I care deeply about my clients’ progress and want to help them get results quickly.
Personal training isn’t about shouting at someone to make them exercise. For me it’s about the ten years’ experience and education I have behind me, which allows me to instruct clients to quickly get where they want to be.
I want to share with you the real reasons I do what I do. I’m no salesman so you won’t find me trying to sell to you. You won’t find me palming you off on lesser qualified trainers either.
A few years ago, you would have found a different man in me, very passionate and totally committed, but I’ve had some life-changing experiences that have given me a totally changed and more mellow outlook on everything.
Let’s start at the beginning, when my dad was my superhero. Sport was his life, so I was always around football, cricket, badminton, squash, throwing, athletics – you name it, he was there, and wanted to be involved too and couldn’t get enough of it. I loved to be challenged, I absolutely hated losing, and I adored the buzz I felt from pushing myself physically to win.
But I had an early setback, which has affected the rest of my life. About the age of 7, I contracted a bad strain of chicken pox and/or shingles. After a long while recuperating, it left me with a weakened immune system which resulted in a form of psoriasis.
At school, I got back into sports, still very passionate about it, but this time, I was self-conscious about my skin, so I think I developed into a tougher character than I really was on the inside. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I hid myself away, and my self-esteem plummeted.
I suffered with anxiety, stress and depression, but I found I could deal with it by putting 100% of my efforts into sport and became very competitive, almost obsessive.
I played badminton for Essex County, I was the school Sports Captain and played in every school team: hockey, volleyball, cricket and basketball. I took part in the District Sports in throwing and sprinting and I trialled for England County Cricket. As I’ve got older, I’ve played for local Essex cricket clubs and played football at Southend and Wimbledon – I just love the buzz I get every time, and in fact, I still play football with a local vets team.
So, as you can see, sport was my life, my passion, my reason for being, so it’s not surprising that my career has also been centred around fitness. I love inspiring others to achieve their fitness goals and enjoy the fantastic feeling this gives you.
I’m now a fitness coach, a PE teacher, and I’m starting my UEFA B licence. I also coach football and squash, and I help with health and fitness bootcamps.
Sport has taught me both the mental and physical side of our bodies and how to challenge people and get the most out of them, sometimes without them even knowing. I like playing with their minds and emotions to make them stronger: this can help them in life in general and to find that edge and be more productive at work.
I’ve been training and coaching for ten years now, and during that time, met and married my lovely wife and have had two children. Both of them are doing great at school, heading for grammar school in fact, and my wife has always been there for me and supported me through the times when my health hasn’t been so great.
As well as affecting my skin very badly, the psoriasis (which still flares up now and again when I’m under stress) also went inside my body and affected the joints, ligaments and tendons, leaving me with a condition called Rheumatoid Psoriatic Arthritis, which although I have it under control, means I have to be careful with what I eat, otherwise, I go through extreme pain in the joints to the point where I cannot get out of bed.
This arthritis wasn’t diagnosed in me until 7 or 8 years ago, as a result of my own personal research into the symptoms I was experiencing.
As I said before, I just HATE losing, so I wasn’t about to let a health condition slow me down. In coaching and training other people, I also give 100% and more. I have always tried to give my absolute best to my clients so that they too can enjoy that buzz, drive and energy to really max their day.
In fact, it’s been said by people who have worked with me that with some clients, I had such a very full-on attitude, (which for me, was rooted in motivating them), I may have come across as intimidating… I was working so hard at promoting my business that my message probably came across as over-zealous, which may have put some people off. I had to get that enthusiasm under control.
Around that time, I went through my own rock-bottom when I realised that I wasn’t separating my professional life from family life.
My illness flared up again. Because of my weakened immune system, a simple dose of flu can knock me out for weeks. One Christmas, I found myself unable to exercise or even to walk, and I really felt like giving up on everything. But I’ve learned a lot over the last 10 years, and this time I knew the only way I was going to recover was by focussing on correct nutrition and getting myself gently back into exercising.
So I do know how it feels when you are just surviving, when your self-esteem is at such a low, you don’t know how to drag yourself off the floor, but I’ve learned that no amount of shouting and intimidation is going to raise that person up.
I began to listen to my wife who was telling me to slow down and listen to people more, and to prioritise family time, as I saw my kids were growing up fast.
My wife has had her own health issues too, she’s tackled cancer a couple of times, but she’s a fighter like me and it won’t get her down. I believe all the things we’ve gone through have been a cycle I had to experience to achieve a balance with family life and work. I have had other health issues, I had diabetes at one time, and now have to have testosterone injections for life as the arthritis has affected my hormone levels, but I view this as a marathon, not a race and I take it steady now, and that’s had a really positive impact on my health.
EDUCATED TO EDUCATE OTHERS
Three years ago, I started a sports teaching degree course at university. This introduced me to the psychology of what motivates people, what influences their self-esteem and their emotions, and how it all fits together with nutrition and self-care.
To motivate someone to push outside of their comfort zone, they need to be in the right emotional space before they are ready to work on their fitness. Addressing the mind-and-body connection is all-important.
All of this learning came together with a lot of self-reflection. I used to think I didn’t care what people thought of me, but I realised that was probably my way of dealing with my psoriasis. It was here as well that I discovered I had a form of dyslexia. It had never shown up before because I could write and spell perfectly, but although I could read the words, I couldn’t pull together the sense of what was written on the page.
I found it spilled over into other areas as well: with some people, I couldn’t fathom out what was being asked of me – hard to explain but once I realised what was going on, it had a major impact on my life.
LEARNING ABOUT WHAT MOTIVATES PEOPLE
When someone comes to me to explore training, I have a more laid-back approach to how I used to be. I take the time now to find out what other concerns might be going on with someone when they want to improve their fitness and their life, as I know there can be buried issues blocking them from taking that next step.