Darren suffered from a heart condition when he was younger and so now takes part in sporting events to raise money and awareness for the British Heart Foundation. He tells Sundried how it affects his training.
Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.
I organise and take part in a lot of fundraising events in an effort to raise money (and awareness) for the British Heart Foundation. I've held the Allstar Games, aimed at getting children active, and this year I'm aiming to complete the Newcastle Stampede (10k obstacle run).
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
I've been into fitness for as long as I remember. Starting with judo at 8 years old before discovering weight training at 12. As a teenager I loved being fitter, faster and stronger than my peers and used all of my wages from paper rounds to pay for the gym at my local sports centre - but back in those days no one understood why I was so addicted to training! When I was 22 I came within 20 minutes of dying (septicaemia) and was told that my fitness levels saved my life. From then, fitness took on a whole new meaning!
What are your training goals now?
To continue to be better every single day than the day before!
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
I have a little patch of pig muscle in my heart.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
I wish I'd been educated on the importance of good nutrition and the risks of over training.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
I'm in the habit of eating clean foods, as close to their natural form as possible as well as utilising carbohydrates as fuel and protein for recovery - which means eating carbs early in the day. Eating new and varied foods for me is key to good nutrition, along with avoiding fads.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
I discuss small, achievable, and measurable goals with my clients which aid motivation. As a coach, I need to identify what works for the individual, some people need positive reinforcement whilst others need me to shout them into the zone.
Talk us through your training regime.
I workout 4-5 days per week and combine as wide a range of training methods as possible. Most days will focus on HIIT bag work (Muay Thai) combined with Plyometric exercises on an upper/lower body split. Because of my heart condition, it's dangerous for me to lift too heavy so resistance work focuses on compound lifts and explosive movements in order to build lean muscle rather than bulk.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I study constantly, from completing higher education courses on Sports Science and Psychology through to reading fitness articles in magazines. I also use myself as a testing ground for new exercises/methods as it's the only way, I believe, to really understand what my clients are experiencing.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Set realistic targets
- Know your clients
- Try to become a positive role model
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
King prawn balti.
Why work with Sundried?
It's important to take responsibility for what you do and helping to promote high quality, ethical gym wear is a no-brainer for me.
Favourite fitness quote:
"If it kills you, it kills you but if you're not prepared to try you may as well be dead already." Bruce Lee