Strong Friends: Meet my coach, Andy Pilides
Business Owner, Coach, Athlete
I met Andy in Summer of 2015 at the studio we both worked out of. We got on super well straight away and I realized I admired his approach to training.
Yes, I have a trainer too! Of course I can train on my own but I have found that accountability is a big part of how I am motivated. When I am accountable to a peer that I respect, it's much easier for me to push myself in my own training.
When I got into Team GB for TAG Rugby, after my recovery from my back injury, I was on the lookout for a sports specific trainer. Andy was right on the money. I am now leaner, fitter and stronger than ever. He understands what I want to achieve.
Andy is a former athlete, having played representative football throughout most of his formative years. He has over 10 years of experience in training, nutrition and exercise science and is always adding to his immense knowledge, currently studying a masters in strength and conditioning at St Mary's (while running a successful business!).
Andy and his partner Natalie have built a really exciting studio in Guildford - More Than Muscle - applying their years of experience in the field to bring health and performance together with education. I speak from personal experience - their approach is all about achieving sustainable results.
More than my trainer and someone I respect for their knowledge, Andy is also a good mate. I had a chat to him about his business and his own training habits.
Where do you work and train?
I run my business between Guildford Surrey and Central London, however, I work with a number of people via online resources. I tend to train at the London studio that we work from (Evolve) or the Guildford Lido Centre.
Tell me about your sports and fitness background?
My sports background has always been football. I played at a very respectable level through the non-leagues as a semi-professional player and cut my teeth as a youth player at Barnet FC. In recent years my academic strength and conditioning background has pushed me towards a lot of weight room- and field-based training methods.
What do you like most about working in the health & fitness industry?
Learning and applying! This for me is the most important variables as a coach. Being able to translate information to a variety of people from many different backgrounds is a challenge I enjoy. Especially when it helps people for the better.
Who’s your inspiration in the industry?
There are far too many to list however my biggest inspiration comes from my clients. They drive me to better myself daily.
Can you summarise your training philosophy?
Open mind....... massive tool box! My philosophy is largely dictated by me improving my coaches tool box. There comes a stage when you have to separate yourself away from being an athlete and starting to grow as a coach. I believe that, with an open mind and a passion to enhance your tool box for the benefit of others, your effectiveness will shine through. A coach with one technique or one method is a coach limited in assistants.
Do you have a favourite place to train?
World Gym Agia Napa. If you come on our fitness retreat in Cyprus you will get the chance to enjoy ;)
Where’s your favorite place to eat in London?
Mumzies house. Lol.
What’s the story behind starting your business and becoming a strength coach & personal trainer?
There came a stage where my football career stopped through niggling injuries and I wanted to educate myself on how I could fix things. This later held me in good stead in assisting others with similar problems. I also began to note the poor quality of trainers within the industry and wanted to better myself as I didn't want to fall into this category.
My business partner and I then decided to create More Than Muscle to bring a vision of excellence to personal training. The company is a growing ambition of ours. Education has been a huge part of my upbringing and has translated well into my current business I suppose.
Tell me about your favorite Client Success Story?
I don't have a favourite as I get similar satisfaction and for differing reasons amongst many of my clients. I would say however having Nick Deakin's transformation published in the world's biggest online publication was a proud moment for myself and my company.
Any advice to people wanting to start their fitness journey?
Decide what it is you want to achieve and break the doors down to go and achieve it. If it's high enough on your priority list then you will make it happen.
Do you have a favourite quote or mantra?
From 'Go Ape' by Dan John:
Accept the truth