Jordan Stanford |A.K.A. ‘Bendy’
Jordan Stanford appears to most people to be a perfect workout icon. She’s strong, successful, and carefree. She posts pictures of herself doing seemingly impossible yoga poses, which has earned her the nickname ‘Bendy’. She seems like she has it together all the time and doesn’t struggle, fail, or stumble. But Jordan doesn’t want to be a perfect icon as much as she wants to be a warrior princess. Despite how she appears on the surface, Jordan has had her share of setbacks and challenges. The difference lies in the way she handles them: head on. Her perseverance and optimism have made all the difference for her, and those characteristics shine through her teachings to this day.
Six years ago, Jordan Stanford found herself at a crossroads at the young age of 21. Having graduated from university with a degree in Psychology, she wasn’t able to take the next step to become a counsellor for another four years. “Suffice to say, I felt a little lost and didn’t really know what to do with myself. I was practicing yoga at the time, and my brother suggested I look into training to become a teacher…”. She was living in Kent and decided to do just that. “I started out taking on classes at local gyms, covering classes where I could. It helped to build my confidence and experience, but after a while, I realized that’s as far as I could take it.
I began to run my own classes at my family home, which were amazing. I could run the classes how I liked, tailor each session to my intimate group of students, and set the room exactly as I wanted. It was a beautiful space with lots of positive energy. But just as the classes were starting to grow to the point where I was running multiple classes a day, we had to sell the house…”. Jordan being Jordan, she didn’t see this as a setback, but as an opportunity to grow beyond what she thought possible.
She moved to London to start a new chapter and continued to push her own boundaries. “Becoming a yoga teacher was how I initially got into the fitness industry. Since then, I have furthered my knowledge by completing my level 3 personal training and pilates training, along with various other courses in nutrition and seminars from industry leaders.” When asked why she has such a strong drive to keep growing, she responded, “I am continually striving to learn and grow as a trainer, and as much as I like to study theory, I believe the best way of learning and developing is through practice, trial and error, trying things out, and seeing what works.”
Jordan has since founded Hiro Fitness, a health and wellness studio in London, UK that offers personal training, yoga, and nutrition services. Jordan’s mission is to become a real life superhero and help others do the same with training programs ‘fit for Captain Steven Rogers himself.’ Her geeky humor and inspiring positivity are what attract thousands of followers to her studio and coaching techniques. She even recalled the struggles of her early teaching days with fondness, recognizing that those experiences brought her to where she is today. “Being forced out of my comfort zone really was when the magic started to happen, since moving to London I have been fortunate enough to work at some of the top gyms and hotels in the world and partnered with incredible brands.”
Philosophy and Methods
Jordan’s goal in teaching is to create classes that are explorative, fun, and intuitive. She wants her students to push and challenge themselves, while also enjoying what they’re doing. “People say ‘get out of your comfort zone’, but I don’t want to suffer through something I’m not enjoying. You have got to have fun whilst doing it. Of course challenge yourself and push through when it gets hard, but you have to have fun with it. That’s when you really start to see results.” Jordan encourages her students to think outside the box and find something active that makes them truly happy: “Pole dancing, rock climbing, adult ballet, parkour, martial arts. I moved away from training that is solely to make me ‘look good’ and have started training to make me a badass and learn new skills I didn’t know my body could do.”
Jordan believes the most important factor in achieving physical goals is to have the right mindset. “The power your internal dialogue has is so so strong. The more you start to tell yourself you can do whatever you want to do, the more you start to believe it. Taking positive actions leads to positive outcomes.” One of the things that sticks with you after meeting Jordan is her ability to put her teachings into practice. She truly believes what she shares with her students, and keeping herself in the right mindset is how she stays positive and focused.
Jordan has come a long way since her days teaching classes in her family home in Kent, but the most rewarding parts of her job come from her students. “I have had many rewarding parts: every time a student comes to me excitedly after a class when they are first able to touch their toes in what could be decades! When people trust me to open up about their mental health and how my sessions have helped them. Genuinely seeing improvements in people’s mental and physical health is the most rewarding part for me.”
What are the most important parts of a yoga practice that a person would need to learn / master first?
There are countless asanas (poses), but there are those few ‘key’ poses that you’re likely to see in most yoga classes. Taking the time to learn the proper alignment and build up the strength to execute these poses correctly will make all the difference when you are looking to get more from a practice. I would say Chaturanga, Warrior I/II, and Downward Facing Dog. People get these wrong all the time and rush through them, but we spend a lot of time in these poses so getting them right is crucial.
What are your go-to snacks when you’re on the run?
I always keep an emergency protein bar in my bag, Herbalife Nutrition Vanilla Almond or RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt are my faves. But when I can, I try to have some homemade snacks that I can take with me. Most recently, I tried Cheesy Cauliflower Muffins from Dr. Steven Gundry’s book The Plant Paradox, and they were way better than expected! They definitely deserve another go.
Can you share a workout session that you routinely do in the gym?
Working with relatively light weights, a typical session might look like:
· 10 single leg deadlifts on each leg with an 8-10kg dumbbell
· 12-15 stiff leg deadlift with a 20kg barbell
· 15 hip thrusts with bar
Repeat for 3 rounds
I also like to include some abductor work with a band:
· 20 side lying legs lifts
· 20 side plank clamshells
· 20 seated pretzel abductions
Repeat on the other side
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you while working out?
I was at my teacher training in a group of 15 women with a male teacher. We were all sitting around in a circle during an anatomy lesson, and our teacher was going through the anatomy of a lunge when some of the girls starting hysterically laughing. Our teacher, bless him, was hanging out his shorts – we saw everything! Most people would have been so embarrassed, but he joined in with us laughing, put it away, and got on with the class. Since then, I’ve seen it a few times with students in class. Guys, just remember baggy shorts and low lunges do not mix well!