Here’s the scenario, you’ve decided it’s time to join the gym for (insert reason here), you’ve signed up online paid the fee, received your PIN number and now it’s time to go. You go in and everyone is slaving away on the treadmill or the dreaded elliptical machine, you do some half-hearted cardio, maybe look at the weights section and head home feeling a bit deflated. Sound familiar?
Enter Greenwich Training, who are leading the way in the London fitness community with their small group training programme.
This small group training community is built upon a bedrock of peer to peer support and fantastic personal trainers, including access to a Nutritionist, Osteopath, Life Coach and Yoga instructor. This holistic approach means that body confidence is the name of the game and is not centered around how quickly you can achieve a six pack.
So I chatted to boss man Ian Male Head Coach of Greenwich Training about nutrition, mental health and why Greenwich Training is a game changer for the fitness industry!
Hi Ian! So tell me about yourself and your journey?
I grew up in Australia until the age of 5, which is where I found love of being outside and being active, in Australia they coach rather than teach in P.E lessons, there is a very different approach than to the UK.
Moving back to the UK I was very shy (hard to believe now!) owing to an australian accent and other children picked up on this fact… My mum encouraged me to join a theatre group and this hugely improved my people skills. I studied sports science at school having always been interested in it and thought about applying to Brunel University to do a sports science degree, but then applied to theatre school instead getting a place and then becoming an actor for three years,
My acting credits include acting in Basil Brush (!?!?!?) and at one point I was a backing dancer for S Club 7 (!?!?!?!?)
After becoming a west end actor, having lots of spare time spent in the gym and not a lot of money, I got chatting with a PT and decided to pursue a PT course with Premier International. The thing I enjoy most about training is the social side of it, you can meet so many different people from a variety of backgrounds and being able to help these people is really rewarding. Then 2 ½ years ago I took the plunge and decided to open my own studio. Greenwich Training was born!
Still can’t get over S Club 7… My inner 9 year old is screaming! That is cool.
It’s not cool Gemma… :p
How is Greenwich Training different to other studios/gyms?
Greenwich Training places far more importance on the social and the community aspect of exercise and training, I have realised that this is what motivates people and pushes them forward. I really strive for Greenwich Training to be a place where our participants are happy being themselves and within themselves rather than concentrating on the outward appearance.
This is amazing and feels so different from any gym I’ve trained at, what inspired this style of fitness instruction for you and what has the reaction been to it by those who’ve used it?
The current fitness industry ethos is very focused on looks and muscle gain as opposed to feeling happy with yourself as you are. The people that use Greenwich Training come from all different backgrounds and places and so it is great to connect people with like-minded activity. What your good is, is different to someone else’s so comparison is not useful in this scenario, which I think is a great learning exercise. It is so rewarding for me and the trainers when you can see the progress that our clients are making and realise that exercise can be enjoyable! It doesn’t have to be a chore and actually makes them feel good about themselves!
It is so rewarding for me and the trainers when you can see the progress that our clients are making and realise that exercise can be enjoyable! It doesn’t have to be a chore and actually makes them feel good about themselves!
What role can exercise play in maintaining good mental health?
Exercise can make such a difference when trying to improve and maintain good mental health by regulating our hormones. This affects the way we feel, think and act, so when you couple exercise with good nutrition the benefits can be tremendous! It can help much more than just dropping a dress size and promotes another level of feeling good about yourself.
Having mental ill health can be incredibly overwhelming and not knowing where or how to start can a big barrier to pursuing exercise, what advice would you give to someone who wants to start exercising but has no idea where or how to start?
Putting on your shoes and going out for a walk to begin with, starting small and working up from there. Finding something that you enjoy to do and has a social element to it can produce massive benefits.
On a particularly bad day I can have trouble leaving the house which I think many people can relate to, what would be your top home based exercises for those that might be struggling to get out and about but still want to do some exercise?
This is where Youtube can come in really useful, find a particular sports/exercise youtuber that you like, for example Joe Wicks. Finding a familiar face and using them from the comfort of your home to get advice on nutrition and exercise can be a great alternative if you aren’t feeling confident enough to leave the house. Keep them book marked in your laptop and on Youtube.
What advice would you give to someone looking to turn pain into passion?
Facing up to the pain and tackling it head on is a starting point – where does the pain come from? Look inwards and then it will become solvable. Keeping perspective on your situation, for example keeping a track on the progress you have made. Where are you now in comparison to where you were, what are your goals and where would you like to get to?
This can be difficult because your starting point is not going to be comfortable to analyse, but it’s so important to acknowledge so you can track your progress.
Look at how far you have come towards your goal to keep yourself feeling motivated. We are always so quick to blame ourselves when we mess up, so make sure you blame yourself for the GOOD things, and give yourself some credit. It’s not an easy journey by any means but these are some good starting points.
Nutrition can be a minefield at the best of times, what is your approach to nutrition and what are your go to foods if you are in a rush/lack in energy/feel overwhelmed that can give you that healthy energy boost?
My approach to nutrition is being open to all diets and new ways of doing things. At first I found a Paleo diet and stuck to it in a die hard way but I’ve now realised that this does not work for everyone. I know a majority Paleo diet currently works me but I take little bits from all diets and am open to learning new things and trialling them. The nutrient density of food is the most important element, ideally you want to be making the most of the food you are eating and ensuring you are getting the most bang for your buck!
The modern diet can be very inflammatory, long term inflammation can lead to leaky gut syndrome and auto-immune disorders that can be linked to depression, ADHD, autism etc etc so ensuring that you have whole foods and nutrient dense meals can help to prevent this.
In terms of go to foods for an energy boost, you cannot beat a well engineered smoothie, it is a great way to get a nutrient dense snack when not feeling great. Baked beans and scrambled egg are also an excellent go to for a quick and comforting meal.
So, what next for Greenwich Training?
So we have just opened our second studio in Northampton which is super exciting! Ideally I would like to aim for five or six studios and becoming a not for profit business. I would also like to grow The Vaults (our digital resources) as a service. We also run retreats in the summer months so it would great to also grow these, so many things to grow! Ultimately I would also love to start working with schools and kids to teach exercise and good nutrition practice. Passion over profit!