Hi all you health nuts,
My name is Toby and I am twenty-six going on five, as my mum likes to say, I am about to leave my job as a revenue analyst and embark on becoming a personal trainer.
You may be wondering why I am leaving a 9-5 job which is well paid and offers lots of benefits to go into an industry which has little or no relation to my previous occupation. The answer lies in my passion for health and fitness.
As a youngster my ambition, like many kids, was to play professional football. Sadly, and not all too uncommon, I was nowhere near good enough to accomplish this dream. That’s not to say I did not come close, as an eighteen year old I managed to make an appearance for Farnborough Town F.C. in the Conference South in a 2-0 win over Fisher Athletic. Along with this I have also played at county level and been offered a football scholarship to play in America. In the end, football became too much of a chore and the obsession became too much. I fell out of love with the game. I decided to look to the future and see what else life had in store; university. After graduating Sussex university with a 2:1 in Economics and Business Management I went travelling. On my return I soon found out how difficult and competitive the job market was. Months went by without even a single acknowledgement of my CV, until I was hired on a temporary contract as a revenue analyst.
Whilst working as a revenue analyst I soon got itchy feet. I knew it was coming from a side of me which was craving competition, a challenge, something daring that would push me to the limits. Then a friend of mine, Danny, spoke of his Ironman experience. I had always had huge respect for people who did this event and I never thought in my wildest of dreams I would ever compete in one. That’s until one evening in September 2014, when I saw an advert for the Zurich Ironman. As a guy who has always been very risk averse I decided to come out of my comfort zone and embark on the challenge of my life. After five minutes and little to no thought on how or whether I could even physically and financially do this I had already paid the 500 Euros entry fee. When I told my mum and dad, their initial reaction was “Yeah cool, well done”, only because they had no idea what it was. After explaining to them it was a 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km cycle and a full marathon to finish, my dad said “You idiot”.
In the end I completed the event in 13 hours and 45 minutes. In truth, I was nowhere near satisfied. My first thoughts after crossing the line were of pure frustration. I spent days feeling like a failure because I had built myself up to the point where I thought I could win the event. Stupid! I know! But that is how I am. I did learn one valuable lesson though; never judge anyone by the way they look. Whilst trudging along I was shown up by people who were twice my age, looked too bulky, had an odd running style, and there was even a young assisted blind lady who managed to beat me by two hours. Inspiring!
Within days of finishing my first Ironman I decided that would be my last. In the coming months I tried my hand at kickboxing and learned some valuable training techniques from a former world champion. But the bug had got me, I was starting to crave the long training sessions which had been set for me by my coach in the build up to the Ironman. So, not learning from the previous experience I once again booked to compete in the Barcelona 2015 Ironman.
Whilst growing up, thinking about football was just about the only thing I did. Yes it is good to have dreams but I think this led to my own downfall, as I gave no thought about my future. Going to university seemed the only acceptable thing to do. Because of this I ended up undertaking a subject which never really gave me much enthusiasm, a degree was just a degree to me and a means of delaying the prospect of working 9-5. This was the same when I started as a revenue analyst. The money was the only factor which was driving me until I began to realise that money is not every thing in life. To be successful you have to have a passion or at least some kind of affinity to the career you are involved in. A career in health and fitness had always appealed to me; with this in mind I spent a good month or so going over my options, looking at the different routes and whether I had the resources to fund a change in career. The risk is huge giving up a well paid job with lots of exposure to become unemployed and to undertake a new course but when you feel something is right then you just have to take the gamble and see where life takes you.
In early December, hopefully, I will have passed my personal training level 3 with the intention of going on to do sports massage as well as other qualifications. I am preparing myself by giving friends personal training sessions, fitness programmes and even group sessions at the local park. The aim of this blog is to try to help others and myself as I continue to grow and develop my skills and knowledge in my new profession. I hope to produce bi-weekly blogs which will cover a range of topics relating to health as well as information on my own training for the Barcelona Ironman.