"At the age of 16 I joined the Army and finished training to join the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment. I was deployed on two tours of Afghanistan - 2009 & 2012. After being hit by a Taliban grenade launcher in 2012 while on patrol in Helmand Province Afghanistan, I was left permanently using a walking stick due to metal from the grenade in my hip.
"This, together with the mild traumatic brain injury and PTSD, meant the gym became a safe haven and a place to release tension lifting weights and training. After joining Bannatyne Bury St Edmunds I was lucky enough to successfully apply for the Invictus games, competing in powerlifting. My trainer at Bannatyne Luke Tomsett progressed me onto a strength programme he designed around my lifestyle and abilities/disabilities. Then with training camps with the Help for Heroes powerlifting team and British Women’s champion powerlifter Charlie Shotton-Gale of Swindon Barbell Club.
"With more training and technical help this allowed me to compete in the British weightlifting spring open winning a silver medal for my first ever competition. Now training further at Bannatyne Bury St Edmunds for the Invictus team trials in April and hopefully to compete in Sydney against the rest of the world representing Team GB."
In May 2017 he decided to start personal training.
John and his Trainer Daine worked together on building a weekly programme alongside two one-hour sessions a week to fit around what were the barriers to achieving his goal. In just 12 months John lost more than eight stone in weight and completed the Hever Castle Triathlon. (22.5 stone to 14.5 stone)
John said: “Daine changed my outlook on fitness and gave me the discipline to persevere with making the necessary changes to my lifestyle. In addition to making the sessions fun, Daine offered support and counsel outside the gym. He didn't let me give up and would push me in every session, he challenged me to do training I never would have done on my own. The relationship was key - Daine is really personable and focused on developing the trust in attitude and ability.
Daine said: “John has worked incredibly hard over the past year and I am extremely proud of what he has achieved. I knew after my first week with John he was going to do well as he demonstrated the key ingredients to getting any result in life, and that is to work hard and stay consistent! John’s results speak for themselves and he has been an inspiration to the Hastings club and has influenced many others along the way. John’s journey doesn't end here, as he is currently training to complete the following in 2018: Ironman 70.3 in Weymouth. (2km swim 90km bike half marathon) and 7 x Triathlons.”
Two years ago I gave up alcohol & chocolate and started to run – I love the thrill of an event and love the medals and t-shirts.
At the same time my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s and coeliac disease after becoming very ill, very quickly. I needed the training as a focus to get me through what was a very tough time. Not long after, my eldest daughter was also diagnosed with coeliac disease.
I started fundraising for Crohn’s & coeliac UK. I signed up and ran 3 half marathons in 2017 with lots of other 10K & 5K events. I even signed up as part of a team of 4 that ran 4k loops for 4 hours.
I have switched charities this year and have signed up in 2018 for the Newport and Swansea half, a night time 10k , Cardiff Bay 10k, ladies race series 10k and Cardiff’s run the streets 5K to raise money for Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff.
I have received a lot of help and encouragement from my colleagues and members at Bannatyne Health Club - Newport which was a huge boost. The club in-body scales were a big help, actually having the results on a graph, seeing that maybe a week when I hadn’t lost weight but being able to see that I had gained muscle and lost body fat kept me feeling positive. I started using my myzone belt and now I won’t train without it – seeing the MEPS adding up during the month, pushes me to do more, I have gone from Iron to GOLD status and only have another 11 months before I will be PLATINUM.
I have lost 4 stone and feel so much better, not so tired and way more energised – I feel able to cope with things better and have a positive outlook – anyone can do it when you set your mind to it!