Joe Holder on How Health and Wellness Is a Lifelong Commitment

The wellness guru has worked with some of the best in the business on perfecting a healthy routine.

“Wellness is a practice of taking care of yourself in private so that in public you feel better, and you can take care of everything around you,” says Joe Holder, the self-described “creative director of modern wellness.” Holder calls his overarching fitness philosophy Ocho System, and he’s applied it to consultant gigs with brands like Dyson and Nike and for clients like Naomi Campbell and Virgil Abloh. It’s founded in the belief that optimized health and wellness is a lifelong commitment, one that doesn’t necessarily have to be fraught.

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“The biggest thing that you can’t forget is to remove the blame from yourself,” says Holder. “That means hold yourself accountable, but put the blame on your environment, and then set it up for the best results.” Eat well, drink lots of water, and break up workouts into smaller, easily accomplished chunks (“exercise snacks”). Set yourself up for success: Design wins out over willpower every time. “If you don’t have soda in the kitchen, you won’t drink it. If you can just design your personal environment, that will help you realize how the rest of the world is really not set up to facilitate your health goals. So take it on yourself and remove the things in your world that will make it harder for you.”

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An important aspect of Holder’s work is the concept of “intergenerational health,” held up by four socially concerned tenets: environmental care, access to general and mental healthcare, access to fitness, and food justice. “I know everybody wants to burn it all down right now,” he says of our currently fragmented system, “but it’s what we have to work with. It’s about combining corporate goals with individual health and community health.” For example, Holder says, when negotiating with an employer, ask about matching programs, and build a donation of $500 or $1,000 to a charity of your choice into your contract. Health is wealth; spread it around.