Terry Walker, senior fitness coach at London City Island’s newly opened health club, almost became a professional footballer before finding his feet in the fitness business.
What got you into fitness coaching?
It all started as a boy. I had a childhood obsession with all things sport, especially football. I was signed by Watford FC as a teenager and went on to play for Basildon and Redbridge as a central midfielder until a knee injury put paid to that.
I also had ambitions to be a freelance writer, studying part time for a University of Greenwich degree. But circumstances changed and that’s when I decided to really put my head into the fitness business.
How long have you been working for Ballymore?
I joined Ballymore as a fitness coach nine years ago after qualifying at Premier Training International. I started at the health club on Pan Peninsula, one of Ballymore’s first flagship docklands developments on South Quay. It’s still one of the biggest residential gym clubs of its kind.
Then I had a senior role as team leader in charge of four full time and three part time staff at New Providence Wharf, an exclusive private gym catering for its 3,000 residents.
Since last November I have been overseeing the launch of London City Island’s new purpose-built health club that opened two weeks ago.
But I have also been working on the transitional launch of the new ‘power gym’ Athletics Club on New Providence Wharf, which launches in May. It will have six full time trainers working across several buildings – Michigan, Charrington Tower and Ontario – with a brand-new collection of all the latest and greatest in techno-gym equipment, including the ‘skill mill’, a treadmill which uses a person’s own momentum. It’s a more fundamental approach to training.
What’s the secret of being a good personal trainer?
To be a successful coach in my job at Ballymore, it’s a case of being very, very engaged with the client. In this environment it’s not just a gym but an extension of the home. It’s about asking clients about their day, becoming more of a coach therapist, becoming part of a bigger family.
The thing to remember is that the gym here is a social hub, a place where people let their hair down, forget their business heads for a while or arguing with the concierge about a parcel delivery!
What advice do you give people who want to keep fit?
It’s mainly about consistency. And what a lot people don’t realise is the importance of nutrition habits. They have to drastically change. People think it’s 90 per cent exercise and 10 per cent nutrition. But really it’s the other way around if you want to get the body you want.
What can residents look forward to at London City Island?
We are going to be one of the first clubs to have a three-stage induction: a general overview of health and safety and equipment; then a client-specific survey of appropriate equipment with a trainer; followed by a free personal training session, reviewed after four and eight and 12 weeks.
There’s quite a lot else to look forward to. We will be offering swimming coaching and classes in our new outdoor pool, and classes in Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates to build the whole mind-and-body approach.
We hear ‘Step Aerobics’, made popular in the 80s by Jane Fonda, is having a resurgence. Can that really be true?
Yes, everything comes and goes. Actually, we have got someone amongst our staff that is very good at Step Aerobics, so we’ll definitely be up for that! Anyway, we do surveys and client feedback all the time to make sure we keep up to date.