My love affair with fitness started over 25 years ago. As I child I was very weedy and didn’t have the confidence to stand up for myself so I enrolled at the local Karate class. I was so unfit and weak that the first lesson nearly killed me, having to do all the punches and kicks, press ups and sit ups and the deep stances that made my legs burn! Every single muscle throughout my entire body was sore to the bone for a whole week! I would not have gone back in a month of Sundays but luckily a girl from my high school had gone with me and she was going back so I was obliged to wasn’t I?! I quickly saw that the more you put into your training, the more you get out of it and soon I was hooked, training everyday! I stayed with the Norfolk Shotokan Karate Association for well over a decade, gaining my 3rd Dan Blackbelt and becoming an instructor. I had learned the value of hard work and dedication and had gained a lot of self esteem.
While training in Karate I also became interested in the other martial arts and spent time doing boxing, kick boxing and brazilian jiu-jitsu amongst other things. I also got heavily into weight training, at one time bulking up to 21 1/2st. Being big and strong I found myself working as a doorman for twelve years, where I gleaned valuable insight into which martial arts techniques are really effective in a live situation. I can hand on heart say I was never a bully but looking back I was ruled by ego, wanting to always be the big tough guy.
I have changed a lot in recent years. Many from my old days would now not recognise me. My focus has turned to health and longevity. I have added much more cardiovascular training into the mix, getting my heart rate and blood pressure down to extremely fit levels. Since summer 2012 I have been completely vegan! This switch from eating animal products was sparked initially by my learning of their deleterious effects on health. I found out that our consumption of meat, eggs and dairy causes most of the chronic deadly diseases we suffer from in the west. My fiancee Gemma made the switch first, all but curing the Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis that for years had left her tired and miserable. In the beginning I was resistant to her choice, believing the lies we are fed (pardon the pun) that meat is essential for muscle growth or if we don’t have dairy our bones will somehow disintegrate! Happily I had the good sense to follow her lead. Six months into being vegan, far from ruining my training I was the strongest I’d ever been, 140Kg x 12 bench press, stacking the lat pulldown for 12 reps and leg pressing over 400Kg for 16 reps.
While researching recipes to support this new way of eating I accidentally saw footage of the terror farm animals have to go through just to satisfy our palettes for a few minutes. I saw that they have souls; they feel pain and fear death just like me. I could not see them exploited and hurt any more. This newfound compassion then spread in my thoughts towards other people. I now no longer live from a place of fear (playing the tough guy role) but from a place of love, wanting to help my fellow man and all other living beings.
I believe that we all have a purpose in life and I have learned that mine is as a healer. Seeing my clients reach their health and fitness goals is the most rewarding thing I have ever done, whether it be dropping fat, building muscle or improving their cardiovascular fitness. Some of my clients have had great success following my nutrition advice too (check out the nutrition section of this website for more)! I still coach martial arts to some clients, preferring to specialise on the self protection aspect rather than for sport.