beauty and the boxer

I love sharing stories that have impacted me personally. And today I’m doing just that.


Daniel, in his boxing days

I don’t know about you, but when I’m active and eating right, I feel so much better. Zack and I look for ways to be more active in our regular routine, including lots of walking and biking. We focus on eating more whole foods, and limiting processed foods and sugars. We try to keep a good balance between work and play, between activity and rest.

We also try to do some sort of cardio workout at least four or five times per week. And we’ve been most successful with home workouts. In particular, we have seen great results from a series we discovered on YouTube last year, Body Project. Last week I had the chance to Skype-chat with Daniel Bartlett, founder of Body Project.

Alex, Daniel & Kirsten

Alex, Daniel & Kirsten

Bartlett had been a boxer for a number of years. In his early twenties, though very fit, he found himself enduring severe back pain. He spent time with doctors, chiropractors, and physiotherapists. Yet he couldn’t seem to shake the problem. When he consulted his coach, he was encouraged to try out pilates. Skeptical, living in a day and age quite a few years back where pilates was viewed more as what one’s mom might do for exercise, he reluctantly agreed to visit this highly-recommended physio-trained pilates instructor.

His reluctancy quickly vanished.

Walking in that very first day, Daniel laid eyes on his instructor and was immediately smitten.

Within the first minutes together, Alexandra explained how badly Daniel had been using his body. It turned out that even though he was indeed very fit, Daniel was the one causing the back pain.

Their pilates training began, and after only three of four weeks, Daniel’s back pain had disappeared altogether (and has not since returned).

After completing a 10-week program, he took what he felt was the only sensible next step: he asked Alex out.

The rest, you could say, is history. Daniel the boxer and Alexandra the instructor fell in love. They married, and they now have two sons, with a baby on the way.

BodyProject4Life is funny that way.

You think you have it all figured out, and suddenly, a ‘chance’ encounter totally changes your trajectory.

For Daniel, it started with back pain that led him to love (and on top of that, a life without back pain!). Trajectory changed even more shortly before the birth of their first child. He came to a point in his life where he felt it was time for a bit of self-examination. He reflected on a possible future in boxing, and considered that in light of this new stage of life.

And that was when he decided it was time to try something new.

He felt it was time to shift into a new phase and focus on training and coaching. And he wanted to shift the focus on his coaching from working with fighters to providing guidance to people whose desires were health and fitness-related.

Thus began the creation of Daniel and Alex’s fitness and wellness programs. With Daniel’s boxing and training expertise and Alexandra’s pilates knowledge, they started Daniel Alexandra Holistic Health and Fitness (Chiswick, England).

From there, they began developing holistic exercise routines. As with any new venture, there was a bit of trial and error. But they took it a step at a time. They began by introducing these routines to their exercise classes, and then created workouts that members could do at home. And yet, the people still wanted more.

“So we decided to film our workout systems for them to continue making progress when they were traveling or couldn’t make it to our gym. The results were so effective that we decided to try out a few of these workouts on YouTube.”

The result of that? The birth of Body Project. 

Body Project quickly gained a strong following on YouTube. Free workouts that can be done almost anywhere, without the need for fancy equipment. Routines that can be challenging for a variety of people and a myriad of fitness levels… It’s easy to understand why people would want in on something like that!


What makes Body Project workouts unique?

BodyProject1As Daniel puts it, it’s “the fusing of styles… it’s not just the standard program where it’s one discipline. We’ve got multiple disciplines in there.”

It is also feasible for a variety of fitness levels and body types. Those just starting out can manage well, and yet the muscle-clad gym enthusiast can be equally challenged.


How to get going when you aren’t going at all

Practically speaking, it’s not easy to make a drastic lifestyle change. Daniel believes you need to start reasonably, with something practical and attainable. “You have to try and find something that’s convenient for you.”

For example, research shows that biking to work is the most successful first step and lifestyle adjustment. “Now the reason is, it’s just built seamlessly into their lifestyle. It isn’t something they have to stop and think about doing. They cycle to work. [They think] ‘that’s my mode of transport. And then once I’m there, the only way I’m going to get home is to cycle home’.”

And while cycling to work isn’t a feasible option for everyone, we can all find something that’s convenient and relatively seamless, and begin from there.

It’s important to find something sustainable, to set yourself up for success. You need to find a way to make yourself a victor.

In that context, Daniel and I discuss Cardio Starter, one of their most popular workouts on YouTube. “It does push you. It does lift your heart rate. It’s achievable and it makes you a winner.”

Body Project is designed so that most anyone can begin with a phase that they can achieve. “And when you start moving a little bit, you want to move a little bit more.”

BodyProject3Daniel’s final words of advice?

“Just get going. Find something you can build in, that you can do in your life.” And then he quickly adds on, “hopefully Body Project!”


There are many ways to make your way to a healthier you.

I appreciate how Daniel and the Body Project team truly want to help people find a way that will lead to success. For me, it was about an activity that was varied and worked with my schedule, that I could do regardless of time or place. That’s what I personally like about Body Project. The holistic approach is great, because I thrive on variety. It’s not just cardio or kick-boxing, or just pilates or yoga. And the fact that it is video-based means I can do it when I want, where I want.

And it involved looking at my diet and finding ways to modify my eating habits, without feeling I was punishing myself. This combination of sustainable habits has made a positive and lasting impact on my overall health and wellness.

The bottom line is this: it is not so much about which path you choose, but about the choice itself. What is important is finding a way to be successful with your health.


Curious about Body Project? Their YouTube channel offers a great variety of free workouts: 

You can follow Body Project on Facebook:

For a bigger challenge, Team Body Project offers 31 workouts that comprise their 10-week challenge program (with 3 levels: beginner, intermediate & advanced), plus 5 bonus workouts. To learn more, check out



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