Morning Routines: Jacinta McDonell, Fitness Entrepreneur and Human Rights Activist
Jacinta McDonell is strong in more ways than one. She (along with her brother, Justin) brought Anytime Fitness to Australia in 2008; the fit-fab sibling duo now owns 20 franchises and turned the 24/7 access gym into the country’s number one health club chain. (Thus compelling slackers down under to ditch the 'no time for the gym' excuse.) McDonell wants members to “feel something better,” and that philosophy extends to the community outside the gym, too: The mother of three is also the founder of the Human Kind Project, an organization that enables businesses to build brand equity while promoting social change. Read on to discover what Jacinta listens to first thing in the morning, why movement is important in her routine, and why she starts work at 4:30am sometimes!
Are you a morning bird or night owl?
Morning bird, definitely, even before kids, I’ve always preferred the morning.
What are you most excited about right now?
A new business we’re launching this year. It's called W1LL Studio and we just launched online classes!
What quote do you live by?
“Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.” - Rumi
Tell us about your charitable organization, the Human Kind Project.
When I personally viewed the work of The Hunger Project in Malawi, I met a woman that I felt connected to immediately. She was my age and like me, had children, but also had three more children who had died at an early age.
This woman was illiterate and lived in an area where issues like hunger, malaria, and HIV were impacting her community. When she was asked questions of hopes and aspirations, she answered just as I would: to see her children educated, healthy and happy.
The only reason she wasn’t able to achieve these aspirations was because she wasn’t gifted with the opportunity to do so. She was born in a country and area without the opportunity or resources to have this for herself or her family. This connection showed me the true face of what it means to be human and this was the birth of Human Kind Project.
What an amazing initiative. What do you hope to achieve with the Human Kind Project?
We have a big mission: to rally humans together and end world hunger by the year 2030. We know it’s a massive goal -- but not an impossible one.
Human Kind Project allows me to speak with other people and entrepreneurs about the impact that we can have in our world, and it also gives me the ability to demonstrate how we can drive business success by doing good. I love this.
I want to see a shift in humanity so we recognize that our true talents and desires are fundamentally the same. I want to give a voice to all the amazing women and men I have met that simply don’t have the opportunity to thrive like we do in first world countries.
You've stated on record that you “wake up inspired every day, knowing there is so much I can do for my family and others.” Chills! Do you have any tips to always waking up with an inspirational mindset?
My yoga practice is a place that allows me to find peace and calmness. If I don’t wake up feeling inspired and positive, I simply do yoga!
You are the founder of both Urban Yoga and the Anytime Fitness brand in Australia. Why is movement, yoga and fitness so essential in your life?
Movement helps me to find a sense of stillness in a busy world. It is essential!
What is your go-to morning drink?
Fresh ginger, fresh lemon & honey.
Fill in the blank: I (usually) eat ____ for breakfast.
Rye sourdough toast with Vegemite and a cup of rooibos tea with soy milk! YUM.
If you could have breakfast with one person, who would it be and why?
Melinda Gates. She does such inspiring work with the Gates Foundation and I’d love to chat with her about creating social change.
What’s your current morning routine?
Each day is different for me depending on my family and work commitments. Some days I get to work at 4:30am -- which I weirdly love. Other days I start with yoga and other days I walk the kids to school before heading into the office -- which I also really love! My morning routine varies day to day!
What’s your morning breakfast playlist?
My current playlist is James Vincent McMorrow. LOVE him.
Do you read, watch or listen first thing in the morning?
I listen to Music! And also my old son yelling out to me.
What is your biggest secret to maintaining a sane morning routine with three children in the house?
The key is definitely preparation and allowing time in between commitments so that I’m not rushed if something doesn’t go to plan.
Don't forget to follow Jacinta’s fitness and philanthropic adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and her website! Remember to check out Jacinta's new venture, w1ll, and stay up to date with Human Kind Project here. Want more morning inspiration? Be sure to check out other motivating morning and evening interviews.