This month, we catch up with Gym & Studio instructor and Swimming Teacher, Chris Dring. Chris has been working at the Club for 20 years, however Chris first got involved with Colets from the age of 16 when he started playing squash at the Club. In fact, Chris’ father used to be the Treasurer for Old Paulines so his family has quite a long-running connection to the Club. Chris tells us he always dreamt of working here because of its community feel and friendly atmosphere and now, some 20 years later, Chris still shares the same fondness for Colets.
Chris always had an interest in fitness from a young age – this particularly came to the fore when Chris’ sister, Caroline, became involved in training for the Olympic and Commonwealth Games in the mid-1990s. Chris would actually train with his sister and Commonwealth teammates! He got exposure to the world of high-level athletic training which enhanced his knowledge and interest in this field, encouraging and inspiring him to pursue a career in the industry.
Chris started working 20 hours a week in Colets’ gym whilst also working self-employed (mainly as a P.T. and teaching circuits classes). In addition to personal training, Chris is also a qualified swimming teacher and has been teaching both adults and children in the pool for ten years now. As well as adding an extra area to his fitness repertoire, Chris really enjoys the variety this gives to his teaching.
Although Chris began his work in the fitness industry as a regular PT, when he suffered a serious injury, he had to adapt his training and didn’t know if he would be able to teach again. Chris started seeing a physio and also Vanessa, who teaches Pilates here at Colets. Vanessa understood Chris’ postural problem and with both Vanessa and the Physio’s help, they were able to sort & aid his recovery.
Chris has since been trained in Pilates and is hoping to be fully qualified by the end of the year. From his own experience, Chris really wants to be able to give back what he’s learnt, helping people to sort their postural problems to prevent injury. Chris tells us that it’s all about understanding what you can and can’t do – if you’re not sure you’re doing an exercise correctly, don’t do it as it might make things worse. Chris strongly believes that it is important for people to keep fit as they age and that in fact ‘’no pain no gain’’ is not the maxim to live by. The pain is your body telling you that you are not doing something right and that it is important to listen to what your body.
As we get older, we need to be aware that our body cannot do the same things it used to and we might be more prone to injury. Chris has completed a G.P. medical referral course (medial prescription) and is trained to help people with arthritis, cardiovascular and neurological illnesses. Chris is very passionate about helping people and believes it takes a lot of courage to work on your health, but our instructors will be there to keep you on track.
Chris has worked closely with many of our members over the year and has many great success stories. There are a couple that really stand out for Chris. One being able to help a member to be able to walk again unaided after having to rely heavily on crutches. Chris also spoke about how he worked with a lady who suffered so badly with back problems that she had struggled to sleep properly for a long time. However, after undertaking a personalised programme with Chris, her pain and discomfort eased and she was able to enjoy a full night’s sleep again.
Chris has gained huge amounts of knowledge and experience through both his qualifications and working with a range of clients, some with quite complex health issues. He loves re-investing this knowledge back into our members and helping them to realise major improvements in both their health and daily life.
Finally, we asked Chris what he loves most about Colets and he tells us “without a doubt the people. It’s the people at the Club who give it its unique community feel and atmosphere that you don’t get at other clubs. Members from all walks of life use Colets and most importantly feel comfortable exercising here”. For Chris, there is such an emphasis now on health and wellbeing, so being able to focus on your fitness whilst being around great people is what makes Colets so special.