Peter quit his job in finance to start a new life in the fitness industry and is now taking on the challenge of completing an Ironman. He talks to Sundried about life as a personal trainer.
Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.
I have completed Tough Mudder and the Athens Authentic Marathon. Coming up on 30th September I have Ironman 70.3 Cascais in Portugal. This will be the biggest challenge since the marathon, or in fact ever, for me.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
Funnily enough, I was never very good at fitness in school. I remember my dad trying to get me into football and rugby but I was useless. Cross country running sparked a mild interest but it never stuck. Years passed and around the age of 18 a few of my friends started hitting weights to try and improve on the weedy skinny look. This actually brought some results for me (despite doing all the wrong things) and since then no whole year has passed without some form of weight training. It was only a few years ago that I decided my line of work (Financial Analyst) was not satisfying me and that fitness had been a constant the whole time - I became a self-employed Personal Trainer straight away and I have never looked back.
What are your training goals now?
It varies, but at this very moment I have slightly reduced my strength training (down to 3 times per week from 4) to allow room for more swimming. I am being coached to improve my front crawl stroke. With the Ironman later in the year I have to focus on my main weakness, swimming. At the same time, I want to hold on to as much muscle and strength as possible.
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
I'm scared to dance and it annoys me.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
That’s an interesting one as the advice I would have liked would be to take the plunge earlier. I would have never been ultimately happy in the banking world and so If I had listened to my gut earlier it could have saved me some time - on the other hand, would I have been ready earlier? Had I matured enough by then? Probably not.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
No, I don’t follow a specific plan. I do track what I eat from time to time. Ultimately, to control our body-fat levels, it’s just a matter of calories in vs calories out (what you burn vs what you eat) so depending on what’s going on in my life I’ll monitor it for a while.
A few fundamentals I stick to - I always follow a high protein diet and if I want to cut down then I will occasionally skip breakfast and I try to limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
To keep my clients motivated, I try and make them enjoy their sessions. There is no point in doing any of it if you can’t do it with a smile on your face. This goes for me also. You have to take one day at a time; keep reinforcing the benefits of what you’re doing and why.
My top tips for staying motivated are to find things that you love to do (or can bare) and do them. Even if that means just going for a walk. Treat failure as a good thing, it means you can rule out one thing and move on to the next. If you have to start small that’s fine - the amount of time I’ve not been bothered to train and so I say to myself, ok let’s just go and do a 10 minute walk on the treadmill and then once you’re there and settle in you end up doing one of your best workouts yet!
Talk us through your training regime.
I have divided my three strength sessions into push, pull, and legs. The push session involves things like bench press, shoulder press and other upper body pushing movements. Pull days involve deadlifts, rowing movements, and so on. Legs of course is squats, lunges, leg press, and calf exercises. These three workouts normally take around 50-80 minutes. They have a solid warm up and mobility drill to start. I work with three different rep ranges, starting with 3, the middle being 6 (the bulk of the workout) and finishing with 10 .
I then just chuck in bits of cardio where I fancy, using my pushbike, walking, tennis... I'm currently putting together a strict plan for my Ironman training though so this will all change and I will likely struggle to keep on top of the volume.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I always have some form of education going on. At the moment I am finishing off the Advanced Coaching Academy (ACA - Phil Learny). Following that I'll be taking some coaching for running an online based Personal Training business. I’m also being coached on my swimming. In this industry it’s very easy to fall behind on the current breakthroughs.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Form and technique are paramount in training.
- Always aim for a high protein diet (protein comes from the Greek word proteios, meaning "primary" or "holding the first place.")
- Keep yourself busy - when we are bored, we eat.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If survival isn’t a priority then Rocky Road. If it is, then avocado - I’ve heard it’s the most complete food on the planet, nutritionally and macro split e.g. carb, fat, protein.
Why work with Sundried?
I like the fact that the company has principles. Too many businesses (especially in the fitness industry) have far from honourable goals. Sundried have good philosophies.
Favourite fitness quote:
"Strong people are harder to kill...and generally more useful"