I was born under a wandering star, in the great military garrison of Wegburg in Germany (my Dad was in the Royal Signals), as I came into this world the great angels gathered and gave unto me the gift of singing sweet melodies, which to this day I have not got round to putting to good use.
At 18 years old, having left school with basic GCSEs and a half finished printing apprenticeship which I abandoned to go work in Greece for a summer, I realized I was wasting my life and I decided to join the Marines, it was here I underwent six months of the most arduous training in the World, culminating with the famous Commando test and earned my Green beret.
I spent the next four years serving my country training for mountain warfare in California, completing Arctic warfare training in Norway, competing on the corps boxing team and earning a service medal for taking part in the 2003 Iraq War in which I served with 40 Commando and was among the first boots on the ground. All of this seemed a long way from me becoming a Personal Trainer in Hull at the time!
Below is a pic of me in chemical Ali’s house, lighting a cigarette with a Dinar (we found bin bags full of them).
It was whilst on an ambush in the middle of the dessert, after two days of continuous sweltering heat wearing body armour, helmets and carrying rifles with several mags of ammunition, that I found my calling.
As a half joking call ran down the line to “start making sticky bombs” I had struck up a conversation with Tom who was on sentry duty with me, we had both by now got into extreme levels of boredom and began to suspect that these Iraqi tanks wouldn’t be arriving at all. Tom happened to mention that before joining he had been a personal trainer, I considered this, and realised that the one constant throughout my life had been exercise.
After we left Germany our family moved to Cyprus where both my parents competed in high level cross country, I spent most of my childhood running and swimming. Years later when we moved to the UK I took up boxing and spent most of my teenage years cycling an hour to my boxing class, taking part in a two hour gruelling session, before cycling back home, I also ran about five miles most days too.
(Me aged 16 working out in my folks’ garage below)
Exercise kept me on the right tracks, it stopped me going down the route of excessive drugs and alcohol that so many of my friends seemed to be going down. I love exercise, I’m passionate about it, and it was on that day on that ambush in the middle of the dessert that I realized this is what I would like to do for a living.
One year later I was on my personal training course in York, my wife and I had bought our first house, and where just getting ready to have our first child. What then followed was a tough journey of starting a business, adapting to civilian life, the pressure of raising a newborn and the financial challenges of just trying to get by in the midst of all of this. To supplement my income in the early days I also worked as a cleaner in student accommodation (students are disgusting), and I worked on the doors at the establishments for refined ladies and gentlemen in Hull, I even did some supply teaching!
It was a hard start, but we got through it, and gradually I built up the business, I invested the little money we had into more education, sometimes even using my wife’s savings, I went on to manage a gym for Sport England, starting with an empty shell of a building and buying equipment and hiring staff and implementing systems to try and ensure all our customers where satisfied. It was a fantastic experience, but I still had PT clients, and I couldn’t carry on running the gym and being a PT, so with the help of some clients I left and set up my own Private PT studio in North Ferriby.
That was in 2008, the start of the financial crash! I opened the doors to my business and have successfully built it up over the years since.
There have been many highlights in the last ten years, I’ve selected a few of them ⇢
I won Personal Trainer of the Year from Men’s Health Magazine, beating a field of thousands of other trainers, and am the only Personal Trainer from Hull with this distinction.
I successfully launched a campaign to show young men that they can get in shape without the use of steroids, and I had this campaign featured in national press coverage, including Joe.co.uk
I worked a full season at Hull Kingston Rovers as the Super Leagues only full time nutritionist.
I have been frequently asked to come and guest lecture at Hull University to the sports coaching students. Not having a degree myself this has been a massive honour.
I have worked with numerous corporate companies to help deliver improved health and wellbeing, including Vivergo Fuels, Neil Hudgell Solicitors, Humberside Police and Rubitec.
I worked with numerous athletes, including local legend Tommy Coyle, whom I had the honour of warming up before his big fight with Luke Campbell at Craven Park.
On top of all the above, I’ve volunteered at Godfrey Robinson Disability home, and I regularly give my time to be part of the crew at Humber Rescue.
Know the difference between health and fitness.
Fitness is specific, in the Marines I was fit to fight a war, a runner is fit to run and a body builder is fit to flex on stage in tight pants.
None of these things can be presumed healthy. My Marine friends and I drank way too heavily, runners can risk joint issues if not training correctly and body builders can often suffer with anxiety complexes and body dysmorphia.
Health is an all-encompassing ethos for life, it’s putting on a seatbelt, enjoying time with loved ones without distraction, making time for the things you love, which can include some indulgences, we even need to consider financial health and perhaps most importantly our mental health.
I enjoy a healthy amount of pizza, beer and chocolate on a regular basis, I’m mindful of balancing this out with plenty of veg and fruit and good quality proteins, fats and carbs.
When we commit to health and fitness and successfully intertwine the two, we can bring about real change in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
Still not sure? Click here to see if I’m the right trainer for you.