Believe it or not this is me not even 7 years ago.......I obviously hadn't done very many bicep curls back then(as you can see by the size of the other guy they may have helped). One thing I still find crazy but now realise that is irrefutably true is you guys have an interest in each of our coaches backgrounds and that there is maybe some lessons along the way, despite our age. With this in mind over the next few weeks we are going to do a series on each of the coaches before a final round up on the journey of Elevate98. My fitness background started out the same as many. A passion for football from a young age was evident in me despite not being very good! I played all throughout my primary school years. I was okay at this point but certainly not a standout and while I loved both playing and watching football I wasn't yet obsessed. Just before I went into secondary school Is when I started to act more like the person I am today... Whether this is a good thing or not I still amen't sure but early on I'd made up my mind that I was distinctly average at Football(the fact I was only good enough for the B team at this point suggests it may be true) so my solution to this is what is now my core value Number 1: -Always be the hardest worker in the room. Even from a young age, circa 12 years old, I realised that there was so much I couldn't control. Injuries, coaches opinions, ability, height etc were all outwith my control. The one thing I had total control over was how hard I worked and the effort I put in. This must have had some sort of affect as while I was at Hutchie Vale my local club at this point I got offers to train at various clubs including Manchester United, Rangers, Celtic, Liverpool, Sunderland, Ipswich, Everton and more. Despite all this I followed core value number 2(which resurfaces many times throughout this story): -Make the decision you want to make rather than the one you feel you should. It's a face of life that everyone will have an opinion on what you do. Many people thought I was insane for turning down the chance to join some of the biggest clubs in the world for little old Hearts(who I ended up signing for). *I should say I didn't have concrete offers from all these clubs, I wouldn't want you to think I was just telling a good story now! So on I went to Hearts, my boyhood club that me and my dad had travelled all around the country to watch since I was a young boy. While it's true I was a boyhood fan my decision to join Hearts was a little more pragmatic. Quite simply out the various teams it offered the clearest route to being a first team player, cue core value 3: -Make the goal, the goal. This one sounds simple but can be quite impactful, particularly when we think about it in a health and fitness setting. How many people have said to you(or indeed how often you've said to yourself) you want to lose weight only to say 5 minutes later I want to enjoy life? Give it another 48 hours and muscle building is the goal? Okay, a little extreme. However the point stands. Have a Star point and go in that direction minimising distractions from elsewhere. I then went on to have 3 years as a Professional Footballer ticking of various milestones including: Becoming Hearts 4th youngest ever player, youngest 20s player, Scotland captain at various age groups, making numerous first team appearances for Hearts and Berwick Rangers, winning the victory shield with Scotland for the first time in 15 years, player of the year awards, joined Hamilton and maybe some more. Despite all this I was 19 and on the decline. Released by two clubs in two years I really wasn't sure what my next move was, which is when core value 4 came in....... -Done is better than perfect/Action beats anxiety. Okay so technically that's two but they mean the same thing. Truth be told when I realised my days as a player were numbered I was really unsure of what I wanted to do. It wasn't as if Personal Training was some kind of calling it was just a first step so that I wasn't paralysed by the enormity of the situation. I can say with almost categoric certainty that the first step on anything is the hardest. Once you do that it gets much easier. This is where my story begins to merge into the story of how Elevate98 came to be so for now Im done boring you.........although there is more to come!