Could you briefly describe your own personal journey into the fitness industry?
My personal journey into the fitness industry revolved around struggling to lose weight. I was 16 stone when I left school, and after following all the traditional advice, I had only lost 5 lbs in five months. This needed to change and I needed a new approach. When this change came about, it was enlightening, I lost four stone in four months, then another one and a half stone over the next three to four months. This inspired my journey into fitness and me the drive to inspire others with the information that so profoundly helped me.
You have a number #1 ranking podcast, a significant social following, you deliver seminars, and you work with GymCube and British Military Fitness among other projects, was it always your goal to strike such a mainstream chord?
Yes and no. I just do good things, try to help, and people appreciate that and the crowd builds. I believe I have the voice, knowledge and understanding of others’ wants and needs to help people on a grand scale. I feel energised to grow my own personal brand and message as large as possible as this helps me inspire as many people as possible. Plus, it keeps me energised to keep doing what I do, it’s a fun journey for me to keep growing and building.
How important is it for fitness professionals to build a substantial online presence? Would you advocate specialising in a specific area, or aiming for a wider audience in the way you have?
I don’t think it’s important at all. But, this all depends what you want to do and why. I want to reach lots of people, do cool and inspiring videos, write books, write blogs that reach thousands, and teach via the online world. If I was a coach or personal trainer that wants to help and inspire people in a gym, then there would be no need to have an online presence, the people that you can help are in the gym, so focus your time and attention there.
Could both things compliment one another? Of course, but there are only so many hours in the day, and you have to focus on what’s important to you as a professional and the outcome you want from your work. And yes, at first, I would also focus your message on the people that you really want to help, going wide doesn’t focus your message, and less people will warm to you, so be really clear on who you want to help, and why. Focus your marketing and promotion to those very people, talking their language.
Are there any particular health or nutrition tends that have caught your eye recently? Any research or studies you’ve found particularly noteworthy?
The increasing and emerging research on our gut bacteria and how it affects and influences so much of what we do, who we are, and our overall health has caught my eye. Our gut health is so important, and bacterial balance is something that everyone needs to work towards for truly optimal health. The increasing awareness is great as more and more people are taking the time to analyse their diet, what is negatively affecting them, and embarking on specialist diets that can look to repair and improve health.
Do you still come across people, readers, clients etc who are surprised by how effective nutrition can change lives? How do you reiterate that exercise-alone is not the be all and end all?
All the time, and I take great pleasure in showing people the power of good nutrition and how good it can really make them feel. I just ask people to take the leap, give me two weeks, eat like this, and see how much better you perform, feel, sleep, just everything. Food is more than just an effect on our fat mass, which too many people see as a reason to eat better, food affects everything.
Where does an expert like yourself turn to in order to gain more knowledge and expand your learning?
These days I turn to people I see as above me, that have been around longer, have seen more, learnt more, experienced more, and the scientific research and how that is evolving what we know and believe to be true. After that it’s a case of keep exploring, keeping an open mind, and enjoying the evolution of what is a constantly evolving field.