From humble beginnings…

The role of a personal trainer carries many responsibilities and many more assumptions about the person that you are.  It is assumed that you have always been sporty and you spend hours exercising in the gym and focusing on getting the exact ratio of fats, proteins and carbohydrates correct.  Taking supplements to give you that slight edge in performance.

Taking on a personal trainer is a big decision to make and choosing the wrong one can mean that the experience of exercise and improving your health is not a good one.  Below I have written about my background and the reasons why I have been coaching people to get fantastic results for over 15 years. 

Tackling the above assumptions first:

I didn’t enjoy sports or PE at school; I was always active, there was no other choice, computers were in their infancy and didn’t offer much entertainment, so leisure time would revolve around being out on a bike or chase style games, but I wasn’t very good at the whole team sport thing.  I always seemed to be standing in the wrong place; something I have since learnt may have been attributed to mild dyslexia.  I enjoyed swimming, my Dad was a tutor and encouraged me from a young age and I competed during my early secondary education but that was it.

However, I got bullied at school for pretty much my whole secondary education up to 16 and I saw the same thing starting to happen to a young relative and wanted to put a stop to it.  I saw a poster for a martial arts class and we joined together. 

The instructors were great and I loved it, I trained 15+ hours per week and progressed really quickly through the systems and picked up the skills I needed to stop the bullying.  I became an assistant instructor and started teaching a lot; which made me feel really good because I could see how I was helping children who were coming to us from a similar situation I did.  I could tell them my story and see a real difference in the effort they put in when they realised what was possible. 

On top of the training time, I was also competing most weekends in points sparring with the club around the country.  Our training was very physical and we also had specific fitness and training sessions for points sparring and I saw how much difference and the advantage it gave us over our competitors in the later stages of a tournament and wanted to learn more. 

This led me in to looking at different aspects of fitness training and speaking a lot about the science of it with a friend who had gone to university to study sports science.  She suggested that I sign up for the course and learn properly rather than just questioning her and her friends when I went to visit; the following year I had completed an access to sports science course at the local college and was on my way to university. 

I followed the exercise physiology and sports biomechanics route, applying the knowledge I was gaining to my own training.  A friend of mine got a job at a local health club and got me in for an interview.  I spent a lot of my time working on the pool; I had no formal gym qualifications, then training in the gym when I finished work.  

Speaking with the gym instructors, I realised that most of them lacked knowledge on human movement so I started running little seminars on physiology and biomechanics; which led to me joining the gym team.  I enjoyed seeing the difference I was making in other peoples lives and health and wanted to learn more about it.  

When I finished my degree, I trained to be a personal trainer.  I completed the qualification but I was in constant arguments with the lecturers as they didn’t seem to have a clue about how to be a personal trainer and actually didn’t train clients.  They had virtually no anatomy knowledge and their biomechanics was awful; they basically read the manual to us.  I realised how little you could get away with knowing to become a PT. 

As a result I spoke to my boss about setting up regular staff training in the gym, which led to me managing the PT team.  During this time, I also worked as a consultant for Zest Magazine and Vittel Water; designing their national fitness competitions and training my team to host them.  I ran the team with great success for over 8 years. 

The company went through several restructures and I felt the level of service they were offering had dropped and wasn’t on a par with the service that I felt the membership fee deserved.  I made the decision to set up on my own. 

I had been running a very successful drop-a-dress-size programme with a money back guarantee; there were skeptics who thought it was a marketing trick, some management at the health club even offered to help me write terms and conditions that would guarantee that nobody would get their money back.  They didn’t understand that if a trainer couldn’t guarantee their clients results they were basically ripping their clients off. 

I knew I wanted to continue helping groups; I got a massive buzz out of helping my clients reach their goals rapidly by focussing on their health, so I set up my first Achieve Bootcamp.  I had spent 10+ years in a health club watching only people with personal trainers getting results.  I knew that I could help my members achieve so much more and without the need of actually seeing me on a 1-1 basis. 

It was a freezing cold January and the ground was covered in snow but the people who joined knew how committed I was to improving their health and getting them results, I raised my money-back guarantee to 200% to prove it.  The group got fantastic results and referred their friends to join; within 3 months I opened another 2 venues. 

The W.A.R.R.I.O.R. principles I use to get such good results are based on improving the overall health of my members and clients; helping them to feel great is my goal, rapid fat loss and massive energy and fitness improvement is just a very welcome bonus. 

Achieve is about helping each member / client find and be the best version of themselves that they are ready to be.  I think as a result of martial arts and being bullied at school my beliefs and values about this are centred on everybody having the right to be the best they can.  I want to help you find your goals and achieve something you dream of, not just the standard ‘lose a couple of pounds and feel a little fitter’. 

Achieve members have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, ran marathons and half-marathons, completed 300+ mile bike rides, multiple 5 and 10k races, tough guy events, completed the 3 peaks 24hr challenge and raised lots of money for charity in the process; our members are proud to be part of Team Achieve.

1 Comment

  • Amelia Cox

    Reply Reply September 9, 2016

    Hi Darren

    I’m a journalist for Free Radio. I wanted to get in touch to see if you might be able to help me with a news story I’m working on for Monday next week. A new study coming out on Monday suggests only 10% of children do physical activity every day and we’d love to get your thoughts on it. It would be good to get the opinion of someone from our area who might be able to comment. If you could give me or either of my colleagues Rob or Meg a call at some point this afternoon on 0121 566 5420, I’d really appreciate it.

    Best wishes,

    Amelia

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