It was the usual night before the Great Scottish Run weekend.
I had arranged (and photographed) my kit, set my alarm and, as usual, I could not sleep. The weeks leading up to this had seen me frantically trying to get event ready and if I was honest, I would have to be the first to admit that I hadn’t put in quite enough hours. The days leading up to it hadn’t see me in the greatest of health and my old doubts were resurfacing. I wasn’t fit enough. I wasn’t ready and I didn’t belong in a such a talented field.
At times, I am my harshest critic.
However, I am also a firm believer in the power of the occasion in bringing the best out in people and I would also be surrounded by friends.
So, come morning, I jumped out of bed and began my morning ritual of having breakfast, getting ready and gathering all of my paperwork before rushing out the door to catch the train to town. I had not been this anxious or excited about an event for years and it reminded of my very first Great Scottish Run Half Marathon.
However, unlike many of my friends, I was not preparing for the Great Scottish Run and the more observant of you will have noticed that my race bib, in the picture above, isn’t in fact a bib. Go on, have a closer look.
It was the cover of my Level 2 in Fitness Instructing manual.
For the event that I was about to participate in was no race. It was my Level 2 in Fitness Instructing assessment.
For too long, I have only been an obesity and inactivity adviser and activist. Sure, I have launched events and I have helped to change a few lives, but I dream of helping even more people. I want to provide the same support that people like Jen Wilson and Scott Devenney have provided me with. I want to help the overweight and obese lead healthier and happier lives. I don’t only want to inspire people, I want to directly support and motivate them.
I want to educate, encourage, enable and empower people using empathy and my experience of being morbidly obese and inactive.
I mentioned Jen and Scott for a reason. Not only are the exceptional personal trainers (PTs), they are genuinely passionate about helping others. They are also now friends. They and many of the PTs that I respect have all trained with a specific company.
That company is Faster Global and at the time when I started working with Great Run and the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, I was also introduced to John Hardy who offered me an opportunity that I have taken three years to believe that I was ready for.
John Hardy recognised and respected my passion and my determination. He saw something in me. More importantly, he believed in me and he waited for me. Over the last three years, he has chipped away at my insecurities and he (and Scott) finally made me commit to realising my other dream and to attend the weekend assessment.
Now, I am a qualified Level 2 Gym Instructor, and by the end of the year, I will be a qualified Level 3 Personal Trainer. Then, in 2017, I will learn even more and become a member of John’s FTE team, where I will join over 130 of the finest Personal Trainers in the country.
I will then answer the question of Can Fat Men be Personal Trainers (although, I will obviously be well on the way to becoming an Ironman, by this time) and I will change lives. Many lives.