HOW DID WE GET TO THIS POINT?
This is, in essence, my life story. How I went from wanting to be an Architect, succeeding and giving it all up to do what I do now.
I hope you’ll find it interesting, or at the very least, it helps you get to sleep if you’re struggling.
I was 11 years old, but even then, I had an ego. I wanted to do things bigger and better than anyone else. I wanted to be known for something. I wanted to make an impact. What did I enjoy the most? I really liked drawing. I liked creating. But, I also enjoyed puzzles and I was good at them. Perhaps I could be an artist and have my artwork hanging in the most famous galleries around the world? People would come and look at my work and it would have an influence (hopefully a positive one) on how they were feeling. Yes, I’ll be an artist
But wait! That’s not big enough!
I can vaguely remember thinking this as I walked up a busy high street with my parents. It was a bright summers day and as I looked up at the historic buildings around me I thought, “Wow! Some of these buildings really are amazing.” A few minutes later, we walked passed a small art gallery and I thought about one of my pieces hanging on the wall. That’s when it struck me. Why not create the wall and the room and the building the pieces are laid out in? Why not create the galleries and the museums and homes that the pieces were to be displayed in? That would be big! That would make an impact! How do I do that?
It was from that point on my future was set. I’d be an Architect!
It was a job I’d love. I’d be drawing, designing, creating and I’d be influencing the world. I would have a chance to have a positive impact on every person who either used the buildings I designed or even entered their vicinity.
For the next six years, I pushed my studies in exactly that direction. I played a lot of sports, football, ice hockey, golf etc. and I loved it. Occasionally I dreamed of being a professional footballer or hockey player. But it always came back to Architecture. At the age of 17 I enrolled at University and signed away the next 7 years of my life. I was designing potentially iconic buildings. One of my earliest designs at university was for a Sculpture studio and gallery. It was only a project, but in a few years, this would be real!
After 7 years of study I was set upon the real world. I had no illusions. I wouldn’t be going out to immediately design galleries and museums. I’d have to start small. And so, with my first full scale project I set about designing a scheme for a housing association. I worked with the community council and really felt that I was helping improve the lives of the local residents. When it completed, they all seemed extremely happy with the results and so I felt happy. But, it hadn’t been exactly as I’d thought. Part of the process was design, but much was a balance of politics and finance. How to control costs as the contractor sought to increase their profits. And everyone had to have their input, whether it made sense or not.
But, it was a start. I had made a mark.
Over the following 6 years I worked on more housing schemes, designer flats, special needs units, a golf course clubhouse, hotels, a £14,000,000 community school complete with sports complex, gymnastics club, a library, high level outdoor all weather sports facilities and public art, as well as small and large scale office blocks. I hadn’t been anywhere near a gallery or a museum, but I had been making an impact. Hadn’t I?
Well the thing is that over all of those projects the same issues had occurred each time. Number one was always money. Now companies have to survive and profits are necessary, therefore budgets have to be adhered to. But these budgets are set at the start and there is a design team in place with experts in each field of the design to ensure that budget is achieved. But in every case the contractor then looked to use cheaper alternatives to those designed in order to increase their profits, the developer will look for savings on the design to maximise their returns, the Structural Engineer will over specify to protect his insurance as with the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers and everyone will be looking to push the blame or workload elsewhere even before it happens.
As lead designer, it would therefore be my job to juggle these issues, deal with the faxes and emails trying to resolve them. Go to meetings where everyone would argue their case and little would be resolved as no one was there to change their mind. All of which cost time and therefore money, which lead to more costs to the contract and more savings required.
What no one seemed overly concerned about was that these buildings had a purpose. Their very presence would have an impact on everyone and everything in the area. Shouldn’t we be creating the best environment we possibly could? Shouldn’t we be maximising the experience for the end user? Wasn’t there more to this than cost per square meter rates? It didn’t seem so.
I came into this to make a difference. To enhance the world and lives of those around me and to an extent I was. I was enhancing the bank balance of already wealthy companies whose number one concern was the size of their profits.
There were degrees of this and some were better than others, but it was always a factor somewhere along the line. And every morning I would have to get out of bed and go to work knowing this was my lot in life.
This was the path I had chosen and morally it felt extremely uncomfortable.
Over my time studying at university and the early years of working, sport had become much less a part of my existence and junk food a greater one. As I spent my nights fighting the fatigue in order to work through the night, fizzy drinks, pizza and sweets became my allies.
In January of 2004, my then girlfriend decided she wanted to join a gym. I had started to feel I was getting a bit too much out of shape and had taken to always wearing black and sizes that were just that little bit too big so my shape wasn’t clearly visible. So, I signed up too and booked in for an evaluation. When I got the results, I couldn’t believe it. My body fat percentage was 27% (for my age anything above 22% was dangerously obese!). I was handed my programme and I stuck to it.
After a few weeks, I realised it wasn’t getting me anywhere. I asked someone else to review it and was told what I had been given was awful and wasn’t nearly hard enough (I had been given a leg press weight of 40kg for example – My review put me on 90kg which was still comfortably manageable) so I got a new programme and I stuck to that.
To me, this was a new puzzle. If I didn’t know any better I would trust the experts to guide me and do exactly what they told me. But, I don’t like doing things blindly. I wanted to know why I was doing what I was doing and I began to study. I researched everything; took nothing at face value; I listened openly to every theory and opinion and weighed up its merits. If it didn’t make any sense, I discarded it. If it had any merit, I would research it some more or try it out on myself to see the results.
From then I have absorbed as much information as possible, spending several hours every day reading, researching or querying anything health and fitness related. Anything I didn’t understand I’d delve deeper. It was fascinating. The rules were generally simple, but the intricacies so very complex and debatable.
Over my first 6 weeks training my body fat fell to 21.5% after 6 months I was down to 12% (considered very lean) and by the end of the year I was down to 10%. This was all while still working full time as an Architect.
After a while I started training with others, answering queries on training and diet, helping friends and family and through a bit of an accident I started doing a bit of online life coaching and social coaching. I had started out trying to sort myself out and improve my self-image, but I had ended up helping others.
This is what I’d been looking for all along. An improved self-image helped me feel happier and being in the company of others who were feeling good about themselves was a much nicer place to be. So, the more people I could help, the happier the world around me and that happiness would be infectious spreading further and further. This is how I could make an impact. This could be my reason for being and the more people I could help the better.
I had already started courses in fitness and nutrition for my own benefit & knowledge, so why not use that as a vehicle to start me off?
For the first 3-4 years, I coached people part time. I worked with people all over the world, from America, Africa, Europe and around the UK.
Towards the end of 2008 I made a decision to save for a few months and then dive into full time coaching and training and so, with much trepidation, I did.
My goal was to reach as many people as possible.
Everyone is unique. Everyone’s targets, goals & dreams are a puzzle and as I said, I’m good at puzzles. I’ve been studying the research and solutions, the marketing and the lies behind them for many years now and I have seen with my own eyes what works and what doesn’t. What is true for some, what is true for all and what is merely marketing hype to increase sales and make rich companies richer.
I am a designer, a problem solver, a coach and a student. I am here to help you realise your full potential in any way possible. I am looking to help you design and shape your future the way you want it.
In 2011, I felt there were similar obstacles to those in the world of Architecture creeping back into my life. Whilst I could endeavour to keep my service and value at as high a level as possible, I was constantly frustrated by the fact that the facilities around Glasgow had one thing in common. They all followed exactly the same model.
They may have made out to be different with unique colour schemes, differing layouts, an emphasis on different types of equipment, but the over-riding approach was always the same.
Sell as many memberships as they could, usually targeting around 1 person for every square foot of space in the gym (in a higher end facility it would be closer to 1 person per square meter) and keep selling memberships until people stopped buying them. Then discount them for companies, the NHS, the police, students, give family discounts. Whatever! It didn’t matter, it was just more money in the bank. And if the numbers got so high that it was a physical problem on the gym floor, let the ones that were frustrated leave and just put out another deal to attract more people to replace them.
It was sickening to see, but as a trainer, it was frustrating beyond belief. Too many workouts were being compromised from the optimal route I had mapped out for clients, often not even being able to implement plan B, C or even D due to overcrowding.
I searched to find a facility that did not have this issue and it seemed (and continues to appear) that none exist.
The only way I was going to get the optimal facility that overcame these issues was to create it myself.
And so, with my life savings, a huge amount of help from my family and friends and a ton of elbow grease, in January of 2012 I opened the doors to Dynamic Core Studios.
Those morals I set out to stick to have never been compromised. We never suffer from overcrowding, we have continued to purchase equipment whenever there has even been a hint of queuing for equipment and if someone needed something to improve their progress, it was always purchased as swiftly as possible.
It’s how we developed the gym to where it is today and ensures that we continue to be the best value facility around. On a space to member, equipment to member or even staff to member ratios, there isn’t another facility that even comes close.
And, with this site, the goal is to ensure that there is sufficient information out there too. Ensuring that anyone who has a desire for change has a resource to find the information they need to make it happen, even if you don’t live locally to the gym.
The goal, from the age of 11, has been to make an impact and improve the world, even if only in a small way. That is the driving force behind what I do and it’s how we have gotten to this place.
I hope the journey continues and you feel you might want to come along for the ride.
If you ever have any questions, anything you’d like an article written about, anything you feel we could do to help you with your progress, I’m always open to ideas and I’m happy to listen, so feel free to comment below or to get in touch.
In the meantime, have an amazing day and remember,
It’s OK to be yourself, just be your BEST self.