I have worked with some of the best fitness trainers, coaches and conditioners from across the globe. With over 10 years’ experience learning from leaders within the health and fitness industry.
My family have always loved Rugby. When I was aged 6, my Dad thought it would be a great idea for me to become more involved with the game and I should start playing. More for him than me I think!! After weeks of cajoling and encouragement, I joined my local club in St.Helens – Thatto Heath Crusaders. I thoroughly enjoyed playing Rugby, meeting new people, being part of a team and doing something every weekend which I loved, it was fantastic.
Eventually,after much dedicated focus and hard work, when I was 15, I was spotted by a talent coach and selected to play for St Helens. My commitment and perseverance came to fruition; Irepresented St Helens, I started to playagainst other distinguished teamsincluding Wigan, Salford and Warrington. It was really exciting but also tough and to begin with, much harder than I had expected!
I proved to the coaches that I was able to step up to the mark and with great delight when I was 16years old I signed with St Helens RugbyLeague Club. This was my sole ambition in life; it had been something which I had given total devotion. I had to sacrifice my social life and some of the fun things normal guys of my age do but when I got recognised for my ability, I was ecstatic. All the training, hard work and commitment had paid off.
I started playing academy Rugby for the Saints; I had to do plenty of hill running and wrestling as part of my training, it was physically demanding. During this time, I was still at SixthForm Collegefull time together with training with the first teamin my spare time, alongside the likes of Paul Sculthorpe, Shaun Long and Kieran Cunningham,all renowned and very experienced players; this really helped tofast track my skills.
The team toured Australia in 2010, which was a fantastic experience and we returned unbeaten.
As time went on the training paid off and I improved as a player. In the last year of under 18’s RugbyI achieved ‘Player of the Year’ and ’Man of the Match’ in the Academy Grand Final against arch rivals Wigan at the famous Old Saints Ground Knowsley Road – we won! This was a really big achievement for me and one that I was extremely proud of.
Professional First Team Contract
After striving so hard and with the excellent previous season I had just had,I earned myself a full time contract for St Helens which I was over the moon about. I was only17years old. It was my chance to really test myself against the best.
During this time in my career, I first got involved with the Health and Fitness Industry. The Saints put me in touch with a company which gave me the opportunity to achieve my gym instructor level 2 qualifications. This was very beneficial and worked hand in hand with Rugby. I learnt how to train individuals which was a real change from having been trained by people my whole life. I also felt this gave me tremendous fulfilment knowing that I was helping othersto improve their way of life.
For me, training stepped up, it became a 100% discipline day to day, and I was training with the first team which was so much harder. Being a prop forward I was training, tackling and wrestling bigger and more experienced players than I was at the time. It was really tough but at the end of the day it made me a much better and disciplined athlete. It was challenging at St Helens, they were one of the apex teams at the time in world Rugby and there was so much competition to gain a place on the team. I had 2 years training full time at an elite level alongside some of the best players, coaches, conditioners and nutritionists but playing at reserve level. I had still not achieved my ambition by not playing in a Super League game. My contract ended and I was left feeling – What is my next move? What do I do next?
To help my development, I decided to play in the ChampionshipDivision for Hunslet Hawks in Leeds.
Hunslet was only a part time team so I needed to get another job to supplement my income. I started working for The Marriott Leisure Club in Hale. I really enjoyed it, the staff were terrific, it was a fun and enjoyable place to be and I was able to further my personal training qualifications. I trained individuals and also taught numerous classes including spin and circuit classes. It was tough getting up at 5.30 in the morning, travelling to work from St Helens,and then finishing work to travel over the Pennines to Leeds 3 nights a week for Rugby training. It was physically very tiring but because I enjoyed what I was doing and I was enjoying my Rugbyso muchit felt like it was easy, eventhough when I look back, I wonder now how I did all that?
My first year at Hunslet was a big step up for me playing against more experienced and older players week in week out. It was a physically tough league, once you were tackled you certainly knew about it! At first I was in and out of the team, I kept working on my game and playing well; I slowly become an established player and was playing in matchesevery week. In my final season I won the Player of the Year, Players Player of the Year and Supporters Player of the Year Awards.
Throughout my career in Rugby, running had always complemented my lifestyle and training. It was a great way to relax and aid my fitness. I used to run with a friend, we used to always discuss whether or not we would actually be able to complete a marathon. We decided that it would be the most challenging test of our running ability. One day we would achieve this goal. Towards the end of my second season at Hunslet, the opportunity arose for us to enter the Liverpool Marathon.
I was in a great place with my fitness and conditioning knowledge from Rugby,together with personal training, andwas able to construct a training and recovery programme for my friend andme. After completing the training plan, we both completed the marathon in 2012 and managed to raise £3k for charity in the process. After 26 miles of hell,but when I reflected afterwards, it was an exhilarating experience and anamazing achievement.
At Hunslet I felt like I was improving as a player. I was enjoying my Rugby and my busy, albeit hectic lifestyle, I felt they both worked hand in hand and I become fitter and stronger. In my third year at Hunslet, the team had a really tough season and ended up getting relegated which was a big blow. However, on a personal point of view; I was getting the visibility with other Rugby teams. Leeds Rhinos took an interest in me. I got a phone call frommy coach at Hunslet telling me that Leeds wanted to talk to me. I was still working at the Marriott in Hale, and didn’t really think about the decision that I would need to change my current lifestyle, but after thinking about it, I thought, this is another chance to play Super League and reluctantly had to relinquish my arrangement with The Marriott for the time being. This was Leeds Rhinos! One of the biggest clubs in the world I couldn’t turn it down could I!!
I joined the Leeds Rhinos in November, 2013;it was an excellent training ethos at the Club. My body was pushed to its limits. Then, in my third week of training I was half way through a training session which wasn’t too physically demanding but suddenly,I heard a pop and felt a sharp pain in my Achilles, It felt like someone had kicked the back of my boot, I fell to the ground. The physio and coaching staff ran over, picked me up, took me to the physio room lay me on the bed and squeezed my calf. This was to establish if I had movement in my foot, it should move, but itdidn’t!I was sent for a scan, I had a full rupture to my Achilles tendon. It was awful; I was living in Leeds, away from home with no family around me. I couldn’t move, I was at rock bottom and felt my career had ended.
Luckily, myamazing girlfriend came to the rescue. She moved from Manchester during this time and stayed with me throughout. This made it easier to live life and to do day to day tasks, in my mind though; I was still in a pretty bad place. I was in a surgicalboot for 8 weeks and on crutches.
Through utter determination, I thought ‘this isn’t going to stop me’,so Icontinued trainingin the gym, hobbling about andmaking sure I didn’t lose too much fitness. I pushed myself as much as I was physically able, the only thing I could manage was upper body weights and battle ropes. It wasn’t great but it kept me busy.
Eventually, after 7 months I finally played my first game back from injury, ironically for my old club Hunslet Hawks on dual registration from Leeds Rhinosto helpme get back to full fitness levels.
Having spent so much time not playing through injury, my misconception was that I would be straight back doing what I wanted to do andthat I was a step closer to playing Super League for Leeds Rhinos. I was so wrong! I played about 40 minutes of the match and had to be replaced due
toan arm injury. Something didn’t feel quite right. A few days later I was meant to undertake a wrestling drill at the next training session but I knew my arm wasn’t 100%, Leeds sent me for a scan on my arm. I couldn’t believe it I had ruptured my bicep!!This was to be another long term serious injury and meant I was definitely out for the remainder of the season. My first year at Leeds Rhinos and I didn’t play one game! I still hadn’t played a Super League game!
The following year, I wanted to push myself more and moreto achieve my long outstanding goal, Ialso felt through my Rugby training and Personal Fitness knowledge, that I nowknew a lot more about mybody. I worked on my mobility and stretching, I felt a lot more athletic and ready to play, even though it was hard having just recovered from a ruptured Achilles and Bicep.
Finally, I did it! I played my first Super League game against Widnes Vikings and even though it was only for a few minutes, I finally achieved my ambition. All the hard work, commitment and rehabilitation from both major injuries had paid off. I waselated and relieved,although Ithinkmy parents who had been atevery game I have ever playedwere more enthralled and happy than me.
That year I played 11 games for Leeds Rhinos in theirGrand Final and Challenge Cup winning season.However, I left before the end of the season and I signed for another Yorkshire Super League Club, Wakefield Wildcats.
It was a good place to be, all the players made me feel welcome. Even though they were struggling in Super League, thetogetherness and the morale between the players was really motivational.
I finished the rest of the season at Wakefield and played in a really crucial game called ‘The Million Pound Game’ against Bradford Bulls (this game determines which team goes out of the Super League). We won it, which, for me was a fabulous feeling and a massive achievement helping to save Wakefield from relegation.
Last season – 2015/16at Wakefield,I was establishing myself as a regular player althoughI was competing with 8 other players for my position in the team each week.I really improved and probably played my best Rugby and was lucky enough to play in theChallenge Cup semi final. In all, I played 14 times for the Wildcats.
I have decided to change direction toachieve my other aspiration. During my Rugby career it has always been my underlying passion and ambition to use the skills and expertise I have been learned and give something back.
With my knowledge gained over the past 16 years, I now dedicate my timefully, advising and helping others;helping you to reach your goalsin fitness and nutrition – from complete beginners to budding athletes.Male and female, young and more mature, I can adapt your training accordingly
I am available at the Marriott Leisure Club in Hale Barns and I can also arrange home personal training if you wish.Contact me below to discuss your goals and toarrange an appointment.
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