A: Today I am chatting to Dan Roberts; a bit of an under the radar celebrity trainer. Unlike many other celebrity fitness trainers, Dan has a huge humility. Dan’s journey has taken him around the world, including to Hollywood and back. He shares a down to earth approach to fitness, and if you follow him on social, he often pokes fun at the celebrity fitness industry.
He has successfully taken his business online, and there’s a focus on physical and mental wellbeing. I first met Dan, maybe 8 to 10 years ago. We were both working in the Fitness and Wellbeing sector and are based in London. Dan reached out to me, we’ve chatted about this since, but I don’t know whether he fully recalls our first communication.
He sent me a message on LinkedIn. At the time, I worked at a private member’s club called Grace Belgravia, in Central London. There was a gym there, it was high end, it was the celebrity PT thing. Dan reached out and said, ‘Hey. We’re in the same industry. I thought it would be amazing to connect.’
My response was, ‘Isn’t it amazing that we’re working on the same project? And congratulations on that book.’ To which Dan replied, ‘That’s not me, that was another personal trainer.’ I was mortified, but that was our first ever communication. However, welcome. Dan to the podcast. We have obviously spoken and met in person since then, but do you remember that?
D: No. No recollection at all.
A: That’s such a huge impact I had on your life, amazing.
D: I’m pleased you know who I am now.
A: Exactly. The other thing I need to jump in with is, how’s that book coming on Dan? Because we set each other a challenge.
D: Terrible. I’m so in awe of what you do with your books. Mine is still not finished, so I’m behind schedule with my book, so thank you for making that public.
A: We’ll start with on a low point, shall we? As much as I’ve done an intro on you and people can Google you, I love to ask my guests to tell a little bit of their story in their own words. So I’d love if you could share that.
D: Well, I’m a coach. I help people get fit, and I help people become more athletic. That’s what I do. I started off when I was 16. I’m in my mid-forties now, so it’s pretty much all I’ve done. As you mentioned, my job has taken me quite a few places. I’ve worked in quite a few different countries as a trainer, over the years.
I’ve diversified my skills, such as strength and conditioning, Pilates, and martial arts. I teach various skills and I help people feel good. My clients are mainly entertainment industry nowadays, but I’m happy to help everybody or anybody get fit.
My company has grown over the years. I’m not just a freelance trainer. I have a team and have a few businesses under my name, and I’m just very lucky.
A: That description from Dan is just testament to his humility, because one of your gigs was in Brazil, wasn’t it?
D: Yeah, I worked in Brazil for a year where I looked after Victoria’s Secret models and fashion models. I’ve worked in New York for a year, working with athletes. I’ve worked in Sydney for a year. I’ve worked in lots of places for a year. I tend to get bored and come back to London because London’s amazing.
My background was training athletes, so I spent the first 10 or 15 years of my career mainly training professional athletes. I did that to the highest level I could get to, so professional athletes and national sports teams. Then the opportunities arose where I worked with models and actors, and that opened more doors to travel.
A: You just flippantly say you were training Victoria’s Secret models. Not many people can say that.
D: Well, they’re not a thing anymore. That was a big deal 5 years ago, but now it’s old news.
A: But that was a huge thing to do. I know they’re not a thing anymore, but I know their level of training and physical fitness.
D: Yes, but it was a lot of luck. You call me humble, but how can you not be? There’s so much luck in coaching, in my career anyway. Because I went to Brazil just because I was with a girlfriend at the time, and she wanted to move to Brazil, and I moved with her.
So we were living in Brazil, and I just started training a few models just because I was hanging out. I was into going out and partying and stuff. I was younger and met some people. They knew that I was a trainer, so one thing led to another, and I ended up training a few well-known models over there.
Then I trained the head of a big model agency, and because of that, I ended up being the in-house trainer for this agency, which happened to have models. It’s because I was in Brazil and because I was a trainer. There are not many great trainers in Brazil, to be honest. I had a background of training athletes, and I knew models, so it was luck. It wasn’t like they called me up and said, ‘We must use you.’
A lot of the time, the first time you train an athlete, or an A-list Hollywood star or famous model, is just because you get a lucky gig, then you do a good job, and then you build your reputation.
A: There’s the lucky gig, but then it’s you who does the good job. I know about some of your training that you’ve put yourself through, so I’d love to explore your time in Thailand.
D: Oh yes, 10 years ago when I was in my mid-thirties, I got really into martial arts.
I started with a private coach in London who I was doing Muay Thai, which is a Thai martial art, three times a week. I was doing that for 2 or 3 months. I’m quite obsessive and quite all or nothing, so I decided to get really good at it.
So I researched and found out who the best Muay Thai fighters were in Thailand. I reached out to them to see if I could move over there and study under some masters. A couple said yes. So I moved to Thailand and lived with a master, and spent a year training and then fighting in Muay Thai. It was really cool.
A: That’s a key thing about you. If you like this thing that you’re doing, instead of settling at that, you want to go that next level.
D: If you want to be great at something, you have to go to the source. When I wanted to learn how to surf, I spent 3 months in Hawaii. If you want to be great at it, go to the source and then just obsess about it. I think obsession is given a bit of a bad rep these days. I like obsession. I think if you have to be great at something, like if you want to set up a new business, you can’t have a balance. You have to give up your social life for a bit or focus on it. If you’re very overweight and want to lose weight, that has to be a priority. If you want to do anything in life, I think obsessing is actually quite good.
Sometimes I have an issue with, in this wellness industry, there is the idea that you have balance all the time. I don’t know anyone who’s really good at anything who has total balance. I don’t subscribe to that.
A: I’m a business owner, and I’d say I need to find balance in my life to help me do what I do.
But I totally appreciate the obsessive, because when you’re in the zone on a project, you’re not going to get to the goal unless you are really focused. I know for me personally, I counterbalance that with making sure I have a little bit of mental downtime, whether I switch off from social media or just nurture myself.
I know me personally, I need that, and I suppose that’s where my balance comes in. So maybe it’s not that daily balance, it’s more those cycles, do you think?
D: That’s the thing. There’s a semantical argument about balance. I want to have balance when I look back on my life when I’m 90 and look back. I want to ensure there’s balance between relationships and career, my health, and all these different things. But in any given day, I don’t think there’s much balance, and I think that’s fine.
A: With all this knowledge and skill, I know you’ve progressed and evolved your business from the physical into the online presence and courses. Because I’m kind of just baby stepping into that kind of thing, I know the enormity of switching and evolving the business model. You’ve got so much knowledge and skill out there. I would love you to share a little bit about what you’ve got with your businesses online.
D: The first thing is that I have a few products or workouts that have evolved over time. The first one is something called, ‘Methodology X,’ which now I call MX because it’s easier to say.
That came out of the time I had in Brazil, training models. When I moved back to London, I started working with Tess, and other agencies in London, looking after models. So for a while, 10 years ago, all my clients were models, so I decided to create a workout. Initially, it wasn’t an online workout, it was a booklet. A modelling agency commissioned me to create a booklet of exercises to give to their new models to prepare them for fashion week.
I wrote it and it was about 20 pages or so. It wasn’t great to be honest, it was just a little workout. But then I found out within a few months that the models were sharing it amongst other models. So I thought I better make it better. I decided to create an eBook, and I sold it for £5 a copy.
I put quite a lot of time into that, and people were liking it. When more and more people liked it, I decided to make it better and spent 6 months writing it. I wrote a 200 page eBook. I got one of my clients to film the exercises, so it had accompanying videos. That became popular, and every couple of years I expanded it to where it is now. So, MX is a membership site, where people pay £40 a month and they get all these different workouts, exercises, and nutritional plans.
It’s grown now to online classes, and we have a qualification that trainers can qualify in and get a nationally recognised qualification in MX. Now we have MX classes in seven countries. It’s all grown massively in the 10 years since it arrived.
To answer your question, Methodology X or MX is one of the things I offer online. But to go back to like the business side of things, it started off as a little tiny eBook, and it grew and grew. One of the reasons I have so many things is that I’m old, and I started this many years ago. So as long as you don’t drop the ball and do a different career for a while, then you can grow your business. If you’ve been in the same industry for 30 years, you’d expect for products and courses to evolve.
It’s not like I’m that special, it’s just that I’ve had a lot of time. That’s why, when the pandemic hit, my company already had a few online things on the go, because I’ve been creating them over the years.
A: So we talked a lot about the model training, and the vast majority are likely to be female. So I’d love to share any key mistakes in fitness or working out, that as females we might fall into the trap of, that we might be able to save ourselves from?
D: That’s a good question. I don’t know if it’s gender specific, but there are certain things I see people do, which I think they shouldn’t.
I think people’s expectations are generally a bit out of whack, and I blame social media and sometimes magazines for this as well. For example, the before and after pictures, or getting your body back 3 months after having a baby, and all that kind of stuff.
The before and after pictures on Instagram set people up to fail. Because people expect dramatic changes when they join a gym or start a new class. It takes time to change your body. I feel that most people aren’t patient enough when it comes to making changes. But that’s not a female thing, it’s just a people thing.
A: Yes, absolutely. Would you approach training a female body differently to training a male body?
D: Yes, but there are many variables. So in the same way, I train someone different if they’ve got diabetes or not got diabetes, or if they’re ADHD or not ADHD, there’s many different variables, and being female is one.
So ideally, you want to train for you and your personality and unique physiology. Even if someone is 6ft 2 compared to 5ft 2, there’s a difference in how a deadlift or squat would look, because the mechanics are different.
A: I know through my adult life I’ve dipped in and out of having a personal trainer for a period of time, and I definitely had some injuries as a result of a male trainer, possibly not fully appreciating a woman’s body. Whereas I know every trainer, much like therapists and nutritionists, and everything else, we bring our own thing to the table.
D: True. I think we all bring our own biases; I think we all have a bias. As a coach, you definitely have your biases, which are linked to your experience and skills. Because my background is training athletes, male and female athletes, I feel I’m very aware of what the human body can do, so I like people training to a high level.
For example, I trained quite a few girls in the Royal Ballet many years ago, and I was employed to get them more flexible. I was quite nervous about it, because if someone’s a ballerina and they’re having a big performance in 4 hours, you don’t want to overstretch them so they can’t move.
I had to learn about what the limit is, because if I was to under stretch them, then they wouldn’t be ready. So I had to get them to the point where they’re just the right level. I think the more time you get with trainers, the more experience they get. They know when to go heavy, and when too heavy is too much.
Everyone always talks about having great form, but it’s a bit too basic to say that. If you’re doing a press up and trying to do as many as you can, if you go for absolutely perfect form, you might get two. But if you allow form to drop down to maybe an 8 out of 10, you could probably get 8 or 9 reps in, which would be better for your body.
So sometimes it’s okay to let form drop a little bit. If it’s a new exercise, let’s say you’re doing a kettle swing, which could put a lot of trauma on your lower back. It makes sense to go for 10 out of 10 form. But that comes from the experience of knowing how hard it is to push someone. Again, it goes back to your goals, it might be that if posture is your goal, then you really shouldn’t do any exercises, which are an 8 or 9 out of 10, because that could interfere with your posture. So you should stick with 10 out of 10.
If losing weight is your biggest goal and you’re trying to burn more calories, then it might be okay to let form drop a little bit and go for the intensity. We’re all different. It depends on what your goals are.
A: There seems to be a lot on social media at the moment about ‘#gains,’ and weight training emails. Suddenly, we’re all supposed to be deadlifting, and there’s a lot more focus on that. What are your views on that?
D: It’s very interesting. I’m glad you brought that up. This happened about 6 or 7 years ago. It started becoming more popular, particularly amongst trainers, that it’s basically the stronger, the better. For example, Strong being the new sexy was a popular thing about 5 years ago. I guess it was to get away from the idea that girls should be super skinny, and it’s much better to be strong. So it had an empowering belief behind it initially, but, like anything, if you take anything to excess, then it’s not good.
If you train purely for strength and that’s all you do, I think it’s just as bad as training purely to get slim. I personally don’t like, ‘Strong is sexy,’ as a phrase. I don’t think it’s particularly empowering at all if you think about it. Because it’s saying a certain body size or shape is better than another one, and it’s not. Being strong isn’t sexy. Being slim isn’t sexy. Sexy has got nothing to do with your body shape. It’s a different thing, and I think when you go for these cute phrases on Instagram, it dumbs down and reduces what exercise is all about. You should exercise to feel good, and also use it as a tool to get the body you want.
A lot of the women I train want to have a slim, lean body. They don’t want to have bulky legs and bigger shoulders, which is actually more in vogue. But it’s not as though that’s bad. I think sometimes people are shamed for wanting to be slim because it’s not popular.
It’s popular now to be strong. If you go to a local gym, girls are now a lot more muscular, particularly in the UK, than they were 15 or 20 years ago. Men are a lot more muscular, so it’s just popular right now to be big, but give it 5 years, and it’ll be popular to be something else. Things change.
The benefit of not being 21 is that you see things go in and out of fashion.
A: Yes. I’ve seen that in the skincare industry and the aesthetics of how we look in face and body. It’s interesting that you say that a lot of your clients still want to be slim.
Have you noticed a change in the wish list of a new client, of what they want to achieve? Are you aware of a slight shift in what the requirements are from someone over the last decade?
D: I think there’s definitely a change, like we talked about in like a western society in the UK to become more muscular generally. But I don’t see it in my clients. Because I’ve got a track record with a lot of actresses and models who are all relatively slim and toned, I tend to get clients who want to look like someone I’ve worked with.
So I’m in a little bubble. I don’t get many girls who want to look like bodybuilders, because I don’t really have a track record of that. So, I don’t see that myself, but in society and on social media, I definitely see that it’s stronger and more muscular. It’s definitely more popular than it used to be.
A: I know we touched on it briefly, but because of your Thai boxing experience, I know you have trained actresses for fight scenes. I’d love for you to share that with us.
D: Yes, I do a lot of that. That’s mostly what I do now, training actors and actresses for action films. That’s the majority of my clients over the last 5 years.
A: That’s just so cool,
D: It’s so much fun, Abigail. It’s so much fun. It’s so cool. I like people getting fit, strong, and capable, but also because I’m a martial artist myself, I love teaching martial arts, and I actually like actors. Most of them are completely bonkers, and it’s quite nice to talk to or hang out with extreme personalities.
So yes, I love it. I love working with actors, and I love it when we have choreographed fight scenes to train for, because then you can kind of make your clients, who are your friends, bad asses on screen, and there’s no cooler feeling than seeing a friend, someone you care about, doing some really cool stuff on the big screen. Then you feel proud, it’s nice.
A: I love that. I would love to delve into more of the wellbeing side of things. I know you are quite open on your social media about some things that have happened in your life, which makes you relatable. I think more of that content is needed amongst all this rubbish that we consume online.
D: But then you can go too far with it, and maybe I’m just being cynical because I’m a middle-aged guy, but the fake authenticity where people are always vulnerable, everyone’s had a toxic childhood or a toxic relationship and they’re dealing with drama. It seems to be very popular in the younger generation to share everything, and the more you’ve been damaged, the more attention you’ll get.
That’s definitely a thing on TikTok and Instagram. That makes me cringe a little bit, where people are so open. You have to think, ‘Is social media a thing for you?’ Or if you’re running a brand, is it purely there to improve your brand? Because they are different things.
I know if I did a video every day of an exercise and twice a week I had pictures of me with a celebrity client, and maybe one in every six posts, I showed some vulnerability, that I’d be really popular on Instagram. Because it’s a formula, which a lot of people stick to. But I don’t want to do that.
A: No. I’m often asked to share more of my celebrity clients on social media.
D: Of course you are because you’ll be more popular.
A: But much like yourself. It’s a relationship that you have with that person.
D: And also, you have to look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day. Success is an interesting thing. We all want success, whatever success means. But I do think the way you get there is far more important than the end result. I’m very proud of my career journey. I haven’t screwed anyone over. I’ve tried to be kind to everybody, and I’ve got no demons in my cupboard.
I like the way I’ve created my business and I know quite a few people who’ve created their business in not so ethical ways. They may be making more money than me or be more popular, but they’ve got to live with themselves, you know?
Also, I don’t confuse popularity with success, or whether I have 100,000 followers or 10,000 followers, or no followers. As a business owner, success is the profit you make and your quality of brand. For me, that’s more important than my visibility.
You described me as under the radar and I’d love no one to know who I was, I’d love not to have a website. I’d love not to be in press. I limit the amount of exposure I get. I turn down pretty much every TV opportunity I’ve been asked to do. I’ve got no desire to be well known, but I need to have a little bit of exposure to get the kind of clients I want to work with. I limit my exposure, which is not that common, but it works for me.
A: And that’s some of the beauty of Dan. So you’ve mentioned a couple of times about age, you’ve been in this a long time. What are your views on aging? How do you feel about the aging process?
D: Well, interesting question. I mean, it’s the only way to stay alive, to get older, right? So I quite like aging. I find it very interesting actually. I find the process of our bodies naturally changes in age. I guess I’m not a huge fan of that. But there’s things we can do to improve. I find it interesting how our interests and our attitudes change as we get older, and that’s it, I find it interesting, not good, or bad. We only have one life and aging is a part of it.
A: I know when I look back at my life, I can say in my twenties, or whatever age you are, I think in our own minds we feel that we know everything at that age. It’s not until you get a few years on, and you look back and you think, ‘Oh my goodness, I was so naïve, I knew nothing then.’ Knowledge happens and life happens, and you learn along the way
D: Of course, Yes, I totally agree. I’ve always been pretty confident as people go, even from a young age. I bordered on arrogant when I was younger.
I thought I could do absolutely anything and that helped me to make relatively bold decisions, like move countries and travel around the world by myself and do all kinds of interesting adventures on my own, which I wasn’t really equipped to do. But now as I’m older I realise some of the things I’ve done have been quite silly.
But I wouldn’t change that or any of it because it’s part of your journey, isn’t it? By the time you hit 40, I guess you should really be humble, because how can you not be? And you should be grateful because how can you not be? Look at what’s happening in the world. The fact that I’ve managed to create a living by hanging out with cool people and making them look good.
It’s amazing. I feel so lucky, and it’s not like I’m extra humble, I’m just awake. Open your eyes and see what’s happening. If you’re managing to make a living doing something you enjoy, how can you not be grateful?
A: So now you are in your forties?
D: Well in, I’m 45 and a half.
A: Hey, I’m 47, so I just need to make you feel as bad as possible. Do you approach your own fitness and working out differently now that you are into your forties?
D: I actually had a slight argument with my physio. I see a physio every week and have done for years because I’m pretty active and as you get older, more things break.
He said to me the other day, ‘You can’t act like you’re 21.’ I should act accordingly, but I just love moving. I don’t train to look a certain way; I really don’t care how I look. I like moving and I like being capable, which means I like pushing my body in different ways. For example, I took up gymnastics when I was 43. I hadn’t done gymnastics before, but I wanted to learn how to back flip. I’m not naturally very flexible and I’d never done gymnastics or dance. I was doing gymnastics three, four times a week for quite a few months, and that’s took a toll in my body. I remember landing on my neck when I did a back flip. That’s not good for you.
A: We’re not advising people in their forties to suddenly
D: No. Do as I say, not as I do. When it comes to exercise, we’re all on different journeys. We all do it for different reasons. Like I said, I don’t train to look a certain way. I really don’t care like how my body looks because it’s just not an issue for me. Because I’m around my clients over 25 years, I’ve seen how you can change your body and when it’s important to change your body. But the best way is not caring how your body looks.
That’s the ultimate way. If you pretend you don’t care, but really do care, that’s pointless. If you really don’t care, that’s liberating. I just don’t care. Because I’m sporty, I’m never going to be horrendously out of shape. It doesn’t really affect me that much. I’m not going to suddenly be morbidly obese because I’m active and I like moving.
If you like rock climbing and surfing and trekking, you’re going to be in okay shape, that people aren’t going to point and laugh at you. So I know that bit’s fine and because I’m happily married, I don’t really care what women think of me. I train purely so I can be capable, so I can do things.
A: In lockdown, we met up for a coffee and because your wife had been really quite ill with Covid, we did a walking coffee and we walked around one of the parks, because we live in the same village. We went for a walk around and we were just chatting, I was picking your brains on business and stuff. We were walking around for ages and ages and ages, and I was like, ‘Can we sit down please?’ We only sat down long enough for me to have a few sips of tea, and you were like, ‘Can we get moving?’
D: I find it hard to sit down. I find it hard to be still. This is my limit of sitting down, an hour or so when we are talking, and then I have to move again. I’ve got a lot of nervous energy, but I’m not designed to sit down. That’s why I don’t work in an office, you know?
A: No, that’s great. But I was like, ‘Okay. Right. We’re on the move again!’ Okay. Random question. Do you have any tattoos, Dan?
D: No, I don’t. I kind of missed that boat. Why do you ask that?
A: Well, the next question, if you were to get something tattooed on you, so this is now something that’s there for life, a word, or a phrase, is there anything that springs to mind? It might be something that motivates you or just something that means a lot to you, or something just for fun.
D: Oh, good question. I’ll answer that in two ways. Firstly, regarding tattoos, I used to live in the Cook Islands when I was 24. The Cook Islands are about 5 hours south of Tahiti. I ended up renting a flat and living in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands for 7 or 8 months. I was going to get a tattoo there because Polynesia is where tattoos basically started. I actually had one mapped out, which was like a big thing from my finger, snaking all the way up to my arm, it was a whole sleeve. I had it all designed, and I went to the tattoo parlour, and they said it’ll take about 3 days. I was up for it. But the guy before me was getting his foot tattooed and he was a big Māori guy, and he was screaming in pain. I just turned away and never came back. So I bottled it, but the thing I’d designed had no meaning. I was just young, and I thought it would look cool, but ever since then I have thought, ‘Nope, too painful.’
To answer your question properly, no, there is one thing I wear there is a necklace my wife bought me, which has a little inscribed thing on it, which I’ll paraphrase. I don’t want to say exactly what it is cause it’s personal. She gave it to me many years ago, and it basically says, ‘A thousand moons, a thousand stars, a thousand universes and I’d still choose you.’
A: That’s beautiful.
D: Beautiful. So, that is like the only kind of personal thing I wear, so I guess I’d have something related to Lulu, my wife, because I’m just sickeningly in love. But there’s nothing that strong, and I think I’d regret it. Like what else would I get, Carpe Diem across my back? I mean, what do you get? I find tattoos a little bit naff, to be honest.
A: I’m desperate to get one with my daughter, we want to get matching tattoos, The thing is, Dan, we had this idea that we were going to get matching tattoos and we had the idea. But she sent me a photo and she’d gone with her girl mates, and she’s got our tattoo. She’s just gone and done it.
D: What’s she got?
A: She’s got a couple of little ones, but this one, it was a combination of my birth month flower, and her birth mother flower. It’s very delicate and it does look beautiful.
D: Sweet. And where is it?
A: It’s just on her wrist, which is where I thought I’d actually, So, you might actually, over the next month, see something crop up on my wrist.
D: It’s so normalized now, isn’t it? When I first went traveling, when I was 18 or 19, to see people with tattoos was really cool and like wild. But you can age someone by their tattoo.
A: Oh yeah.
D: The Celtic ring. They’re definitely in their mid-thirties.
A: Yeah, Celtic ring, and for females it was the Tramp Stamp. So you can age someone by the style of tattoo they’ve had, which is fascinating. So, Tell me a little bit more about your business school.
D: I’ve been mentoring coaches for about 10 years now, giving them business mentoring. I love it. I love helping fellow coaches grow their business, because I’ve grown mine and I’ve done it very badly and slowly over the years. Now it’s going well, so I don’t want other coaches and friends to make the same mistakes.
I love doing mentoring and that part of my business grew massively in the pandemic. I guess a lot of coaches were at a loss. So I’ve mentored a lot more businesses, not just in my industry, but in other industries over the last few years. That has inspired a new side to my business; my Dan Roberts Group, which is my business, to have more things available to coaches to upskill.
So the business school is actually a business I own, which is part of the group of companies I look after, which has qualifications and mentoring, and very soon to be released, a year-long course, which coaches can subscribe to where they learn all about branding, marketing, finances, the mindset of a CEO and business planning and investment. All those things are helpful to learn as a coach.
It’s an umbrella of different things to help fellow coaches and it’s fun. It’s nice to not just do personal training and not just do the Nuksoo and MX and the martial arts and other physical things I do. It’s quite nice to occasionally help people in different ways. I’m finding it interesting running that business alongside my other businesses.
A: Whether you are a therapist, a PT, or a hairdresser, whatever it might be, you learn your skill or your trade, but it’s the business side of things you learn on the job, isn’t it? So actually, if you’ve got your career and you are then able to share your learnings and your failings and everything else, that’s amazing.
D: Yeah. It’s really good fun. I think when you sign up to be a nutritionist, or a skincare expert or personal trainer, you don’t necessarily sign up to be an entrepreneur or a business owner. I didn’t. I just wanted to coach people. Then soon you realise that you need to learn how to get clients to learn how to stay relevant, position and brand yourself.
We just have to learn. Otherwise, you can’t use that skill to help people. It’s an integral part of being a coach or therapist, to understand how to market yourself. Nowadays, everyone is so focused on social media. You see a lot of people who have done really well on social media and the idea is that that is how you grow your business. To become really popular or go on Love Island or become famous online and then you can sell stuff. But that’s not the only way of doing it, and it’s not the most efficient way of doing it.
I quite like the old fashioned way of actually having a real business, which doesn’t mean being really popular on social media, it requires having strategy and business skills. I like that because I can be under the radar, but still make a lot of money. I think it resonates with a lot of other coaches. They don’t want to be the next Joe Wicks or the next James Smith or whoever. They find that that’s not them, and I totally understand that. There are other ways of becoming successful than just being overexposed on a platform.
A: So one final question. I know with your online courses, because I’ve signed up to one of them, you have playlists, so I know music is something that’s really important to you.
If you’re a bit down or low, have you got one of those tunes, it could even be a few or a certain artist that is your go-to, to lift your mood?
D: What a good question. Firstly, let me say I’m quite lucky in that I don’t really get that down that often, so I’m very lucky like that.
I’m naturally quite grateful, and I’m naturally quite optimistic about stuff. So I don’t often find myself in a slump where I feel like I need to be lifted up, and I do exercise, which for me is like a therapy. Because I can’t physically function without doing some sort of movement every day.
So I guess I use that more than music. I don’t know about you, but my musical taste hasn’t changed much since I was 18 or 19. I’m from Manchester and when I went to university in the mid-nineties, my favourite music was Oasis, The Charlatans and Spiral Carpets, Stone Roses and all that kind of music. It’s still what I listen to now. My favourite album of all time is Screamadelica by Primal Scream and there’s a song on there called, ‘Come Together,’ which is 9 minutes long. Sometimes I make my clients do body weight squats to it, until they finish. That, I love. I find it really uplifting and there are not many words to it but as a piece of music, I love it, it makes me feel good.
So yes, Come Together on the 1990 album, Screamadelica by Primal Scream, an album everybody should listen to.
A: Yes. I love it. We’re definitely from the same generation, Dan. So, what is next for Dan Roberts?
D: In terms of me personally, or in terms of my training and stuff, I don’t have any goals.
I haven’t had any goals for a while. I actually like just the process. Playing around like with martial arts or with strength training or sometimes running. I go with the flow; I go with however I feel. So my training is purposely unstructured, and I like that it’s not the most efficient way to get in better shape, for example, but I don’t care about that.
So with training, I’m just going to carry on doing what I’m doing. Exercise is play, so I’m just going to carry on playing. In terms of my work, I reached my goals quite a few years ago in terms of my personal training. I reached my goal 10 years ago in terms of charging what I wanted to charge and training who I wanted to train. So I’m happy just maintaining that side of things.
I’m finding the business school interesting because that’s still my newest business. I’m releasing my course pretty soon. It keeps on being delayed because I’m rubbish with deadlines and I don’t have a boss, so I keep on extending deadlines.
But I guess that’ll be my focus really over the next 6 months; releasing that and making sure I have coaches standing up to that and helping coaches on that year-long qualification. So I’m excited by that. That’s going to be most of my mental focus. Aside from that, just living life, I guess.
A: Where can people find you? Where’s a good place if they want to dip into any or all of these things that you’re doing?
If they want to dip into me, the best place is to go to danrobertsgroup.com, which is my website. The Dan Roberts Group of companies is a group of companies I set up a few years ago, and that consolidates all the different things I do, from personal training, retreats, Methodology X product and classes, Nuksoo product, the business school, and also a whole load of free resources and my two different podcasts, the Business school podcast, and the MX podcast. That’s the best place to find me.
You’ve been a guest on my MX podcast. People should listen into that where we talked about skincare, and I showed my ignorance about everything to do with skin and looking after one’s skin.
A: Yeah. This is why we haven’t talked about skincare at all with you or male grooming.
D: I’m the worst. We can talk about male grooming. I’ll just be very short conversation because I do very little of it.
D: It’s the benefit of not being as vain as I should be, because I don’t do any grooming.
A: Dan, this has been an absolute pleasure chatting to you. Thank you so much for being so open and giving us your time. So thank you.