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Fowler has had to battle the odds to keep his Defi ne Fitness club open. Diagnosed with cancer after the launch, he fought the illness off but then lost his girlfriend and business partner Helen to cystic fi brosis

How many years have you worked within the fi tness industry? 11 years.

What was your fi rst job in fi tness? Working as a fi tness instructor at David Lloyd Leisure in Kidbrooke.

What made you decide to pursue a career in fi tness? After I completed my A levels, I had a gap year before going off to college. In that year I started training in a local gym and thought how amazing it would be to work in a fi tness environment.

Tell us about your club Helen Barrett and I opened Defi ne Fitness on 1 April 2006. It’s a club for personal trainers to work with clients in a private gym, so no distractions or queues or groups of people. The emphasis is on being able to offer a personal trainer for any goal. Everything at Defi ne Fitness is aimed at giving personal trainers everything they need so they can work to the best of their ability. The studio has no fees for the client except what the trainer charges. The trainer pays an hourly rate, or discounted monthly rate if they hit a certain amount of hours.

Who are your clients? We have a wide range of clients, from people looking to lose weight to bodybuilders and yoga enthusiasts. We have such a wide range of trainers that nobody is left out.

Could you tell our readers about the challenges you have faced? About two years after we opened the club, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was a bad type so, after an operation to remove the testicle, I had to have three months of intensive chemotherapy.

Did the illness change you? It didn’t change me very much apart from making me realise quite how important it is

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to keep fi t; my doctor told me my recovery from chemotherapy was much quicker because my fi tness level was very good.

How was it to return to work after getting the all-clear? Returning to work was wonderful; my clients were, and still are, so brilliant. They’re very understanding and, as long as I still pushed them very, very hard, I had no problems.

Do you plan to open a second club? Defi ne Fitness works really well and I would like to open another one, but would set it up quite some way from the current site. People come quite far to see our personal trainers and I wouldn’t want to cannibalise on our current business.

What drives you? Working as a personal trainer is a fantastic lifestyle – I couldn’t sit behind a desk for eight hours a day. I enjoy the energy of training my clients, as well as running and improving the studio.

What are you goals and ambitions? My main goal is to make Defi ne Fitness the fi rst place people think of when they want to hit any type of health and fi tness target.

What do you think is the next big thing in fi tness? I think there will be an increase in group personal training as it’s more affordable and the client still achieves big goals. Also, people love any type of exercise that’s fun.

What’s your favourite motto/quote? The quote I hear myself saying to clients is ‘Leave negativity at the door’, but my late girlfriend/business partner used to say: “Life is fragile, every day is a blessing”.

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