Motivational speaker, premier fitnesss trainer and founder of The Jacy Method — a transformative workout experience designed to guide you through a physical and emotional journey where working out meets working in, and where movement meets meditation — Jacy Cunningham is a force unlike any other. Through his unique skill set, he has been able to not only gain entry into the depth of the human spirit, but also help people of all walks of life acknowledge their divine connection through movement.
How does physical activity impact your overall wellbeing?
Physical activity is one of the most central pieces of my day—when I don’t start my day with movement, it typically doesn’t go as well as needed. I believe that anything we’re struggling with emotionally can be dealt with physically. Physical ailments are manifestations of stress, either physical or emotional. They say that 75-90% of all doctors visits are stress-related, so we’re constantly under stress and we’re also not using our bodies to eliminate the stress. For me, physical activity is a reminder that I am alive—I have a body, arms, legs and hands, and they’re supposed to be in good use.
Tell us a bit about the mind-body connection, for you...What do you love to do to stay active and whole?
The idea of a human being is something I’ve been thinking a lot about. I think we have a conflict between human being and human doing—we’re always caught in that space of, "What do I do?" instead of being concerned with who we are being in the moment. The mind-body connection is essential, but it starts with establishing clear space for that connection. Often we think that because we exist, our mind and our body are connected. But we have so many ways to distract us from that connection.
That connection takes work and practice; it’s not as inherent as we think. Even though we are born with a mind and a body, we forget that connection because a lot of things are unconscious—we don’t think about breathing, we just do it. Once we tap into that area of our life, and actually look into the breath, and accept the breath as it is, that’s the connection coming to life.
You can meditate and you can feel into your heartbeat. For me, meditation is the connection point to the mind-body....but it goes beyond that. Our body houses something so unique and so beautiful—and that’s the human spirit. It often goes ignored because we can’t see it, but it is always there and it is always producing some kind of fruit, whether we like it or not.
What are you tips for staying motivated to work out/be active?
It’s as simple as this: I lost my brother two years ago—at the age of forty-six—to a heart attack. He wasn’t old, he wasn’t super unhealthy, but he was neglecting certain parts of himself. We have to start realizing that every day is precious. Instead, we set destination points for our happiness, so we wait until we have everything we need, and then we start creating from there. We’re like, “Once I get everything I want out of life, then I’ll start working out, then I’ll be healthy.” Or, “Once I make a lot of money, then I’ll invest in my body, or be a vegetarian.” NO!
We can make incremental choices every single day that can help us live a life that we love.
We truly don’t know when this thing is going to end, so the motivation is the fact that every day is precious, and we have to utilize the fullness of every day, because God gave it to us for a reason. That’s why I enjoy motivating people, because I know what it feels like to not want to get up and work out—for years that’s how I used to treat my body. I was like, “I’m good, I’ve been working out my whole life.” I went to the doctor, and he said, “No, you’re not good,” and he told me to lower this and lower that. For me, as a perfectionist, I was like, “I’m not perfect? Are you kidding me?” So I started researching all of these techniques for health and veganism and all of these things, but what it showed me was that deep down, inside of all of us, is a fear of dying. And that’s why we do the diets, that’s why we go to the gym every day, because of our fear of death. But what that turns into, is a fear of life. We stop living now because we think we’re going to die soon.
So really, the motivation is establishing that every single day is precious; every single day has its own unique energy. And I really believe in “day one, day fun.” Every single day can be day one, but we like making day one into “day 97 of our feeling low,” or "day 129 of not working out”. Just take every single day and do something. That’s literally my message to everyone: just take the day and do something. And if you can do something different today than you did yesterday, you’ve made today unique.
Tell us something you’re especially excited about:
I’m working at Camp Kulabunga, which is a camp formed by my DJ friend, Griz, and it’s a sober fan camp for 100 of his fans in the middle of nowhere in Michigan. And it’s the most exhilarating, fire experience. It’s about you authentically connecting to real people. My deepest impact comes from that retreat, and I lead a workshop called “I’m Alive.” Just reminding people that they’re alive is so beautiful for me. Sometimes things in life become so routine and mundane, it’s like we’re not living.
I love to remind people to change things up and invite that space for freedom—it’s like a miracle every day.
At the end of a long and active day, what do you do to restore and reset?
I’m going to be honest—I roll myself a joint, because I know that it helps not just clear my mind but also alleviate any undue stress on my body that my mind may be focusing on or amplifying. Some things hurt, and when I shift my mind to that place, it amplifies. Our minds are so powerful! THC helps me get out of that inner chatter.
My family and I all practice the same ritual—using cannabis ointments and creams—and it’s becoming something that is recognized as a healing plant. The only reason we vilified it is because we couldn’t profit off of it. It had to take a certain form for the world to believe. I think that it’s always been here for us, waiting for us, and now that we’re waking up to the reality of what’s in the plant itself, we’re now realizing how much power it truly has. I want us to truly take back the reigns of not just our emotional and mental health, but our physical health.
I come from the black community, and to be honest, we’re so unhealthy. The food offerings in our neighborhoods are so unhealthy, and what I do goes so far beyond me. I work out every day to inspire anyone who feels unhealthy in their life to get off their ass. I love being that person because God gave me that gift. There’s a reason why God continues to fill me up––so that I can go out into the world and pour a little out. That’s the confidence I walk the earth with: knowing that God fills up my cup, to pour out.