Leon Taylor spent 20 years in elite sport, becoming a Silver Olympic medallist for men’s synchronised 10-metre platform diving with Peter Waterfield at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. He’s also medals at Commonwealth Games, European Aquatics Championships and more.
Since the country has gone into lockdown, Leon has used this time to launch Mindset and Movement 60 minute group sessions via Zoom to help us improve our health, happiness and performance. These sessions are open to all levels of fitness.
Leon Taylor today features in our My Lockdown Workout series…
How did you get into fitness?
As a former competitive diver I have always loved sports. I was diagnosed as hyperactive at an early age, my parents encouraged my involvement in physical activity in the hope that i would find an outlet for my energy and enthusiasm. Diving soon became my passion and from the age of 8 it became clear i was destined for the sport. Three years later, I became national champion and went on to represent Great Britain at three Olympic Games.
I was injured after taking part in the Olympic Games in Sydney and underwent two reconstructive surgeries. During the rehabilitation period, I suffered from depression and consequently lost my love and motivation for diving. It wasn’t until months later that I overcame my mental illness, regained my joy for the sport and went on to win a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Following my retirement from professional diving, I have been talking openly about my personal experience with mental illness. More recently, I took part in a TEDx live event with a speech aimed to help people realise how regularly engaging in a long-term physical activity that they enjoy can be an effective intervention on mental health issues.
As Covid-19 spread around the World, with the Olympics rescheduled and with everyone on lockdown; I found himself having to think and adapt my career. I quickly created an online concept for those who wanted support both with their fitness and mental wellbeing. Mindset and Movement was born. My aim is to help people think better, feel better and move better. The classes are held 3 times a week online.
What is one of your favourite lockdown workouts?
I have recently launched an online lockdown workout class – Mindset and Movement – and within this we have a burst of HIIT style activity for 15 minutes. This is ideal for mental wellbeing and psychical strength. I tend to combine this with yoga stretches and breathing exercises. I change the exercises each session to keep the body and mind alert.
This lockdown workout can be done by anyone in any size room they have…
6 exercises each one for 30 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest. You repeat the 6 exercises for 3 rounds. After each round you get an extra 30 seconds rest. This takes 15 minutes.
- Squats – keep range that suits your body. Chin and chest up. You can always do jump squats if you want more!
- Lungees – generous step forwards, alternate legs , back knee doesn’t touch floor
- Bear crawls – crawl forwards 4 steps/crawls and backwards for 4. knees low to ground. If too much just hold all fours position knees off ground
- Mountain climbers – zip up core, shoulders over writs in push up position – jogging motion with legs knees towards chest
- Burpees – hands down on ground step back into push up position, step forward and reach up. More dynamic versions involve springing
- High Knees – jogging on spot high knees with option of high arms motion too
What’s your nutrition like when doing a lockdown workout?
About a year ago i started the mindful fasting approach to eating. So I fast overnight for 14 hours to give my digestive system a rest. I then eat breakfast, lunch & dinner within a 10-hour window.
I’m mainly plant-based and understand the importance of having a good mix of nutrition for mind and body. I find this keeps my mind alert, helps with my concentration and keeps my energy levels high.
Do you have any tips for those new to working out?
Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently. Listen to your body. Take it slowly and don’t push yourself too hard too soon. Show up each day and do a little bit. If your aim is to run 5 km then start by building up your walking with short 30 second jogs, increasing slowly over weeks and then you will find you can run a full 5 km (and enjoy it!) in no time.
For more information on Leon Taylor’s Mindset and Movement sessions, visit: https://leontaylor.co.uk/mindset-movement.html.