When Mark Wilson moved to Orleans, France, to help a friend he had no idea that it was the end of a fifteen year career in business finance. Returning to the UK 2 years ago, Mark founded Lion Fitness and launched his new Personal Training & Fitness studio last September. Driven by a desire to see people take better control of their health he is determined to see Lion Fitness continue to thrive.
In January I met with Mark to have a chat about his work at Lion Fitness and the values that keep him turning up every day..
Many readers will be making New Year resolutions this month. What advice can you give to help people stay on track?
“Be realistic. It’s tempting to set too many targets. You might want to give up smoking, eat healthier, do more exercise and drink more water. But with too many goals we lose focus and risk feeling overwhelmed. Even when you’re concentrating on just one thing, such as losing weight, you should recognise that you won’t see instant results. Some people say things like ‘I’ll lose 1 stone in 4 weeks’ without any thought for the likelihood of success and losing weight in a sustainable way doesn’t happen overnight. A healthy weight loss goal should be no more than 2lbs a week.”
Do you need to be really fit to use a personal trainer?
“Not at all. We have a wide range of clients with differing ages and fitness levels. Before starting one to one training you will be asked to come in for a chat so that we can identify your current level of fitness, what you want to achieve and – importantly – where your motivation lies. We can then create a programme that is unique to you and your long term fitness. Whether you want to run a marathon, lose weight or just feel healthier we can work together.”
Why do you think some people find it hard to stay in shape?
“Unhealthy diet advice and quick fix transformations can give people unrealistic expectations. The health and fitness industry is getting bigger every day but we continue to see an increase in body dysmorphia, obesity and health related illnesses, with a huge proportion of the population feeling as though they’re not fit enough or healthy enough to start exercising. There are some trainers out there who don’t listen to their clients, with exercise programs that are not tailored to suit the individual. This just leaves people feeling useless and almost sets them up to fail before they’ve begun.”
What makes Lion Fitness any different?
“I want to shift mind-set away from unhealthy dieting and the idea that exercise is a form of punishment for a bad lifestyle. Getting and keeping fit should be an enjoyable activity and we work hard to provide a training environment where everyone can feel part of a team and isn’t intimidated. I want to see people achieve their goals, feel truly comfortable with their appearance and body shape and make lifestyle changes that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Whether you’re attending one of our fitness classes or have booked a personal training session we work hard to make sure you’re given accurate advice that matches your needs.”
You launched the fitness studio in 2016. How has this changed what you do?
“The new studio enables us to offer a variety of group sessions and I am very proud of our own ROAR series of fitness classes. As a personal trainer I am limited to the number of people I can work with at any one time. Not only do our classes allow us to reach more people, they facilitate an atmosphere where members can lend peer support and encouragement. It’s great to see people share their favourite recipes or offer advice if they see someone struggling.”
So what’s next for Lion Fitness?
“We’re currently exploring how to provide more information around the way good nutrition supports a regular exercise plan. We are always looking for new ways to help people create realistic, sustainable changes that will keep them fit and healthy for life.
Finally, I hope to have a positive impact on the industry by developing a business coaching service for other personal trainers. My previous experience in business and finance has proved vital in getting Lion Fitness to where it is now. I can also help trainers and other health professionals to think carefully about what they are actually selling to their clients and how they train them. By working together, we can hopefully create a healthier and happier population.”
If you would like to find out more about Lion Fitness, the ROAR series or other classes at the fitness studio you can ring Mark on 01757 701923 or email firstname.lastname@example.org