Some people spend their whole lives being active, sporty and training for goals while others stumble upon their love of all things fitness and health by way of an alternative route. We asked our ambassadors about how they got started and why:
Olivia Cooney – Founding Director of Pop-Up Fitness Retreats
My journey into the health and fitness industry came from being in the opposite industry – PR and events in Central London. Having played tennis at an international level prior to helping coordinate some of the most glamorous events in my job, I knew what tip top health felt like and the late nights and events were not giving me the same satisfaction and self-confidence I once knew. I decided to take a career jump and ever since, I have trained everyone I used to party and clink champagne with into mixing green juices and hiking with them along Ibiza coastlines at my retreats.
Dr. Nick Ambatzis – GP
At school I was chubby but always fit, having played water-polo and ran cross-country. I continued both at uni, but it was when I started working that I really stepped it up a notch and started looking after my diet also. I wanted to educate the public on health and fitness and so left hospital medicine, attained a MSc in Sports & Exercise Medicine and attacked the front lines as a GP.
Pete Pallai – Founder of MyPilates, London
I played rugby in London’s 1st Division for many years and went on to race bobsleigh in two Olympic Games. I used to paraglide and snowboard for years and loved outdoor activities. Once retired from competition I ‘stumbled’ upon reformer Pilates and have never looked back, except to wish I had discovered it sooner!
Bronwen Foster-Butler – Brand and Digital Manager at lululemon
I’ve been active my entire life, but have worked for lululemon for 2.5 years now which has brought my love of wellness into my worklife.
Jamie Ray Hartshorne – HIIT trainer at Another Space
I’ve always been into fitness from a very young age as I was fascinated with bodybuilding, from the age of 16. Starting a career as a professional dancer meant health and fitness was a major part of the lifestyle of my lifestyle.
Korin Nolan – Founder of Baby Body Bootcamp
Apart from growing up, owning a vast array of fitness DVD’s from Cindy Crawford to Marky Mark (yes, really) I trained as a dancer, which is where I discovered Pilates and it was a natural progression.
Casey Anderson – founder of Crossfit Las Olas
I’ve always been an “athletic” person but was never particularly good at anything aside from riding horses, which isn’t exactly a super accessible sport. As I outgrew that, my competitive spirit and love for the ocean funnelled me towards competitive surfing which again, haha I was terrible at. Ultimately my love for activity and challenge morphed into CrossFit when Lee (Neat Founder) guilted me into signing up for a trial.
Bart Van Maanen – Model & Co-Founder of Pop-Up Fitness Retreats
Keeping fit and healthy has always been in my routine, I was taught since an early age to be outside and active as often as possible but now more than ever keeping in shape is really part of my job. I need to be healthy firstly to keep up with the fast pace of this style of work; city to city in the matter of hours, pacing the sidewalks from jobs to meetings to fittings. The endless travelling could easily be enough to break down the immune system of an ox, considering the hours on a plane, the jet lag and then to do a full day shooting; its easy to wear down. I make sure I keep dosed up on my vitamins and healthy eating plans, I have watched my diet intake since I realise we can prevent health issues rather than just tackle them once they have arrived. Fitness – I have always enjoyed working out, it clears my head and something that’s possible in every country I go to, I love to run around New York, bike around Amsterdam, surf in South Africa or workout in the hotel rooms in the other cities. Adaptable fitness is key for me, I can’t rely on there being a gym since I may be in a jungle or in the middle of the Namibian desert. I keep it simple and high intensity but I make sure I do it, to look the part and most importantly, feel the part!
Louis Rennocks – Founder of BoxxMethod
I wanted to change how I looked and after achieving so much myself, I wanted to help others get to their goals.
Tom Kemp – Founder of Farm Fitness
I've always been into sport from a young age, playing for Cambridge and East of England hockey from the age of 12 until I was 19 around, then continued playing for my local team until recently. Training to keep up my fitness levels to that standard turned into a hobby and after completing my A-levels I decided I wanted to make health and fitness more than my lifestyle and actually my career.
Nicole Harrison - Model
For my job, its really important to be in shape and have a balanced diet - for a while I struggled with different ways of going about this. When I met my boyfriend who played sport on a professional level back home in Australia, he started teaching me a lot about fitness. From this point I started to really grow a passion for it. I have always been into sport but what took me a while to realize was that playing sport and training to stay in a particular shape are two very different things. I started researching different aspects and learning what works best for my body and what doesn’t.
Guy Sherwin – Management Consultant
In my early twenties I was pretty unfit and took up swimming just as a way of getting into shape; although, I quickly became competitive and before long I was training in GB performance centres, first at the University of Bath and then at Stockport. It was in this performance environment that I was introduced to some serious strength and conditioning programs where I developed a deep understanding and fascination of athletic training. I don’t swim so much anymore, but I maintain the interest and the level of intensity in my training programs, and am constantly looking for new ideas / skills to adopt and master.