Interview with Jay Harris

Our good friend Jay Harris has recently taken a step in his personal training career and moved to Gym Monkeys. You may have seen Jay feature in our blog section before, but we believe he has come a long way since we last spoke and wanted to question him about his life now. 

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When we last spoke to you, you were focused on helping children's fitness and getting them active, are you still doing that?

Yes, I’m still training the kids. I’m keeping them fit, it’s like a lighter version of what I do with the adults. They are not lifting heavy weights because obviously, they are at a younger age. I just keep them active, some of them will do a session or two a week. I have also had some of them doing sessions with their mums and dads. 

What are your sessions like with the children?

Sometimes I’ll do a bit of a circuit, I will tend to include a bit of boxing as well because they all love that. Now I have a lot more equipment I can do more with them. I will have them on the treadmills and rowers trying to beat their times. 

What ages are your sessions for?

The youngest I have trained is seven years old. In the past, I have trained children who are four years old so I’m open to training kids at a young age. The oldest I have in the kid’s category is fifteen, so that’s the ages I work between. 

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Why do you offer training for children?

Well, I do 1 to 1s in the school of a morning, and I see a lot of kids struggling with their weight so I take them for a 15-20 minute run before school. With technology now, our children would sooner go home and play on their iPad or PlayStation then go out. Don’t get me wrong when I was fifteen I would spend a lot of time on my PlayStation but I would also be out in the day doing some form of activity. 

I even notice this in the school I work in, at dinner the kids would sooner queue up for IT club then go outside and play, even when the weather is good. So, all of these little things I have noticed have just made me want to put these sessions on.

Have you thought about doing anything bigger?

In two weeks I’m doing a kid’s party here at Gym Monkeys. It’s going to around fifteen, nine-year-olds. So, I’m going to bring a range of equipment with me, dodgeball, futsal, Frisbee and for two hours they are going to be in here with me doing activities. So, I’m hoping this could be the start of something. 

Why did you move to gym monkeys?

A number of reasons but mainly I wanted a change. Facility wise, no disrespect to Kerry’s gym but it was too small, it got to a point where I was training one of my clients and I didn’t have much room, I felt like I wasn’t giving the client as much as I could because of this restriction. The second reason was because of the distance, as I don’t drive it was hard for me to get there each day. It made sense for me to move here as I was saving money on travel. Because I have more space and equipment my sessions have become harder too which I see as another positive. Also, with there being classes on here daily, I have picked up a couple of new clients who have seen me training with my current clients, this venue just helps me a lot.

When I was moving here my biggest worry was whether or not my clients would follow me, so before I moved I messaged them all and thankfully they have all followed me which was brilliant. 

Has your training style changed?

Yes, I’d say it changed massively since I have been here, and mainly down to the equipment. It sounds silly but because of the space I work in now, and the equipment I have available to use I feel as if I can do so much more whereas when I was in the previous studio, all’s I had where boxing pads, gloves and a matt.

My sessions now might be five minutes on a treadmill then trying to beat your time on the rower, this is something that’s only ten minutes of your session but they are loving it. I may go onto some interval training them onto the ropes, slam balls or power bags. I can do such a variety of exercise. I can do more of a boxercise session now which I love doing.

I’m now seeing results more, it got to a point where I was looking at my clients and thinking to myself ‘have I seen much difference’. And because most of them were young as they grew older I saw the natural change but somewhere still the same. Since I’ve been doing my sessions here I’m seeing change with everyone and again it’s down to how hard I’ve been able to work them.

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Are your sessions fun, and that’s why the kids like them?

Yeah, I’d say so, in the school me and Rob are seen as the fun people because we teach PE. We keep them in check but we have a laugh with them and that’s what I’ve brought into my session. Even though it’s effective they are also having fun, I do the same with the adults.

One thing I’ve never done is shout at someone, I don’t see that approach being effective in a PT session, but that’s just my opinion, I’d rather motivate and praise you.

Since we last spoke what has been your biggest change

The biggest change for me I’d say is the results I’m seeing in my clients. That’s not to say I wasn’t getting results last time, it’s just the past couple of months I have seen massive changes in them. I now get parents, who come here for the classes, messaging me about some of the children I train and mentioned how much difference they have seen in the kids.

What may be next for you

At the moment I’d say I’m settled here, my goal is to have my own studio which I thought after Kerry’s that was going to be my next step. In the summer I was thinking about dropping working in the school and looked at venues. But I ended up working in the school full time which I’m made up about and since I’ve been at gym monkeys I’ve felt really happy.