Activate the Dream (#AtD) is a series of inspiring articles and commentaries from and about individuals, groups and communities around globe who are actively pursuing their dreams and ambitions. Their stories challenge and inspire to us break down walls and barriers, remove the roof and fly. Activate the Dream (#AtD) is about making hushed voices that are never heard audible, and shining a spotlight on people like you and me whose stories, actions or convictions challenge others to activate their own dreams. _________________________
Someone caught our eyes among the 6 billion hours of YouTube videos scrutinised monthly by some 1 billion users. Alex PorterFitness Channel piqued our interest as it suggests sports-centric fitness training ideas with a difference. With usual ACU|BIEN curiosity we had to took a closer look and met with Alex in the heart of the Essex countryside, England to learn directly from this FIT young man on a mission. In active pursuit of his business ambitions and personal dreams Alex Porter challenges us all to ‘train differently and be inspired to ditch dull “routines” with a goal to achieve a fitter, efficient and more functional version of you!’
Along with our official photographer, Anesta Broad, Anesta Broad Photographywho beautifully captures Alex demonstrating some training techniques, ACU|BIEN brings you an exclusive interview as he articulately allow us into his personal vision and thoughts, as he shoots for success with the Alex PorterFitness brand. Alex also put me through the paces – kinda, but we though we would spare you the laughter of how ridiculous I looked trying to do push ups against a tree trunk.
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Q: So where are you right now in your business development plans?
A|At the moment I am working in a gym, Studio360 Fitness teaching fitness classes which gives me a platform to interact with people constantly. I am also doing a fast track personal training course – home learning, which means it is up to me to complete the work and not required to attend classes.
BRAINS:Alex is a BSc (Hons) Sports and Exercise Sciences graduate from Kingston University, UK. His thesis is on “The Effect of Dynamic and Static Stretch Warm Up Protocols on Muscle Activation and Power during Repeated Anaerobic Exercise.”
Home learning (self-directed) allows an individual to pursue their professional qualification at a pace and convenience that fits their work-life balance. Alex explained that:
A| …my degree allows me to take the fast track route towards obtaining my Level 3 PT qualification [the level permits professional personal trainers in the UK to obtain the necessary personal fitness training insurance]… In the meantime, I have launched a fitness channel, Alex PorterFitness. It allows me to get my ideas out there and to reach people. I saw from classes that people enjoyed what I do, so I thought let me use the social media platform to get that content to a broader audience. Already I am seeing results – people in my gym are seeing my videos which they enjoy and/or tried out some of the exercises. For example, after a class I would direct them “hey, check out this” and seeing them again they have given their feedback that it is really good.
That has really motivated me to keep adding content and the goal is to improve my brand, so to speak – so that I am not just a standard trainer, but have a place to interact with anyone. The internet and YouTube has great good potential to connect to a larger audience, and just get myself out there!
Q: It is one thing to just put out there a fitness video that is excellent and motivates, but is there a greater sense of responsibility to make sure that the information provides more in relation to health and nutrition?
A|Absolutely. In the long term I want to be able to provide general advice on health and nutrition; even personal information viewers can relate to… so that they see I am more than just a Mr Fitness, they see I am just a normal person like them. I have my goal for Alex PorterFitness Channel, but for the time being I am throwing content at the site.
Q: What is the ultimate ambition or dream Alex?
A|The ultimate ambition if the develop my platform and to personally be able to have the opportunity to work with elite athletes, be it through sports clubs etc., or ideally to grow the platform and business that would lead to opening Alex PorterFitness Gym or Centre.
Q: So, why Personal Training? After doing your sport science degree, there are other career paths you could have chosen?
A| During my sport science degree I had visions that I would be a PE [Physical Education] teacher. That dream fell through and I was at a cross-roads thinking ‘what I am going to do?’I basically searched within and I thought ‘what are my interests? If I were to do something for the rest of my life, what would I do that would keep me interested?’I have done sports my entire life, since I was a kid, so I knew I definitely wanted to work in sports. So I thought, why not fitness? I enjoy keeping fit. I enjoy helping others and it took off from there.
And from working in fitness I found that I really enjoyed the interaction with people. During my uni years I didn’t imagine I would enjoy working in fitness, but from the experience I now realise I really enjoy the personal interaction and helping others and ‘when you give you’, you make someone feel good, that makes me feel good and then it doesn’t feel like work… I start sometimes at 6.00am, but it’s not like I wake up thinking “ahhh I have work!” And to me that is a good thing, and to me in life, you have to do something you love and this is what I love.
Q: You said that played sports all of your life, tell us about that?
A|My sporting background is mainly football [not American Football], athletics and basketball. From those sports I have done a lot of training bases on those sports. Obviously,athletics have a lot of strength, speed and power training. Basketball has a lot of agility training and football has a lot of team work based stuff… so I have pulled from all these disciplines into my own practice and so deliver in my classes which are a lot more interesting and stimulating.
BRAWN: When asked about his greatest sporting achievement in his youth Alex bursts in to laugher and recounts reaching the football (soccer) London Cup final in Year 7 [middle school] – the biggest competition of its kind… louder laugher when its was suggested that by the sounds of things his team never won that final! Alex chuckles that “it will be an experience I will carry for the rest of my life.” Alex also mentioned his athletics prowess winning a long jump league championship at about 13 or 14.
Q: You come from a sporting family right?
A|Yeah, yeah, yeah! My old man, I mirrored him as a kid… he did everything! Karate, athletics, he did football, so I have definitely taken after him. And even my older brother was very keen basketball player and I fed off his sporting interests.
— Alex refers to his brotherKeith Simpson Porter, also a former athlete. Keith is a British model, and emerging actor. ACU|BIEN also features an interview and photo session with Keith. Stay involved to read this feature. When quizzed about competition, being competitive and being part of a competitive family, Alex hesitates as he considers his answer…
A|Yeah, yeah, yeah. It is all about being the best you can be. Even in the industry I am in, there are so many personal trainers, and I want to be the best. But and the quality of my work is the best I can be. I asked myself, how can I separate myself from the rest, and that is what I am developing through my YouTube Channel, Alex PorterFitness.
— In the cluttered arena of Personal Training where there is an ease of access towards being qualified and where quality vastly varies – the good are good and the bad are a rip off to the fee payer, Alex clearly sees the social media platform as the means to differentiate himself. But is popularly, hits and subscribers a true measure of a quality personal training platform? Alex, has a simple and clear view on this:
A| The main thing is that you have to be a people person. You have to be able to communicate and relate to people. I think people just see through BS. They know when you are putting on an act. But when you genuinely care about people, and genuinely know what you are talking about people will see that.
And for me, where I am at now – in my classes I put my own stamp on it. Some PTs try to be someone else, but if you stick to what you know, when you do what you want to do, it flows much better, and you are able to express yourself more clearly. When you get caught up in trying to be another person or someone else, I think this is when people see through you and it is harder to live up that person you are trying to be.
The challenges for Alex are many, but he has the drive to keep going. For him, if he is enjoying his work and having fun it is not that hard to get that motivation to keep moving upwards. He has considered failure, but in his words “you don’t know until you try. If I try my absolute best and failed, I will have to put my hands up and say you what… but until you try your best…”
Q: So it there a Plan B?
A| [Alex explodes in laughter] A Plan B? And through his bemusement he tell us that he may “go back to teaching!” hahahha.. Basically, I just wanna attack this thing, give it my all and see what happens. Right now, to be honest, I am seeing that this is what I wanna do, and even through people I am meeting who are likeminded is driving me to grasp this opportunities.
BLAM BLAM: Alex is indeed a very likelable and talented youg man who is blessed with Brain and Brawn. As for the Blam Blam, you make up your mind!
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