As a boy I loved cartoons. I recall He-Man, Thunder-Cats, Brave Star and The Centurions as clear favourites. I loved it when He-Man or Lion-O raised his sword to power up. Smash the baddies and save the day. As a teenager I became obsessed with the mega stars in the WWF – Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, British Bulldog, Bret Hart, Shaun Michaels. To me these guys were all legitimate real life super humans. Physically superior in every way to a mere mortals like me. What did they have in common? They all looked like cartoons – But these guys were real!! Huge muscles, unbelievable endurance and steel faced determination to win. Normal people simply weren’t anything like them.
I gained inspiration at home too. As a kid my Dad grafted hard all day out in the cold and the rain, came home and worked on something else in the garage. If you had asked me as a child to describe my Dad in one word you likely would of received a one word reply – strong. Although he definitely possesses strength as a character attribute. On this occasion I am referring to simple brute force. Always so totally capable of moving the heavy thing, carrying the heavy thing, pushing the heavy thing, pulling the heavy thing, totally on his own. He was completely unbelievable. As a kid I remember looking at these massive logs of wood, engine blocks, flags of concrete, basically anything big and solid. I’d be flabbergasted at Dad, just taking his grip, heaving it up and walking along the garden with it. Impossible.
I wanted to be like them, all of them, mega strong, big muscles and super fit. I remember I got a little set of colourful plastic dumbbells and a pink fold up exercise mat for Christmas. My Dad had some of his old heavier sand-filled weights and a couple bits of extremely retro exercise equipment from when he was a teenager – chest expanders and spring loaded bending bars – stuff like that. He let me use them. I started my training life. Lots and lots and lots of bicep curls, shoulder presses and push ups. that is basically all I’d seen on TV at the time.
When I joined secondary school my life changed a lot. As the small ginger kid with glasses I began to have a lot of problems with bullies. I decided to make efforts to cure this problem. At the time there was only one local gym, at 13 I was finally old enough to join. I rode my bike there four or five times every week. While training at this gym I overheard a kickboxing class taking place, it looked brilliant and I very quickly got involved. I attended kickboxing training twice a week and won the ‘Student of the year’ trophy within my first season. I had five amateur fights and remained undefeated. Still a teenager I often planned and delivered the classes to the students. I very much enjoyed pushing people to train hard as well as teaching correct technique.
When I was 17 my kickboxing club closed down. I decided to re-focus my physical training. Resistance/weight training held the most appeal to me. The free weights room at the gym became my new haunt. Things like smartphones and YouTube were still very much in their infancy. Information to educate myself was not as freely available. I adopted a ‘learn by doing’ approach to weight training. Copying what I had seen on TV, movies or read in Men’s Health magazines. Although my addiction and enjoyment of training never subsided, progress was slow. I was enthusiastic but uninformed.
Life marched on.
I met my wife and we bought a home together. I immediately laid claim to one bedroom, this was now my gym. I began collecting equipment. I was now able to train every day without ever having to leave the house. My training and physical progress organically grew to the next level. The internet was now a gold mine of information. I was able to learn and apply new methods and techniques to my training. Our 2nd home came with a garage which I instantly announced was my new gym. I could take things to the next level once again. I became well known among my friends and family as a ‘gym person’. I was often probed for tips and advice. Friends regularly came to my gym to train or asked me to go to a commercial gym with them as a training partner. The collection of equipment continued to grow.
Life still marched on.
We had a son, we both worked full time, we had family to care for and a home to maintain. Our lives were very busy and definitely full. I never lost my passion for exercise. After a full day at work, Dad duties fulfilled and important time spent with my wife it would often be 9 to 10pm. Out I went to the gym for 90 minutes of training before bed. It was on an evening exactly like this that my amazing wife threw me a lifeline that I hope will change my life forever.
It was 10:30pm, on my own and in the dark getting some chest training done. Kirsty came out to see me, sat down and said: ‘Why don’t you just do it!! – get qualified and become a PT’.
I’ll never forget. I am living my dream and it really is all down to my amazing wife. Her perpetual support and motivation proves to me every day how lucky I really am.
I’ve been laser beam focused ever since. I enrolled to evening college at the earliest opportunity.
I am now a fully qualified Personal Trainer.
I am Redcar based and offer personal training and exercise classes and can be contacted on 07739 982523 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram – philhewittpersonaltraining.