people want to see you succeed, the thicker your skin will grow and the more resilient you’ll become.

 

What inspired you to start a podcast? In case you weren’t busy enough.

I had been receiving acupuncture sessions from my friend. Before and after our sessions we’d have some great conversations! One day we were talking and wondered why people weren’t having these conversations every day. We thought let’s have these conversations and record them. The idea for the podcast is a modern take on philosophy. We wanted to share our thoughts and experiences and try to inspire others to have those conversations as well. So that’s how we began The Modern Monk! It’s another avenue for Ghetto, and myself, to grow and evolve.

 

How’ve you got to where you are today?

I really wouldn’t be where I am today without my wife Emma and my family. I really can’t even put it into words. So much of my time and energy goes into Ghetto and that’s an emotional investment. When you come home a bit tired and drained, you can’t always bring it. It’s made me realise the importance of the saying “you only get what you give”. Without Emma, I don’t think we’d be sitting here having this interview. We got married at sunrise at the start of the year and we’ve got a baby due in November. I’m really excited to see how a baby influences our life and adds to our relationship!

“Exhaust every opportunity to make it happen. Don’t half arse it, go all the way! Try and fail and try again…you never know.”

So you’ve got your peppermint tea and your bacon brekky burger, what advice do you have for balance?

I think people fail when they set themselves up to fail. You’re not always going to fit the idea of what people think you should be, but you have to stop and enjoy yourself. People think I’m vegan and I’ve tried it but my body didn’t respond well. I don’t believe in beating yourself up for certain life decisions. It’s important to have those quality times with your mates. I had a little espresso martini night last night and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I try to employ the 80/20 principle. 80% of the time I’m the Modern Monk, 20% of the time I’m 21-year-old Will and that’s OK.

I think it’s really important to have balance and I’m sure a baby will be a great challenge to this balancing game, but I don’t want to give up what I’m passionate about. I can’t see why my kid can’t be a part of this journey? I think that’s where we’d like to move Ghetto and I think there’s definitely a gap in that industry. I want to make Ghetto fun, healthy and enjoyable for the whole family.

What plans do you have for Ghetto moving forward?

Big plans! Last year we had our Ghetto retreat where a group of us went up the coast to unplug and connect with ourselves and like-minded people. We want to recreate this and make it bigger and better, hopefully sneaking in a little Bali retreat! At Ghetto HQ, we want it to be a one stop shop for all things health and wellbeing. We’ll be opening a little café, we’ll have some acupuncture and massage and our movement space. We’d love a huge community book shelf as well. So yeah, we’ve got some big plans!

Famous last words?

Exhaust every opportunity to make it happen. Don’t half arse it, go all the way! Try and fail and try again…you never know.

 

 

 

Images: www.ghettomovement.com and @ghettomovement.

These Are A Few of My Favourite Things: JUNE

June where did you go? Please come back because you were one amazing month. Despite the depression associated with exams and the end of session, there’s nothing quite like walking out of an exam hall hearing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ flood through your mind and you feel like an absolute champion (unless you did a linguistics exam like me). Either way, Autumn session is done and the holidays are here! June has quite frankly been fabulous and I’d like to share it with all of you.

Our end of session college formal. Open bar, DJ, dancefloor and 200 of your closest friends. You’re definitely in for a good night.

My awesome housemate dressed to the nines
My awesome housemate dressed to the nines

The Northern Beaches. If you’re looking for a nice little weekend away, then get on a bus from Sydney and head up towards the Northern Beaches. I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it was! We were treated to a gorgeous sunset and wandered the streets and beaches… it was absolutely spectacular!

Venturing up to the beauitufl Northern Beaches with my best friend
Venturing up to the beauitufl Northern Beaches with my best friend

A PepTalk. Need some inspiration to make the most of life? To value your individuality and pursue your passions.

Finishing EXAMS. Need I say more?

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And if you need some more inspiration… World of Wanderlust. I’m constantly inspired and motivated to make the most out of life and spend hours gazing at beautiful travel pictures on pinterest! WARNING: this particular video will challenge you to reconsider your life.

And on that note… The day I got to meet Brooke Saward and have morning tea wanderlusting about the world. 

Brooke and some very inspiring readers
Brooke and some very inspiring readers

THIS SONG! 

Going home for the weekend. I don’t get home much lately because of uni and work, but whenever I do go home it’s always lovely. I’m constantly in awe of how beautiful nature is and how much I love just taking some time to unwind and relax. Oh, and it’s always great to have a roast dinner with my family.

Beautiful Port Stephens
Beautiful Port Stephens
And just another because it's just THAT pretty
And just another because it’s just THAT pretty

And finally, I joined the gym! After recently re-reading my post about all the things I’ve been hoping to achieve this year, it’s about time I did something on it and re-joining the gym was the easiest (and at the same time hardest) thing to do. Watch out City2Surf.

I hope you’ve all had a lovley month and hope that July is equally as awesome.

Peace and love

xxx A

10 Reasons to add YOGA to your weekly routine

Looking for a way to get a good work out, de-stress, relax and do something good for your mind and body? Then look no further than Yoga. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with it and my week just isn’t complete. So here are my top 10 reasons why you should start too!

(More or less because I can feel my face go red and I’m sure I’m pulling a funny face, I’ve never attempted to take a photo whilst doing yoga and I definitely don’t feel professional enough at it either, so I’ll use some professional photos that inspire me to get better and stronger. And also save myself the embarrassment).

Source
Source

1. It’s a work out. Despite what you may think or know about yoga, you use muscles your didn’t know existed and you use them until you start shaking. It’s all about core strength, muscle development, awareness and flexibility.

2. And on that note, it does wonders for your flexibility. I’ve always been relatively flexibile due to my dance experience and it’s something I really want to maintain throughout my life. I don’t want to be middle aged and struggle to put my shoes on or other daily struggles associated with ageing. So keeping flexibile will not only keep you young but you’ll also be able to impress everyone with your ability to do the splits.

3. It’s good for your mind. Sometimes life gets stressful and your mind gets caught up on insignificant things. Relaxation is a big part of yoga and whilst you might think ‘how is relaxing a work out?’ you can’t expect to get the most from your body until you can get the most from your mind. You have to be kind to your brain up there. It works pretty damn hard day and night to keep you moving and the best you can be, so the least you can do is give it a bit of a break every now and again.

Flexibility is fabulous! Source
Flexibility is fabulous! Source

4. It gets you to the gym. If like me, your yoga class is held in a gym then you literally have no excuse not to go. If I’m feeling extra motivated, I try to do a 30-45 minute work out at the gym before my yoga class so I can work up a sweat, get some cardio in and then stretch it all out and keep the blood flowing. Then before you know it, you’ve spent nearly 2 hours at the gym and tah-dah…

5. Guys do it too. I was so pleasantly surprised to see just how many guys do yoga. And it’s even better when they’re young and attractive. Hello future husband.

6. No one else cares about how good or bad you are. Apart from the occasional eye contact with the hot guy across the room, no one else really gives a shit as to how you’re doing. The first time I went to yoga, I felt so intimidated, and thought thtat everyone would judge my ability. But fear not, everyone’s off in their own little bubble. There’s absolutely no judgement once you enter the yoga room.

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Source

7. It’s important to take time for yourself. In today’s busy hustle and bustle it’s easy to just keep going and going and never taking a minute for yourself. At the end of the day, it’s important to look after yourself and rewarding you with an hour of loving and rewarding yourself (yep, I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true).

8. It keeps you in touch with your body. By activating the different muscles in your body and focusing on your breathing it creates more of a connection between your mind and body. Your body is with you for life and it’s important to look after it.

Source
Source

9. It makes you appreciate all the little things. Because your mind has been refreshed, you tend to look at things from a new perspective, and it makes life that little bit more sweet.

10. It leaves you ready to conquer the world. Once the lights are switched back on and you go back out into the real world, you feel rejuvinated, re-energized and refocused. You’re calm and warm and just ready to get life happening!

So what are you waiting for? I can guarantee that after a yoga class, you’re going to feel like a new person with a fit new body.

You’re welcome!

xxx A

The Things You REALLY Learn at University

University. That big scary thing that you’re expected to go to once you finish school and you want a good job. After deferring my university offer for my amazing Gap year in London, I was really torn between returning to Oz to go to that big scary place or stay in London. And tah-dah, I was university bound. This has honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I had my time in London, and now it was time for something equally new and exciting. I’m nearly finished my first year of International Studies/Communication and Media Studies at the incredible University of Wollongong. This year I lived at a college, International House (iHouse) and learnt a lot more than just course content. So these are some of the things to expect when moving into a university college.

University of Wollongong!
University of Wollongong!

You’ll Learn to Love Goon (for those of you not in Australia, goon= cheap, cask wine) – Let’s get the alcoholic part get out of the way first. Us cheap uni students love a good bargain. And with a First Choice Liquor store about 500m away from your doorstep, cradling $12, 36 standard drinks goon… what choice do we really have? Unless you peaked on your eurotrip, then the hangovers just get worse and you start thinking ‘i’m getting too old for this shit.’ (How I Met Your Mother Reference).

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You learn your limits – O Week anyone? You go out a few times a week, spend a few too many days at the beach to suddenly realise that you’re absolutely hammered. And after a few too many hangovers you realise that maybe you should steer clear of tequila. Learning my limits is something I’ve been working on throughout the past two years, and regardless of how many times others tell you ‘don’t do that’ you will never really learn until you experience them for yourself. Which leads into my next point…

You learn about yourself – I know this is incredibly cheesy but hey, who doesn’t love a bit of cheese? You try new things like going to the gym, you learn new things like how to navigate around building 19, you meet new people from across the globe… you put all these pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle, hoping they’ll fit together into the person you want to be. I’m always growing and learning, trying to become a better person and uni definitely helps you put the pieces together.

You can get involved in some pretty awesome stuff – This year, along with some friends of mine, we created the UOW Skydiving Club (I have some other posts here about it). There’s countless opportunities to volunteer, become an activist, help, donate, support towards everything! It’s a great way to meet new and like minded people but also work on things your passionate about and help create positive change in the world.

Singing petitions at uni - Don't Risk the Reef
Singing petitions at uni – Don’t Risk the Reef

You learn how to balance – Literally! I’ve been going to yoga classes regularly for about 3 months and it’s INCREDIBLE!!! I walk out feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, free and like I can accomplish anything. Definitely the best stress relief! And also figuratively balance. At uni you’ve got so many things going on; actual uni work, social life, keeping fit and healthy, watching latest episodes of Walking Dead, sleeping, relaxing, beaching… sometimes it can be a challenge to manage it all. I must admit, sometimes I spend too much time doing all of my assignments being a good uni student and not enough time outside at the beach (OK you got me, I’m always at the beach), but if you surround yourself with like minded people who are as determined to succeed in many aspects like you, you can do it! Making timetables, reducing time on Facebook and monitoring how much time you spend streaming can help you stay organised.

You learn how to become an owl – Literally. You become a little bit older, a little bit wiser and if you go to sleep before midnight and wake up in time for breakfast at 10am… it’s officially a miracle.

You suddenly acquire some really nice clothes – At college this year we’ve had 6 formal-ish events involving open bars and getting dressed up. And of course it calls for a new outfit each time right! And open bar!!! No more goon for a night!

Friends and I on the iHouse Sydney Harbour Cruise!
Friends and I (the far left) on the iHouse Sydney Harbour Cruise!

You’re going to meet people from across the globe – Literally from EVERYWHERE! We even had an Icelandic exchange student here! You learn so much about different cultures and might even find a French boyfriend to help you with your French grammar 😉

You make some pretty amazing friendships – And this is where I get all sentimental but everyone I’ve met at college/uni this year are truly inspiring, unique and driven people. I’m so glad to have you in my life, if we stay friends for this year, the next 3 years or the next 20 years, you’re each as special and dear to me.

So…. first year (nearly) down, 3.5 to go. It’s been a pretty exciting and crazy ride however if this year is anything to go by, I eagerly look forward to it!

xxx A

Some more friends at another fancy event (I'm in the pink dress)
Some more friends at another fancy event (I’m in the pink dress)