When Strength and Performance co-director, Sean Keefe took a trip down memory lane, little did he know that Elite FTS, one of the world’s premier strength training information/equipment sites would be publishing it on their website!
Here is how things got started in the words of Sean ‘Beef’ Keefe aka ‘The Bulldog’
This article is about my ambition, my dream, and my challenge. Call it what you want, but it’s what I’ve always wanted. Being told by people I know and trust that it was all just a crazy fantasy just made me want it more. If I was to give you the best piece of advice I could right now, it would be this—don’t give up on your dream regardless of how big the challenge seems. Success is found. It doesn’t find you!
Three and a half years ago, I started working for a big commercial gym, and I thought it was going to be the best job in the world. At this time, I had already done the usual b*llsh*t courses required to work in a gym that don’t teach jack, but in my own time, I was busy building up my knowledge, researching on various websites, and reading plenty of books! These were like gold compared to the courses I’d been in.
I wasn’t employed to be a cleaner, so why the f*ck was I on my hands and knees cleaning the machines. I didn’t sign up for this. If you’re employed to be a trainer, that’s what you should do, not scrub away at someone’s sweat gathered over a half mile walk. As the months passed and I was no longer the new boy, my cleaning duties subsided. Instead, I was encouraged to use the latest fad piece of equipment in this industry. I needed to get clients deadlifting, squatting, lunging, pressing, and pulling, not standing on a vibrating plate while watching them get a cheap thrill. I wasn’t having it!
After working for about a year, I became my own boss and chose my own hours to see my clients. This was what I’d always wanted—until I found myself fitting my schedule around my clients. I was waking up before I’d even gone to bed and working the kind of hours that a 24-hour security camera does! The more I read, the more I wanted to put into practice, but I was told I couldn’t do what I’d learned. No chalk. No noise. Deadlifting—what’s that? “Benching like that will hurt your back.” In the meantime, I had to put up with seeing exercises that a two-year-old kid could put together. The funniest thing I ever saw was someone sitting on one of those Swiss balls with one leg in the air while doing a rotator cuff exercise with a pink dumbbell with another trainer! This sh*t actually goes on in the gym!
While I was working, there came a point when I realized that my ultimate dream was to set up my own training facility. A year and a half ago, me and my now business partner, Zoran Dubaic, went to Dirty Jerzee to meet up with Zach Even-Esh and Joe DeFranco. After seeing what they were doing over there, I decided it was time to put it into practice in the UK. When we got back, we got straight to work pricing up everything we needed and emailing anyone who could help. But as the months passed by, we actually weren’t getting anywhere. We were knocked down by some of our friends who said it wouldn’t work, by the council for our unit space, and by the banks for money. The list went on and on. Being in this situation, it was so easy to give up, but we didn’t. We kept our goal in mind, digging away at it bit by bit while still slaving away at the local gym and having to watch the most stupid exercises and half reps galore. Over time, pieces fell into place. We used all the information gathered from strength coaches (our mentors) and put endless hours of work in and soon it was becoming a reality. The ambition, the dream, and the challenge were complete.
The point I’m trying to get at here is never ever give up on what you want. I know a lot of coaches say this, but when you realize your dream, you have to do what it takes to make it happen. Don’t let anything or anyone get in your way! We didn’t and look what we’ve achieved now. I went from working in a commercial gym to becoming a proud owner of one of the best training facilities in the UK. For me, it still hasn’t totally sunk in!
“Never, never, never give up.” –Winston Churchill
Please have a look at the birth of our new facility—Strength and Performance—at www.strengthandperformance.co.uk.
About the Author
Sean Keefe is a director and co-founder of Strength and Performance. (www.strengthandperformance.co.uk) A talented athlete and former international competitor, he has risen through the ranks of the fitness profession over the last five years and is now one of South Manchester’s most highly sought after performance enhancement specialists. Having worked with some of the nations sporting elite, Sean has earned a reputation for his no nonsense approach to training, unique perspective on program design, and corrective exercise experience. With his extensive knowledge of strength conditioning, postural correction, and nutrition consolidated with thousands of hours spent under the bar as a dedicated athlete, Sean takes a hands-on approach with all his clients. His winning mentality and meticulous attention to detail enables him to push his athletes further than they though possible.