A LARNE man has told how regular exercise and a healthy diet has transformed his personal life and opened the door to a successful new career.
Back in late 2010, Phil Barnhill was at a low ebb after the collapse of his retail business, a chain of second-hand videogame and DVD stores called the Basement. He had also lost much of his self-esteem after his weight ballooned up to almost 17 stone.
Fast forward nearly two years and the 38-year-old now has a totally new lease on life, which he attributes to a major change in his lifestyle.
He added: “The turning point for me was when I was at a wedding with my wife and I was too embarrassed to get up and dance with her because of the way I looked. I was overweight and I had just lost my business of 10 years – I was in a real downer and I knew I needed to make a change.
“So I started hitting the gym hard about four or five times a week and immersed myself in research about nutrition. Within 18 months I lost five stone and no words can describe the impact this has had on my life.
“The closest I can compare it to is someone lifting a wet towel that had been hanging over your head that you didn’t even know was there. My self-esteem and confidence has been restored, and my outlook on life is now so much more positive.”
Phil even attributes his change in lifestyle to helping him and his wife conceive a child.
“We had been trying for a child for long time and our doctor told us it was unlikely to happen naturally. But Christine finally fell pregnant not long after I started exercising and eating well, so I believe that had a big part to play in helping us conceive,” he added.
Now, the Inver Garden Mews man is determined to spread his message far and wide, and has even started his own personal training business called Personal Best NI.
“I want to introduce as many people as possible to the benefits of exercise, and I offer a range of classes in the local area to cater to different tastes,” he added.
“The main difference between my new business and the one I had previously is that back then it was all financially driven, where as now my biggest priority is helping others who are in the same situation I found myself in.
“When I first discovered the joys of exercise, it was quite daunting as I had to teach myself the correct techniques. I am now a fully qualified level three personal trainer and in a position to give people the support that I never when I started out.”
Phil currently offers four classes, and plans to have more up and running before Christmas. These classes include:
- Monday, 9.30am: fightingFIT (Euphoria Fitness Centre, Carrick)
- Monday, 8.00pm: powerFIT (Linn Community Centre, Larne)
- Tuesday, 6.30pm: coreFIT (Sixmile, Ballyclare)
- Wednesday, 8.00pm: totalFIT 20/20/20 (Linn Community Centre, Larne)
- Thursday, 7.00pm: fightingFIT (Town Hall, Ballyclare)
- Friday, 6.30pm: fightingFIT (Greenland Community Centre, Larne)
- Friday, 7.30pm: coreFIT (Greenland Community Centre, Larne)
Classes in Euphoria and Sixmile are booked directly with them - all other classes are £4 each and can be booked online at www.personalbestni.com or by phone/text on 07901 647510. Remember if you buy 12 classes up front, you get a £12 discount (£36 instead of £48).
And from the start of October, Phil will be running a WeightLoss Challenge, where participants pay £45 for six weeks of unlimited exercise classes, a diet plan, weekly weigh-ins and a personal mentor to keep them on track with their goals.
“In the long term, I would love to see the company expand into a franchise across Northern Ireland. For the moment, I am just enjoying life. It is so rewarding being able to do what you are passionate about for a living and I would encourage people to come along and try it for themselves,” Phil concluded.
Anyone who would like to book a class can do so online at www.personalbestni.com or on the company’s facebook site. You can also contact Phil directly on 07901647510.