Micky’s Fitness Blog

Blog #4: Fake it until you make it.

On my fitness journey so far I’ve mentioned how I set up my own boxercise class in an empty unused room at the recreation center, when I hadn’t done any fitness courses, I kept going and preserved for years with very little numbers. The pattern continued when I joined First First. I had done a personal training course, circuit training and a Boxfit course. I was told I had to teach cycle, this was before FF had Les Mills programs and RPM. I hadn’t even done a cycle class before, so I didn’t have a clue. I had a couple of weeks to attend cycle classes, sort out music and plan a class. I was very nervous as you can guess, I wonder if anyone in the class knew?? I recon it took me about two years to start believing in myself and realised that maybe I was getting good at this. My classes were busy. My Tuesday night, Friday and Saturday morning classes were always a full house. I was getting comfortable and loved teaching classes. This is where the foundation of what we do at Micky’s started, group fitness. Les Mills was great for me and at one point I was teaching RPM, Pump and Combat. For anyone that teaches multiple Les Mills classes you know how much it takes over your life. Les Mills helped me improve my character, emotional maturity and coaching skills. I loved what I was doing and I was living and breathing this stuff 24/7. I had found something I was good at and really enjoyed. My self esteem was rising. I’ll have a go at anything, this is a character that I look for in staff. We’ve got to be prepared to face the fear and do it anyway, eventually the fear will go away. We will gain emotional muscles from our effort.

Blog #3: Fitness First Gorton

What a fun place Fitness First Gorton was to work. Some fantastic members and a place I made life long friends. I’ll do a few blogs for Fitness First in the UK as I learnt many lessons from all the staff, personal trainers, managers, regional managers and national managers (corporate suits).

Like I mentioned in the last Blog Fitness First was a great company to work for at the start. They used to be more member and staff focused. They educated the staff for free and staff were given lots of rewards at the end of year party. They created a great atmosphere for the members. It all fell apart when they brought in the personal training model.

Why wouldn’t they think it was good??? Going from paying 4 full time fitness instructor to having 10 personal trainers paying $200-$400 rent per week. They must have thought they were onto something great!!!! And every other big chain has followed suit. Idiots!!

I’ve said it for a long time. Why should personal trainers have to pay a large amount of the money they earn from their personal training session when they are training a member of the gym. The personal trainer is looking after the member, as long as the PT stays at the gym, the member is too.

The gyms are trying to create a huge form of revenue from the personal trainers. Charging them a franchise fee, promising them loads of clients in a gym that has too many personal trainers to start with. They get greedy and get as many as they can. Why wouldn’t they? They get a franchise fee at the start, free hours work from the PT until they start paying rent. They don’t care if the pt makes it or not as there’s someone else to take their place next year.

I hate it, I’ve seen so many personal trainers who would have been great, ruined by Fitness First. They have no care for the personal trainers once they get them across the line.

I saw what they were doing, have experienced how it made the PT’s and myself feel. We’ve set up Mickys different and it works. There’s so much more I’d like to be able to do for our Personal Trainers and Group Fitness instructors. But we are at a growth stage and everything is getting put back into the business to help it grow and improve. Eventually we’ll have free training programs for our fitness staff. If our staff get treated well they will treat the members well.


Working at Ordsal recreation centre had been my 1st fitness job and setting up the boxercise class was my 1st taste of being self employed and working hard at building up a small business and not just rocking up for a pay check every week. I had to put in so much time for very little financial reward.
I learnt the importance of always being there and taking no days off, if I wanted to build up a regular clientele base.
Looking back at this experience, I can see how my lack of experience and confidence effected my success. I was a nice guy but didn’t have the emotional maturity to pull it all together.

I had decided not to go back to boxing. I had lost my first title fight and my belief that I could achieve my boxing goal. I was lost with what I wanted to do or could do. My belief had been that I would win a world title, retire from boxing, move back to North Shields and open a boxing gym. What was I going to do? I was living in a one bedroomed flat in a high rise block of flats in Ordsal. Working as a doorman in manchester, leisure attendant at the recreation centre and teaching my class. I wasn’t earning enough money to do what I wanted to do, not that I really knew at this point. I was lost with no direction. It would have been around 2002 and I was 29.

Whilst working at the recreation centre I gained a few fitness qualifications and I had a keen interest in developing myself.

I had moved out of my flat, giving up my job at the recreation centre and door security. I was living with a lady in Rochdale. I was working for the council in Rochdale as a labourer, I was board with the job and working for money.

I applied for a job at fitness first. I didn’t interview very well but the guys must have saw some potential, thankfully.
I got the job, I was so excited.

One of the conditions of working for fitness first was that I couldn’t teach my class anymore. So unfortunately I had to give it away.

Working at fitness first was great. It was before personal training had come on the seen. I was a fitness instructor. We wrote programs, taught classes and cleaned. Fitness first was a great place to work all those years ago. They educated us with free courses at their academy and they were all about improving their staff, focused on customer service but too heavily focused on sales and still are, this is where their problem lies.

Next Blog I’ll cover some of the great lessons I learnt in the 4 years whilst at fitness first Gorton.


BLOG #1 : The Beginning

I’m reading a book called traction at the minute and it’s opened my eyes to trying different things. Writing a blog has been suggested in the book and since reading it, people have suggested it too. Previous to this I had never really understood what a blog was.

I’ve decided to give it a go. I’m a blogger .

I’ve never been one for following the crowd so my blog is my blog. Not sure if it will fall in line with what bloggers do but let’s roll with it and see how it goes.

What’s Micky’s Fitness Blog about. It’ll track the journey of Mickys Fitness. From the early days of where and when the idea began, what was needed to be done before we started, setting up, surviving, growing, improving…….. once we get through all the history I’ll start sharing the day to day story of running multiple gyms and balancing it with family life, training…… the journey I’ll share will show that what we’ve created is something that can be created by anyone. I’ll go into detail, hopefully you’ll get some great tools to help you create what you want in life.

I’ll share my first Blog on here and get it transferred onto our website next week.

Here we go………

With most jobs I’ve had growing up, I’ve always wanted to own my own business doing it. I always think I can do a better job and look for ways to improve the service and product that’s being offered. This is what I did when I started to work in the fitness industry.

I’ve been in and around gyms for the last 27 years. Thaiboxing, boxing gyms, ymca, council run gyms, fitness first, privately owned gyms. You name it I’ve trained in it or worked in it.

When I was working at Ordsal recreation centre in Salford at the age of about 23 (20 years ago) my vision started to come alive in my imagination. I had no fitness qualifications, was very shy but a hard worker. I was a leisure attendant, I basically cleaned and put out equipment for badminton, 5 aside etc.

It was a quite council run facility in a very rough area of Manchester. They had no fitness class running but a room up stairs that wasn’t used for anything. I had the vision of running a Boxercise/circuit class in the space. At this point I had no fitness qualifications, but I believed I could make this work.

I used to take part in a circuit and Boxfit class at parks in North Shields when I used to go home at the weekend. I was living in Manchester Monday to Friday following my dream and training really hard as a professional boxer and would head home at the weekends to see my family and friends. These classes got packed 60-80 people in them, I thought I can do this.

So I copied what I thought was the best from both of these classes and made my own class called boxercise.

So the journey began. I didn’t have a lot of money but I bought what equipment I could afford. Got help from a friend to make up some flyers and posters. Started to deliver the flyers and put up the posters in shops.

Like I mentioned before I wasn’t qualified, I was very shy but was very resilient and not frightened of hard work.

My first class was very busy around 20 people. The staff in the centre were shocked and so was I . I can only imagine how shy I must have come across in that 1st class. I would have been bright red . My numbers went from 20 to about an average of 4 per class. I had a regular group of about 8 people that used to come. Not sure how good my coaching would have been all those years ago but I’m guessing the regulars were getting a good workout and they could see I was coming from a genuine place.

I ran the class for about two years whilst I was boxing and working as a doorman (security) at the Manchester night clubs. This set the foundation of what mickys is all about today. A different workout every time you come to a class.

In a nutshell.
If you have a dream follow it. Always do the best you can and always look to improve. Take care of your clients and remember their names. Work hard and persist, fake it until you make it.

The next step in the journey was working for fitness first, gorton, Manchester.
ABOVE: Photo of ‘Ordsal Recreation Center’ I swept this car park many times.