Rider Fitness | Part 2: From The Fitness Industry to The Fitness Professional: Not all plain sailing!

Hello Equestrians,
What a beautiful day it is here on the Devon and Cornwall boarder!
Thank you for reading the latest in a series of posts I am putting together for you to get to me a little better and how I became the author The Equestrian Athlete Plan.
So I started my journey in fitness as a gym instructor at a local council run leisure centre.
I was and still am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work here as this gave me a chance
to see what was involved. I was at first really happy to be showing people how to use machines and giving them the benefit of my
short but positive experience of exercise.


However, it soon became frustrating, after only 2 to 3 months of doing this, I just felt that

I couldn’t really help people be the best they could due to my role within the gym. I only

had an hour with these clients to show them how to use the kit and after that there was

nothing I could really do. I worked shifts and I never knew from week to week whether I

would be there or not.  There was no system in place to take them through a progressive

and holistic programme, no nutritional advice, no lifestyle coaching, no support network.

I guess it would be very lonely place to be. I didn’t like this.


I knew at that age (17) that I didn’t want to be part of a commercial gym chain as there just wasn’t the individual attention that the clients deserved. The ‘hi and bye’ culture just wasn’t for me. Now that’s not to say that there is nothing to be learned from these types of establishments and it certainly doesn’t reflect the qualities of all the staff.


Case in point I believe was when I went to work in Los Angeles at Gold’s Gym, Venice Beach. Yep, the Gold’s where Arnie (Schwarzenegger) trained. An interesting place let’s just say. I had the time of my life! I got to work with some of the top trainers in the USA. But, the restriction of working directly under someone else’s rules didn’t appeal to me. I felt I had much more to offer and could help the people I met far more if I could learn and become a better me, rather than a clone of someone else.


At 17 years of age and probably for a couple of years after that I was somewhat blinkered by my previous lack of experience. I guess you could liken my view to that of a fork inside a plastic food tub. I only knew what was in there. Once someone showed me the way to the top of the tub I saw the table and suddenly I knew there was a lot more out there for me.


So after working in these different environments I decided that the best way for me to help more people was to go about it by setting up my own company, which I did in September 2008. Sure it was a big risk, in a recession, I had my doubters. But to be honest my belief was always greater than their doubt. I knew that if I could get my first client and help them, I could show people what I could do.


I wanted to give a personal training/coaching service that addressed the individual as an individual and not in a one size fits all approach. So rather than just doing the standard questionnaire and showing them how to turn on the equipment and take the pin out and put it in again, I wanted to develop an approach that addressed posture, nutrition, lifestyle habits, exercise efficiency and recovery techniques. This is particularly the case with my equestrian clientele, who seem to frequently get palmed off with generic programmes!!


One size fits all

One size fits all


I wanted to provide a support network, whereby people could get access to me outside of working hours. This really came to fruition with the launch of my VIP members’ site. This is where I host all of my articles and videos to keep my clients up to date with what’s on offer and pass on the knowledge I have learnt to them.


I also felt that people’s view of the gym was limited by what they were shown in that 1st hour. Often they wouldn’t get any extra exercise guidance that could show them how to use even their own body weight.. When you consider what we are actually born with, there is so much scope for improvement, but instead gyms will get people sitting on machines or staring at a mirror or TV whilst pounding on the treadmill. Now that would bore me and I love exercise, so what about those people who are undecided or had a previously poor experience.


Part one of my mission was to make ‘exercise’ FUN! It just has to be. You have to enjoy the short term discomfort of the exercise to help people adhere to the bigger picture. You just can’t expect to hand out generic, 10 minutes of this, 10 minutes of that crap and expect people to get turned on by that! Part two was to develop and implement on a daily basis, a results driven system that gives people a second to none experience.


Thats it for today folks, thursday is the day for personal development, where I develop my training systems and read.


I will be in touch very soon with part 3 of my journey thus far.


Have a great day and make someone smile!


Matt :)

Author of The Equestrian Athlete Plan

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