Aside

Hire Me And Check Out My Instagram!

For those of you who read the title of this Linkdin missive expecting a wry tounge in cheek commentary on instafame and the rise of the online Personal Trainer, prepare to be disappointed.
No, I am not here to shoot down the likes of Joe Wicks (John Wick?). Perhaps Industry luminaries such as Nick Mitchell have vehemently expressed such sentiment already….goodness, I’m naming names and we’re only 68 words in.
I have grown rather tired of chasing down myriad Health Clubs, Gym Chains, Wellness Centres, New Concept-Well being Centres, academies of excellence, exciting PT opportunities, home income sure things and hey, Thank You but no thanks for the brief 30 minute video outlining what your product is about. I didn’t ask for it, and if it’s so good (which I’m sure it is) you don’t need me to sell it for you.
In short dear reader, I am looking for a salaried Fitness Industry related role in either the UAE or South East Asia.

Let this be my ultimate Cover Letter, let this define me both personally and professionally. Let this be my denouement, my final word and if necessary, my epitaph. From now on, you, the employer, will fight over me.

What follows are 10 qualities/motivators/observations I believe to be true and embody with passion and commitment.

1: Equanimity.

Personal Trainers are such fragile things. Egos mercilessly slain like a bad GOT Ed Sheeran cameo by the merest suggestion of physical imperfection.

They say age brings wisdom. Personally speaking the jury is still out, however age certainly brings a level of comfort in one’s self, which in turn brings a more comfortable, affable approach to new client generation.

The greater majority of my client base are, demographically speaking, 40 + professionals. At 37, I find a natural empathy with clients who simply want to improve their wellbeing. I have more than a vested interest in wellbeing and longevity myself (more on this later) and here’s the kicker, the 40+ market is furtive ground.

2: A resilience to the slavish following of fitness trends.
How many times has it been now? 

You have walked into your health club and witnessed a PT client Flipping Tyres, box jumping, medicine ball slamming and burppeeing their way to the ultimate physique?

Let’s be perfectly clear, every exercise, every modal of fitness has it’s place in a considered exercise programme, when it justifiably suits programme aims.

However it has become common place to use such exercises as perfunctory place holders in lieu of less glamourous yet ultimately more useful exercises to the client.

Some (i stress some, perhaps…few..) PT’s reliance (and perhaps even on occasion laziness) has resulted in session content that panders to de rigueur exercise selection at the expense of considered, bespoke exercise selection.

I pledge my already ongoing commitment to safe and effective programme selection based upon client needs/attributes/capabilities.

3: My business is buoyant, my clients have been notified, I’m good to go within a month.
Not I great deal to expand on this one. You win me over, you can start me almost immediately.

4: I have Fitness Industry experience in Tokyo and Dubai.
You may have read my Linkdin Bio already.

And if indeed You have, you already know I have travelled in my line of work….but what does that really mean? 🤔

Well allow me to expand perhaps even inform you, dear reader upon the significance of my experience of cultural sensitivity.

Let us take my time at Gold’s Gym Tokyo in 2008 as an example;

During this period, I freelanced at the Harajuku, Gold’s Gym. 

As a humble Gaijin working in a Japanese Health Club I could only ever hope to observe, practise and respect the cultural etiquette (which believe or not extended beyond bowing profusely). Examples included the covering up of tattoos, taking off shoes before entering changing areas, a strict adherence to both wiping down and returning weights (who would have figured) and absolutely no picture taking. (Apologies to my 800 Instagram followers).

Gold’s Gym Harajuku had a uniquely cosmopolitan member base and often the aforementioned customs were alien to the diaspora of multi national Gym Faithful. Failure to respect Gym etiquette could result in offense or, in extreme cases having membership revoked.

In return for your respect and cooperation however one would enjoy a standard of professionalism and customer care completely unsurpassed anywhere in the western Gymisphere.

The on duty Trainers would stand attentively  (with a typical Japanese Stoicism) ready to immediately assist members with their training. Be it spotting a bench press or form checking a Lunge, a member need not even ask for assistance before being met with a friendly smile, offer of help and yes, a bow.

I promise you, the employer, my consideration and respect of local cultural sensibilities and a Japanese level of customer care (That’s really high).

This leads nicely onto No 5….
5: I have never and will never use my phone during a PT session.
No Brainer? Well you would think so wouldn’t you?

Over the course of an average working week I frequent maybe 5 different Gyms/health clubs and I still see this offense being committed.
Personal Trainers that type away on their IPhones while blithely counting down from 10 at their quietly confounded client are disrespecting first and most obviously the paying client, the Gym in which they work and the profession they have chosen.
To those offenders I say, hand in your badge/cape….spandex.

6: But Paul….how would you begin to train a client back to Fitness after suffering an ACL tear incurred from skiing down a Triple Black Diamond slope in Mont Blanc while 7 months pregnant with Quadtuplets who doesn’t enjoy exercise?

Well, interview me, and I’ll give my considered approach.

7:  Personal Training isn’t just about helping people achieve better Health, Fitness and wellbeing; it’s business too!
I work well with targets. Indeed I have worked in Health Club environments with targets as high as 160 – 180 PT sessions per month.

I have not only met these targets but met them whilst retaining a high standard of session delivery and results driven programme planning.
I am a highly self motivated individual and I currently maintain a healthy Freelance Client base.
My years of experience have taught me valuable lessons in how to deal with peaks and troughs and shoring up business as it were during quiet periods. I.e School Holidays, Ramadan. 

8: Attitude.
I promise you, the employer to approach every day of business with vitality, enthusiasm and passion for the job at hand.
There’s always room for personal and professional growth, and so it is that I acknowledge I still have plenty of capacity for both.
The deal I would like to strike with you is simple, I will give you the product of 20 years of Fitness Industry experience and my commitment to delivering results, you will provide the opportunity to progress within the company and nurture my career growth.
At an ever so slightly austere 37 years of age I feel I have reached an inflection point in my professional life. There is one more hugely important motivator in my life I have as yet not mentioned….

9: I’m a father.
Make no mistake, my daughter, who has only just passed the 1 year mark is the most important person in my life.

As many of you will surely know, and as cliché as this will sound, being a parent changes your whole outlook on life.

It pulls into focus what is truly important in life, it forces you to take stock of where you are, professionally, financially. With this, a great degree of introspection unfurls into a search of the better man you know you must now become.

I decided a long time ago I did not want to be a part of the United Kingdom, my home nation. I have been fortunate to have visited and lived in more enlightened, prosperous and forward thinking parts of the world.
In a globalised world of increasing financial and cultural homogeneity the UK is becoming increasingly insular in it’s politics and outlook.

I want for both myself and my daughter a chance to be a part of the wider world.

To better understand my ambition I would recommend reading Malcom Gladwell and for those that have I would simply say I aim to be one of life’s ‘Outliers.

And finally…

10: I’m really good at what I do.

……I’m really good at what I do.
Thank You for your attention!
Leave comments underneath, flattering or otherwise. Any questions I have raised please message me privately and I will be happy to address them in more detail.

Then hire me…..

….Oh, and check out my Instagram! (Tapau79).

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Birdman (or professionalism, the lack thereof)

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Disclaimer: Names have been withheld and Company names have been altered to protect privacy.

The health and fitness industry can be an exciting and rewarding industry to work in.

Health and Fitness is constantly evolving and expanding, industry standard accreditations such as The Register For Exercise Professionals in the UK and The National Strength And Conditioning Association Of America are increasing standards of sports science throughout the world.

Certainly since I left college and started working in my first gym over 15 years ago the knowledge, skill sets and commitment to development has increased insurmountably.

And of course, though fledgling Coaches and Personal Trainers hope to build successful businesses and make money, the very best ones, the ones that last, know that helping people achieve their goals is its own reward. And what a great reward it is when clients have worked tirelessly with you reach their target weight in time for that wedding or beach holiday.

Fitness Professionals can change lives and it’s a great time to be part of this burgeoning industry. However…………

The last six months have been pressing to say the least, for not only myself but also my fiancé who has been extremely supportive throughout.

At the beginning of this year I took part in a Skype interview for a job that would certainly have been a step up for my career, to add to my excitement, the role would also require a move to Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia.

The role of my job would have been to essentially train the trainers; travel from gym to gym within the company, ‘Malaysia Fitness’ and provide instruction and guidance on everything from the basics of exercise; instruction/technique, the latest training innovations I.e. suspension training (quite often and more famously ‘TRX’) through to how to communicate with clients and grow their client base.

By the end of what was a long but extremely positive interview I went away feeling emboldened by what had been proposed.

Around a month later a solid offer was made by the company, overall a very reasonable package that would provide a solid foundation for myself and my fiancé to start a new life in Malaysia.

We discussed at length and in detail over a number of days the pros and cons of leaving the UK to start afresh and it’s worth saying that my fiancé, a biomedical scientist of over 12 years for the NHS would have been giving up a great deal for the benefit of my own career.

The decision was not taken lightly, though ultimately we decided I should take the job and make the move.

The promised contract did not come and the company fell into silence.

I have recently learned of a new phenomenon, ‘Ghosting’. Essentially when a man or woman wishes to end a relationship without all of the unnecessary Inconvenience of facing their partner and telling them it’s over, they simply disappear off the radar. That is to say, seemingly without reason they break all contact, in person, email, social media, as if they disappeared into thin air.

Were ‘Malaysia Fitness’ Ghosting me?

Some two weeks passed and in the interim I had on two occasions politely inquired to the company’s HR and ‘Talent Management Executive’ as to when I would see the promised contract.

As you would probably guess, there was now a little apprehension on mine and my fiancé’s part. We had decided to make a life changing commitment; ‘Malaysia Fitness’s’ feeling clearly was no longer mutual…

Approximately three weeks had passed before I managed to break the company’s veil of silence by emailing the man whom I originally interviewed with and who would be my direct boss if I had ever started with ‘Malaysia Fitness’, the company’s Fitness Development Manager.

He was surprised by the HR department’s apparent intransigence and as far as he was concerned I was still hired for the job. He promised to promptly attempt to resolve the issue.

Another week passed….then a twist in the tale….

The Fitness Development Manager mailed me to arrange another Skype meeting, this meeting lasted for only maybe 20 minutes.

“The company has received a ‘bad report’ about you”

It transpired over the course of our brief conversation that Malaysia Fitness’s Vice President no less, who had served as a Club Manager for ‘Fitness Middle East’ In Dubai around the same time I also worked there, was none too happy about his new company appointing me and decided to block my employment.

I was now caught up in a company with split Agendas. On one hand I had the support of the Fitness Development Manager; on the other I had the contempt of the Vice President.

I like to think at least, I choose my words carefully and I don’t use the word ‘contempt’ lightly.

However this was no longer a professional issue, it was clearly personal.

Flashback……

Some three years earlier I had worked as a personal trainer for ‘Fitness Middle East’ in Dubai and my tenure there did not always run smoothly.

Though on the whole, I had built a sizeable client base of which I was both personally and professionally connected to, there were, on my part a few instances of unprofessional conduct.

These included lateness on company induction days and open disagreements with my then line manager.

I will add to this simply; over the course of the last two and a half years I have explained, accounted for and most importantly, apologised for any mistakes I made during my time in Dubai.

Only good will exists between Fitness Middle East and myself and i have received support and references from every level of management there.

Since my time in Dubai, my professional and personal life has changed irrevocably.

To quote disgraced Anchorman Brian Williams “I hold myself to a different standard now and I expect others to do the same”. The difference between myself and Brian is however, I’m sincere.

Snap back to 2015… I gave the Fitness Development Manager a full account of my time at Fitness Middle East. I was now in a position of compromise; i had only been told that their Vice President had given me a bad report so I decided to effectively second guess the company and give them what I presumed they already knew (the truth that is).

What is crucial to note at this point is that; my account and references were met with satisfaction by ‘Malaysia Fitness’.

But of course as I mentioned, this was personal.

Myself and my accuser, the now Vice President of ‘Malaysia Fitness’ had only ever met on one occasion. We were attending the birthday party of a mutual friend and to this day, almost three years on, I cannot understand why he would use his elevated professional status to so vehemently prevent my own career going forward.

Certainly, after my own research and attempt to understand, there is no one else who feels this way.

I had now thrown myself on my own sword. I had lived in Japan during 2007/08 and I think a little of their magnificent history and culture had rubbed off on me.

I had effectively accepted responsibility for everything that had happened anywhere in the world during the last three years (remember when your cat was run over last year? It was me…sorry..) I had prostrated myself in a somewhat desperate display of self-flagellating guilt but crucially, in the interest of keeping it professional, I left out my only ever encounter with their Vice President.

In my dealings with ‘Malaysia Fitness’ I have not once made mention of my accuser’s name, and have seen my Job offered and excruciatingly, rescinded, twice.

This fiasco, which has lasted nearly 6 months and essentially put our lives on hiatus and under great stress was abruptly and ignominiously brought to a finish only two weeks ago.

I endured a two hour long Skype re-interview with the company’s ‘talent management executive’ which was quite bizarrely conducted over messages (apparently he did not have either a Mic or camera available) which honestly, is a little hard to believe.

I will stress that this is merely my supposition however; I have reason to believe Malaysia Fitness wanted a written transcript of my final communication with the company.

It had been mentioned to me earlier by someone inside Malaysia Fitness that they had been worried about issues relating to my own privacy. These issues being particularly pertinent when their Vice President is dragging my name and reputation through the mud.

I mentioned the very modern phenomenon of ‘ghosting’ earlier and perhaps the most troubling aspect for those that have been ‘ghosted’ is that often they never get the closure they need and deserve.

I greatly regret not starting a new life and adventure in Malaysia, and I may never fully know why we missed out.

To Summarise:
I have not, during this whole time, contacted my accuser, the Vice President of Malaysia Fitness, though he has strangely viewed me a number of times on Linkedin.
I had made mistakes in Dubai.
I have learned from them and had moved on with my life and career.
I gave Malaysia Fitness an honest account of my time in Dubai.
3 years is a long time to hold a grudge.
I am not sure to this day why there is ill feeling in the first instance.
Personal and Professional lines had been blurred.
If the ‘Malaysia Fitness’ Fitness Development Team manager ever reads this, thank you for your unwavering support throughout.
Malaysia Fitness’s pan-handling of the situation turned into a painful fiasco for myself and my fiancé.
We will move on, go forward together stronger and put Malaysia Fitness firmly where they deserve to be, in the past.