Being a Fire Fighter for 30 years Stuart Roberts was lucky to have a job that required him to keep physically fit. At school his favourite subject was PE so it was no surprise that he became a Fire Service Physical Training Instructor (PTI) and did this for 25 years until he retired at the end of 2016.
Growing up powerlessly watching his dad suffer with his health and forced to give up playing his beloved cricket and football in his early forties fuelled Stuart’s lifelong passion to help people maintain their health. At the same time, it made him fearful of getting older and losing his fitness.
Despite being a PTI and appearing to be physically fit in his twenties and thirties, he suffered from lots of common health issues including frequent energy dips, appalling hay fever and digestive problems that he put down to bad luck rather than something he could do something about.
He would struggle to maintain his energy at work and on his days off, he felt tired and groggy, reluctantly dragging himself out of bed when it was time to get up. He used to dread summers as he could not go into a garden without his eyes streaming, his nose blocking up and getting wheezy.
Another ongoing problem was his inefficient digestive system which meant that he would get indigestion most days and always took antacid pills with him when he went out for a meal. Despite feeling like a complete fraud, he thought he would just need to put up with these symptoms as part of life. When his wife suggested a nutritionist, he refused to go as he thought his diet was pretty healthy and that he would need to give up all his favourite foods.
Then, one beautiful summer’s evening he went to see a play; the setting was amazing in a theatre built on the side of a wood and the atmosphere was incredible. It should have been a wonderful evening, but instead it was dreadful. He spent the entire evening completely blocked up, breathing through his mouth, or more accurately wheezing through his mouth relying on a steroid inhaler to breathe. His eyes were streaming. On top of this he had indigestion and then got bitten by a mosquito! He felt so miserable and what should have been a special evening was completely ruined.
That was the point when he decided enough was enough. If he was serious about being healthy and not to go down the same route as his dad, he’d have to do things differently. The first thing he did was to consult a nutritionist, which proved to give him a strong foundation for transforming his health.
The first difference he noticed was his energy. Within 3 weeks, he went from struggling to get out of bed at 9 am to not being able to stay in bed later than 6am! He was literally bounding out of bed with energy he’d never experienced before.
His digestion also started to improve; over the next few months he was able to go out for meals without them constantly being ruined by terrible indigestion. Even his hay fever which he had suffered from most of his life disappeared. He was ecstatic, for the first time in years he felt like he could truly take his health and fitness to a new level. Keen for others to benefit from the power of nutrition he studied for 6 years and qualified as a naturopathic nutritionist in 2003.
The following year, wanting to build on his experience as a PTI he trained with Dr Michael Colgan in western Canada and qualified with distinction as a Coach and Instructor in a revolutionary exercise program developed for athletes which could be adapted and used by anyone. Learning from mentors in their sixties he was amazed by what they could do! This changed his outlook completely; he was no longer fearful of losing his health and fitness as he got older and he now had a powerful toolkit to draw upon.
Since then all areas of his health have continued to improve and he found that he was able to keep up with Fire Fighters 20 years younger than him when he was in his fifties. People he didn’t even know at work started asking him for advice and seeing the results they were achieving opened his eyes to what’s possible without needing to live like some whiter than white fitness fanatic.
It became the most fulfilling part of his job sharing what he’d learnt with others; helping people to lose the weight they had found so hard to shift, gain strength and fitness that they hadn’t even achieved in their twenties or help people recover more quickly from injuries and operations.
To give people a framework he developed the 5 vitality principles. These principles have enabled Stuart to help people transform their health without them needing to adhere to rigid regimes that are hard to stick to; from office workers who didn’t have much time for exercise to Fire Fighters wanting to maintain their fitness more easily as they got older.
Seeing the results people were getting inspired him to consolidate the knowledge and experience he had taken years to accrue into practical resources for the over forties as he felt that that there was very little available that serves and inspires this age group.
He wanted to help people avoid the health problems that he had seen family members, such as his dad, suffer and to give people the autonomy to take control of their health for the long-term, in a way that doesn’t dominate their life yet still enables them to get the absolute best from themselves for the rest of their lives.