Interview with Kevin Poole - Liverpool's Best Male PT

John at Checkfit was lucky enough to interview 'Liverpool's best PT' - Kevin Poole. We asked him a handful of questions about how he got where he is today, what led him into personal training and how he felt going into the competition. Read more here: 

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What does winning the award mean to you?

I was extremely pleased when I won the award. I felt like I deserved it. It felt good being recognized for all my efforts. It means people are putting out positive things about me and that’s only good for my reputation. If I didn’t win, I would have been very disappointed. At the end of the day, my clients are basically my life. They’re everything. I felt like I deserved it this year.

Going into the competition, did you believe you were going to win?

Not initially no, but as it got further in I started believing in myself.  I walked in hoping to win it and was proud to do exactly that.

How long have you been personal training for?

I’ve been in the industry for 6 years. I kind of fell into it, it was never something I wanted to do. I went to college initially, then university. After I graduated I was working as an academy sports scientist at Liverpool Football Club. While I was there I was doing my master’s degree alongside my job. The degree was in sports physiology and nutrition. At the time, Kenny Dalglish was the manager of Liverpool. He was soon sacked and what happens in football when somebody is sacked is the whole backroom staff come under extreme scrutiny.  At this point; we knew the new manager would come in and overhaul the current system. Now I was only 22 at the time and relatively new to the job. Meaning I was most probably first out. I then had the decision to make. Stay and risk it. Or, do what I eventually would do today. I made the choice to leave and while waiting for the next job opportunity to arise I was doing personal training sessions. Once I began this is – I never looked back. I fell in love with it straight away. I fell in love with working with everyday people.

What was it about working with the public that made you fall in love?

It’s the fact that they want to be there. They want to be helped. When I was working with footballers, strength and conditioning wasn’t really at the top of the priority list. It’s well and good working with athletes and so on. But putting the time and effort into something for it to be overshadowed isn’t really the best feeling. While working with the public you feel more appreciated. You begin changing lives – and they really appreciate that. Making people feel good is the main reason. That is so rewarding for me.

Do you train yourself and then implement what you do onto the other people?

I actually used to compete in fitness competitions. However, I do not do that anymore. I did enjoy it for the challenge. The methods I learnt while training for these competitions is unrealistic to try and put my clients through. The most average working day people can’t be in that shape every day of their lives. It’s not necessarily healthy either – it was quite extreme.  So specifically this is not something I’d implement onto my regular client base. However, I do have online clients that I do coach for these shows. In this case, I would tell them these techniques. Overall, my version of training is not necessarily how I would train my clients.

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 Do you try and keep up to date with your clients?

Absolutely, through the week I’ll send texts to most clients just to see how they’re getting on. What they’re doing and how they are currently feeling about training. I need to be on some sort of understanding with a client’s personal life to cater my training techniques around them and properly understand how I can help them. If they are 100% honest with me I think that’s when I can really start helping them.

I noticed that you recently mentioned that you’re ‘more than just a PT’?

It’s because I’ve come from a different background. I believe I can really excel by using my knowledge of physical training. As you can just get your average Personal Trainer who has taken a 6-week course and will basically give up there. I’m not speaking about everybody here, but there is a large percentage who thinks their knowledge of sports and physical wellbeing is capped after their initial course. I have a lot of experience in my craft and I really think that lets me excel.  I always try to better myself.

Who is your main role model at the moment; football player, personal trainer etc.?

As I come from a university background it is very important for me to invest time into the knowledge side of things. I also love passing this knowledge onto whom I teach. My biggest role model at the moment has to be Phil Learney. He’s improved himself and tries to help other trainers. I used to go to most of his seminars and noticed straight away that he isn’t just out to help himself. I try to bend this into my teaching. At the end of the day, the clients are the most important. Martin MacDonald from Mac Nutrition is also a massive role model of mine. He does a great job. He has a system in place that’s attempting to help fellow coaches like I get more out of personal training.

Is hosting your own seminars and teaching other people how to PT something you could see yourself doing?

Yes, definitely.  I would love to help other trainers. I do this in the gym anyway. We have this sort of system where people come to me and ask advice on their clients and how it’s best moving forward.  I enjoy being in this position – so being a mentor, I think, is something I’d enjoy.

I see you entered PT Wars this year, and got to the finals. Would you look on entering again?

Well, I’m always up for a challenge so definitely yes. It was interesting this year and really tough. I do love keeping fit – always keeping that competitive edge. It was so hard. Craig was brilliant and I can’t take anything away from him. But, I knew I was up against it straight after he mentioned he does CrossFit. The TufNut at the end was extremely challenging. The trainers I was wearing had next to no grip on so it was difficult moving. I ended up taking my trainers off and looked like a cartoon character, running but not being able to move. The ending absolutely took it out all three of us. You definitely have to be very fit to take part.

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What’s the atmosphere like at PT Wars?

When I was there, everybody got on. We all have mutual respect for each other and this really helps. I was looking around at the final group of contestants, and they all deserved to be there. It’s a chance for us all to showcase what we’re the best at. Necessarily winning PT Wars doesn’t mean you’re the best PT. But, it does mean more people are then drawn to you.  Therefore you have a chance to show more people what you can do. It’s good a platform to be a part of if you are looking for that bit more exposure.

What’s next for you?

I’m involved in so many things so it’s hard to give you one route that I’m going to follow. But, my main goal is to better myself. The more things I can do to grow the ‘branches’ as you say, the better. The more I better myself, the more I’ll better my training, my knowledge and ultimately the people around me. I want to be somebody people like to watch and look up to. Eventually, I do want to be an expert in my trade. Winning this event is just the start for me. I want to push on and win awards nationally.