Meet Andre Williams. When he's not training as sprinter under the great Linford Christie, he's a VPT for us at Gymbox, and also teaches Gains, Spin, and Ripped and Stripped. "One of my greatest achievements training a client was re-training a lady to be able run 5 years after she'd had a stroke. Watching her run was a feeling like no other". We meet him.
What has been the highlight of your week so far?
My first session back in starting blocks for 2 years. It's such a adrenaline rush, the amount of force created in the initial push is unbelievable.
You're VPT and also teach spin, Gains and Ripped & Stripped – are they all equally rewarding or do you have a preference?
Teaching spin is a lot of fun, and the music certainly drives the workout. Ripped & Stripped is one of my favourite classes to teach. I love to create a workout that has such a good flow to the class. I use my charisma to create a vibe and atmosphere as part of a detailed workout. Gains is a class that allows me to interact and correct every individual in the class. Personal Training however, gives me the biggest buzz. I genuinely love changing people's lives. One of my greatest achievements training a client was retraining a lady to run 5 years after she'd had a stroke. Watching her run was a feeling like no other.
You're a sprinter, currently being trained under Linford Christie, tell us about that.
As a child growing up I remember watching the 1992 Barcelona Olympics screening at the TV for Linford to win. He was one of my childhood heroes. in 2006 I joined Ron Rodden (Linford Christie's coach) and my journey started there.The first time I met Linford I was 21, he came down to the track where we train at Linford Christie Stadium in White City. Not only did I get to meet him, I got to train with him as he took part in the session. Working with Linford is unbelievable. He is so down to earth and a practical joker.
How has being a professional athlete impacted in your abilities as a VPT and instructor?
Being an athlete is for more than just for the short term. It is a discipline for as many years as you are connected with the sport. This is something I install into all of my clients. Training is not just for your holiday, summer or a wedding – it's for life. The biggest impact I can say it has had on me, is that I've learned to be extremely patient with people when they get exercises wrong.
How much planning do you put into your training and instructing?
There's a saying we have on the track and it goes "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". Planning is vital for success. Planning for classes involves more than writing a plan. You have to do it first yourself to know what it feels like before you give it to a class. I have a catalogue of classes that I have planned. From time to time it's nice to pull out an old favourite routine.
Why is having such a professional outlook so important working in the fitness industry?
Being a fitness trainer is my career, It's my business, my income. I want to be taken as serious as solicitor, an accountant, doctor etc. When you think of these professions you instantly think of professionalism. I am in the Industry because I genuinely care about the health of people. I don't think there's anything more important than the health of others.
You have a lot of the same members come to your classes, every week without fail, what's your magnetic power?
3 things. 1) I try to interact with as many people as possible. 2) I create a workout for all levels so no one feels out of place in the class. 3) Periodisation! I want people that come to my class to be able to track their progression. When I teach a class like Ripped & Stripped I repeat the same class for 3 weeks in a row. Week 1 is learn the new set. Week 2 is know your weights for the exercises as you know exactly what is coming. Week 3 is Increase your weights.
Do you have an inspirational motto?
Saying something 1000 times is not as good as living it once.
What are you current goals?
After 2 years out of Athletics, now being back in the sport my aim for next season is to make the Olympic trials in 100m.
More about Andre right here.