I set on my Journey back in November 2010, whilst sitting looking at my sister’s wedding photos; I weighed in at 17.5 stone and was spilling out of a groomsman suit. At that point, I hadn’t trained in maybe four years. At 24 years of age I was the heaviest I had ever been and I knew it was time to change. I was in a very stable job, I worked in sales based on the road and bad food habits got the better of me. I started in the local gym doing hour after hour of cardio; unfortunately I didn’t know any different. I was so intimidated by dumbbells, barbells and the big guys. The cable cross machine looked like torture to me back then, but it was a start.
To cut a long story short, I educated myself on the basics of resistance training and nutrition. I learned quickly they would be my biggest aid to beating the battle of the bulge. In 7 months I was down to 14 stone, through weights, HIIT and ketosis. At that point, other people really noticed it. They wanted to know what I was doing. I showed them and gave advice based on what worked for me. They got results, some only 4-5 pounds others 15-20 pounds. At that point I knew the industry was for me.
My company where looking for redundancies. Not forced but the offer was there. I said now was the time to change my life further. I started to look at courses in fitness and nutrition and get qualified. The questions loomed in my head over and over, Will I manage? What happens if I can’t get work? What if I just enjoy this as a hobby and not a career? Where do I start? Well the answer – Image Fitness Training and the N.E.F.P.C.
I always had a plan, get qualified, pt. part time while continuing to work my 9 to 5 and hopefully set up on my own one day. First were the Qualifications. I looked at so many courses. Online and distant learning, two year courses and even FAS courses But once I found Image and done the research on them I knew these where the guys to help me. The first moment I spoke to Sinead, Cliona and Kevin they put my mind at ease. I chatted for maybe a half an hour, explained my Journey so far and told them my intentions. They just gave me the confidence that I could do it.
In March 2013, as I walked up the stairs in Liffey Valley Fitness, absolutely bricking it, I nearly turned around and ran out, but I came that far not to give in. As I sat down in the class, I noticed there were guys younger than me, older than me, fitter than me and bigger than me. There where middle aged men and women and young people were beginning their careers and older people making this their last career move. The room was full, there was lots of noise but to me nobody spoke. I then realised everyone was as worried as I was. Then Kevin and Sinead came in and we did our introductions and everybody seemed nice. They all had a story, a reason why they were there. Most important they all had ambition. Looking back and excuse the cliché but I was so lucky with the classmates I had. They were awesome and I made friendships I will carry for life.
I remember reading a saying “Surround yourself with those on the same mission as you”. In that classroom was knowledge and experience. Not just in fitness but in life. Tutors like Bryan, Noel, Cliona, Sinead and Kevin made the course fly by. “The Quickest 7 weeks of your life” they said, “Exams will be here before you know it” they said, I’ll tell you this, they weren’t lying. The exams came and we all got the results we wanted. We qualified – first box ticked.
I personal trained for a couple of months while finalising my redundancy payment. During that time, I used all of my business experience and created a solid business plan. It was based on facts and trends in the industry. I made my decision to use my redundancy to set up on my own. I looked local in Tallaght. I visited the competition and looked at what they did and what I could do different. I found the right premises after looking at over 50. I knew what I wanted. I negotiated and signed the lease on Oct 25 2013. After a mad 3 weeks of refurb and buying equipment I opened Training360° on November 16th 2013. Was I scared? Yes. But I remembered back to that first day in Liffey Valley when I was going to run down the steps, I didn’t then and I wouldn’t now. The following 6 weeks to Xmas we laid down the foundations, Got our systems in place. From Xmas we pushed and pushed it.
We are 6 months open now. We have over 70 monthly members who partake in classes. A solid pt. client base, but most importantly I now employ 3 people. What did I look for when I employed them? Image fitness training. I wanted them to have the same high standard education as I did. The added benefit of workshops meant I knew they were ready to go straight in and teach and educate clients.
As I write this review or essay as its turning out to be, I look back and I suppose my hard work is paying off. Yes the timing fell in to place but I always had that purpose and desire to succeed. I work hard, 14 or 15 hour days. 6 days a week. Two weeks ago as I watched the latest year graduate I had a conversation with Bryan Kavanagh and he gave me this advice. “Never stand still. They day you stand thinking you made it, is the day someone will come and take your place”.
The best advice I can give anyone reading this is – Go with your gut, otherwise you will always question what might have been. Work hard and get noticed, Image Fitness Training has lots and lots of contacts so if you stand out and are good at what you do you will always do well. Be willing to listen and learn, even if your opinion differs. Enjoy the experience it is only a few weeks of your life, make it fun. Listen in those workshops, suck in as much info on those days as possible, it’s what will separate you from your competition. Try get as much work experience before, during and after the course because you are always learning and learn one new thing every day about the industry.
You won’t find a better, more dedicated team than those in Image Fitness Training. From the admin to the tutors to the workshop hosts these guys are the best in the business. I have a good friend going to travel the world on cruise ships as a PT this month (May ‘14) with his qualification. Endorsed by REPS Ireland and REPS EU it is the Gold standard in the industry.
As I said earlier, this is only the start for me; I know the Image Fitness Training team will always have my back for support, education and encouragement. Thanks for taken the time to read this. If you have any questions or need any more details you would like answered regarding Image add the Training360 page on Facebook or contact me direct @ Barryhickeyfitness@gmail.com.
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