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Jarrod Lee on looking good naked and a queer training community


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A post shared by Jarrod Bruce Lee (@jarrodbrucelee)

This post is part of a series of Queerty conversations with models, trainers, dancers, and, well, people who inspire us to stay in shape–or just sit on the couch ogling them instead.

Name: Jarrod Lee, 31

Current Occupation: Full Time Coach/Entrepreneur Trainer + Psychologist + Nutritionist + Life Coach

City: I am currently based in London, and was born in Taipei and raised in Auckland since the age of 4. Though my partner and I are going on a world tour from April.

What is your favorite gym for working out?

Loved Gold’s Gym Venice when I was in LA, though I can make most gyms work.

Do you have a favorite exercise playlist?

I usually like the heavy bass that amps me up for heavy lifting, though also like to spice things up with Gay Workout Playlists on Spotify.

What’s the best food to eat prior to a workout?

This is really dependent on the individual and goals. Personally, I like working out on an empty stomach in the morning, I go in with a clear head and get my best workouts in that way. Our bodies actually have enough glycogen stores from previous meals to fuel the workouts. For those who prefer to eat – go for something light and low in fat,  and easy to digest carbs and protein. A banana and protein shake can work well, or a few slices of lean turkey ham on toast. The harder to digest, the more your blood flow goes towards digestion, which will detract from your workout, which you want to avoid.


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What’s the best outfit for working out? 

Go for what allows you to move freely as a priority, but then also what makes you feel good. There’s a study from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that shows the clothes we wear subconsciously change how we act. So, like an actor who puts on a costume to get into character, when you are wearing fit, activewear that makes you feel fit/sexy/cute, it gets your brain mentally ready for the task, which in turn improves focus, motivation and results.

How do you balance staying in shape and having fun? 

I merge the two together for myself and clients.  When you have direction, goals, and a plan of attack, workouts can become very rewarding, and fun. It is also important to keep workouts efficient, so time isn’t wasted. Similarly with eating too, including your favorite foods along whilst balancing your calories/macronutrients makes staying in shape easy. And when you see the results happening, getting more energy, feeling healthier, and looking better naked. It’s exciting and reinforces all the positive behavior.

The problem comes when you don’t have direction, don’t know what you’re doing – and believe that you need to work out long hours, cut out all your favorite foods, or skip social occasions altogether to achieve results, which is simply not true. It would kill the joy of it all for most people.

What’s a basic, if useful, workout tip you can offer?

For beginners:
Start small, and build upon it. If you are currently doing nothing, even going for a 10-minute daily walk is a great first step.

For more intermediate:
Get better at your workouts with progressive overload and keep on working on your technique.
You have to improve your workouts if you want to see changes, and you also need to get the proper technique and body-mind connection involved if you want to avoid injury.

And for those serious about getting results, and who want to prioritize their body and health, reach out for a professional to guide you. It can save you years of disappointment and injury.

How did you begin your own journey toward physical, mental, and emotional health as a career? What makes it satisfying for you?

There have been a few pivotal shifts in my life that lead me to where I am today. I first trained in Psychology and Accounting and ended up going down the “safe path” when I landed my first professional job as an auditor at EY. But I was also facing personal body-image issues and found myself working out a lot, whenever outside of work, and realized I had a huge desire to make my own body transformation as help others do the same – and neither was being expressed.

I sought out a training college and restudied fitness, nutrition, and motivation and opened up a successful home 1-1 training studio as well as fun bootcamp helping some incredible clients with weight loss. I loved every second of it. Then fast forward another 4 years, meeting my partner Tomi, getting married, coming out to my dad, and doing a lot of deep spiritual work – I learned and felt a sense of self-love and freedom in myself that I’ve never felt before.


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A post shared by Jarrod Bruce Lee (@jarrodbrucelee)

I knew I had to incorporate this into what I do, studied further in life coaching and psychology, and created “The Daring Academy” for the LGBT Community. To help other gay men not just create their body transformations but feel that sense of confidence, joy, and freedom.

The satisfaction is simple, helping other gay men/women find their inner voice, develop that body-confidence and really learn to love themselves, and watching their lives change for the better as a result (finding boyfriends, getting job promotions, finding new careers they love, daring to dream bigger) there’s no other feeling in the world.

You pioneered your own training program, “The Daring Academy’s 10 Week Body Transformation Program” How did you develop it?

It developed from research, speaking to hundreds of gay men (hearing them open up about their experiences and struggles), my own personal experiences, and of course, the knowledge gained from training clients in my 10+ years, and from the training in my education.

I began by looking at the key struggles I’ve found for gay men:

  • Feeling not good enough, especially in their bodies
  • Letting body-image stop them from living the life they wanted
  • Feeling self-conscious in their bodies, feeling the need to hide with clothing, fear of being shirtless
  • Giving in to cravings, or stress eating
  • Struggles with knowing what to do for fitness and nutrition
  • Fears of the gym or working out in public
  • Lack of motivation and consistency, having started and stopped training for multiple occasions
  • Lack of social support
  • Subconscious mental blocks and self-sabotage (lack of self-love and acceptance)

The trick is finding solutions to every single one of them.

You focus a lot on looking good naked as a motivator for your clients. That’s quite cheeky. How does that notion–looking good naked–help you motivate a trainee? I suspect it goes beyond sex appeal.

It is “cheeky” indeed. Gay culture can place enormous pressure on gay men to look good, whether that is advertising, social media, magazines, underwear models, dating apps or dating in real life. The slogan “Help Gay Men Look Good Naked” is really just there to catch Gay Men’s attention, like dangling a piece of candy in front of a kid.

From what I have seen, looking good naked absolutely can dramatically change one’s dating life, and create more sex appeal for sure. Clients often tell me about new relationships they get into, improvement in dating life, or getting compliments from friends, family, and strangers. And more messages on dating apps.

Ultimately it really comes down to confidence, self-love, and better health. And this is the true work that we are doing here. When you start to move more, eat healthier meals, treat yourself better, talk to yourself better, get outside of your comfort zone more, get better sleep, get stronger, you are sending all the right signals to yourself that you are worthy, and that you respect yourself. The confidence to go shirtless on the beach, and all the other naked stuff happens to be a nice by-product.


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I know you also specialize in helping clients lose belly fat. What’s the biggest misconception people have bout losing weight in that specific part of the body?

Great question, the biggest one is thinking sit-ups will help them get a leaner waistline. I do zero sit-ups or core work, and neither do my clients. Many of them have gotten abs they never thought possible without doing one single crunch.

The truth is, you can’t spot reduce body fat, meaning, training abs doesn’t burn belly fat. Training triceps doesn’t burn tricep fat. And training legs doesn’t burn leg fat. Your body loses body fat all over, and where you lose it first, unfortunately, is really down to genetics.

But, if you get progressively stronger and fitter in your body as a whole, and eat better. The belly fat will come off.

One word I noticed in many of your client updates was “transformation,” and you emphasize that physical transformation begins with a mental and emotional one. How do you go about guiding a client through a mental & emotional transformation?

The first mental and emotional transformation actually happens on my very first call with them. Opening their minds up to what is possible for them, as well as understanding their current situation at an honest, no bullsh*t level.

Without believing that they can make the physical transformation on a mental and emotional level, there won’t be enough fuel to make the physical transformation happen. So we do a lot of work on honing in on the mindset, destroying the beliefs that are holding clients back (e.g. “I am not good enough and can never make my dream body happen”) and turning them into empowering ones (“I can make my dream body happen if I keep on working towards it and never give up”) as well as emotional processing work that helps them process their fears and insecurities.

I encourage and allow them to feel, rather than shove and hide their fears away. We hone in on the belief daily to help them keep their visions in mind, and the fire burning in the burner.

Related: Celebrity trainer Raneir Pollard on staying fit through virtual reality

How do we best stay motivated to stay prepared and maintain our transformation?

You have to know exactly where you are headed, and why you are doing it.

“I want to lose weight” is not clear enough. Neither is “because I just want to look good.”

Compare that with “I want to lose 20kgs and get down to my goal weight of 80kgs, fit into my favorite pair of size 30 black jeans and also go shirtless on my holiday in Bali on 25th June 2022.”

The first guy will likely give up as soon as things get hard, whilst the second has a lot more fuel and driving forces (both painful and pleasurable) that will keep him on track and help him overcome the challenges that ultimately come.

Secondly, you need to surround yourself with the right people and support.



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You also write about a community of clients. How does encouraging community among your trainees help them to be more physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy?

You become the average of the five people closest to you. If you surround yourself with smokers, you will likely become a smoker. If you surround yourself with fit people who exercise, you will likely start exercising. If you surround yourself with motivated people, you will likely become more motivated.

And the community is the favorite part of what we do here. There is an application process where we make sure the people applying are the right fit in their attitude: they desire positive change, are willing to commit, and become better versions of themselves.

The community means that they are suddenly surrounded by other gay men/women who are also on a similar journey. They may have different goals, some to lose 50lbs and some to get six-pack abs, but there is a strong sense of comradery where they get to share their struggles, and doubts as well as celebrate each other’s wins. Ultimately, they lift each other up, and help each other grow.

What do you keep on your nightstand?

My personal mission statement, a book, earplugs, and a t-shirt. I love learning and the book helps sharpen my mind. The personal mission statement is there to keep my vision for the community and my personal life fired up and alive. And the t-shirt I use as an eye mask to further blackout for a good night’s rest.

Bonus Pics:


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A post shared by Jarrod Bruce Lee (@jarrodbrucelee)


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A post shared by Jarrod Bruce Lee (@jarrodbrucelee)


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A post shared by Jarrod Bruce Lee (@jarrodbrucelee)


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A post shared by Jarrod Bruce Lee (@jarrodbrucelee)


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A post shared by Jarrod Bruce Lee (@jarrodbrucelee)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jarrod Bruce Lee (@jarrodbrucelee)