Industry Influencers: Stuart Webster
You have a wealth of experience in and around fitness, but let’s start at the beginning with what originally inspired you to start this journey?
It really started with where I grew up. Dubai allowed me to experience so many sports and activities all year round and so it was inevitable that I would continue my studies within sport and exercise. University was when I really started to venture out as a coach and have a better idea of what direction I wanted to pursue, within the fitness industry of course.
You’re currently the General Manager at Performance Ground, tell us more about this facility and what makes it special.
I sometimes have to remind myself and my coaches how lucky we are to have such a bespoke and state-of-the-art training facility.
I would comfortably say we have everything we need in order to educate and work with a vast range of clients from corporate wellness and exercise referral all the way through to competitive and international athletes. I am a strong advocate in mastering the basics and your bodyweight first so we’re not always using the fancy equipment!
On top of everything else that you do, you’re also a fitness course tutor and assessor. What’s it like being in a position where you’re guiding the next generation of fitness professionals?
I absolutely love it! The fitness industry has exploded over the last few years with so many career changers and students wanting to pursue a career as a fitness professional.
What I love most about my role as a tutor and assessor with such a grounded company like HFE is that we are able to speak the truth, share our experiences and most importantly illustrate the true standard expected of any fitness professional both on a personal and professional level. It’s also a good crack meeting so many passionate people from all walks of life across the country.
By your own admission, you’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge. Naturally, we have to ask what you’re looking to achieve in the near future? And thinking long-term is anything really big on the horizon?
Million-dollar question… I am extremely driven which is sometimes my downfall however, I have had a bucket list since I left school both on a personal and professional level and I can happily say that I am making my way through it in good time, thanks to my wife! Right now I am diving a little deeper into coach mentoring and education as well as corporate wellness and health.
I do see myself moving abroad again in a similar role as my current where I am able to coach a diverse group of individuals along with managing and mentoring less experienced coaches and fitness professionals. Preferably somewhere with a warm beach!
Finally, what advice can you offer aspiring fitness professionals to help them succeed, particularly if they have ambitions of opening and managing their own facilities?
It does sound harsh when I say that when you finish your course, diploma or even degree you don’t really know anything other than the theory and how it can be implemented in the perfect scenario. Nine times out of ten the perfect plan on paper never comes to fruition.
What I would say to any aspiring fitness professional is to remain focused and grounded on gaining as much practical experience as possible preferably under a more experienced coach and mentor and within as many different disciplines/areas of fitness and health as possible.
The idea of having your own facility sounds great, however, it really is a 24/7 long term commitment and so it is important that you do your research, have a comprehensive business model that is adaptable to the ever-changing fitness industry and of course have the experience to back it up.