The personal trainer who changed his life by swapping groceries for the gym
A personal trainer from Retford has turned his love of the gym into a career and a successful business which employs three people.
Luke Hewitt, 30, from Retford, took a leap of faith and gave up his job of five years to help others build the confidence he was able to find through exercise.
Having worked for a supermarket chain since leaving school, Luke was on the trajectory to a management position, but he was working so many hours that he was neglecting his own health and starting to resent work.
Having never stepped foot in a gym in his life, Luke decided the time had come to take back control and joined a local gym.
He said: “Like so many people, I had no idea what I was doing initially so I started out with five sessions of cardio each week, usually on the cross trainer.
“It wasn’t easy after a long day at work to begin with, but after a while it became my therapy.”
He added: “I would set myself small goals, trying to increase the intensity each time and I quickly started to notice changes in my body.
“I was losing weight but I would describe my appearance at the time as ‘skinny-fat’. I had a slim build but lacked muscle definition and whilst I knew that was something I wanted to change; I had no idea where to start.”
His efforts to change were taken up a gear after Luke got talking to a fellow gym-user who had plenty of advice to share.
Luke said: “Colin Plummer, who I’ve become close friends with over the years, took me under his wing and helped me with my nutrition and weight training.
“Without that support and guidance, my journey would have been so much harder.”
He added: “Everything fell into place and with hard work and commitment combining healthy eating, weights and cardio not only was my body shape changing, but I was growing in confidence and felt more motivated than ever.”
The psychological benefits of his new regime made Luke reassess his other life choices in a new light.
He said: “I was 24 and I realised that I was motivated in all aspects of my life, apart from work. I was stuck in a rut and knew it was time for a change, but having left school at 16 I was worried I might lack the skills to change career.
“My brother-in-law had spotted my newfound passion for the gym and encouraged me to undertake my level two personal training course.”
Luke added: “I was hesitant at first because I’d only really just started out on my own fitness journey, but I loved the gym and was keen to help people the way others had done for me, so I decided to take the plunge and go for it.
“Soon after, a job opening came up for a PT at Retford Leisure Centre and after being successful at interview, I took the position and have never looked back.”
Despite not being particularly academic in school, Luke quickly caught the bug for learning when it came to his passion for exercise and nutrition.
He is now a level 4 personal trainer and a qualified nutritionist. He is also qualified to take on GP referral patients and is trained to instruct a variety of classes including boxercise, aquacise, spin, pump and kettlecise.
Luke said: “My experiences on the gym floor taught me so much and I was hungry for more so the owners of the leisure centre very kindly put me through a range of courses to help me develop what I had already learned.
“It’s a really competitive industry, but with time, patience and some brilliant clients who helped spread the word, I was slowly building up a reputation and with that came a client base and I have never looked back.”
He added: “Every day bought a new challenge and with every client that came through the door, I was not only helping people to make improvements to their lives, but I was also reaping the rewards myself through job satisfaction like I’d never experienced before.”
Eventually, Luke was working over 70 hours a week to keep up with the demand. So he decided it was time to expand his team and now has two more personal trainers, James Hatzel and Connor Day, working alongside him for his company, LH Fitness.
Sessions are available via Retford Leisure Centre and Bircotes Leisure Centre, and those wanting to register with do not need to be a member of the gym.
They run an eight week transformation programme, called Transform 8 and offer other packages to fit in with their clients’ needs and lifestyles.
Luke said: “We have seen men and women of all different shapes, sizes and abilities walk through the door and in the six years I’ve been doing this, LH Fitness has helped over 500 clients reach their goals.
“Lots of people come to us with a weight loss goal, but there are many other reasons including to increase muscle tone, to learn correct form when weightlifting, to increase fitness or simply to boost their confidence.”
He added: “One of my worries is the impact social media has on the way people perceive themselves. When I started out on my own fitness journey I was very insecure about the way I looked and hated my body, but there were far less influencers on social media back then for me to compare myself to, so I treated myself as my only competition.
“Nowadays, people are far too quick to compare themselves to others and more often than not, what they’re comparing themselves to isn’t real. It can be so damaging for the mind so I make sure I spend time not only working with my clients to improve their fitness, strength and nutrition, but we also work on their mindset and confidence so they are equipped with all the tools to be the best version of themselves.”
“In my opinion, confidence in the gym translates to confidence in other walks of life and the absolute best thing about my job is seeing not only people’s physical appearance change week by week, but also their confidence and mental attitude.”
For all Luke’s expertise in the latest fitness phenomena and professional practices, he is also a big advocate of very simple steps.
He said: “I believe that walking is one of the best remedies for clearing the head and reducing stress so I encourage all my clients to go out for an hour daily.
Luke admits the job is very demanding, but explains says he would not change a thing.
He said: “My days usually start at 6am and finishes at around 9pm. I try to find time to train myself in between clients and spend precious time with my family and friends whenever I can.
“It can be hard at times, but the transformations that I’ve been a part of and the amazing clients I’ve met along the way make it all worthwhile, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
He added: “Becoming a PT has changed my life in so many ways and I’m so grateful I was given that push I needed to go for it.”