A former TV Gladiator is on a new mission to combat absenteeism and improve productivity at work in North Wales.
Diane Youdale, aka Jet from the hit 1990s series, has teamed up with St Asaph-based training firm, You Train, to provide health and well-being courses for companies across the region.
The concept will be officially launched at an event at the Conwy Business Centre on Monday, January 18.
You Train was established by Steve Williams, 42, from Colwyn Bay, as the training arm of renewable energy specialists Carbon Zero.
He said the need for such a course was highlighted by the long-term sickness rates at the Isle of Anglesey County Council which have cost the authority £1 million since last April.
Steve got to know Diane, 44, through his previous role as a celebrity agent.
Diane spent four years as Jet in the cult television series which saw contestants from all walks of life take on super-fit Gladiators in a series of physical challenges, winning points and a place in the final event, The Eliminator.
However, a fall during a live unscreened 1996 show as she tackled a contender resulted in a back injury and trapped nerves in her neck.
As a result, she retired from the hugely popular show and qualified as a psychotherapist and Pilates instructor.
Diane has now developed what she calls her Core Philosophy as a way of helping people think about their minds and bodies and improving their well-being through fun exercise and eating the right things.
According to Steve, the tie-up between Diane and You Train was a “no-brainer” with them organising and marketing the courses and her delivering the programmes.
Steve said: “A lot employers are struggling because of problems caused by absenteeism caused by a number of factors, including stress.
“Instead of going on long term sick because they can’t cope with their role or the pressures of the job, this course will help you educate yourself about what’s going on in your mind and how to apply that in the workplace, the nutritional value you take on board during the day and how that impacts on you.
“Hopefully, employers will see less and less people going off work with illness and stress through this five-week course which will get people educated so they understand themselves a bit more.
“We’re aiming for the NHS, the police, the emergency services, big corporate companies, colleges, people who have hundreds and hundreds of staff and even anybody with a small business. It’s aimed at everybody.
“I’ve done a lot of research on this and absenteeism is a big issue and there’s no alternative here at the moment.
“Diane’s Core Philosophy has been tried and tested and the results are amazing but in North Wales there’s nothing like this and there’s some quite big businesses in this area and they’re probably looking for an answer.
“We believe in what we’re trying to do and can improve the productivity of staff and get more out of them.
“If people are happier in work, they will be more productive and everyone’s a winner. What better inspiration can you have than from a former Gladiator?”
Diane, who also delivers Core Philosophy workshops for patients at Spire Yale Hospital’s Consulting Rooms in Abergele, was “hugely excited” about the new opportunity to spread the message.
She said: “I was originally invited to write and develop my Core Philosophy for the NHS who were struggling in terms of staff care.
“It is an integrated course in health and wellbeing, the practical approach as well as the science behind nutrition and food.
“It includes everything we need to know that we’re not taught at school, to really improve our self-care as well as our responsibility towards our self-care in this day and age.
“We don’t want to hear about people taking days off work because they’re simply self- neglected.
“We all get poorly but there’s self-neglect and poorly. There’s a fine line and a lot of people are self-medicating with way too much food, insulin in sugars, alcohol and all sorts of other things which slowly undermines their health.
“It’s not an exercise class but I will get them to actually reconnect with how their bodies are working from a functional, structural and postural perspective and that’s immediate.
“Looking at your gut health is vital because in your gut, serotonin is produced, one of your feel good hormones in your brain. If you have poor nutrition, poor food, if there’s very little nutritional value in your food, you’re not going to get your serotonin lift in your brain.
“That can be counteracted of course by endorphin release, by doing exercise but that isn’t the solution if you’re eating poorly.
“I am very strict at times – I might be nice but the Gladiator in me can still come out.”
For more information about You Train go to www.you-train.co.uk