Fort personal trainer Jonathan is one Tough Cookie

Jonathan McCook demonstrates an air squat. Photograph: Iain Ferguson,

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A Fort William-based personal trainer who posted a 21-day challenge on social media to help people through dark days of lockdown has already attracted 1,100 followers.

Jonathan McCook, 26, of Tough Cookies Fitness set up the free event at the start of the year to encourage a positive mindset and improve physical fitness.

Each week Jonathan led a combination of five physical and mental challenges, inviting participants to take part in at least one, though ideally completing all of them.

He explained: ‘I didn’t want anyone to start a new year with a negative mindset, as I know it was really tough year mentally and financially.

‘The least I could do was to invite them to look at it with a new year, new me, attitude.’

His idea was to get those willing to take action and not regret doing nothing a week later, continuing into the year with that failing mindset. He also made it clear he was there to help with anything they wanted to ask.

Jonathan used a teaching from Stoicism in setting his programme, based on a quote by which he also runs his own life: ‘The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately’ – a phrase which is perhaps even more relevant at this moment in time.

Challenge one was ‘Do something cold’, 15 minutes of repeat exercises, five burpees, 10 push ups, 15 air squats and additionally, take 10,000 steps.

Other sections included ‘reflect and recover’ time with tasks, drink two to three litres of water, take 12,000-15,000 steps, spend time being grateful and get in touch with someone you hadn’t spoken to for some time.

Following these successful activities, Jonathan is continuing to work online, delivering his positive healthy mind and body attitude to a wider audience, including online fitness sessions for schoolchildren.