WORKING IT OUT! A CHAT WITH PERSONAL TRAINER MARC DEBRETT
In this week’s interview I go a few rounds with Fitness Professional, Marc Debrett, discussing his tips for keeping fit, healthy and motivated when it all just seems a bit too hectic to drive yourself to succeed. How does he inspire his clients to push forward and thrive? Let’s take a minute and find out ….
Marc is a certified Personal Trainer and the founder of MD Health Management, operating throughout London and Windsor, Berkshire. His client portfolio includes individuals within the Executive, Entertainment and Military sectors. He offers clients a fully rounded and professionally tailored service of fitness training combined with nutritional guidance and lifestyle advisory. With this in mind, I thought it would be good to quiz Marc on how he got started and find out if he has some quick and simple tips that we can all take away with us today, to implement within our daily working lives. So let’s start at the beginning and find out a little more ….
Q: Marc could you begin by telling us about your initial education and training - what drew you into becoming a Personal Trainer?
My first degree was in Psychology. It was during this time that I simultaneously studied for my Personal Training Diploma, through Premier Training International. I wanted to establish a business whilst at university. MD Health Management, whilst metamorphosing through various guises, was essentially formed in 2005. Health and Fitness has been a passion of mine since my late teens. Having spent my earlier years as an overweight, inactive and asthmatic adolescent, I decided to take action. I took up martial arts and started resistance training. Results didn’t come easily; they were the outcome of focus, dedication and working very hard to achieve my goals. Now, my primary objective in offering the services of MD Health Management is to mentor clients to confront and overcome obstacles similar to those that were in my own path, to achieve a better state of health and wellbeing.
Q: Could you describe in more detail what your daily routine involves as a trainer? How many people are you likely to train in one day?
It depends on the project that I’m working on. MD Health Management has three sectors: Private, Corporate and Screen Fit. I have private clients that typically train between one and five times per week; the business has provision to provide theoretical and practical support in four primary areas: Exercise, Nutrition, Osteopathy and Psychology.
I offer corporate clients two services: Consultancy and Event Specific. I often conduct in-office consultations designed to delineate benefits of exercise, nutrition and lifestyle management in terms of increasing performance and productivity. I’m also tasked as a Personal Trainer to help prepare teams of individuals for corporate camaraderie-building events; my current assignment is to prepare a team of City Executives for the next Tough Mudder event - taking them into battle myself, completing 12 miles of Special Forces designed obstacles, navigating fire, ice water and electricity!
Screen Fit was aptly named to combine my passion for film and television with health and fitness. Again, two services are offered: Stunt Artists and Actors/Models. The former focuses on physical dexterity required for stunt work, the latter is tailored to be aesthetic-centric, as actors and models need to look the part to be convincing in their performance. In summary, there is no typical daily routine, which I love. It makes things interesting and challenging.
Q: You obviously need to maintain your own fitness in order to help others. How often do you train each week and what kind of training do you do?
Ideally, I’ll train five days per week. I enjoy physically sedentary weekends, ensuring my body gets the rest required to rebuild and grow stronger. I’ve always followed the philosophy: train to live, don’t live to train. I believe the goal should be to enjoy exercise, but the focus of it being to enhance every other aspect of your life.
During the working week I practice what I preach, using martial arts, body weight exercises and resistance band training to maintain total body conditioning. I also like to go running. If it’s a long run it’s more to clear my head; when it comes to fitness I prefer shorter distances and interval training.
I do a certain amount of strength training with free weights and cables in the gym. I personally believe it’s important that I’m typically much fitter and stronger than my clients, especially as I often use my personal biomechanics and physicality to provide the resistance clients need in their own workouts. I say typically as sometimes I do train some incredibly fit people, be they athletes or military types. In this case it’s about pushing their limits, not mine, especially when I might have a packed schedule of additional clients later that day!
Q: Why is good health and fitness so important, especially for those with busy but perhaps slightly sedentary lifestyles, working in stressful environments?
I would need to write a book to justify that question! In 2014 we’re living in an age where the intangible pressures and challenges we face, throughout our professional and personal lives, are at a level unimagined by generations past; the 24-hour nature of international commerce has led to the desegregation of work and play, with technology-driven integration becoming dominant.
Despite the eclectic diversity of my clientele, my principle demographic has always been the C-level and Marzipan level of the corporate elite. These are not individuals looking to become Olympians or the next Mr Universe, but professional executives wanting to maximise their potential.
Health and Fitness can be measured on so many levels, and I believe the term Health Management is most apt. It’s about developing their most critical performance-related assets: energy, attention, alertness, concentration and ongoing stress management strategies. The obvious benefits of good nutrition and exercise aside, my consultative work also addresses adrenal response control strategies to augment successful stress management.
SCALING THE PEAKS:
Q: What is the best thing about what you do – what do you enjoy the most and get the most benefit from?
Positive testimonials from clients. Not as marketing tools for my business, but as constant reminders that I’m actually making a positive impact upon people’s lives. It’s always rewarding to see improvement in a client’s exercise performance, however for me the true merit is the difference made to the 23 hours they are not training. If my clients are living better, sleeping better, functioning better in daily life, then I’m happy. It is also a very personal business; whilst I always maintain professional parameters with clients, most of them become highly valued friends. I truly am privileged to work alongside some exceptional people.
HITTING THE ROCKS:
Q: I imagine yours can be a very demanding and exhausting lifestyle. Have there been any particular low points in your career and what is the hardest thing about what you do?
Absolute isolation. It’s my maker and my breaker at the same time. I operate MD Health Management as a one-man venture. I offer services provided by an extended practitioner network, such as Osteopathy by the highly talented Peter Bartlett, a healer that I have the utmost respect for. However, I’m effectively responsible for administration of the entire business. I enjoy it, and the personal rewards of entrepreneurship are outstanding, but at the same time it can be a lonely pursuit and a bit of a roller-coaster at times.
Q: Can you give us any secret tips and tricks for staying motivated and driven to exercise and keep moving?
Accept that you only have the now. The past is behind us and the future may or may never come. If today were your last day, how would you wish to describe yourself or to be described by others? How do you look? How do you feel? What are you doing with your life? In my experience, unless I’m moving towards these goals on a daily basis, they simply don’t materialise. Start now, keep moving.
Q: If you had to highlight your top nutritional tips for a hectic lifestyle what would they be?
Most importantly, eat natural, unprocessed food, free from artificial ingredients and preservatives. Eat little and often throughout the day to maintain consistent energy and calorie utilisation. Avoid high sugar foods including high G.I. fruits, except immediately pre and post exercise. Consume a balanced diet of good quality carbohydrates in moderation, protein and unsaturated fats; saturated fats are also important, but again in moderation. Eat lots of green non-starchy vegetables and ensure you are always well hydrated.
Q: As part of each interview in this series I would like to delve a little further into the individual and their personal relationship with their chosen career. Could you give me the lowdown on one relevant item/thing that has helped to inspire you on your journey? This could be a book, film, song – absolutely anything that you feel has inspired you along the way and relates to where you are now.
A combination of two thought processes: absolute phobia of normalcy and of failure. I want to do something different and unique... And I want to be really good at it. That’s what drives entrepreneurial success in any industry.
DIRECTION AND ADVICE:
Q: For those looking to train as a Fitness Professional as you have, what advice can you offer?
Make sure that you are educated before you attempt to educate others. Find a good school. If you wish to qualify as a personal trainer, whilst there are many organisations with whom you can study, Premier Training International is globally recognised as a highly respectable institution; the syllabus is a great introduction to the industry and the tutors, in my experience, are of a very high caliber. Also, begin with the end in mind. What is your desired outcome? Do you wish to set up as a freelance professional? Run your own company? Work for someone else? If so, whom? Whatever path you decide upon, realise that when you graduate with your fitness qualification, it’s the same as obtaining your driving license; you are legally able to drive, yet you are at the very beginning of your journey. I’ve been client facing for nine years now and am still constantly learning, developing and adapting.
Q: Do you have any words of encouragement that you can offer to those of us looking to make a lifestyle change and get fit and healthy once and for all?!
It feels fantastic to achieve an important goal, to break a negative habit, or to assimilate a new positive one. If it were an easy process, then everyone would be doing it. For most of us, to achieve something remarkable, we have to work hard for it. Health and Fitness is not something to be obtained and then neglected - it needs to be nurtured. It’s a principle that needs to become actively integrated within your daily life, so as to offer you the returns you desire.
It’s your responsibility to attain your goals and as with anything in life, there is no point in working hard if you’re not working smart; you need to be employing the correct techniques and practices - too many people follow fad diets or exercise incorrectly. My advice is to prepare and to ensure you are effective, whether this means using the services of a personal trainer, or simply doing your own research; decide what it is that you are looking to achieve, then make sure you are making informed decisions.
THE FINAL SWEEP:
A big thank you to Marc for such a considered interview and insightful approach to his responsibilities as a Personal Trainer.
Marc demonstrates that setting goals in whatever area we wish to grow and improve is so important especially in today’s society. Designating specific objectives, pursuing and ultimately attaining them can help to give us a better sense of clarity in the day-to-day. So take a minute, think about what you want to achieve and then positively try to put everything that you can into accomplishing what your heart desires!
To connect with Marc and learn more about the services he has on offer, you can contact him via Twitter @MarcDebrett or via his LinkedIn profile. Look out for the brand new MD Health Management website that will be launching very soon.