So, most of the time Jack & Patrick are more comfortable turning the spotlight on their clients. It’s easier to point the camera at them, get them to do the painful exercises and generally make their lives uncomfortable.
Here they turn the lens on themselves.
Who are they?
What is their story?
Why did they decide to create Thrive: Optimal Human Performance?
Childhood & Cancer
When it comes to our health and fitness, we’ve all got personal reasons as to why training is important to us. Whether, that’s to simply improve our health, strength, and fitness, recover from injury, or to improve our body composition.
For me, the reason started when I was 9 years old, in year 4. All through my life, I’ve been involved with various sports, and as a 9-year-old at school that was no exception. I was involved in the majority of the school sports teams.
Then I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer.
My relationship with my cancer experience is a positive one, which I’m very grateful for. In fact, if it wasn’t for this experience I wouldn’t be where I am now. I have only a few memories from before and during treatment, the memories I do have are very fond ones.
… Spending the majority of my days playing the hospital Xbox
… Constant attention from the nurses as I always wore my favorite London Knights ice hockey jersey
… My first McDonalds with my mum after treatment
… Meeting George Best with my mum as he was on the floor above me (Mum was way more excited then I was!)
Health & Fitness – The Path
Personally, cancer opened up a pathway in my life leading me towards health, wellness, and performance.
Looking back, post-treatment, my life quickly started to revolve around sport, primarily ice hockey. From the age of 10-20, I pretty much dedicated my life to ice hockey from which I had some good success. From traveling around Europe with my club team, winning national finals and representing Great Britain at the Inline Hockey World Championships in Canada.
Looking back, playing a lot of team sports taught me plenty of useful values I live by today in both my business and personal life. Things such as:
Alongside my love for ice hockey, my education from school to college to university was always focused around health and sports sciences. Upon completing my degree at Sheffield Hallam University I quickly fell, (I had no intention to make this my career) into personal training.
A Personal Training Career
Funnily enough, After university, I started a front of house role at a local pub near my parents in Hampshire. It was on my lunch break, on my first day, during my first shift at the pub when I got the call that I was to be moving to Lancashire to start a job personal training at Gymetc in Leyland.
The last 7-8 years have literally flown by. I started in the PT industry in 2011 with little knowledge but a lot of enthusiasm.
I remember getting a 3.30 am train to Manchester then further buses and taxi’s just so I could make it in time for my Personal Trainer job, that started at 7 in the morning. I was certainly keen.
I have been fortunate enough to build a successful business, work with Blackburn Rovers FC, Lancashire FA, appear on TV and travel as far as Austin Texas. I’ve always had the “I want my own gym” idea since I began working in mainstream gyms. Then, as I gained more experience and my confidence increased, in 2017 I started to put the nuts and bolts in place for running my own facility.
Over the last 8 years, I have devoted a lot to pursue a career in personal training. I always say – cancer has given me, what I call a, “Pay it forward” type mindset, where I can use this blessing in disguise and my sports performance knowledge to help empower others to lead a healthier life.
Without a clue where to start, I began by making a list of all the gyms that I thought ran an awesome business or at least had similar values to myself. From there, it was a case of reaching out to them in any way possible. My aim was just to speak to a few gym owners so I could pester them with questions.
As a kid, Mum always said: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. Mums always know best – listen to them.
Fortunately enough, two big influences got back in touch. JC from W10 and Simon from Primal Training Club. Both these gentlemen offered me their time and advice for free multiple times.
The foundations to Thrive we starting to fall into place.
Patrick has been a good friend since I moved up to Lancashire. We’re Similar in our interests, work well together and have a very similar belief around what professional personal training should look like. So, with my background working or playing in teams I knew if there was anyone to get on board with this venture – it’s him.
Firstly, the motivation behind owning my own gym was so that I could put my stamp on the fitness industry.
Everything I believe to be great about health and fitness under one roof.
After my time working in mainstream gyms, I noticed a number of potential “flaws” in this type of business, which ultimately leaves the customer unsatisfied and unfulfilled.
So we set about making Thrive a difference in the industry.
I didn’t do any work in school. I was way more interested in getting attention from trying to be funny!
Class clown I guess?
In fact, I was fairly challenging as a child and teenager overall. Way too much energy and this was a long time before I had learned to channel it in any sort of useful way.
Sport and exercise are that for me. A way to channel my energy in a productive, constructive way. Rather than being a general annoyance to those around me.
Don’t get me wrong. I am fairly annoying to those around me. But a productive way to burn off this energy makes me marginally tolerable.
I am a little slow, emotionally speaking. So it took me until my second year of college to understand that in this world, if you want something, it’s on you, and you are going to have to work for it.
My parents had always taught me this through their behaviours and more obviously in feedback after school parents evenings. (They were always painful evenings!)
I had scraped through my GCSE’s, and when my Mother got a blank look when she asked me “What are you going to do when you leave school?” She booked me in for and dragged me down to the Runshaw College Open day in Leyland, where she proceeded to enroll me a BTEC in Sports Studies (I couldn’t go down the usual A-Level route as my grades were not high enough – I wasn’t laughing then was I?)
I was always useful at sports in school. I played on the football, athletics, and basketball teams and could run pretty well. It was always something that came pretty naturally. So the course made sense. Not that, at the time I was interested in making any sense of my life.
The lightbulb went on during college and I started to do some work in my second year. Part of the course was sports massage which was great as it started to give me an understanding of human anatomy, an area of knowledge now which I really value and think that as Personal Trainers we are vastly lacking in. My belief is that if you are going to train people and get them to move properly you need at least a basic understanding of how the body is put together and where the major origins and insertions of the muscles are.
To me, it is like being a car mechanic. If you are going to fix it and develop it, then you need to know where everything goes and belongs. You can’t just call yourself a mechanic and start messing around with someone’s car and expect it to work properly if you don’t understand the anatomy of a car.
When I graduated from college I went to University to study Exercise Physiology rather than Sports Massage as there weren’t many Universities running Sports Massage Courses at the time. This was 1999.
I completed my 2:1 Degree in Exercise Physiology and started working as a Fitness Instructor in 2003 at Next Generation Gym in Chorley.
In December of 2004, I and two friends left for a year-long travel trip.
Thai Land & The Islands of Phuket & Koh Samui through December. Sydney, Australia for Christmas & the next 9 months working
Then from September – December 2005 travel up the East Coast of Australia, on to New Zealand, then Fiji and finally the West Coast, Central and East Coast of North America finishing in NYC for Thanksgiving and a flight home.
We missed the infamous Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 by just a few days, leaving Phuket days earlier and spending Christmas in Sydney.
I managed to set up gym work in Sydney, so I could work as a Fitness Instructor doing classes and gym inductions. Initially, I worked at a Living Well gym in Northern Sydney just North of the harbour bridge. Then in another 2 gyms, one in Southern and one out in Western Sydney.
I remember having to get up at 5 am and get the train from Milson’s Point station down into Sydney, then a bus across into Western Sydney. There was a coffee shop at the station that was only just opening and I would get a strong black coffee every morning to wake me up.
My friends and I managed to get a great apartment at Milson’s point. Just a short walk to the end of the road and you could see right across to the opera house across the harbour.
We were right at the end of the bridge so I would often run over the bridge and over into the botanical gardens (where everyone watches the New Years fireworks from). There was even an Olympic size swimming pool at Milson’s point. Awesome!
I almost stayed in Sydney, or at least I had the opportunity to. The gym I was working at offered me a gym manager job. But I didn’t take it. I hadn’t created any relationship ties over there so other than the work there was no real reason to stay.
I learned 2 things from traveling.
- Another place is really just that – it’s just another place. Even Sydney just became normal after a while.
- Traveling from one place to another on a budget wasn’t that much fun. Ok for a while I guess. But I have an inbuilt desire to be doing something meaningful and significant. I couldn’t do that just moving around from one place to the next. I would need to stick in one spot and get some work done. I wanted to create something, but I didn’t know that at the time.
My friends and I considered going away again for another year to Canada perhaps and do a ski season, but by this point, I started to feel like I wanted to get something done and not just keep wandering around the globe.
I got back late from New York one evening and my Dad picked me up from the airport. I remember the first night I was back I was staying with my parent’s house and I went to bed later than everyone else. I felt eager to get some work done and get started. So I left a note outside my mum’s room when I went up to bed, telling her to get me up when she got up rather than letting me lie in.
I already had my contacts at Next Generation from the 18 months of Fitness Instructing I had done. So I set up an interview to become a Personal Trainer at the club.
I set about establishing myself as a Personal Trainer. I practically moved in. I would wake at 4.30 am, get to the gym for 5 am, have the cleaners let me in so I could train 5 am until 6 am, then be out in the gym training people from 6.30 am after a shower and some food. I would stay late, often until 9 or 10 pm and didn’t take a single holiday in that first year. I would train anyone and everyone who wanted training and managed to build up a good client base.
The staff at the club were great and very supportive. So they made it easier to pick up clients by pointing people towards me. I got busier and busier.
Once I had done this for 18 months I joined a Personal Training company and spent the next 12 years helping build a group of trainers starting with 4 of us and building up to 130 by the time I left in May 2018. This was a great experience in working with clients, other trainers and helping manage a company over a long time period. This was the period that allowed me to learn the most.
Learning, growth, and development are very important to me. So after studying for my degree and gaining some experience as a Personal trainer, I wanted to study further so undertook my Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2009 and then later along the line in 2018 studied for and completed my UK Strength and Conditioning Coach Qualification.
These areas of learning have been important in ensuring we deliver the most technically sound training for our members at Thrive.
During this time I also took part in a number of physical challenges and events that were fantastic experiences…
I like working at things over the long term, steadily putting in day after day, and week after week of accumulated effort towards a single goal. So endurance events suit me.
First, it was running 5ks, then up to 10k, then half marathons, culminating with the 2008 NYC Marathon and 2009 Chicago Marathons. If you would like to read more about the New York Marathon experience click here to go to the NYC Marathon blog.
After that, I wanted a bigger challenge. So Christmas of 2007 I set the goal to do an Ironman Triathlon in September of 2008. The Half Ironman would be included in the build-up in June of 2008.
I remember how I got the idea. I was standing in the pub during the 2007 Christmas holidays with friends and one of them mentioned he was thinking about doing an “Ironman” and I had no clue what it was. Once I started looking the idea grew on me.
Once I have decided I will do something, it usually sticks. I could swim more than 2 lengths in a 25m pool without getting out of breath and having to stop so there was a lot of work to do. I just set off swimming 3 x per week for 20 minutes at a time and built it up from there. One steady length at a time.
I completed the UK Ironman in 2008 and came back for more in 2009, the first time it was held in Bolton, Lancashire.
I also did the Vatternrundan Bike Challange is a 180-mile ride around Lake Vattern in Sweden. We started at 10 pm in the evening Swedish drizzle and rode through the night to finish the following afternoon. It is the closest I have ever come to falling asleep on a bike.
Thrive: Optimal Human Performance
At its core, I want Thrive Optimal Human Performance to be a positive place for all of our members, a place where they feel like they belong, aren’t judged and a place that has a massive positive impact on their personal lives. If this is achieved, I believe our community will be happier, and lower the incidence of illness. They will be healthier; both physically and mentally and this will consequently have a positive impact on their communities.
The Thrive Optimal Human Performance you see today is built up around 20 years of life experience. We are more than just a gym and aim to deliver more than just personal training. I always say – cancer has given me, what I call a, “Pay it forward” type mindset, where I can use this blessing in disguise and my sports performance knowledge to help empower others to lead a healthier life – Thrive OHP is where I can “Pay It Forward”.
For me, the idea behind Thrive was creating an environment where we could have a significant and meaningful impact on our members.
In my view, the fitness industry is not set up very well to do that and it is an industry that consistently under-delivers over the long term for its members.
At worst you join a gym, become and number and fail to even attend consistently enough to get results.
Or you join the gym, get results for a while but struggle to maintain it, then lapse.
Obviously, my belief is that hiring a trainer (or at least the right mechanic) is a great remedy to this.
The Thrive: Optimal Human Performance Facility is about delivering this service to the highest possible professional level. We want a facility that on the surface, to the client, is organised, fun, inclusive, friendly and professional.
Under the surface I want myself and our trainers of the future to be able to stand up to the highest level of scrutiny as other professionals must.
Trainers who know Anatomy & Physiology to a level so that they are able to communicate on a level playing field with Doctors and Physiotherapists.
Thrive is about a higher standard of Health & Fitness.
Trainers who have the ability to program for and coach members up to the highest coaching level available in the UK, the Associated Strength and Conditioning Coach Qualification governed by the UK Strength and Conditioning Association.
A group of trainers and a facility that delivers a quality all-inclusive Health & Fitness Service.
It was essential to us to get the blend of three areas right in the facility.
- The Coaching – so you get great training sessions both on the surface and in the underlying science
- The Products & Services – such as the Inbody scanner, Myzone heart rate tracking, and equipment in the gym
- The Community – We want to be careful that we only let people in who match our values and training environment. That means friendly and inclusive.
Jack had been working on this idea for some time before we both had a conversation about it. Many of the details needed working out over time. What is clear is that the vision we both had matched. It was just a question of how we were going to get it done, we both knew what we wanted.
Personal trainers talk about and tend to advertise the results they believe they can get their clients or members. I think this is the wrong focus. In my experience, this leads to inconsistent service delivery.
At Thrive our focus is the experience for our members, and so we automatically spend more time and attention on the process.
As Team Sky say; process, not outcome.
We focus on the member’s experience because if they enjoy the process and are happy with it. The results will come. More than this, if they are happy with the process, this actually becomes the goal in and of itself.
The goal being – having challenging, structured, enjoyable, rewarding training that you can turn up to every week. That is our goal for all our members.
Now we are in the position where we have what we want and can work each day on building up our community and keep delivering the best possible experience to our members.
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