How to build strength of mind and body – easy tips from an online fitness expert
We caught up with him for a bit of inspiration and motivation on how to keep strong and healthy while the gym is closed.
When did you start to take your fitness journey fairly seriously?
Like many gay men, I didn’t have the best introduction to sport and fitness at school. I went to a very rugby-focused school and if you weren’t good at rugby, you were essentially written off.
It wasn’t until my late teens that I started running and realised I was quite good at it and – amazingly – enjoyed it! So, that opened my eyes to the world of exercise and fitness, but it wasn’t until about eight years into my working career – I used to be in marketing – that I started getting into fitness again, doing triathlons and then the London Marathon.
All of this sparked an idea about working in the Fitness Industry. I re-trained to be a PT – that was seven
Generally, we think of fitness about being all about what you do in the gym. How does it work when you’re an online Personal Trainer?
My approach is holistic. I do create workouts and personalised nutrition coaching to fit any schedule, but I also encourage my clients to look inwards, to help them develop mental as well as physical strength.
Being an online Personal Trainer frees me from the traditional PT relationship, where you see someone for one hour a week, and then go away and forget everything for the rest of the week. We have an open dialogue, and I’ve built other elements into my programs to ensure my clients stay engaged with me the whole time we’re working together – for
example, weekly confidence-boosting challenges.
We’ve all got lots of reasons why we’re not as focused on our health and fitness as we could be, how do you help clients to break through those obstacles and get serious about health?
I think that’s one of the problems with the fitness industry, that people have to get ‘serious’ about their health and fitness – it makes people think of super-rigid diets and overbearing, shouty PTs who are never happy with their clients’ progress.
I’m all about baby steps – steadily building positive and healthy habits into your life, without feeling like you’re on a regime that’s banned all your favourite foods. Also, reminding people that they are enough and to steadily be kinder to themselves only helps things – realising that fitness doesn’t have to be all or nothing for it to fit into your life and help you make changes.
You specifically work with gay guys in terms of their fitness. Is there anything unique to gay guys about how they approach their fitness or their fitness goals?
No, and that’s what people always seem to troll me about on my ads – that I’m saying that gay men, or the LGBTQ community in general have different fitness needs and goals. Of course they don’t, and I would be a charlatan to suggest otherwise, so the exercise and nutrition components of what I provide work the same for everyone.
The reason I decided that I wanted to work with the gay community was that I realised that we’ve never had a unique fitness offering – we’ve always been palmed off with a one-size-fits-all solution from the fitness industry. This is why I wanted to build in mental health-supporting elements to the programs. I also wanted to be able to offer empathy and understanding as to why a client might not be happy in a gym environment. I get it – I’ve been there and felt that.
Given that gyms in most places have been closed by lock-down restrictions, can we keep our health and fitness goals on track without a gym?
Absolutely! About 40 percent of my clients work out at home and I provide tailored home workouts which are just as effective. Plus, there’s a wealth of free home workouts out there, including on my YouTube channel.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I’m a total people person – I get my energy from other people – I thrive on seeing my clients getting started and steadily building good habits into their lives.
Hearing that someone’s blood pressure has come down to a healthy level, that they were able to fit back into a shirt they haven’t worn in two years, that they went for and got a new job which they previously wouldn’t even have applied for – all of that makes me so so happy and is why I started Fitter Confident You.
I wanted to help the gay community feel strong, in control and happy in its own skin again. Bit by bit, I’m so
proud to say that I see that happening.