“Never say you can't do something! If you set your mind to it you can do it. It's hard work but it will pay off in the end.” These are the words of Instagram health and fitness blogger JoLo, known to thousands as a young woman with a highly toned body and a love of good food.
Jo was speaking about EFTC’s forthcoming London to Paris bike ride in which she and a host of other fundraisers will take on the gruelling 234 mile cycle ride to the Arc de Triomphe. But her words also embody the philosophy of the School of Hope - that despite adversity our students should keep trying and never give up in the pursuit of their dreams.
It’s highly likely that JoLo (Joanna Lowy) will be the first to breeze through the finish line in Paris this April. She’s a marathon runner who also loves cycling, spin classes, weight training and boxercise. She is also serious about nutrition and regularly posts recipes and food shots on Instagram. Oh, and did we mention that she has also already smashed her fundraising target of £1,555 and the donations are still rolling in?
Yet, the fitness challenge is not really what is motivating Jo on this occasion. She had heard about the School of Hope because her employer, Earnest Agency, is already very generously sponsoring Luis, one of our older students, to pursue a qualification in Graphic Design:
“I loved the feel and passion I got from EFTC’s Lizzie Wright when she came in and talked to us”, says Jo. “It meant a lot to me that a small charity was making such a difference. I think we take for granted our education and quality of life here in the UK and so I was very keen to fundraise and help as much as I could. I was really happy when I heard that the money I’ve raised will be paying for new text books for a whole class of students at the school.”
So we asked Jo what she has been doing to train for the London to Paris ride and what advice would she give to the other participants, many of whom are not nearly as fit (or young!) as herself?
“I have been training hard. I think it will definitely be challenging! I have never cycled that kind of distance -this is a whole new challenge for me. I am continuing my usual gym routine and getting in lots of spin classes and big cycle rides at the weekend. I clocked 60 miles this weekend. So I’m slowly getting there!
“I don't think I would call myself an expert! I just love to keep fit, and if I keep fit I can eat lots of delicious food! I am still learning but my advice would be to always always eat before and post ride. Your body is like a car - drive/cycle all that way and you run out of fuel. You need to replenish and fill up the tank to get going again. I tend to eat a high carbohydrate and protein meal before and after all my training rides - you can see the array of things I eat on my instagram!
“Never say you can't do something! If you set your mind to it you can do it. It's hard work but it will pay off in the end. It will be an accomplishment for you and you will feel a completely different sense of accomplishment for what you have done for such a good cause.”