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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

HCM People: Chibs OkerekeStress and burnout coach, Mettle

Almost 40 per cent of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health. There's a lot of suffering in silence

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 1
Okereke delivers meditation for men on the app / photo: Mettle
Okereke delivers meditation for men on the app / photo: Mettle
I want to get Mettle into health clubs, so we're aiming to to build some partnerships

Tell us about Mettle
Mettle was the brainchild of Bear Grylls and Neil Smith, who wanted to address a gap in the market for services supporting men with their mental wellbeing.

They came up with the idea for a mindfulness app incorporating meditation, breathwork and neuro linguistic programming (NLP).

Designed in conjunction with Imperial College London, the Mettle app is research-based and curated to appeal to the sceptical male mind. Men can be difficult to engage in this sort of activity and need to hear things in slightly different ways.

I'm in charge of delivering meditation, Jamie Clements is the breathwork expert, we’ve got Paul McKenna for the NLP and Dr Alex George and Bear work on the motivational mindset.

You already feature as an expert on the Calm app, what drew you to Mettle?
I'm still with Calm, but Mettle is an important project for me, as I've always wanted to help men with their mental health. The stats are pretty alarming: 40 per cent of men say they feel low or worried on a regular basis. Almost 80 per cent of men have suffered from mental health symptoms, such as anxiety and stress or depression, at some point in their lives and almost 40 per cent of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health. That's a lot of suffering in silence, so we need to get a handle on this issue.

Why do men find it difficult to talk about their emotions?
From an early age, men are taught not to express their feelings – it’s in our programming. If a boy falls over we encourage them to just brush it off. If a girl falls over we’re more likely to rush to comfort her. We need to become aware of that programming and then break it.

In the past men haven’t had role models talking about mental health, this is starting to change, with more male sports stars talking about their mental health difficulties.

Of course, the pandemic also had a negative impact for some and then technology causes stress and anxiety. Even though I love technology and AI, it does mess up a lot of people’s mental health, but we can harness it for the good of mental health.

The more conversations we have the better, but we can't just talk. We need to have some practical solutions and that’s where Mettle comes in.

How does Mettle target men?
Firstly, we’ve got Bear at the forefront and as he’s about as masculine as you can get, you can’t argue with his 'man' credentials! He's the perfect collaborator: everyone respects and likes him.

Beyond that, it's all about the language and it's very practical. So instead of saying breathwork, we introduce it as something the military use called combat breathing, which soldiers use to keep calm and in control of their body when their life is on the line. When we’ve done some combat breathing, I’ll tell them this is also yogic breathing, which has been around for 3,000 years, so they know where all these techniques come from.

How do you expect men to use it?
It can be used every day. It starts with an assessment to give the user a mental fitness score and then we use AI to send them in the right direction to build that score. This might be via a breathwork exercise, a meditation, a motivational snippet or a mind-hacking tool from Paul McKenna. The average exercise is about five minutes, although there’s an option to go longer. We wanted to keep it short, sharp, edgy and to the point. Meditation and breathwork are really useful tools, but most men don't know about them.

How much time does the average person need to devote to mindfulness each day?
Think of it as mental fitness training, so you need to work harder at the beginning to build the muscle – say 20 or 30 minutes a day. Once you’ve built up that mindfulness muscle it’s about using it to support your life, to become more aware – especially of the stress response – so you can change your behaviour.

For example, if I'm in the middle of an email, and I notice my shoulders are rising, I’m able to relax myself. And if I can’t, I know I have to break for five minutes and meditate. So for me it’s more about micro breaks, being aware of my stress levels and then using the skills to rebalance myself.

In my old life, I relied on unhealthy coping strategies to deal with stress. Now if I’m stressed I step up my healthy habits: I'll go to bed early rather than stay up late watching Netflix and eating snacks.

The other skill I’ve been able to develop is whenever anything bad happens to me, I'm think, OK, what lesson am I'm going to learn from this? Because I know every crap thing that's happened to me in my past has got me to where I am now. That's not just positive thinking, it's legit.

How can club operators engage with you?
The more conversations health club operators can have about mental fitness the better. I want to get Mettle into health clubs and we're aiming to build some partnerships. In my eyes there's no difference between physical health and mental health.

More: www.bemettle.com

Team Mettle...
MEDITATION: Chibs Okereke
photo: Mettle / Justin Oppus
BREATHWORK: Jamie Clements
photo: Mettle
MOTIVATIONAL MINDSET: Bear Grylls
photo: Mettle
MENTAL FITNESS: Dr Alex George
photo: Mettle / John Breslin
MIND HACK: Paul McKenna
photo: Mettle
Bear Grylls works on motivational mindset on the Mettle mental health app. Here with founder Neil Smith / photo: Mettle
Bear Grylls works on motivational mindset on the Mettle mental health app. Here with founder Neil Smith / photo: Mettle
Almost 80 per cent of men have suffered with mental health symptoms / photo: shutterstock/GaudiLab
Almost 80 per cent of men have suffered with mental health symptoms / photo: shutterstock/GaudiLab
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2024/925861_763511.jpg
The stress coach talks about working with Bear Grylls on the Mettle app for men
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features

HCM People: Chibs OkerekeStress and burnout coach, Mettle

Almost 40 per cent of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health. There's a lot of suffering in silence

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 1
Okereke delivers meditation for men on the app / photo: Mettle
Okereke delivers meditation for men on the app / photo: Mettle
I want to get Mettle into health clubs, so we're aiming to to build some partnerships

Tell us about Mettle
Mettle was the brainchild of Bear Grylls and Neil Smith, who wanted to address a gap in the market for services supporting men with their mental wellbeing.

They came up with the idea for a mindfulness app incorporating meditation, breathwork and neuro linguistic programming (NLP).

Designed in conjunction with Imperial College London, the Mettle app is research-based and curated to appeal to the sceptical male mind. Men can be difficult to engage in this sort of activity and need to hear things in slightly different ways.

I'm in charge of delivering meditation, Jamie Clements is the breathwork expert, we’ve got Paul McKenna for the NLP and Dr Alex George and Bear work on the motivational mindset.

You already feature as an expert on the Calm app, what drew you to Mettle?
I'm still with Calm, but Mettle is an important project for me, as I've always wanted to help men with their mental health. The stats are pretty alarming: 40 per cent of men say they feel low or worried on a regular basis. Almost 80 per cent of men have suffered from mental health symptoms, such as anxiety and stress or depression, at some point in their lives and almost 40 per cent of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health. That's a lot of suffering in silence, so we need to get a handle on this issue.

Why do men find it difficult to talk about their emotions?
From an early age, men are taught not to express their feelings – it’s in our programming. If a boy falls over we encourage them to just brush it off. If a girl falls over we’re more likely to rush to comfort her. We need to become aware of that programming and then break it.

In the past men haven’t had role models talking about mental health, this is starting to change, with more male sports stars talking about their mental health difficulties.

Of course, the pandemic also had a negative impact for some and then technology causes stress and anxiety. Even though I love technology and AI, it does mess up a lot of people’s mental health, but we can harness it for the good of mental health.

The more conversations we have the better, but we can't just talk. We need to have some practical solutions and that’s where Mettle comes in.

How does Mettle target men?
Firstly, we’ve got Bear at the forefront and as he’s about as masculine as you can get, you can’t argue with his 'man' credentials! He's the perfect collaborator: everyone respects and likes him.

Beyond that, it's all about the language and it's very practical. So instead of saying breathwork, we introduce it as something the military use called combat breathing, which soldiers use to keep calm and in control of their body when their life is on the line. When we’ve done some combat breathing, I’ll tell them this is also yogic breathing, which has been around for 3,000 years, so they know where all these techniques come from.

How do you expect men to use it?
It can be used every day. It starts with an assessment to give the user a mental fitness score and then we use AI to send them in the right direction to build that score. This might be via a breathwork exercise, a meditation, a motivational snippet or a mind-hacking tool from Paul McKenna. The average exercise is about five minutes, although there’s an option to go longer. We wanted to keep it short, sharp, edgy and to the point. Meditation and breathwork are really useful tools, but most men don't know about them.

How much time does the average person need to devote to mindfulness each day?
Think of it as mental fitness training, so you need to work harder at the beginning to build the muscle – say 20 or 30 minutes a day. Once you’ve built up that mindfulness muscle it’s about using it to support your life, to become more aware – especially of the stress response – so you can change your behaviour.

For example, if I'm in the middle of an email, and I notice my shoulders are rising, I’m able to relax myself. And if I can’t, I know I have to break for five minutes and meditate. So for me it’s more about micro breaks, being aware of my stress levels and then using the skills to rebalance myself.

In my old life, I relied on unhealthy coping strategies to deal with stress. Now if I’m stressed I step up my healthy habits: I'll go to bed early rather than stay up late watching Netflix and eating snacks.

The other skill I’ve been able to develop is whenever anything bad happens to me, I'm think, OK, what lesson am I'm going to learn from this? Because I know every crap thing that's happened to me in my past has got me to where I am now. That's not just positive thinking, it's legit.

How can club operators engage with you?
The more conversations health club operators can have about mental fitness the better. I want to get Mettle into health clubs and we're aiming to build some partnerships. In my eyes there's no difference between physical health and mental health.

More: www.bemettle.com

Team Mettle...
MEDITATION: Chibs Okereke
photo: Mettle / Justin Oppus
BREATHWORK: Jamie Clements
photo: Mettle
MOTIVATIONAL MINDSET: Bear Grylls
photo: Mettle
MENTAL FITNESS: Dr Alex George
photo: Mettle / John Breslin
MIND HACK: Paul McKenna
photo: Mettle
Bear Grylls works on motivational mindset on the Mettle mental health app. Here with founder Neil Smith / photo: Mettle
Bear Grylls works on motivational mindset on the Mettle mental health app. Here with founder Neil Smith / photo: Mettle
Almost 80 per cent of men have suffered with mental health symptoms / photo: shutterstock/GaudiLab
Almost 80 per cent of men have suffered with mental health symptoms / photo: shutterstock/GaudiLab
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2024/925861_763511.jpg
The stress coach talks about working with Bear Grylls on the Mettle app for men
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Planet Fitness has a new CEO – Colleen Keating. She will take up the position ...
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Social enterprise, Places Leisure, which is part of the Places for People Group, has appointed ...
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As one of the most energy-intensive industries in the UK, leisure facilities face a critical challenge in balancing net zero goals, funding and increased costs.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Panatta to showcase innovation at major fitness and bodybuilding events in 2024
Panatta will consolidate its global presence throughout 2024 by attending a host of major industry events around the globe.
Company profiles
Company profile: Places Leisure
Places Leisure aims to enlighten our communities about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Spivi
Spivi is an immersive fitness gamification platform that helps gym operators to achieve better retention ...
Supplier Showcase
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Greenwich Leisure Limited press release: Pioneering project boosts business in Basingstoke
A sports complex might not be your first thought when you’re looking for a peaceful and comfortable, drop-in workspace. However, that could soon change thanks to an innovative new project at Basingstoke Leisure Centre.
Featured press releases
The Health & Fitness Institute press release: The future of fitness education: The Health and Fitness Institute champions digital learning
The Health and Fitness Institute (THFI) is leading a revolutionary paradigm shift in fitness education by fully embracing digital learning.
Directory
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
Lockers
Fitlockers: Lockers
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
salt therapy products
Saltability: salt therapy products
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Grantham, Leicestershire
Belvoir Castle
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
22-24 Apr 2024
Galgorm Resort, York,
Diary dates
10-12 May 2024
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
Diary dates
23-24 May 2024
Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
12-13 Jun 2024
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
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Diary dates
24-24 Oct 2024
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Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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