In the latest in the Spotlight On. series, Woodingdean in Business meets
Andrew John, founder of Three Pillars of Fitness.
I was a big kid, and always the last to be picked for teams. I grew up in
Woodingdean and went to Longhill. I had good friends but I wasn’t sporty and
didn’t belong to the in-crowd. I’m not a competitive person and I never felt
like coordination or sports were my thing. Growing up, exercise and fitness
were never really on my radar, and by the time I left school, I was
The turning point came on a family holiday to Rome. We had a great time, but
looking at the photos afterwards was a huge wake-up call. I suddenly
realised just how big I’d become, and how unhealthy it was. At 21 years old,
I had a 48 inch waist, had to import my jeans from the US, and could barely
fit through doorways. I decided that I had to change my lifestyle, or risk
damaging my future completely.
I wouldn’t have become so successful if I hadn’t failed first. After leaving
college I had decided that I wanted to follow in my big brother’s footsteps
and train as an accountant, but I hated it. I didn’t fit in, and the work
just wasn’t right for me. This realisation came at the same time as my
decision to lose weight, and it motivated me to try even harder. I was bad
at accountancy, so I was determined to be better at something else. I had a
couple of false starts – I joined a gym but never went – and it was only
when a colleague convinced me to buy running trainers that things really
started to get off the ground.
If you stick at something, you will always see results. There was a bus stop
500 yards from my house that I could walk to – I started going every day,
and that walk gradually became a shuffle, which turned into a waddle, then a
jog and finally a run. After two years, with a lot of hard work and
dedication, I had lost 8.5 stone. That was the start of my journey. Now, I’m
a fully qualified fitness professional, and my obesity days are just a
My past makes me different to a lot of personal trainers. I really
understand how my clients feel, because I’ve been there myself. From hating
exercise to worrying about being able to fit in aeroplane seat belts, I’ve
been there! I also lost both my father and grandfather to heart attacks, so
I understand the medical reality of obesity as well as anybody. This gives
me a special advantage when it comes to coaching clients through their own
weight loss journey.
Fitness shouldn’t be an exclusive club, but open to everybody. The personal
training I offer is completely tailor-made to the individual client, whether
that means helping somebody to do a press-up (or a half press-up!) for the
very first time, or designing an intense workout for a fitness fanatic. I
work with people of all ages and abilities, and every type of person is a
new, interesting challenge. I also run a circuit session with a mixed
ability group, where people can try out new exercises and train in a safe,
accepting environment. It’s all ages too, from people in their 20s to their
60s! Lately I’ve also been running sessions for kids and their parents in
local parks, which has been a lot of fun.
The Three Pillars of Fitness represent: Mind, Diet and Excercise.
To find out more about Andrew and Three Pillars of Fitness, visit their website:
Andrew also runs a successful graphic design agency, which you can check out
Andrew spoke to Claire Huxley.
You can read the other Spotlights here.