We interview Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill OBE to hear about her new venture, Jennis
We meet Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill to discuss her new venture Jennis, expert workout tips, and unwinding with Netflix and her Chocolate Labrador
Born out of Ennis-Hill's desire to share the expert support and training she had as a professional athlete and a mother, Jennis has been tailored to provide a one-stop destination where she can share her unrivalled exercise and wellness expertise. Jennis will offer users workouts with Jessica, her friends and some of the world class experts whom she has worked with over her years as a professional athlete.
The fitness programmes have been developed so that they can be tailored according to the individuals ability, stage of pregnancy or post-partum - all to be done in the comfort of your own home or gym.We met Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill at Adidas's ice-cool fitness hub in East London to find out more.
Who is the target demographic for Jennis?
Dame Jessica Ennis Hill: Originally, it started out being pregnancy-focused. Having two children, I wanted to create a space where women could work out in a community and know they are doing the right thing. After having my son, and during the pregnancy, I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do. But, I had been a full-time elite athlete and so had an amazing physio and team around me who were incredible, and they gave me all the exercises to do at the right stages, and kind of guided me through the whole process for my pregnancy. So, it was inspired by that - creating workouts that women can enjoy and that are helpful in every stage of pregnancy and beyond.
Then it went a little bit further - building into full fitness. The fitness section shows the workouts that I do on a weekly basis, and how I have adapted all my circuit workouts and training that I did as an elite athlete to fit them into a busy week with two kids.
Can you tell us about the concept of "training smarter, not longer"?
Dame Jessica Ennis Hill: For me, as for most women and men out there, life is so busy and it’s hard to fine time to exercise. I feel like a lot of people tend to spend their time going to the gym or doing workouts that aren’t necessarily that beneficial. [They] come away from the gym after an hour's session feeling great, but how much has the quality of that work been? So, I’m all about 'I don’t want to exercise for an hour, I want to exercise for twenty minutes or half an hour maximum, and know that I’ve done the right exercises, worked the right areas and that I'm going to feel good when I come out of it'. That’s what the App is going to deliver.
We had a look at the Jennis Instagram page, which seems to have some good examples of what to expect...
Dame Jessica Ennis Hill: Yes, so there are some shots from the fitness app. There are body-weight exercises, some dumbbell exercises, kettle-bell and theraband moves you can do. All really manageable exercises, but hopefully done in the right form, using the right technique.
Our readership is largely London-based. Can you do these workouts in small spaces if you’re time-poor? And do you need any specialised equipment?
Dame Jessica Ennis Hill: You don’t need too much. You need a mat. Some exercises require a Swiss Ball, I suppose that’s the biggest piece of equipment you need. Dumbbells, kettlebells and a theraband. It’s not [going to take up] a lot of space. There are adaptors to give you a
little bit more of weight, so you can feel like you’ve pushed yourself harder. But yeah, you can pretty much do them anywhere.
We recently celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week. What are your thoughts on the benefits of exercise for a healthy mind?
Dame Jessica Ennis Hill: I think they’re huge. The relationship between exercise and the way you feel in your mind is massive. From personal experience, after having my children, coming back to do a five-minute workout or just ten minutes of something, it just gives you time to yourself and time to switch off - it does make you feel amazing. As tired as you are, if you can just get a little bit of energy to start a workout, you feel infinitely better. If you are struggling with mental health issues, to have something where you can channel some energy is so positive.
You must be so busy, juggling between commitments. Is there anything else you do to unwind besides exercise?
Dame Jessica Ennis Hill: When I was training full-time, I would say training was sometimes more of a chore. Whereas now, I really appreciate time to exercise because it’s harder to fit in. I do find it really helpful to switch off. I do a workout when the kids have gone to bed, or I’ll take the dog out for run.
How lovely! What breed of dog do you have?
Dame Jessica Ennis Hill: A Chocolate Labrador. But she’s getting a bit old now so, if she comes on a run with me, she’s a bit limpy the next day. But otherwise, I just like to do nothing. If I have got time to myself, or me and my husband have just got time, I like to sit down and enjoy a box-set and just watch things on Netflix.
How do you hope the Jennis App will benefit the user?
Dame Jessica Ennis Hill: I hope that it gives women going through pregnancy the confidence to own their body again and enjoy their pregnancy from the fitness perspective. And I hope it gives them the confidence to know that they’re doing the right exercises, at the right stage, and
that whatever level they use and however many reps they do, it’s really positive.
And then, beyond pregnancy, I just want to instil in women that it doesn’t have to be a massive, crazy rush to get back to looking the way you were before. I just want people to understand that it is a process and, I think, sometimes, people look at me and think ‘well, straight after her pregnancy she had a six pack.’ Well, it didn’t happen straight away and it takes time. I want people to feel like they don’t have to rush, and should focus on proofing the body so that you don’t pick up injuries and problems beyond pregnancy.
The app and website launch on the 10 June 2019
DOWNLOAD THE JENNIS APP HERE