Mind

Jack Tame's secret weapon for dealing with stress

“Honestly, it’s like meditation,” says the Breakfast host.

By: Kelly Bertrand

When you think of your typical urban Auckland cyclist, an image of a coffee-swilling, Lycra-adorned man is probably where your brain goes first.

To be fair, it's also what Breakfast host Jack Tame thinks of too, despite the fact he himself is a keen cyclist.

"Those ones who man-spread over a flat white," he nods, laughing.

"But I am happy to say I don't own a single piece of Lycra and I don't intend to. I have the weirdest chicken legs, and honestly, no-one needs to see my butt in Lycra. My butt is non-existent. My back just melts into my legs. I wear a helmet, but I'm not into anything skin-tight or bulgy!"

The Weekly is catching up with Jack (31) just after his return home from a mid-winter holiday to Argentina with his brother Frank. "It's beautiful; the food, the wine, the culture and everything, it's so good and so different," he says. "I'd highly recommend it!"

The South American escape was a welcome break from Jack's usual hectic and draining routine – as a breakfast TV host, he's up "at 3.30am on the dot and out of the house at exactly 3.42am."He admits it's a ruthless routine that's definitely not for everyone.

"I'm not the only person in the world that does it, but it's brutal, eh. As long as you get your afternoon nap, you're okay. That's the crucial part!"

But thankfully, Jack has a secret weapon when it comes to dealing with his crazy work life – his love for a good bike ride, both in the city (sans Lycra) and in the forest.

"Honestly, it's like meditation," he tells.

"All you can focus on is going fast and not falling off. It means you push every other thought from your mind – I'm not thinking about work, or interviews I have to do or emails I have to send. You can remove the stress out of your head for an hour, half an hour at a time, and it's such a rush."

Jack's fondness for biking has even led to him appearing in TVNZ's new show, the aptly named People on Bikes, which explores the country's scenic bike trails, as well as some of our more urban routes. That's where city-dweller Jack comes in, taking former What Now presenter Carolyn Keep around Auckland's CBD.

"It was very easy – they [the producers] were like, 'Just go for a ride around the place and we'll film you doing it,' and that was about it!

"I ride to work every day," Jack continues. "I find it stressful being in traffic and it's a good way to remove stress from the commuting equation. And it's far more exciting than walking! I like feeling the wind in my face and all that. It's freeing."

Moving back to Auckland from New York in 2016, after five years in the Big Apple, Jack couldn't believe the changes – before he left, he admits cycling on Tamaki Makaurau's road was hazardous to say the least.

"You wouldn't think of New York as a cyclist-friendly city, but I did a heap of riding there. Coming back, it was such a relief that we'd embraced bikes."

Growing up in Christchurch's Port Hills, Jack has fond family memories of cycling up and over the hills with his mum, dad and Frank.

"I remember my first bike – it was a black BMX number," he recalls. "And then when I was around 10, I got a bike that had gears. It was my absolute pride and joy!"

And not much has changed in the years since, though Jack admits he's had a few bikes pinched over the years! Still, the benefits outweigh the risks, he nods – physically and mentally.

"I exercise most days," he tells. "It's really important for mental health as much as everything else. It's easy to get stressed in our line of work, so I really try and prioritise that."