This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Berry who is my friend and personal trainer. We’ve known each other for years and every time I have a session with him, we end up deep in conversation and he is a real fountain of wisdom and life advice, as well as a great trainer.
Growing up on a council estate in Wandsworth, Mark has always been committed to helping others (alongside his love of sport, mainly football). He started back in the 1990s doing care work in a residential care home. Along the way he’s picked up a lot of knowledge working alongside physiotherapists, he trained as a personal trainer, gym instructor and aerobic instructor and has worked at One Trust for 32 years as a care worker for people with learning disabilities and complex and challenging needs. We know each other from his ‘side hustle’ as a personal trainer in my local gym. His philosophy of training is that it is for everyone. ‘If someone wants to, we’ll find a way’ is what he says of this - he’s all about ‘yes we can, not no we can’t.’
To mix things up, we recorded this from the gym, to give listeners a flavour of our relationship and the sort of conversations we have (in between rounds of boxing) - the sound quality is a little compromised but hopefully you can still enjoy Mark’s wise words.
In this episode we talk about the importance of taking time out, remaining calm and being patient. Mark opens up about his realisations of his self-worth and how he uses this learning to support and lift up others. We talk about training, how it’s good to challenge yourself, and about the limitations put on us particularly in childhood by our upbringing, schooling, medical diagnoses, and we discuss how important it is to question and challenge these.
As you can hear from the episode, people come in and out and its a true reflection of Mark’s character and how friendly he is.
I know, for me, my sessions with him provide me with mental health support as much as physical, and we talk about this, particularly for men, and how the gym can provide a safe space for men to talk and get things off their chests, under non-intimidating circumstances.