Iain’s Story

Learn how I helped Iain with personal training

The biggest difference in my life since working with Andy has been around self-confidence…

Why did you sign up for Andy’s Academy?

I was aware of Andy’s enterprise and his ethos for a while before joining the Academy.

I am a close friend of his sister Lauren who is also an also an active contributer to it.

In addition, another close friend of mine had been using his services and was clearly an advocate for his strongly individualised approach to personal training and was benefiting greatly from it.

I was in a bit of a rut with attempts to try and improve my fitness and lose weight.

I was obviously very conscious that I was overweight and felt rather hypocritical when advising others to get fitter and lose weight.

I am a GP and have been increasingly aware that weight management, diet and exercise should be the main thrust of therapeutic and preventative advice I give to my patients and yet I was not heeding my own recommendations.

I had particularly poor opinions on my own body composition which in turn was impacting on my self confidence.

I simply didn’t know where to start.

This is where Andy’s Academy came into its own.

What other exercise programmes & diets had you tried before and what success did you have?

Like a lot of people I have spoken to both personally and professionally I had tried sticking to various diets in the past.

I had gone fat-free and carb-free, without properly understanding what either meant.

There were times when I tried eating nothing but a certain type of food or restricting myself from ever eating others for the fear of binging.

These attempts invariably failed; as soon as I tried eliminating foods from my diet, I craved them and as soon as I “gave in” I felt very guilty and saw no reason to persevere.

I had tried running, which I found to be boring and sore on the muscles. In fact, I still have a treadmill in the garage which currenly is being used as a rather expensive shelving unit!

I bought gym memberships over the years which largely went unused after the first couple of introductory sessions with fitness instructors.

Nothing seemed to stick with me. I was either bored or saw it as torturous.

What issues were holding you back before you signed up?

I guess like any other examples of potential behavioual change it comes down to being ready.

Having the knowledge that I wanted to change things allowed me to reflect on past attempts and what went wrong with them.

There was always the reality and the excuse that work was and continues to be busy and a major focus of my time and energy.

There was also the worry that I didn’t know where to start with a fitness program or how to progress with it or how to prevent myself from being so sore the following day.

And then there was my confidence issue.

The idea of walking into a crowded gym or latterly even running down the street was met with thoughts about what people would think of me, red-faced, sweaty, fat, slow, weak and what was I doing thinking I should be there.

It ws a really powerful and inhibitory cognition which of course was simply completing the full circle of inactivity and not changing as there was no point trying.

What were the main lessons you learned working with Andy?

My better nutrition started with an honest and accountable appreciation of what I was eating, what I wasn’t eating to fuel my body and what I was drinking.

The meal diary that forms one of the key focuses of the Academy is something which I continue to use regularly.

The one-to-one sessions with Andy were so very informative both in regards to nutrition & fat loss and to training as it needs both to succeed.

These were further expanded on in the video tutorials posted on the Academy’s website.

At no point was anything banned or off limits but there does need to be a strong nutritional foundation underpinning the changes I have made.

If I make the decision to have my favourite sweet treat etc then it is done within the proper context; working for it and making it count.

Am I never going to celebrate a special occasion or a long overdue reunion with friends in a properly nice restaurant for the fear that it is going to disrupt my restrictive “chicken and broccoli diet”?

Of course not; to do so is socially unhealthy and unsustainable.

Get the key things right and it allows you flexibility.

One of these key things that I changed over the past year and a half is breakfast.

Since my adolescence I never ate breakfast necessitating convenient, usually sugary, snacks as my first meal of the day around 11am. Coffee and four or five biscuits whilst sitting in front of my morning admin work was my usual.

Over time I have introduced breakfasts before leaving the house and not only that but breakfasts which are balanced and nutritious and continues to shock my mum in particular!

Fibrous vegetables and lean protein sources for breakfast took a while to accept but once the understanding was there it has become my favourite meal of the day.

There is such a wide variety that it offers more interest to the otherwise inexplicably acceptable norm of chocolately/ sugary breakfast cereal or jam-laden toast.

This is a long way of saying that the main nutrition lessons I learned working with Andy come down to this: accountability & honesty, get the foundations right most of the time and continue to use food as a source of enjoyment & pleasure and buck the social norms and ask yourself why and when we eat.

After all, when it comes to food choices your body doesn’t know the difference between 7pm on a Saturday evening or 7am on a Monday morning.

Then it comes to the main lessons I learned about my training.

By far the most important for me is technique – get that right and it allows you to target the muscles you want to and prevents injury and pain.

Go slow, be deliberate, resist the temptation to use momentum even if it does allow you to hoist heavier weights before they come crashing down.

And the next important one for me, now that I train more independently, nobody really cares about what you look like or how fat you look or how light your weight settings are.

Everyone in the gym that I now go to are doing their own thing, as I am doing mine.

I have a set routine that I need to get through (as set out by the Academy website) and I just do it.

I can now do this alongside other gym users armed with the skills and tecnhique that I have learned; something I could not imagine doing at the start of this process.

I am not saying that it was easy, it took a while to be comfortable and there remains in my gym the final hurdle of “the scary room” which is full of the really heavy weights and the really loud grunty guys (but I have ventured in when the place has been quiet and given things a go, taking a wee selfie to prove it!)

Summary – go slow and learn technique rather than focus on the weight numbers, we all start somewhere, be mindful when you’re training as most others are in a mindful state of mind too and won’t bother you.

How would you describe the service you’ve received from a value for money stand point?

Value for money is a difficult topic to discuss or write about as at the end of the day we find ourselves in our individual circumstances and with our own goals and priorities.

What I will say is this: working with Andy is more expensive than a standard gym membership or a commercial dieting company subscription but it is so much more.

None of the resources out there, of which I tried several, have provided the same level of individual or personal service.

They don’t work with you having understood what you’ve done before, what your motivations and goals are, what holds you back or obstructs you reaching your goals and helps you come up with ways to overcome these the same way that Andy does.

He takes time to understand your life and what is going on outside of the gym which, when you think about it, is in many ways more important that reaching the next stage in a fitness program or counting points or calories in the foods you eat.

It is this approach and ethos that got the results I was looking for, that I didn’t find anywhere else and in my opinion, was definitely worth the money.

How are you different now after working with Andy?

In terms of hard measurements and statistics I am leaner, I am fitter, I have donated trousers with are 6 inches too big around my waist to charity shops and bought a new wardrobe (another expense to consider before starting working with Andy!).

It felt good when people started to notice and compliment you on how I started to look different.

Working with Andy sparked off an interest in lifestyle and behaviour change which should be a core skill of every doctor or health professional.

This led to me studying for and obtaining my Diploma in Lifestyle Medicine which althoguh was very challenging, better equips me with knowledge and skills to tell patients how to at least start a transition rather than simply telling them they need to lose weight or stop smoking, which they invariably know already.

I don’t think I would have done this without first making the first steps of my own lifestyle change with Andy’s assistance.

However, the biggest difference in my life since working with Andy has been around self-confidence.

Learning that I am in control of my own choices and potential, spurred on by seeing the results that came from this gave me such a confidence boost.

If I was in the mindset that I couldn’t imagine going into a gym or run down the street as I was so self concious imagine how I felt about dating?

I am not sure if Andy believes me when I say this but if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have taken those steps to get out there and without being too fairytale nauseating about it – my partner and I have now moved in with each other and are getting married later in the year.

Yep, things are pretty different.

What words would you use to describe your experience working with Andy?


What would you say to someone who is on the fence about signing up to work with Andy?

Look, you have to be ready to make this step.

It is a commitment both financially but more importanty personally.

Certainly, get more information, read my experience and that of others who have worked with him and the Academy.

Talk to Andy and see what is on offer.

The Academy has become a great community of like minded people sharing their ideas and inspirations.

If you’re up for it then I truly couldn’t recommend Andy higher.