The Early Years
As a kid I loved my sport and, being raised on a farm would spend lots of time outdoors. I did though from the age of 8 onward struggle with my weight. Personally, I blame the release of Kellog’s Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. From recollection however, I used to have to be dragged from the dinner table… most days. It didn’t stop me doing anything but in hindsight it may well of hindered my progression playing sport to a better level.
This went on well into my teens until one day, I woke up knowing I had to take action. Over the following months I lost nearly two stone and more importantly, changed shape. I’d changed my diet by reducing processed carbs and upped protein considerably. I was resistance training 3-4 days per week and thoroughly enjoying it. Along with a great friend we’d read the latest bodybuilding magazines and look forward to rotating programs or trying a new found method of training. This carried on for four solid years. I always say one of the best things you can do is resistance train in your teens when the hormones are helping you.
Never one to sit still for to long or concentrate, my education left something to be desired. ‘”You’ll never get through life with just a sense of humour.” Mr P Archer – my head of house once said. I did though just manage to scrape into higher education. I left college in the summer of 1998 having completed a HND in the Science & Management of Health & Fitness. There was talk of a degree but, in the end, neither party thought it a good idea.
After getting a job at a local health club on the day I left college, the following spring I went to work in London eager to gain more experience in quality facilities. I started off as an instructor at a corporate fitness centre for American bank Morgan Stanley and was lucky in that we had great in-house training. To scrape by, I’d work overtime on the weekend and started researching and reading from world authorities. What I found was how far behind the fitness industry in this country was and how it didn’t in any way, ‘bridge the gap’ to the medical world.
With itchy feet and being keen to progress, I left my first job after just nine months seeking a fresh challenge within the same organisation.. Along with a senior team we worked on setting up a world class corporate facility for the former American utilities company, Enron. My role here was to develop a small team of trainers. In my weekend research I’d come across an American coach called Paul Chek and discovered he was to present in the UK . I immediately booked and attended the weekend seminar. From that day on I believed there was a future in the industry and you could make a true difference to clients lives. IT blew me away. I immediately worked hard to implement the new methods with the team and started getting great engagement and resutls.
In early early 2001 I left London to take up a management position at a facility for BP in Swindon and, at the same time move home to Hereford. Within the first year I knew management wasn’t for me. My vision of how fitness should be delivered was now different to the businesses model I was working within. I planned an 18 month exit strategy and signed up to the CHEK Certification program.
The program was a game changer. Chek was a true pioneer. In depth functional anatomy, analysing movement, the effects of stress, holistic nutrition, circadian stress (sleep) and, understanding rehabilitation to another level. Even though Chek’s science can sometimes be questioned, the level of attention to detail and the process of viewing the ‘whole person’ is one that even today, sadly hasn’t been adopted by many. We still look through the microscope. It also ignited my passion for learning.
In September 2003 I took the plunge and went self employed with only one session in my diary the following week. A year later and I was packed. I put everything I learnt into action and it was paying off both for myself and for my clients.
I then joined a certification program with one of the all time great Strength Coaches, Charles Poliquin. This gave a real balance to my training. The combination of Chek’s holistic approach with Poliquin’s amazingly effective strength training proved a winning formula and one which I could use to train a wide range of clientele.
Following this I decided not to get to focused on any one coach but, learn from a wider variety of experts as my own interests have evolved. I would though commit to a serious course every year including time spent with world experts such as back pain specialist Prof Stu McGill and The Prague School of Rehabilitation.
In 2012 after years of procrastinating, I took the plunge and opened the first facility. Since I went self employed it was what I’d always wanted. Lead by the desire to help more people change their lives through quality training and lifestyle management.
All of the above and many other courses have shaped what we do today. Our model is designed to serve the demographic we train. We get detailed when we need to but, try to keep training as easy as possible to maintain. So often we’re dragged around and told all sorts of information about what’s wrong when, quite often, we’re just deconditioned and need to either strengthen or, improve mobility.The science on training has evolved tremendously and yet, we still treat and talk to our clients like we have for years. Promising the quick fix instead of educating and empowering the client to take responsibility through lifestyle management.
As Paul Chek used to say “It’s about getting bang for your buck.” Are you getting resutls?
Today, we take our staff training seriously with two hours of education every Wednesday. I tend to take the majority of sessions and other staff contribute in areas where they themselves are beginning to specialise which is great to see. I’ve got a massive desire to see others improve. That’s what coaching is.
The Lockdown has given me space and time to think about the coming years. My desire is to still help as many people as we can. This will obviously be through both facilities but also looking into various digital offerings from online training to short courses and maybe even a coach development program. The immediate focus is on rebuilding the membership and getting back to where we were a few month ago.
Here’s to some exciting times.