Welcome, I’m excited to share with you just a snippet of the adventure I’ve had the privilege of taking over the years, in fitness business, and life. We always get asked how did you get into fitness, what's your secret to success? Although I would say “well, success is how you, measure it not others; but it’s just hard work.” In those early days, when most were discovering who and what they were, I was chasing the dream already.
In true fashion of humble beginnings, growing up was an adventure in itself for me. Manchester born and bred, Yes mate! (lingo) -the world was my oyster and I certainly took the bull by the horns, even at this age. The signs were all there. Being successful and being a doer was just in my nature. I would always do things early, turning ideas into a reality,- simply it just seemed to be the right way to me. I was always shocking people with my ambitious actions that were way beyond my time. Event the people who know me today will always say it 'What you were doing back then, astonishing.'
The passion for fitness was born early at just 11 years old. Martial arts, competitions, and gradings were routine for me in the grassroots days, but then my interests turned towards wanting to build some muscles! At that age, I didn't have access to gyms or facilities, so I decided to find my own. I searched out far to parks with climbing frames, just so I could do pulls ups and started using it as my first gym! It's funny in today's age of fitness, fitness parks are a thing of the future, whereas back then I was simply being resourceful. My makeshift circuits and freestyle workouts would be laughable now. But the proactivity of these early ambitions was instrumental for a passion for fitness.
The 11-13 years were invaluable building blocks for me. I was a busy bee exploring a new passion of mine, learning about the art of bodybuilding, fitness and concurrently starting my first business ventures too. The early drive of wanting to accomplish things was inherent, by already chasing success in whatever Ient my hand to. Admittedly, my strengths laid in being practical. Being an academic held no interest to me, but more working for something you wanted, creating it then watching it grow, was kind of a thrill.
At 14 I was successfully selected for a life-changing opportunity to learn at college and study sports science - whilst I was still at school! I had the honor of learning from some the best physical educators in the system. The Department of Sports at Stockport College is one of the leading collectives of sport sciences experts in the system. Their team of Ph.D. tutors brings together specialists in all area of health, fitness, and sports sciences, that even today offers some of the best provisions for learning in this sector I've ever seen.
Learning and training went hand in hand. I joined the gym and started making some serious progress on my gains! - This word didn’t exist back then. I’ll admit it; I wanted to look good and be in best shape possible. I started taking my diet seriously and wanted to see how far I could go; I was a rare sight as they’d say. - The peak of my physical condition was standing up tall to some people in the gym and it was always generating interest. Getting that early start on my own personal training was eye opening for the years ahead.
Relishing this personal program of mine was monumental in the shaping of my fitness education and furthered my passion more. This platform opened doors, gave me experience, enabled me to teach others and build years of knowledge in some the very principles I teach today of anatomy, nutrition, and performance. That standard has stuck with us through our recruitment process too. We only accept trainers whom have a higher level of learning and aren't just the run of the mill fitness courses.
Come 16, on this side of things: I coached in sports, worked in gyms. Seen through some of my first transformations and was already qualified in sports science and fitness instruction. Yes, it’s fair to say I got a head start!
I was one of the biggest 15 years old you’ve ever seen- big as in muscle. Getting bigger, in shape and stronger was just something I wanted to do. I used to work all month, just to blow £400/500 on supplements alone, feeding my passion, literally. This time was instrumental for me. I trained at gyms from 14 years old. I learned and mastered some of the best and even today unexplored training styles now, with the best people around. The culture back then was raw, and as I would say, selfless. - You were either serious about gyming or not, there was no in-between. The culture of old school bodybuilding was very much in its's day and there was definitely no Instagram, or online audiences to impress, I think most people knew they belonged in a gym or they didn't, it was organic and a more honest time.
Surrounding myself with like-minded individuals at this time was invaluable. I got to train with top bodybuilders, learning all kinds of training styles and getting to test them on my own. I always today say even, at this age, 15 - I was definitely in one of the best shapes of my life; I guess it's a time where you have the life balance in check, that allows you to completely focus. I was training up to 4 hours a day from Gym session in the morning. College performance before lunch. Lunch time gym session. College fitness and performance training. Evening martial arts, following by another late gym session. It was your typical hay day and I was on form.
In terms of progress, my efforts didn't go unnoticed, I had all the nicknames back then (positive ones) but it was apparent my efforts had improved many aspects of my life, physically mentality and maturity. These times allowed me to learn, I'm definitely a doer - early on, it gave me great independence and self-drive, and I was already experiencing the work ethic of 'how hard work you invest into something does pay off.' These are seriously great life lessons for any teenager.
Most won't believe but my business ventures started early, even earlier than Prestige. At 13 I was dipping my hands into all kinds of self-start-up businesses like:
Car wash business, oh yes getting down and dirty, I wasn't afraid of manual labor. Car boot sales, trade shows, local events you name it. I would buy in bulk and sell job lots at the fair, at 13 this was a really educational time for me to grow. To say I was getting ahead would be an understatement. Speaking to people. Learning how to sell, what makes people tick. The art bargaining, getting out of my comfort zone, getting creative, being bold and some - nothing beats experience, learning the ins and outs, the risks and rewards and failures- it's the only way.
All this led to one of my first more successful businesses of the bunch. Games. The Internet was young, it was the new millennium and the age of the Internet was about to begin but hadn't quite got the momentum. As with any kid, I was partial to the odd console game, but opposed to drowning my youth playing them, I found myself selling them. Hey, there was demand- I facilitated it. I started a website that traded games across the country, but rather than just the traditional buying and selling them, we made our money from the commission; being the middlemen posting them on. At one point my house was a fully functioning postal service, I even needed to bring in a second pair of hands. By 14, I had over 3000 games and was trading out/ posting 100 games a week. It was great and even though I was in school and college this, in my opinion, was still just a side project to me, or a distraction perhaps as I knew I wasn't interested in being an academic, I just liked working.
At 15 in the last year of the summer holidays, among the many of projects I had going on, I successfully became Britain's first ever under 16s postman yes, random right? Royal mail- I think they were just impressed, or maybe they didn't know my age - I'd had that been going for me forever at this point. Even on my first day, the regional director came in to visit me and said: "why have they hired a 15-year-old." I was like.. "because I've got skills." I did the 7 stage interview, I impressed the panels, I proved my business ideas and that was that. It was quite a success for my age, no one could believe I got it, but for me; I just had a bit downtime during summer and seen the opportunity and thought, what have I got to lose, I can probably do a better job at this than anyone.
Personal training had been a passion of mine for years. Among training people; being a sports officer and running performances classes at gyms, it was a natural transition into fitness. Starting a new business at this time was exciting, to say the least. When you’re good at something you want to hit the ground running as they say and make sure you put everything into it. I was already experienced in business having sold two online websites and having a range of revenue streams to make money. The business side of the Prestige plan fell into place naturally and 'BIG' was always the way I was going to do it.
They told me 'you couldn’t do it.' It’s that good old cliche - you hear of people who were told they couldn’t achieve something and went out and did it. It was kind of similar for me, except I would always prove them wrong if they believed in me or not. What people have always said to be, makes no difference, when I had a plan, I will do it regardless.
I started out by making homemade flyers and business cards, which were actually not bad. They said, 'no one's going to take any notice of them,' well not yours anyway because they’re rubbish.. And In keeping with how we work today, I wouldn’t let anything go out unless it has that wow factor. My budget was low but ambitions were big. I quite literally spent weeks designing the first Prestige Logo drawing it up using books and sports science anatomy charts, I've even still got the original scribbles! Prestige was the name I was drawn too. It just felt right, I guess I associated it with being the best at something. And it wouldn’t be long before this name was already getting traction.
I went in big and used all my resources at the time. The official launch, which wouldn’t be big by today's standards. Was me going around, talking to people and simply telling them I'm in business! The guys and gals from the gyms were on board. I had friends wearing our Prestige T-shirts wherever they went and I would cheekily join other gyms to poach their members - whoops, outsmarted by a 16-year-old! The big leap was taking out not just an ad in the local newspaper but a billboard. Boom.
Social media didn’t exist then, we’d be lucky if we had a phone. You just had to make sure it was loud and people could see it. I was in business and loved every minute of it. Quite a more hands-on and tangible business too, that I could nurture and grow. It was quite something at that age, and pretty much unheard of; naturally most encounters, thought I was MUCH older from my level of maturity, expertise, and drive, but to be fair I looked it too and everyone who knew me then, would say blimey, did I looked it.
Virgin.. wow. I could write a book just on this. It was one best job and times of my life. There are two things I want to share here. My fashionable entry to Virgin with a bang! Proof of how you never know what single opportunity can change your life. Second working for one of the best companies in the world. If you know the Virgin way, it’s an experience to be told. We’ve all fallen in love with the brand, through its stellar reputation and world-class client care, but the standard on the inside of the global beast is just even better. Every arm of their business is designed to be the best in the world. Yielding sector leading businesses for them is just a byproduct of being passionate in every inch of their brand. The enormity and iconic attitude stem from the inside out, their 'staff first' ethos was remarkable, and the passion came from everywhere at 200%.
Once you’re in, Virgin scoop you up and enter you into a limitless world of adventure and channels for progression. The bar is set from day one. They’re looking for the best trainers/people in the world and develop you to be only that. Back when I worked there before the industry jumped on this trend of trying to be the 'best in the world," or "World Class." We were already doing it, at a fast pace too.
The Virgin adventure was a dream. VA, sent trainers around the world, to study trends, innovate new ones and bring them back to the hub. You were part of the best service and team development program in the world. - It was quite something. Traveling to their flagship gyms. Learning from the best speakers, expert, and coaches in the world; building up a plethora of training qualifications. They put brand service at the forefront of their mission and it's hard to ignore.
The selection and hiring process is outstanding too. You might only be just up against a mere 50 other people, but this is the way they find talent, stringent selection. Those that stand out and offer something unique. I’ll never forget the day it all changed for me. The position I applied for, I went up against general managers with 15 years experience and people who were just simply more qualified. Needless to say, they all got turned away and told me to stay behind. What was it? Attitude. Having already grown Prestige from nothing from 16 years old, I detailed to them everything I'd accomplished and how I would make more of an impact than anyone here. The process was arduous but fun, I impressed the panels again, passed the hypothetical scenarios, presented my business plans and I was in... and did I deliver on what I promised.
In the first 3 months of employment, I was awarded 'Employee of the Month' twice and named one of the top performing personal trainers in the entire business; that's 400 clubs just in the UK arm of VA alone. Before I joined the business, our club was in a deficit and had been underperforming for two years. Needless to say, I don't do things by halves- My outstanding sign-up rate of 33 clients in under 90 days forced our club to rethink its strategy. So much so our club had the capacity for 16 personal trainers, but because myself and a second trainer performed so much, they left it entirely to us. A benchmark was set. I remember to this day being at internal courses, many including VA flagship gyms in Canary Wharf, telling the regionals about my story, jaws just dropped, always.
But that was always my style, I'll take your 100 and make it 500% as standard practice. I can't thank VA enough for my time there, truly a great organization to be a part of an example of how to run an efficient, original and inspiring company.
At 19 I was a charitarian. I'd always been a volunteer for a number of organizations: Cancer Research, Race for Life, Youth services, Street Games and the Manchester Bupa 10K run. I actually worked here a few times before I ever ran it. I tried to do my part and raise money where I could. Local awareness, club events, and personal challenges I would always make a difference where I could. Plus as an avid runner, I had the means to do it too- 7 Marathons in 7 days.
At the time, ultrarunning was quite a new thing. We were influenced by a few trending ultramarathoners, who had gone to great lengths to complete events like; '40 in 40 days,' 'running around the Grand Canyon barefoot challenge.' There was a growing popularity of into this what you could say, fanatic culture; it was quite an inspiring time.
The training for this was arduous. A friend of mine, Michael Waterhouse - legend. Was a fellow fitness fan but strength and conditioning coach, in the earlier stages of joining the military. We went college together and had a history of doing some crazy stuff, but his challenge experience was much more extensive than mine. He was a true runner and all round tough man, to say the least.
He had already run marathons, triathlons at the same age (19) and I was soon to follow. Thinking back on this now, I was a mad. - We would do all kinds of running training and preparation for these events such as hill training. Hiking up mountains in the winter.. in the snow! Barefoot running through mud and rain, homemade military style boot camps across rivers and short sprint 10K races at our leisure, not to forgot a few ultra marathon 30 miles plus prep races too. I was trying to keep up, and not a bad effort from me.
We mapped out 7 locations in the UK and planned it meticulously. It was an exciting adventure and a good excuse to travel too. The plan was to start up North In Scotland and work our way back down to England and Wales. We found the most interesting landscapes and terrain to run on were in Scotland, as these weren't your 'run of the mill'- marathons where it's just out in the countryside; but rather, there was roughness to the landscape with hard road running to them, but we did it. The joy would be in always finishing at that planned finish spot. You knew mentality you just had to make it back, one way or another, mostly for some warm soup and your bed. Some ask 'what spurred you on to undertake such as challenge?' The truth was, we didn't see it as that big of a deal, I and Mike were running 30-mile ultramarathons in our practice runs and if I hadn't been for work restraints would have definitely done 14 in 14. I am glad however I boxed those marathons off before my 20's because the time commitment for them can be overtaking.
The first run started in one of my very favorite places in the UK, Inverness. And you guessed it, marathon one was around Loch Ness. - Beautiful and stunning. Meandering around the loch was breathtaking, there were fresh water streams coming down from the mountain so we didn't even need to carry water, you would just stop on the side of the road. Have a shower, cool down have a drink and carry on. This is was an amazing way to see Loch Ness as it's constantly giving you a different view. Loved this.
Number two was Edinburgh. We looped a huge circuit around the castle city, off the beaten track and back worked our way back into the city center, using the famous Arthurs mound as a sprint finish. We ran up to the top and down of this (madmen) just for the jollies, but It was fresh, and we were fairly early into the marathons just then so was probably running on adrenaline. That or I think our homemade flapjacks seen us through that one. Beautiful place, very hilly run.
Glasgow was epic. An old stomping ground of mine and Mikes as we both worked and studied there. The city is beautiful and had many running tracks you can actually take, but we chose one very special route; well, Mike, did. From Glasgow city center there's a central hill that leads out Greater Glasgow to old Power Station exactly 13 miles out. Needless to say, that was the plan and we ran straight down the hills to there and back. This was tough because the accent on the way back went on for miles. Kinda like the hills of San Francisco - these were surprisingly just general city paths, they were agonizing but worth it. Mike actually left me for dust on this one, I got to the power station, to find Mike having a 30-second break, modestly brushing off his shoes- ( he wasn't tired- machine) and said 'I'm racing this mate one, see you back at the hotel.' Surprisingly I caught him and we sprinted straight the last 3 miles together and collapsed in our little hostel.. the owners, couldn't make heads or tails of what we'd just done except for us gasping for air expressing: "do you do any burgers here," we need one, please!
Beautiful Chester- I think we ended up in Wales somewhere at least. We took this one east and did another huge rural detour, looping back into the city itself. The terrain on this was road, it was tough but the motivation of getting back to Chester for a hot soup was something that made it worth it. At this time, our feet were pounding a bit but we were surprisingly energized because from properly planned rest every night. Chester, tick.
Lake District - Scafell Pike
Oh, my absolute favorite marathon I've ever run. Including the mountain too! Yes, this was a crazy marathon that included a 1.5-kilometer ascent and decent within it too! Little mountain goats we were.
We started in Penrith and ran 13 miles around the beautiful lake district countryside which was breathtaking. I'll never forget this run for a number of reasons, but mostly just that sun on the day was among some of the best conditions we've ever seen. The sun was on our backs the entire way, glistening over the beautiful lakes, certainly a scenic route. Secondly, a memory hard pressed to forget, we were joined by a truly inspiring man, a friend of Michaels family... who just so happened to be a fell runner!
This man was impressive, he was pretty much a mountain goat, and what he did to raise our spirits and keep us alive during this run I'll never forget.. He basically followed us around the entire 26 miles in his van, he was our support team! The offer was there and we thought, I'm sure we can use all the help we can take. He would feed us jellies, hydration drinks every 3 miles and gives us motivation throughout. I think there was a weird pressure to impress him, we knew he could do these runs in his sleep. "That's 9 miles now lads!"
This setup was just the 3 of us, it was brilliant and we wouldn't have had it any other way. It was good company too after 4 prior marathons. He ran the mountain section in Scafell Pike with us and that's where I saw some impressive stuff. Myself and Michael were trying to keep up with him, he was speeding off like a mountain goat and was pretty much running vertically up a 70% mountain - insane.
Approximately half way up, I had my hat blown off from the elements and it was so far down there was no way I was going after it. "Wheres your hat? It's gone, blew off, no point worrying about it." What did he do? "Lads you carry on I'll catch up to you."
He darted down the mountain vertically! like it was nothing, I realized then he was being kind with us pace on his wise. It was like putting the gas down on a Ferrari. He was a pro. He swiped my hat from what seemed miles down the peak and head straight back up; he glided up it like it was an escalator. We could see him really catching up to us. I think he dropped down around at 30 minutes ascend in 5 minutes and collected it and caught back up to us within 10 minutes.
"Here you go" Me and my Michael are shaking our heads in dis- belief like are you kidding me. He didn't just do that. Then he takes over again and gets ahead of us. This man was a hybrid human mountain goat. His calfs were like insane too. I've never seen anything like it. The stories we heard from him actually dwarfed our mediocre 7 marathons. Turns out he's a part of ultra marathon running club, that do runs for 24 hours straight covering 120 miles in a day, yes. You simply keep running and moving for 24 hours straight. Not to mention he was a professional fell runner, doing 4-hour mountain tracks in around 40 minutes. Epic. We peaked the summit, had a little drink and headed down to complete our 13 miles back. It was dark, tiring- body in shut down mode, and after a few tepid hallucinations, we did it.
Marathon 6. Buxton sunrise to Manchester radio. During the 7 marathons Mike had set up a few press talks to assist raising awareness but, he didn't tell me this one was a race. We were up at the crack of dawn to be in Buxton town center by 5 am. The marathon commenced.. we had to be back into Manchester city center at the BBC radio station by 10 am, so there really was pressure to get a sub 5-hour marathon done.. and this was number 6.
The route was brilliant, It started in pitch blackness running up the hills of the Buxton countryside but then we stuck to the A6 and ran one clean route straight down London road. We drove this route every day so it was simple to navigate compared to the others, but the hard road was a killer. Having completed 5 marathons at this stage, the wear on our feet had started to kick in- and running at pace was a double blow too, but we did it.
We arrived swiftly into the old BBC headquarters on Oxford Road, right on time with just around 10 minutes to go. " Hi yeah, we've just done a marathon here... we're here to be on the show?" Energy zapped and looking very beaten up Mike took the conversation on this one, but I got some thanks for being there! Ha. On to number 7.
The day was here 7/7 let's do it. this run was spectacular. We had the full support of 20 friends who ran the marathon alongside. It was nice to see everyone pitch in and appreciate what a hard earned challenge had been done. This route was a full 26 loop around Manchester, Salford and finishing back where it started, At the Hilton Hotel Deansgate. At 19 this was one of the most rewarding challenges of my life. More so that we took in on upon ourselves with no funding, no support and completed in a respectable fashion. Our aim was to never do great times, but more just complete them. Although some were just for completion, we did still race the ones we could and averaged 4 and a half hours on each one, we were more than overjoyed. To anyone taking on such a challenge, we say go for it. But research it end to end, there's more to challenges than you can anticipate what a simple run could be, know your routes.
At 20 I moved into Prestige full time. I spread my wings from Virgin and seeked a new adventure. I set out to find a new training space first. Manchester City Centre, I wanted somewhere which was cool trendy, accessible but mostly private. There was a theme in the market at the time, and from what I had experienced, that was to make it personal. Sounds obvious right, but each gym had its own model; some open, some private, some group class based it depended. But from my experience, I found people weren't in the gym to look in the mirrors, share stories, but rather to concentrate on the training itself, and secondly without being gawked at by gym members.
In the early days, Prestige had a client base and a local establishment, but we-we didn't have a brand. The next step to creating my vision was branding and formalizing. We found our A team, through some scrutinous searching, (I had high standards) and finally got to work on everything, the first gym, the brand, our identity, and even the original team. I remember interviewing so many people to just find 2-3 individuals who shared my view on quality, a hard work ethic and wanted to be part of something different than the regular gym chain. We set out to create a different way of personal training; a new level of service that hadn't seen before. Something exciting and to simply be the best, we were never scared of saying it.
The first gym was a converted office space in Manchester City Centre. It was great. It was the first time to experiment, play with layouts, learn about the dynamics of a private gym compared to commercial and our clients loved it. There were no two ways about it - we worked hard for this space. There was a lot of time and energy spent investing into this gym and from mostly on my own. Self-funded, I managed to pay for it, everything. Nothing like a hard work aye. Taking loans or investment was not something I'd ever like to do, I always new you get what you work for and bit by bit it came together. In the first year, we were busy, we took out a series of local ads. I networked my little behind off and made sure people knew about us, the news kids on the block Prestige.
At 20 I had been working on the circuit for a while and made lots of friends. People in places and unique professions in all kinds of industries and backgrounds that would amaze you. And they have been vital to some success. In the early days of Prestige, we started to work with agencies for everything. We were the go-to brand for special bookings and the exclusive private training for Actors, models, movies, niche sports choreography you name it, behind some of the best films I was there.
It started by working with a few named actors and traveling, hustling getting to know the industry and achieving great success with them. Naturally, my talents and background in Sports lent itself to choreography on set, and I found myself being requested for all kinds of jobs. Films, commercials, stunt choreography, celebrity training and separately I even made it to on the elite concierge services for some of the wealthiest/ or acclaimed persons in the world. CEOS in Dubai, property giants in London and movies directors/ musicians in LA. If I was in town, or they were, I got the call.
It was remarkable. I kept my feet firmly on the floor and worked through. I was soon to be head hunted for sports and commercial choreography everywhere the UK and international. It was out of this world, and I got to work in some gobsmacking places, with some pretty interesting people. Admittedly it felt like a world wind, but I kept my feet to the ground and tried to fit in. I did, people liked me and I was the fitness expert, always a great conversation starter anywhere you go.
London and Europe was a base of mine. We worked on closed sets, and obscure locations. It was always cool. It was insightful to experience how sets actually worked. I met all kinds of crew members and specialists from different areas of the job. Crews are cool, they're full of creatives, whacky people, with some equally fascinating worldly travel stories. Plus they're down for a laugh too. That is after the 14 hour days of shooting are over that is. At the beginning, it was hard to keep up, but I was a fast learner and was picking up the lingo daily.
Sets were big, flamboyant and always impressive. But remarkably my input was needed, that's why I was there. They would hire specialists set creators to design these locations and transform them from nothing. I was the middle man between the actors and directors, explaining the pros and cons of how to shoot a certain way, this was mostly sports or fitness related. - One day a warehouse, the next day a street festival. One a village street corner, next day a staged fight sequence. One day a back alley transformed into a New York city block. We also shot in Berlin - some of the biggest green screens in Europe. The choreography on these projects was out of this world. Football, fights, stunts, fitness, team sports and the level of technology was off the chart, they'd regularly used million £ cameras to shoot 3D scenes and anything on an epic scale.
This part of my career was instrumental in learning new skills and meeting people. It was during this time I attained further business insight into different areas of the world and basically how they work. That led me to my next steps of expanding Prestige Fitness more seriously. Traveling always excited me, but the notion of being able to do business in these places always impulsed me more.
We exploded. The work was paying off and we went big. I recruited a team of 12 trainers and we needed the space to facilitate the growth. We stepped up our marketing efforts and starting linking with everybody. We worked with local businesses, corporates, sent out huge marketing shoots and even employed a head of marketing. Our social media was on the rise too, we moved from a couple of 100 to over 10 thousand. At a time when social media was relativity young, we were using it to our advantage.
Our product range started to develop too. We moved into boot camps with at one point running 12 simultaneous classes around the city. These were popular as we would attract the lunchtime crowds and office average joes. We used our new relationships with some of Manchester's biggest businesses to establish a wellbeing arm to our business. This was successful as corporate was the place to be at a time and a great place to network.
Operationally, it was exciting to see a flourish like this. I was 21 and managing quite the operation. Our USP as it has always been- service and quality. Fitness and personal training have always been huge but there's a distinct lack of good customer service and you can find it to be a 'business like revolving doors' (clients go everywhere) because they've never received anything substantial. We always aimed higher than that, and it paid off. Our brand voice was inviting and allowed us to make a long lasting impact.
The gyms grew fast and we invested a lot of money into 4 stunning facilities -might I add with no external investments. We hand grew our business through sheer willpower and blood sweat and tears. We wish we could say, we got a helping hand, but the reality was we started right from the bottom and climbed the ladder, a big ladder! But that's what makes you.
Covering the 4 corners of the city. At this time, our focus was on being the best version of 1-1 personal training you could experience. We kept our facilities private, the equipment high end and a focused on results, real results. Our early day client success is even today some of the best to date. Our personal training team was hungry, driven and delivered second to none service for all our clients. As a market leader, quality was always our agenda, so operationally we drove synergy between all our clubs by creating an unforgettable customer experience. As we would say, 'we move the heavens and earth for our clients,' that's just how much we're invested.
As the second arm to Prestige Fitness, we have been one of the sectors leading gym management companies in the UK for the last 5 years. At the beginning we found ourselves working with corporates, resident hubs, and multinational companies, providing bespoke in-house health and well-being and gym management.
With proven success in this market and having serviced some of the UK's biggest businesses, we invested more provisions into this side of business and partnered with the UK's second provider to manage operations and move our business to London. The new face of our gym management arm was to facilitate an all-encompassing service, that kept quality control at the forefront for our services for clients; from corporate well-being to gym and residential site management and installation of private gyms.
Pure Balance- in partnership with Prestige Fitness, Spa's and Health Clubs are unique urban retreats in exclusive residential and corporate locations. We understand that every project and each client is individual and unique, from our approach to each of our health and fitness clients to creating tailored health and fitness services and bespoke management solutions to our exclusive, private leisure facilities. Using this approach our aim is to provide our clients and residents with the ultimate in city living, by bringing together the best in spa health and fitness, to only the best and most unique locations.
Life is all about the little things
With this Prestige Fitness has raised the standard of city living to whole new heights, allowing our residents to enjoy the ultimate city lifestyle balancing, work body, mind, and soul. Through attention to detail in every single area, we ensure the highest standards that would rival those of a 5-star hotel. This is more than our goal, it's our passion.
From every interaction with our clients and residents to casting our highly experienced keen eye throughout the design and set-up phase, we always follow our ethos that 'better never stops," and going the extra mile is never far enough. We're able to use our vast network of spa, health and fitness professionals built up from many years of specialized experience to source the best people, the best products, the best solutions and of course at the highest standards possible.
Tender for Multi-£Billion Battersea Power Station
In 2014 we had the privilege of being a part of what can only be described as an opportunity of a lifetime. Battersea Power Station - The £8 Billion landmark redevelopment.
A sort after and monumental tender that included several gym installment phases across 2 years, this tender really pulled out the best in us. A 6-month investment to a site we were truly passionate about, was soon to be one of the most sorts after places to live in the world; on top of being one the most iconic transformation redevelopments in modern times.
We pulled together some of the best brains in the business, including the architects responsible for the Olympic Stadium and designed simply a world class product, on par with the elitist 5-star hotels in the world. Our tender included visits to the Prestigious 5-star hotels of Dubai, the high tech super gyms of Germany and the streamlined fashion mecca of Tokyo for truly world class inspiration. The Battersea project's Mantra was 'we don't do ordinary' to our simple reply, ' we don't do ordinary either.' This wast truly a monumental and exhilarating project of which we followed this core mantra's throughout:
To produce a concept a for high-end residential leisure facilities of architect merit. Located in the new build section in Phase 1 of the residential redevelopment of London's Battersea Power Station the facility will be key to launching Battersea Power Station as the benchmark in luxury city center living in the UK. Attracting the highest caliber of residents demanding a 5 star level of service, the leisure facility itself is to be an experience and destination in its own right.
Designed with a level of opulence, the encompassing gym, swimming pool and spa facilities must evoke the luxury feel of a 5-star hotel, whilst remaining simple, fresh and spacious. In reflection of our name and ethos, the design should include clean lines, natural materials and textures, organic shapes and use of pure simple color schemes. A relation to the 1930's theme of the apartment interiors and other areas of the development could be considered, Distinct separation of different spa and fitness areas should be achieved via the clever use of interesting partitions, lighting and varied use of aesthetics or both floor and walls. There should be clear sight lines from the reception entrance area that takes in the gym, pool and our doors all in one view. The facility should be made up of highly versatile areas that can lend themselves to a range of uses from a multifunctional spa and fitness spaces to events, social gatherings, and even photo or film shoots. The space must allow plenty of member engagement, from an artistic feature reception to relaxation areas a thoughtful and socially orientated layout.
Impressive no? As you can see we strive to deliver only the highest of standards that anybody could deliver for a client. The process was a life changing project, challenging, varied but extremely fulfilling.
Get Peaked was founded in 2013 at the age of 21 - around the same time, we were launching gyms 3 and 4 at Prestige Fitness. For the people who know David Donaldson's story, I've been a multifaceted business owner from my early teens and was one to never shy away from pursuing success. In the early days, I drove my attention into untapped places of the market and actioned most ideas a very long time before the penny dropped. Even today there are ideas, I simply couldn't fit in, that were later found elsewhere. My ambitions knew no bounds and utilizing 10 years of experience, being an outdoors adventure expert- running workshops, corporate courses and team leading events, the market leading adventure company was born.
Get peaked is an award winning multi-event outdoor adventure company, that provides the UK's leading national Three Peaks Challenges, Mount Kilimanjaro excursions, British peak mountaineering adventures, peak walks, climbing and trekking days, race events and the cycle lands end to John o Groats challenge.
Our ethos has always been to provide the best possible events for our clients - and this philosophy transpires into everything we do. We drive our business with customer service to ensure an unrivaled choice is available to the market, delivering high success for corporates, private groups, and charities. Our core product is an all encompassing end to end service, which means you the client, pay your money and you're all set; we simply take care of the rest hassle free. Our team is trained in not just general service, but world class customer excellence, meaning they take into account every detail and each client's individual needs. That from which we have applied to other areas of our business.
With groups varying from 10-150 persons, our team considers aspects from; client event suitability, to individual fitness preparation, specialist access or group/ company preferred logistic management. We recognize each and every event requires a tailor-made event and with the 'going beyond is just the start' attitude, we consistently deliver.
Get Peaked - Joining Prestige Global
Having achieved top accreditation, business success and reviews from hundreds of organizations across the UK and Europe, Get Peaked the UK's number one provider for outdoor adventure was acquired by Prestige Global Group in 2014. The expansion acquisition to bolster ourselves with a world class company that could improve and expand on services was an exciting process. This joint adventure was created with an aim to incorporate new departments, introduce more niche products to the brand and to expand more presently across-European channels.
The Prestige input has elevated Get Peaked core services. In conjunction with Prestige Fitness- who offer World Class training and event preparation services as part of its core packages, which means on top of working with the UKs leading provider, our client's courses are delivered by the World leading fitness experts. This addition to services has catapulted the product into a new altitude of success, with client investment stronger than ever. In 2017 Get Peaked was named outdoor company of the year and continues to thrive. www.getpeaked.com
When I say I was one of the original celebrities trainers, Yes I was. I looked around at the time and realized, wow, everyone's missing a trick here. There was a little bit out there, some old school names floating around but in the new age of social media and PR nothing to get your pants in a twist about. So we actively went for it.
I think every personal trainer dreams of this and places their ultimate goals at being some kind of high-profile trainer and working with the best, yes it sounds appealing but the truth of it is in reality, it's much harder than you think; that being said, not impossible. Prestige and myself, have always been different and not wanted to be associated with the norm, nope.. we don't like that. So the only way for our business to break out was to do better. Be better, train better people, be associated with the best and deliver the best for them. We soon built up some attention and press by working with named figures and of course pumped this straight into our brand.
We have always attracted like-minded people, respectfully to anybody, there's simply celebs out there people like and people don't like, which ones did you think we chose? In the early days our PR team had frequently turned down local soap stars in Manchester and UK, there would be certain people we'd always recommend elsewhere as we wanted to concentrate on the more unique, influencing names and higher profile clientele, but more importantly people we knew would work with us effectively and be able to successfully commit.
What are they like?
A question we have been asked for almost 10 years and rhetorically we will hear "Ooh, I've heard you trained this person or, you've been in America training who? I heard you guys on the radio today." Are you training with David Donaldson? oh, that's right that celebrity trains with Prestige." Yes, we've heard it all. The answer is, they're fun people, and getting to know them personally is a rewarding and very unique experience. When you find yourself training a truly opposite individual (characters) -it's about finding a common language, being professional and relatable. I find profiles interesting characters in all shapes and sizes because, usually they're fairly amusing but better mostly good all rounded down to earth people.. even if they do seem flamboyant. To us, they're just a client at the end of the day and here to do the work, same as everybody.
Prestige is hired to work on multiple campaigns for short and long projects such as 3-month transformations to a year's exclusive travel, we've done it all. When it comes to a specific job, such as 'this person requires training for a movie role or photo shoot,' we typically find that we get their full focus and attention and will give it their all. We love that. We've been able to achieve some truly staggering success, for example, Jessie McClure who lost 60 pounds and started running marathons with us. He has completely transformed his health and doesn't look like the same person, before Prestige- you'd barely recognize him now! He stayed and trained with us personally from Los Angeles as he knew, it's what's required when you want the best. Prestige changed and enhanced in life in many aspects forever. One example of many faces who changed their lives with Prestige.
Who have you trained?
It's all available out there: Tulisa. Chelsee Healey, Capital FM (We were the very first and exclusive for many years but unfortunately they get approached a lot). American TV stars, such as Jessie McClure from storage hunters. Big Brother star Jay Mckray and the whole Geordie cast scene. Hollyoaks stars, shameless stars - most of them. Emmerdale, Coronation Street (certain people only- as this is a bit of clicky crowd which we dislike, we said no to most of them in the early days). Dragons Den, I'm a celebrity get me out of here and the odd X Factor judge. We're not actively focused on celebs as much anymore, but they're certainly some names we're proud of from our LA/ world known music stars to Hollywood Movie directors and football legends, such as Manchester United's Wes Brown. Working with them all is constantly a pleasure and has certainly heightened what we do at Prestige.
What's next for your PR for Prestige Fitness?
We have a few tricks up our sleeve yet. We continue to drive growth and publicity where it's needed but as compared to the earlier days, our brand goes a long way now and our focuses have turned on to quality PR. With moving into international waters, opportunities arise daily from the American and Asian market which catapults our business into a new level. We have built up sponsorships with multinational companies and some of the leading sports and fitness businesses in the world. Such as MyProtein, Quorn Foods, and Reebok. Having covered radio for several years, we are constantly approached by channels to host our own fitness- Tv shows for commercial mainstream and private. And although we already work in fitness tv production in collaboration with our various sector brands and TV channels, our sights may well turn to something more mainstream yet. So keep your eyes peeled. As a broad operation, Prestige has many elements to our business we aim to cover yet. PR is one slice of what we do and still, as recognized as we are, the company is young and hungry so we will continue to drive product, set trends and pioneer the fitness industry.
The famous 21-day workout, a revolutionary groundbreaking workout system designed to blast away fat for the last time in just 21 days. In 2012 we launched the first of its kind, at this early period of online training programs, there was nothing in the marketplace, across UK, America and on the face of the internet. In keeping with our history, we identified a gap in the market for an idea that with the proper scale could potentially be a huge success and It was.
We pulled together a giant social reach of over 10 million, between celebrities, radio stations and an array of industry bodies. I pushed interviews, press releases, and PR at every opportunity we could. We collaborated with named celebrities and were picked up by multiple newspapers that soon gathered us traction. The first 6 months we focused on driving content and delivering a product that was accessible and simple to use. This was the entire concept. We created 3 core programs for men and 3 for women, each had different intensity levels and body goals. The lean out program, the shape up program and the refine and shine program, they were as we might say just amazing!
The client success was phenomenal, we showcased that real results and big changes could easily be achieved if you were prepared to workout hard enough. Our system was no quick fix or fad diet system, it was a safe, well-balanced plan that set the drive on eating clean and simply dedicating yourself for 21 days.
Our clients grew from UK-wide to America, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington and most US states. We grew into the Asian markets with clients signing up from as far as Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo, so this was an exciting notion of seeing our product per say snowballing. We invested more resources, upgraded our systems and grew to a more streamlined product to meet the demand. The product its self-evolved over a year into a beautifully well mapped out a system that you could just sign up and go. We continued to drive social media as at this time, Twitter Facebook were taking their first waves of topics going viral; so no hold backs- we set out to achieve this and we did. Within a year we amassed over 20,000 unique worldwide followers in multi-demographics, primarily focusing on America as it appeared there was most demand.
From our launch, we noticed trends, patterns and new similar concepts starting to appear on the market- including some of the bigger body systems companies trying to take their slice of the pie and make a name. It was refreshing to see we'd got out there first and made waves. Our concept was completely unique and irreplicable, but it certainly acted as the catalyst for the 21-day theme. Our commercials were Americanised and we made sister products as the sign-ups came in thick and fast.
The ride of the 21-day theme shot up within a 24-month window and certainly made its way to the mainstream across all channels and corners of our industry- and as the market leader, with how these things can go we were inundated with customers. Having reached a wider initial audience than we anticipated, we were overjoyed with the success and developed our product once again.
We recognized that a complete end to end system is a compelling product but still lacked a personal touch. The 21-day workout series evolved into online personal training. The original plans and concept remained firmly in place, but we upgraded our systems to include full, online 1-1 support from your own personal trainer from anywhere in the world; its fair to say this landed well with customers.
Today the 21-day workout has been reformed to our online personal training side of the business in a more dedicated fashion. With customers from most countries around the world, we have a dedicated team to service the needs of our foreign consumers. Our online programs at Prestige Fitness are available today at the main customer site www.prestigefitness.co.uk and with keeping in how we offer service, we can firmly say our plans are among the best transformation programs and personal coaching in the world.
As brand ambassadors for several named brands such as MyProtein. Quorn. Reebok, Discount Supplements, Good4U and many more we strive to deliver our sector, leading health and fitness content that supports and grows our community. As one of the world's leading personal training brands, it brings us great pleasure to be associated with these sector leading companies; having been headhunted personally we only owe it get involved. Prestige is hugely passionate about giving back, so any chance to get involved with a campaign and trends won't go amiss. By working in conjunction with these companies, it's our chance to be involved with the very tapestry of health fitness and show people who we are. Our content, articles, media publishings have been read by millions across all or brands and we couldn't be prouder. You can find all our endorsements at Prestige and the named company websites.
It started In 2015, we acquired our first major sponsor Quorn who wanted us on board to be a leading fitness advisor. Quorn, the worldwide go to meat-free alternative brand. With over 100 product the world is an impressive company, that takes your nutrition, their global footprint and the quality of product seriously. This role involved partaking in brand events, promotion of campaigns, and quite simply some pretty cool projects. With a chance to be aligned with such names as, world Class Olympic Gold medalist Mo Farah, we jumped at the opportunity.
Our next partnership came from Europes biggest supplement company, Discount Supplements. Their zest and injection of energy into the industry is infectious. They have an amazing team who we have the pleasure of working with personally. The brand goal is to push initiatives through all seasons, which made things fun as there was always stuff going on from; Easter to Christmas. Our involvement with them was especially fun designing a Prestige - Discount Supplements Christmas cookbook. We wrote some of our best published articles to date with DS that can be found at their website, including exercise hacks, diet tips, and tricks, supplement guides and various more.
The Willy Wonker of healthy foods brand is a company that injects serious quality and passion into their products. With a product range across; France, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands, their award winning superfoods, seed snacks and salads range have revolutionized the health food market. Good4U is available in Marks and Spencers, Tesco and Asda.Prestige Fitness joined the Good4U mission as a leading fitness expert to add the fitness input to their healthy food product range. Our articles have been reached by thousands contributing towards the get some goodness down you ethos. Prestige takes pride in working with brands that advocate the all round wellbeing of 'a leading a healthy lifestyle.' We endorse products that retain a high well-balanced nutrition profile, while simultaneously keeping the quality of product and economical footprint at the highest standards possible. It's great to share the same passion and ethos across a sister market.
Los Angeles Times and Men's Fitness Magazines
During the time before securing our next 5 deals, we were approached by several magazines and newspapers from around the world to write key pieces. This included The Los Angeles times, 3 New York magazines, Miami publishing companies, Men's Fitness magazine the US versions and bodybuilding magazine covers. The Sun, The Gazette, The Independent, Londons Times, along with being named Londons best Personal Trainer.
These jobs as one the world's leading personal training experts are to cover key pieces of fitness trends and supply their readership with raw new and real in depth content. We've always taken pride in being able to deliver a fresh approach to fitness. Our insightful and unconventionally honest approach is revered, eye-opening and humorous. We step away from the draconian voice of just throwing expertise at people's faces and make light of it, in a relatable manner.
Our group was born in 2014 and this was an exciting time. At the peak of our business career with multiple operations, we decided without hesitation a group must be established to house what we do. Prestige Global was a natural choice, having a multinational business and a goal of trading overseas. I guess one day I always aspired to get to this position but wouldn't make the move until it was necessary. The idea had been floated before from previous success points, from our online arm and gym management deals that required a more professionally merit entity.
The goal of Global was to encompass operation and keep us one step ahead, it’s people that power our progress. Internal development is the greatest business investment of all, which is why we encourage and integrate creativity, tenacity, and education at every level. We invite individuals of all ages and diverse backgrounds to join our fast-thinking, talented community, as we strive to become the biggest and the best. Because fresh, new ideas and innovative execution are how we want to shape our success. Prestige Global is the home of intensity, expectation, and achievement – with huge ambition recognized with even greater reward – for a unique business that always leads the way.
2014 brought the year of expansion into the US market. Having trained a range of high profile clientele across the pond for many years added to an existing online client base we decided to take a more permanent step. Using key gyms in Santa Boulevard and West Hollywood for our operation we decided to take a more permanent reside by collaborating our brand with existing gyms and trainers. Having US nationals and a British team that was previously employed by Prestige in our Manchester and London branches it was an easy decision to reemployment some of our leading trainers under the Prestige umbrella.
Downtown Los Angeles was always a hot spot for the obvious cosmopolitan, business district; we had more initial clients from here and the surrounding areas in the early days.
The Penny really sunk in for during our time here to see there are hundreds of fitness businesses for lack of a real standard. We knew what we offer was much a higher quality and customer-driven. The synergy we introduced from our London gyms to Los Angeles was only that of our World Class Standard. Our LA team firstly went through customer excellence courses to that of a 5-star hotel to be able to deliver a high-end product. From here we grew our brand and footprint by sponsoring a range of brand ambassadors.
The client response in LA we would say has been phenomenal. The success of our product has been able to evolve too, through being accepted by a culture and city that does want to be at the peak of looks and fitness. The trend has always been beach life, gyms and fitness classes but it was once thought only the rich and famous could afford personal training. Our LA arm has two facets in 2014, Downtown Los Angeles and West Hollywood. Our West Hollywood arm is an extension of a specific product range that offers a more lifestyle version of personal training. We have found the pace to be different in these areas but of still of equal demand. Having using existing gym for our initial operation we aim to soon open our own flagship gyms in these areas. Our Head of Prestige LA is British born Warren Fleeshman at Warren@prestigefitness.co.uk and for all LA personal training inquiries to LA@prestigefitness.co.uk and www.prestige-La.com.
2017 brings us a great pleasure to announce our expansion to Japan, Tokyo. Prestige Fitness one of the world's leading personal trainers will be heading up a new office in central Tokyo. Our goal with Tokyo is to reach a new unfounded clientele in the market and offer Tokyo the best personal training service in the world. For the last 5 years, our business has serviced the Japanese community from CEOS to Japanese locals and international businessmen. We recognize although Japan is quite an inclusive and exclusive country to trade with our universal product with the current extrapolation of Japans fitness boom, influences & integration into the sports American market; makes a unique opportunity to cultivate our brand and influence newer trends of Asian fitness. Our current Japanese consumer success has shown us a new demand out for a more high end and Americanized is sort after.
Prestige Tokyo personal training will offer a world class training product matched by those only of the highest recognized 5-star hotels. We aim to invest into an online multi available, e-commerce platform that allows our Japanese consumer to sign up and access our world-class services from anywhere at any time. Having an already established Japanese client base and proven success, this will be rolled out first to Tokyo with a view for the rest of Asia. This investment into a new e-commerce personal training platform will be the first of its kind, and available for Tokyo and the rest of Japan. An opportunity to bring a new standard to personal fitness and also be a part of a growing movement and fast evolving fitness trends of Japan. On top of offering our product, we strive to educate our clients as well as integrate cohesively.
We have seen an iconic fashion and technology influence, but yet to await any true breakout in fitness. Our stellar global reputation of achieving the best results in fitness will be harnessed for all type of consumer in Tokyo, available from 2017.
Innovating, inspiring and setting trends. 2017 and the new age of fitness, brings a busy and noisy marketplace. From new types, of gyms abundantly available in communities across world cities. And new fitness ideas attempting to revolutionize fitness daily, how do we stay ahead?
It's an obvious move for any fitness business to expand gym infrastructure across key cities as private training gyms are more popular than ever, however. Our plans will be to open our unique, incomparable Prestige Fitness flagship gyms across specific areas around the world. Including Manchester, London, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Paris, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, and Mumbai. With an aim to improve personal training standards across the globe.
With this being done already by multiple gym chains and corporate unfriendly personal training brands, we strive to be different, and lead through 'the best-personalized version of fitness in the world.' Numbers and quality will always be the defining argument between most types of businesses, but our focus will remain firm on quality and world class service.
In a competitive industry, we simply don't aim to impose a 'we are just the best so choose our type of attitude.' Whereas there are some that wish to glorify themselves with the titles of biggest or very best. To them we invite and encourage this draconian ethos, we totally as we've always loved a good underdog story and being the biggest was never our mission.
Our focus at Prestige Global- Prestige Fitness will be to deliver a product in line with those of Apple and The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group; delivering innovation and personal service that could not be replicated by anyone in our industry. We thrive to be ourselves, be unique a free of comparison. We will constantly evolve our business with a strong but personable and trusted brand, that creates an inviting community that's open to all types of clientele. Simply be one of the best services you could receive, but with a smile.