Success Story - Mark Laws

"The key advice I would give would be – don’t overcomplicate things unless you have to, NEVER stop learning, eat/sleep/breath fitness and keep your fingers crossed that you are in the right place at the right time."

Why Future Fit School of Personal Training?

I typed it into Google and stumbled across the Future Fit website. Before I knew it I was on the phone chatting to an advisor who did a brilliant job of explaining the benefits of the courses, by the end of the phone call I had signed up for the Total Immersion course and was really excited about the new career I was embarking on. (I think it was Mavis Hay who I was speaking to – I know she no longer works there but I found correspondence from her in my email account – I think I definitely owe her a drink wherever she may be haha).

I did the Total Immersion course which included absolutely everything from Gym Instructor to Personal Trainer Diploma and all the smaller modules that were important. Due to the speed that my career took off I still have some outstanding modules to complete, I just didn’t have the chance because work took me out of the country for a few years and when I returned I was so busy I just got side-tracked and forgot. I know I have my Pilates course outstanding and I really would like to do that soon – even though I started my training in 2006 I still haven’t finished.

There was an element of sheer luck that I even entered this industry. It was a series of fortunate events that led me to Future Fit and then the excellent knowledge of the person on the other end of the phone that persuaded me that this was the job for me – and she was right.

What have you valued most since qualifying?

Throughout my entire career I have always tried to keep things as simple as possible. So for me, the Level 2 Gym Instructor course was the most valuable course I did. I was completely new to the industry, had never been into a gym properly and was very much out of my comfort zone – but the Gym Instructor course taught me all the basics and minute by minute my confidence and knowledge grew. I knew instantly that I was in the right place, and the knowledge I gained on that course proved invaluable for each of the thousands of gym inductions with members of the publc I have done since.

What areas of your training did you find most difficult and most enjoyable?

I found the Anatomy and Physiology the most difficult. I am a straight C student and never did overly well with anything academic. However, because I was so excited by the potential career ahead of me it made it much easier for me knuckle down and pass the exam. I would struggle to choose one part to be the most enjoyable, however during the Personal Trainer course the tutor told us to design a workout using ANY equipment we wanted – the most high tech things we could think of. I smelled a rat and kept my workout simple – as always. After 10 minutes he went round listening to everyone’s over complicated workouts using every type of machine imaginable. He then produced a rubber tube with a handle on each end and told everyone they now had to perform their workout using only the rubber tubing. He was met with a room full of blank faces as they all complained that it would be impossible. I sat smugly knowing that I was going to be a good PT because it just all made so much sense to me.

My current role

Future Fit played a crucial role in teaching me the foundations I needed to enter the career, however once I was qualified my life changed completely. On the strength of my Gym Instructor qualification I blagged a job at Virgin Active in Leeds. This was my first job in a gym and I absolutely loved it. I worked there for a year as I was doing my Personal Training qualifications, during this time I was introduced to kettlebells and fell head over heels in love with them. After becoming a PT I went to Fitness First in Pontefract because there was no competition for business and I established myself as a successful PT and half decent kettlebell instructor. By sheer luck a S&C Coach from Castleford Tigers RLFC saw my kettlebell poster and came and did a few sessions with me. Within a few months I had been to America to do some high profile kettlebell certifications and returned to teach kettlebells to the Castleford Tigers RLFC players/coaches, and ended up looking after their Academy team as a Strength & Conditioning Coach. Next big step was the same coach who saw my kettlebell poster moved to Sheffield United FC and took me to do the same with them. Within a few weeks I was on a full salary and was sent to China for two season as a Strength & Conditioning Coach for SUFC. Within a few weeks of arriving in China I was invited by the CFA to work with their Olympic football squads – then I spent 6 months preparing the football teams for the 2008 Beijing Olympics which was the most incredible experience of my life. In 2010 I returned to the UK, moved back home to Cambridgeshire and using everything I had learned established myself as a good PT and kettlebell instructor once more. I soon became involved with the Peterborough Phantoms Ice hockey team which led to me working with the GB Ice Hockey U18s and development squads. I have done this for the last 3 years now and have worked with many young players who have gone on to get professional contracts and compete on the international stage. I worked briefly as a Fitness Manager at Fitness First and Bannatynes in Peterborough before being introduced to Jordan Fitness who are based in my tiny hometown in North Cambridgeshire. After a few chats with the Directors I was offered the role of Training Academy Manager for Jordan Fitness in September 2013 – without a shadow of a doubt it is the best job in the world. I manage a team of incredible instructors who I learn from on a daily basis, I teach workshops and certifications to fitness professionals looking to enhance their careers, I share my experiences help people learn from my many mistakes, I write articles for national publications, I play around with new designs for equipment, I direct photo shoots with household names, train with Olympians and so many more fun things that it just doesn’t even feel like work.

My Top Student Tip

My career has been littered with a mixture of good luck and really hard work. There were times when I really struggled to make ends meet but the skills I developed during my training gave me the ability to turn things around and be successful – the reward for that hard work and dedication always comes in the end. You might not get as lucky as me and end up training Olympic medalists, but you never know. I never expected any of this to happen to me, so there is no reason why it won’t happen for you. The key advice I would give would be – don’t overcomplicate things unless you have to, NEVER stop learning, eat/sleep/breath fitness and keep your fingers crossed that you are in the right place at the right time.

 

Mark is a Training Academy Manager at Jordan Fitness