Strong Friend Sean Phillips: Trainer, Coach and Former Professional Rugby Player

Sean's Life Lesson: be a good person

I met Sean through our other Strong Friend Ben Gotting who he used to play rugby with at London Wasps. I started working out of Vitality about a year after initially meeting Sean where he had already been working for several years with a full book of clients.

We quickly became friends through our similar outlook on life and our rugby connection.

Sean is a no fuss guy who is always challenging himself. He works incredibly hard and always has goals in mind.

He has one of the most heart-warming client success stories to date and, as you'll see, is someone anyone would be proud to call a friend.

Grace xx


Tell me about yourself

I'm a 36 year old Essex boy and currently living in Manchester. I started playing rugby age 10 in primary school then went onto Campion School in Hornchurch (which has produced a lot of professional rugby players over the years). 

Sean Phillips in full flight

At 17 I was in the Saracens U21 squad and a year later I made my premiership debut for the 1st XV. I also played for Wasps and London Welsh along with representing Ireland in 3 world cups at U19 and U21. 

I always loved weight training since watching Arnie in Conan and buying Flex magazine when I was about 14! Seemed a natural progression to use my knowledge from all the training via rugby in conjunction with my passion for coaching. 


Tell me about your business

I've been a personal trainer for just over 10 years now. Currently working in Manchester, I just started my diploma in Sports Massage as this is something that has always interested me but have only just found the time to do!!

I just retired from rugby (again!!), I was player coach at Northwhich last year but spending 10 months of the year inflamed was beginning to wear thin.

Opening my own facility is the end goal but this will happen once I've moved to the Lake District in the next few years!! 

Having been a professional athlete and gaining valuable knowledge from lots of top strength & conditioning coaches, the gym seemed a great place to use this.

I also love coaching, whether it be the gym or kids/senior rugby sessions etc. I spent 5 yrs in Nuffield Health then moved to a private studio in the St. Paul's area.

I decided to up sticks and move to Manchester about 2 yrs ago and it was the best decision of my life so far! 


What do you like most about working in this industry?

 It's just helping people, I suppose. That can be losing weight and looking better or getting stronger along with improving the self confidence.

In this current climate people are so stressed that most of the time it's helping people just be stronger physically and mentally in order to cope with what life throws at them! 


Tell me about your favourite Success Story at work?

My favourite is probably an ex client called Tom. I trained Tom (62yrs old) for 8&1/2 yrs. When he came to me the doctors had told him he needed serious help or the outcome wasn't looking good. He had high blood pressure, RHR was low 90's and diabetes has set in. 

At end of our time together he was off his statins, RHR was 53!! And he'd got his blood work back to normal. Before I left he said that I'd prolonged his life hands down and that if he lived to a 100 I'd be the one to thank! 


What has been your biggest challenge in life so far?

I don't really have an individual story but mental health has been a big issue for me so I suppose life is the challenge and keeping on track and driven is the main goal! 


Who’s your inspiration in your industry and in terms of health and wellbeing generally?

Anyone that is prepared to tell the truth and not BS people to look good as well as treating everyone equally regardless of shape, size or ability. 

Anyone that can stay fit and healthy while still having a life and dealing with work, kids and all those things that test your motivation! 


What does your training regime look like?


I train at a few different gyms depending on what is in my programme. At the moment I'm concentrating on my posterior chain (trying to get some hamstrings) and also getting leaner is the big goal for next 6 months. Having to train like a lunatic as getting rid of this abdominal fat in your mid 30's is tough going, so patience and perseverance is key 


Tell me about your sports and fitness background?

I spent about 8/9 yrs as a rugby player. I was very fortunate to play for some top teams with and against some of the greatest players that have ever graced a rugby pitch.

Making my Saracens debut at 18 and getting to play in the Heineken Cup and winning my first Ireland cap are highlights for me. 


Any advice to people wanting to start their journey as a trainer?

I suppose it is important to keep educating yourself by reading plus going and listening to and training alongside the best in your field.

Try to surround yourself with good people that want to help and you can learn from. 

How do you keep it real?

Just be as good as person as you can be and treat all with the respect that you would expect in return! 


Where’s your favourite place to eat in London?

I'm a classic kind of guy so I love a bit of Gaucho. 


Find Sean on Instagram at @sp_strength