Pete Brooks loves socialising, has eclectic music taste, is an accomplished drummer and was a professional chef for nearly twenty years. He’s also an Amac graduate with his own Personal Training business and big plans for the future. He’s kindly written about his experiences which provides an entertaining read with a serious message, perfect for anyone also considering working in the fitness industry following a career change.
At school I had played football, rugby, basketball and cricket for the school teams and I was fit and healthy and loved cycling. However, my job as a chef took away a lot of my spare time and I no longer participated in sports. Over the years, a combination of poor diet, unsocial hours, alcohol consumption and generally not looking after myself left me weighing 19 stone with a 39” waistline. I decided I needed to do something about it, I don’t recall an ‘epiphany’ moment as such just that I knew enough was enough.
The first thing I did was join a gym and I trained hard for around 6 months or so. Trouble is I was getting nowhere, even though I was eating healthily too; there was lots of sweat and hard work, but no real order or structure as a regime. I was pointed in the direction of a personal trainer and, after a chat and a taster session, I was immediately hooked. Over the next 18 – 24 months, whilst training with this PT, I was always keen to know why we did certain things, what muscle groups were used and why certain training styles were adopted. It was actually his idea that I ‘give it a go’, his words were; “You’ve got a serious passion. You don’t just do….you ask why, how, when. You’ve got something there”. I thought long and hard and decided he was right, I knew I’d always have a passion for cooking, but I wanted this too.
If I’m honest, at the start I didn’t really know what I needed to do next. I went online and applied here, there and everywhere. It was really a process of elimination of removing those providers who I felt just wanted to get in and take my money before targets, learning styles or timescales were even discussed. With the help of my PT, and lots of phone calls, the one company who stood out among the others was Amac, as they seemed to genuinely want to help me. I remember talking to Jo Garratt who was full of pertinent information and never once made me feel I was being hounded for money, she just offered help and advice. Chats with my wife and PT followed and my decision was made; Amac it was.
I have plenty of great memories from my L2 Gym Instructor and L3 Personal Trainer courses but there is one which stands out. When I turned up to my first face-to-face training session I was met by a big Polish guy who turned out to be Kris, Amac’s Student Mentor. I’ll admit I’ve always been a bit of a joker, and all through that first morning I tried to get a laugh here and there, whilst being attentive I hasten to add, but Kris didn’t smile once. To put it bluntly, I thought he was pretty stern. It came to lunchtime and as everyone hurried out to grab some food Kris neared my desk, loomed over the top of me and in his not-so-quiet-voice announced “I do the jokes around here”. For a second or two I didn’t know quite what to say, there was no emotion on his face just this serious voice and his steely presence, but suddenly he burst into a huge grin. Turns out I wasn’t the only joker in the class.
I’ve had a great time learning with Amac and they’ve helped me transition from one career path to something totally different. I went from being Head Chef at an A ‘la Carte restaurant, to a full time Personal Trainer. There are plenty of different paths to take within the fitness industry but it’s important that you set your own goals. For me, my passion for food and cooking is going to be channelled into exploring the nutritional aspect of the health and fitness industry. I believe there is too much misinformation around about food and I want to help address that. Using my experience as a chef, alongside the nutrition units I have studied as part of my PT training, I believe I am in a good position to do this. Childhood obesity is a problem on everyone’s agenda at the moment and I’m currently looking into ideas to help young children aged between 11-16 with diet, nutrition and exercise. I know this will involve hard work but I also know I have the right attitude – My mantra is ‘Fear is what gets you moving…..Pride is what keeps you going.’
Many people assume that after you’ve gained your PT qualification you have reached the end of your learning journey. It’s my personal belief that you should learn something new, no matter how small, every day. There are lots of add-on qualifications you can do, for example I completed Amac’s Ropes course, however, I never underestimate what I can learn from my clients. You need to really listen to clients and be flexible to their needs and wants. When I adapt sessions to suit an individual’s goals, moods or even injuries I build my communication skills and use the opportunities to explore new techniques. I always feel privileged that they have chosen to train with me and I know their success is where I get my own job satisfaction. When happy clients look at me the same way I looked at my own personal trainer I know it’s all been worthwhile; quite the full-circle, eh?